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Bending The Iron

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  197 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Michael feels trapped. In his conservative, poor hometown where he has to keep his sexuality hidden. In his dead-end job. In caring for his alcoholic grandfather. Everything changes when he meets Eric, the new curator for the railroad museum. His curiosity about the passionate man quickly gives way to an intense attraction—one that Eric happily returns.

Carefree and refresh
Kindle Edition, 109 pages
Published August 19th 2013 by Carina Press
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3.41  · 
Rating details
 ·  197 ratings  ·  47 reviews

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Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
**3.5 stars**

I love when I discover a new author that I enjoy, and Libby Drew really made it onto my radar with this book. This novella took me forever to read, through of no fault of its own. It was just one thing after another- life-garbage keeping me from reading. Chores? Work? Family stuff? Bugger off everyone!! (I love pretending I'm British...)

Anyway, when I finally made time for reading, I immediately was drawn into this story. I found Libby Drew's writing to be incredibly atmospheric. I
Michael is stuck. He’s stuck in his uninspiring job, taking care of his alcoholic grandfather and in this small, narrow minded town. Lucky for him there’s a new employee at the local museum, Eric. And guess what? Eric’s gay, too. Let The Romance begin!

Michael and Eric were very sweet together. Michael isn’t used to relationships since living in the small town and Eric isn’t used to one night stands. So they’re both taking a chance with each other. I especially loved Eric. He was an honest, endea
* A Reader Obsessed *
3.5 Stars

Michael is in stasis. He's been stuck by circumstance and family obligation, and has bitterly resigned himself to his "just getting by" life. When scholarly Eric comes to town to work on a project at the local museum, it awakens something in him that he didn't know was missing.

Things may progress quickly between these two but the chemistry and sexual tension were very nice. Both Michael and Eric were likable as they handled each other with easy caring.

Eventually, Michael wants more and
Vanessa North
Jun 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I hunger for stories like this one.

A rich sense of setting, characters whose connection to each other is palpable, and a deeply personal plot combined to make me pretty much lose my mind--in a good way--for a few hours this afternoon.

Jul 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this story! Michael is stuck living in a small conservative town, working a dead-end job at the glass factory, and taking care of his alcoholic grandfather. Eric has been hired by the local railroad museum to rebuild/restore their model train exhibit. The attraction is immediate and mutual. It seemed a little rushed to me, but also made me wonder if they were together just because they happen to be the only two gay men in town. Once I got over the insta-lust, I enjoyed their relationsh ...more
Jun 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
I found this story really emotional. I am not talking about the emotional journey of the characters but rather the emotional state I found myself in.

The story is set in a dying town and Michael's life seems so bleak - dead parents, alcoholic grand-father, dead-end job, never being able to acknowledge his sexuality and have a real relationship - it all seems so grey and depressing.

For some reason this really rubbed off on me and I found myself feeling quite low and almost expecting something bad
Jul 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mm, kindle-archive, arc
I received this book an an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this story. I love how grounded the story felt in the setting, and how real Michael’s situation felt. Living in a rural state with some seriously economically depressed areas his feelings about his job, and his place in life felt honest, and relatable to me. So many people where I live work back breaking jobs they hate so for the insurance, and the steady pay check. Sometimes people are forced to g
Jul 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
This had the fastest case of insta-lust and get-down-into-the-frotting that I have ever seen. I think I was about 14% in.

But once that was over, and the boys declared their interest with smoldering eyes and can't-wait-to-touch-you lip-licking, but then had to wait excruciating days to get alone together, I jumped on board (it is a book about trains, don't you know?)

I thought Drew did an excellent job with Eric. He was passionate and excitable, and just a bit flawed. His hot and cold reactions to
3.5 Stars

Michael is living a dead end existence in a small, dead end town. Working at the glass works, watching out for his hard drinking grandfather while shoving his dreams aside and hiding who he really is. Eric is the new employee at the railroad museum, hired to restore the massive model train exhibit. He is well traveled, passionate and optimistic, even though he has his own darkness in his past. When these two meet there is an electricity between them that very quickly becomes physical.

Jul 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Two likable, well-rounded characters in a quick read novella that were depicted with real flaws and relatively realistic issues.

