Thursday, October 16, 2014

Raising The Rent by J.L. Merrow ~ Blog Tour, Review and Giveaway

Raising The Rent

An apple for the teacher or would a blow job be better? I just loved this novella about Nathan the rent boy who is determined to get himself off the streets, but what happens when the offer to help comes from a regular punter? Can business and pleasure really be mixed? Check out Mark’s review…..

Jamie is also stopping by with us today on her busy blog tour and giving her thoughts on student teacher relationships…………. 

Teacher’s Pet

Hi, I’m JL Merrow, and I’m thrilled to be here today as part of the Raising the Rent blog tour!

clip_image001A lot of people, authors and readers alike, say they like m/m because of the lack of an inherent power imbalance between the partners. With m/f, it’s a rare man who isn’t physically stronger than his woman, and even if they were, by some miracle, equal in all respects (unlikely, as women tend to earn less than equally qualified men doing the same jobs) male privilege would still come into play. Even in these so-called enlightened times, a man is more likely to be listened to and believed than a woman.

But in m/m, the partners can start out with an equal playing field. So why deliberately tilt it by setting up a relationship with a power imbalance that’s inherent, such as one between pupil and teacher?

Well, there’s something very sexy about a couple who each know they shouldn’t be together—but just can’t seem to keep their hands off each other. Their love—or desire—for each other is strong enough to make them break the social taboo and risk the consequences.

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Of course, if the pupil is underage, then any relationship with a teacher is likely to be nothing but harmful. In the UK, where Raising the Rent is set, the age of consent is 16, but the law recognises that young people between 16 and 18 are vulnerable in a position of power imbalance. Any teacher who has an affair with a student under 18 is likely to end up in jail.

But what if both teacher and student are consenting adults? Here, there’s still a power imbalance, but it’s much more akin to that in the workplace between, say, secretary and boss. It’s all a bit naughty, they probably want to keep it a secret and it could all end in tears, particularly for the one on the lower end of the power scale—but there are no legal repercussions, only possible career death and social stigma.

But how real is the threat to the teacher’s career? Where both parties in a student/teacher relationship are over age, the law won’t get involved—but what about the institute of learning involved? Well, in the UK at least, it’s a bit of a grey area:

“In 2005, figures revealed after a Freedom of Information Act request by Times Higher Education showed that 50 out of 102 institutions had no policy requiring staff to declare sexual or other relationships with students that might give rise to a conflict of interest. Of those that did, few appeared to apply them: just 17 universities had any current records on file.” Read the article HERE.

The same article has some interesting commentary on just why UK policy (or lack of it!) is in general much more lenient than that in the US: traditionally age gaps in UK universities between teachers and students are smaller, and UK lecturers don’t have the same power over students’ grades.

Well, you didn’t really believe that oft-repeated phrase, “No sex please, we’re British,” did you?

***

Question: When I was at high school, we had for a while a student teacher with astonishingly good looks who set girlish (and, I have no doubt, boyish) hearts a-fluttering all over the place. For some reason, probably buried deep in our adolescent psyches, the only people immune to his charms were a friend of mine and me. We took an instant and violent dislike to the poor man and got hauled up in front of the deputy head for writing very thinly veiled attacks on him in our English essays—not my finest literary hour!

Have you ever had a crush on teacher? ;)

***

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Title: Raising The Rent

Author: J L Merrow

Publisher: Samhain

Released: 14th October 2014

Genre: M/M (contemporary)

Rating:

grey stargrey stargrey stargrey star

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Synopsis

Rent boy rule number one: Never fall in love with a customer.

Life as a rent boy is not a long-term career goal for Nathan, who’s determined to get an education. But when he turns up for his first day at college he’s horrified to find his English teacher is one of his regular customers: Stephen, the one Nathan dubbed The Voice for his educated, honeyed tones.

Stephen’s just as shocked to see Nathan sitting in his class, not to mention terrified he’s about to be exposed as having paid for sex with a student—which would mean public humiliation and maybe the loss of his job. Yet it’s clear Nathan is only interested in getting his A Levels, not in blackmail. And Stephen realizes there’s more to the nineteen-year-old than meets the eye.

