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Familiar Diversions

I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.

Currently reading

Lying in Wait
Liz Nugent
Progress: 28/310 pages
The Shape of Water
Guillermo del Toro, Daniel Kraus
Progress: 72/313 pages
To Siri with Love: A Mother, Her Autistic Son, and the Kindness of Machines
Judith Newman
Princess Prince
Tomoko Taniguchi
Progress: 310/336 pages
Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness
Peter Godfrey-Smith
Progress: 41/255 pages
FREE: Locke & Key
Tatiana Maslany, Audible Studios, Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodríguez, Kate Mulgrew, Haley Joel Osment, Full Cast
Progress: 91/806 minutes

Pricks and Pragmatism

Pricks and Pragmatism - J.L. Merrow I bought Pricks and Pragmatism a while back, after having seen it recommended by several people who liked authors I've enjoyed. I finally started reading it when I saw that Samhain was going to be releasing another one of Merrow's stories. I wanted to get an idea of whether I liked Merrow's work enough to take advantage of Samhain's “new release” sale price. Spoiler: Yes, I took advantage of the sale price.I was skeptical, at first, that I made the right decision in buying this. It was much shorter than I expected, which, in my experience, often results in under-developed characters and romance. Merrow's very British “voice” took some getting used to. And Luke was more promiscuous than I prefer my romance novel/story characters to be.I'm so very glad I bought and read this, though, because it turned out to be surprisingly sweet. Seriously, I get a lump in my throat just thinking about this story.Luke was heartbreaking. When, at the beginning of the story, Luke's current roomie told him he needed to move out, he pasted a smile on his face and made the whole thing as easy on his roomie (and lover) as possible, not because being thrown out didn't hurt, but because he needed to keep his options open. Luke had been on his own since he was 16 and, lacking money and familial support, relied on others to give him a place to stay. While he didn't view himself as a whore and was upset and offended at the thought, he did see the sex he had with whoever his current roomie happened to be as a way for them to allow him to stay without him paying and without it counting as charity. So, basically, he viewed his body as the only form of payment he had.Russell completely baffled him. Despite making it repeatedly, painfully clear that he didn't expect Russell to give him a place to stay for free, Russell never took advantage of what he had to offer. At first, Luke decided Russell probably wasn't gay and wondered why this perfect stranger was letting him stay for free. When he realized that Russell really was gay, his resistance became even more confusing. As the two of them settled into a relatively relaxed and, to Luke's frustration, completely platonic relationship, they got to know each other better. They settled into something almost like coupledom, with Luke making their meals and the two of them enjoying each other's company. Except they weren't having sex, and Luke continued to wonder why.Because I'd grown to really like him, Luke's lack of ability to see why others might want him around if he wasn't having sex with them was painful. Russell was clearly attracted to Luke and enjoyed being with him, and I could guess why he kept resisting him anyway. Luke couldn't see all of that, though, and it was another painful moment for me when he finally assumed that Russell was refusing to have sex with him because a guy like him, who'd fall into bed with anyone, just wasn't good enough for him. The lump in my throat, it was huge.I'm not a fan, at all, of infidelity in romance novels. For most of the story, Russell and Luke aren't technically a couple, although they tend to feel like one, so the few times Luke sleeps with other men or intends to sleep with other men should have upset me. Instead, I only hurt for Luke. The poor, screwed up guy didn't even think he could land a job without sleeping with someone first, and he didn't particularly like himself or what he'd done whenever he went out and had sex with someone other than Russell.All in all, this was a wonderful, sweet story, with a happy ending that made me all mushy.(Original review, with read-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)