Behaving Badly


Title: Behaving Badly
Author: GA Hauser
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: M/M Contemporary romance, M/M/M/M menage
Length: 171 pages
Rating: 1.75 stars out of 5
A Guest Review by Jenre

THE BLURB

Loose cannons make life interesting—until they blow up in your face.

Action! Book 4

For once, things are going well for Mark Antonius Richfield. His career is fulfilling. The love of his life, Steve Miller, and best friends Jack and Adam round out his personal life to the fullest. What could possibly go wrong?

Enter eighteen-year-old Alexander Lehman. A member of “Generation seX”—with a voracious appetite for older men.

At first Mark doesn’t notice anything unusual, but Steve sees instantly that the young man could be Mark’s clone. The reason? Mark has an illegitimate son, as sensual, gorgeous, and mischievous as himself. With the same penchant for causing trouble.

As Mark takes a crash course in parenthood, the newcomer’s roving eye lands on Steve, who finds himself lusting after a younger version of the hot hunk he fell in love with.

All Mark can see in this complicated, age-before-beauty contest, he’s the one in danger of coming out the loser…

THE  REVIEW

This is the first book I’ve read by this author and I didn’t know anything about GA Hauser or her books when I started reading.  I’m sorry to say that this book failed for me on many levels which I shall now attempt to explain.

Mark and Steve are living in opulent splendour.  They had a bad start when Steve absconded with Mark from the altar in a previous book, but are now putting all that behind them and getting on with the rest of their lives.  Just as things settle down, Mark has a surprising visitor, eighteen year old Alex.  Alex is Mark’s son, the product of a quickie between Mark and the dancer at a strip club nineteen years earlier.  Alex is gay and has suffered quite a lot of verbal and physical abuse from his step-father as a result.  Mark and Steve take him in, but Alex causes a rift when he comes onto Steve and behaves inappropriately towards Mark and Steve’s friends.

I first became suspicious that this book may not be quite to my taste when Alex arrives on the scene.  He is full of teenage outrage that Mark abandoned his mother all those years ago – because she gave Mark her phone number and he never called her back.  I suppose this was understandable but I fully expected Mark to point out that Alex’s mother was just as willing to have sex with him, nor did she attempt to find Mark once she realised she was pregnant.  After all it’s hardly Mark’s fault that he knew nothing about the product of a quick shag in a dressing room.  But no, Mark is filled with remorse, blames himself and takes Alex in to live with him and Steve.  This seemed like a very odd thing to do.  Neither man knows Alex and, although he looks the spitting image of Mark, don’t know for sure that he is telling the truth, yet they just invite him into their lives with no thought or planning.

Alex proceeds to disrupt their comfortable existence by coming on strongly to Steve right from the get go.  How does Steve respond to this?  He lusts after Alex, spends most of the time with a hard on and touches Alex constantly, cuddling him and stroking his hair.  Both Steve and Mark talk to Alex about how inappropriate it is to blatantly come on to his father’s lover – which Alex does by stripping off in front of him, flirting outrageously and offering to sleep with him.  Alex also listens in and even watches Mark and Steve having sex.  Yet neither of the two older men modify their own behaviour to make it easier for Alex to get over his infatuation with Steve.  Both men have loud, noisy sex at every opportunity, they fondle each other’s genitals in front of Alex and walk around naked in front of him.  The whole thing made me feel a bit queasy.  On the flip side Mark and Steve also treat Alex like an overgrown child.  They let Alex sit on their knees for cuddles; they carry him upstairs and tuck him into bed; they constantly pet him like you would a small child.  Every time this happened I was pulled out of the story because it was so unbelievable that they would treat a grown man this way.

Another problem I had with the book was that all the gay men in the book (which pretty well make up most of the numerous characters in this book) were the good guys and all but three straight characters were evil, homophobic, abusive people.  This ‘them and us’ mentality made me really uncomfortable and did not give a true representation of life.  Other than family, Mark and Steven only seem to know and socialise with other gay men, which was another oddity.  The only nice straight characters were Alex’s mum and sister.  In fact the scene where Alex goes home to collect his things was one of the better written, more touching scenes in the book.  I felt that it was a shame that both Alex’s mother and sister effectively disappear after that point with only one short phone call later in the book to show that Alex remembered their existence.

Behaving Badly reminded me greatly of a daytime soap opera complete with wooden characters who behaved in a way that was over the top.  The book consists almost entirely of dialogue and action tags which gave it a stagy feeling.  There were some serious themes in the book:  Parental abuse; the loss of youth; attempted suicide; but these themes were overshadowed by the fact that all the gay men (apart from Mark) lusted openly after Alex.  Alex bathed in the glow of their appreciation and it is constantly reinforced that he acts like he does because he doesn’t know how to control himself around gay men.  At one point Alex says…

“I agree. I want to be surrounded by my own kind. I’m sick of ridicule.”

