Ethan is living the good life as a student at Montreal’s McGill University. He’s out every night, partying, dancing with his friends, and meeting guys. When he sets his sights on Alex, the world’s hottest bartender, he expects a good time, and nothing more.
But things aren't so simple with Alex. He's been hurt too many times and he's protective of his heart. He certainly can't let himself get attached to a party-boy like Ethan. Except... maybe there's more to Ethan than there seems.
As the guys grow closer, it's harder and harder for Alex to keep the darker parts of his life away from Ethan's brightness. But Ethan proves that he's tougher than he seems on the outside. And maybe that means Alex can save the soft place in his heart for Ethan.
4.5 stars. This author is very hit and miss for me (I'm pretty sure I've rated her books literally everything from 1 to 5 stars), so I was chuffed to discover this was right up my alley. Socioeconomic/class gap, great chemistry, charming setting, a decent amount of realistic conflict, strong side characters and (not always healthy) friendships, and lovely MCs. Ethan is essentially a babbling brook and somewhat manic pixie dream boy-adjacent but also just disarming and real/flawed enough to avoid the cliché. Alex with his many (justified) hang-ups was so relatable even though I wanted to shake him a bunch of times (but hey, I wanted to do that to Ethan too. The hugging-and-shaking impulse was very equal opportunities with this one :p)
I think my favourite thing here was the talking, really. So often in romance books, a large portion of conflict is built on misunderstandings that could easily be resolved if the characters just bloody well talked to each other (my gf refers to this as the "One Damn Chat" trope, lol). It can be done realistically (it's hard to open up if you feel it's going to make you look foolish or vulnerable) but a lot of the time it feels flimsy and contrived and ends up annoying me. I really liked the balance here - these two people come from very different backgrounds and experiences and are both new to serious relationships, so it made sense that they'd sometimes hold back or hide something, but it was never dragged out pointlessly, and I loved that at crucial moments, instead of more running off and hiding or sulking, there'd actually be a conversation where both of them opened up as much as they were able and tried to communicate their fears and work things out together. It didn't always work or last, but I definitely felt the inclusion of that - the fact that these two were able to start a conversation about something as fundamental but difficult as "I really like you" or "I'm afraid/hurt/angry because..." - strengthened the story a lot and showed how these two stood a realistic chance as a couple despite the obstacles, because they were willing to learn to work at it. I loved that.
I have a few minor niggles around pacing and how smoothly things did get resolved in the end, but really nothing I even feel I need to get into. I've been in a bit of a rut lately, reading-wise - thanks, pandemic - so mostly it was just nice to be genuinely glued to the page and invested in the feels.
Also, kudos for the bilingual inclusion in general, and merci for the HOTTEST FRENCH LESSON EVER. Woof.
God, I love angsty, brooding heroes. And you know what Kate Sherwood does really well, besides making me laugh? Angsty, brooding heroes. Alex is a big sexy ball of angst.
Ethan, on the other hand, is a slim little whirling dervish of pep and nervous energy and man he is infuriating in the most endearing way. You kind of want Alex to put his cock in Ethan's mouth just to shut him up for a minute. Fortunately, Ethan also wants this to happen. And so does Alex, except he's denying himself and OH MY HEART (and regions further south).
There's a suspense-y plot and some very funny side characters as added bonuses.
My productivity today was shot because I couldn’t bear to put this book down. It was fun to see how the characters progressed from one wanting a one-night-stand (and the other being uninterested) to a tentative friendship to a relationship.
You wouldn’t think a book with a twink and a hot bartender would have much action (other than between the sheets - and oh yeah, that’s there), but there was a whole thing involving the bar’s irresponsible owner that had me anxious to find out what would happen next.
This was my second book by the author, but I’ll definitely be reading more.
Ethan's rambles did amuse me at times, but his brain, and his penchant for being over-dramatic was exhausting. I didn't know how his friends could stand him *laugh*. If he's my friend, considering that I'm a total introvert, I will probably need two days to decompress.
