Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Review – The Courtland Chronicles - By Chance – Cat Grant

  

 

 

 

 

Back Of The Book

For Eric and Nick, it's irritation at first sight.

 
Wealthy, arrogant Eric Courtland is an island unto himself...and content to stay that way until chance brings quarterback Nick Thompson into his life. Nick's warm and easy nature pierce straight through Eric's well-fortified defenses and coax him out of his shell.


It doesn't take long for their friendship to deepen into love. Eric's fear of commitment and Nick's inability to come to terms with his own sexuality threaten to tear them apart.

 

 

The Plot

Eric Courtland is not happy, back for another less than memorable visit home only to find someone in his dorm room using his shower, of all things. Not happy about the situation he soon realizes that he has to grin and bear it for a while.

Nick is the not so lucky young man that has dared to step into Eric's neat and orderly space. Not only is Nick a walking disaster but he also is more than Eric gives him credit for. He also comes with baggage.

Both Nick and Eric are in a transitional stage of their life and they really don’t need the developing attraction between them rearing it’s head. This a situation they both have to deal with, but with both at different stage of their growth this might just prove harder than they imagined it would.

 

The light was still on in the living room when Nick came out. Eric lay on his bed with his eyes closed and the covers yanked up to his chin. He was shivering so hard the bedsprings creaked.
Nick snagged his own blanket and pillow from the couch, then padded back to Eric's side of the room. "Scoot over," he said softly, already sliding under the covers.
Eric's eyes flew open. "What the hell are you--"
"No arguments." He smoothed his own blanket out on top of the two Eric already had over him, then reached for the lamp on Eric's desk and flicked it off. "You're having a delayed stress reaction. After what you've been through, I'm not surprised.'
"Y-You don't have to do this."
"Yeah, I do. Now shut up." Rolling over behind Eric so they spooned, Nick rubbed his hands up and down his roommate's arms, trying to warm him up. Instead, Eric's entire body went as rigid as the proverbial board. "This won't work if you don't relax."
"How do you expect me to do that, with you lying right next to me?"
This seemed to be his night for one shock after another. So Eric was attracted to him. He'd suspected it from the day he'd moved in, but having it confirmed was still a bit disconcerting. Well, it didn't matter now. He had to do something to keep Eric from ending up in the emergency room again.
"C'mon, lean back against me," Nick whispered. "You need to get warm."
With a shaky breath, Eric sank back into Nick's arms. Nick pressed close, chin hooked over Eric's shoulder, rubbing his roommate's arms and chest with both hands. Within a few minutes, Eric's shivering began to subside.
Unfortunately, that couldn't be said for a certain part of Nick's anatomy. He breathed a silent prayer of gratitude for the doused lights; having Eric see his fire-engine blush would put the final capper on his embarrassment.
"It's not very sporting to be teasing me at a time like this," Eric chided gently. His hand closed over Nick's, giving it a comforting squeeze. "But for the record, I'm flattered."
"Sorry, I didn't mean to--?
"Don't be sorry." He turned his head until his mouth was so close to Nick's, they could feel the soft puff of each other's breath.

By Chance © Cat Grant

 

Surprise Element

I found out about these set of books literally a few weeks ago, so I came in at the back at the of series. However that turned out to not be a bad thing as three prequel books were released after the main book THE ARRANGEMENT and  I am in the lucky position to be able to read them in the perfect order.

First up is BY CHANCE and everything about this book screams out how apt the name suited the book. 

 

Smut/Ick Factor

What can  i say, there was smut and there was a pretty decent amount of it all round I would say. All the players involved in this book are young people and as such some of their action can be overlooked and respect must be given to some of the stance they took and the principles that they had.

I was caught up in each and every smut scene, because Ms. Grant got it right – the protags had enough emotional investment in each other to make the experience simply magic. Even the one that was just for the sake of it – made an impact.

 

Positive

Yes, I liked this first book – as mentioned before -  this is built as one of three prequel to THE ARRANGEMENT, but it’s best to start reading this one first.

The main players as there was really three of them were characters in themselves. Eric, the little rich boy who was more than he seemed and a whole lot more than he wanted people to know he was – was a total ass when I first met him, however has time progresses there was a definite swing in the pendulum between giving him a black eye or cuddling him to death.

Nick who shall always remain my favourite is the stud farm boy with big dreams but did what he had to do get a foot hold to where he wanted to be. Happy to go through student life, that is until he “By Chance” lucked out and ended up rooming with Eric

Ally the friend, the shark and the defender – was  not an easy character to like. She had a laugh with the guys, she was supportive when needed – but, yes - but.

I liked Ms. Grant voice alot in this book – it’s easy, it take you to another place. There was no pretence with her style, she worked within the confines she set herself and her range moved from sarcastic humour to quite deep introspective assessment.

They ended up skipping breakfast altogether. The next time they saw each other was at dinner that night in the dining hall. Both ravenous, they didn’t say a word until they’d attacked their respective dinners and left them for dead. When they looked at each other at last, they burst out laughing.

By Chance © Cat Grant

 

“I have a confession to make,” Eric whispered to Nick one morning about a week later. “You’re the first person I’ve ever spent the entire night with.”
“Really?” Nick studied him for a moment. “I guess I should be flattered, but when you think about it, it’s actually kind of sad.”
“I know, but I didn’t used to think so. It was another way of keeping people at arm’s length. Getting too close scared me.” “It doesn’t look like it’s scaring you now,” Nick grinned, swooping in for a kiss.

