Sunday, October 19, 2008

L&M 2: Taking Work Home by Jules Jones

Lord and Master 2: Taking Work Home by Jules JonesJules Jones - Lord and Master Series

1. Lord and Master
1.5 Lord and Master: Old Age Creeping Over Me (read it FREE on Jules' website!)
2. Lord & Master 2: Taking Work Home
2.5 Lord and Master: Flight of Dreams (read it FREE on Jules' website!)

Category: Peanut M&Ms - mmmm...devour... sigh... then reach for the next one. My daily dose of Insanity-B-Gone. (A-,B+,B)
Flame Height: 7.5" out of 9"

See INDEX for more about this author.

After nearly a year together, Steven and Mark plan on getting married (their engagement happens prior to this book), yet they still live in separate homes and aren’t sure they can live together. And though monogamous, they still use condoms even for oral sex. Since I hadn't read the previous book, and even though the author includes a back story preface, it just didn’t bode well for a lasting relationship between these two men and I couldn’t see how they could have already made the commitment to marry.

Then I caught on to Jules Jones’ gem of a storyline. Steven, who is Mark’s boss and older by a couple of decades, has bipolar disorder. I think we’ve all read stories or watched TV shows (probably on Lifetime) where one partner in an established relationship develops a mental or physical illness.

But Jules explores what it’s like to know going into a relationship that there are problems. We see that, even knowing there will be challenges, Mark and Steven develop their relationship anyhow, with not only the quirks and follies inherent in any new relationship, but also dealing with what, in a way, becomes the third member of their relationship—Steven’s mental disorder.

Steven knows that his disorder means a lot of work for a partner, so much so that none of his previous partners could handle it/him for the long haul. But with Mark, Steven tries to be realistic and honest and to not put a brave face on what he can and can’t handle.

So they’ve been taking baby steps in their relationship to avoid pushing Steven’s emotional envelope. I do wonder why Steven isn’t on any medications to control his mood swings, but I really don’t know all that much about the disorder. Since Steven appears to have a relatively mild form, maybe the meds have too much of a “zombie" effect on him.

Mark has learned just how much work, and what an unequal partnership, loving someone with bipolar disorder can be. He must be careful, often walking on eggshells, not to pressure or push Steven in case he triggers another emotional swing. And when something DOES send Steven into a depressive state, or obsessive anger, or manic elation, Mark finds himself doing whatever is necessary to help Steven gain some control over himself. To be honest, Mark was, at times, TOO understanding. I wanted him to get angry, even if he kept it to himself.

Steven’s illness complicates the already frustrating misconceptions about their relationship. Mark is perceived, at best, as Steven’s mid-life crisis toyboy. At worst, he’s seen as a gold-digger who thinks Steven and his successful company are enticing prizes. Much of L&M2 involves the dynamics of Steven’s family and the introduction of Mark into it as Mr. Right instead of Mr. Right Now.

BTW, although the title suggests otherwise, Lord and Master is NOT a D/s series. It's probably explained in the first book, but my guess is that it came about because Steven often jokingly refers to Mark as his "minion". And possibly it is a veiled reference to the control that Steven must master in order to keep his disorder from mastering him.

While I still question whether Steven and Mark could have made the commitment to marry so soon, I have to give Jules Jones kudos for this story. There are no car chases, no villains, no shoot-em-ups. However, as she ALWAYS manages to do, Jules has breathed life into her unique and memorable characters in this slice-of-life, heartwarming story.

Piquant Opines: Fallen Angel Reviews, Sensual (Ecataromance), Uniquely Pleasurable, Romance Junkies, Mrs. G, Elisa_Rolle



Have you read any of these books? Feel free to review or link to a review in the comments. Even if you don't agree!

8 comments:

Sarah said...

You are such an excellent reviewer! Thoughtful and very interesting!

PS, am loving True Blood! Just saw your widget thing in the sidebar.

Bev(QB) said...

Well thanks, Sarah! I'm always worried that I'm not making myself clear, so it's good to know you "got" it.

And, OH YEAH, True Blood just keeps getting better and better every week. I just finished watching this week's episode just a bit ago.

MB (Leah) said...

First--

I'm always worried that I'm not making myself clear,

What I love about your reviews is that they are so clear and concise. You always give the information that I I want to hear about a book that I might want to read.

