New Release Review: All the Wrong Places by Ann Gallagher

All the Wrong PlacesAll the Wrong Places by Ann Gallagher
Bluewater Bay #14
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: June 13th, 2016
Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Three cheating girlfriends in a row have given skateboarder Brennan Cross the same excuse: he wasn’t meeting their needs. Desperate and humiliated, he goes to the professionals at the local sex shop for advice.

Zafir Hamady, a sales clerk at Red Hot Bluewater, has an unusual theory: he doesn’t think Brennan is a bad lover. In fact, he doesn’t think Brennan is heterosexual. Or sexual at all, for that matter. He also can’t stop thinking about Brennan. But even if he’s right and Brennan really is asexual, that doesn’t mean Zafir has a chance. Brennan’s never dated a man, and Zafir’s never met anyone who’s game for a Muslim single father with a smart mouth and a GED.

Brennan’s always thought of himself as straight. But when sex is explicitly out of the mix, he finds himself drawn to Zafir for the qualities and interests they share. And Zafir can’t help enjoying Brennan’s company and the growing bond between Brennan and his son. They work well together, but with so many issues between them, doubts creep in, and Brennan’s struggle with his identity could push away the one person he didn’t know he could love.

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Wendy’s Review

I’ve been dabbling with books by LA Witt for a while now. Generally, I find them enjoyable, even if they’re not earth shattering.  So it was upon discovering that Ann Gallagher is actually LA Witt, plus the synopsis about how the protag’s are asexual, (and Brennan is a skateboarder), I couldn’t resist reading All the Wrong Places.  

Prior to starting, the only book I’d read that contained an asexual character was Scarred Souls, and I really did not like that book at all.  To be fair, the fact that one of the characters was asexual had nothing to do with what turned me off.  If I were to over-analyze my choice to read All the Wrong Places, wanting to read what an author I liked could do with this story was probably what made my subconscious curious.

Whatever the reason, I’m glad that I read this book.  In this day in age you usually find that ‘romance’ goes hand in hand with sex, lots of steamy sex that tries to outdo the competition.  Reviewers talk about how hot the sex was, mention if there was dirty talk, blah blah.  In a book like All the Wrong Places, the author has to make us feel every bit of connection between the characters, but without the crutch that is sex.  I think that Ann Gallagher tackled that tricky romance story with class.

Yes, there were aspects of the story that were slow, particularly the first half when Brennan was still finding his way, and Zafir was just acting as a really good friend.  The second half made up for all of the slowness.  There was an emotional connection between Zafir and Brennan, and I loved that their connection was entirely one of the mind.  (I personally prefer the sweet romantic scenes over sex scenes, and we got that in All the Wrong Places.)  I also thought that one of the strengths of this relationship was in how Zafir and Brennan were with Zafir’s son, Tariq.  Zafir was a responsible single father, over protective but he worked hard to also be understanding.  Brennan loved Zafir’s son, and his bond with Tariq was as sweet as the bond he had with Zafir.  I also thought that Gallagher was really smart in making Zafir and Tariq Muslim.  This is a hot button topic right now, and it was refreshing to read Zafir and Brennan discussing Z’s religion, his family, and how society has treated him.

In the end, while this was not my favorite book by this author, there were still aspects of the book that I really enjoyed.  I’m definitely down for more.

Thank you to Riptide Publishing via Netgalley for providing an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3 Stars = C

Series Reading Order

  1. Starstruck
  2. There’s Something About Ari
  3. Hell On Wheels
  4. Lone Wolf
  5. The Burnt Toast B&B
  6. Lights, Camera, Cupid
  7. Wedding Favors
  8. The Deep of the Sound
  9. When to Hold Them
  10. Rain Shadow
  11. Stuck Landing
  12. How the Cookie Crumbles
  13. Selfie
  14. All the Wrong Places

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