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Muscling Through Kindle Edition

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Editorial Reviews


This is such an amazing book... It is touching, sweet and made me cry and smile at the same time. I cannot recommend it enough! - Serena Yates, QMO
The romance was well paced, imaginative, incredibly funny, hot, and so heartfelt and sensitive in the way that Larry and Al dealt with their own insecurities I marvelled at the author's skill in writing such well crafted characters...I can't express how much I adored it.
 - 5 stars from Jessewave

I adore every single thing about this book and hope everyone else does too. It's so heart warming, genuine, funny, romantic, sexy, caring, sensitive, witty...easily one of my favorite books of the year - 5 cherries from Whipped Cream Reviews 

It's engaging, interesting, and heartwarming. Sometimes it's tinged with sadness but more so with the kind of emotion that tugs at your heart strings. I simply adore Al and love his relationship with Larry... Overall there are so many things to recommend this story I can't recommend it enough. 5 stars from Kassa

I really enjoyed the book. I loved, as I always do, the utter Englishness of your voice.... a really sweet love story that asked some deep questions without seeming to do so - recommended read from Dear Author
an absolutely lovely romance. Tender moments, great dialogue, and sensual encounters, as well as a solid plotline make Muscling Through a treasure to read - Joyfully Reviewed

Product Details

  • File Size: 925 KB
  • Print Length: 87 pages
  • Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd. (July 19, 2011)
  • Publication Date: July 19, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,975 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.

She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and the paranormal, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novella Muscling Through was a 2013 EPIC Award finalist, and her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy.

JL Merrow is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Find JL Merrow online at:, on Twitter as @jlmerrow, and on Facebook at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Beach Bum on July 27, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved both this novelette and Pricks and Pragmatism by the same author. They are both told in first person, in a distinctively, working-class, British voice (different characters, the books are unrelated) which is sometimes brilliantly funny. This novelette is about a big, sweet, gruff-looking guy, maybe not the brightest bulb, but such a good soul. He falls in love with a Cambridge Art History Professor, and the story takes it from there. Both characters are good people and very likeable, as are the colorful side characters and at times very funny. Definitely, worth the read. I loved it, so I kind of wish it was longer, but it pacts a punch, so I don't know what else really needed to be said. Regardless, it left me with a big smile.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
an amazing love story. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and nothing trumps love. Larry meets Big Al in an alley where Al is taking a piss.... Larry thinks Al is a mugger and is scared as Larry is a diminutive Cambridge Don. Larry and Al fall in to an unusual partnership that amazes everyone but Larry. Some folks eyes open to find that love, talent, and character take many beautiful forms and others remain blinded by stupidity.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By octobercountry on July 21, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've just read "Muscling Through" by J.L. Merrow, based upon the recommendation of a couple of people on a book forum, whose opinion I trust.

This was a very quick read, since it is a novella rather than a full-length novel. But it was also a surprisingly satisfying one, for its length!

(Yikes, I just re-read that last sentence, which could certainly be taken to mean something that was TOTALLY not intended!)

I wasn't sure I was comfortable with Al's voice as he began telling the story, when he came across as being a bit slow on the uptake. (Which of course is totally hypocritical of me, since I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer myself.) But in no time at all, I grew to like this character; he's a real sweetheart, and it was refreshing to hear someone express himself so very directly.

Now, I also had my doubts as to whether these two people---who, intellectually speaking, are operating on completely different levels---could have a successful long-term relationship. But by the end of the story the reader is rooting for the two fellows wholeheartedly, and totally believes that they will make a go of it. Is such a relationship possible in real life? Hmmmm, I'm still not sure---I think it rather unlikely---but nevertheless you'll believe it can be true as you read this story.

This tale also had a lot more sex in it than the romances I usually read. Wait, is that a good thing or a bad thing? Heh. But hey, it worked---though the question is how to classify it. Does it veer a bit toward erotica, or is it still simply a romance?

Oh, I should add that I loved how this story began. It was very funny---I've re-read the first chapter four or five times already.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Niki on August 13, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
This romance between a savant and a college professor is engaging, sweet and fun. I love Al's voice and I thought the writer did a great job with his thoughts. Both characters are endearing. So is Al's mother who took it all in stride. Almost a simple love story but different because how often do we get to enter into the simple but endearing mind of a savant with his fears and love.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Watermelon Jolly Rancher on September 16, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Al is an awesome character, a British workingclass guy who is not very educated or even a great thinker but who has a street smart kind of awareness. He is very okay with being gay and being an artist (tho he has to do labor for a living). He and a young art professor meet through a very funny extended misunderstanding, and edge their cautious way into a relationship because they are obviously very attracted to each other even if they are from totally different worlds. I like how the prof never looks down on Al but they have a balance where each needs the other. the prof's family disapproves, of course. Al's loud comical family is fine with it. Can the brawny guy and the brainy guy make it work? This is one of those very few m/m fiction that I actually think would have been better shorter than longer because their story feels complete just past the halfway point, tho it is still fun reading about what they do from there. I will look for more by this author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Anna Lund on December 12, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Alan and Lawrence, eh? I AM SO IN LOVE IT DARN WELL HURTS.
This book is for anyone who likes GOOD people. Anyone who wants GOOD people to win. Win love, appreciation, and friendship because of WHO they are. I am left with so many good feelings after reading this book that I'm almost scatterbrained. Let's see if I can pull it together.

First of all, do not judge a book by its cover, nor a person by his looks. Alan would probably have scared the bejeezus out of me too, had I met him in a dark alley at night. More the power to Lawrence who took it upon himself to seek Al out and apologize.

I adored the language in this book. (As you see, I'm jumping from subject to subject here, this is what good writing does to my brain). It was so English it went beyond corny and traveled straight into Fab-Land. To see the world through Al's eyes was a treat. The goodness. The mighty goodness--there is simply not enough writing in the world about goodness like this one. Please write me more.

I loved the accent, it came through strong, and British, and good, and fun. (It made me remember when I was originally taught English and since then all those pesky little "u"s have had to be taken out all over my writing, when Chicago took over my life. I loved seeing them here, though, good memories). Also, the difference in class is so very obvious here, even in writing. Class, education, intelligence, all that goes out the window when two people are true to their own beings, and are LET TO BE true. How Larry and Al take the leap over all those obstacles is just plain beautiful. Al's direct, down-to-earth attitude has a lot to do with it, of course. ("'Are you a poof?' I asked. I didn't think he'd mind.")

Some highlights? Sure, I'm always up for that!
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