Dana reviews Speedy Rewards (Working Class Series: Book 1) by Jeff Erno (Published by Wayward Ink Publishing, June 5, 2015, 250 pages) A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Phil Mitchell pours his heart and soul into his job as manager of Speedy Mart, a local convenience store. He loves his work and he loves his fellow employees, but when it comes to his personal life, Phil is lonely and depressed and still pining for his long-departed ex.
He embarks upon the week from hell where anything that can go wrong does. It begins with a truck crashing into his outdoor sign and only goes downhill from there.
Add an asshole homophobic boss hell bent on seeing him fired and Phil realizes he needs to put into place a plan to save himself and his job.
First step in his plan… do something about his love life.
Meanwhile, Ezra, one of Phil’s team members, is dealing with his own roller coaster ride of a week.
As is Brandon, the local cop…
And Mark, the homophobic boss…
Perhaps, with a little… luck, the next week will be better
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Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00XV8O7G6/
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00XV8O7G6/
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Amazon DE: http://www.amazon.de/dp/B00XV8O7G6/
Let me start off by saying that Speedy Rewards is not your traditional romance. I am used to a boy meets boy, or even boy meets boy meets boy type of story, in which the focus of the story is on the couple, the main characters. Phil starts and ends this book in his point of view, but there are a total of 7 pov’s told in this book, alternating between chapters.
Phil, Doreen, Mark, Ezra, Justin, Brandon, and Vince are all explored in this book. Phil is the manager of the Speedy Mart, looking for love after years of being alone. He has a few trust issues after his partner of seven years left him for another man. He meets Humberto who is a customer at the gas station/convenience store. They are really fun and sweet together. Doreen is a 5 foot tall dom whose character could have been explored a bit more. I’m not sure if she was necessarily straight. Though she loved bringing a big man to his knees, she has an ongoing relationship with a trans-woman who is still pre-op. Ezra is a night clerk, who is best friends with Justin, who is dating Vince, one of the most despicable characters I’ve ever read. Brandon is a police officer who shows up at the Speedy Mart several times, like when Vince drove his delivery truck in between the sign posts to avoid hitting Ezra, and when the store was held up at night. Mark is the district manager and Phil’s direct boss. There is much to dislike about his character at first, but he eventually evokes sympathy from the reader when he and his views do a 180 degree turn.
It is one of the most content filled books I’ve read with all the interweaving story lines. While there is romance, the love scenes and dates between characters are not drawn out in great detail. I would almost classify the story as LGBT fiction because of the way it explores the lives of the employees of the speedy mart, their friends, and their customers. A few other notable characters are Judy, Phil’s best friend, Darren, Phil’s ex, Jeremy, a customer who deals to Ezra, is propositioned by Doreen, and ends up going home with yet another main character. Also, Jeremy’s brother Aaron who causes a bit of trouble and his boyfriend Troy who was kicked out of his house when he came out. I know the amount of characters I’ve just listed will lead you to believe the story might be too complicated or hard to follow but it’s not at all. I think the pov changes help keep it all organized. It was definitely an interesting read not only for the crazy things that happen to the employees at the Speedy Mart, but also the glimpse of the day to day lives of the struggling working class, with minimum wage jobs and trying to support their families.
At the end of this book, we see a growth in many of the characters, and some not so much. There is a lot of humor and action. The employees of the Speedy Mart become like family members to each other, and as a reader, I sort of felt like they were my family too. There were a lot of hook-ups and break-ups, and four couples emerged at the end of the story. Brandon, the closeted cop, was supposed to show up at a work picnic with an unknown date but the story ends before he arrives. Dare I hope that he will be featured in a book of this series? I definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a solid story with great character building.
Prizes: $20 WIP Gift Card, $10 WIP Gift Card, ebook copy of Speedy Rewards
JEFF ERNO began writing LGBT fiction in the late 1990s. Although an avid reader and amateur writer from a very young age, Jeff pursued a career as a retail store manager in Northern Michigan. When his first gay-themed novel was published, he was shocked that anyone would even want to read it. So far, he’s published over thirty novels. Jeff lives in Southern Michigan, where he works part time at a convenience store.
Jeff’s writing credits include a variety of themes and sub-genres including male romance, Young Adult, Science Fiction, erotica, and BDSM. He is the winner of a 2012 Rainbow Award and an Honorable Mention in 2011. His style is unpretentious and focused upon emotionally-driven, character-based stories that touch the heart. Jeff is especially passionate about young adult literature and combating teen bullying and youth suicide.