Patient Eyes

PatientEyesTitle: Patient Eyes
Author: Andy Eisenberg
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: Novella
Rating: 3.75 out of 5

A guest review by Kassa


THE BLURB:

Jaden is in a bind: he’s an eighteen-year-old college student who doesn’t make enough money at his part-time job to even afford food.  So when one of his house mates introduces him to gay-for-pay porn, he reluctantly agrees to take part. During his first scene, Jaden meets Brendan, and he’s stunned to find himself falling in love.

THE REVIEW:

This is an appealing sweet romance that is mostly light on angst until the end. Unfortunately the ending has only a very vague happy for now that may not satisfy most readers. The lack of strong ending is also surprising, given the highly romantic tones of the book. Readers may not be bothered by this due to the strong romance of the story but this is disappointing and leaves an otherwise good story feeling like a let down. Other than this problem and a few technical errors, this novella is a strong first showing from a new author.

Jaden is a new college student, living away from home and struggling to make ends meet. When his part time job at Starbucks fails to provide him enough to eat, the literally starving student hesitantly agrees to check out a gay-for-pay porn site. Deciding that doing a few scenes and being able to eat is more important; Jaden gives the site a try. His first man on man scene is with experienced Brendan and emotions emerge that neither man is expecting. Both Brendon and Jaden decide to follow their hearts despite Jaden’s previous straight status. However the threat of exposure hangs over their heads and when a jealous admirer tries to destroy Jaden’s new life, unexpected consequences follow.

The story is told in third person point of view from Jaden’s perspective. There are a few slip ups when Brendon’s POV is thrown in erroneously but other than those few times, Jaden’s perspective is the only one shown. The plot is very romantic and focuses mostly on Jaden and Brendon’s developing relationship as they realize their feelings for each other go deeper than an on camera fling. The slow progress of their relationship is sweet and shows how Jaden goes from a happy heterosexual to discovering his attraction and intense passion for another man. Jaden doesn’t immediately identify as gay and re-iterates at numerous points that he enjoyed sex with his ex-girlfriend, but eventually Jaden comes to the realization that he is gay and happiest with Brendon. This process of discovery is easy and there is very little angst or drama involved from any angle for the most part.

There is also a lot of sex thrown in but only between Brendon and Jaden. Once Jaden accepts his desire for the other man, the two enjoy a healthy and active sex life. Mostly on camera for the porn site but fans of explicit erotica are sure to be satisfied by the amount of scenes included. The scenes also have a heavily romantic tone, even sometimes alluding to the fact that women are fans of gay porn. There are several references to this within the story and other than this now being an annoying inclusion, it wasn’t too overwhelming. Jaden throws himself into the sex as if he’s been doing it all his life with very little internal angst or soul searching.

This ease kept the characters somewhat two dimensional but not so much as to throw the story off. Other than Jaden’s love and desire for Brendon, there is little know about the other man. Brendon is a great support for Jaden and helps the other man come to terms with his sexuality in a gradual way. Brendon also helps Jaden realize the importance of family – almost too much. This flaw plays into the problems with the ending. Although Jaden’s family is fine with his sexuality, once the porn angle is introduced they completely change their minds. This abrupt change is not supported well and injects the main conflict in the story. This even leads up to the breakup between Jaden and Brendon, which again plays out off scene and the reader has no real idea why the men chose the avenue they did or how it was handled. One moment Jaden is upset and crying and the next it’s three years later, so much has happened, and there is a vague happy ending. This leap in time – all off page – is incredibly disappointing and ends the story on a very sour note.

Another problem with the ending is that the catalyst for all of this conflict, a jealous admirer, doesn’t make very much sense nor does the final solution – again off page – make much sense regarding this sub plot. It’s as if the book got to a certain point and realized there had to be overwhelming conflict and threw it in at the last moment. Yet the resolution and conflict this creates between Brendon and Jaden is all off page. This again weakens what is otherwise a decent, romantic story. The writing is pretty good with very few obvious mistakes and the flow is quick. The story doesn’t lag and speeds along so the novella is an easy, fun read.

Although the ending ruined the book for me and left me disgruntled, others may not be as bothered. For a nice easy first offering from a new author, check this out.

13 comments

  • I have to say although there is a lot of lost opportunity in this book and the ending is horrible, I enjoyed reading it for the most part.
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    I can see why people would be frustrated and angry and disappointed, I was! But I do think the book is actually pretty decent, just ruined at the end which has people walking away even more upset than they would feel otherwise.
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    Jen, it’s actually not an epilogue if you can believe it. It’s just another chapter that acts like an epilogue without the title of such. The big fall out happens at the end of the chapter, Jared is crying. Start of the new chapter and it’s 3 years later with an ambiguous happy ending. I wouldn’t want to cast assumptions on author choices so I’ll just say it’s not well done. But really the parts I hated were the last few chapters out of the whole book.