Nathan still has to earn a living, though, and when a customer turns ugly, he finds himself homeless and unable to work. Stephen steps in to help, and Nathan starts to think they could have a future together—if Stephen’s guilt and lack of trust don’t end their back-to-front romance before it starts.

This book has been previously published.

Mark’s Review

Nathan hasn’t had it easy in life so far and I guess like so many young men and women plying their trade on the street, it is rarely a conscious choice that’s been made but more one of having been left with no other option I guess. Nathan is a rent boy and precisely because of having to pay the rent to provide a roof over his head it is obviously the only choice he has between that and living on the streets. The one thing I admired about Nathan is how he could just separate the one from the other. As if he has a mental brick wall around him, however that doesn't make him distant or introverted, quite the opposite actually. I loved his upbeat, positive view on things with a good bit of snark mixed in with a great humour. Once again JL Merrow manages to bring the light side of life and positive into her story rather than concentrate on the negative. However, you are left with no doubt that Nathan’s life is by no means a box of chocolates.

I also admired his tenacity to lift himself out of the gutter and trying to change his circumstances by going back to college to study. After all he has no family he can count on to finance this so he finances the only way he knows how. But what do you do when you turn up to your first English lesson and the teacher turns out to be a regular punter – oopppss! Mega embarrassment on both sides – lol! His teacher, Stephen, feels as awkward as Nathan does, but Nathan always the professional assures him that his anonymity will be safe with him. I just couldn’t help but feel the discomfort Stephen had, but then you might ask why is he looking for his tricks on the street anyway? We learn that even Stephen has trust issues and after one huge disappointment in his life finds it easier to have sex this way with no strings rather than let someone into his life and heart again. I suppose this is also just another form of severe emotional protectionism on his part which is also quite sad within itself.

Life on the streets are tough and JL Merrow doesn’t spare us this aspect of things either when one ugly incident means that Nathan can no longer go to college. This part was somewhat upsetting to read but due to Nathan’s attitude things are kept relatively light and I just love the way that Nathan bounces back like a ball from any situation. Stephen visits him and because his heart starts to open up to him, Nathan starts to let down his emotional guard as well. This is what I loved about this book especially; two characters each with their own emotional defence mechanisms which seem pretty impenetrable at first start to let their defences down bit-by-bit, opening up their hearts and finding that they are both more compatible than first could have been thought.

This novella is thoroughly entertaining from beginning to end and all served up with a great portion of humour while never letting go of the positive angle on life.

Raising the Rent

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About The Author

JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy.

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

Contact The Author

FACEBOOK | WEBSITE | TWITTER | GOODREADS

 

Purchase Links

samhain552   

AMAZON BUY LINK    

Also by Jl Merrow

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Giveaway

J.L. Merrow is offering a $20 Amazon gift certificate to a randomly chosen commenter on the tour. (See here for a full list of the blogs she’ll be guesting on, in case you’ve missed any)

J.L. Merrow will be making the draw around teatime on Monday 27th October, GMT.

Good luck! :D

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55 comments:

  1. Wow…sounds pretty great. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  2. *Dreamer*
    Amazing post and giveaway!

    mistresswhitlock@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for the chance.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love student/teacher romances, although I never had a crush on any of my teachers. I had a few male teachers most of my fellow students (we were 76 girls in a 82 students class) were partial to, but I never felt it! Thanks for the giveaway and the chance to read your book, I really like the blurb... and Mark's review as always ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Elle! Glad to hear I'm not the only one who doesn't like to follow the crowd! :D

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  5. Thanks for the review and giveaway! The book sounds really good!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jen - and you're welcome! :)

      Delete
  6. Sounds like a good story with a little bit of everything.

