Friday, June 2, 2017

Falling for Him by CL Mustafic

Doctor Gavin Addison’s marriage didn’t end on the friendliest of terms, and his estranged wife’s continual harassment has the local police visiting his home so often they’ve started calling him “the doc.” One of those cops, Officer Lex Turner, has a crush on the handsome doc, even though he knows there’s no chance the doc would ever consider dating a man.

A chance encounter on a crowded dance floor ends with both men in the same bed with the same woman—but with questionable results. When the doc wants to try that again, Lex becomes more involved than he’d dreamed possible as he helps his new friend navigate the kinkier side of sex. Knowing it’s just sex for Gavin, Lex finds it hard to keep his feelings hidden. But when Gavin finally figures out he has feelings for Lex that go beyond what a guy should feel for his buddy, will he let Lex convince him to take a chance with him—even if it turns both their lives upside down?

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

4 1/2 stars

I really enjoyed this story. It started out kind of rocky for me, but once I got into it, I didn't want to put it down. I loved Lex and Doc/Gavin. I thought Lex was so patient and understanding with Doc when most people would have given up. Doc, in some ways, was very childlike, his parents didn't seem like they were parents of the year and his ex-wife was a total nut case. The things Doc's ex-wife did would have landed me in jail because I would have killed her. The sex scenes were good, some hotter than others, there was M/F/M in this book, so if you don't like that you are forewarned. I loved Lex's mother and then Riley and Sheila, they are super great friends. The chemistry with Lex and Doc was good and their relationship progression was believable. I laughed and I cried while reading this book and I will be putting it in my "read again" pile.

This is quite a quirky read – with some really off the wall elements. At its heart is a really rather lovely romance, which develops in a nonlinear fashion and makes you think about the choices that life gives you and the ones that you unconsciously avoid.

Most of the scenes with Gavin and Lex, I enjoyed. Their relationship starts in a pretty unconventional manner – certainly not one I have read before in an MM storyline, and seemingly used more to indicate mental state than physical choice. But the guys are cute together, even if they fail to tell each other some of the basics – part of this I allowed to pass, as they are new friends, but sometimes I wanted to remind them how to communicate.

When everyone else got involved, it got confusing. I think Riley was the oddest to place – if I had not been told he was a doctor, I would have never, ever guessed. He was seriously immature, and only toned down by his wife. That said, they were supportive during the mad incidents caused by his ex-wife – who surely needed to be declared mentally unstable at the first act, let alone the fifth, tenth, etc. And let's not get started on Gavin's mother...

I have a weird feeling that this would work better on the screen than the page – with some dialogue issues resolved. It think it had a very visual sense of humour, and nuance could have been gained by seeing what they were doing, rather than just reading about it (and I am thinking of the non-sexual content!).

CL Mustafic is a new-to-me author. I was completely captured by the blurb, curiosity getting the better of me, and I couldn't wait to read Falling for Him.

Gavin is struggling during a bitter divorce battle, but it's not the battle itself that's the problem. His cheating wife of 10 years is stalking him, vandalizing property, and defaming his character. The doctor is doing all he can, calling the police and noting what has occurred and when, to create a timeline. But it's not enough. The police can't seem to have enough evidence to arrest the wife.

***Still confused at the start how a person couldn't be arrested for stalking/vandalism/received half the value of a home they didn't own after cheating on their spouse. There were security cameras in the hospital, but the detectives were too defective to check them to tie the ex to the slander, which is a civil case but would have influenced the divorce... just saying none of this added up. While it propelled the plot, it was unrealistic, illogical, and over the top. SMH. An educated doctor was too dim to change the locks on his own home to protect it after months of harassment? The maturity levels and behavior didn't match the age/profession/speech patterns. Gavin's actions/reactions didn't fit the character trait profile.

In walks in Lex – Officer Turner is a bisexual man, who's both intrigued by the good doctor and feeling empathetic to his plight. He's trying to pin the crimes on the guy's ex, all the while trying to get into his pants. Maybe if he tried harder at his job, above wouldn't make them all look inept.

For those who don't wish to read girly bits in their MM romance, be forewarned. There are ménage scenes featuring MFM. That's my thing, but it might not be something you enjoy.

The guys were fun together, the romance light, but the frustration of the too many plots was too much for me. I was frustrated most of the time I was reading as it pinged all of my major pet peeves.

The premise of Falling for Him was great. However, the execution wasn't to my tastes. The flow of the writing was wooden, too proper and polite to flow fluidly or sound realistic. Maybe it was the perspective it was written in, or how the dialogue would either be too proper or too juvenile (Riley, A DOCTOR, spoke like a middle school boy), which had a whiplash effect on me, because in a sea of proper and polite, the locker-room-esque talk glared from the pages. This made it very difficult for me to fall into Falling for Him, because it pulled me from the story.

I will not apologize for my following commentary. As a feminist, a pet peeve of mine was on the pages – the way all women were portrayed. A mentally unstable, clingy mother. Homophobic mother. Even the best friend's wife was overbearing. A crazy, cheating, abusive, criminal ex-wife who gets away with it. A threesome partner, who after-the-fact acted like a total nutjob (he had to buy her flowers and apologize? WHAT?) when during the scene itself, no one seemed to be uncomfortable, not into it, or acting insulted. This also was jarring for me to read. As a female, I don't wish to be insulted on most pages of a novel. Yes, there are women who behave like that – BUT it shouldn't be every negative stereotype displayed by ALL the women in the novel, to hit home how we are inferior as a gender and explain away why two bi characters fall for each other. Gavin and Lex can lust/love each other because they do, as it has no bearing with who they do/don't lust/love, so I don't see why it always has to be at the expense and disrespect to females. Women are so crazy and clingy, I'm going to date men – no, you date men because you date men.

Thankfully, this storyline just dissolved into the background, so it was no longer a focal point to rub me raw, leaving room for the guys to come together.

Moving forward into their relationship, another pet peeve of mine hit: MISCOMMUNICATION. A cop and a doctor, both professionals who rely on communication to do their jobs, both older, one married for 10+ years, I find it incomprehensible why they didn't just communicate. This was not a suitable plot device for these characters.

There was just too much going on, and it was at the expense of the entertainment factor for me – seemed unfocused and chaotic. To be honest, I was rubbed wrong and frustrated for the entirety of the read. I was obviously not the intended audience. MM romance readers, who don't mind lady bits in their MM, will probably enjoy the story, but it wasn't my cup of tea.

CL Mustafic is a born and bred American Midwesterner who mysteriously ended up living in one of those countries nobody can ever find on the map of Europe. Left with too much time on her hands—let’s be honest here—it was the lack of television channels in her native language and too many voices in her head trying to fill the silence that led her to decide to give her lifelong dream of writing a novel a shot. So now, between shuttling kids back and forth from various activities and risking her life on the insanely narrow, busy streets of her new hometown, she loses herself in her own made-up world where love always wins.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Falling for Him by CL Mustafic to read and review.

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