Authors: Taylor V. Donovan
Cover Artist: LC Chase
Buy Link: Disasterology 101,
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Rating: 5 stars
A Guest Review by Sammy
Review Summary: Sometimes we cannot fix those we love, but must find a way to embrace them, fears and all.
Blurb: Kevin Morrison had it all. A house he worked hard for, a loving wife, and three beautiful children. But it wasn’t until his marriage ended that he realized what the void he’d felt almost all his life meant. Coming out as a gay man at thirty-six is not an easy feat, but he is determined to be true to his heart. Meeting a man who shares his values, and is good with his children would be a bonus, but when the guy arrives in a uniquely wrapped package, and has very specific handling instructions, Kevin needs to decide if he’s up for that kind of love.
Obsessed with order and symmetry, and a paralyzing fear of germs, Cedric Haughton-Disley has lived with isolation and loneliness as long as he can remember. Desperate to be normal, he makes some much-needed changes in his life. If he can commit to his treatment, he might very well be able to procure some quality of life… even if that’s all he can get, as finding love and having a relationship are only possible in Cedric’s wildest dreams. But when a chance encounter leaves Cedric wishing for more, he decides to take a leap of faith, and pursue the guy he wants.
Together the two men make an unlikely match. Cedric needs organization, and Kevin represents chaos. In order to stay together they both need to compromise, but will they be able to deal with Cedric’s issues and the potential disaster, or let it break them apart?
Review: So, little known fact about me…I may not be able to work, type, be online, cook, create anything until the space I am working in is…organized. Pens in the pen cup, paper in a very neat, precise pile, stacks straightened, everything placed just so, and the table height just right. Obsessive, you say? Bah! Compulsive, you think? Ha! A wee bit…strange? Maybe. But I am certainly not anywhere near the compulsive shenanigans of our lead character, Cedric Haughton-Disley, not by a long shot. Cedric has crippling OCD and is a germaphobe, to boot. He likes things in three, shirts, nods and condoms. Sex is, to say the least, interesting as Cedric cannot stand messes, like semen. In fact, it makes him vomit and shake. Lots of things make Cedric shake, some put him in such a tailspin that he completely shuts down and must hide until the panic episode passes. He has come to America to focus on getting better, to learn how to cope and to push himself so that maybe, one day he can live a quasi-normal life.
As usual Cedric has everything planned, down to the time he must be home and the number of hours he can be around people, three, of course. What he did not prepare for was Kevin Morrison. Kind, patient, persistent Kevin. Determined to live as a gay man, after denying what was in his heart for so very long, Kevin wants it all, a relationship, sex, something permanent, something lasting. When the two men meet, Cedric finds that he wants to be better, much better, for the first time–that he can endure some mess, especially if it means having Kevin in his life. But the clock is ticking….a potential return to England looms, Cedric’s phobias kick into high gear and Kevin fears that a life with Cedric is much like his every being wholly free from his fears–impossible.
I am a Taylor Donovan virgin. Never having read her work before, I was simply delighted at this novel, Disasterology 101. Besides falling instantly in love with both her main characters, I also fell head over heels for her writing style, sharp, witty and oh so compelling OCD is a crippling disease–I should know, my sister suffers from it. Despite a person’s best efforts and strong desire to “get better”, the real achievement is accepting and controlling their fears and this is where Cedric is, alone and struggling. Never flippant, the author treats this plot line seriously, with care and compassion, and makes sure that the people surrounding Cedric do so as well.
And so we meet Kevin…beautiful, endearing, sweet Kevin. I loved how the author portrayed his ability to endure all of the craziness by having him compare Cedric’s behaviors to those of his children. No, he does not consider Cedric a child–not at all. But he hangs on patiently to this man by reminding himself that he does the same type of slow, repetitive motions and monitoring of his reactions for his children, whom he also loves. By giving this little insight into Kevin’s thinking, Taylor Donovan grounds him firmly in reality and makes us believe that there are people who are willing to sacrifice so much for those they love. I am pretty sure I fell in love with Kevin. I know I fell in love with Cedric.
The beauty of this novel was not only the rich and detailed story line, complex characters and fascinating plot, but the way in which the author created a family of people whom you could envision meeting on any street corner. The story built slowly but doggedly, much like Cedric’s desire to push his progress in therapy and Kevin’s desire to keep Cedric as his. The pacing never felt either rushed or lacking. The tenderness the author showed for these men bounded off the page, straight into your heart. I was ever so impressed by this novel, by this author.
Disasterology 101 by Taylor Donovan is a beautiful story of two men and their determination to make their relationship work and their love lasting. I highly recommend this novel to you.