Size Doesn’t Matter (194): The Layover; Off Base

Size Doesn’t Matter (194): The Layover; Off BaseThe Layover by Megan Erickson
Published by Author on June 15, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Humor
Pages: 62
Format: eBook
Source: Free Download

Dear Author,
I can’t think of anything worse after a night of drinking than waking up next to someone and not being able to remember his name, or how you met… or why he’s dead.

Photo Description:
Two sleeping men lie on a mattress on the floor. One man has his arm around the waist of the other, spooning him. The man in front has a colorful tattoo on his shoulder.

This story was written as a part of the M/M Romance Group's "Love’s Landscapes" event. Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice. Authors of the group selected a photo and prompt that spoke to them and wrote a short story.

This story may contain sexually explicit content and is intended for adult readers. It may contain content that is disagreeable or distressing to some readers. The M/M Romance Group strongly recommends that each reader review the General Information section before each story for story tags as well as for content warnings.

Because I loved Make It Count, I’ve been working through Megan Erickson’s backlist. Sure, I didn’t love the rest of the Bowler University series, but romances go down pretty easy, and I’ve been in the mood for them. The Layover is Erickson’s first available story (I think?). It’s an m/m novella inspired by The Hangover available for free. It’s definitely worth what you pay for it.

The Layover is a cute idea, and I think, at least for me, a concept like The Hangover works much better in a short format because that sort of humor only goes so far for me. The plot’s silly and unbelievable, but I figure that’s sort of the point with something like this, and I was willing to roll with it. I’ve not read any m/m romance, though I’ve been wanting to, so that was definitely fun. I didn’t like the Cat Eyes nickname (apparently if your eyes are green and gold, they’re cat eyes, even though cat eyes is used in popular culture to refer to the slit pupils).

Given that it’s freely available, I can’t be too mad about the errors within the text. To start with, the dead guy has a Monsters, Inc. tattoo, so the MC nicknames him “Sully,” even though the spelling for the Disney character is “Sulley.” Yes, it’s nitpicking, but it’s an example of poor/no editing. There are plot holes too. When the MC gets his phone back, he finds photos documenting the blackout evening, including what happened in the hotel room…even though the phone wasn’t IN the hotel room because it had been left with all their stuff at the bar.

The Layover was an entertaining thirty minutes, but it would need to be cleaned up a lot for retail sale. Given that it’s a free download, I’m pretty pleased, despite the sloppiness.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (194): The Layover; Off BaseOff Base by Annabeth Albert
Series: Out of Uniform #1
Published by Carina Press on January 9, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley

After trading the barracks for a fixer-upper rental, navy SEAL Zack Nelson wants peace, not a roommate—especially not Pike, who sees things about Zack he most wants to hide. Pike's flirting puts virgin Zack on edge. And the questions Pike's arrival would spark from Zack's teammates about his own sexuality? Nope. Not going there. But Zack can't refuse.

Pike Reynolds knows there won't be a warm welcome in his new home. What can he say? He's an acquired taste. But he needs this chance to get his life together. Also, teasing the uptight SEAL will be hella fun. Still, Pike has to tread carefully; he's had his fill of tourists in the past, and he can't risk his heart on another, not even one as hot, as built—and, okay, yeah, as adorable—as Zack.

Living with Pike crumbles Zack's restraint and fuels his curiosity. He discovers how well they fit together in bed…in the shower…in the hallway… He needs Pike more than he could have imagined, yet he doesn't know how to be the man Pike deserves.

Off Base marks a couple of firsts for me: it’s my first adult m/m romance (I think) as well as my first uniform romance (I think). I’ve always avoided the military or cop what-have-you romances, because I don’t share that love of men in uniform personally and I worried it would be too macho-man-tropey. Off Base actually worked okay for me, though admittedly it could have used more editing (though this is an egalley so maybe it did) and isn’t the shippiest ever.

Zack is a Navy SEAL, and he’s firmly in the closet, both because of his super conservative, Christian parents and because he fears being out in the SEALs. One of the guys in his team figured out that he’s gay and is using it against Zack whenever he can, so it’s no wonder Zack’s scared. To escape that guy, Zack decides to live off base.

Through a series of events, Zack ends up letting openly gay Pike live with him, even though Zack’s always been annoyed by Pike’s flirting. Unsurprisingly, the two strike up a romance eventually, and Albert does a nice job of developing the evolution of their feelings and how good of a team they are. I also like that Pike’s in no way stereotyped as a macho alpha male type. I like them and rooted for them, but they didn’t inspire mass amounts of ship in me.

What I liked most, I think, is how Off Base actually does focus on being a twenty-something and figuring out adulting. Zack’s working through his issues in the SEALs obviously. Pike, meanwhile, had planned to work for a video game company but, when that falls through, gets a job working as an assistant professor at a community college. It’s really cool how he initially doesn’t want to do it but finds a new passion.

Though the actual writing isn’t that strong, Off Base totally met my needs at the time (a fairly fluffy romance). If you’re looking for m/m romance, perhaps Off Base will hit the spot. I don’t know if I’ll read more of Albert’s books or not, but I wouldn’t be opposed.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

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