Odds Are 2:Against all Odds by Chris T. Kat

Title: Against all Odds        Word Count : 36742
Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb : And then they lived happily ever after…

Sometimes Joshua Stone thinks he’s died and gone to heaven. How else can he explain Michael’s love for him? And now they’re living together… in a real relationship. This is the stuff of fairy tales, a love like other people take for granted.

Sure, they have their moments, what couple doesn’t? But a small doubt lingers in Joshua’s heart. Can this really be true? Can a gorgeous man like Michael really love someone like Joshua—the guy with cerebral palsy, who’s helpless without his walker or his tricycle to get him around?

Michael senses Joshua’s worries, but there’s nothing he can do to dispel them because that would mean revealing his secret—and he’s not ready for that. Their mutual secrets hang between them like time bombs waiting to explode. They might not survive the inevitable blast.

My Review : Michael and Joshua are totally head over heels in love with each other. Like so many relationships, theirs is fraught with challenges. Joshua is a great professor who has cerebral palsy and often rely’s very heavily on his cane. He has figured out that a combination of rest, less stress and taking his medications when needed allows him to lead a functional life. Josh is often plagued with feelings of inadequacy and has a low self esteem which stems from his disability. He is still amazed that he has such a wonderful, sexy hunk for a boyfriend.

Michael is a hot construction worker and he is the exact opposite of Joshua. One of the things that they have in common is that feeling of inadequacy. Michael is always worried that he will never measure up or be good enough for Josh. He has a learning disability and he can hardly read or write. He is plagued by self doubts and his wish is to be a man who can make Josh proud. Their self doubts fester and leads to a misunderstanding that can ruin their happy lives.
All of Josh’s insecurities converge on him, making him think that maybe Michael has decided to cheat on him. For sure , Michael was very wrong for lying to Josh, but it was only his fear of looking like a failure in front of Josh that had him keeping secrets. His clandestine movements turned out to be him going to a course that would help him read. The huge meltdown that Josh experienced, forced them to learn from their mistakes. They both had to accept that they were both perfect for each other through their imperfections. They realized that they had to both trust in each other and in their love.
There were incredibly tender moments and supremely steamy love scenes. I loved these two main characters immensely. There is no better man for Josh than Michael who takes care of his lover, by always placing Josh’s needs as a high priority. Michael is so giving and all he sees when he looks at Josh is an equal partner. On the other hand Josh loves Michael despite his limitations and never belittles him or treats him as less than a man. Against all odds, they truly learned to appreciate and love each other as they are. I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear.

Not Without my Phone by Heidi Champa

Title : Not Without my Phone     Word Count : 28,000
Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb : Keller James loves his smart phone. A lot. In fact, his phone is the most important relationship in his life, much to the chagrin of his friends. Keller uses his phone for every part of his life, including his favorite thing—hooking up. Keller doesn’t see the problem with being connected all the time. Until one night, when a simple text message turns his whole life upside down, he suddenly finds himself without his phone. And without his friends.

In desperation, Keller turns to Gus Adams, his favorite barista, who has never owned a smart phone in his life. Gus helps Keller through the loss of his electronic connection, through his withdrawal symptoms, and shows him how to survive without the world at his fingertips.

As they get to know each other, Keller finds himself falling for Gus. And suddenly, for the first time in years, Keller doesn’t miss his phone at all. When he finally gets a new phone, will his addiction resurface, or can he resist the temptation of the digital world and follow his heart instead?

My Review : Far too often, we all get lost in the world of technology. We don’t always appeciate the beauty of what the real world can offer us. We are living in a post modernistic era, where we feel like we have to be plugged in and connected all the time through our smart phones, tablets, WiFi connection etc. Keller is very guilty of this. He lives for his next hookup and his phone is always at the ready. His friends accuse him of being shallow, self absorbed and addicted to his smartphone. They are definitely not far from the truth, especially when his excessive use of his phone culminates into him having a car accident while texting and driving.
This has to be one of the stupidest and most dangerous things that people are doing nowadays. Nothing is that damn important to risk other people’s lives on the roads. I just don’t get it, maybe I’m just not that coordinated, but I can’t focus on doing that much while driving. I will stop my mini rant here for the time being and continue with Keller.
Keller’s friends are super pissed at him for causing the accident, rightly so I might add. He is very apologetic and he is forced to take a long hard look at himself and his lifestyle choices. He makes a pact with his friends to stay away from smartphones for a whole month.The cute barister at his local coffee shop Gus helps him to explore the world without his smartphone attached. This is definitely new for Keller and he feels like a fish out of water. He has to relearn the nuances of human connection in the most basic ways. Long gone are the quick easy hookups. It takes him awhile to connect the dots and realize that Gus really likes him. Keller finds a depth in their connection that he could never imagine with any of his hookups.
Keller starts to understand how truly shallow his former ‘connectedness’ used to be. He sees the realness of his relationship with Gus, but he is still not sure how to categorize what they have.

As the month winds down, Keller can’t wait to get back to ‘normal’ and he looks forward to getting a new smartphone. He looks at his relationship with Gus and as much as he likes him, he is not sure what is going to happen with their relationship. I think this is pretty sad that the fruitfulness of his relationship would be hinged on him getting back his phone. How could he jeopardize the realness for the impersonal conectivity of social media.
Within a few hours of getting his new phone things are screwed up for them. Gus catches Keller texting in the middle of the night to one of his former hookups. Gus is disappointed and hurt that he seems to be in the shadow of this new phone already. I felt bad for Keller though , because even though he was a little bit guilty, he wasn’t totally in the wrong. He was just letting down his former hookup gently.

Over the few weeks that they are apart, Keller makes a few changes and it’s clear to see that he truly sees the beauty in human interaction now. Keller makes the ultimate grand gesture not only to Gus but also to himself by getting a regular old phone that’s definitely not a smartphone. Gus accepts his apology and acknowledges that maybe Keller is ready to start a real relationship with him. Keller felt good at not being shackled to the updates on social media. This was a sweet short read. I give this my ratings of 3 – it was ok, give it a try.