Title: A to Z
Series: Coda Books, Book 2
Author: Marie Sexton
Genre: Contemporary Romance, M/M Romance
Sensuality Rating: Erotic
Source: review copy from publisher
Published: March 2010 by Dreamspinner Press
Zach Mitchell is stuck in a rut. His college boyfriend left him ten years ago, but Zach still lives in the same apartment, drives the same car, and feeds his ex-boyfriends ungrateful cat. His Denver business, A to Z Video Rental, is struggling. He has annoying customers, eccentric neighbors, and an unfulfilling romance with his landlord, Tom. A combat boot-wearing punk with an attitude, Angelo Green was raised in foster homes and has been on his own since he was sixteen; he has never learned to trust or to love. He doesn't do relationships, so when Angelo takes a job at A to Z Video, he decides Zach is strictly off-limits. Despite their differences, Zach and Angelo quickly become friends, and when Zach break-up with Tom puts his business on the line, its Angelo who comes up with a solution. Together with Jared and Matt, their friends from Coda, Colorado, Zach and Angelo will find a way to save A to Z, but will they be able to save each other too?
Reviewed By: J9
In a Nutshell: Terrific MM romance told from both leads’ viewpoints. Love the realistic progression of the men’s relationship.
The Set Up: Zach is in a funk. He’s wasted the past ten years of his life owning a barely solvent video rental store. Angelo is a tough street punk who accepts a job at Zach’s struggling video store. These two unlikely friends may need to save each other as well as their struggling video store.
Why I Read this Book: I loved book one in this Coda Books series and had to see if book two lives up to the high standard of the first.
What I Liked: I’ve never read a romance where viewpoints change each chapter and I *adored* this! There is some overlap between the viewpoints on pivotal situations so readers get Zach’s viewpoint then Angelo’s. By telling the story this way readers get to know the tough, silent Angelo and the confused Zach better than third person and definitely better than only one’s narration. This dual first person is executed brilliantly as it allows readers a window into how these two characters feel about the situation. Their voices are distinctive and combine to tell a complete view of a stellar romance. The tortured Angelo is one of the most intriguing heroes I’ve read in romance and I can’t wait to read the other books in this series. I have to admit, I personally related to Angelo and understood his character better than I do most in romance so I really connected to this book.
What I Also Liked: I also love that the romance isn’t easy. Love doesn’t magically fix Angelo’s morbid fear of commitment nor does it make Zach miraculously less self-absorbed. These two men have a tough road to love and it’s hard work but readers reap the benefit of these two sticking together and trying to make it work. I don’t often get emotional during books but I did when Angelo was reflecting on the different kinds of love that he sees between their friends Matt and Jared (from book one) and he applies that to himself and Zach. It’s one of the most emotionally intense descriptions on love I’ve ever read. The fact that it was tough-exterior Angelo making this observation fit his character so well and made it even more poignant.
What I Didn’t Like: This is one of the weakest book synopses. It does a lousy job of setting this stellar romance up. This is a much more complicated book than the synopsis makes it sound so be prepared for an emotional rollercoaster.
IMO: I love this series and now count myself a fan of this author for her nuanced characters and powerful romances.