Title: Not As Easy As It Looks
Author: Jaime Samms
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy Link: Amazon.com;
Genre: Western/coming of age/MMM
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Review by Zac D
Review Summary: A frustrating read, from the book that had the potential to be magical. A lovely, resonant tone, but a convoluted plot left a lot to be desired and tainted what could’ve been a wonderful read.
Blurb: Don Jenkins will do anything for a happy, thriving family and home. When he discovers that Griff McAllister, his life partner and love since high school, seems to be losing faith in him, he’s at a loss for how to mend the relationship. Then Howard Campbell is added to the mix, a man Don and Griff both love beyond words, and jealousy and mistrust threaten not just their bond, but even Don’s ability to keep his farm viable.
Nearly losing Howard in an accident serves as a wakeup call. They begin to pull their relationship out of the muck and work to remember why they came together in the first place. If they can figure out how to help one another and make sure each man gets what he needs, the trio might build the loving future they’ve dared to hope for. They have to be brave enough to commit every resource they can muster—especially trust, understanding, and acceptance—and realize true love is never as easy as it looks.
Review: Not As Easy As It Looks turned out to be exactly that. The overall writing style of the book was beautiful. Warm and resonant, it flowed through me like an autumn sunset. I loved the setting too. Farming is something I know little about, but I enjoyed the imagery, and the palpable struggle the MC’s had to survive.
I liked Donny’s character too. He was sweet, and though I didn’t always understand him, his selflessness in trying to keep everyone happy was heartbreaking. The second MC was less likeable. Griff was inconsistent, and the blame for this lands at the door of my major gripe with this story: the timeline.
In short, the timeline for this story was totally bananas. I didn’t have a clue what was going on from start to finish and it bugged the hell out of me. The timeline jumped back and forth every three pages or so, sometimes going right back to the MC’s school days, and sometimes just a few years. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason, and I was left confused at every turn. For a while I figured that maybe I was too stooopid to understand, that I was missing something obvious, but by the end of the book I was no clearer.
There are three men in this book; Donny, Griff and Howard. Donny and Griff are an established couple, and Howard is tossed in and out as a third lover throughout the book. At least, I think he was. Some chapters he seemed to be some kind of stalker, and others Donny and Griff seemed to be the ones stalking him. I have nothing against M/M/M books – hell, no – but this book never committed itself either way. Howard’s character was flimsy and underdeveloped, and felt superfluous.
Which leads me to the sex…
Most of it was off page, which is fine in theory, but because of the convoluted timeline it was never clear who and done what with who…that is to say, had Donny slept with Griff or Howard? Or both? Or neither? I repeat: I didn’t have a freakin’ clue. Also, when there was a hint of smexin going on, about halfway through the book, we suddenly get blasted with some bizarre BDSM (the BDSM wasn’t bizarre, merely its placement), so in the midst of trying to figure out the plot, I found myself confronted with random blowjobs with added teeth.
I also had issues trying to keep track of the secondary characters. There were hundreds of them. Sisters. Brothers. Spouses. Cousins. Kids. And most of them seemed to die in car accidents…another overused plot device. By the time Terrance wrapped himself around a tree the whole death thing had worn a little thin, and I found myself rolling my eyes.
I wanted to love this book because the technical quality of the writing is very strong, but the format didn’t work for me. At the beginning, I could dig it because I thought it would be phased out and coherency would take over. But it didn’t, and I was left bemused.