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Muscling Through

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  5,612 ratings  ·  859 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
Kindle Edition, 1st Edition, 116 pages
Published July 19th 2011 by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
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Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,612 ratings  ·  859 reviews

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Julio Genao
Nov 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone with eyeballs.
Shelves: novella, loved
Spend a few minutes with me. I'm super-excited and need to write about this amazing book for a bit.


In the hour or two I spent reading this I must have caught myself twenty times with my brows drawn up in astonishment, 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 nar
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!
Apr 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbt
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..
Mar 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 i
Dec 10, 2012 rated it really liked it

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 what I
Rosalinda *KRASNORADA*
Dec 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 19, 2020 rated it liked it
I read this a few days ago and had to think for a bit about my review because there is a complicated issue that could be taken in a couple of ways in this story. It's a sweet romance between two men, but there is a huge disparity between them that could be problematic for many readers in that it is hard to see them as equals.

The main character, and narrator in this book, is Alan, and he is ... slow is the word that comes to mind. You are in his thoughts the whole time and he really doesn't under
4 Stars

How I've been a part of this M/M reading community for 5 years and am only now discovering the magic of J.L. Merrow is beyond me.

This story was bloody beautiful. The writing had this subtle depth to it and held me enthralled.

The romance between simple and kind gentle giant Al and his sweet and brainy professor, Larry, warmed my heart and had me smiling like a fool throughout.

I absolutely adored this love story.

A new author obsession has definitely been sparked! Let the fun times playi
Nick Pageant
Feb 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Truly charming little book narrated by the most endearing lug you'll ever meet. Loved it. ...more
Feb 24, 2021 marked it as dnf  ·  review of another edition
I can see the appeal and Al is a sweetheart, but it's not for me.
Gave up at around 50%.
Saliva holds important functions in the human's physiology. One of them is to protect teeth. And here I was at a risk of losing them because I just couldn't stop smiling!

First I have the man of my dreams. Then I have Al. Due to romanticism or Disney or whatever sociological reason, I have that image of my perfect guy in my head. But if I ever find my own Big Al in this world I hope I'll be intelligent enough to grab his at his ankles and never let go that chance at happiness. It would be a crime
Mar 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Audrey by: willaful
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
Alexis Hall
Sort of brought to you by Reading Project 2015.

Felt vaguely bad for being tepid on Slam (not that anyone cares, except me) - so I thought I'd write something about how much I adore this.

I think Merrow might be the Queen of short-form fiction. It's just a perfect little jewel of a book. An ideal comfort read - "like your favourite cup of tea" as Liz says in her review.

An unlikely love story between a Cambridge professor and ... well ... a tattoo-ed giant of a man who is generally considered to be
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
Apr 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this one. Sweet, simple, honest Al and "posh" professor Larry. Sweet, sexy, dirty story about opposites attracting as well as a good lesson on not judging a book by its cover, so to speak.
11/28/17 - Upping to 5 stars upon reread
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. ...more
Kaje Harper
This is a sweet novella, completely dominated by the voice of the narrator. Al is that rare character who is neither bright nor intuitive, but who brings so much honesty and goodwill to everything he does that the reader falls in love with him from the first page. Not much happens here, although the bits with the mothers are nicely done. But the whole story will leave you feeling warm and happy.
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...

Jenni Lea
Jul 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jenni Lea by: Julia ♥Duncan♥
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...

Feb 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
From the first sentence, I was hooked. And very surprised, because the cover and the book seem completely disconnected.

“I know it’s just fucking, Larry and me. That’s what all his mates at college say, only they say it fancy, like “Well, quite clearly it’s not his brains Lawrence goes for,” and “God, when is he going to tire of slumming it with this moron?””

The entire book is told in Al’s POV. His voice is unique and fascinating. From the moment they meet, they work perfectly, even though they
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,
Dec 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Shelley by: Julio Genao
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
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. A simple story. As Al's POV.
How Al met Larry. To
Aug 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Such a sweet and unexpected story! I loved it :)
Apr 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this romance with its British flair

This book had possibly one of the best openings and first meetings between the main characters that I've read.

It managed to be incredibly sweet and yet still told you everything you needed to know at the same time.

It's also not easy to write purely in first person present tense and still have a feel for what's going on in the other MCs head but J L Merrow did it with consummate ease.

Al was such a wonderfully realised character, his simple expressions bro
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
Mar 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, light, teach-me


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. I
Reread (x5)- So many rereads. It's such a great go to book when I'm after something short, sweet and romantic.

Such a sweet story. I loved Al, he was so sweet and straight forward. I wouldn't call him stupid, he just does takes things as they are, as they're said, like he doesn't understand rhetorical questions and irony so he doesn't understand them. I love how Larry stands up for him and just loves him and they compliment each other so much.

So many laugh out loud moments!

Will definitely
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
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JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.

She writes across genres, with a preference for contempor

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According to some historians, the month of April is actually named after Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, by way of the Romans....
42 likes · 26 comments
“Please go" he said. "Just take my money - take anything - and go"
I didn't get why he wanted me to take something, but he seemed really worried about it. So I looked around, and he had a bowl of fruit on the side, so I grabbed an apple, 'cause I always get hungry after I've been drinking.
"I'll take this, okay?" Then I left him there, but I took the knives and I hid them in the hall cupboard, just in case.”
“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.” 20 likes
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