Jenre's Reviews > Like Coffee and Doughnuts

Like Coffee and Doughnuts by Elle Parker
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Aug 13, 09

bookshelves: m-m, contemporary, romance

Like Coffee and Doughnuts takes a friends to lovers story and through some interesting characterisation gives it a bit of an unusual spin. It's main strength lies not only in the reluctance of the heroes to solve the mystery in the suspense plot but also that the personality of Dino is different to any m/m character I've read so far.

Dino is a PI and part of his job involves repossessing cars. In order to do that he brings along his buddy Seth who acts as his back up. After a night of picking up cars, Dino and Seth discover an envelope in one of the cars containing a notebook with codes inside, a couple of keys and a keycard. This piques Dino's interest and he hangs onto the envelope for a while. This turns out not to be the smartest thing he has done, because pretty soon he has 'businessmen' after him, putting Dino and Seth in danger.

The character of Dino was really quite unusual. He describes himself as 'an old fashioned guy' and is proud of that image. He dresses with class and style rather than in the latest fashions; he listens to Dean Martin and Peggy Sue; he's charming and easy-going with a dry, witty sense of humour; he can ballroom dance; and most unusual of all he has a low sex drive. He prefers dating to one night stands and often goes months without sex. This doesn't seem to bother him at all and actually fits well with his calm, neat, methodical and perhaps somewhat cool personality. In fact the only person who seems to penetrate that slightly aloof exterior is his best friend Seth.

Seth is the complete opposite to Dino. He's a slob; he dresses in the latest fashion and listens to music that "sounded like someone knocked over all the garbage cans and stepped on a cat"; he's hot headed and sleeps around. Despite this, Dino regards Seth with affectionate amusement most of the time. Seth occasionally comes on to Dino, but Dino doesn't take him seriously, until one night Seth forces Dino to re-evaluate their friendship. Dino is surprised, mainly because he didn't really think Seth wanted him, but also because he is surprised with the strength of his own feelings for Seth. Dino has never seen himself as gay, although he has found both men and women attractive in the past. Despite Dino's reservations about Seth's sluttish ways and also the worry that they will ruin their friendship, Dino gives in and they begin a relationship.

The first part of the book deals with the friendship between the two men and how well they gel together as friends. Because of this, when they did start to have a relationship, it felt like a natural extension to what had gone before. This made the 'friends to lovers' story work really well. Both men knew each other's foibles and were accepting of each other. There was obviously a period of adjustment, and it was the small things, the kind, thoughtful gestures, especially on the part of Seth which showed the strength of feeling between the two men even though Seth voices his frustration several times at Dino's reluctance to believe that their relationship will work.

Seth drew his knees up and pointed at me. “We need to get you to stop thinking of me as a friend, and start thinking of me as that incredibly hot mechanic you’re sleeping with.”

The suspense plot was also a little different to what I expected. Usually when a character finds a mystery to solve they dig and dig until it's solved regardless of the danger that puts them in. In this book, Dino does a bit of digging, but once he finds out what he could be getting himself into, he backs right off and attempts to get rid of the contents of the envelope. It's only when circumstances force him to take it up again that the mystery is solved in a tense and gripping final few chapters. I found this quite a refreshing way to include a suspense plot and it added to my overall enjoyment of the book.

There were other things I liked about the book including the set of elderly ladies who live in Dino's apartment block and the way that the author allows the reader to really get to know the characters so that when they come together it is believable that they should be attracted to each other. In fact the only negative thing I have to say is that perhaps Dino is a little too perfect and also that Seth seemed to settle down with Dino very quickly despite being painted as complete man-slut for most of the early part of the book.

Overall, this was an unusual, well written and enjoyable book which will appeal to those who like friends to lovers storylines and want to read a different spin on the suspense plot. This gets a grade of 'Excellent' and I shall certainly be looking out for more books by this author in future.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Magnolia Thank you so much for this wonderful review. I am a fan of best friends who fall in love, but I was leery about reading something from a new author. I haven't been too impressed lately and don't want to waste my money/time on a dud. Because of this review, I now can't wait to get the book and start reading away. Thanks again Jenre


Jenre Hi Luna

This really is a special book so I hope you enjoy it too. There's a sequel due out soon which I can't wait to read.


message 3: by Rossy (new) - added it

Rossy Fantastic review, Jenre!


Jenre Thanks, Rossy :).


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