Muscling Through
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Muscling Through

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  3,091 ratings  ·  503 reviews
The bigger they come, the harder they fall... in love.

Cambridge art professor Larry Morton takes one, alcohol-glazed look at the huge, tattooed man looming in a dark alley, and assumes he’s done for. Moments later he finds himself disarmed—literally and figuratively. And, the next morning, he can’t rest until he offers an apology to the man who turned out to be more gentle...more
Kindle Edition, 1st Edition, 87 pages
Published July 19th 2011 by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
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Hot Head by Damon SuedeBear, Otter, and the Kid by T.J. KluneThe Locker Room by Amy LaneDivide & Conquer by Abigail RouxBetween Sinners and Saints by Marie Sexton
Best M/M Romance Published in 2011
7th out of 503 books — 973 voters
Muscling Through by J.L. MerrowSno Ho by Ethan DayClear Water by Amy LaneOne of Those Days by Zathyn PriestCaught Running by Madeleine Urban
Best Gay Light-Hearted Romance
1st out of 235 books — 286 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jul 16, 2014 julio rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone with eyeballs.
Shelves: loved, novella
Spend a few minutes with me. I’ve got something amazing to tell you about.

In the hour or two I spent reading this book I must have caught myself twenty times with my brows drawn up in astonishment, with my mouth hanging open, and this watery, pathetic little noise in my throat that was something between a delighted ‘Ohh!’ and an affectionate ‘Aww!’

And then, because it’s very short, it was over. And I couldn’t think of anything else for a while.

Over and over, I returned to our narrator, Alan Flet...more
Blacky *Romance Addict*
“You must’ve been waiting for someone like me to come along,” I said. I meant, because of the big bed.
But Larry looked at me all funny and said, “Yes, I think I was.”

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This book made me so happy Photobucket The first chapter got me laughing like crazy, and my smile stayed on for the two-three hours it took for me to read this Photobucket

Books like these make me wish I knew English better than I do, because I just don't know the words to describe this book. It was just amazing. And totally different!

The story

I loved it!...more
Monique ~ Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews
I read the first passage of this book and I just knew I would Love It... and Love it, I did!


This book is a love story of two very different people, from opposite walks of life, beautifully narrated from Al's point of view and is almost childlike in it's simplicity. Al has an innocent honesty with no filters, the delivery of which is authentic in his British regional dialect, I could actually hear his accent in my head!, his unintentional humour had me laughing out loud through out the book...

Rosalinda *KRASNORADA*
Dec 18, 2013 Rosalinda *KRASNORADA* rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Rosalinda *KRASNORADA* by: Lena
Shelves: delicious-m-m

Just a few quick thoughts, I think all my Xmas reviews are gonna be quick ones...Menos es mas, right?

*I hate it when characters meet each other before 10-15%.
*I hate it when characters kiss each other before 33%.
*I completely hate it when characters are living together before the end of the book.
*I love it when there is a banter between characters, when they play it hard to get.

But guess what? This book had all points for me to hate it but I LOVED IT. Don't ask me why, I just LOVED the writing s...more
Baba  ♥♥♥ Tyler, Marcus, Archer, Dean, Adrian, Dan & Hunter
4.5 stars.

An amazing and very unconventional love story between brains and muscle power. Yes, it’s so true: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

Sweet. Real. Believable. Sad. Yet incredibly hilarious at times.

I cannot deny it, this story packs a punch.

Muscling Through is the love story between big and tattooed Al and Larry, a diminutive and very pretty Cambridge Art History Professor. One evening they met in a dark alley when Al is taking a piss. Brainy Larry thinks Al is a...more

4.5 stars!

Late to the party…but I made it.

“Muscling Through” is such a ridiculously sweet love story that I dare even the coldest, hardest of hearts to try NOT to enjoy. Definitely one of those that causes the physical reaction of a warmed heart and a smile on your face.

Larry & Al are in LOVE and its ok, everyone! I don’t want to debate about intellectual disparity. I read it more as an opposites-attract storyline and that love can be as simple as finding someone who makes you happy.

But wha...more
'"You're quiet, Al," Larry said. "What are you thinking?"
I didn't say nothing for a moment 'cause I wanted to sort it all out in my head. "I was thinking of Cambridge, and then I got a bit homesick for a minute, 'cause I never been this far away from home before. But then I remembered you're here, and now I'm not homesick no more."

Awww! Just awww. This was one of the sweetest books I've read and I loved every second of it. Their story was so cute and they were wonderful together! Seeing it all...more
Mandy*reads obsessively*
Sweet, charming and fun!
July 2011

I keep rereading this book and if anything I love it more each time.

