Tuesday, April 17, 2018

ShaftAways by C.J. Lively (#gay #romance #gayforyou)

Something of a theme to the reviews this week, exploring castaways, stranded on desert islands, who find themselves discovering surprising new facets of their sexuality. Women discovering futa, men discovering men, and women discovering women - a little something for everyone. :) 

First of all, I love the title of ShaftAways. I mean, seriously, how can you read that and not smile? Fortunately, the whole book is full of smiles, and C.J. Lively deliver on everything her title teases. You would never know this is a first novel, but its success promises big things to come!

This is equal parts drama, adventure, and romance, with fantastic characters who grow and evolve over the course of the story, and a plot that is nicely paced, building to a happy climax. We meet the boys in the first few chapter, and they are instantly and memorable. There's an awkward, fragile dynamic there, with friendships and alliances already being established on the boat, setting up the drama to follow.

As for the adventure, the exploration of a sunken submarine is fantastic on its own, but the storm that follows, leading to the sinking of the ship, is white-knuckle terror. Lively knows how to build a scene, and expertly navigates her way through the chaos. Once they survivors land on the island, the action gives way to drama, romance, and erotica, but the character building remains strong, giving the clandestine hookups real significance.

If I were to have one minor complaint about the novel, it would be that things develop very quickly, with the boys going from straight, to bi-curious, to gay in the space of just a few days. I loved how it progressed, though, and thought the playful homoerotic tension was exceptionally well done - almost as well as the hungry, desperate sexual explorations. This is a very sexy novel, but there are real emotions there as well, and that is what sets it apart. Lively explores the tension between friends-turned-lovers, with the conflict between feeling and feelings making things interesting.

Having an odd number of ShaftAways makes things even more interesting, and raises some real questions about how if (or how) things will resolve themselves, but it all leads to a happy ending.

C.J. Lively has a passion for exciting and explicit MM erotic romance, hoping everyone enjoys a happy ending. Seeking adventure at every turn, C.J. is always curious about the now, and forever excited about the future. C.J.'s debut novel, ShaftAways, hit shelves February 14, 2018. A second novel is currently in the works


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