Calling Dr. Love

17548Title: Calling Dr. Love
Author: G.A. Hauser
Publisher: The G.A. Hauser Collection
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: Novel (69K words)
Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

A guest review by Leslie

THE BLURB

Pride and ego make a very unlikely combination for finding true love. Unless you discover another who is your mirror image.

Twenty-five year old Phil Andrews left his family in Eastern Washington to escape the small town attitudes of his siblings and the locals to be free to be himself in the liberal area of West Hollywood. But without an education or work experience to fall back on, Phil uses his good looks and physique to make ends meet, working as a go-go boy at night, and a gay porn star on the weekends.

Intelligent, out of the closet, Dr. Christopher Love was thirty-three years old and a success in everything but his relationships. He knew his life was lacking something, a partner to share it with. Trying to find the kind of man he found attractive sexually and one who was also was willing to bend to his demands was an impossible task. Until he met Phil Andrews.

Two men, two opposite worlds. One educated at the finest schools, an asset to the community, a philanthropist and a surgeon, the other, a high-school drop-out, former drug addict with a criminal record, meet during a stormy night while the lights are blacked out. The physical attraction bonds them instantly, but soon their differences bring to the surface that deadly pride.

THE REVIEW

This book was available as a free download during the “Twelve Days of Christmas” promotion at All Romance eBooks. I almost didn’t download it because I thought the description was a little corny, but hey, free is free, so why not? When I started reading, I was about to quit after a few pages because of two egregious spelling errors right in the beginning (sheilds and fettish), but the initial encounter between Chris and Phil—in a dressing room at Nordstorm’s—reminded me of another famous Nordstrom’s dressing room kiss (DJ and Randy in The Dreyfus Affair). It was enough of a hook to pull me into the story and keep me reading and I am glad I did. This is the first thing I have read from author G.A. Hauser and all in all, I quite liked the story, much to my surprise.

Phil and Chris meet under an unlikely and sort of improbable circumstance, but it’s written in an amusing way and sets up the premise of this Cinderella story. They are trying on slacks in adjoining dressing rooms when the power goes out, leaving them in pitch darkness and stranded. As they try to find their missing pants and shoes, they begin talking and describing themselves, then touching as a way to “learn” their faces. There seems to be a spark and an attraction and things progress rapidly. When they finally get out of the store—and see each other in the light for the first time—the attraction is still present. They go to Chris’ house for a little more hanky-panky but when Phil sees Chris’ degrees on the wall (note to author: physicians receive MDs, not PhDs, and they usually don’t hang them in their bedrooms), he becomes thoroughly intimidated and bolts.

The story then progresses on parallel tracks, following the day-to-day life of each man. It’s an effective device to showcase the differences in their lives, but also the similarities—both are lonely (in spite of friends), looking for friendship and love, and both continue to feel the pull from their brief, but passionate encounter.

Eventually they do manage to reconnect but there is still a great deal of wariness (Phil) and confusion (Chris) between them. They work to find their mutual common ground and eventually do, leading to what I found to be a believable HEA. One nice bonus was the story didn’t end there, as so many do; there was an added scene of Phil meeting Chris’ parents, which gave a glimpse into what their lives together would likely hold. I appreciated the extra chapter because it helped round out the story and made it feel complete and finished.

I thought Phil and Chris were complex and believable characters, although the blurb above does them both a disservice. Phil wasn’t “a former drug addict with a criminal record”; rather, he smoked some dope in high school and had a few brushes with the law. In LA he was trying to do the right thing and make good choices, but he was saddled with credit card debt and a lack of education, which made opportunities difficult. Given statistics on the number of GLBTQ youth who are homeless and attempt suicide, I think there are a lot of “Phils” out there, and Phil in Calling Dr. Love is probably doing better than many. As for Chris, he came across as a pretty regular, hard-working doctor, not some paragon of the community who walked on water. He had friends and a caring family, but he longed to meet someone and settle down, something he had not been able to as yet achieve. When the man of his dreams appeared in the package of a go-go dancer who made porn movies on the side, was he necessarily going to reject him out-of-hand? Phil had to sort out his choices and Chris had to do some soul-searching and what they both went through, I found to be an interesting journey.

If I were rating this on story alone, I might go as high as 4.5 stars. I enjoyed it that much. But, unfortunately, the mechanical errors—spelling, misused words (council instead of counsel, as one example), mixing up character names (in one scene, Phil was cradling Phil in his arms…sigh)—were numerous enough that I just couldn’t ignore them. It’s a shame, too, because most of these errors were obvious and easily fixable. A careful edit could have also tied up a few loose ends and edited out a few repetitious scenes, which would have made the book be more polished and tighter overall. But, the presence of these mistakes made me feel like the push to publication was rushed and careless and that, frankly, annoys me as a reader.

Overall, I can recommend this book on the basis of well-drawn characters, a good story, and a nice amount of (but not overdone) hot sex. But I must add the caveat that the presentation is less than stellar. Individual readers will need to decide if that is a deal-breaker and purchase (or not) accordingly.

