Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Caught! by J L Merrow ~ Blog Tour, Guest Post, Review and Giveaway

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What do you get when you cross a nerdy primary school teacher, a class of rambunctious 6 year olds, a rat catcher and an M/M romance? A completely entertaining, humorous and wonderful story in the unmistakable style that is JL Merrow.

We have JL with us today popping in to visit us on her blog tour with a guest post and of course don’t forget the Giveaway.

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Guest Post ~ Bow Ties are Cool!

Hi, I’m JL Merrow, and I’m thrilled to be here at Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews today as part of the Caught! blog tour.

“Wearing a bow tie is a statement. Almost an act of defiance.” -Rick Kaplan, former TV news producer at ABC, CBS, CNN, and MSNBC

“Bow ties are cool.” - 11th Doctor Who

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Bow ties: the renaissance is here.

Growing up, I knew only a few men who wore bow ties. Most of them were my schoolteachers, and I thought they were about as far from cool as you could get. They were all unbelievably ancient—some of them must have been over fifty, for goodness’ sake! *cringes at younger self* But even then, I could recognize that the choice to wear a bow tie meant something. It was a deliberate diversion from the norm.

The number of young men wearing them, however, was pretty much zero—no school proms in those days for UK kids, oh, no—at least until I went up to Cambridge and discovered the delights of May Balls. But there’s a difference, I think, between wearing a bow tie with a dinner jacket for a formal occasion, and choosing to wear one every day.

In my Cambridge days, a bow tie was, generally speaking, the sign of a young fogey.

StpdayThese young men harped back to a simpler age, when a gentleman could still hold open a door for a lady with impunity, and didn’t have to bother with all this wretched “talking about one’s feelings” business. And to a large extent, particularly in the UK, this is still true—but the young fogey has now been joined by the hipster.

This curious breed of skinny, tweedy, Ginsberg-loving, beard-wearing young men has taken the bow tie, that erstwhile symbol of the British establishment, and turned it into an emblem of counter-culture.

And in the process, arguably, made it cool.

***

Question: Robert from Caught! is a proud bow tie wearer, but not everyone in the book agrees with his sartorial choices. What do you think—bow ties: cool or not? ;)

 

 

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Title: Caught

Author: J L Merrow

Publisher: Samhain

Released: 19th August 2014

Genre: M/M (Contemporary)

Rating:

grey stargrey stargrey stargrey stargrey star

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Synopsis

You can run from the past…but the past runs faster.

Shamwell Tales, Book 1

Behind Robert’s cheerfully eccentric exterior lies a young heart battered and bruised by his past. He’s taken a job teaching in a village primary school to make a fresh start, and love isn’t part of his plans. But he’s knocked for six—literally—by a chance encounter with the uncle of two of his pupils.

Sean works in pest control, rides a motorbike, and lives on a council estate. On the face of it, he shouldn’t have anything in common with Robert’s bow-tie, classic-car style and posh family background. Yet Robert is helpless to resist Sean’s roguish grin, and a rocky, excruciatingly embarrassing start doesn’t keep the sparks between them from flaring.

Despite Robert’s increasingly ludicrous attempts to keep his past where it belongs, his past hasn’t read the memo. And soon his secrets could be the very things that drive Sean away for good...

Warning: Contains the alarming misadventures of a pest control technician, a stepsister with a truly unfortunate name, and a young man who may have more bow ties than sense.

 

Mark’ Review

What do you get when you cross a nerdy primary school teacher, a class of rambunctious 6 year olds, a rat catcher and an M/M romance? A completely entertaining, humorous and wonderful story in the unmistakable style that is JL Merrow.

Oh how I loved this book! What makes it for me is always the characters that JL Merrow portrays. How she does it is a mystery to me, but they are ALWAYS thoroughly entertaining, normal people with their quirks living in a real world. Here we have Rob Emeny. Yes I know, I don’t know how many times I read Enemy too, but that is also a source of fun for the kids in his class too and even the adults. So if my autocorrect changes it from Emeny to enemy then I apologise in advance, or it might be better to call him by his first name, Robert or Rob for short.

Rob is a primary school teacher and obviously has a lot on his hands anyway. He is a little nerdy in the fact that he always wears a bowtie and brogues. Obviously, not the most modern thing to wear, but he went to public school and maybe he might set a new trend, who knows ~ Bow Ties are Cool! For me Rob felt a little socially awkward at times, your typical lovable nerd, but that for me made him even more attractive and endearing. As I was reading I just couldn’t help but see Matt Smith the 11th Dr Who in front of me, another person I secretly have a little bit of a crush on, find him absolutely adorable – oopps secret’s out now!

