4 Stars, Ashavan Doyon, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Sammy, Torquere Press

Review: Andrew’s Prayer by Ashavan Doyon

Title: Andrew’s Prayer (The College Rose Romances)

Author: Ashavan Doyon

Publisher: Torquere Press

Pages/Word Count: 267 Pages

At a Glance: Andrew’s Prayer had incredible potential but simply lost its way in the latter part of the story.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: For Andrew Tuttleman, sex is a means to an end. With a mother too sick to pay the bills on her own and college bills to pay, Drew has spent years resorting to sex with strangers to keep a roof over his mother’s head and keep himself at school, far away from the hell where he grew up. This summer, his usual tricks are still paying the bills. But there’s a new one, Grant, who never got the memo that a trick is a no-strings deal. Convinced that Drew is the answer to a hopeless prayer, Grant seems ready to pursue Drew to the ends of the earth.

Drew, on the other hand, isn’t so convinced. Grant comes with trouble in the form of a wife and three kids, not to mention a single and unwavering requirement: that Drew give up his livelihood. Grant’s kiss makes Drew ache for more, a romance that he never dreamed possible. He finds himself unexpectedly willing to try. Can Drew weather Grant’s angry father, wife, and a daughter determined to kick him in the shins so hard that he’ll leave Grant’s life forever? It all relies on Grant’s faith in an impossible prayer.

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Review: Ashavan Doyon writes boldly about a subject one doesn’t often see in m/m romance novels. He delves into an area that faith and, by extension, prayer, can soothe and replace despair with hope. The extent to which both main characters’ reliance on prayer infused the plot of the story made it a risky venture for this author. At this time when organized religion seems to be hell-bent on destroying the gay community, this author’s novel seems particularly timely.

Andrew Tuttleman is home for summer break. In the fall he will begin his last year at university, and he hopes sincerely that his mother will be able to see him graduate. While her illness is never really given a name, we are assured it was a byproduct of a violent episode in her life. Andrew and his mother are dirt poor. Subsisting on scholarships to pay for not only his courses but his food and books as well, he lives as frugally as possible. Every cent he does make goes to pay the rent and toward the cost of the medicines keeping his mother alive. How does Andrew make his money? He is a high paid prostitute.

With little time for matters of faith, Andrew has been kicked around one too many times to believe in any god swooping in to rescue him. On one of his first nights home, he sets up a meet with a client. Grant is struggling in his marriage. With three little girls at home, and a wife who he found cheating with a younger man, he’s finally worked up the courage to learn once and for all whether or not the feelings he has buried for so long are true. Andrew will be his test case. Grant is nearly certain that he has been living in the closet for years.

However, the meet up doesn’t go quite as planned, for once the deed is done, Grant can’t seem to put Andrew out of his mind. Through a series of texts, he begs Andrew to meet him again. For the first time ever, Andrew had more than just sex when he met up with Grant. Strange and long buried emotions are struggling to get to the surface. Andrew was terrified of those feelings and the vulnerability that accompanied them. From the time of their second meeting on, these men would explore what it means to be honest and real, not only with each other but with their families. It is going to be a rocky journey, and with one more year to finish at school, Andrew may lose everything, including the man he now loves.

The first three quarters of this novel were stunning. Emotions ran rampant and the storyline was stark and gritty, refusing to sugarcoat what Andrew did to make his living. The angst factor ran high, as it should with both main characters forced to face facts about themselves they had kept hidden and buried. There was such harsh truth running throughout this entire section of the story. The plot most definitely drew me in, rapidly investing my emotions and compelling me to read further. While faith and the ability to trust in God’s providence was discussed throughout this section, I felt that it was realistically handled, particularly for Grant’s character. I also appreciated that Andrew craved the stability that seem to come from Grant’s expressions of his beliefs. Things were going well until the last quarter of this novel, when Andrew returned to college and, unfortunately, this is where the story began to turn preachy and just a tad bit unbelievable.

The struggles that both men had with the distance that lay between them, and the fact that Grant’s wife had come back on the scene to sew real turmoil, were understandable. However, there was a huge amount of back-story concerning how Andrew had been outed the year before that never was fully explained. I actually went looking for this novel’s listing to make sure it was not a sequel. I failed to see any indication that it was. Along with that, he also hooked up with various people on campus on the sly, and confrontations with them left me wondering just what had gone on in his previous three years. Also, there was an overuse of what I gather folks down South call homosexuals. The moniker given was “sissy boy,” and while I understood it being used while he was home, when he returned to school I felt the phrase really would’ve been out of place.

These things, along with what I felt was an unbelievable return to faith on Andrews part, made the last portion of this story a little unbelievable for me. I do enjoy this author’s writing style. I felt that most of this novel was incredibly real and touched on things that other authors adroitly avoid. However, I felt the direction that was taken toward the end, where the storyline became heavily influenced by religion and prayer, diminished the very real and raw emotions preceding it.

Andrew’s Prayer had incredible potential but simply lost its way in the latter part of the story. I do look forward to reading more by this author. Ashavan Doyon has a strong and important voice with a true talent for storytelling.

TNA_Signature_Sammy







 

You can buy Andrew’s Prayer here:

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Ashavan Doyon, Torquere Press

Guest Post and Giveaway: “Steven’s Heart” by Ashavan Doyon

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This is Ashavan Doyon posting from The Novel Approach — the final stop on our blog tour for Steven’s Heart. I have a special place in my heart for the Novel Approach, which gave a touching and honest review of Loving Aidan last year after it came out calling it “a very honest story of college-aged angst.”