    debdeege (at) optonline (dot) net

    ReplyDelete
  7. teresting post, I liked it! I can count with one hand all my male teachers and they were not that many. Two of them were young good looking (and married!) guys but I never had a crush on any of them.
    I had set my sights on someone else at the time, hehe. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL! And did you manage to bag this person you had your sights on? I think we should be told! ;D

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  8. I had two very minor crushes on teachers both before the age of 13. One was a female teacher because she was so pretty and fashionable. I wanted to be just like her. The other was a male teacher and it was kind of a crush/hate thing, by the end of the year it was just dislike which was probably mutual. I wasn't really the type to lust after the unattainable/inappropriate. I never had a serious heart throb crush in my teens either though David and Shaun Cassidy (dating myself big time here) were both on my really cute list.

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    Replies
    1. Hm, my female teachers tended to be on the motherly side rather than the crush-worthy. Although I did have quite a pretty history teacher for a while. She played a trick on us once, sending in her identical twin (also a history teacher!) to teach us for ten minutes, then walking in herself and making us think we were seeing double! ;)
      Great to hear from you, Anne! :)

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  9. How amazing! Great review and giveaway!

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  10. Thanks for the post and contest!

    I have never had a crush on a teacher. But, I was very fond of my biology teacher (was his TA one year) but he was like a grandfather to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, I've got fond memories of grandfatherly teachers, too. One of them used to go to sleep during lessons! ;D

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  11. Sounds like a good read. Thanks for the giveaway.
    cvsimpkins@msn.com

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  12. cant wait to read this book and thanks for the chance

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    Replies
    1. Aw, thanks - and you're welcome! :D

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  13. I didn't really have a crush on any of my teachers, although I remember we had one in first year of Law School that many of my classmates were in love with. Thanks for the chance!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heh, sometimes it's nice to go against the crowd!
      And you're welcome! :D

      Delete
  14. No, I've never had a crush on a teacher.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Forgot my email

      tiger-chick-1(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    2. *sighs* They're not all crush-worthy, are they? ;)

      Delete
  15. I've never had a crush on a teacher. There was one in my high school that I know a lot of girls had crushes on, but I never saw it. Thanks for a great post and the chance to win!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You were clearly a girl of uncommon taste. ;)
      And you're welcome! Thanks for commenting. :D

      Delete
  16. Your books sound fascinating :) Thank you sinfully sexy books for letting your blog host Ms. Merrow and getting the word out on Raising The Rent. I can't wait to read it! Mark gave it 4 stars while admiring the characters. I love it when one character helps another when life throws them a curve ball! Thanks for the chance!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, thanks, Suzanne! :D
      I think we all love to read about couples who help one another.

      Delete
  17. Looks very interesting! I can't wait to read it! Thanks for the giveaway! :-)

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  18. The book sounds great. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  19. Thanks for the awesome giveaway. Sounds like a must read!!

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  20. I had a crush on a professor in college but he was married and that's a line I could never cross.

    Thanks for the giveaway! Can't wait to read this one!
    Jasdarts at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your principles do you credit, Jill! :D
      And thanks!

      Delete
  21. I had a huge crush on my first art history prof...he was young and handsome and had a nicely warped, pop culture-savvy sensibility that appealed to me. I never would have crossed that line, so I was surprised when he eventually married a former student, one even younger than me. (They run marathons together, which is even more of a shocker...)

    Trix, vitajex(at)Aol(Dot)com

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    Replies
    1. I'm relieved to hear you've been saved from having to run marathons for love! Seriously, running is good for you in moderation, but 26 miles? No thanks! ;D

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  22. Sounds awesome! Thank you for the giveaway.

    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

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  23. this book sounds very good even if I don't win the book I will end up reading it thank you for the chance

    jeaninebeaulieu@hotmail.ca

    ReplyDelete
  24. Looks great - thanks for a shot at winning a copy.
    lgrant1@san.rr.com

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  25. Sounds pretty amazing!! Well done!! Thank you for the giveaway

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    Replies
    1. Aw, thanks - and you're welcome! :D

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  26. Thank you for the giveaway!

    sgibby1642@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete