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Force of Nature (Coming About) (Volume 4) Paperback – June 29, 2017
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About the Author
J.K. Hogan has been telling stories for as long as she can remember, beginning with writing cast lists and storylines for her toys growing up. When she finally decided to put pen to paper, magic happened. She is greatly inspired by all kinds of music and often creates a “soundtrack” for her stories as she writes them. J.K. is hoping to one day have a little something for everyone, so she’s branched out from m/f paranormal romance and added m/m contemporary romance. Who knows what’s next? J.K. resides in North Carolina, where she was born and raised. A true southern girl at heart, she lives in the country with her husband and two sons, a cat, and two champion agility dogs. If she isn’t on the agility field, J.K. can often be found chasing waterfalls in the mountains with her husband, or down in front at a blues concert. In addition to writing, she enjoys training and competing in dog sports, spending time with her large southern family, camping, boating and, of course, reading!
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Neal is the friend of some of the characters from books 1, 2 and 3. He decides to take a survival course and that is where he meets Rock McCreary (Travis). These two do not like each other at first but that changes, duh. The entire mountain adventure is well-written; the reader is brought right to the alpine setting - the meadow, woods, caves, and rivers. All the little details make this thing so delicious. The way Travis nods his head when Neal is trying to do something with the climbing gear. The face Neal makes when forced to clean the fish he caught. There are tons of examples like those. And of course the super steamy sex scenes. Hotter than the hot spring Travis takes Neal to. Oh, there is a bit of dubious consent but that's actually Travis's kink, so....
When I evaluate a book, I think about how it made me feel, overall. And then I consider realistic and relatable characters, engaging story that keeps me wanting to read more, fun (and funny) dialogue, strong secondary characters, strong details that are correct, and error free text. This book has done everything right.
*Jeopardy theme plays in the background*
Oh alright, let's start with the dub con thing. Lookit, I freely admit that I am a filthy perv and prolly unreliable in most respects when it comes to consent but... this wasn't dub con. Did their first time go down weirdly? Yeah, you bet. Was I expecting Neal to be that dude? No, I wasn't. But dub con? No. Not in my book. Not when they have a quick convo about barebacking before any penetration occurred. Certainly Rock was caught unawares but he asked to get f***ed and not just with his body either. That to me voids any conversation about dub con and puts their first time firmly in the hate sex category. It was fueled by hate and revenge, and these two had been needling each other from the jump. Was it s****y for Neal to jump him like that? Absolutely. But as the narrative unfolds this is kind of their MO.
Rock likes it rough and Neal likes to give it to him roughly. They wouldn't describe their relationship as D/s, but I'd say sexually Rock is submissive. They just don't go in for all the pomp and circumstance. They do kind of fool around with breath play and I would *hope* one of them works out that they need a word/signal at some point if they keep up those shenanigans.
So in case you haven't worked it out, Force of Nature is sex heavy. Some of it was titillating but a lot of it felt like filler. They seem to equate sex to love and I don't subscribe to that in a romance narrative; I need the sex to have a purpose and to show their connection. Oftentimes Rock and Neal f*** in lieu of having a conversation. There's a greater likelihood of me swooning over a declaration or a romantic gesture than a sex scene. I like couples to express themselves at least internally and hopefully at some point verbally but these two seem uncomfortable with their feels. Thus I had a hard time truly investing in them as a couple. They have oodles of sexual chemistry and seem to like each other but as far as their long-term compatibility, I'm not sold on an enduring emotional connection.
Both of these characters are crafted well. Rock's pretty grouchy so I liked that. He's also deeply closeted which drives the majority of the conflict. Neal I liked less but I can't really pinpoint why. I don't hate him or anything. I'm just sort of meh.
The strength of this book, however, is Hogan's knowledge of survivalism. Either she did a boatload of research or she's a survivalist herself because there is a wealth of information about surviving on ingenuity and determination. Surprisingly, I really liked this part. It kept the pacing up, held my attention throughout and the climatic event had me on the edge of my seat. Stepping up and taking charge in a crisis always resonates with me and Neal comes through in the clutch.
The verbiage used to describe the Cascades was beautiful, evocative and made me want to see it for myself.
Man, I need a vacation! Stupid book left me with vacation envy. I'll pass on the survivalism but I could do the Cascades, especially from that Twin Peaks hotel.
Once they return from the trek things felt rushed to me. Big decisions were made quickly and the whole story lost momentum.
Overall, my first Hogan was a good experience. I found her writing style engaging and was immediately drawn into this story so I would definitely read something else of hers.
Recommend to survivalists and/or fans of Bear Grylls.
A review copy was provided to Boy Meets Boy Reviews.