Kids can be little buggers, but also so endearing and lovable at the same time. But it’s not always the kids that are misbehaved, the parents too. I just couldn’t help laughing when Robert has to break up a bitch fight between two mums at the front of the school. This is what endeared me to the whole set up of this story. Kids are absolutely amusing at the best of times, but throw in some lovable adult characters and for me the book is a hit. I just loved this whole background of primary school education and the trials and tribulations that teachers have to deal with. It is definitely a job that could test anyone’s patience, but you can see how Rob really cares about the children, not only their education, but also in a caring and pastoral role too. JL Merrow gets this balance for me just right, Rob would have been a teacher that I would love to have had in school myself. 

Rob has just ended a relationship and really doesn’t want to get involved in another one for the time being. He’s currently off men altogether. However, his best friend and colleague Rosie has also just broken up with her boyfriend so together they make a right pair. Even after all their disappointments they deal with it with a huge amount of British humour and the dialogues between Rosie and Rob are just the most entertaining thing to read.

Rob has twins in his class and at the end of the school day they are always picked up by their Uncle Sean. Their mother is fighting cancer and the real father is absent, so Sean is the next best thing to a real father and I must say he is absolutely marvellous with the kids. He now lives with sister to make things easier for her and due to taking care of the twins has very little time for himself. Rosie knows that he is bi, or has had a girlfriend but also notices how Rob behaves when Sean is around and goes about setting them up, Rob completely misreads the whole situation and when he goes out with Sean for the first time he thinks he is supposed to be getting Rosie and Sean together, however it is Rosie who trying to get him and Sean together. Again misunderstanding which leads once again to an hilarious first date which is fit for a TV sitcom.

After the initial blunders then Sean and Rob get together and when Rob finds out that Sean works in Pest Control, a rat catcher then you can imagine the initial reactions there. Someone coming from an upper-class background going out with a rat catcher from the council estate, talk about two worlds collide. However, Rob is not the snob he seems as after his dad died his mother and he went through some hard times until she married again, you could also say married into money. This enabled Rob to go to public school.

We were from different worlds. His was filled with small, scurrying creatures that had to be firmly controlled lest they cause a nuisance. Mine was filled with…….. All right, maybe our jobs weren’t so different.

The one thing is though that Rob has a history that he feels embarrassed about and doesn’t want Sean to know about. In his previous job he left and resigned under a cloud, although totally on the innocent end of the stick, he finds it still too embarrassing and uncomfortable to tell anyone and that includes Sean. Well, once his past starts to catch up with him and comes too close to home, by trying to keep everything from Sean he gives the impression that he is hiding something and lying. Too afraid to tell Sean this drives a wedge between them and eventually ends up where Sean walks out on him. However, Rob can’t swallow his pride and tell Sean, even though he is innocent so the usual blockhead syndrome takes over. This was actually quite heart-breaking to think that after they know they love each other so much that Rob still can’t feel comfortable enough to be able to tell Sean the truth about his past.

This takes a Christmas spent at his parent’s where Rosie comes to stay as a guest and Rosie trying to talk sense into him. What a friend, I just LOVED Rosie, always upbeat, always a quip to hand, never lost for words and just adorable at the same time. The friend that gives you the kick up the ass when you need it. So after all is said and done, Rob swallows his pride and sets out to get Sean back. He can only do this by telling him everything about what happened in his previous job and this takes a lot of courage, but the results were oh so worth it. I could however imagine how painful such things can be and the angst you have that when someone finds out about your past they’ll probably do a runner anyway. This was Rob’s fear, but really he didn’t need to fear if only he realised how much Sean loves him. When you meet someone then the important ting is the future you build together, the past is the past and sometimes you need to tell, but it doesn’t necessarily always have to affect the present and thank goodness Rob realises this before it’s too late.

I just so loved the multi-facetted side to this story. Robs past, Sean taking care of his nephews, Sean’s sister fighting cancer, Rosie playing matchmaker although with issues of her own, a class of kids that would drive anyone nuts, but you just can’t stop loving them, all with their own stories too. A light and at times funny book with just the right amount of pathos and poignancy to give it a much greater depth of emotion. The balance was perfect. Put all this together served up with a huge portion of wonderful humour and you have an entertaining, feel good story with a great HEA. Personally, I felt it was a little like reading the M/M version of Bridget Jones  – brilliant. I was left smiling for days. Just let me leave you now with the words of Matt Smith the 11th Doctor Who…………

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About The Author

JL Merrow is a very English writer of (mainly) m/m fiction who finds writing the only way to stay sane, except of course when a plot is driving her crazy. Having grown up on an island, she can’t remember a time before she could swim and prefers to remain close to water at all times. Luckily, the weather in her native land being as it generally is, this is not difficult.

