Monday, August 7, 2017

Tackling the Subject by Jon Keys

Sam struggles with issues from high school and his biology tutor triggers them all. Gordy isn’t sure he wants to deal with the trouble Sam represents.

Sam Doherty, a twenty-two-year-old computer science major, is struggling to pass the required classes in biology. While Sam is out and proud, he’s secretly dealing with an assault he suffered in high school. Sam may be the president of the campus Gay-Straight Alliance, but he’s struggling to find balance in his life. When he realizes he needs help with his class, he signs up for a biology tutor, but the guy who arrives for their meeting sets off all his triggers.

Gordy Hager is a biology whiz kid, the best tutor at the University Help Center—and the star tackle on the football team. Sam despises him at first sight. Gordy is the brainless caveman athlete that Sam still has nightmares about. Unable to control his reactions, he drives Gordy away and makes it plain he will never ask for his help. One week and a failed quiz later, Sam knows he has to swallow his pride.

But while Gordy might be a nice guy, he isn’t going to help someone as insulting as Sam. Sam’s determination pays off, and he gets Gordy’s assistance, but his grades are only the first pothole their relationship hits. From their discovery that they both are gay, to supporting each other against family, their connection has more than its share of issues. But when their worst fears come to fruition, they struggle with a way to save Gordy’s college football career and face Sam’s issues of intimacy.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

3.5 Stars

Jon Keys is a new-to-me author.

Tackling the Subject had an ease to the writing style, where I was able to immediately fall into the story, without any info-dumpage and inane/over-description.

Sam is a college student who has a dark, painful past, which he carries with him everywhere – the baggage. This colors his interactions with everyone. While I could empathize and sympathize with his past, and how it changes who he is on a soul-level, even with therapy, I couldn't connect with Sam. He had no empathy, besides with animals. Sam lashed out, acted bitter and spiteful to people who didn't deserve it. While I understand how specific settings/types of people could elicit a PTSD type fight/flight reaction in Sam, they don't change his personality. I felt, even if he had a sunshine and rainbows past, he would've been a bit of a self-involved d-bag.

Gordy is an all-around awesome guy. Giving, caring, helpful, witty and smart, and funny. He also loves both humans and animals. He works hard, studies harder, and helps his fellow students out of the kindness of his heart. He's a big, strapping fellow from farm-work and athletics, who forgives and gives second chances while maintaining his self-respect, not coming off as a doormat.

After the beginning, which really had me disliking the narrator (no amount of past trauma is an excuse for treating strangers who you're 'begging' for help like they are disgusting and beneath you) I fell into the rhythm of the story and enjoyed the novel. Sam and Gordy fall in a slow-burn romance, as they get to know one another through studying together and working on the farm, followed by overcoming obstacles.

Gordy gives Sam a balance he needed, drawing out the parts Sam had built prickly walls up to protect. Together, they traverse some angsty drama.

I enjoyed this quick read, and do recommend it to MM romance fans. I'm curious to read more by this author in the future.

Jon Keys’ earliest memories revolve around books; with the first ones he can recall reading himself being “The Warlord of Mars” and anything with Tarzan. (The local library wasn’t particularly up to date.) But as puberty set in, he started sneaking his mother’s romance magazines and added the world of romance and erotica to his mix of science fiction, fantasy, Native American, westerns and comic books.

A voracious reader for almost half a century, Jon has only recently begun creating his own flights of fiction for the entertainment of others. Born in the Southwest and now living in the Midwest, Jon has worked as a ranch hand, teacher, computer tech, roughneck, designer, retail clerk, welder, artist, and, yes, pool boy; with interests ranging from kayaking and hunting to painting and cooking, he draws from a wide range of life experiences to create written works that draw the reader in and wrap them in a good story.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Tackling the Subject by Jon Keys to read and review.

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