Friday, May 18, 2012

Salute to GA Hauser, m/m Author Extraordinaire

My name is Rebecca and I read my first m/m book a little over a year ago. Here's what struck me most - I wasn't struck down by God. Raised by a Baptist preacher, I was taught being gay was morally wrong. As I grew up, this didn't sit well with me but I kept my acceptance to myself. My mother always whispered when she said the word "gay" and we kept away from those bad influences anyway. In the small town 80s, it was an easy thing to do in a Baptist family because even if you were gay in or around my circle of influence, you sure as hell didn't tell anyone.

But here's my problem, you see, if I was to believe God loves everyone - we are all His children - I couldn't possibly accept he loved these people any less. After leaving home for college, I continued to develop my own opinion, met so many diverse people and created a much more reliable stance. All people are equal. Being gay is no more wrong than being a person who likes peanut butter - I may not be either of these people but it doesn't make them wrong.

So given my upbringing, I couldn't help feel a bit naughty reading my first m/m romance. The surprising thing was despite the gender of the characters being different than a m/f romance, it was still all about the emotions of falling in love. When done well, these books are just as sweet or hot as any other. And I've read at least fifty more and still I'm alive - haven't been struck down yet. So if you've never read one, try it. And if you already do read m/m romance, hopefully we've brought to you a new-to-you author this week like the one I read for today.

Though I had admired GA Hauser's blog quite a few times (CHECK IT OUT!), I had not yet read one of her books until this past week. Tyra, expert on all things GA Hauser, assigned me Taking Ryan to start with. And I must go on record to say she totally tricked me into reading a series out of order - there are others with these characters in it that came first - she and I will have words about this later. But on to my review...


Taking Ryan is a story of an innocent mid-west boy looking to make it big as an actor in Hollywood. Gutsy and naively brave, he hitchhikes across country in search of his dream and is lucky enough to get picked up by an older gay gentleman. I cringed at first (yikes, was he going to take advantage of sweet Ryan?!) until we learn this man has been with his husband for thirty years. Together, they take Ryan into their home without any ulterior motives and help him get his feet on the ground. The book’s pace is slow in the beginning and I found myself waiting for something to happen – not sure all the scenes were necessary. Then it seemed to gain momentum and carried me through.

Ryan has crazy fast success – a bit unrealistic - that might have been more believable had it spanned at least a few weeks rather than a few days. A series of breaks have him moving into his own place, getting a job in a restaurant, making a few bucks and buying a car. He stays in touch with his now surrogate grandparents who seem to adore him and prove to be invaluable with the contacts they have established in Hollywood. (These characters are introduced in the Take Action series.)

After a quick fling that proves to be a mistake, Ryan meets Barret, a near perfect man. Hauser depicts a beautiful portrayal of those first moments falling in love. It was authentic and genuine and my favorite part of the book seeing that newness, uncertainty and excitement.

With the exception of one character, everyone in Taking Ryan is nice, kind and genuine which was a bit boring for me – I usually prefer more drama/ angst. But this was a sweet story of a young man brave enough to chase his dream and being swept into a wave of success and happiness that seemed nearly too good to be true. It was a nice read with some hot scenes, interesting characters and the perfect HEA.

My only regret is not getting to see the photos taken during a shoot with Ryan and Barret. Who says picture books are only for small children? Perhaps Hauser could get those up on her blog site??

RATING: 4 Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries

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