Review: “M4M” by Rick R. Reed

AUTHOR: Rick R. Reed
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: July 10, 2017
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $14.99 – paperback


Includes brand-new novella, “Status Updates.”
Finding and keeping love can be a challenge in the modern world of blogging, social media, and online dating, as one man will learn in this trilogy.

VGL Male Seeks Same
Poor Ethan Schwartz. At forty-two, he’s alone, his bed is empty, and his HDTV is overworked. He’s tried bars and other places where gay men are supposed to find each other, but it never works out. Maybe he should get a cat?
But his life is about to change…

Poor Ethan. He’s received the most shocking news a gay man can get—he’s HIV positive. Until today his life was perfect, with a job he loves and Brian, who could be “the one.” The one to complete him and fill his lonely life with laughter, hot sex, and romance.
But Ethan’s in for another shock. Could Brian have infected him?

Alone again, Ethan wonders if life is worth living, even with a cat. When an old nemesis sends a Facebook friend request, Ethan is suspicious but intrigued. It seems this old acquaintance has turned his life around, and the changes might hold the key to Ethan getting a new lease on life… and love.

M4M was previously published and released as two separate short stories. It has now been put together in one book, with a third part added to bring a conclusion to the story and tie it all together.

Ethan Schwartz is a publicist for theater companies in Chicago. He’s had enough of being single and hates how mundane his life has become. Ethan wants more than just a hook-up. He’s done with the pretty party boys and the bar/club pick-up’s, where he never really felt like he fitted in. Ethan wants someone who he can be himself with, who shares his interests, someone he can snuggle on the couch with watching movies from the 1930/40’s. Someone to love. But he thinks that he’ll never find a person like that in the world he’s living in, because everyone he’s met so far, only wants one thing, and that’s sex.

When Ethan hears a colleague talking about a dating website, he decides that since he can’t find what he’s looking for in a guy by going out on the town, he may as well see if he can find it across the internet. So Ethan signs up to the website and creates a profile. This is where he meets Brian who’s an attorney and lives quite close to Ethan. Ethan can’t believe how much they have in common and is sure that Brian can’t be real because he feels that all of the similarities between them is just too good to be true, and surely, he can’t be that lucky to find his perfect guy online? But the two men form a connection to each other and quickly fall in love. Ethan is sure his life can’t get any better, but then one day he’s given the devastating news that he’s HIV positive. He can’t believe what he’s being told, and immediately comes to the conclusion that the only way that he could have contracted it was from Brian. His now perfect life and relationship have suddenly fallen apart in the blink of an eye. Ethan learns that even when you are at your happiest, sometimes life just throws you a little test, to see how strong a person you really are.

This book has me conflicted. I’m struggling to decide how I really felt about the story overall. There were parts that I didn’t particularly like, then there were parts that I really loved. I found it quite slow and hard to get into at the beginning and really couldn’t connect with the main character at all. But then as I worked my way through the book and got towards the end of part two and into the new story, I found myself becoming very emotional and teary, but I think that was more to do with the author’s writing and storytelling than the feelings I had for Ethan. I loved Ethan’s blog that he started about being HIV positive. The author did an amazing job of portraying the feelings and emotions involved in receiving the news and coming to terms with the diagnosis and then learning to live with it. I just wish we actually had a little more in-depth detail about this part of the story because I feel like that was never fully concluded or resolved and it left me with a lot of questions. The third part of the book was by far the best, and I think that this really saved the whole book. The writing was exceptional, and I was really choked up trying to get through each paragraph. It was something I definitely didn’t expect considering I felt practically no emotion reading the first two parts. So I’m glad I stuck it out even when I didn’t really feel like it.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book***


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