Michael is in a dead-end job he hates, living in a small town that suffocates him and forcing himself to not resent the grandfather he has to look after. One night stands, quick and in the dark, far away from home, is all he allows himself.

Eric, the new curator at the railroad museum, is at first glance Michael's opposite. Happy, out and willing to give Michael a chance
I like Libby Drew's writing very much but I wasn't 200% sold on this. It's a lovely, quick read and in general I approve. I had a good time reading it. It reminded me a bit of Where the Allegheny Meets the Monongahela (which I love), partly because Pittsburgh is mentioned but also because one of the MCs is a blue-collar worker who is stuck in a miserable rut and needs a little nudge to get out of it.

The reason why I'm not all over this book is probably because it's romance (tm). It's purely char
2.5 stars

Beside Paps and his late parents, Michael's love had been trains and architecture. In fact, he dreamed of studying architecture when graduated high school. Except live had happened - in the form of death that took his parents and left him with drunkard of grandad, Paps.

Moved forward eight years where Michael - trapped in his dead-end job, the only gay guy in his conservative, poor hometown and caring for Paps - met Eric, the new curator in the railroads museum. The attraction was mutual
Aug 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Reviewed for Hearts On Fire Reviews

This is a contemporary story that had a historic feel for me. Possibly this is because the author drew such a complete picture of her characters and Eric’s passion (well, one of them) is for history. Train history in particular, but history in general.

Michael lives with his drunkard grandfather in a small, fairly conservative town called Hickory that boasts a big glass factory where the average blue collar joe works. This includes Michael, who has the soul of
Jennifer Lavoie
Jul 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
I never thought I would read a book about a guy who rebuilds model train sets as part of his job, and another guy who works at a glass factory. But there you have it. And it's GOOD. Don't let the subject matter throw you off. Both Eric and Michael are fantastic characters who have very real flaws that make them all the more likeable. Eric is just out of a bad relationship and is skittish, and Michael feels trapped in life caring for an alcoholic grandfather. He's given up on his dream of college ...more
Aug 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: meh
For a good review see Nic and Brean's review.

I've been a fan of Libby Drew for a long time. I started reading her m/f erotic romances, and followed her into the mm genre. It's because I expected better of her that I found myself disappointed in this book.

If I had to describe this book in one word it would be "easy-going." And that's just it. Easy.

The background and environment of the book was lovely, but what was supposed to be the conflict didn't happen. The story at the end lacked tension, a
Apr 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Gay kid is all alone in crappy dying town. Gay guy comes to town to work on a train exhibit at a museum. They don't have anything in common except trains and architecture. They never talk about their likes and dislikes or spiritual feelings or wanting children or any other important aspect a couple must face but yet they fall for each other and it's sweet love happily ever after. I read it cover to cover and didn't want to stop reading so I must say I liked it well enough. My favorite part? Insi ...more
Lisa The Novel Approach
Libby Drew has painted a lovely picture of a Western Pennsylvania landscape, a place it was fun visiting in my imagination, though I’d never want to live there in this place where news travels faster by word-of-mouth than it could hope to via any social media. This is a romance that addresses some familiar themes, but is set against a unique backdrop that added some very nice touches to the story.

You can read the rest of this review at The Novel Approach
Vfields Don't touch my happy!
This is a simple story about Micheal. A 27-year-old man who thinks life past him by and he has no recourse but to just live the hand he was dealt. In their small he meets Eric. He comes across as a free spirit but there's a lot under the surface. Libby Drew made some interesting choices - keep it small, keep it simple and that is what made this work. Yes, I would have loved it to be longer but I think Drew was wise to say what she wanted to say in this uncomplicated way. I so understand Micheal' ...more
Jul 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Sometimes just 3 stars sometimes 4 or 5. I was pretty conflicted about this story. Loved the premis, loved some of the execution, but something about it made me take a very long time to read it. I loved that Michael was into architecture and not just new, post Bauhause architecture. And I love trains. So what was it that held me back from loving and devouring it? I never figured it out. The author speaks well and knowledgably about architecture. HFN ending.
Jul 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Another entertaining read by Libby Drew.

Review can be found at On Top Down Under Book Reviews.