    Reply
  • I’m in two minds about this book now. I’ve been considering buying it because I’m a sucker for stories based around the porn industry (eek, what does that say about me :)), but reading this review I see that the author has added a dreaded epilogue.
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    I may have mentioned a few times in my reviews how much I hate epilogues *g*. More often than not they ruin an ending – not always, there are some books which utilise an epilogue to good effect – and this book seems like one of those where an epilogue is stuck onto what could have been a better ending.
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    No, I still can’t decide :).

    Reply
  • Even after the parts that I didn’t like I actually loved the others stuff.The relationship between the men was lovely and tender and Jayden’s realization of his sexual nature was very touching. So, yes I would recommend this book an d author with the caveat that she should re-write the end.

    Reply
  • What an interesting discussion about this book. It makes me want to read it but I probably won’t because of the difficulties everyone seems to have with the story.

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    I wish sometimes that writers would think their plots through before putting pen to paper to see whether they make sense and maybe consult with people who would tell them the truth.

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  • I was so incredibly disappointed in this story I was actually pi##ed off!.
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    The “gay for pay” angle in todays society is incredibly interesting. It’s been debated and argued thanks to news article, talk shows like Tyra Banks and “scandals” like the college wrestlers who were kicked from school because of doing a solo videos for a gay site.
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    What makes these men tick? Yes, there are guys out there, straight guys who would do anything for a buck, but there are also “gay for pay” models who are exploring and coming to terms with their own sexuality. I’d love to get a glimpse inside the mind of a guy who wants to explore their sexuality in such a public way…fictional or not.
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    Shame on me, btw. Shame on me for being sucked in by simply a pretty cover. I should have gone with my gut on this one.
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    One minor observation…is there a list of names that m/m writers turn to? I have read no less than 4 stories…ebooks, shorts and novels…that used the name Jaden/Jayden.
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    Andy could have done such a better job with developing the characters…especially the gf.

    Reply
  • Wow, Kassa, this is interesting. I had the opportunity to get this book and I thought the premise was very interesting: this straight college student being desperate for money to stay in college and carrying too heavy a courseload to get a real job, so he has to venture into the porn industry. But then I read the excerpt, and the lead character’s girlfriend came across (at least to me anyway) as an incredibly irritating anti-female stereotype (e.g., manipulating her boyfriend sexually and yet withholding sex and being self-centered and unreasonable). I was so antagonized by this that I passed on picking up the book. Was I mistaken?

    Reply
    • Hi Val! I have to say the girlfriend (for me) was totally forgettable. She fills a niche in that moving from a High School Crush/first relationship into exploring what you really want out of your sex life, partner. While she was annoying, all about me look at me personality, I took a lot of it to be her age and lack of maturity. She didn’t seem any more manipulative than other young women that age who tend to be all about them.
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      I also didn’t think it was a case of withholding sex since Jaden moves his attention onto Brendan pretty soon and that lack of attention is what prompts the girlfriend into her behavior. This, like the parents, was a small part of the book that I didn’t appreciate.
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      I liked the easy writing and slow romantic connection, which is something different from what I’ve read recently. I do think the author murdered the entire book with the shoddy ending and really disappointed fans who will walk away with a less than good feeling about the book in general.

      Reply
      • Thanks, Kassa! It sounds like the portrayal of the girlfriend wasn’t quite as misogynistic as it first appeared to me. But that ending sounds WAY crummy! Plus, I agree with what Mike said below. It sounds like this book really missed an opportunity to explore a fascinating subject (the gay-for-pay thing).

        Reply
  • I read this book and to say I was disappointed is an understatement. It went from one page where the parents were vile to him and his boyfriend states family is important. The next page is three years later. Are you kidding me! Who would just give up moving in with his boyfriend one minute to ok Mom and Dad I’ll just forget your abuse and knuckle under.What the H*ll Ridiculous. It’s like the author got bored with the story and just wanted it over.Phooey!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
    • Hi Arlene! I was attempting to avoid spoilers by not saying that outright but I totally agree with you. THe ending is BEYOND stupid. The entire “outing” I felt was telegraphed from the beginning with all the stress about family, but then they go from supportive to stereotypical evil in a blink. I thought the whole skip 3 years later and the boyfriend is patiently waiting.. for what?!
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      Like I said several times.. I hated the ending passionately.

      Reply
  • I know it’s weird.. I kind of thought someone would be blind too lol. Title assumptions.
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    As for the leap in time, sometimes it works and it’s a nice wrapped up ending. But sometimes it’s annoying when the resolution happens off page. This (and other books) sometimes drop the big conflict in readers’ laps.. like for example a breakup or cheating or w/e. Then a leap in time later they’re back together. Why not show us how it happened? After all, isn’t that why people read romance novels – to read the journey to a happy ending. Not just the “i love you. the end”

    Reply
  • I’m trying to decide if I like books that have an add-on several years later. Sometimes I don’t mind if it’s something like 6 months or a year, but I’m not sure several years works for me if a lot has happened in between that is not explained but simply kind of summarized in the last chapter. Hmmm. Never thought about it much before this review. Although on the whole it sounds like not a bad book for a light read.
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    I will say though I would have sworn it said the guy was blind and I was wondering how on earth he was working at Starbucks if he was blind. LOL I really must read more slowly or wear glasses more often.

    Reply

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