I know that reviewer felt badly for Steven, and I hope that Steven’s Heart brings those feelings to a satisfying resolution. In writing romance it can be so tempting to write about first love. And we see that in Loving Aidan from Steven and Sammy. But Aidan has been burned in love, and that changes his reactions a lot in the story.
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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week, Ashavan Doyon, Charley Descoteaux, Cover Reveal, Eileen Griffin, GayRomLit, Geoffrey Knight, Jack Byrne, K. Vale, Kol Anderson, LC Chase, M.J. O'Shea, Nikka Michaels, Sue Brown, Zathyn Priest, Zee Kensington

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Hi, everyone, and welcome to another great week ahead.

In case you missed it yesterday, be sure to pop on over to RJ Scott’s Blog for a little teaser of some great giveaways I have in store for you as we continue the countdown to GayRomLit 2014. And, your comment on my blog post at RJ’s place will put you in the running for one of TWO $25 Amazon Gift Cards, so be sure to check it out.

In the meantime, here’s what’s coming up for you to enjoy right here at The Novel Approach

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Monday – To kick things off, today we’re pleased to be hosting the Authors Gone Wild Anthology Cover Reveal

A bit later in the day, we’ve got author L.C. Chase with us on the Pulling Leather Blog Tour

Kol Anderson will be here as well with a giveaway of the latest book in his Prisoner series, The Devil You Know

TuesdayEileen Griffin and Nikka Michaels lead off our day with an exclusive cover reveal for their collaboration In the Fire

We also have author Zee Kensington with us on the Finally Home Blog Tour and Giveaway

Geoffrey Knight also drops by with an interview to tell us about a special new series set in the heart of Wilde City and begins with Buck Baxter: Love Detective

WednesdayM.J. O’Shea is our guest today on the Coconut Cove Blog Tour

ThursdayKimber Vale starts out our day on the Hard Act to Follow Blog Tour and Giveaway

Charley Descoteaux also joins us on the First Time for Everything Blog Tour

Friday – Our special guest today is author and artist Zathyn Priest, as he shares a bit about his creative process and joins in the Countdown to GayRomLit Blog Tour Celebration

Saturday – Author Jack Byrne joins us to talk about his new book Walkabout, the sequel to Billabong and there’s a giveaway

Sue Brown also joins us on The Last Wolf Blog Tour and Giveaway

Sunday – Finally, to close out the week, Ashavan Doyon will be here on the Stephen’s Heart Blog Tour, with a giveaway

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And that rounds out the week ahead. Until next week, happy reading!

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Ashavan Doyon, Torquere Press

Love Is Not So Easy For “Loving Aidan”

All things are difficult before they are easy. – Thomas Fuller


Blurb for Loving Aidan by Ashavan Doyon:

Samuel Riley is gorgeous – tall, muscular, and intelligent. The girls love him. And so does his roommate, Aidan Flemming. Secretly, of course, because Aidan is as gay as Sammy is straight – and even the out and proud Aidan knows there are limits to Sammy’s acceptance. Cursed to watch as Sammy dates half the co-eds on campus, a lonely Aidan spends his time writing, helping Sammy and his friends survive literature classes, and recovering from a disastrous love affair that left Aidan heartbroken.

But when happiness finally comes for Aidan in the body of his roommate’s fellow rower, all that changes. In Steven, Aidan finds happiness and romance. The rower, a blond, blue-eyed Adonis, makes Aidan feel desired and appreciated. But their very public courtship stirs up controversy and violence, and Aidan’s life gets very complicated.

Attacks rock the campus community, and in the middle of the upheaval, Aidan finds himself noticed by the last person he’d expect. Samuel Riley, his roommate, his impossible dream, and just possibly, a very jealous suitor. But the jealous suitor has a girlfriend. And she is not happy.

I have to say at the beginning of this book I truly adored Aidan. He is funny, smart and dresses eccentrically. Aidan is looking for love. His first love turned sour in the worst way possible; then came Michael, who not only cheated on him but dumped Aidan because he got mad about it! Since Michael, Aidan has only had furtive encounters with closet cases. All Aidan wants is to be loved, out in the open, and hopefully by his hot and sexy roommate. He believes that will never happen, so when a chance for a real relationship with Steven comes about Aidan takes it. Personally, I lost respect for Aidan when he was with Steven. Steven gave him everything he could ever want. He came out, he treated Aidan like a prince and it seems all Aidan could do was tell him at every turn that he was still in love with Sammy. Eventually Sammy becomes jealous enough of Steven and Aidan to accept the fact that he loves Aidan. Steven basically gives Sammy the green light with Aidan even though it tears his heart to pieces. When Aidan and Sammy get together, it stirs up the haters on campus who are led by Sammy’s ex-girlfriend. The two barely survive the attacks, fences are mended with Steven and Michael, and finally Aidan gets his dream.

This book pushed my sense of right and wrong, but I feel the author wrote a very honest story of college-aged angst. As bad as I felt for Steven, Aidan made the right choice and everything works out in the end. The heat meter of this book is off the charts, but there is so much emotion when they make love that there is no doubt of the feelings the men share.

I highly recommend this book, but beware it isn’t all sunshine and roses. However, there is a wonderful HEA.

Reviewed by: Jackie

You can buy Loving Aidan here:

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