While Alex, urgh, Alex... usually I can accept emotionally stunted men in my book because I can be one as well (despite different gender), but his loyalty towards Leo (stupid, STUPID Leo) was not one that I could tolerate.
I could imagine Kate Sherwood having fun writing Ethan's lines though :)
Last Call by Kate Sherwood is a story that explores just how much a person who has never had an easy life can expect something like a great potential relationship to really work out and last. Alex, with his homophobic and abusive father who threw him out of the house at the age of sixteen, has very little faith in anything ever really going well, despite his best friend always telling him to relax. That same best friend is busy getting money from a loan shark to keep the very bar Alex works at afloat and that isn’t working out so well either. So why trust that Ethan, who can’t seem to stem the flow of consciousness that is his constant patter, will really stick around after he gets what he wants—a night in bed with Alex.
I mean I don’t get this author’s following, I really don’t! The characterization is nonexistent; the plot is pointless and ludicrous; the drama is nonsensical and over the top, and 99% of her characters are obnoxious pawns existing only to be used in the machinations of this authors absurd literary whims!! The pacing is supremely shitty and the ending is always unsatisfactory, abrupt, rushed, inconclusive, and just plain shitty!! Horrible horrible writing! And it seems like this author is hell-bent on creating nonsensical plot points, over the top drama, unlikeable characters, and not much else! This author’s writing irritates the hell out of me and I am completely done with this her and her books!!!
Note: And some of the things said here between the characters - which is a running theme in this author’s books [that I’ve tried to give a try and hated by the way] - tells me that it’s the author speaking not her characters, and if these are her values [you gotta wonder] and the way she thinks relationships should be [which for the rest of us should be a warning what relationships should NOT be], then I would hate to know this author in person and I’m so SO glad that I don’t never will!! I am taking a huge hard pass on this author from this point onward!!
*Warning: My review contains spoilers* A free copy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review, via the MMRG Don't buy my love program.
Ethan is a kid, a spoiled, out and proud rich kid who is used to partying and having fun and never having to work for anything, things just happen easily for him and even though he hasn't had a relationship yet, nor does he want to, he has his fair share of easy sex whenever he wants... because it's easy for him right? He's cute and confident and outgoing and easy in all sense of the word... really, every sense. So when he sees this super hot bartender at the gay bar who pushes his every slutty lusty button, things should be equally as easy as always right? No effort needed... right.
Alex is a bartender at a gay bar owned by his best friend Leo. Alex comes from a very difficult background, he's been abused both physically and emotionally by his father and left homeless. He's become a very introverted guy, he puts on his happy and flirty mask at work of course, because a guy has to earn tips right? But he never lets anyone get close enough to him, he's been hurt enough already. And he has more than enough on his plate already dealing with the shit his best friend/kinda brother drags him into, time and time again. So when this very drunk, very flirty to the point of harassment kid comes to the bar intending to get his attention and a way into his pants, getting rid of him should be easy... right?
I had very conflicting emotions while reading this book. First of all because Ethan and Leo embodied two of the personalities and characteristics I just can't stand in a person. Ethan is very young, and talks a lot, and I do mean A LOT, he thinks everything is just easy and he doesn't ever needs to make an effort, he's loud and over the place, he's very loud and overbearing, egocentric and self centered and of course he's slutty af, which might be the normal thing for gay guys these days, just random nameles sex, who cares? Which, to each their own, but definitely not something I personally like or understand. And Leo... ugh... Leo, I just HATE that guy, I despised and abhorred him completely. He's the kind of guy who always has plans and dreams and more plans and thinks he can reach for the freaking moon just because why not? But doing the actual work for it? Nah... boring, He has Alex for that right? Also, since they aren't rich, he needs easy money and easy paths and easy ways out to accomplish whatever his pipe dreams are. So who cares if those easy ways out are legal or not? Who cares if his best friend gets dragged into the middle of the chaos his decisions create? After all, he has reasons to be loyal to him. So why care? ... I personally don't care if Leo ended up doing a good thing for once in his life at the end, I just can't stand him, he's not a good person.
