Book Review · J.J. Harper

Denver’s Calling: Cooper’s Ridge, Book 1

Denver's CallingAuthor: J.J. Harper
Book Name: Denver’s Calling
Series: Cooper’s Ridge
Order: 1
Genre: LGBT, Romance
Rating:  Didn’t Like




Blurb: When Denver’s long-term partner breaks up with him, he flees his life, his career, and his bright future as one of the country’s leading trauma surgeons. Ditching everything but his dog, Denver returns to the quiet town of Cooper’s Ridge and his parents’ ranch.

Leaving twelve years earlier, Denver knew he would never be accepted as a gay man in an unaccepting town. So, when he meets Kes—an old school friend—in the bar he owns, he is shocked to find him in an openly gay relationship. Something he never thought would happen here.

What surprises him even more is the instant, mutual attraction the three men have. Accepting a job in Kes’ bar, they dance around each other, wanting them but not believing he would ever fit in with a couple so obviously in love. But, they want him. And they are not prepared to let him go.

Denver takes a risk and accepts their offer of a night out, finding a side of himself he never knew existed. Not trusting himself to be enough for the two men, the desire blooming in him is unprecedented and he can’t deny it: he wants them as much.
He finds his life falling into place, all because of two men. Is it possible he found his forever in a place he never expected it?

If you are going to write a trio story and make it about porn level steamy sex, then focus on that and do it really well. If you are going to write a story about a trio romance, then make that story work, make it about the relationship and the emotions and make it believable. If you want to do both, then you better work really damn hard to make both aspects flow well together without either overshadowing the other.

This book seemed to want to do both, but didn’t pull either one off effectively. There were no real grounds other than lust for the basis of the relationship between the three men. Just “You’re hot, let’s have sex, now I love you.” There was so much teen angsty type of drama and overreactions from all three characters, I never felt they were well adjusted, successful adults that had the maturity to pull of the genuine difficulties involved with a poly relationship. Just because a character says “I love you” doesn’t make the reader believe it.

The steam level fell utterly flat. Again, you want to do high level sexy, then you need to do it. Don’t toss in some mediocre, cookie cutter stuff that feels contrived, make the characters talk a little dirty and then move on like it is nothing. I have no problem with down and dirty steamy, honestly love it when it is done well, but this just had me skipping those parts because it felt like the author had an obligation to put them in and managed to work in some buzzword sexual terms to make it sound better than it was.

The complete and utter acceptance of them and their lifestyle from everyone except a single little bit part is just an easy out for an author to not have to deal with realism in any way. Toss in the mess of the whole parenting/fostering thing that was so incredibly contradictory and unrealistic, it made my brain hurt and you end up with a book that is trying really hard to be something it’s not. Oh and lets tie a giant ribbon of nope on it with the insanely confusing British terminology that got sprinkled in here and there in a book about a bunch of characters that were all born and raised in the heart of the American small town ranching world.

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