Shana's Reviews > All's Fair in Love and Advertising

All's Fair in Love and Advertising by Lenore Black
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Mar 10, 12

bookshelves: fiction-contemporary, fiction-glbt
Read in January, 2012 — I own a copy

Max is an advertising genius--a genius in general, really--who's taking a walk on the gay side after his divorce. Joe is a potential client whose ex-military Montana background Max assumes will equal backwoods hick. When his assumption proves to be well-removed from the truth, Max isn't sure what to make of the situation--or the sparks between them. Is it worth it to begin a relationship with the man whose account he's trying to win, or will Max have a bust on both fronts?

I adore Max. Really, I absolutely adore Max. He's an unashamed egoist, a self-described genius who rules his advertising agency with the iron fist of termination threats. He's also been on a gay rebound since his marriage self-destructed, living it up with relationships with twinks that never end well--his latest break-up left a vase full of anaphylaxis-inducing nuts as a parting gift. He has a therapist he can't read, an apartment with an inconvenient decor, and a decided lack of people skills. Admittedly, I'd loathe him if I knew him in person, but he still makes for a fun character.

Joe is far more laid-back, an excellent foil to Max's frenetic energy. He's far from what Max expected without being so over-the-top that I started rolling my eyes at his perfection. He's cultured, intelligent, and fit, morally-upright, confident, and sexy as hell--in short, the perfect man. He should be annoying, but he works.

The supporting cast is fun, if not particularly memorable; I can't keep most of Max's staff straight, although I smiled at their antics in the story. My favorite is, I think, Quinn, the unwillingly-if-temporarily-ex-hippie, but the others are still fun.

The chemistry between Max and Joe is amazing. Max's lack of self-restraint despite his frequent assurances that things need to be strictly business between them is utterly charming, while Joe just smiles and goes along with it. The sex is hot and funny all at once, with just enough of it interspersed with, you know, plot to be interesting without being overwhelming.

I particularly enjoyed the story itself, also, even if I did guess the point that the climax hinged on as soon as it was introduced. Told entirely from Max's point-of-view, the narration was mostly as frantic as Max's personality, adding nicely to his voice and keeping things moving along at a good pace. It was interesting to see how Max's perceptions evolved over the course of the story, too, going from completely self-centered to actually learning to appreciate other people.

My main quibble in the story was an occasional quirk in the dialogue of repetition. "Yeah, yeah," "Never, never, never," "You, you." It's mostly during sex when people are at the most incoherent anyway, but it still made me blink a few times with its sheer prevalence.

Truly, I enjoyed this story far more than I expected to. I adore Max. I adore Joe. I adore Max-and-Joe. My quibbles are so ridiculously minor as to be a non-issue. My only wish is that it were somehow possible to spend more time in its world.
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