By Chance © Cat Grant

The development of the character was enough to satisfy me in this first book – at just a little over a hundred pages – Nick and Eric’s character was given a decent run and we found out more than a bit about their back history – with three other books, there is time to find out what’s missing.

There was a wide array of secondary cast and some stood out more than some – Nicks parent were two of the stronger set especially his mother – Ms. Grant I thought did a wonderful job of delving into the lifestyle and the breakdown of a marriage and the end resulting in the Eric we have today.

All the character in the book felt real, there problems irrespective of wealth or status feels everyday and I embraced them because of this.

BY CHANCE had a pace suitable to the age group that the book revolved around – everything must happen now, immediately – they really didn’t slow down even in their relationship and for the young certain things moved at the speed of light without due care or regard.

I was loving the contrast between Nick and Eric – everything about them was polar opposite, it was more a case of “So near, yet so far” and that phrase is resonated through every aspect of their life.

There are loads of angsty moments and I wasn’t lost for things to wrap my imagination around. Some panned out and some I am awaiting for the next book to see where Ms. Grant takes us.

One thing that really stand out – and i will be looking out for this element in the other books. This book was as I said just a little over a hundred pages and Ms. Grant made use of each and every inch of page space. Only when I was finished did I really sit back and view the amount of info she packed into this first book nothing was wasted. 

Bottom Line

A pretty decent first book in a series that introduces us to not only a new to me author with a voice I am enjoying, but also to some overwhelming characters that all have a  mind and a will of their own. The book cast a light on many areas of society - the break down of a marriage, the children it affects,  the secrets that are kept from parents and children alike.

It also highlight the folly of youth and the fact that being stiff neck and uncompromising does start from somewhere. 

 

Niggles

When I read a book I have none of the usual hang ups about what is decent and  right in a relationship,I might not agree with it, but it’s not the end of the world. Nick did the unthinkable in the later part of BY CHANCE – but- and I say but, he was at the age where I cannot make a song and dance about it. My major problem with it was the fact that Nick was the saner of the two guys and if anyone was going to be tarting it around it would have been Eric – so that really didn’t sit well with me. (That said – I could also say that Ms. Grant has a keener understanding of humans than I do to see how a broken heart would affect different people in different ways)

Eric was the smaller of the two men but he was clearly the aggressor in the relationship – I have no problem with it at this stage, as after all Eric is also the more  experience of the two. However I am keen to see how far he will go in controlling the reigns of the relationship.

Eric treatment of Nick was unforgivable in some scenes and while I appreciate he had issues, Nick was just taking too much body blows.

There are unresolved issue regarding their last breakup that I wont harp on now, as there are more books in the series – so these might be addressed at a later day – but that was a pending issue at the end of this book.

The blurb – this book is not solely M/M there is a female element to this and I was not turned off or even disappointed that Ally was in the mix, just let down that the blurb didn’t give me a heads up.

 

Cover

Yes – I liked and I liked it alot. There is very much this coming into their own feel to the pose. These are young men irrespective of the responsibilities and challenges they face – they have not actually presented themselves to the world – yet. So a suitable cover all round

 

13 Speak To Me:

Leontine on 7 July 2009 at 13:05 said...

Hi EH,
This sounds like a solid good read with emotions and character development for a hundred pages or so. I will check out this series :D And may I say uber love your new header banner, very atmospheric, the best so far!!

Lea on 7 July 2009 at 13:18 said...

Good Morning EH:

Nice review. Sounds like an interesting read. I'll wait for your comments with respect to the rest of the series and see. Not too sure this one is for me right now.

Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts.

Awesome banner by the way - I love the colour and texture. ;)

Best
L

Blodeuedd on 7 July 2009 at 14:10 said...

Hi EH
Hadn't noticed the banner, very nice :D

Sounds like a good read.

Cat Grant on 7 July 2009 at 18:54 said...

Thanks for the review, EH! ;)

Book Junkie on 7 July 2009 at 20:32 said...

Great Review! I so love CG! And I love this series!

My Blog 2.0 (Dottie) on 8 July 2009 at 01:01 said...

Hi EH!

Great review! Are these only available as ebooks?

BTW, love the banner!

Dottie :)

Cat Grant on 8 July 2009 at 04:13 said...

Hi, Dottie. This book, along with Strictly Business and Complications, will be available in print, probably within the next couple of months. I just finished looking over the print galleys this past weekend.

Erotic Horizon on 9 July 2009 at 12:32 said...

Hey Leontine..

This is a surprise read, because of the authors voice I think.. She really has an easy style that just carried you away..

I think you would like this one.

E.H>

Erotic Horizon on 9 July 2009 at 12:33 said...

Thanks Lea on the Banner...

Just stick around for the week - I really enjoyed this series...

E.H>

Erotic Horizon on 9 July 2009 at 12:33 said...

Blodeuedd

Thanks hon...

E.H>

Erotic Horizon on 9 July 2009 at 12:33 said...

Hello Cat...

Thank you...

E.H>

Erotic Horizon on 9 July 2009 at 12:34 said...

Hey Book Junkies...

I remember seeing this at your place and knew I had to read it...

Thanks ...

E.H>

Erotic Horizon on 9 July 2009 at 12:36 said...

Thanks Dottie..

Hope you stick around for the week..

E.H>