Saturday, 23 July 2016

Diary Dates by T.J. Masters – A Release Day Review

Pages: 52
Release Date: July 23, 2016
Own / E-book

The blurb:

Postgraduate student Andrew Chin arrives in London not only to study, but to explore life away from his traditional family in Singapore. His adventure begins at the airport, where he finds the diary of a wealthy British businessman and endeavors to return it.

James Howard is twice Andrew’s age, and he’s not used to selfless youngsters. Despite a rocky first meeting, the two develop an unlikely friendship as James introduces Andrew to the city. James is looking forward to the festivities leading up to Christmas in London and maybe a celebration with Andrew. But will a nasty bout of the flu ruin their romantic holiday?

Not if Andrew has anything to say about it.

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this rather sweet tale very much. Having said that, I’m not entirely sure I would call it a romance in the strictest sense of the word. But, I’ll get back to that in a moment.

For someone who has a thing about stationary and can’t imagine a life without a paper diary, this book pressed all the right buttons. A leather-bound diary? I’d be all over that and would be heartbroken if I lost mine. Throw in a beautiful pen and I may have ended up drooling just a little bit J

But, while the diary certainly plays its part in getting the two men together, it is not what this novella is about. We see most of this story through Andrew Chin’s eyes, and Andrew is a wonderful and endearing character. Whether it is a result of his background and culture or just who he is—I suspect it is a combination of the two— Andrew is a selfless soul, thinking of others before even considering himself.

James is just as much a product of his background and life as Andrew is. Whereas doing good is automatic to Andrew, James, a successful businessman, isn’t used to people doing something for nothing. I never thought he was out to insult Andrew, and yet he did hurt the young man with his constant offers to ‘repay’ him for his generosity. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when James at last seemed to get ‘it’.

I loved that this was a story about two men discovering who the other is and creating a friendship long before it turned into a romance. In fact, the romance and intimacy between James and Andrew only take up a small part of this story. And for me that both worked and didn’t work. It was good because I didn’t need detailed descriptions of their sexy-times to feel how close they had grown. The relationship between these two men is about a lot more than ‘just’ physical attraction and I’m glad that was established long before they got intimate. On the other hand, I also felt the story ended just when it was about to really begin.

As I said before, I'm not sure I'd label this story a romance. If the definition of romance implies a happily ever after for the characters involved, this story falls outside that definition. I understand why the author decided to end the story where he did. After all, Andrew is only in town for a year, and continuing the story until the moment he has to go back home would, without a doubt, have meant ending it on a sad note. The way this story ends means do get a 'happy-for-now' when we leave James and Andrew again and I appreciated that. If I had to label this story I'd call it the tale of a 'moment in time', a snap shot of a few months in the lives of two men. But I can’t help feeling that James and Andrew had more to share with me, although that may well be the result of my over-active imagination. J

In short I’d have to say I enjoyed Diary Dates and the time I spend with Andrew and James. I also hope the author will revisit these characters at some point in the future because as it is, I’m somewhat worried about the rest of Andrew’s life.

Buy Links:

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