Title: Acrobat
Author: Mary Calmes
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy Link: Acrobat
Genre: M/M contemporary romance
Length: 250 pages
Rating: 3.75 out 5 rating stars 

A Guest Review by Raine

Summary Review: An enjoyable if meandering Mary Calmes’ world romance with an older main character than usual, but all the other recognisable and oddly comforting details are present and correct.

Blurb: Forty-five-year-old English professor Nathan Qells is very good at making people feel important. What he’s not very good at is sticking around afterward. He’s a nice guy; he just doesn’t feel things the way other people do. So even after all the time he’s spent taking care of Michael, the kid across the hall, he doesn’t realize that Michael’s mob muscle uncle and guardian, Andreo Fiore, has slowly been falling in love with him.

Dreo has bigger problems than getting Nate to see him as a potential partner. He’s raising his nephew, trying to leave his unsavory job, and starting his own business, a process made infinitely more difficult when a series of hits takes out some key underworld players. Still, Dreo is determined to build a life he can be proud of—a life with Nate as a cornerstone. A life that is starting to look like exactly what Nate has been seeking. Unfortunately for Dreo—and for Nate—the last hits were just part of a major reorganization, and Dreo’s obvious love for Nate has made him a target too.


I find Mary Calmes’ books a somewhat guilty pleasure, somewhat akin to my occasional addiction to rose flavoured Turkish Delight- a sweet treat. Yet I have come to accept quite happily – living with addiction phase one – that I will always check out and probably buy the new Mary Calmes’ offering. Some I find more successful, within the rather narrow stylistic range she inhabits as a writer, than others.

I usually have more fun with the longer works. Acrobat is a good length but develops in a very leisurely way. For the most part I enjoyed suspending my disbelief and getting to know Nate, family, friends, colleagues, neighbours, in fact everybody who could add lustre to Nate as the most popular and loved man ever….ok familiar ground….Mary’s idealised heroes are always very well loved. I was well entertained by Nate’s interactions with Michael and his teenage social life. However there were deviations on this journey of romantic self discovery that even I found self indulgent; the scenes with his ex wife’s suspicious and drunk husband was unnecessary as was all the stuff about choosing wine…charming strangers over your ability to read a wine label…please. There were similar scenes with present and ex students all designed purely to build Nate’s already very, very well established kudos as a extra special guy.

However I did like Nate…..going with the majority here….and I rather enjoyed that he finally recognised his acrobatic patterns within the relationships for what they were. I thought the false trails of potential partners were nicely done, if somewhat negated by the blurb. Along with Nate I was very surprised by Dreo’s ambitions. Nate’s occasional default position as an unreliable witness to his own thoughts was a touch irritating, as in Dreo’s case he went from Micheal’s unsmiling uncle, a mere acquaintance, to hot appealing guy very quickly. However the suddenness of Nate’s realisation of this new powerful attraction worked well as the catalyst that jolted him out of his previous well worked routine behaviour. Moreover together Nate and Dreo certainly set the pages alight.

Dreo’s life and work added a colourful if cliched conflict to the mix which gave pace to the tension subplot, though there did seem to be excess of made and unmade men of Italian descent swaggering on and off stage clutching offerings of food for Nate’s approval. What the hell….. I enjoyed this in the spirit of a self indulgent comfort read and will probably continue to reread it with a side helping of sugar powdered Turkish Delight.

I thought the forward by the writer and the artist Anne Cain, about the painter Steve Walker, whose work Parallel Dreams inspired them both, was an interesting and moving note.



  • AMOT is one of my all time favorite reads….I will be sure to check out Acrobat now also, Thanks for a great review!

    • Jory and Sam are just so good together, even if I wanted to hit Sam over the head a lot……yeah still my favourite MC couple.
      Acrobat, was a nice comfort read for me, familiar and safe fun. 🙂 Hope you like it.

  • Hi Raine- Thanks for your review, you and I seem to be drawn to the same style of books. I’ve been avoiding this book (dispite the glowing reviews). I’m like you in that I can enjoy Mary C’s work, but… Yeah, I was disappointed in the lack luster ending of the Shifter Series so the auto-buy is no longer in op.

    I have her Matter of Time series on my kindle waiting to be read, so I think I will pass on this one.

    Thanks for your well spoken recommendation.


    • Hi Reggie,
      We certainly had the same reaction to the last Jin/Logan book, wow did I rant after all the blood sweat tears in the sand and all for such a let down!
      A Matter of Time was one of the first M/M series I read, so it has nostalgia value for me, in spite of it’s flaws. Jory is my still my fave of MC’s heroes…… 😀

  • I didn’t understand the relevance of the title, either.

    This kept me fairly absorbed as I was reading it, but it was not one of her successful stories for me. I enjoyed his involvement with the teenagers, as he was clearly acting as a father for Michael, and doing a good job of it.

    On the other hand (sorry if this is spoilerish) his complete refusal to even consider the possibility that he might be in danger was not particularly plausible to me. Most people, even if they intellectually knew it was unlikely they were in danger, would still feel a bit of an uneasy thrill at the possibility that maybe they are, and be cautious because of it.

    And it also got to be a bit too much for me in this one that everyone fell in love with Nathan immediately, except the bad guy who was clearly irrational. In Frog, I could understand how he was charming in part because he was humble and steady, and it worked. But in this one, all the admiration had me gagging a bit. It was just too much.

    • Hello Gail,
      so agree with you about the over emphasis on how wonderful Nate is meant to be….actually got to be funny in the end. I thought he got the danger he was in after meeting Joey, but yes I know what you mean about the disingenuous attitude to danger. I liked the stuff with Michael a lot, partly cos I can’t think of a similar relationship in any of the other books! 😕

  • Nice review :). Oh and you did manage to decipher something for me after all ;). After I finished the story , I had no idea why the title, so thank you for explaining 🙂


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