Title: It’s Simple, Simon
Author: Lee Brazil
Publisher: Lime Time Press
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
Length: 18595 words/ 68 pages
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
A Guest Review by Andrea
Review Summary: Decent M/M spin on a classic nursery rhyme.
Blurb: Simon Carter has achieved unimaginable success and he owes it all to a man from his past whose scorn set fire to his ambition.
“It’s Simple, Simon. You lack ambition.”
Chase Garvin’s jibe had sent Simon Carter on unexpected paths and brought him unimaginable success. No longer a penniless musician, the highly paid investment banker is going home for the first time in years. He plans to rest, relax, and spend a little time rubbing his ex-lover’s nose in his success. A visit to the Renaissance Fair brings this not-quite-so-simple- Simon nose to nose with his past and somehow revenge doesn’t seem quite so attractive.
Chase Garvin, Denver, Colorado’s very own Pie Man, is still incredibly handsome. What’s more, the more mature Chase is very appreciative of Simon’s talents.
When the old attraction flares between them, Simon and the Pie Man get caught up in tasting the wares, and neither counts the pennies.
How could I not be intrigued by a gay twist on a classic nursery rhyme? I picked this book up because I wanted to see if it was possible to make a good story out of a not so good rhyme. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the author managed to make it into a story I actually got into and wanted to read. It wasn’t a great book but it did hold my interest while reading it.
Simon was basically a lazy pothead content to live off his parents after high school. His boyfriend at the time was Chase. Chase loved Simon but wasn’t thrilled with Simon’s lack of ambition. In a moment of frustration, Chase told Simon exactly how he felt about that and then broke up with him. All of this happened right before their favorite event of the year, the renaissance fair.
Years later, Simon still can’t forget Chase’s parting words. Simon has turned his life around and become a successful man. His plan is to go back home to the renaissance fair, find Chase who has since become a successful chef specializing in sweet and savory pies, and then reveal the new and improved Simon to him. Part of him wants to show off and a small part of him can’t wait for Chase to see what he gave up. His plan is part romantic nostalgia and part revenge. The big mystery is which part of the plan will win out in the end.
First off, the whole renaissance fair idea is a turnoff for me. Whenever I tried to picture a guy that gets excited to go to a renaissance fair and play his mandolin, my brain instantly brought to mind Howard Wolowitz from The Big Bang Theory. I like Howard, but if I had to name the least sexy guy I can think of, Howard would be at the top of the list. I couldn’t get his image out of my head. Secondly, I never developed any affection for Simon or Chase. They were OK guys but neither character had anything special which endeared them to me.
Their story, on the other hand, did work for me. I enjoyed the build up going into the reunion where I got to peek into their past and see the messy, hurtful breakup. The idea of Simon planning a reunion in order to get revenge seemed realistic and reasonable to me. When they first saw each other again and spent some time together, it was good even if I was picturing two Howard Wolowitzes at a decidedly un-sexy renaissance fair. I thought that once they got out of the fair, the romance and passion would pick up a bit and I would start to fall for Chase and Simon as a couple. I was wrong, every encounter they had ended up being an overly angsty, secret keeping dilemma for Simon. I thought most of the drama over keeping his success a secret from Chase was overblown. It turned what might have been a good romance into a story more about minor relationship issues and resolving them. That may have worked if I had been pulling for Chase and Simon to work it out, but I didn’t care if they never spoke to one another again. I had zero emotional investment in their relationship.
It was a quick read and good enough to keep my attention until the end, but unremarkably average. I had to give the overall score an extra star because the author did succeed in transforming a nursery rhyme I’ve never cared for into an M/M romance I wanted to read and was entertained while doing so.