Title: Homo Action Love Story: A Tall Tale
Author: Ben Monopoli
Cover artist: n/a
Amazon: Buy Link Homo Action Love Story! A tall tale
Genre: contemporary MM set in the future which is not too different from our today 🙂
Length: 364 pages
Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5
A guest review by Sirius
Summary: The promise of light hearted sexy adventure is definitely fulfilled, but story had depth too.
Boots McHenry and his boyfriend Ryan are young superstars in the North American Paintball League, a high-stakes sport where losers face exile — five full years of it, on an island so secret no one can be sure it even exists. After Ryan has a tragic collision with an opposing team’s paintball, the rules of the game force the boyfriends apart.
Boots is shattered without Ryan, so when his best friend Clemente Santiago suggests a daring, high-seas mission to find the island and reunite the pair, Boots jumps at the chance. They assemble a crack team to join them, including fashion model and mixed-martial-arts champ Colby Kroft, hunky-but-shy sea-captain Marcus Tumble, and Piper Pernfors, the ex who’s aching to make Boots forget Ryan ever existed.
HOMO ACTION LOVE STORY! is a lighthearted, sexy adventure from the author of THE CRANBERRY HUSH and THE PAINTING OF PORCUPINE CITY. It’s a perfect storm of beautiful fishermen, murderous pirates, blossoming romances, and secrets that call almost everyone’s motives into question. Land, ho! This page-turner is sure to float your boat.
Welcome to the future my friends! Welcome to the future where the only medical risk for two men going to bed together is the risk of broken heart and one of the most popular sports games is the game of paintball :). Welcome to the future, which is otherwise not too different from our world today.
I will be honest here – while I enjoyed Cranberry Hush by Ben Monopoli very very much (not in the least because it was so very different from many mm stories I have read before), after skimming The Painting of Porcubine City (I did it way before Leslie’s awesome review here) I told myself that it would be highly unlikely that I will ever pick up another book by this writer. I think he is one of the most gifted writers in this genre, but I also thought that all his books would be on the melancholic/bittersweet side and while I do not mind it from time to time, I was thinking that the tone of those two books meant that his books will “always” be melancholic.
Well, the blurb of this book specifically promised that it will be very different in tone from his earlier works and I was instantly intrigued. The blurb did not lie – it is very different in tone and I am very happy that I have read it.
Before we go any further, please note that the book is written in the present tense, so if this is not your cup of tea, stay away. I am also usually not the big fan of the present tense, but there are books where it worked for me and this is one of them.
The blurb promises a light hearted sexy adventure and it delivers in that area, although I thought that light hearted sexy adventure contained the subtle undertones of some deeper thoughts about love and life as well.
I was wondering whether paintball gaining humongous popularity as the sport of the future meant to have some satirical or at least humorous undertones, and to be honest with you I am still not sure. I did not really feel that the book poked over the top social kind of fun (which is to me what the satire is) at the lives of celebrity sport players – I felt more like the author was looking at them with compassion and kindness – but at the same time I could not shake off the feeling that with the names like Boots McHenry, Colby Croft and some others we were not meant to take the whole thing too seriously :). I suppose I should probably settle on the settings being humorous and be done with it.
However, I cannot really be done with it :), because it was really fun to watch how some serious and philosophical thought would sometimes appear in the midst of all the lightheartedness and make total sense. I was for example really impressed how the “exile” mentioned in the blurb, which seemed a bit farcical when it first mentioned is used to pose some rather serious questions and make you think about what choices one is willing to make to achieve some goals. Maybe it is just me, but I am always happy when one of the questions raised in the story is of the “whether the ends will justify the means” variety. What are we willing to sacrifice in order to achieve personal comfort and how far are we willing to go?
The main reason why I liked the story so much was the characters living in it. I did like Boots the narrator; I liked him despite finding him a bit self absorbed and a lot clueless (my God I thought that this dude was clueless about everybody around him, but I guess this was his fate as a narrator), but I also found him sweet, loyal and overall rather decent human being. The blurb is sneakily quiet about developments in Boots’ romantic life and for that reason I do not feel like I can tell you much either, except to say that while I did wonder whether this was a full blown romance, or adventure with romantic elements, I enjoyed it no matter how you classify it.
I think what I liked in this book the most actually was how nobody is painted in completely black colors and everybody’s actions are easy to understand and at least somewhat empathize with. I cannot say that this story features a redemption of the villain, something which I love, if plausibly done, but thats because I just cannot describe the people who do some bad things in this one as villains, really, because their motivations for doing some not so good things were easy enough to relate to.
Nobody is cartoonishly perfect in this story either including first and foremost the narrator, who as I mentioned before is a bit self absorbed and does couple of things which I considered quite silly, but a lot of the characters are well developed, interesting and I really wanted to get to know them more, but not as in “they should have been better drawn” but as in “they are so interesting that I do not want to say good bye to them”.