Life After Joe by Harper Fox

Title: Life After Joe

Author: Harper Fox

Publisher: Carina Press

Copyright: 2010

Other index info: m/m romance, set in the UK (Cumbria), debut (I think), ebook

It’s not the breaking up that kills you, it’s the aftermath.

Ever since his longtime lover decided he’d seen the "heterosexual light," Matt’s life has been in a nosedive. Six months of too many missed shifts at the hospital, too much booze, too many men. Matt knows he’s on the verge of losing everything, but he’s finding it hard to care.

Then Matt meets Aaron. He’s gorgeous, intelligent and apparently not interested in being picked up. Still, even after seeing Matt at his worst, he doesn’t turn away. Aaron’s kindness and respect have Matt almost believing he’s worth it—and that there could be life after Joe. But his newfound happiness is threatened when Matt begins to suspect Aaron is hiding something, or someone…

Excerpt here.

Why this book?  I liked the cover art.  Call me shallow.

What did I think of it?  Well…it felt like a debut, a little unpolished and heavily reliant on romance genre cliches.  I liked the bones of the story, the set up, and the setting.  Some of the characters were a bit predictable and cartoony.  The destructive behavior of the narrator made him a little unsympathetic at times (TSTL) and made me question his reliability.  The conflict felt forced (Big Mis! Returning Ex!) and the epilogue felt rushed and not yet believable, given the progression of the relationship; HFN would have felt more realistic than the implied HEA.  

Ultimate grade:  C

Keep or pass on?  It’s an ebook, so I can’t pass it on.

Would I read future books?  Certainly.  I liked the author’s voice and style, even if the execution was a little uneven.


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4 responses to “Life After Joe by Harper Fox

  1. Hmm. I adored this book. Wished it was longer, but really really loved the characters. I wonder if I’m as discerning as I think I am? Actually I know I’m not as discerning as other people think I am. 🙂 I’m a sucker for some angst. Makes everything better.

    • Just different tastes, I’m sure 🙂 Angst is okay, but there was too much here. Truly, a change in POV probably would’ve made this book a much better read (for me). First person is normally okay, but the narrator was just so self-destructive and mired in grief and self-pity that it was hard to see what appealed to Aaron.

  2. I’m glad to read a reader’s opinion on this book. The only one I’ve seen so far has been high praise from Josh Lanyon, but I think he’s a little biased…

    • There’s a positive review over at Jessewave’s website, and it sounds like SarahF is going to give it a good review at Dear Author. I often rely on SarahF’s reviews for m/m romance, but tend to use Jessewave only for plot info because my taste doesn’t really suit any of the reviewers there.

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