Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Review: Choosing Love by Winona Wilder

Author: Winona Wilder
Title: Choosing Love
Series: Coming Out #1
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand Publishing
Date: March 23, 2011
Length: 20,129 words / 74 pages

Backblurb/Goodreads link | author's website | buy link

Genre & keywords:
M/M/M, Contemporary, Ménage, College, Teacher-student, Coming out, Gay for You, Physical abuse

Cal has hidden his true feelings from Waylon for years, not willing to jeopardize their friendship. After a night of drunken passion, the truth finally comes out. While Cal learns to accept his true nature, Waylon is afraid to risk alienating his family. Will he live in denial or choose love?
With the help of their sexy history teacher, Evan, the three men learn that love has no boundaries. But are evenings filled with hot sex enough to forge a lasting ménage?

My opinion:
This is a hard book for me to review because I’m very aware of the fact that my own likes and dislikes when it comes to certain tropes and settings, are playing an important role here. For example, I’m difficult to please when it comes to ménage romances: I need to ‘feel’ the Love – between all three characters equally – and it’s definitely not enough for me to be immersed in sex scene after sex scene. Another not-so-hot-button for me is the teacher-student trope: the more often I come across this theme, the more I start to dislike it. That being said, I’ll give my honest opinion (as always), but bear in mind my personal dislikes, which can very well be exactly what other readers are looking for in a story.

Choosing Love starts out as a cute friends-become-lovers story between two college boys, which has a flash of Gay For You in it as well. Cal has been hiding his feelings for his straight jock friend, Waylon, for years. I really liked how Cal and Waylon were portrayed in the beginning, both had their distinct characteristics, they felt real and it was easy to see how they could feel attracted to one another. But when their relationship evolved nothing happened with the nice set-up for the personalities of these protags. Both men stayed the same without any noticeable character development and they even became sort of interchangeable, blending into the background of sex filled craziness.
Ethan’s characterization is almost non-existent from his introduction on. He’s not much more than a caricature of a teacher who’s horny for his younger students. That I feel this way about him has probably something to do with the fact that Choosing Love is told in third person, with the point of view solely alternating between Cal and Waylon. Strangely, Evan’s perspective is missing, although he’s part of the ménage and the HEA too.

As for the setting, the contemporary college setting suits the friends-become-lovers theme. I like college boys as heroes, but as I said, I’m usually not very excited when a teacher becomes part of the plot and the relationship. Unfortunately, in this case it’s not different. Actually, when the relationship turns into a ménage, the setting didn’t feel right anymore, and the threesome sex scene in the teacher’s office felt just wrong.
Readers who are looking for very hot and frequent sex scenes will find what they’re looking for in Choosing Love. It has plenty of those. However, the lead up to these scenes isn’t gradually and – especially in case of the threesome scenes – isn’t very credible or probable.
So, I simply have to conclude that Choosing Love is not for me. But I know a few more installments are coming in this series, and probably some will be ‘regular’ m/m romances, without the extra ‘m’. I better read one of those then.

Heat level: 2.5 out of 3 flames
Final judgment: 2.5 out of 5 stars


  1. I think we're on the same page re: menages... And I think this is one I can safely skip. Thanks for the review!

  2., not so much. Teacher-student, ok I can like that if it's done right

  3. For me, a necessity is character development - I need to see growth and change. And...maybe it's me, but it almost sounds like this book would have been better without the menage, without the teacher.

    As for sex in the teacher's office...not for me.

    Lovely review Janna, and can I say thank you for being so clear at the beginnig about what...baggage sounds like the wrong word, perhaps experience? bought to the book. What I love it when I go in unsure of a book and it completely tips me on my head and helps me grow :) Heidi Cullinan's Special Delivery definitely did that :)

  4. I'm good on menage, but it has to be well done. If the 3rd is just thrown in there to be thrown in there, I'm not down. Teacher/student isn't something I'm too comfortable with anyway (being a student, and being a parent of a student). And as much as it pains me to say it, I hate books that are saturated with sex. There needs to be some kind of romance and storyline for me to really enjoy it.

    I think I'll be skipping this one, as well. Thank you for the review. xoxo.

  5. THis book has possiblilties, but it doesn't reach its potential. Too bad. However I find that this is often the case with books from Siren. They're fun to read in between or a quickie, but if you read them often, you get disappointed.


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