Sunday, 13 January 2013

Too Stupid To Live, Anne Tenino (Romancelandia #1, Whitetail Rock, #3)

Too Stupid to Live

Two complete opposites work through insecurities and other issues to find their happily-ever-after.   

A nice addition to the Whitetail Rock series.

- Review by Cindi

You know the character in movies who will run upstairs instead of out the door when a killer is chasing them with a knife or they open that door knowing the killer is behind it?  Or the one in romance novels who keeps going back to the man or woman who strives on treating that person bad?  like a nothing?  That would be the too stupid to live character.  We've all seen them.  We've all yelled at the movie screen when the man or woman runs to the obvious place where the killer can catch them.  How many times have you read a book where a man or woman kept going back to the person he/she is in love with even knowing that person is not good for them? 

Meet Sam.  Sam is a gay man addicted to romance novels and not necessarily gay romance novels.  Sam has had bad luck with men since he came out of the closet.  The last one treated him so poorly that Sam now has zero self-confidence.  He's tall and thin and not exactly the type of person that men are falling over themselves over to be with.  When Sam looks in a mirror, he sees a gangly, awkward, too skinny man.  Sam is that too stupid to live character that he always reads about in his romance novels for reasons that I will soon make clear.

There's Ian.  Ian is tall, built and sexy.  A man's man.  So far out of Sam's league it's laughable.  This is proven when the two men first meet.  For the first time in his life, Sam asks another man out.  For the first time in his life, he is shot down... badly.  Ian is extremely rude and Sam swears he'll never put himself out there again.  It is hurtful and it is humiliating, which only adds to his lack of self-confidence.  If other men don't want Sam what on earth made him think someone like Ian would?  

Sam and Ian accidentally run into each other again not long after the first humiliating episode.  Nik (Sam's best friend) and his partner, Jurgen (Ian's cousin) have a party for an 'acquaintance' of Nik's, Miller, who is slowly working his way out of the closet.  Nik is convinced that a party full of gay men will help ease Miller's way into the gay world.  Unfortunately, it throws Sam and Ian into the same room for long periods of time.  All Ian wants to do is get laid and there are a lot of gay men to choose from.  Jurgen, knowing Ian's reputation, warns him off of Sam because Sam is not a hook-up kind of guy.... he needs long-term.... the last thing Ian is interested in.  Unfortunately, things don't go as planned because of Nik and his matchmaking.  Nik cockblocks Ian every time he attempts to get close to another man and is constantly pushing him and Sam together.  At the end of the party, Ian makes a move and the two men end up having sex in one of the guest rooms.  Afterward, he does as Jurgen suspected he would... he runs while Sam is sleeping.  

Eleven days later Sam, who is a waiter (among other things), ends up having to wait on a large table of patrons.  Ian is one of them.  After once again hurting Sam's feelings (only this time in front of a crowd), Sam has had enough and refuses to go near him at the table again, allowing others to finish the job he started.  There is a lame apology later that ends with Sam blowing Ian inside the door of his apartment.  A sexual-only relationship begins at that point... kind of.  Sam obviously wants more but Ian obviously does not and he makes this known... often.

I have to say that I seriously did not like Ian from his introduction.  Instead of letting Sam down easy, he was rude and made it clear that he would not be interested in someone like Sam.  Then Ian spends the night with him at Nik and Jurgen's place only to run while he's asleep.  Later, he keeps going back to Sam for sex and Sam keeps allowing him to, with Ian still not being shy about it being only sex because Sam is not his type.  This is where the too stupid to live thing comes in.  Sam should have run... far, far away.... not kept allowing Ian to come back for yet another booty call.  But of course Sam can't do that because of the way he sees himself.  If Ian wants to use him, Sam will allow him to because he feels that he could never do better than that particular situation and if he can get good sex while he's being used?  Even better.

Something changes. Suddenly Ian is no longer looking at Sam as just a fuck buddy.  He's starting to care for him outside of the bedroom and it terrifies him.  With the help of a good therapist (who he has been seeing since an on-the-job injury), Ian allows himself to fall in love for the first time in his life.  Once the light bulb goes off (so to speak) everything I initially felt about Ian disappeared. 

I already loved this author's work but this one kind of sealed it.  She did exactly what she set out to do as far as the title is concerned.  The entire first half of this book I was looking at Sam thinking "leave the bastard!" or "he's using you!" and even "do you not have any self-respect at all?????"  But the second half changed all of that. Sure, I felt that Ian was a complete bastard but he slowly. s l o w l y, came around and the reasons for his earlier behavior is explained and what do you know?  I started to really like him as a character and I even found myself rooting for him and Sam.  Who would have thought it?  Normally if I don't like a main character early on, that only gets worse. Not in this case, thankfully.  I love how the tables were turned a bit and the one who was too stupid to live turned out to be the strong one... the one with the real power.

There are issues with Ian's family, a gay-bashing incident and various other obstacles that pop up but the happily-ever-after is very sweet.  A couple of things bugged me (Ian's constant use of the word kiddo for one) but in the end everything came together beautifully.  I also love the fact that Ian is ten years older than Sam as I love books where the characters have an age difference between them.  There is also a homophobic friend and coworker of Ian's who is not quite as he appears.

If you've read the first two books in the Whitetail Rock series, then you have already met most of the characters (main and secondary) in this book. I really enjoyed catching up with Nik and Jurgen again.  

Another great read by Anne Tenino.  I look forward to reading Miller's story someday and hopefully Tierney's.  It would be amazing if it was the same book (hint, hint to the author... :)

The cover is perfect and yes, there is meaning behind the hottie in the kilt.



  1. A great review. I kept reading your review and thinking "I really can't stand that Ian," and "what's up with Sam's dignity," that's from a distance! So glad you hung in there and it all worked out. It sounds like it;s well written but I bet you felt like throwing the Kindle at some stage :)

    1. Thank you! I seriously hated Ian in the beginning and I kept wanting to throw my Kindle Fire... at Sam.. because he kept going back.. lol. I don't like weak characters and I saw him as extremely weak. That changed (big time) the more I read. Still a bit clingy, but I understood the reasons for it. A very good book.