Review: The Best Laid Plans
The Best Laid Plans by Lauren Gallagher
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A Catholic, a Muslim and an agnostic walk into an adoption agency…This will teach me to request a book without reading the blurb. Ms. Gallagher is one of those authors that makes me lose my mind. I see her name and all I can think of is "gimme gimme gimme" with my hands trying hard to grab a virtual book. I do not even know why I am this way when her books inevitably pisses me off and moves me at the same time. Seriously, her writing is a hate-love situation. In this complicated ménage, Gabe and Shahid have been trying for nine years to adopt a child. Now that LGBT is more "open", adopting for a gay couple is not as difficult as it was previously. So what does Ms. Gallagher do? She throws in an unexpected element - Shahid is a practicing Muslim. What American woman giving her baby up for adoption would want a Muslim to be the father of her child? Especially if the child is a daughter? Because we have all heard the horror stories of how Muslims treat females.
This story is interesting as Ms. Gallagher likes to provoke her readers with uncomfortable ideas. Since gay men are no longer shocking and neither is a threesome, let's add religion to the mix. She's already written one with politics in it. I admire Ms. Gallagher's gumption to push the envelope and unravel the misconceptions people have about different cultures and religions. This is what I love about her. What I hate about her is that in order to do so, she consistently needs to vilify another culture or religion. Her portray of a specific Muslim man is good because it humanizes him and shows us the hardships he suffers. I wasn't sure if I would like Shahid when he first came onto the scene. I ended up really liking him. He became relatable as the reader learns more about him. He is a nurse in an ER. His passion is to help people. Sure he may have some personal issues that make his marriage a bit rocky at times, but who doesn't? This makes him more appealing. The disappointing part is Ms. Gallagher's extreme portrayal of the Catholics in this story. Talk about being a hypocrite. Seriously, Kendra's family all have so many children? Seriously, Gabe's family makes these terrible assumptions and accusations about Shahid and it's all tied to them being Catholic. I am not even Catholic and I'm appalled. It can't just be that Gabe's family are ignorant and jerks; it is because they are Catholic ignorant jerks. Then the tongue in cheek "Gabe's family is trying to be understanding" justification is even more of joke.
This irritating style of Ms. Gallagher's aside, the main characters are fabulous. Gabe is a wonderful partner and best friend. The situation between the three - Kendra, Shahid and Gabe is difficult. The realities of it are so well depicted. Surrogacy through a natural conception method does promote a certain intimacy. The exploration of the three with their relationship and how they deal with circumstances outside of their control is beautiful. First I felt excitement. Then a unexpected devastating blow hits the threesome, I felt badly for them. The way the strained relationship is presented and then resolved is amazing.
Another thing amazing is the sex. Oh boy does Ms. Gallagher write smoking hawt sex, even if one of the men is pretty much gay only. Shahid may not be able to become aroused sticking his dick into a pussy, but he can definitely be physically intimate with Kendra in a mind blowing hot way. The sex scenes in this story are intense and just the right amount. Each scene enhances the plot of the story in a meaningful manner. It doesn't not mean that all sex has to hold meaning between the three, but what I would like to point out, is the sex definitely created tighter bonds between the threesome. This is delicious to witness. Overall, this book is a great read. The plot is well developed. The characters are nicely fleshed out. The conflict is poignant and resolved in a win-win manner. Recommended to erotic romance readers who enjoy something a little different.
*provided by NetGalley
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