Chase the Storm

ChaseTheStorm1Title: Chase the Storm 
Author: V.M Waitt
Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press 
Buy Link Amazon:; Publisher Buy Link
Genre: Contemporary/Western
Length: Novel. 210 pages
Rating: 4 stars out of 5

A Guest Review by Zac D

Review Summary: A beautiful book, let down in places by some misplaced vulgarity, but nonetheless, a strong debut from a new author, and a wonderful, heartwarming read.

Blurb

Up until he buys an old truck, Elijah Morgan lives life according to his family’s plan, never feeling like he belongs. Desperate to find his own path, he heads out on the open road, only to end up stranded in Nebraska. Not wanting to ask for his parents’ help, he takes a job with tough, independent farmer Chase McKenzie.

Despite their age gap, the attraction between Chase and Elijah soon becomes undeniable. They give in to their desire, but that night changes everything and threatens the secret Chase guards so carefully.

As the summer heats up, so does their relationship. When autumn arrives, Elijah is due back at college, and he’ll have to choose whether to continue his education and follow in his family’s footsteps… or to stay in Nebraska with the man he loves.

Review

I was cautiously excited about this book. When I was sent the blurbs by Wave, I deliberately picked out a full sized novel that sounded just the thing I would pick out at a bookstore. As you know, I tore a book to shreds last week, and I was absolutely desperate not to repeat the cycle.

For the most part, I was happily not disappointed. The opening chapter had me hooked from the get go–warm, resonate, rambly and really rather beautiful, it set the tone for the start of a wonderful book.

Let me start with the characters…

I adored Chase from the moment he walked into the book. He had everything I crave in a tortured MC—gruffness, anguish, torment, reticence. Put together with scruffy blond hair and a southern accent, and I was gone.

Elijah wasn’t quite as strong for me–with his red hair and piano playing, the set up was a little Edward Cullen fan fiction style for me, but, that being said, as the book went on, I did mostly forget about that first impression. His character developed, and developed well.

Chase and Elijah. Loved those names. So often, authors ruin books by giving their lead MC’s flat, characterless names. Not this one. Chase and Elijah. Elijah and Chase. Loved them. An inspired choice.

The setting…

I loved that too. The farm and its deep Nebraska location was wonderfully described. At times I could smell the hay, feel the sun on my back and sense the fine layer of dust that surely covered everything.

The horses were a beautifully touching addition. A real treat. I felt something for each and every one of them, especially patient Lakota and haunted Admiral. The poignant relationship between Chase and his dead husband’s horse…flippin’ eck. Beautiful.

The horses were an absolute stroke of genius.

(Not going to lie, even early on in the book, I found myself getting upset that Chase was going to sell Keno. What am I like?)

And so on to the nitpicking…

To be honest, there wasn’t much to complain about–some passive voice niggles and dialogue tag abuse, nothing that would bother a normal, sane, non-nitpicking, non-OCD person.

The dialogue tag issue was irritating. I think in one scene alone the characters divulged, vowed, fumed, breathed, challenged, gasped and confessed. There was even an occasion when Elijah purred.

No, just…no, but that is one of my personal bugbears, and nothing a stronger edit next book round couldn’t cure.

The one and only major issue…

My main problem with Chase the Storm was the mismatch of writing styles within the book. For the most part, the tale of Chase and his heartrending grief for his dead husband, Owen, is beautifully written. Reading his backstory…how they married on their land, how Owen is buried on their land…how their beloved dog was never found after the accident…gah. Breaks my heart even now. Superb, superb writing. It’s been a while since a book truly touched me, but this one did. The writing at times is simply breathtaking. Even when Elijah’s slightly nauseating insta-love should’ve been irritating, the strength and skill of the narrative held firm.

Then the sex came along and ruined it. And there is a lot of sex–pages and pages of crass, vulgar fanfiction style porn, and the more of it I read, the more disappointed I became.

