Reviewed by Donna
TITLE: Coffee and Bourbon
AUTHOR: Jasper Grey
PUBLISHER: Self Published
LENGTH: 163 Pages
RELEASE DATE: July 16, 2017
Noah Thomas has never met an obstacle he couldn’t overcome and it’s not going to happen now- not with his successful coffee shop and his life finally coming together. After saving for years, getting through his transition and losing his family in the process, the successful entrepreneur opened Green Bean Coffee. But when Alex Reynolds walks into the coffee shop, the devilishly handsome man changes everything. Alex gives Noah a glimpse of what life could be like – accepted and loved for who he is, and Noah finds himself falling for the captivating tattooed stranger.
“Well, for one I’m a good boy who doesn’t go home with strangers. And for another, I like you. I don’t want this to be a one-night stand.”
Alex Reynolds had given up on love a long time ago, preferring casual fun to long term relationships. After spending most of his life in the South and burning nearly every bridge there, the popular tattoo artist packed up and moved half-way across the country – to Loveland, Colorado of all places. Much to his surprise, Alex discovers he’s got it bad for the handsome barista with boyish charm. Noah makes Alex realize what he’s been missing in a partner, someone to share his life with. But can he change his bad boy ways?
Noah felt the connection he so desired in that kiss but there was something missing and he could taste it.
Together, Noah and Alex fit like missing puzzles pieces and their love was like coffee and bourbon – strong and intoxicating. But when the two men take their first vacation together – back to the South – Alex realizes he can’t run from his past. Will reuniting with his best friend bring out the bad boy again? Noah wants to trust Alex but fears getting hurt by the man he loves. Can Alex rise above and show Noah he’s changed?
Noah Thomas is many things; a business owner, a loyal friend, a gay man, a nice guy – transgender is just one more thing to add to the list. Trans isn’t all that he is, but unfortunately that’s the only part that matters to most men when it comes to his love life. Alex Reynolds has slept with a lot of men, but dated? Not so much. He’s moved to Loveland to get a fresh start after he realizes that he’s ready for a change in his life. Alex is attracted to Noah from the moment he sees him, and isn’t shy about making a move. He’s been with trans men before, and doesn’t see that it’s an issue. As far as he’s concerned, Noah is a man, end of story. Too bad Alex’s best friend doesn’t see it that way. He’s not happy about Alex’s new “girlfriend” and intends to do something about it.
This story has me torn. I liked the plot. I think the author did a brilliant job of writing a romance that included a transgender main character, but the execution itself still needs some work. Some of my issues (and I think they’re issues most readers would have) should have been picked up by a beta reader or an editor, but obviously, the buck stops with the author.
First let me quickly cover the cons. My biggest issue was with the way the author retold the same scenes from both men’s point of view but it didn’t flow smoothly at all. It would sometimes take me a paragraph or two before I realized we’d gone back to the start of the previous scene instead of moving onto the next one. And speaking of points of view, occasionally it would change mid paragraph. We’d be midway through Noah sharing his perspective when we’d get a stray thought that could only have come from Alex’s mind. There were also some incorrect words used – like his orgasm shuttering through his body – and numerals used instead of the words whenever a number was required. Which might just be a pet peeve of mine. Most importantly edit wise, the descriptors “the younger man” and “the older man” were used to the point of distraction. I’m pretty sure I was cringing by the end of the book each time those words came up.
What I enjoyed most about this book was the character of Noah. Noah just seemed so bloody awesome, but not annoyingly perfect, by any means. He transitioned several years earlier (I seem to recall seven…but don’t quote me on that), and is comfortable in his body. There isn’t any angst over his gender, other than what is caused by other people. I love that he’s confident enough to get angry rather than upset when dealing with transphobic bullshit.
I haven’t read all that many books with transgender characters, but the few I have read tend to be a bit vague when it comes to the nookie. When Noah mentions his erect cock…I was struck dumb. Then I spent about half an hour Googling the effects of testosterone on a clitoris, and what do you know, I learned something new! Noah and Alex are stinkin’ hot together, their chemistry carrying on beyond the bedroom and colouring every scene.
The author did a great job of selling these men and their romance; it was just some technical aspects that affected my enjoyment of this story. This review maybe mentions a few more negatives than I’d normally include, but as far as I can tell, they are all things that can easily be remedied. This is the first book from Jasper Grey, and I’ll certainly keep an eye out for his future works.