I’m that rare beast; an English person who refuses to drink tea. I’m a writer of (mainly) m/m or f/f romance, mostly contemporary or paranormal, but with a fickle muse that occasionally ambushes me in dark alleyways and drags me off, cackling, to write historical or science fiction.

Some might call all this pillar-to-posting tragic evidence of a short attention span; I couldn’t possibly….er, what were we talking about, again?

I enjoy reading, martial arts, and surprising people who judge a book by its cover.

She is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Contact The Author

FACEBOOK | WEBSITE | TWITTER | GOODREADS

 

Purchase Links

samhain

AMAZON BUY LINK

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Giveaway

FallHard72webI’m offering a free signed paperback copy of my Icelandic-set romantic suspense novel Fall Hard (I’m happy to ship internationally) to a randomly chosen commenter on the tour, plus a $10 Amazon gift certificate!

Question: Robert from Caught! is a proud bow tie wearer, but not everyone in the book agrees with his sartorial choices. What do you think—bow ties: cool or not? ;)

I’ll be making the draw around teatime on Monday 1st September, GMT. Good luck! :D

Winners will be announced on my website.

Some memories are better off lost in the mist… Fall Hard

 

 

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64 comments:

  1. I am not really into bow ties myself... I find them a bit old fashioned, and I think you have to be really stylish to wear them with elegance. Anyhow, it is clear that they suit some men better than others. Thanks for the giveaway! I love all your books (and I'm so in love with Viggo from Fall Hard)

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    1. Thank you! Yes, there's definitely an olde-worlde feel about bow ties, harking back to a gentler age when men had more time to learn how to tie the things! ;)

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  2. You heard The Doctor, bow ties are cool. :)

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  3. Despite being a Dr. Who fan (who wears one as well as any man can), I am not a fan of the bow tie.

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    1. Maybe you just haven't met the right man wearing one yet? ;)
      They can look very dashing untied & slung loosely around the neck at the end of a hard night's partying. :)

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  4. what a wonderful review! You have me wanting to try this author :) Bow ties are a nerdy cute if on the right man...think about the possibilities of taking it off and using it to tie up other things ;)

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    1. *tries to think what you could tie up with a bow tie - after all they're not very long...*
      *lightbulb moment*
      Ah, yes. There is that! ;D

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  5. I feel almost uncool to say bow ties are not cool! I'm not a fan but as someone else said certain guys can pull it off. Looking forwards to reading your books! psshepherd@earthlink.net

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    Replies
    1. It's definitely horses for courses, isn't it? Thanks for commenting! :)

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  6. I actually like smartly dressed men in all forms of neck ties, cravats & properly tied bow ties (not clip ons). Bow ties identify a person as an individual and are worn and have been worn by world famous scientists, politicians, sportsmen, entertainers, etc, but most bow ties are generally worn at formal occasions such weddings and are often used as a comic prop in the entertainment industry.

    I remember a quote from the really cool former American Pro Footballer Dhani Jones, and wearer of bow ties, and it goes as following: "When you wear a bow tie, doors open for you. Your posture is a little more erect; your shoulders are a little further back; your style is a little more dynamic. It's about the reestablishment of the gentleman".

    Thank you for a great giveaway and a chance to ramble on about my passion for ties and some of their uses :)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I love that quote - there's a real "clothes maketh the man" thing that goes on, isn't there, and it isn't all about the visual effect of the clothes themselves.
      And yes, cravats can look ravishing, especially with the full gear of wing collar and morning coat (top hat optional). It's such a shame we don't often see them these days. :)

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  7. I think it depends on the man wearing the bow tie. On the right guy, they can be quite cool. I think the Eleventh Doctor wore his very well. I love your books, and I'm looking forward to reading Caught! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  8. I really like bow ties they are a kind of fashion statement I think. They can look really great on the right person.

    ShirleyAnn(at)speakman40(dot)freeserve(dot)co(dot)uk

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  9. depends on the color and size of the tie, and what it is worn with. Usually cheesy though

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    1. Hmm, I hadn't previously considered the importance of size in this matter, but I think you may be right! ;P

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  10. if u can pull off a bow tie, I say go for it!

