Review of Moments in Time (Moments in Time #1-3), by Karen Stivali

I won a signed copy of Karen Stivali‘s Moments in Time (#1-3) from Just Love Romance. I read it as part of my #DiverseRomanceBingo challenge, as it contains a bi character, Jewish characters and is written by an #OwnVoices author.

Description from Goodreads:

Moment of Impact
Beyond Collin Fitzpatrick’s dorm room, the students of his conservative college think he’s straight, as does his Catholic family, who’d disown him if they learned the truth. Inside, he’s safe with his sexy roommate Tanner D’Amico. Tanner wants to show the world how much he loves Collin, but Collin’s not sure he’s ready for the impact stepping outside will make.

Moment of Truth
Collin expected to spend another summer fixing cars and working at the college pizzeria. Instead, he’s living in a beach house on Fire Island, and for the first time, he and Tanner can publicly be known as boyfriends. Being “out” takes some getting used to, and doubt and jealousy threaten their happiness. Collin and Tanner must confront the truth or risk losing it all.

Moment of Clarity
Spending the summer on Fire Island brought Collin and Tanner closer than ever, but back in their conservative college town, new challenges confront them.

When Collin’s relationship with Tanner becomes an issue in his brother’s custody battle and Tanner struggles with feelings for his heartbroken friend Wendy, Collin wonders if everyone would be better off without him. In order to save them both, Tanner must make it clear his love for Collin is all that matters.

Review:

Hmm, there is plenty to appreciate here. It’s a sweet read about two university-aged guys falling in love. And it is sweet. It’s nice to see a confident bi character. It’s nice to see Catholic and Jewish characters. It was nice that the guys didn’t go from virginal to straight porn sex in an instant and that sex could be something other than penetrative. I liked that there wasn’t a lot of angst about who did what to who and what that did or didn’t make them. I liked Collin coming exploring himself for the first time and Tanner’s patience with him. And I just plain liked Collin and Tanner.

However, the plot often felt like little snippets of life between extended sex scenes. There was far too much sex for me. Not that I mind a lot of sex, but the balance of sex to plot felt too heavily weighted toward sex. I got bored with it. I thought a lot of the conflict felt contrived (and often predictable) and the easy way everything miraculously resolved itself in the end was too pat and easy to be believable.

Lastly, I had major concerns with the representation of women in the novelettes. There are basically only six women in the whole book. One is the classic saintly mother. Of the other five, one was willing to abandon her friends for a boyfriend and willing to steal another’s lover. A second was a wife/mother who cheated on her husband, abandoned her children and was vilely homophobic. A third was a homophobic mother that disowned her gay son and the last was a girl who actively pursued a man she knew to be in a committed, monogamous relationship. I get that this is a book about men loving men, but why does that mean women are so often only presented as the enemy? As if we can only be saints, which less face it removes them from the human realm and consideration, or dangerous to the male characters in the book?

For the most part however, I enjoyed this and have no real qualm recommending it to readers.


What I’m drinking: Loyd: The Magical Experience Flowery Earl Grey (seriously, that’s what it’s called!) I’d add a link, but it’s kind of frightening, in this day and age, how little web presence Loyd tea apparently has.

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