Monday, August 24, 2015

Dual Affairs by Lynn Kelling

All Evan Savage wanted was a quiet night at the bar, waiting for his boyfriend to finish his shift; what he gets instead is a nightmare. Things were complex enough when his biggest problem was the tangled sex life he and his brother Brennan share with twin lovers Alek and Luka. When a selfless act ending in terrible violence lands Evan in the hospital, Brennan and Evan's father returns to loom over their lives, asking questions none of the four want to answer.

The young men’s relationships to each other begin to unravel as carefully drawn boundary lines are blurred and crossed. The four must question the nature of their commitments to each other, what they each want, and what to say to those relentlessly demanding the truth. When the most dangerous thing you can do is admit to who you love, and jealousy is a luxury you can no longer afford, brutal honesty is the only remaining key to salvation...

...or damnation.

Add to Goodreads

Book 2
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Smashwords  ~  Fantastic Fiction Publishing

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This review and rating pains me to give. I enjoy the flow of Lynn Kelling's writing style. The pacing keeps me interested, captures me and doesn't let me go until I'm finishing the book. However, this time around, the subject matter was a bit difficult for me to read- and I don't mean the taboo of the tale.

Evan, sweet Evan. I connected with him on a higher level than in the previous book. Even when not in his mind (narration) I could accurately predict how he would act/react/think/emote about any given situation. His character is fully developed, resonating, and likable by the reader.

The beginning scene where Evan swoops in to save the day, and the following chapters of his recovery were more than lifelike. I could feel what he was feeling, as well as the terror by Alek, Luca, & Brennan. This set the pacing of the story, as it was compelling and riveting. Which lead to the next major event in the book, and I was sympathetic to Evan's loneliness and the reasons for his actions. I could 'feel' Evan, and I felt for Luca.

Which lead me to connecting to Luca, when in the previous book I didn't have a feel for him at all. I was a huge Alek fan from the start, but his personality seemed to change from book #1 to book #2 & I couldn't connect with him any longer. I felt the reasons for Alek closing Evan out were valid. However, I didn't like how he failed to hear Evan- treating his lover like a child, an invalid, which led to the next issue. Everyone was so worried about Evan, that even when he did what he did, they understood. The next morning, he was near catatonic with grief and guilt... which leads to the third event that ruined the entire book/series for me.

I understood where Ms. Kelling was going with the story way before this point, but I felt the act negated what the author was trying to convey. There were more fitting ways to get from point A to point C, when point B felt callous and spiteful- disrespectful by Alek and Brennan, but sympathetic and understandable by Luca and Evan. I understand how Point B for both couples was to erase any guilt present. But Point B for Evan was not the same as Point B for Brennan- the emotions and intentions were what harmed in my opinion.

Worried over Evan, while he is dealing with Jimmy (which was something that affected them all), Alek & Bren act like spiteful children (When Alek has been treating Evan as the child, which was the main issue in the first place). Alek had gone since before the incident, not having intimate relations with anyone, only to do so in an act of spite- it ruined him in my eyes. How people who placed Evan first were intentionally trying to hurt him- when only hours before he was catatonic with grief and guilt and pain... Alek was written as the adult, and Bren as the selfless one. Evan was upset, felt unwanted, and they laughed about what they were doing, joking how it was only fair, and it dropped them as characters in my estimation. As if Evan wouldn't feel even MORE unwanted after this. He already thought they didn't want him, now they didn't need him. (I felt this entire thread was written in an unsympathetic light, and as a reader, I'm unsure how I was supposed to LIKE these characters afterward. Unlike Evan and Luca who showed not only remorse and understanding, but actual emotion during and after their Point B) Alek and Bren wanted to get caught, and then acted surprised and upset when it happened & even during their narration, I felt them an unreliable narrator, not believing them.

Aside for Evan, and any and all emotions he elicited in me, and the bit of Luca that I was happy to get to know, I disliked the other characters immensely. I feel horrible for stating this, but it almost had me stop reading at several points. Evan is fully developed, yet I know nothing of the other 3 characters (even during their narration), even though it is a foursome I'm to understand and love. The Alek I thought I knew and loved was gone from the pages.

Brennan, even while he is narrating, I don't trust his thoughts. His words belie his actions. Perhaps it's only me, but I find him a nonredeemable character in my eyes. He seems selfish, spiteful, and I can't trust anything he does and says, no matter how the author writes him & the author wrote all of this this way, leading me (the reader) to feel as I do. These are the emotions and reactions Ms. Kelling yanked from me, and now I'm the one left feeling bereft because I no longer enjoy the story nor the characters I had come to love in the first installment.

