Drawn Together by Z.A. Maxfield
I was really looking forward to this story, being the huge geek that I am. I actually saved to read this when I was at an anime convention (just to get in the mood of things)...it was kind of a let down. The writing was good and there were some great one liners, but overall the story didn't compell me. I felt as if this story should have studied the characters more and had the plot as secondary (and with a different plot).
What I liked
Overall I enjoy Maxfield's writing style and there are some moments that literally had me laughing aloud. I mostly enjoyed the characters and their interactions (see below for more), and I liked the story enough to continue reading.
What didn't work
Dialogue/Interactions: These felt forced and clumsy many times, as if the author wasn't sure how a person would really react. It wasn't a problem all the time, so perhaps it was more a matter of the author wanted the story to go one way, the characters wanted it to go another way, and the author forced the story to go the way she wanted it to go...leaving awkward interactions among the characters.
The plot. While I could swallow the ridiculousness of the opening as a necessary element to get the story started, there were so many other parts that didn't piece together well. The entire stalker danger felt...fake/ridiculous/off. I just didn't buy it, and when you're leading your story that way (and most of the story involves it), you need the reader to agree that it makes sense. Too much was off from reality.
Our dear Rory, who comes across as an obtuse idiot in the beginning, ends up being a high-rolling poker player. Not just mediocre, but REALLY good. I didn't buy it. I was given no reason to buy it, except that it "runs in the blood."
Yamane was a little more consistent, and it was pointed out he would act cool/tough sometimes, and then like a prissy princess others, but it was a consistent behavior pattern, so it was buyable. His actions that seem irrational are, via his thoughts, admitted that he doesn't know why he did them, he just had to. While this may seem like an excuse, it's one I'm willing to buy.
As for Yamane's issues with men...I'm not sure I really ever got it. I didn't get a good feel of why he went with men like he did or what his previous relationships were like to lead to this behavior.