ElaineY's Reviews > The Morning Star

The Morning Star by M. Chandler
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's review
Mar 06, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: mm, touch-of-romance
Read from March 04 to 06, 2011

** spoiler alert ** What a great introduction to the series! I'm always in the mood for action-romance, whether books or movies and The Morning Star delivered 99%. (I'll come to missing 1% later).

When I came across this series and asked my reading/discussion group a few questions, it sounded exactly what I was looking for following the very enjoyable free read, Mann of My Dreams, by Tinnean. I thought, 'hey, another good freebie?' and though I was told it takes a long time for Jeremy and Simon to get down to 'doing it' and the reviews that said the sex is rather mild, the action and chemistry between the two leads were enough to get me checking out the series' website where all the 4 books are available free.

I'm only in chapter 5 of the second book and if I'm not mistaken, each book features a different case. Here, in The Morningstar, Simon and his team have to stop the evil German madman, Conrad Rupp, from launching his super-satellite which is able to "fire on moving targets less than a foot in diameter, from all the way up in Earth's orbit". To complete the building of this super-space-sniper rifle, Rupp needs a diamond. A rather big one. He paid Jeremy Archer, a high-class thief (he only steals classy items) and cat burglar 4 million dollars in advance for this big rock. I call Jeremy a cat burglar for a reason I'll explain in the second book's review.

Jeremy gets his rock, of course, and meets Simon. It's clear right from the start that both men are struck by each other, Jeremy being more upfront about it, of course. That's the kind of man he is - suave, elegant, honest. Yes, he's a thief but he's honest about that, unlike some people who steal and deny. He's also honorable in that once he's taken on a job, he gives total commitment and loyalty and expects the same of the one who hired him.

In this case, evil German madman Rupp plays him out and Jeremy finds himself embroiled in a terrorist plot so he switches sides and works with the FBI instead. For a price, of course. Another million dollars - and that's a 50% discount because he enjoyed Simon's company. The banter between the two men crackled and popped and I was so glad I took the trouble to copy and paste the lacunae into the main story at the points where M. Chandler told us they occurred. I totally disagree with her that these short side stories would have disrupted the pace. IMO, they gave this story balance and allowed me to see Simon and Jeremy without the distraction of the other team members and their antics. I also discovered, to my delight, that they do go 'all the way'. When I had peeked at the 'Mature Content' side stories, I got the impression that all I was going to get were blowjobs and handjobs. The sentences were so convoluted that at first glance, it appeared as if that was all that was happening throughout the 3 or 4 sex side stories. I confess I was quite put out as I refuse to read an MM book with two yummy guys and no penetration. So I did a search on MS-Word, looking for a cock going into a hole (didn't matter whose cock and whose hole) and I did find it in the first lacuna. Breathing a sigh of relief, once when I discovered it and another when I actually came to the end of the book, I settled down to enjoy the hot, if not terribly explicit, sex between Simon 'Templar' Drake and Jeremy Archer.

Actually, the book ends with a 'fade-out' - Jeremy gets into Simon's car and they drive off to Simon's apartment after some heated groping on a side street, four months after Simon and his team have closed their case and Jeremy has disappeared from Simon's life. All they'd had between them was one kiss (which had caught Simon totally by surprise) and he never thought he'd see Archer again. So yeah, if the book had ended with that driving 'off into the sunset' type scene, I'd have been cursing at Kate Mc for not warning me. As it was, the first 'Mature Content' lacuna takes us into Simon's apartment where the two men do what men are supposed to do in MM romances.

Is this a romance? Action-Romance, Romantic Suspense, FBI Romance...doesn't matter what label. It has romance, IMO. At least the makings of one even if Simon and Jeremy never utter that four-letter word at the end of the series (I don't know if they do or not, I didn't peek that much) and their sexual chemistry smacks you in the face at every page.

Great action in this installment and I enjoyed the bantering among the team members, not to mention that between the two male leads. However, I suspect that by the second book I'll start to find this bantering between the team members tiresome and annoying. Simon and Jeremy's I could live with through the four books because they have a relationship; one that I, the reader, am being led to want to end in an HEA but the team? None of them really stick out and if this doesn't change in the next installment or the 3rd, I'm not going to care if they get themselves killed.

I'd say the two weak spots in the series - at least in this first book - are the secondary characters and the sex scenes. Simon and more especially, Jeremy (I adore him) overwhelm the rest of the cast to the extent that they fade into the background for me. I expected to find them interesting or attractive but am disappointed as not one of them stand out. In most series I've read, whether MF or MM, there'll be at least one secondary character that I am drawn to or hope will have his own story. I didn't get that here.

The second disappointment are the sex scenes. The first sex lacuna occurs right after The Morningstar ends; the second is 3 months later when Simon is just about to go get himself laid when Jeremy suddenly pops up out of nowhere and they spend a weekend fucking; the third is a continuation of the second sex scene, and the fourth lacuna is, I think, still a continuation of that second sex scene (they did take one whole weekend, after all). And that's the "real" end of the first installment. My suggestion is to read these right after you come to the end of The Morningstar's last chapter since they begin immediately where the book leaves off.

But I digress. What didn't I like about these sex lacunae? Well, Simon and Jeremy are fine and what they're doing is very fine, indeed. It's the author. She talks too much. I wanted to go "Shush! Sex happening here. Go talk somewhere else." Much too wordy and the internal monologue made me lose track of where Simon's cock's or mouth was and where Jeremy's fingers and butthole were. This happens throughout all the sex lacunae, making them the most tiring and tiresome sex scenes I've ever read. If I weren't so caught up by Simon's and Jeremy's non-romance and non-relationship, I'd have skimmed through them. They are also very much less explicit than what I'm used to - and prefer - in my MM romances but I could accept that. It's the superfluous writing here that ruined the mood for me!

Inspite of the (IMO) badly-written sex scenes, it is still a good action-romance with a hot MM couple and there is penetrative sex so yeah, I can still give it 5 stars...4.8 actually.

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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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ElaineY Ok, so I've been warned this isn't a romance but still a light, fun read. It's free so I'll give it a go.

ElaineY I copied and pasted - then formatted! - 2,500 pages of this series into RTF for my Sony reader. I also incorporated the side stories that contained the steamier sex scenes into the main story. Contrary to the author's intent, I would find it a lot more disjointed and spoil the pacing if I were to stop and look for the side story just to read the sex scene that occurs after one chapter ends and the next begins!

ElaineY I had a blast! Review coming soon.

message 4: by Ami (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ami Oh, I was waiting for you to review this. I think I'll make this to my read list.

message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

The secondary characters are really weak in this book and they irritated me even a bit more in the second. By the third the various personalities have gelled and they all became individually interesting (to a degree). I liked the plots better as they went along, too.

ElaineY Kate Mc. wrote: "By the third the various personalities have gelled and they all became individually inter..."

That's good news:) I hope the sex scenes improve, too, because the author may be great at creating the mood for the series overall, good with the action and I love her for giving me this series - and Jeremy! - but really, the sex scenes need a good reworking by someone who, at least, is comfortable writing porn. I agree with you that M Chandler iz not.

Contrary to the author's rationale that including the sex scenes would have ruined the pacing, the side stories containing the sex all happen after everything's happened and the case is closed so how could they ruin the pacing?

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