J.L. Merrow Week Review: Muscling Through

Guest Reviewed by Morgan

1Title: Muscling Through
Author: J.L. Merrow
Heroes: Larry Morton and Al Fletcher
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: 87 Pages
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Release Date: July 19, 2011
Available at: Samhain Publishing, Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads

Blurb: The bigger they come, the harder they fall… in love.

Cambridge art professor Larry Morton takes one, alcohol-glazed look at the huge, tattooed man looming in a dark alley, and assumes he’s done for. Moments later he finds himself disarmed—literally and figuratively. And, the next morning, he can’t rest until he offers an apology to the man who turned out to be more gentle than giant.

Larry’s intrigued to find there’s more to Al Fletcher than meets the eye; he possesses a natural artistic talent that shines through untutored technique. Unfortunately, no one else seems to see the sensitive soul beneath Al’s imposing, scarred, undeniably sexy exterior. Least of all Larry’s class-conscious family, who would like nothing better than to split up this mismatched pair.

Is it physical? Oh, yes, it’s deliciously physical, and so much more—which makes Larry’s next task so daunting. Not just convincing his colleagues, friends and family that their relationship is more than skin deep. It’s convincing Al.

Contains comic misunderstandings, misuse of art materials, and unexpected poignancy.



Larry is out walking one night and runs into Al. He thinks Al is trying to mug him, and Al thinks Larry is drunk and tries to take care of him.

It’s a comedy of errors (that is hysterical), and in the end, Larry realizes that Al is a nice guy and a “poof,” and the two begin a relationship once Larry has apologized to an unaware Al.

There are some hurdles, mostly revolving around education levels and perceived worth, but in the end, Al’s simple, devoted love for Larry, and Larry’s glowing adoration of Al, conquers all.

This is one of my all time favorite m/m books, and I re-read it frequently. First, it is so funny. J.L. Merrow’s dry British humor crackles throughout the book, and I love the dialect and the slang: Al talking with Larry-

“Are you a poof?” I asked. I didn’t think he’d mind. And even if he did, there wasn’t nothing a little bloke like him could do to me, so that was all right.”

Second, though there are a few “hurdles,” most of the book is Larry and Al falling in love, and it is so, so sweet. But, since it’s told through Al’s eyes, it’s rough around the edges.

“I never met anyone who made me feel like Larry does. I don’t mean just the fucking. He makes me feel special, like I’m not just a set of muscles and a big cock.”

Third, it has a great message. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Al is way more than just a big, hunk of a man, he’s also a fantastic artist with an artist’s soul. I love that Larry sees that part of him and helps him to develop it.

Fourth, I’m a cover slut, and this cover is way H.O.T.! 🙂

Fifth, super, super happy ending, with a funny “meet the parents” scene and lots of ooey gooey love.

I can’t recommend this book enough, and I give it 6 out of 5 stars… ok. I would if I could!

Overall Impression: It was amazing!

*I purchased my own, personal copy of this book for review.*

Categories: 5 Star Ratings, Author Week, Book Review, Guest Reviewer, LGBT, Published in 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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