I found myself relating a lot to Alex, from his crappy family background, to being on his own, to being scared to be hurt yet again and even to him being an ISTJ 🤣.
In general, I think Ethan was waaay too immature and childish for the relationship, even Alex to some extent. I think their relationship lacked a lot of depth, and obsession was confused with love a lot, the feelings developed too fast too strong, and the ending felt a bit loose, like.. the story built to this very important climax, where things should have been stressful and angsty and difficult, and instead, just like that, it was all done, finished, everyone is happy and free and so in love, the end. Kinda rushed.
It was a fun reading, it made me laugh a couple times, it has the foundation for good characters and a good story but it needs more work. Hopefully this can be turned into a series and those issues can be sorted out in later books.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review.
All right. First of all: I don't like writing bad reviews. I believe every author deserves at least 2 stars for all the effort and work they have put into the story they want to write. Unfortunately, that's going to be my maximum rating for this book.
And second: The writing style. It just didn't work for me. Like, at all. I had a hard time finishing this story. I struggled, really. And though I might add to it that I have read really, really good books lately - all 4-5 stars ratings - that maybe that is why this book didn't work for me right now, but I don't think I would have liked it any other way.
Third: The story itself. My first impression of Ethan appeared to be a wrong one: To me he seemed a whiney, rich kid who always got what he wanted, and couldn't care less about anything else than partying, getting drunk, and hooking up. Irresponsible. Exactly like Alex's idea of him. We both proved to be wrong, at a certain point, but it didn't mean I ended up liking Ethan. I had a problem to where the story went after Alex was beaten up because of the money Leo owed Dennis. I didn't like Leo at all. He was selfish, careless and not a good friend for Alex to have around. Shouldn't Leo have been more protective of Alex since he and his mom were the ones who dragged him out of his home when his dad beat him up? It really seemed strange to me that Alex was so loyal to Leo; Leo only used him for his own reasons. Maybe Alex didn't think much of himself, but he was also a contradiction in that matter. Even if Leo had saved him from his father, it didn't mean he had to accept being treated the way Leo did him; I mean, he even considered going to jail for him while he was the one who warned Leo about Dennis's illegal businesses. It just didn't make a lot of sense to me. There was too much telling instead of showing where Alex is concerned. I also didn't feel the connection between Alex and Ethan at all. I thought Ethan was quite immature at times and I didn't get how, in the end, Alex suddenly was convinced he loved Ethan. He liked him, for sure, even when they weren't really nice and sweet to each other a lot of the time, so why suddenly call it love? It takes more than that, doesn't it?
I thought there were too many conversations going nowhere, quite unnecessary talking, which to me seemed like page filler. All these discussions didn't seem necessary and felt unrealistic. Quite too much drama, it seemed like Alex and Ethan had to fight over every little thing, like when Ethan's parents were coming over. I get Alex's situation and his bad experiences with his own dad and his brother Luc, but I still think he overreacted when Ethan mentioned his parents were coming over.
In the end I find the way Leo pushed Alex towards Ethan, with all his explanations of Alex always hiding behind him, unrealistic. Ok, there was some truth in there, but then I still didn't understand why Leo didn't have this talk with Alex sooner. First he drags Alex down with him, and then, when Alex is miserable because of Ethan, he suddenly is all caring and urging him to go after the one thing he wants. It's a bit of an unexpected turn for Leo to take and not true to the Leo he was before. I mean, for Leo to talk about respecting Ethan, when he was the one who didn't even want to mention Ethan's name in the first place?
And last, but not least important, the sex wasn't all that hot either. It didn't do much for me anyway.