…which again just reinforced the ‘them and us’ feeling I got from the book.

I suppose I can understand that Alex’s childhood and subsequent bullying by his step-father has left him feeling alone and unloved.  The way he acted though was thoughtless and embarrassing yet the gay men encouraged him, lusted after him and made comments about how sexy he is in front of him all the time.  After a while I began to wonder who was being the most inappropriate: a young, confused man or several men who were old enough to know better?

By far and away the best scenes were those involving Alex on his own away from the influence/attraction of the older men.  During these scenes he came across as a quirky teen who has had the misfortune of  being rejected by most of his family.  Later in the book he gets together with a boy his own age and I found their attempts at privacy quite amusing.

Apart from that, there were a number of other areas that rang false about this book and I could go on and list them all but I won’t.  You’ll have to take my word for it that there were at least four occasions where, if I hadn’t been reading this on my e-reader, the book would have hit the wall.  Behaving Badly just didn’t work for me in so many ways that I can’t even begin to recommend it.  I’m sure that the fans of GA Hauser’s books will read and enjoy this book but I’m sorry to say I didn’t.

40 comments

  • So far of GA Hauser’s works I have purchased and read: Capital Games; For Love and Money; Love You, Loveday; Naked Dragon; To Have and to Hostage; and When Adam Met Jack. Yes, I liked them, and Hauser, among others, inspired me to begin writing stories of my own.

    Okay, that said, I want to commend you on your thoughtful and eloquent review. “Bashing” is saying you hate the book, etc. What you have done is given an honest opinion of what works and what doesn’t, to the point where I found it to be constructive, without being abusive or high-handed as other review posts I’ve seen have been. In fact, you are restoring my faith in reviewers by your honest, “all writers are created equal” approach.

    Example: Recently I read a book by a big name that is so frought with errors as to benearly illegible, yet its praises were sung far and wide, which leads me to believe the no one actually read it. But its quite obvious that you DID read the book you reviewed with remarkable comprehension.

    Though it may sting at first, I hope when my own work comes out that you’d do me the honor of reviewing, for your honest, well-spoken comments are sure to help me grow as a writer.

    Although I adore Hauser, the scenario described here strikes too close to home for me, and I appreciated the warning you’ve thoughtfully provided.

    Reply
  • E & S

     
    I have read and reviewed 3 of G.A Hauser’s books in the past going back to April 2008 including Capital Games (2.5 stars) Naked Dragon (3.5 stars) and When Adam Met Jack (3.5 stars) so I can speak with a little more knowledge of this author’s books. Since her last book that I reviewed in June of 2008 I decided that Ms Hauser’s characterizations did not work for me and I have not reviewed any more of her work. Clearly you are not prepared to read anything but rave reviews of this author’s books. It is obvious you’re a fan and feel that the readers who commented as well as Jenre, are doing a hatchet job on Ms Hauser’s books.

     
    The point you overlooked is that this review site reviews books for readers not authors and we would be doing a disservice to other readers by praising a book when we believe that there are serious flaws in the plot, characterizations, dialogue and prose. If we lied to the readers our credibilty would take a serious hit.

     
    This site is strictly an M/M review site therefore your comment that Jenre must hate the genre or the authors is obviously not based in fact. I would say this for G.A. Hauser – she writes brilliant blurbs, but unfortuntely her books do not measure up to her blurbs, IMO.

     
    Thank you for stopping by.

    Reply
  • When I look over all the comments on GA’s book(s) I have to question if a group of you got together and decided to perform your own hit, slander mob. This is why I’d never be able to give a review. I couldn’t slash or slander another. If I don’t have something positive to say about another’s hard work I’d rather say nothing at all. In saying what was ‘bad’ about the book and stories more so than what was ‘good’ about them. I personally have read all her stories and I’m always looking forward for more. To me there’s adventure, tears, action, humor and there’s never a dull moment in her stories. Everything I look for in a story GA writes it and she brings it, hands down! Her stories are not repetitive and there’s just as much dialogue as there in sex scenes. It’s evened out 50/50.

    How CAN you base an opinion after reading ONLY one story that all are the same?

    Maybe…..I have to wonder if those with nothing positive to say shouldn’t ask yourselves: Should I even be reading the M/M genre?

    Before I bail out of here I need say: Jenre, your review of GA sucked shit and you gave no chances and you slammed not just an author with Real Talent, but also every book written by her. Not what I would classify as an impressive review. Tell me something… you bash books on all M/M writers or just this one? Don’t bother answering. Not giving a shit at this point.