He must be careful, often walking on eggshells,

To be honest, Mark was, at times, TOO understanding. I wanted him to get angry, even if he kept it to himself.

See, this is a perfect example of what I'm saying about your reviewing.

That aside, as I read your review I was thinking, oh God- dealing with someone with a disability is hard. This is exactly what I would have thought, that Mark should have some anger or stress.

I loved this review and will check out this series.

I've been jonsin for a good m/m. I just downloaded one cold turkey not knowing anything about the author cause I'm needing a good m/m right now. LOL

Bev(QB) said...

::blushes:: Thanks MB. I can only write what I thought and hope it makes sense to someone besides me.

I've been jonsin for a good m/m. I just downloaded one cold turkey not knowing anything about the author cause I'm needing a good m/m right now. LOL

You know, that's how I found nearly ALL of my favorite authors. Yeah, there were a few dogs, and by buying a little of everything I learned what I DON'T like (ie hardcore BDSM), but I found even more authors, including Jules Jones, whose work I would have missed completely if I hadn't taken a chance.

Granted, back when I "discovered" a lot of them, ebooks by new authors tended to be less expensive and m/m stories were fairly rare, so I guess I wasn't really risking a whole lot by taking a chance on them- just a couple of bucks and a couple of hours.

That's how I started reading all the Ellora's Cave authors like Lora Leigh, Jaci Burton, Shiloh Walker, Christine Warren, and so many, many more over there. At Loose-Id, there's Jules Jones, Willa Okati, and, oh hell, I could go on all night with those two ePubs and Changeling, Torquere, and Liquid Silver. But that's what I miss about not buying ebooks right now-- no new "discoveries".

Although with the PRINT authors, I usually "discovered" them through Amazon recs and (remember that mostly I'm talking about the pre-blog dark ages) would religiously read every word written about them on Amazon before going with my "reader instinct" to give them a try. That's how I started reading everyone from Madelynne Ellis to Bertrice Small.

Bev(QB) said...

You know, come to think of it, even Samantha Kane, who is a newer author at EC, wasn't rec'd to me on blogs but rather I saw one of the Brothers in Arms series over there as a new release and my "reader instinct" popped up and saluted it.

MB (Leah) said...

I know what you mean by ePubs. Actually the book I just downloaded I saw on the blog Erotic Authors Association, which I follow. It's a blog that many authors post and promo their books on. I just saw this book is out and it looked good so I downloaded it. So far so good.

I prefer to read on my eBookwise so besides blogger recommends, I do scour around while at ePubs for stuff I might like.

Oh and I know what you mean about ebooks getting so expensive. Damn but ebooks are just as expensive as paper any more. Especially on Loose-ID.

What's up with that?

Bev(QB) said...

Oh and I know what you mean about ebooks getting so expensive. Damn but ebooks are just as expensive as paper any more. Especially on Loose-ID.

What's up with that?


Personally, I think they are shooting themselves in the foot. Like I said, it used to be no big deal to take a chance on a new-to-me author. Not too long ago, it wasn't uncommon for me to spend $200+ per month on books- much of that in ebooks. I'd go to an epub or Fictionwise and buy anything new from my autobuy authors, but then I'd stay and browse around for new authors. I seldom even bothered to look at the price because they were all so relatively inexpensive. Now, if it's inexpensive, it's usually because it's a short story that's part of some silly-ass theme the epub has running. And seldom does that showcase the authors at their best, so it's rare for me to find a new "voice" that way.

MB (Leah) said...

Personally, I think they are shooting themselves in the foot.

Agreed. And I think it's sad for the authors because I think paper is still the preferred format so less people will be willing to try a new author for that price. Me, I'm still willing to go for an author I don't know, but if things become tight, that will change.

Now, if it's inexpensive, it's usually because it's a short story that's part of some silly-ass theme the epub has running.

Exactly! See they are psychologically working us because I see the cheap price and think, oooh... goody, but I don't really look at how long the book is. What pisses me off is I buy a book for like $6.00 and it's only a novella. It's like they've translated the trade PB prices to ebooks. WTF?

That said, they have me by the short hairs because I do prefer to read on my ebookwise and at this point I'm still not really paying too much attention to the price. I just download what I want, but that could change at any point with this economy.