Title: Learning to Love: Final Exam
Author Name: K.C. Wells
Publication Date & Length: August 25, 2014 – 244pgs
One house, three couples, and one year left until their final exams….
Evan and Daniel want to take their D/s relationship to the next level. When Daniel suggests conducting a little research at a BDSM club, Evan is more than up for it. Trouble is, one of their housemates isn’t happy about this.
Finances tighten for new couple Josh and Chris. Wanting to ease some of the pressure on Chris, Josh starts as an agency nurse. But tackling a heavy workload at medical school and working late-shifts leaves little time for the couple. Something’s gotta give.
In Spain, Sean was diagnosed as suffering from migraines. But after the medications have no effect and he starts suffering from other complaints, he decides to get a second opinion without telling Michael. When Michael finds out, Sean’s usually laid-back husband’s reaction shocks everyone. But Michael needs to get his head sorted fast, because Sean needs his strength.
As their school career comes to a close and the one person who holds them all together starts to fall apart, the final exam is a true test of friendship.
What I liked: There were several good, steamy sex scenes throughout the book, but not so many as to be tiresome. I liked that the couples were very much in love. I was a little hesitant reading about Evan and Daniel, the couple with the D/s relationship, as I’m not usually keen on BDSM. But this was BDSM-lite, so to speak, and their relationship was more about the D/s than anything else. I liked that the author showed it as part of a very healthy, caring relationship, too.
What I didn’t like: As much as I love reading about guys in love, this was a bit much. First, maybe this is a cultural difference, but these guys didn’t always read as men to me. Not one of the men in the entire story was terribly masculine. Though I personally prefer guys like that myself, it’s simply not realistic that an entire world is populated only by a very specific subset of gay men.
I was also bothered by all the matchmaking, including two teenagers, and how those all seemed to work out just perfectly. Not to mention at least two of the housemates have younger brothers who are also gay. Yes, that happens, but what bothered me was the conversation between Daniel and his brother, who was obviously working some things out. It appears that this world contains straight guys, “straight” guys (who don’t realize they’re gay yet) and gay guys. There are no bisexuals.
Another problem I noticed was that none of the housemates seemed to have a unique personality. They all read roughly the same to me, including their emotions and how they talked. It felt as though any one character could be swapped out with another and no one would have noticed.
There was virtually no tension in the story, and every last detail worked out perfectly. I’m a sucker for a happy ending, but honestly, Sean’s medical issues wrapped up a bit too neatly. Same for Josh’s issues with working too much. It was a bit too tidy for my tastes, and not at all realistic. Life is a lot messier than that.
Overall, it comes across like the author tried to do too much in a single book. I can’t tell how many of the problems I noted are because this is the last book in a series and I didn’t read the other ones. It does read like an extended epilogue, so it’s possible that if I’d read the entire series, I might have loved it for tying everything together with a bow. Unfortunately, that makes it a very poor stand-alone novel, despite the fact that I didn’t need to read the others to understand the previous story strands.
I wish I could rate it more highly. If the really good elements had been supported by a better plot/better characterization, I would have. The good news is, I would like to read the other books and see what I missed. I recommend anyone interested in this book read the others first rather than making a decision based on this review.
I give it 3.5 stars,
Born and raised in the north-west of England, K.C.Wells always loved writing. Words were important. Full stop. However, when childhood gave way to adulthood, the writing ceased, as life got in the way.
K.C. discovered erotic fiction in 2009, where the purchase of a ménage storyline led to the startling discovery that reading about men in love was damn hot. In 2012, arriving at a really low point in life led to the desperate need to do something creative. An even bigger discovery waited in the wings – writing about men in love was even hotter…
K.C. now writes full-time and is loving every minute of her new career.
The laptop still has no idea of what hit it… it only knows that it wants a rest, please. And it now has to get used to the idea that where K.C goes, it goes.