ETA: I did a reread yesterday, and have to say, for all of you who have this book and haven't read it yet, please do it now! You are missing out on a simply beautiful story!! Come on, you know you want to!!:)

ETA : I am in a crappy mood so I am doing a reread on advice ( hi Anke) and I'm sure this story will improve my mood for sure!
*sigh* this is a story I'm pretty sure I will never...more
Loved it. Want to wrap it up in a bow, bathe it in stardust, and give it kisses.

This is a romance, but not in the traditional sense of "will-they/won't-they." Rather, this is more like a relationship study as we see, through the narrator Al's POV, how he and his partner have come to be where they are today. Going into the story, I knew that Al was a massive, rough-looking working class bloke, and his partner was a poshy Cambridge art professor. So, yes, the story of their getting together - and...more
This is the story of Alan and Lawrence, told by Alan, completely from his point of view. A love story where they meet, shag, move in together and just live life with all it's ups and downs. So what's so special about that then?
Well it's Alan of course!
Alan is not your typical narrator, some might call him simple minded or autistic. Alan is a simple man, but not quite a simpleton. General society certainly might find him to be a few matches short of a full box, and I say that in the kindest way...more
4 1/2 Huge Stars - big Al is such a sweet charmer - irresistible!! A wonderful little gem and a perfect heart-warmer for a romantic like me.

I've always liked this kind of stories. Like the movie Forrest Gump and the novel; The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and others. Stories told through someone else's eyes, someone who sees things a little differently, hear what is said etc and which of us others are seen as a bit simpler, slightly odd or less sharp people, etc. In a nice way,...more
Cole Riann
Probably my favorite feel-good story of the year. This made me smile from the first page and I'm still smiling now, after finishing the book. Even the people around me want to read this now (and they don't read m/m) because I couldn't stop reading hilarious little bits aloud to them.

This is a unique story and Al has a way of seeing the world that is innocent and beautiful and direct. This is probably also one of the best romantic pairings I've read in a long while.

I'll be keeping this book on my...more
This has to be my absolute favourite feel good book of the year. I fell in love with Al by the end of the first paragraph when I read these words....

I just smile at them, 'cause they're his mates, and it's all right. It doesn't matter what they say about me, just as long as they're nice to Larry.

Muscling Through is such a simple story really, Al meets Larry, they start dating, move in together and fall in love. But it's told in such a touching and humerus way you just can't help but fall for Al...more
Heather C
Opening Line: “I know it’s just fucking, Larry and Me.”

This is such a sweet, adorable book. It’s told from Al’s POV and it’s basically him telling the story of key points of his relationship with Larry. You see, Al is kinda “simple”. A lot like a big scary teddy bear that is “refreshingly direct.” He’s a little innocent and not very book smart. He just kinda goes with the flow and doesn’t make any waves. Then one night he meets Larry, a college professor, in a dark alley. And that’s where Al sta...more
OMG! I've never read something like this before!
Muscling Through is a very unusual love story between two totally different people. They differ not only from their appearance and size but they have for sure very different IQ scores.
Larry Morton, pretty and small in stature, is a poshy Cambridge Art History Professor.
Alan Fletcher, Al, a huge tattooed undeniably sexy muscle guy, who works pulling punts for tourist.

They met, they fall in love. Simple story. As Al's POV.
How Al met Larry. Told by...more
I ABSOLUTELY LOVED this story...What a sweet and beautiful story. This is the story of Al and Larry. Al is a blue collar guy living in Cambridge, he looks kind of rough and people kind of blow him off because he's not so 'smart'...But he meets Larry, a professor at Cambridge, and they fall in love. They give each other love, acceptance, kindness, support and more than anything they accept each other for who they are. I LOVED this book...Al's voice was so lovely, simple, direct, and just beautifu...more
Jenni Lea
Oh. Oh that was... that was the most precious... adorable... cutest... it was...

Happy Place... I've found my new Happy Place...

it was devastating in its beauty...

MiʂħүJѻ (Cory's Forever)
I don't really have words for this one. Al was so insightful despite the fact that he had some sort of intellectual challenge. Al's simpler perspective of the world made for a fascinating narration of his developing relationship with Larry. I found myself smiling as he described the people and situations around him.

Larry said that Michelangelo was a poof, so I wondered why he sculpted a guy with a really tiny cock. But I know that when you go to old houses, the doorways are much smaller, 'cause...more

“’d need about three of him to make one of me.”

In life, we meet so many different people. Sometimes, the first impression is so wrong that we misjudge the character completely. A person may get ridiculed or laughed at for their most obvious and unfortunate trait, when underneath the facade, there is a heart as good as gold. Which is as rare as it is precious.