I'm really sorry this isn't a more positive review, but I just like to be honest as possible. The book just didn't work for me.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Ethan’s a fairly happy go lucky guy. College student with wealthy parents, smart so he doesn’t have to study too hard, attractive, friendly, in it for the moment kind of lifestyle. He discovers Alex at a gay friendly bar and he’s gone. After three nights, he’s doing his best to get the bartender’s attention. Failing that, he rather throws himself in Alex’s way and Alex, being the good guy that he is, takes care of Ethan.
Alex has not had the advantages in life. His family is less than supportive. His best friend Leo owns the bar that Alex is doing his best to help make a success. But Leo likes to take shortcuts and this may expose Alex to a LOT more than he bargained for. But he owes Leo. He’s always had his back and he always will.
Ethan and his friends Josh and Cora hang out in the bar and Leo takes a bit of a shine to Cora. But basically he needs her to help him with ideas to make the bar more successful. Alex tries to keep Ethan at arm’s length, but then things happen that require Alex to seek out Ethan an expose Ethan to some of the shady business going on. While Ethan and Cora do help with the bar stuff, Ethan just wants to get closer to Alex. Cora is having fun and that’s what she is after.
Things begin to take a turn when Alex gets some bad news. Ethan has a hard time understanding and accepting where Alex is coming from and how he deals with difficult things. Thankfully Josh has a lot of insight into why Alex reacts the way he does and he helps Ethan see the light 🙂 But things go from bad to worse and it turns out there may be consequences for Alex’s loyalty that could cost him everything – including Ethan. Alex doesn’t want to tarnish Ethan, but Ethan is not going to just walk away.
This story I think falls under the category of New Adult Contemporary Romance. While not my favorite Kate Sherwood story, I did really enjoy this book. Ethan’s constant banter – either with his friends or really solo – is quite amusing. It was very interesting to watch him figure out how clueless he was in so many respects. It takes him a bit – and some outside prodding – to realize that he needs to think about things from Alex’s perspective a bit more. Alex has spent his whole life protecting himself (sometimes not too well) against the world because he’s been let down so much. And because he has one true friend he believes, he nearly loses himself in the process. When he finally decides to take a chance, they both decide they can actually work towards something. Throughout the book, even though there are tough moments, humor shines through. Ethan and his friends are particularly compelling characters. I really liked the ending as well. Fun and recommended.
A free copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review via the MM Romance Group ‘Don’t Buy My Love’ program.
I adored this book. The preview made me chuckle and for me the rest of the book lived up to the promise of the first few chapters in terms of humor and writing. It was funny while still dealing seriously with serious topics. I liked Ethan and Alex as characters and I liked how their relationship developed. I loved that Ethan
I connect with characters who struggle with communicating and with insecurities and I really appreciated the ways both characters made mistakes on both of these fronts, but also kept trying to navigate that difficult terrain. The ending felt like it fit the rest of the story and it was sweet and funny and exactly what I was hoping for when I picked the book up.
There were a few places where I think the names got switched around (i.e. Ethan was used when, based on the context, I'm pretty sure it should have been Alex) and Cora became Cara once for two paragraphs, but those are minor details and I am comfortable with that level of small human error.
I can easily imagine this becoming one of the books I pick up and reread my favorite passages from when I'm looking for something I know will make me happy.
the MCs are people from different backgrounds, who are learning how to be together while they navigate personal demons, ethical challenges and genuine bad guys... and there's also a suite of individually nuanced and believable supporting characters. This book shows their bravery, vulnerability, and always with Kate's trademark humor and snark. 5/5 would read again!
Dialogue is one of the most important things in a story for me, and this book has some of the best I have read. Ethan and Alex were wonderful together, and I always love the dynamic of the grump and the ball of sunshine getting together. I loved this story and wish there was more of it to read!
It was ok. Ethan was adorable but at times Alex really got on my nerves. Leo was just selfish only thought about what he wanted. He did redeem himself at the end. Cora was just stupid in my opinion. It was nice that it took place in Montreal and there was French conversations.