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15 December 2010 @ 07:06 pm
Sagittarius Blues by Katrina Strauss  

Another gem by the talented Ms. Strauss! Usually I connect primarily with one of the two main characters in a story.  Yet as I was reading this story, I found myself switching sides between Ryan and Greg.  I completely related to Greg's need to help others in an effort to repay the good Karma he received when he was a troubled young man. His need counsel and tendency to be more serious than the situation calls for is something I have been guilty of many times!  At the same time, I found myself in Ryan's head, deeply feeling his need to let go of the weight of responsibility a little bit by publishing his video blog. My heart went out to him when his world started to crumble and he had own up to his actions and face the consequences.  Been there, done that.  It's a bitter pill to swallow.

I dare say this is the most realistic contemporary Katrina has penned to date.  Ryan and Greg could be any two of the dozens of neighborhood people we interact with in our everyday lives. They are two regular guys, living their lives the best way they know how, while desperately looking for someone to love.  The amazing thing is that Katrina created two memorable characters out of these two "ordinary" men by weaving in small details and nuances that made them unique and added layers to their personalities.

When Greg and Ryan first meet, Ryan is still heart broken over the lack of a romantic relationship with his best friend Chad, who is now dating their long-time friend Brooke.  Having "experimented" with Chad when they were growing up, Ryan can not understand why Chad is now in love with a woman. Greg is very attracted to Ryan, but he is concerned about the impact coming out of the closet and having a relationship with Ryan might have on his job as a Youth Center Director.  All of these emotions and relationship dynamics combine to make this story quite angsty.  Not angsty in the "will they won't they" kind of way that we all know ends with a HEA, but angsty at a deeper level.  The characters are so real that it seems entirely plausible that things may not work out well.  After all, It happens quite often in real life.  I didn't realize how emotionally invested I was in their happiness until I read The End and relaxed in the knowledge that Ryan and Greg were indeed happy. Sneaky angst in this one! Then again, Ryan's trademark humor is often LOL worthy and does a great job of breaking the tension when needed.

M/M fans who enjoy contemporary m/m are likely to love this story.  Fans of the author will recognize her trademark "gotcha" scenes, where a naughty sounding scene opening turns out to be a unique take on a very ordinary situation.  I love these little openings and have come to anticipate them in Katrina's stories.  Sagittarius Blues delivered! This is a great story with just enough holiday magic and winter atmosphere to raise your spirits during the coming weeks. Burn some cinnamon candles, prepare some luscious hot cocoa and seat down to enjoy this wonderful m/m treat. 

Blurb: "With a birthday near Christmas, Ryan Foster’s learned to compromise. He loves a straight friend who won’t reciprocate his feelings, and holds a boring job to afford college. At the end of the week, he vents his frustrations through his webcast, "Alone Time with Ryan.” He’s careful not to name names -- particularly since each webisode ends with a mock masturbation session.

Greg Beaumont seeks a fresh start in a new home, but wasn't counting on the holidays being lonely. When gorgeous, young Ryan shows up on Greg’s doorstep, it's a warm ray of light on a cold winter’s day. Greg's attracted, and tempted, but as youth director at the local recreation center, he must conduct his private life carefully. Seducing a college student seven years his junior isn’t the wisest choice, no matter how hot Greg's fantasies are growing by the day -- or night.

When Ryan's ode to December birthdays goes viral, his show becomes an overnight sensation, but with exposure comes consequence, and Ryan’s Sagittarian wits won’t get him out of this one. When he turns to Greg in a moment of need, both men must face the consequence of their passion, making for one steamy winter."

Sagittarius Blues at Loose ID

Current Mood: busy
Current Music: Mariah Carey - All I want for Christmas Is You
boiznbooks: boiz1boiznbooks on December 27th, 2010 05:06 am (UTC)
What she said.

Seriously, this is a wonderful new story that weaves some very real contemporary issues (friendships changing as you get older/learn more about yourself, the need for a job/income vs. having to deal with jerk bosses & coworkers, personal and professional reputation vs. being yourself, freedom of expression vs. the consequences of being judged for your opinions) into an emotionally challenging but ultimately satisfying story. Thought provoking without being preachy, and (lest this start sounding like a review of Great Expectations or something similar) deliciously seasoned with m/m hawtness that Katrina does so well, this would be a good recommendation for young adults as well as older readers.

And as a Capricorn who has to deal with the fact that my birthday falls right after everyone has spent all their money on Christmas, I can totally relate to having the "Sagittarius Blues"!!
AAboylove_addict on December 28th, 2010 11:48 pm (UTC)