Eloreen reviews All the Wrong Places by Ann Gallagher (Bluewater Bay 14) (Published by Riptide Publishing, June 13, 2016, 273 pages)
This week we decided to review a book featuring a character that represents each letter of the LGBTQIA acronym. I had read All the Wrong Places because it is set in the Bluewater Bay universe, and it had the best, and simplest, explanations for the range of asexual I’ve seen.
Blurb: A Bluewater Bay Novel
Zafir Hamady, a sales clerk at Red Hot Bluewater, has an unusual theory: he doesn’t think Brennan is a bad lover. In fact, he doesn’t think Brennan is heterosexual. Or sexual at all, for that matter. He also can’t stop thinking about Brennan. But even if he’s right and Brennan really is asexual, that doesn’t mean Zafir has a chance. Brennan’s never dated a man, and Zafir’s never met anyone who’s game for a Muslim single father with a smart mouth and a GED.
Brennan’s always thought of himself as straight. But when sex is explicitly out of the mix, he finds himself drawn to Zafir for the qualities and interests they share. And Zafir can’t help enjoying Brennan’s company and the growing bond between Brennan and his son. They work well together, but with so many issues between them, doubts creep in, and Brennan’s struggle with his identity could push away the one person he didn’t know he could love.
I love the Bluewater Bay universe and so picked this up pretty quick and read it soon after purchasing. When RGR decided to do the LGBTQIA letters this week, I immediately thought of this story. Ann did a great job of explaining asexuality including some flavors that you don’t think about. It definitely made you think and if this is the first time experiencing it, makes you want to research. Even if you have learned about it before, it was a really great way to understand it better.
Not only is one main character is asexual, but there are two. That is really different and not something you see a lot of. In fact, I think this is the first time I’ve seen two asexual main characters. I really love that Zafir explained his version of sexuality as “biromantic asexual”. I love the romance portion introduced between Zafir and Brennan, a previously identified heterosexual that becomes friends with Zafir and then discovers more. Since there is not any of the sexual tension you usually find, the friendship and subsequent romance is highlighted more throughout the story. It’s a nice change. This story is fairly sedate as far as plots go–Brennan is a skateboarder and Zafir works two retail/fast food jobs to support his son–there is enough tension between Brennan discovering himself, slowly falling in love with Zafir, and the dynamics between them for the story to move along at it’s own pace. While the secondary characters were there and helpful to provide background, there didn’t seem a lot of development of them besides focusing on Zafir’s son and his relationship with Brennan, and Brennan and Zafir themselves.
Overall, I give All the Wrong Places 9 out of 10 pots of gold.
Ann Gallagher is the slightly more civilized alter ego of L.A. Witt, Lauren Gallagher, and Lori A. Witt. So she tells herself, anyway. When she isn’t wreaking havoc on Spain with her husband and trusty two-headed Brahma bull, she writes romances just like her wilder counterparts, but without all the heat. She is also far too mature to get involved in the petty battle between L.A. and Lauren, but she’s seriously going to get even with Lori for a certain incident that shall not be discussed publicly.