Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Review of Gone Stumping by Braden Williams

Braden Williams
Gone Stumping
Dreamspinner Press, 2010

Self-absorbed Aidan Montgomery knows what he wants: a life of luxury and material wealth. To get it he's stumping on the campaign trail for Senator Philip Brenton and carrying on a rather perfunctory affair with him to boot. The senator is his ticket to better living, and Aidan is content not to look too closely at Brenton's back room business dealings.
When discrepancies over property lines for a new casino development in the senator’s district surface, axe man Rafe McCafferty becomes an unwilling participant in the dispute. A suspicious accident on the logging company owner’s job site draws Aidan and Rafe into murky plans that threaten not only their jobs, but Aidan's shallow lifestyle and his vision for the future. There are no clear-cut answers for either of them, that is, until they have to unite for their own survival.

Genre & Keywords:
M/M romance, Contemporary, Politics

Rating: 3.25 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 2 out of 3 flames

Why I read it:
I received a review copy from the publisher

This short novella is about two guys that are unlikely to hook up but when they do, their (perspective on) life alters. With a premise like that and given the short amount of time they have for the mutual life-changing influence, a great deal of suspending of disbelieve is involved. Luckily the backblurb prepared me a bit so I could anticipate the change, at least that of self-absorbed and shallow Aidan.
As much as I like the idea of this concept it fell a bit flat for me in this book. The author couldn’t convince me completely why Aidan and Rafe are made for each other, let alone have that kind of impact on one another. At the same time the physical part of their relationship is more convincing. Their love scenes bring a nice mix of hotness and tenderness.

Aidan’s and Rafe’s romance is set in a political background story. Aidan is working on the campaign team of a Senator with whom he also shares a bed, as attracted as he is to luxury and wealth. It turns out that this Senator has some secrets, and at this point in the story Rafe gets involved, unaware how much of a threat he is to the Senator’s secrets. This political storyline felt rather predictable and at times even cliché. But it brings the two heroes together and their first ‘meeting’ was pretty amusing: Aidan observes Rafe through a pair of binoculars while the man is jerking himself off in the back of his truck. When they finally meet for real the attraction ignites.

I’m not sure what to think of the author’s writing style. The pleasure with which he apparently has written this story was palpable but his enthusiasm also made me stumble over the adjectives and adverbs, especially in the beginning. After a while I got used to it but the prolixity kept occasionally pulling me out of the story. I guess I like a more to the point kind of writing style better, but I know this is a very subjective argument and it’s probably even depending on the mood I’m in. Additionally the writing tended to be descriptive, particularly when feelings were involved, it leaned towards telling rather than showing.

Although this novella has a few characteristics that were not to my taste, I think it has to offer some good things too. It has two interesting, sexy main characters who are not typical romance heroes. Their development from who they are to who they want to be, brings a nice touch to their relationship. The sexy scenes were hot and the action scenes were compelling enough. And the ending is satisfying for those readers who want their protags to have a (potentially) happily ever after.

Even while the reading process itself didn’t progress as smoothly as I would’ve liked, I spent an enjoyable hour with this book.

Braden Williams’s website | on Goodreads
Buy Gone Stumping here


  1. Even if the writing wasn't tip top you still seems to have enjoyed it :) Then the story must be good

  2. Hmm. Maybe. :)

    Looking forward to hearing what you think of In the Flesh - I finished that last night!

  3. I'm not sure about this one. Great review though!

  4. @Blodeuedd: It was not bad, but far from memorable. :)

    @Chris: Review of In the Flesh is coming soon, maybe Thursday or else Saturday. I loved it and therefore I may need a few more days to write about it more objectively ;)
    What did you think of it? No issues with the sleeping around and no-condoms thingy?

    @Lily: Maybe I better leave you there on the fence a little bit. ;) Thanks!

  5. Janna: I could totally understand WHY Cris was sleeping around, so... the no-condoms thing was at least addressed somewhat and not ignored, which worked ok for me.

  6. This one sounds interesting. Great review, Janna, and so organized!

  7. I don't think Gone Stumping is something for me ATM but you and Chris pique my interest for In The Flesh, which is on my e-reader too LOL Dreamspinner press is rapidly becomming one of my main to-go-to places for M/M erotic romance :)

  8. Don't know that this one would be for me. Aidan sounds like he changed his perspective but I don't that I could like him enough to start to wait to see the change.

    Thanks for the review.

  9. @Chris: Good! So I take it that you like this novel too! :)

    @Val: If you like a political setting this is your story. Thanks, Val! :)

    @Leontine: In the Flesh has suspense and depth, I'm sure you'll like it. :) Dreamspinner Press is one of my fave m/m smut suppliers too. I like the quality of their books!

    @Tracy: Yep, Aidan changed his perspective, he realised how shallow his life had become. It's not a long wait really, considering it's just a novella... in case you decide to give it a try anyway. :)

  10. You had me at "love scenes bring a nice mix of hotness and tenderness"

  11. @Chris: :D

    @KC: You're so easy to please. ;D


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