Tutti Fruitti Rudi by Stephanie Franklin

Title :  Tutti Fruitti Rudi              Word Count : 61,950

Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb :

My Review :  Rudi Costa has always felt that his life is going down Shit’s Creek and he is left without a paddle. He has no marketable skills and he had to drop out of high school to provide for the one person who loves him unconditionally. His sister Penguin is five, but she is at the level of a three year old because their mother is a heroin addict. Rudi steals and prostitutes himself in order to put food on the table. He has to lock Penguin in their room so that the men who his mother whores herself for, can’t touch his beloved sister . Their mother is a waste of space who only thinks of her next fix. When she gets behind in her payments to her drug dealers, she pimps out Rudi to pay for her debts by threatening to take Penguin away.

 When Giovanni,  the biggest drug dealer collects from Rudi, it is always painful. Giovanni is a pig of a man, who loves rough sex. He brutalized Rudi’s most sensitive areas for hours without any lubrication at all. Poor Rudi can barely  walk when he is done. He is walking through the park from one such arrangement when he finds a young man who has been gay bashed. It is obvious to see that Jay doesn’t belong in this part of the neighborhood.

Jay’s family invites Rudi over for dinner as a thank you. Jay’s father David  doesn’t seem to like Rudi right off the bat. After a lavish dinner where Rudi sits uncomfortably wondering about his table manners, he bolts as it becomes clearer that they are from two separate worlds. Rudi starts ignoring all of Jay’s texts. It isn’t until Rudi’s mom kicks him out with his little sister, that he sees Jay again. Jay swoops in like an avenging Angel and gets his family to care for  sweet little Penguin temporarily.  Rudi makes a more pronounced effort to sort his life out so he can take care of his sister on his own. 

Giovanni and Rudi’s mom get there just desserts when Rudi steals their drug money. It is not an ideal plan , but he decides to make the most of a bad situation. Rudi rents an apartment and set it up so that Penguin has her own space. Jay and Rudi decide to celebrate and take their relationship to the next level after a night of teasing and touching at a dance club.

It is at this point that I felt like I  was dropped off a cliff unexpectedly.The novel just left off at this point and I felt that there were a whole lot of  unresolved issues.  I was left feeling very unfulfilled. I think it could have been fleshed out by a few more chapters and it would have blossomed into a great novel. Rudi is that tortured character  who is very lovable and you  can empathize with him. I give this my ratings of 3 –  it was ok , give it a try. 

The Truth About Riley by Henrietta Clarke

Title: The Truth About Riley     Word Count: 790000   Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance Blurb :Riley Aylworth’s life has been completely devoid of intimate contact since a fire three years ago left him with horrific facial scarring, so when he finds an ad for a phone sex service, he decides to give it a call. Except that the number is not a phone sex service—it’s the revenge Cameron Kirkwood’s ex-boyfriend took on the uptight advertising executive after Cam forgot their anniversary and accidentally put him in the hospital. Needless to say, after thirty-nine disturbing calls seeking phone sex, Cameron is at the end of his tether and yells at his fortieth caller. What he doesn’t expect is for Riley to hit redial and yell right back. The argument helps both Cameron and Riley vent about their issues, and when they’ve calmed down, they decide to exchange numbers and talk again. From this decision springs a friendship that, over time, grows into a gentle romance—all over the phone, because Riley is too scared to meet Cam in person. Showing a potential boyfriend his disfigured face is the fastest way to get rejected, right? Even a month of scorching hot phone sex can’t change his mind, no matter how hard Cam tries to persuade him that with their phone chemistry, the sex would be so much better in person. Meanwhile, Cam is haunted by the scarred blond he seems to be seeing everywhere, and Riley can’t get the handsome brunet who always seems happy to see him out of his mind. It’s a shock to both men to realise that the guy they’re falling for over the phone is also the man who brightens their day with just a smile; but it’s one thing to let a stranger smile at you and quite another to let him close enough to see into your soul. If Riley can’t break down the walls in his mind and believe that Cameron loves him in spite of his scars, their relationship may be doomed before they’ve even had a chance to kiss. Review:

This was a truly awesome story about love and conquering our fears and our insecurities about our self worth and our outward appearances.There were certain moments when I thought Riley was being far too pessimistic about his looks, but I had to dig deep and understand that it is realistic to feel that way after having to undergo such a tragic event that has left a person so scarred whether it is emotional or physical. Cameron is the most beautiful, patient lead that I have come across in a long time. This story was simply breathtaking. It reminded me of how I met my husband on the internet and how we had these ‘blind’ interactions over the phone and through webcam without actually seeing the other person’s face. It is the most wonderful way of getting to know someone without relying on superficial cues of facial features.Can’t wait to hear more about Riley and Cameron.Bellisimo!!!
 
My Rating: 4- Lose the underwear