I guess, at the heart of my issue, thinking and saying mean nothing when you do the opposite in reaction, and that is what ruined it for me. This emotion I'm feeling isn't because of the premise of the storyline, or the taboo nature, it's that I felt there was a more sympathetic way to convey how they went from 2 couples to a 4-some. Instead, it just became two new couples with confusing results. For me, no matter what, I will always see divided lines, repressed painful emotions, and how no one acts as human nature dictates.

Black and white, written in simple terms: my issue & it's not about sex. At all. I've got to get that point across. It's not about sex. At all.

(all the reviews point to the character development of Alek being responsible & Bren selfless and loving) It felt as if Bren was shoving Luca at Evan while distracting Alek. Under the circumstances, as the main, responsible adult in the story, Alek should have went to Evan to work out what had happened the day before, not leaving his brother to console his boyfriend in the yard at Bren's insistence. Sex should have been the farthest thing from Alek's mind- his boyfriend is hurting, and here is his boyfriend's brother telling him to goof off and mess around instead of fixing the issue (when Alek is written to be a responsible, problem-solver). But instead of both parties actually putting their 'Evan comes first' thoughts into practice, they screw around, making fun of a painful situation. At the same time, Evan is left to go clean up the mess they all created with Jimmy, with Luca having the good sense to actually try to help (which is one of the reasons I decided he was an okay character). So after all the pain, Evan gets to walk in to find Alek and Bren being callous, mocking, vengeful, spiteful, and childish after he's went through all he's went through. But their narration says they didn't mean it that way<= the author wrote it this way, and now I'm to feel warm and fuzzy and believe in all four loving each other unconditionally. No matter what, I felt an undercurrent of darkness to this, and that is my biggest issue.

I understand this series is more fantasy than reality. I just can't help how a book makes me feel as I read it. The author can keep telling me it works, but that doesn't mean I buy it.

I was definitely looking forward to this book. I usually really like to read more about the characters that I absolutely loved in a first book. While I did like to have more of the guys I fell in love with, this book threw me for a loop! As I write this, I'm trying to figure out a way to express my thoughts without giving away the whole story.

Our four sexy, twisted men are trying to find a balance in their relationship and everything seems to be going well, but then Evan finds himself in a lot of trouble and it starts a spiral of events that has them all reeling.

I see where the author was going with this, and it does turn out to be effective in bringing them all closer and more smoothly, BUT I feel like the characters' personalities were tipped and changed quite a bit from the first book. I was happily surprised that they weren't typical stereotypes in the first book, but there were certain character strengths and weaknesses developed in book one that seemed to be broken down a bit in this book. My emotions went from in love to disgusted, to confused, and then uncertain what to think.

I get that the two separate relationships needed to be blended, but I don't think the way it was done would have actually helped it become a foursome rather than destroying everything altogether. Yes, it does show how deep their love for each other is and how as four they are able to get through things and rely on one another differently, but if it were me, I would always have the doubts in the back of my mind and be worried about future conflicts bringing forward such spite again.

So now that I've probably confused anyone who hasn't read the book, I will say that I did read this one straight through. I did, like before, enjoy the writer's voice and found this book to be an easy read. Overall, it was okay, but to me, it hurt my enjoyment of the first book and left me shaky on how I felt about the characters.

I'd still recommend it to anyone who has read the previous book, and I will read the 3rd to see where the story goes.

Also Available in the Twin Ties Series

Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Smashwords  ~  Fantastic Fiction Publishing

For reviews & more info, check out our My Brother’s Lover blog post.

Book 3
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Smashwords  ~  Fantastic Fiction Publishing  ~  Forbidden Fiction

Lynn Kelling began writing in order to tell stories that weren’t afraid of the dark, didn’t hold anything back and always strived to be memorable, forging lasting attachments between character and reader. Her inspiration comes from taking a closer look at behaviors and ideas lurking at the fringes of life – basically anything that people may hesitate to speak of in mixed company, but everyone wonders about anyway. Her work is driven by the taboo in order to expose the humanity within it. Lynn is an artist, designer and lover of any form of creative self-expression that comes from a place of honesty and emotion, whether it’s body art or opera. She has had multiple novels published, has written over 50 works of erotic fiction of varying lengths, and always has several novels in progress.

Connect with Lynn

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Blog  ~  Goodreads
Forbidden Fiction   ~  Google+

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Dual Affairs (Twin Ties #2) by Lynn Kelling to read and review.

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