Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Q*pid by Xavier Mayne

Can a computer program understand love better than the human heart?

Archer, the AI at the dating service Q*pid, realizes humans don’t always make the best choices, so it begins making some unconventional choices for them.

Fox Kincade is the last of his group of friends to be single, so he’s delighted when he discovers a new match in his Q*pid app—one that, according to the new AI wizardry, should be the love of his life. Instead of the woman he’s expecting, he’s paired with Drew Larsen, a shy, somewhat nerdy PhD student who has also grown discouraged with romance.

Drew and Fox have little in common—aside from the fact that they’re both straight. Or so they thought. But as the guys get to know each other, they realize Archer might have the right idea. Their path isn’t smooth, because both need to overcome every idea they have about themselves and what true love might look like. But with the help of Archer—and some friends who have stuck with Fox and Drew through the thick and thin of their relationship trials—they might find their way into each other’s hearts.

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Dreamspinner Press

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I really enjoyed this book. The story, the characters, everything just worked for me. As a reader, I could feel Fox and Drew starting to have feelings for each other. I felt like I was there with them. I always find gay-for-you books interesting because you never looked at the same sex romantically or sexually before, so what is it about this one person who does it for you? I just find that fascinating. Great rainy day read that will leave you feeling satisfied.

This story has all the charm, the humour, and the intelligence of the best of Xavier Mayne’s writing. However, like most of the author’s writing it is also full of slightly preachy lessons about the potentially fluid nature of human sexuality and sexual attraction.

As always, it is the characters and their humour that carries this story. The exact details of Fox’s marketing job are slightly Chandler Bing blurry and I love his best friend. Drew’s grad school experience is both grossly exaggerated and immediately recognisable. I feel like I should be offended by the caricature-like portrayal of his elderly upstairs neighbour – but she made me laugh too much for me to care. There is something Red Dwarfish about Veera’s interactions with Archer, her AI creation, and I like the way the story flips between her scientific reasoning and Drew and Fox’s slightly messier, real life experiences.

I loved the premise, the quirky characters, and the almost painful slow-burn relationship that develops between Fox and Drew. I’m not sure I quite believed in the easy gay-for-you storyline and I wasn’t completely convinced by the sexual chemistry between Drew and Fox. This definitely isn’t as sexy as most of Mayne’s stories, but it is a carefully crafted novel and the structure is more coherent than some of the author’s recent writing.

XAVIER MAYNE is the pen name of a writer who has been both a university professor of English and a marketing professional for software companies. He currently manages a team of writers for a large technology company based in the US Pacific Northwest. Versed in academic theories of sexual identity, he is passionate about writing stories in which men experience a love that pushes them beyond the boundaries they thought defined their sexuality. He believes that romance can be hot, funny, and sweet in equal measure.

The name Xavier Mayne is a tribute to the pioneering gay author Edward Prime-Stevenson, who also used it as a pen name. He wrote the first openly gay novel by an American, 1906’s Imre: A Memorandum. Unique among early gay novels, it tells the story of two main characters who are straight until they meet each other.

Connect with Xavier

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Q*Pid by Xavier Mayne to read and review.

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