Don’t get me wrong, even the sex was competently written if you like that sort of thing, (and I certainly do in the right context) but it didn’t fit with the poignant style of the rest of the book. It was like too separate books jammed awkwardly together, and it muddied the beautiful glow the story of Chase and Elijah should’ve maintained.

Seriously. I was in tears over Chase’s weekly visits to Owen’s grave, only to find myself reading how Elijah wanted to smell his cock and shooting streams of semen, and sadly, this experience was repeated throughout the book, leaving me frustrated and disappointed. It was a total mismatch of storytelling and let the book down. I think the book could lose at least half the smut and be the better for it.

To sum up…

Chase the Storm is, for the most part, a wonderful book. The writing is strong, the setting beautiful and the characters emotive and compelling. I enjoyed it very much, and at times, couldn’t put it down.

A reluctant four stars. Without the crass, overdone sex it would’ve been a five for sure.

4 comments

  • Yes, Wave, you’re right about the trend in MM in general. Too much emphasis is placed on the erotic elements with the plot falling by the wayside. It’s lowering the standard for the whole genre and doing a real disservice to the authors who really do put out quality books.

    With this one, it wasn’t a quality issue for me, it was all stylistic. The book is wonderful, but the two elements of it do not fit together.

    The sex isn’t bad sex, there is simply too much of it, and seems to be totally out of context.

    I would definitely not let that put anyone off buying/reading it, though. You may find it works for you just fine, I am one (nit-picky) man after all!

  • This book is on my TBR-list. Now I’m not sure what to make with it. It really sounds good but the sex could turn me off, too. Is it written in a different style or is ot just that it sounds vular next to the more poetic rest of the story?

    I had this problem with “Sinner’s Gin” where I thought the sex was written by someone else.

    Hm…now, what to do???

  • This sounds like one I would enjoy as well. In reply to Wave’s post, I agree that writers are often pressured by readers to spice things up (although I was made to tone mine down…*blushes*). I myself am even guilty of the pressuring to an extent, because romance books that completely skip the sex really irritate me–it pulls me out of the story as much as gratuitously porn-y sex scenes.

    It would be a simple matter of making the quantity and tone of the sex scenes fit that of the narrative. The characters don’t necessarily have to have less sex, but it has to flow. My editor once told me that if the sex scenes don’t advance the plot or the characters’ relationship, then they don’t belong in a straight romance–you’re edging more towards erotica then.

    Anyway, great review Zac. Sounds like this one is still worth checking out.

  • Zac
    What an absolutely lovely review! I haven’t read this book but I’m longing to read it based on how you felt about Chase and his story.

    the characters divulged, vowed, fumed, breathed, challenged, gasped and confessed. There was even an occasion when Elijah purred.

    This might be the author’s writing style or she might just have been trying to get away from using the word “said” too often. 😆 A couple weeks ago Nicole Kimberling wrote an article on the site in which she gave some wonderful examples of word choices in books and how they affect its tone, and maybe this author saw a similar article and is trying to move away from this deadly sin. 🙂

    On the bigger issue of how the book turned around on a dime and became porn, I think readers are to blame for that. Most of them refuse to buy books unless they are filled with sex scene after sex scene, and a lot of them don’t care about the plot or even, at times, the characters. Gay men are treated like sex machines in these books although a few authors have complained about being pressured to “spice up” their books by their editors when there isn’t enough sex, such as on every page. I hate it when this happens, but I’m only one reader. I have written many posts and have done polls on the site about the topic of excessive sex in M/M, (I don’t know if the same thing occurs in het because I don’t read it) but it doesn’t matter what the readers say about wanting romances that are character driven with lots of plot, and how much they don’t care about the sex, when it comes time for them to take out their credit cards the majority of them buy books that are rated as 5 flames. I have nothing against sex in these books and some of my favourite writers have lots of sex in their stories, but the sex has to be appropriate to the stories and advance the plot and not become erotica or porn.

    I will read this book but skip the sex, which is what I do most of the time anyway. 🙂

    Thanks again Zac for such a great review.

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