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on April 28, 2011
'Language Lessons' by Jay Bell takes a look at Joey, a 17 year old young man, who hasn't experienced and doesn't understand the necessity of being in love. He flits around, somewhat irresponsibility, dwelling on the superficial things in life, not caring about the consequences. Joey thinks he has it all, but having everything on a temporary basis, eventually catches up with you.

At first, I didn't like Joey at all. I thought he was a conceited, shallow, little ass! He certainly was a master of manipulation. He did, however, redeem himself by reuniting two guys who had deep feelings for each other. This made him take pause and think about his own life. I actually began to feel sorry for him as it began to dawn on him that having someone special in your life might not be such a bad thing.

Phillip was absolutely adorable! I loved his mixture of honesty and innocence and the way he had Joey doubting his 'methods'. I didn't feel too sorry for Joey as he whined:"I don't know what to do!" I really liked Joey's mom. She was very insightful. I was both amazed and amused when he asked her for advice about how it felt to be in love. It was very touching. His friend, Maggie was great at giving him advice too, although I imagined that she was probably busting at the seams trying not to laugh at his predicament which he would have so richly deserved. And, of course, I liked 'the first time' between Joey and Phillip, especially since Joey, for the first time, was more interested in Phillip's needs than his own. Sweet Phillip was so adorably naive about carnal matters and Joey was so infinitely patient with him. When Phillip asked: "Uh, how do we decide which one of us is the girl?" I had to giggle, but was proud of Joey for the way he handled the whole scene.

'Language Lessons' is a brief, but meaningful, story which looks into the trials and tribulations of teenage boys discovering what it means to be in a relationship. It was funny, serious, endearing, frustrating and, best of all, it had a happy ending. For a quick, but entertaining and purposeful read, this story will be just the thing.
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on October 2, 2012
This very short romance is pleasing to read but has some issues, first and foremost plausibility.

Joey is 17 y.o. and yet he is sexually really active and experienced; he has a supporting parent and is out and proud. There is no hint as to where his confidence comes from nor why he is so fixated with looking smart and fashionable in a very conservative way.
It is also not particularly clear why he decides to explore "Love" (capital letter required) as there is no hint he is unhappy with his life.

His relationships with his mother, his best friend and the three boys he meets appear artificial as if the author were willing to prove a thesis, the thesis being that love brings you to a higher lever of existence. Things are more spelled out than shown: I had the impression of reading a modern fairy tale with a moral that needed to be passed on.
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on September 3, 2013
A 5-Star Rating for "Language Lessons" by Jay Bell. As there are numerous reviews, I will not be repetitive here.

I recommend this novella to those readers who enjoy a M/M romance story that is straight forward and has a message to deliver. The intimate moments are tasteful and detailed without overpowering the romantic qualities of the storyline.

Personally, I found this story offers a nice break between the longer stories I usually read. As I am a fan of Jay Bell's writing, I decided to read his novellas. I enjoyed reading this novella, but I prefer Jay Bell's longer novels such as "Kamikaze Boys", "Something Like Summer", "Something Like Winter", "Something Like Autumn" and I am looking forward to the fourth book in this series due out later this year, "Something Like Spring"!

I highly recommend Jay Bell's work to readers who appreciate good writing and story telling. Jay creates great characters and descriptive storylines that highlight his unique style.
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on February 28, 2012
I found this short story in the gay erotica section but I really would not classify it as such. At the most, I would call it soft erotica for those more sensitive, but in all honesty, I would guilt-free, recommend this to a mature young adult. Hopefully, this short is classified under more than just gay erotica because it deserves a much wider audience.

I'm not sure where to start my praise because this novella has attained perfection in every possible category. It seems a simple enough story about young love and growing up, but the writing is so top-notch that you really just get entirely whisked away into Joey's world. It's the type of story you don't just read - you become a part of it: it makes you remember your own past, it makes you feel things in your chest and your gut, and as a result, when you have to put it down to attend to the everyday particulars of your "real" life, you find yourself more preoccupied with the story and in getting back to it than you do with whatever task is at hand.

I am a voracious reader and it has been a long time since I've seen an author so masterfully write a character like Joey, who is (not unexpectedly) a bit overconfident compared to his age and innocence, and whom if you met in real life you might frown upon, but somehow, even though you know you should be annoyed by his seeming shallowness, you spend the whole book simply adoring him.

This is the first time I've read this author and it will definitely not be my last. Bell's writing is expert in every way - many, many thumbs up for this book, and I am looking forward to reading more by him. Highly recommended!
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on March 15, 2014
This short story did a better job exploring various characters than some full novels. Bell took a short story and created a world where a young man learns about true love after a life of self-bigotry and sexual mischief/deceit. Some reviewers hated Joey but I didn't. He has unlike able characteristics but everyone has something unlike able about them and this only expands his character as he changes and witnesses love and decides to seek it out himself. At first he has no interest in love but he is still out and proud and has a lot of confidence. Bradley and Scott are good characters and the evolution as a result of Joey is touching and entertaining. Philip is so sweet and innocent and the change he brings about in Joey is very profound. Maggie while seemingly a minor character plays a big role in backing up Joey and giving smart advice. The manicurist quick suggestion was hilarious and though in the story for seconds gave an unforgettable line. Joey's mom also plays her role though I think her continuous flow of partners and the divorce might have played a part in him not being interested in love.

Bell you wrote a masterpiece and then decided to reward readers by making it free. Excellent work, this is what I want to read in my gay fiction. An amazing story.
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on January 26, 2014
This one could have more potential as an expanded novella. Delightful premise, but lacked substance. Joey seemed a little to knowledgeable for his age, but the whole Phillip as.a virgin was charming and delightful. Not bad. Not bad at all!
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on May 11, 2016
This story may be one of Jay's shortest but that doesn't mean it wasn't one of his best. No major drama,conflicts,hate and or bullies. We all need a break from life's depressing reality now and again. It put a smile on my face today !
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on March 3, 2014
Although there are some erotic moments in this story, this story was much sweeter, romantic, and character-driven than the erotic story that I was expecting. Bell has excelled in creating an inspirational story of first love in multiple dimensions -- two side characters who are reconnecting after the premature end of their relationship, two side characters who never give up home in their search for love, the cynical young man who isn't sure if he believes in love, and the romantic who hasn't yet experienced it. I loved it.

Highly recommended for all romantics (especially those who like a bit of heat in their stories). This story made me go home and hug my husband!
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on November 10, 2014
I went on a buying binge and have at least 20 books to read but this morning I wanted something short and sweet, not complicated, no angst. I spotted Language Lessons, my first Jay Bell book, and all I can say is, I am definitely looking to buy more. Such a special story, grabbed me on the first page, always a plus, and it kept me spellbound til the end. Highly recommend. So well written, heartwarming, I just loved it.
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on April 15, 2012
Having previously read The Cat in the Cradle sometime ago and enjoyed it when I saw this freebee I though' "Oh Yeah" Good author, free book, doesn't get any better than that. And by golly if I wasn't right. But as it turned out this one was just a teaser for me. Although I enjoyed it, it just wet my whistle for more. I followed this up with Kamikaze Boys and then Something Like Summer. I just had me a Jay Bell kinda weekend.

I joyfully recommend all three.

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