Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Audiobook Review: Pricks and Pragmatism (Southampton Stories #1) by JL Merrow

pricksandpragmatism audioTitle ~ Pricks and Pragmatism

Author ~ JL Merrow

Narrator ~ Mark Steadman

Released ~ 2nd January 2018

Length ~ 2 hours, 18 minutes

Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance



Kicked out by his father at age 16, English student Luke Corbin's used to trading on his looks and charm to keep a roof over his head until he can make it big as a journalist. He goes for men with money, power, and looks, in that order, and he doesn't let emotions get in the way. But when his lover tells him it's over, Luke finds himself homeless - just as his final exams are looming.

Moving in with geeky chemical engineer Russell may be a step down for him, but Luke can't afford to be choosy. Fully prepared to put out as usual, Luke's confused and frustrated when Russell refuses to take advantage of him - and even more so when he finds out Russell's saving himself for someone special.

The more time he spends with the shy, honorable man, the more Luke finds himself bowled over by Russell's sweetness and integrity. But just as he's coming to terms with his own wish to be that special guy for Russell, Luke has to face facts: he's fallen for the one man he can't seem to charm.


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Cheryl’s Review

The story itself wasn’t new – the slut who’s used to being a kept man gets abandoned and finds himself staying with someone who isn’t interested in him – however, this one puts some lovely fresh twists.

I love Luke. He’s an unashamed slut and has no problem at all with giving his all to the succession of rich men who have kept him in the manner to which he’s become accustomed. Further, he has no problem using them right back when needed. When his latest sugar daddy asks him to leave, he goes through a list of people he can call on to house him for sex.

It all sounds seedy and it very easily could have been, but Luke’s mind is just so practical, analytical and bright. It’s a garden in there. Neatly laid out flowerbeds, broad, sunny lawns….and lots of little nooks for sex, which he views in exactly the same way a gardener would view his job – dirty, hard work, can be a lot of fun and very rewarding but ultimately a means to get something nice to look at and plenty of good food.

Luke is simply great. He’s weeks away from his final university exams and takes education very seriously., yet he thinks a nice way to welcome his man home from work is to lie naked, or half naked on the rug.

Russell couldn’t be more different. He’s a bearded geek who’s as experienced at sex as he is at hang-gliding (fyi he has no experience in hang-gliding). He’s saving himself for someone special and Luke has no illusions that he might be the one.

Luke’s voice is fresh and refreshing. He’s a young man who knows exactly what he wants and isn’t afraid of doing whatever’s necessary to achieve it – until Russell.

Russell is such a sweet man, kind and honourable. If only there were more like him. He has no hesitation offering his home to Luke, wanting nothing in return. Even though Luke tries hard to work out his angle, he really doesn’t have one, and that causes great confusion with Luke.

After being used to everyone wanting something from him, Luke finds living with Russell difficult, but he gets by – until he doesn’t.

Have I mentioned how much I like Luke, how much I like his fresh voice. I liked being inside his head and I’ll miss him.


I loved it. I have particular tastes in narrators. They have to have the right voice, or I can’t listen. This put me off from listening to audiobooks for a long time – years. I don’t know quite what it was about this narrator’s voice, but I could listen to him read a dictionary from A to Z and enjoy it. Maybe it’s because he’s the first British narrator I’ve listened to, but there’s a lovely tone and timbre to his voice that made listening a real pleasure.

Another thing that was important to me was that he didn’t try too hard. He managed to give each character their own flavour without turning them into caricatures or trying to “do accents” which very rarely works in my limited experience.

This is definitely a case of words and voice blend perfectly and both warrant the high rating.[pink-divider-1_thumb2_thumb1_thumb_t%255B2%255D.png]

Connect with JL Merrow

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.




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