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    Replies
    1. Yep - if you've got it, flaunt it! :D

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  11. A bow tie un tied with a wing tip collar & DJ is fantastically sexy. For everyday use definitely not so sexy

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    1. Yes, I guess overexposure could diminish the appeal. Keep for special occasions! :D

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  12. I don't like bow ties at all.

    jmesparza821 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Still not convinced, eh? Maybe if you read the book...
      #worldsleastsubtlemarketingploy ;)

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  13. I enjoy bow ties as showing a more personal sense of style and some rebellion too, at least here in the US where they don't equate to a public school tradition.

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    Replies
    1. It's funny how things have different associations depending on where you go, isn't it? Names are another area where connotations don't always translate. :)

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  14. Bow Ties are so quirky, adorable, and they're way sexy! I love them on a man in a suit, especially when they cross their legs and their socks peek out and their socks and bowie are the same color! Thank you for letting me know about you and your book :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "their socks peek out and their socks and bowie are the same color" - that is seriously adorable!
      Got to love a man who knows how to co-ordinate! :D
      And you're welcome!

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  15. Bow ties on a confident man wearing an awesome suit, and if he is hawt even better :). Thanks for the giveaway.

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  16. not really into bowties...they look pretentious
    please count me in

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    Replies
    1. Ah, well, you'll be pleased to hear Robert in Caught! is anything BUT pretentious!
      And you're counted. :)

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  17. On the right guy, a bow tie can be very sexy!

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  18. if the guy is hot as hell who cares what he is wearing

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    Replies
    1. Good point - then again, it's always fun unwrapping a prettily wrapped present! ;P

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  19. I like a bow tie on the right person who has the right kind of attitude. For example, Bubbles looks pretty spiffy in that blue bow tie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *furious tail-wagging from Bubbles* ;D

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  20. Bow ties can be fun. I think this one looks perfect.

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  21. I really think it depends on the type and size of bow tie. Some men can pull it off and have it be super sexy, others not so much. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, size can definitely be important... ;P

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  22. I have seen them rocked out and sexy on some and not so much on others. I really feel it has to do with the person wearing them.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Definitely. I mean, imagine the Ninth Doctor Who wearing Eleven's outfit... *shudders*
      *does quick google search*
      Nope, apparently the internet can't imagine it either! ;)

      Delete
  23. I'm not really a fan of bow ties unless an individual can really pull it off. I mean they're easier to tie and get already pre-tied but I still prefer just a plain ole tie even if they're harder to tie.

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    Replies
    1. I feel a proper bow tie is vastly superior to a pre-tied one. How are you going to get that sexy untied look at the end of the night with a prefab job?

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  24. Bowties are cute and nerdy. It depends on if the person wearing one can carry it off though. Some can not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *nods* Some people just shouldn't try.

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  25. Love me some bow ties they are awesome

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  26. I think bow ties were perfect for Matt Smith , they look sexy on tall and elegant men. I would love it if Benedict Cumberbatch wore one all the time in Sherlock Holmes!

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    1. You know, I think you're right about the tall, elegant thing. Short and stocky has to work much harder to carry off a bow tie. And after exhaustive googling, I've come to the conclusion that hairstyle matters too. Benedict looks much better in formal wear with the Sherlock do! ;)

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  27. Bow ties are awesome - if the person wearing it knows how to wear it well! ;-) The 11th Doctor wore his quite well. ;-)

    Fall Hard was the first book of yours I read and I absolutely loved it! I'm quite fascinated with Iceland and its history, so it's was a very nice touch! :-) A paperback copy of it for my shelf would be splendid! :-)

    ttkove AT gmail DOT com

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    1. Iceland is an amazing place - I defy any writer to go there and not be inspired! Glad you enjoyed Fall Hard, & I'll keep my fingers crossed for you. ;)

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  28. Mm, not a fan. Some men can pull it off, but I much prefer an open collar. Tease me, baby. ;)

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    1. Casual can be good, too. *nods* :)

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  29. I usually prefer a cravat or open collar, but some outfits demand a bow tie, I think...

    Trix, vitajex(at)Aol(Dot)com

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  30. Please count me in! I think bowties are neat, but of course it depends on who it's wearing them!

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  31. I'm not a real big fan of bow ties although there has been a few men that looks sexy wearing them.
    sstrode at scrtc dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, they're perhaps not for everyone! :)

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  32. Bow ties can be very cool. It takes a certain kind of gentleman to pull it off though.

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    Replies
    1. Interesting choice of words - I think there is something very gentlemanly about a bow tie worn well. :)

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