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Second Hand by Heidi Cullinan
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bookshelves: m-m, netgalley-reviews, romance

Paul Hannon possess a little chipmunk in his head that chatters away at him with bad advice. This chipmunk is a varmint and needs to be terminated. I have issues with chipmunks in my garden. We terminate them with a 5 gallon bucket half filled with water. Paul, I recommend you do the same.

This book was a hard one to enjoy. The last half of the book was very good for me. The first half, I had to grit my teeth and bear down on it. Paul's girlfriend left him. He lives in a fire hazard death trap. He flunked out of vet school. Paul wants to know why he isn't someone's first choice. My answer, because he's a defeatist loser. I didn't think I was this judgmental. I stand corrected. I am judgmental. Ms. Sexton tends to create these main characters I despise. Paul is one of those. The sad part, Paul's probably a reflection many real life people. It matters not to me how Paul has screwed up his life, yet I still want to hit him repeatedly across the head with a two by four. Maybe he'll get a clue.

Emmanuel, aka El is the love interest. I like El. He has an attitude I can admire. He likes his job and he tries to do things in life. He is not afraid to live. Plus El knows himself and he's not trying to be something he is not. This is why I have issues with Paul. It's not that he fucks everything up. It's because he's a TSTL character. He is bumbling through life with expectations which can not be met, because he is not willing to work for it. He just gives up and lives in a "woe is me" manner. This is aggravating and for a m/m story, I hate to say it, but Paul is really just a neurotic chick dressed up to be a man. I think that's why I really hated Paul. He's a disgrace. He's waiting for the white knight to save him. He's the damsel in distress. The sad part is, Paul thinks he's the white knight, trying to do stuff for Stacy, his ex-girlfriend. What a joke.

Despite my bashing of this moron Paul character, I enjoyed the last half of the book because El finally got through to Paul. El didn't save Paul; he gave him a good kick in the arse. Finally Paul takes his head out of his ass and sees that people have always been around him putting him as first choice. Paul's the one ignoring it. Did I mention clueless?

Ms. Cullinan and Ms. Sexton do a good job of keeping this contemporary romance realistic. The writing is good with great attention to detail. I could see every location. Sometimes, the places were too well described. El's mom who lives in an episode of hoarders was a bit too much for me. Descriptions of each character were great as I could visualize each one of them. They weren't just names in a book. They each stood out with their physical attributes and their particular mannerisms. It's the good writing technique which saves this book for me. The story telling is the added bonus. If it weren't for the characters - Paul specifically, the rating would have been higher. This m/m contemporary romance is recommended for m/m lovers who like watching a character grow up.

Reviewed on NetGalley
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Reading Progress

September 20, 2012 – Shelved
Started Reading
November 11, 2012 – Finished Reading

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