    CIAO

    Reply
    • E&S
      Thank you for comments, it just goes to show how diverse reading habits can be. This book didn’t work for me but they obviously do for a lot of people, including yourself.

      Reply
      • WOW! Just, wow! I recently finished the Action Series (beginning with the books that led to this series) and they were absolutely fantastic; well written, good humor, and hot, hot, hot! Problem is now I miss them. ;o) I want GA to keep writing more books with these characters. I really can’t figure out why this reviewer was such a cat about them. I plan to continue through the rest of her books. I really enjoy her writing!

        Reply
        • Hi Matt
          I’m glad that you like GA’s books and enjoy reading them. As always this review is just one person’s view on a book and can be very different to that of many others.

          It wasn’t my intention to come across as being a ‘cat’ and more that I hadn’t enjoyed the book and tried to set out my reasons why in a logical, coherent manner.

          Reply
      • Jenre, the fact of and the point being that you don’t just give a lousy review on one of her books but to each and every one of them. Sounds personal more than professional your issues to me after reading it. Hey Matt? Glad I’m not the only one that enjoys her stories among many other M/M writers that are great writers and know their stuff.

        Reply
    • E&S: Seems like someone has yet to perfect the art of propriety and politeness. You don’t agree with the review that’s fine, make your voice heard, they welcome that here, but there’s absolutely no need to insult the reviewer personally. As a reader I want honest reviews–positive or negative, and this one was very clear and professional about what didn’t work in the story.

      Quite frankly, E&S, your response put me off the author’s work even more so than the review.

      Reply
    • E&S, you should be ashamed of yourself for the low level you’ve descended to in a mindless defense of a book that just got a well reasoned review. Jenre doesn’t do anything like the gutter language you use, she thinks about what she’s reading, and that is a great thing in a reviewer! If all you want is smut, go for it, enjoy, but don’t rip into someone who recognizes that a book can, or should, contain plot, characterization, and logical development. GA Hauser is a bit short on those things. Like the book all you want- the flaws are still there.

      Reply
  • I have to say, I was curious about the M/M/M/M label – it sounded intriguing but also complicated 🙂 – but it looks like I should save my money.

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Hi Diane
      The four way menage happens at the end of the book. I didn’t much care for it myself, not because of the sex which worked fine, but what actually led up to the menage caused some problems for me which I don’t want to say here as it will contain spoilers.

      Reply
  • Great review Jen. I read a few of her books early on (again, good blurbs and covers) and she is a hit or miss author for me, unfortunately mostly miss. I could name a few and say what went wrong for me, but in the end it doesn’t matter. I gave up on her long ago and I’m not sorry. Like Wave said, she has legions of fans to buy her books, and that’s great for her (honestly).

    Reply
    • Hi Lynn
      There are so many authors out there to choose from and we all have such different tastes. GA Hauser sells well so she must have lots of fans.

      Reply
  • Hi Clare
    I don’t mind if stories contain characters from previous books in a series as long as they are there to add to the plot and not all crammed in to please the fans. Jet Mykles Heaven Sent books all have the previous couples in but I never felt that they intruded on the main pair.

    Sometimes though the couples are wheeled out one after the other just so they get a bit of page space which then seems rather forced.

    Reply
  • I’m with JenB – I’ve bought a few of her books based on blurb and great covers and they have not been for me. I keep thinking to give her another try but this review helps remind me why I don’t care for her stories.

    Reply
  • Thanks so much for your careful explanations, Jen. This is the kind of review that’s truly informative.

    I haven’t read this author’s work, so I can’t comment on it. But I definitely admired the way you presented your assessment.

    Reply
  • I’ve read four or five of this author’s books and I did rather enjoy one of them (Teacher’s Pet), but I didn’t care for the rest. She does have a huge fan base so obviously her target audience loves her, but her stories don’t work for me. I think that’s more an issue of taste than of writing skill. She does have great blurbs though. I’ve nearly been pulled in several times because of the blurbs and the covers.

    Great review. Very informative and very fair. I’d have had the same issues you did.

    Reply
    • Hi JenB
      I didn’t even read the blurb to this until after I read the book! Perhaps I should have because even reading the blurb I can tell, I may not have liked this – or maybe it’s just me projecting my thoughts after reading the book onto the blurb, who knows?

      The power of a good blurb and cover can be great indeed. I look at this cover though and I think of Michael from the Channelling Morpheus books as this is exactly the same image as on the cover of Manikin by Jordan Castillo Price.

      Reply

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