And it takes someone special to uncover that treasure, someone to whom it will be more important than looks, brains or social statu...more
Call me a softy but I really loved Al. He might of been a shade too dumb,almost bordering on mentally handicaped, for my taste, but he was adorable none the less. The whole feel good theme to this was lovely and the humour was a nice added bonus. In fact I wanted to give this 5 stars but I'm afraid Al's mother totally ruined it. Totally crass and vulgar. She was, for me, totally over the top, almost like a caricature. But her aside its definately worth reading if your looking for a gentle modern...more
Really well written but I couldn't get into it unfortunately! I had trouble believing the partnership of Al and Larry, the differences between them were intellectually huge. I also didn't like the way Al was portrayed as dim witted, he came across as almost mentally handicapped. Might need to give it another read later on.
Alvin John


And it's because of Al. My God, he's just ADORBS. He's simple, sweet, humble, views the world in a very very simple way, has a great faith with people even though they are not treating him that well. He's narrating voice is probably one of the MOST UNFORGETTABLE ones. You're made of stone if you won't be taken by him.

I really like Larry too! He's also sweet! Him and Al are a great couple. In and out of bed....more
4.5 Stars

”I’m fine with who I am. If I wasn’t me, well, I wouldn’t have you, now would I?”

The swirling, chaotic ups & downs of life can mash, bash, and chip away at us at times. But if we are lucky, we find someone who fits in our hearts and makes it all make sense. One who can inspire, surprise, and push us into each and every day with happiness, love, and understanding. In short, someone who makes your heart happy. J.L. Merrow’s Muscling Through tells the story of when Al found Larry.

Al, a...more
Emanuela ~plastic duck~
I'm crazy about Al!!! This was such a sweet and cute story and Al, the narrator, can only be loved. I liked his voice and his vision of the world, the people, what was happening around him was refreshing. Al might not be the brightest guy, but he is very aware of his limitations. While reading I had the impression that even if he wasn't smart, he had his eyes open and he was learning how to read the situations he found himself in and coping with them.

I wish I could see Larry from someone else's...more

Al is the stranger you would never want to cross in the middle of the night. He is ex bouncer, a HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE muscular and scary man... and probably the most inoffensive man on Earth. I love his voice (he is the only narrator) and this writer really impress me, writing all the book in such difficult POV... why? Because Al is not what we could call "normal", he is mentally impaired.

Without spoil the story, I just want to tease you telling how everything begins. After a night...more
This is such a sweet story!!! Alan and Larry are an amazing couple, but I have to say that it is Alan that will be with me forever! He is a simple and honest man. He says what he thinks and he only sees honesty on others, never realizing if they are being ironic, or laughing of him! He is that good! Some of their conversations are really funny!

Unforgettable book!
Heidi Cullinan
Man, I've read this about ten times. Whenever I want to feel hopeful and wrapped up. This deserves a better review than I'm giving it, but mostly, just read this book. Now.
Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
Due for a re-read and re-review... I'm going to see what I think almost a year later...

Serena Yates
This is such an amazing book. I have just finished reading it and all I want to do is go back and read it all over again. It is touching, sweet, thoughtfully written and made me cry and smile at the same time. Wow. I’m not sure where to begin.

The story is told from Al’s point of view, and has one of the most unique voices I’ve ever seen in fiction. There is one that comes close, Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes, but this story is totally different. Much more focused on the relationship and A...more
Meli Mel *Ty and Zane's Creeper*

♥♥♥ 4.5 SWEET STARS ♥♥♥

When I decided to read this book, I did not expect to love it as much as I did. I love, love, love, LOVED it!! Why did I love it so much you ask?? It was all because of one freaking awesome character, Al Fletcher

Al Fletcher was the most adorable character I have ever read. I feel like there isn't a word to describe how much I fell in love with this endearing character. When the story began, I instantly knew I would love this book. It was told completely in Al's unique pov...more
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JL Merrow is a very English writer of (mainly) m/m fiction who finds writing the only way to stay sane, except of course when a plot is driving her crazy. Having grown up on an island, she can’t remember a time before she could swim and prefers to remain close to water at all times. Luckily, the weather in her native land being as it generally is, this is not difficult.

She enjoys reading, martial...more
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“I went and kissed him to wake him up just like Sleeping Beauty. Although I guess with me it was more like Beauty and the Beast.” 13 likes
“I was thinking of Cambridge, and then I got a bit homesick for a minute, 'cause I never been this far away from home before. But the I remember you're here, and now I'm not homesick no more.” 13 likes
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