Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Sparky by Marek Moran

Aaron’s been living in what his friend Howie calls a sexual desert. But an oasis appears on the horizon when Paul, a divorced electrician with a five-year-old daughter named Sam, moves in next door. He’s a country boy from northern Australia, and although he’s never been with a guy before, he has an impression that anything goes in the city. They find that the ordinary things in life—books, footie in the park, looking after Sam—lead them into an unlikely relationship.

But as their relationship slowly deepens, with Aaron spending time on Paul’s family’s cattle station, it becomes clear that Paul might have a harder time leaving the country behind. To him, happiness means a conventional life—including a mother for Sam. Being with his old friends convinces him he’s on the wrong path with Aaron, and he starts a relationship with a girl from his hometown. If he cannot find the courage to go after what he truly needs, he and Aaron will become nothing more than awkward neighbours.

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Dreamspinner Press

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

The characters in this book are entirely too believable. Aaron and Paul came to life wonderfully and I fell hard for both of them – right until their thoughtless actions and lack of communication made them real enough to be bloody annoying.

While I struggled some with the characters and slightly cumbersome plot, I really enjoyed the writing style in this book. I love the author’s Australia, I love the way he writes friendships, and I love that he created a fictional kid I actually really enjoyed.

On his own, Aaron is a really likeable character. I enjoyed his friends, I liked his job, and I liked his relationship with Sam. His introduction to Paul’s outback community is slightly awkward, but his relationship with Paul’s parents is sweet. But there is a hint of snobbery in Aaron that I found off putting. His Maurice reference and his constant awareness of Paul’s blue collar roots compared to his identity as an educated professional really rubbed me the wrong way at times.

I warmed to Paul as the sexy cowboy dad next door, but he feels far too old for all his sexual confusion and identity angst. He reads like a self-centered teenager for much of the book, and good looks and sexual chemistry doesn’t quite compensate for his hurtful behaviour. But Aaron and Paul do have great chemistry and there are a few really hot scenes in this story.

While the writing style had me hooked, the plot to this book does ramble and plot threads seem to multiply as the story progresses. This is a new author for me and I’m really looking forward to reading more from him.

MAREK MORAN is, in his day job, a computer science professor. If you want to know about shortest-path graph algorithms, he’s your man. However, that’s probably not why you’re reading this. He currently lives in Sydney, Australia, and has previously lived in France, Germany, and the US. He enjoys traveling around and listening to people talk: he’s learned to respond to enquiries after his wellbeing with a ça va merci, sehr gut danke, or copacetic, thanks.

The only member of his book club to like George Eliot’s Mill on the Floss, he’s discovered that he enjoys writing romance as well as reading it; the other members of his book club don’t yet know this. He plays piano, squash, and his cards close to his chest. The Sparky is his first novel.

Connect with Marek

Facebook  ~  Goodreads

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of The Sparky by Marek Moran to read and review.

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