|Catching a Buzz
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I was angry when I finished Catching A Buzz.
First, the cover. It’s a gorgeous cover, there’s no doubt about it. It’s the kind of cover art that belongs on some beautiful, romantic tale, something with a few laughs, a few tears, a few life lessons, and the hope for a happy future. And hotness, too. The cover makes me want to read the book, want to like it, finish it with a smile and keep it forever. That’s what good cover art is supposed to do, and the artist, Anne Cain, succeeded in this admirably. It’s too bad that the story itself fell far short of the promise inherent in the art.
Apart from the false advertisement of the cover, I disliked this book for the complete waste of my time. I got nothing out of it: I didn’t learn anything from it, I didn’t react emotionally to any part of it, and I didn’t care one whit for any of the characters. I don’t think college boys are cute and I certainly don’t think they’re interesting. I don’t think that Goth boys are beautiful or alluring, I think they’re just boys in makeup and ugly clothing. I don’t happen to believe that a glass beer bottle is a thrilling or a safe substitute for a decent dildo. I’m not impressed by flashy cars. The nod to twincest left me cold, as did the club scene. Yes, it’s graphic, but I can get higher-quality erotica for free from any number of fandom sites where I actually like the characters. Every potential real-life issue for gay men that was raised in the story, as well as the resolution of the story itself, ended in a manner disgustingly reminiscent of a premature ejaculation.
Catching A Buzz is nothing but the recounting of a date between a pair of equally-insipid boys, and since no one in their right mind could possibly have expected me to be interested in this story if it had been a het pairing, the idea that the author expected me to be interested for no better reason than because it’s M/M… That’s simply insulting. Not just to me as a reader, but to the genre as a whole.
The book is technically well-written, I’ll give credit to Ally Blue for that. If there were any typos or major inconsistencies in the story, I can’t say I noticed them. I think the author has the ability to create stories that would be worth reading. I think that if a reader wants to waste their time and money on what’s basically a PWP, then there’s no reason not to buy this book. But do I personally recommend this story?
Absolutely, most certainly not.
Catching a Buzz was, I think, a half-hearted attempt. Or, if giving the author a lot more credit, it was a good attempt at giving an edgier romance story in short form. Either way, it didn’t quite work out.
The first thing the prospective purchaser should know is that although you buy ninety-one pages, you are only getting sixty-two pages relating to Catching a Buzz. The other twenty-eight pages are advertisements for other books. This, of course, is not the author’s fault. But I had no idea I was coming to the end of the story until it ended quite abruptly. Prior to that, I was happy to keep reading because I assumed I had another thirty pages or so for the resolution and whatnot. So when I was suddenly seeing “The End” not only was I surprised, but a bit disgruntled. I think given the other twenty-pages, the author could have pulled off a satisfying story.
Given the subject matter Ally Blue chose to use, I don’t think she gave herself adequate enough space to pull it off. The story seems to be a sweet little summer romance story. And that is how it starts. But when the two boys go off on their first date, they end up at a sex shop buying D/S paraphernalia. This wasn’t just a lark to one of them, this was something much more. During the night, Adam, wanting to please his kinky date, decides he wants to shove a beer bottle inside Buzz. Buzz wants the wide end. This scene isn’t extraordinary, but Adam is as vanilla as you can get, so this scenario screamed unsafe to me. But hey, it’s a romance story, right? Fiction. No prob. When Buzz wanted a swizzle stick from Adam’s drink shoved in his cock, I began to definitely question the characters’ abilities to have a lasting relationship or even a safe one. Urethral Play isn’t a sexual practice that you can just pick up and dabble in. We are talking about a very delicate piece of anatomy here. Not that it was technically handled poorly, but it still didn’t seem to be a very natural thing for these two boys to do on their very first date on top of the beer bottle thing.
Buzz came off as either a pain/adrenaline junky or an excited novice in BDSM, which is a complete turn-around from the laid back guy we meet in the beginning of the story. Adam was a conservative and narrow-minded type individual, an ‘aged beyond his years” type. But then he begins to want to do these BDSM escapades. Okay. I could accept that. But then, the next morning, the story is done. I was left wondering if they could actually pull off anything more than a one-night stand even though they had decided to become boyfriends. It just didn’t sit well with me. Instead I was left with the distinct impression that the author had bitten off more than she could chew in sixty-one pages.
And for some reason, Adam had the voice of Scarlett in his head. Again, I think Blue tried to shove a bit too much into a short story. The voice was cute, but did sound more like Mammy on a few occasions rather than Scarlett.
The scene with the mother was horribly anti-climatic and happened just before the abrupt ending, adding to the sour taste left in my mouth.
This wasn’t a bad book, just a… not-quite-there book. A story that could have done much better if it had been allowed to flesh out a bit more. I recommend it for anyone who wants a quick and dirty read.