While the books we feature on the blog are what we read most of the time, you will definitely find a couple of our shelves filled with more adultish type books. Scandalous books. Books with a little more smex, and perhaps a kink or two. We know these books and reviews aren’t for everyone, which is why we’ve decided to post these “after hours.”
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publication Date: May 7, 2012
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Quent Jackson has followed Jason Spade’s every move in business and in poker since their first day as college freshmen. Eight years later, when Jace finally decides Quint is the one man he can’t live without, he sees no reason for that to change.
But as much as Jace believes that poker is life, no one gave Quent the same playbook. After their first passionate night, the real game of love and trust begins, and Jace has been playing alone too long to make teaching the rules easy. Jace only speaks two languages: one of them is sex, and the other one is poker. Between the two, he needs to find a way to convince himself to take a chance on love—and Quent to take a chance on him. It’s a lucky thing they’re good at reading the odds, because they’re playing for keeps, and this is one high-stakes relationship that’s definitely worth the gamble.
This is the first book I’ve read by this author. I’ve heard good things about her other books, but for some reason I’ve hesitated on making the leap into purchasing any of them. I’m relatively new to the m/m genre, and I’ve been staying within my safe zone of authors that I know produce really excellent work. Seems like when an m/m book goes bad, it can really crash and burn. Anyway, I saw this on Netgalley and I’d heard some excited buzz about it, so on went my big girl panties, praying I wouldn’t get whiplash
Quent and Jace have been friends for 8 years. They met on the first day of college, and it was immediately best-friends-at-first-sight. They roomed together all through college, as well as after graduation when they went into business together. Both men have harbored a deep, abiding love and attraction for the other but neither wanted to the rock the boat and possibly risk losing the relationship all together. Jace is an equal opportunity kind of guy, and has had both male and female lovers, even from the tender age of 14. Quent, on the other hand, was raised by extremely conservative parents and while he may have had moments of attraction to other men, he’s buried them deep. The only attraction he’s never been able to overcome is to Jace, but he’s completely cluless to Jace’s similar feelings. Jace finally gets a hint, and decides to make Quent all the way his.
The story jumps right into the beginning of the romantic relationship between Jace and Quent. While they’ve known each other for years, we skip all the angst they must have gone through prior to Jace making that first move. Jace grew up learning life lessons in the form of poker metaphors, and the game plays a huge part in this book. There isn’t a lot of conflict in the story, mostly it’s just about the two men navigating a different sort of relationship than they’ve ever had, but have always wanted.
Gambling Men is about Jace and Quent’s growth as a couple, as well as individuals. Jace is definitely the more dominant of the two, and can equate everything in life to poker. He’s a magnificent poker player, and he and Quent frequently talk about the game, play the game and boil their relationship down and relate it to the game. Truthfully, the poker references and talk got a little old for me after awhile. Heck, I think even Quent got sick of it at one point. I don’t play the game, or even know how to play the game really, so I didn’t understand the obsession with it. But, I guess that’s what Jace’s personal journey was. He needed to find a way to relate and talk to Quent about problems and issues without falling back on old standby’s.
Quent’s issues revolved around not letting Jace’s more dominant personality run rough shod over him. Quent was content to follow wherever Jace led, but there were moments and discussions that Quent felt strongly about and Jace needed to realize that he couldn’t always have his way. I really admired Quent the few times that he stood up for himself. Jace was your typical alpha male, and was extremely possessive of Quent in all areas of their lives. They were together all. the. time. They lived together, they worked together, they worked out together, they grocery shopped together, they played poker together.. I thought it was a little unbelievable that they spent every minute of the day together and didn’t get more annoyed with each other. I love my hubs, but I love him more after he’s been away awhile, ya’ know?
The sex was super hot and passionate, but, unfortunately, I didn’t consistently connect to the characters through the whole story. The book is told from both men’s POV’s, and sometimes the switch was a little abrupt and choppy. A few times I felt like I was yanked out of the scene against my will. I didn’t feel like the writing was always as smooth as it could have been either. There’s a fine balance between writing correctly, but making it seem like that’s how people talk in regular conversation. At times I thought the dialogue tipped too far into the “regular conversation” side, and it was a bit awkward.
My Summary: I really enjoyed the lack of conflict in the story, and that the sole focus was Jace and Quent building their relationship. But at the end of it all, the book was only just okay. I probably won’t remember the story much or the characters beyond typing up this review. There was just something missing, that special element that sucks me into a story and won’t let me go. Perhaps it was the overabundance of poker references. Even the chapter titles were poker related. It’s hard to love a book when I’m annoyed with a major part of it, I guess.
My Rating: B-