This book was provided by Net Galley and Carina Press in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Jun 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is beautiful and peaceful and just sneaks right under your skin. I'm done, and now I want to just let my brain roll around in the lovely.
Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder
The author doesn't "waste" time with sexual tension. The likable two MCs act on their attraction very early in the book. However, I liked the underlying theme facing the perhaps discomfort or fear of getting out of one's routine and comfort zone to make dreams come true.

I've never played MMRG "Scavenger Hunt." But if there is ever a need to read a book with train travel or a book with a museum, this book would fit the bill.
Secretly Reading
Jul 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Originally reviewed for The Book Vixen

In a Nutshell: Enjoyable romance with good characters but I didn’t understand why the grandfather suddenly changed allowing Michael to change his life.

Why I Read this Book: This synopsis caught my attention and Carina Press has published many of the MM romance I’ve enjoyed recently.

What I Liked: I liked Michael and Eric. Michael is stuck in his life and feels old at twenty-six. Eric is just getting out of a difficult relationship and is trying to enjoy life.
Sep 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
To read more of my reviews, please visit

3.5 Star rounds up to 4 Stars

This novella starts out slow and really builds up the characters. Michael is a jaded man who stays in his small town to look after his alcoholic grandfather and works a dead-end job. He meets Eric, who is passionate and has traveled to places Michael only dreamed of. They are attracted to each other, but they each have to let go of the past and find the courage to face the future.

Eric is intr
Aug 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
I received Bending the Iron in exchange for a fair and honest review.

This is the second book by Libby Drew that I’ve read. The first was 40 Souls to Keep and I fell in love with those characters. This one didn’t have the paranormal aspect that the other book did, but it still had characters that really pulled me into the story.

Michael is dedicated, all be it strapped, to his family. He feels like he has no choice but to stick around and care for his grandfather. That’s not to say that he doe
Nov 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Sometimes I forget how quickly short stories move along - and this one certainly speeds down the tracks! Michael and Eric are thrown into an exciting heated summertime passion that twists and turns through the countryside of their emotional lives.
Michael's, the main character, has a story that touches upon a common life-conflict that I believe many people can relate to - the tension of pursing one's dreams and doing what one things is the responsible choice. For Michael, these two things were no
Oct 03, 2013 rated it liked it
This is a good tale of overcoming self-inflicted obstacles to journey into becoming the one you are suppose to be. The 3 1/2 stars does not imply that this is not a well worth story, but that it was an alright story about two men who are trapped by their own design based on experience and how each help the other to realize the possible potential. I am not sure that I liked the character Michael (perhaps a bit to brooding for me) but I sure could relate to him on many levels. Eric's character was ...more
Jul 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a beautiful story about Michael, a 26 year old man who lost his parents as a teenager, and while he was fortunate enough to have the love and support of his grandpap, he lost his drive, his determination, and his dreams. Stuck in a tiny rural community, he stoically moved through the days, months, and years-- living but not really being alive.

Having given up on a career and love, Michael meets Eric, a temporary transplant to town, and this new man interrupts his existence and attempts t
Amanda Jones
Sep 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m
I am finally done with this book! Sheesh it feels like it took me a week to read it! So with that being said .. I have to give this book 3.75☆'s Eric was fabulous .. seriousley can I have him? Please!! And Michael was soo sweet setting his own dreams aside so he could look after his Paps so these two together . . . they were just perfect! The story was great I just at times felt it to be a little blah and in the beginning I was thinking of giving up on it but I'm really glad I stuck it out .. an ...more
Dec 24, 2015 rated it it was ok
2.5...There were definitely things to like here (mostly the relationship with the alcoholic father and how his character doesn't descend into cliche), but I just can't get over how (view spoiler) Like it really bugged me...maybe this is a case of "that's how dudes really do it sometimes and you don't get it because you're a lady"? Maybe so, but I can't say as it makes it fun reading for ...more
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Libby glimpsed her true calling when her first story, an A.A. Milne /Shakespeare crossover, won the grand prize in her elementary school's fiction contest. Her parents explained that writers were quirky, poor, and often talked to themselves in supermarket checkout lines. They implored her to be practical, a request she took to heart for twenty years, earning two degrees, a white-collar job, and an ...more