Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Review: Wake Up Call (A Porthkennack Novel) by JL Merrow

WakeUpCall_500x750Title: Wake Up Call

Author: JL Merrow

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Release: 17th April 2017

Genre: M/M Romance (contemporary)




South London mechanic Devan Thompson has gone to Porthkennack to track down someone he’s been waiting all his life to know. But Dev’s distracted from his quest by Kyle, a broodingly handsome local of only a few months, who’s already got a reputation as an alcoholic because of his strange behaviour—including a habit of collapsing in the street.

Kyle Anthony fled to Porthkennack to escape from the ruins of his life. Still raging against his diagnosis of narcolepsy—a condition that’s cost him his job as a barrister, his lover, and all chance of normality—the last thing he wants is another relationship that’s doomed to fail. But Dev’s easy-going acceptance and adaptability, not to mention his good looks, have Kyle breaking all his self-imposed rules.

When disaster strikes Dev’s adored little sister, Kyle steps up to the plate, and Dev sees a side of his lover he wasn’t prepared for: competent, professional—and way out of Dev’s league. With one man determined that they don’t have a future, and the other fearing it, life after Porthkennack is starting to look bleak for both of them.

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Mark’s Review

This was my first book in the Porthkennack collection from Riptide Publishing and this book by JL Merrow definitely got things off to a good start for me. As you all know Cornwall is a place I can totally relate to being my childhood home so  was very interested to see a collection of books based in Cornwall even if Porthkennack is a fictitious name that at at least sounds authentically Cornish.

So who doesn’t like a holiday in Cornwall? Well, I reckon half the population of Cornwall and this is exactly why Dev found himself in Porthkennack. Although the original plan was he should have been there with his best friend, Mal, but he is there now alone after Mal getting a better offer to go somewhere else. Dev goes anyway as he is also on a personal mission too, he needs to find some closure and lay the ghosts of his own past to rest, but gets a lot more than he bargains for. I guess holidaying alone is not always the most enthralling of ideas but it definitely gives you the chance to meet meet new people. Dev’s likeable and upbeat nature means that he soon makes friends but more intriguing for him is the guy he goes over to talk to after noticing how he collapses on a bench near the beach front. This is to be the beginning of something that neither Dev or the man on the bench, Kyle, would see coming.

Kyle brushes Dev off the first time while sat on the bench and for me my first impression of Kyle was what an ungrateful git! However, as is always the case there are many layers to a person and we soon learn that Kyle has a condition that is dominating his life. So much so that he lets his illness rule his life rather than him getting to grips and trying to manage his illness. You could say he is wallowing a little in his own self-pity and will need someone like Dev to pull him out of this stupor.

What I loved about this book is that we have two characters that come from extremely different and contrasting backgrounds. One well educated, the other hardly making it through school, but whatever the background each have their share of emotional and physical luggage to bear. As always in life the main thing is that a person’s heart is in the right place and this can definitely be said for these two even if they’re backgrounds will play a role before they eventually find a way together. In this Dev almost loses Kyle thinking that he isn’t good enough for him, it is almost an inferiority complex he has with Kyle. This is Dev’s problem though, not Kyle’s, Kyle just sees the kind hearted and generous person in Dev despite his rather difficult youth and level of education. However, Kyle is not completely innocent as he always uses his condition to try and push Dev away as he feels that no one will stick with him permanently with what he has. Again trying to protect himself from getting hurt if Dev does leave but not realising that Dev heart and understanding is bigger than that.

This all leads to a tug-o-war between the pair of them. At the beginning of any relationship it’s always a matter of testing the water and limits but these two manage to understand each other, push each other away through misunderstandings but somehow always find themselves thrown back together. No worries if you don’t like like angsty reads, it’s definitely not this, just all the second guessing, self-questioning about whether it is the right decision or not? Did I behave OK or badly? All the usual uncertainty when you know you’ve met someone your madly in love with but not entirely sure how you can make it work out.

I love JL Merrow’s writing as she writes what for me are always authentic characters, characters that you could meet everyday on the street, and her narrative always matches that character’s charm. In this story both characters are very British and you immediately become acquainted with Dev and his London, working class, accent. I could relate to him immediately and found him adorable, although I could imagine that for some readers Dev’s cockney, working class accent could be difficult to get to grips with but that’s what makes the story come alive for me.

A thoroughly enjoyable read about two guys with different backgrounds but also compliment each other, no angst, but you will be wanting to bang these two guys’ heads together at times to make them see sense and get over themselves.

Purchase Links



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Connect with the Author

WakeUpCall_JL Merrow bio picJL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.

She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and the paranormal, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novella Muscling Through is a 2013 EPIC ebook Award finalist. She is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.



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