Living An Undefined Life: GAYS OF OUR LIVES–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a release day review for a new contemporary M/M romance form Kris Ripper. GAYS OF OUR LIVES is the first in a new series of contemporary LGBTQ romances that are built soap-opera-style around the queer community in La Vista, California. I really enjoyed it.

Gays of Our LivesAbout the book:
Emerson Robinette only leaves his apartment to get laid and go to work. Having MS—and trying to pretend he doesn’t—makes everything more complicated, especially his fantasies of coming on strong and holding a guy down. Finding a partner who’ll explore that with him isn’t Emerson’s idea of a realistic goal.

Until a chance meeting with a hipster on a bus makes him reconsider. Obie is happy, open-hearted, and warm; what’s more, he gets his kicks being physically dominated, spanked, and teased until he’s begging. It would be perfect, except for one thing: Emerson isn’t made for happiness, and he doesn’t see how a guy like Obie would settle for a cynic like him.

But as far as Obie’s concerned, the only thing keeping them apart is Emerson. Can Emerson handle a boyfriend who’s more invested in his future than he is? Emerson’s barely convinced he has a future. But when Obie’s smiling at him, anything seems possible.

My Review:
Emerson is a 28 year old man who learned he had MS (multiple sclerosis) just under a year ago. He’s not at all happy. Nope. He has no family connections, one solid friend, and one close acquaintance. He teaches English language classes and GED-prep classes at a community center, in addition to some other administrative tasks. The random pain and general fatigue of MS, in Emerson’s experience, has soured much of everything for him. Even sex, because he’d love to be the dominant lover he admires from porn. But, he’s wasting away and barely able to keep himself upright, most days. So how can he manhandle a lover into submission, huh?

It’s not super trendy to be the bitter cripple, but sometimes I can’t help it. I hate this. I hate that I can’t trust my body. I hate that there’s no cure. I hate that some people with MS seem totally fine, like you can’t tell their body is betraying them, and I’m this skinny prick who can’t even get sucked off in a bathroom without falling apart.
I didn’t bang my head into the wall. Self-pity is so much prettier when you don’t have blood running down your face.

Emerson meets Obie on his bus to work. The attraction is instant, and infuriating. Obie’s a hipster and still over-friendly. He wants Emerson, and that only gets stronger when he recognizes Emerson’s got a kinky streak. I must say, Obie is a treasure. His positivity rattles Emerson, sets him emotionally off-balance time and again. Where Emerson would like to curl up in a ball, Obie’s determined to pull him out of himself. That was so endearing. And, I loved Emerson’s response to Obie–most of the time.

Then he was kissing me, and yeah, give me fucking more of that. I bit lightly on his lower lip and he grabbed my waist.
Not so much, son. I shifted my weight and turned both of us, leading with my right leg, until I could press him against the door.
He groaned. And, god, he had a sexy groan.

I get having a chronic illness. I get being depressed about it. Emerson wallows, and I got that, too. I dug how Obie turned his world around, made Emerson realize that, yeah, MS sucks, but it doesn’t have to define you. They have some pretty intense sexytimes, where Emerson turns Obie inside out, in ways he hadn’t quite envisioned, but still were thoroughly satisfying. Obie’s a real creative sort–and I don’t exclusively mean in the bedroom. His attention and his compassion give Emerson the license to confide, to depend upon another person in ways he hasn’t done since being a young child. See, Emerson is wound so tight, he’s trapped in a shroud of self-sufficiency, and I absolutely related to his inability to ask for help. Having a steady partner, like Obie, opens Emerson so that he reaches out for more help when its needed–and he even offers help to others, notably Obie’s psuedo-sister, the very pregnant, not-so-happy, Mildred. Mildred is an emotional mirror of Emerson, and they bond over their collective misery.

The book moved in ways I enjoyed, especially as I hadn’t predicted them. I pretty much lost my heart to Obie, much the same as Emerson, and I was so glad that they had an HEA. It also looks as if Emerson has found himself more than a boyfriend, he’s constructed a new family that accepts him as he is, even if he isn’t rainbows and sunshine and never will be.

Interested? You can find GAYS OF OUR LIVES on Goodreads, Riptide Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and AllRomance.


There’s a Riptide-organized blog tour featuring excerpts and insights–and you can enter to win by commenting on the listed blogs. Kris is offering a book from zir backlist as the prize. So, check it out!

About the Author:
Kris Ripper lives in the great state of California and hails from the San Francisco Bay Area. Kris shares a converted garage with a toddler, can do two pull-ups in a row, and can write backwards. (No, really.) Kris is genderqueer and has no pronoun preference, but the z-based pronouns are freaking sweet. Ze has been writing fiction since ze learned how to write and boring zir stuffed animals with stories long before that.

Catch up with Kris on zir website, Goodreads, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!