Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Series Spotlighted: Bad in Baltimore by K.A. Mitchell
Last week I’ve been reading the Bad in Baltimore books by K.A. Mitchell. I started with Bad Company, the first book in the series. It’s about Nate and Kellan, childhood friends who have fallen out years ago. Now, straight Kellan comes back in Nate’s life because he needs a gay boyfriend to get back at his rich daddy. The second book, Bad Boyfriend features their friend Eli, a young, eyeliner wearing and proud gay guy who meets the much older Quinn in a bar and agrees to come along with him to a family baptism to get a ‘gay’ message across to the family of Quinn’s ‘straight’ ex-boyfriend.
The premises of both books sounded good to me and I’m always happy to dive into a series, especially when I’ve heard many good things about the author. The thing is, I hadn’t paid much attention to the reviews of these specific books but I remembered seeing Bad Boyfriend on some Favorite Reads of 2011 lists. So, I admit that it took me by surprise that I didn’t enjoy the first book very much. It probably took me four times longer to finish it than the second book, while they are of comparable lengths. Every time I put the book down I didn’t feel the urge to pick it up again.
As a result, I couldn’t see why they were attracted to each other and I’m sad to say there was no chemistry whatsoever between Kellan and Nate. I usually like the Gay For You theme that this story is about, but here it misses the delicate treatment a dilemma like this needs. Instead Kellan is skating over it all without paying much attention to his feelings, he just takes what he can get, as long as he gets off so to speak. Nevertheless, he is the more sympathetic one of the two. Which is very telling.
Despite of my issues with the likability of the two heroes, the plot was decent enough and it was enjoyable to watch the MCs going through some changes and fighting for their principles. And then there was Eli! His appearance in this first book made me instantly enamored of him. And when I learned that he got his own love story in the second book of the series, it made me read on persistently because I wanted to continue with his story. If it wasn’t for him, I probably would have left it with the first book of the series.
Eli finds his perfect match in Quinn who’s a little older than he is, but can give him just what he needs in the bedroom. They meet in a bar and leave together for a passionate night, after which Quinn asks Eli to be his date for the next day. Quinn can use a happy, out and proud guy like Eli to address the big elephant in the room where his ‘family’ is concerned. As the perceptive Eli soon learns, this family is actually his ex-boyfriend’s family, which has been the only family Quinn ever had. The ex-boyfriend is an asshole and left Quinn to marry the woman he impregnated while he was cheating on Quinn. The ex is as closeted as can be, and easy to hate.
As a result, the easier it is to love Quinn. :) As mentioned, Eli doesn’t know about all that history, but figures it out by himself pretty quickly and subsequently plays his part beautifully. His ‘slightly-over-the-top-gay performance’ does not only make Quinn fall for him, but Eli instantly had me smitten with him as well.
The start of Bad Boyfriend is as good as the rest of it, I read it in one breath. It was a very satisfying and enjoyable read and in the end I was convinced that Eli and Quinn are perfect for each other. And not quite insignificant is that the chemistry and sex scenes between them are smoking hot as well. They have a bit of an unusual Daddy thing going on, but it somehow did work just fine for this story.
Apparently, I’m not the only one who has experienced these two books this differently, as appears from some reviews on Goodreads. However, I’m glad that I’ve read them both because otherwise I probably wouldn’t have believed that it wasn’t just a matter of personal preferences when it comes to the main characters, and that it had more to do with how these characters are written. If I hadn’t known otherwise I actually would've thought the two books in this series are written by two different authors. And that thought has nothing to do with liking the characters or not, but solely with the way they are portrayed in both books.
To conclude, I give Bad Company 3 stars, where Bad Boyfriend gets 4.5 stars.