18 comments

  • Thanks for your comment, Lilli. Interesting. I expected to feel like you did — to not be interested in the characters and to not bother finishing the story. Which is why I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed it. Maybe it was just the mood I was in that day…LOL. Or maybe it’s just that I’m a sucker for Cinderella.

    Reading other reviews of books by this author, both here and at other sites: it really seems that readers are all over the map about her writing. Some people love it, some people hate it; some people like one thing she’s written but then can’t stand something else. I suspect I might fall into that camp. I may go pick up another story of hers just to see how I react to it.

    L

  • You know, I’ve only read a few by this author, and I loved one – Acting Naughty. The sequel made me want to scream in agony. I also noticed a lot of things that should have been caught in editing, which can really take you out of the story sometimes! I downloaded this one when it was free, too, but so far haven’t brought myself to read it.

    • I just looked up Acting Naughty because I was curious about it after your comment. The blurb sounds possible, but it is for sale at Amazon for $9,999.98! Um, I don’t think so! LOL….

      L

      • Oh come on Leslie. Splurge a little. ROFL I REALLY have to get into the publishing biz. I need a trip to Europe.

        • Hey, I like to splurge as much as the next person, but if I had a spare $10K lying around, I don’t think I’d use it to buy a book! LOL

          L

        • Thanks for posting that link, Lori. Interesting reviews. I could see Hauser making the exact same mistake with Chris and Phil if she were to write a sequel to this book. They are happy right now, they are committed, they are even throwing around the “M” word. But if were to write a sequel, she’d have to jazz things up with some conflict (to have a story) and what direction would that take? Hmmm…

          L

          • They are throwing around the “M” word? Wow, I can’t remember that – either I simply forgot because I didn’t care or I didn’t even make it that far.
            As you can see I read that story, too, as a free download. But for the life of me I can’t say I liked it at least a bit. I soon got bored and skimmed through the rest of it. Aside from the annoying amount of errors I just thought that nothing much really happened and the characters just didn’t do a thing to me. True, the reader gets to know the protags’ everyday life, their problems, longings and feelings but it wasn’t presented in an engaging kind of way. At least not to me.
            So plain and simple: this story just didn’t work for me and I’m glad I didn’t pay anything for it.

            But that’s just my personal opinion. It’s interesting to see how differently other readers think about it.

  • I downloaded this book from All Romance but I have not yet read it, probably because the blurb was less than alluring for me. Like you said, Leslie, it was free 🙂 I have read Going Deep by the same author and thought it was nice (and happened to have pornstars as well).
    Thank you for the review, I think I will read this sooner than planned now.

    • Since you have it, I’d certainly say it is worth giving it a go — and let me know what you think of it after you do!

      L

  • This was one of the first author’s I bought when I started the genre. It was a DNF. Later, because I was still new and not too “with it” I bought another that I enjoyed. So I bought another, DNF. I just didn’t like the characters who seemed really shallow so I have more or less sworn off this author now. Twice burned. But hey, free is free right? So I might check it out if I get the chance. I’ll just be prepared to deal with lots of errors.

    • Tam, unfortunately it’s not free anymore. It was a one-day event during the ARe Christmas promotion. I almost didn’t download it because I had heard iffy things about this author, which is part of why I was so surprised that I enjoyed this book so much.

      Now the book is $6.99 and with the number of errors–I’m not sure I could justify spending that amount of money for it.

      L

    • Tam
      It’s discounted for a couple more days. I paid $5.24 – $1.75 off the $6.99 price. So you can snap it up if you want to read it.

      *
      I like some of this author’s plots but I have difficulty most of the time with her characters. Behaving Badly, reviewed by Jenre, was just plain creepy with the father’s friends all wanting to bed the 18 year old character in the book. However, she does have her fans, lots of them, who can’t seem to get enough of her books.

      • Nope, I’m afraid my past experiences would not allow me to pay that much, especially if there are that many errors. Oh well, such is life. It’s not like my TBR file is getting low. *eye roll*

  • Leslie
    After you mentioned that you were going to review this one I bought it yesterday and started reading, but so far I am not too thrilled. Apart from the numerous editorial and spelling errors you mentioned in the review, the amount of sex in the book seems to be excessive, and I’m not even half way through. Maybe it will even out as I continue.

    *
    The point about the Phd and MD is excellent. How is that the author does not know the difference? Whoever heard of a doctor hanging his degrees on his bedroom wall? Is he seeing patients in his bedroom? 😀 What does he have on the wall in his office I wonder?

    • Interesting comment, Wave. The amount of sex didn’t seem excessive to me but I will admit, I think some of the sex scenes went on a little too long. That would be a place where some judicious editing would have made this a better story.

      I was just re-reading a few pages this morning and in some places, the writing is pretty abysmal. Usually that makes me insane but in this story it didn’t drive me nuts–maybe because I liked Phil and Chris and wanted to see what would happen to them.

      As for the degrees…LOL, good comment, is he seeing patients in his bedroom? Seriously. And, the thing is, at one point in the story he was reading a medical journal. That could have been laying on the coffee table in the living room and that’s how Phil would have learned Chris was a doctor. It would have worked just as well and been a little more polished. That’s what I mean about the editing.

      L

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