Book Review – Bear, Otter, and the Kid by TJ Klune

by Maryse on May 18, 2012 · 35 comments

in My Book Reviews

Bear, Otter, and the Kid
This one came highly and I mean HIGHLY recommended by my friend Jackie, who was insistent that I’d LOVE it and it would absolutely make my favorites list.. I believed her. We have very similar tastes. But you see I’ve been on a bad boy kick. I’ve been looking for more rock stars, more tattooed brooding heroes, and especially a few more “Fifty” like characters.

<——- THIS did not look like a book about bad boys. *shakes head* Nope. It looked cute, warm and fuzzy. And considering that the potential romance is between two male leads, this was not my usual read.

But what I didn’t realize is that this book would provide me with just as much intensity and overall emotional and romantic fulfillment. I did connect! Sure it had it’s warm and fuzzy moments, but it had it’s fair share of angst, depth and heartache too. I didn’t know what I was missing, did I Jackie? It’s been two months now, that you’ve been bringing it up, right?

From back in March:

Jackie: Maryse you MUST read this book

Maryse: TELL ME

Jackie: Bear Otter and the Kid

Maryse:  the one that is m/m that is in your top 10 ever? I was listening to you guys (well reading) your chat yesterday about otters and I wanted to be that excited too.

Jackie: Its not a big drama – I just clicked with it. I hope you will enjoy it. Its cute and funny. I know that I’m in a good book when I come home for lunch and forget to eat. I did that yesterday… the silly comments and the depth of character its like that. Just really likable characters.

Gently insisting, reminding, poking and prodding me to give this one a go.

(April 5th) Jackie: please read BOATK then…

(April 17th) Jackie: BOATK is awesome…

(April 23rd) Jackie: did you start BOATK yet?

(May 8th) Jackie: Ter is koving BOATK – you must read it – I promise you that you’ll love it

(May 9th) Jackie: Ok so you bought BOATK – when are you going to actually read it????

side note from Maryse; (me going on about my hunt for more “Fifty” books…)

Jackie: STOP. read the damn book!

Tee hee!!!! *blush*. Well okay! And so I did.

Remember what I told you guys about my “To Be Read” list and how it keeps shifting, and changing? I bought this one almost immediately, but it kept getting lost in my bad boy quest. But you were right, Jackie. I LOVED it. I bonded with them from the get go. The writing was funny, quirky, and witty, but best of all, it felt like I already knew, and was already best friends with all of the characters. Or that I so wanted to be best friends with them. I wanted to be in their “family”.

And it had a seriously heart wrenching romantic edge. I knew what was coming, considering Bear and Otter are both men, and I wasn’t sure if I personally, would feel romantically connected to the story’s love angle, but let me tell you. I DID! In fact, I was pining for them. BIG time. I was so in book-love with them.

Maryse: Jackie… are you there?

Jackie: I am now

Maryse: Jackie. Can you tell me why I’m in love with a gay guy? Can you!!??? WHY do I see myself as Bear and I love Otter? WHY!?

Jackie: join my club.

But then I thought about it… why wouldn’t I be? I get it. After all, I can totally relate to being attracted to a gorgeous guy. Muscles, soulful eyes, all that *shivers* alpha masculinity. Yeah… I get it. Bear and I have the same tastes. Even though Bear didn’t realize it, himself.

But for a moment there, didn’t I feel like I was worth something? Didn’t the weight of his hand, the words he had spoken, make me feel warm? I felt the heat rise to my face, and I looked down at our hands, and felt another tear slip from my eye. What was going on? I thought frantically.

I was absolutely hooked. Overall it had a similar feel to Slammed (a young man being forced to raise his younger brother, Ty, due to horrible circumstances, and his best friends surrounding him with love and becoming his family), and even a touch reminiscent of Barely Breathing (because the “horrible circumstance” is his wretched selfish mother!! grrrrrrr!).

So that’s how it went. That’s how she left. That’s how I reacted. That’s how we told Ty. That’s how I made the only choice I could make. I turned eighteen and gained a child.

And all the while that he is getting his life together, making sacrifices, with the support of his girlfriend and his best friend, he remains positive and even somewhat happy. Until, that is, “Otter” (his best friend’s older brother) comes back in town, and old, confusing feelings come back to the forefront. He suddenly finds himself yearning to be near him, and yet resisting this intense attraction.

Can you do this? the voice asks. Can you handle all of this?

And you know how I am… all of that anxiety and torment, mixed in with those little stomach butterflies. Simply irresistible to me.

Oh and it does come with a side of “steaminess” (definitely not YA) but the love (in all aspects of the word; friends, family and romantically) is the heart of the story.

TJ Klune, you (and your boys) sure know your way to a girl’s heart. Because they’ve captured mine.

Nicknames aside (I suppose I’m just not a nickname type of girl, but the nickname explanation was cute)… it was almost perfect for me. 4.5 stars!

Off I go to read book #2 in this saga: Who We Are (see what happened there? That’s right. My TBR list just shifted to put this one next).

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Jackie May 18, 2012 at 9:12 AM

Well – about bloody time woman. Told you !!! *poking out tongue* and WWA is even better!

Maryse May 18, 2012 at 9:21 AM

I’m on it! And this time, no prodding required, as I’ve already started it. heheh

Jackie May 18, 2012 at 9:52 AM

Oh and by the way – I think the reason you see yourself as Bear and loving Otter is because we all have a little of Bear’s insecurities in us. He’s just so damn real. xxx

Maryse May 18, 2012 at 10:01 AM

He made me laugh so many times… his regular face-palming (when Ty would ask him something so personal, but he was just to darn smart for his own good). OMG I was in tears laughing.

LIS May 18, 2012 at 10:21 AM

I am so glad you finally read BOATK!! But wait until you read WWA! It gets better. Bear cannot stop what’s floating around in his head from coming out of his mouth and those times are priceless!! The dinner scene especially!! You are in for a treat, Maryse. Keep us updated on what you think about his sequel. Oh,one more thing, there will be a thrid book!! wwwweeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jackie May 18, 2012 at 10:46 AM

That discussion that ends with Bear giving WAY too much info to Ty about gay sex and BDSM. I nearly cried laughing!
And I still want to know how ‘ejaculate ends up on the ceiling.’ Maybe I lead a very sheltered life!! xxx

Maryse May 18, 2012 at 10:53 AM

Eeeeeep!! Jackie!! *blush*

In the book context, that discussion was hilarious!!

However as a comment… it made me *squeak*

sidenote: (readers, it’s not as bad as it sounds… but that conversation WAS outrageously funny).

Terttu May 18, 2012 at 11:11 AM

You just gotta love Jackie for demanding us to read the book.I loved,loved,loved the book and i too have to agree that the second is even better than the first.

Jackie May 18, 2012 at 12:21 PM

I totally agree Maryse – there is nothing remotely offensive about any of the ‘outrageous’ conversations that happen in this book. They are all done with so much humour and warmth. And, as any parent will testify – kids do ask these embarassing questions – thankfully most parents, unlike Bear, have filters between their brains and their mouths. xxx

Melissa L May 18, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Oh Cripes.. now I have to read it! I really really need to quit my job!

patricia May 18, 2012 at 2:57 PM

Well I was hesitant to read this book ……after the opportunist! !!!!!!!’ I am gonna go all in

Tina May 18, 2012 at 3:57 PM

I’ve been looking for smth new to read and, after reading your post, i already love this book. I’m reading it now. Hope it will be as good as it sounds. When I look for smth interesting, I read your recommendations and they never let me down!

Bitchie May 18, 2012 at 4:55 PM

I LOVED BOatK, one of my favorite books last year.

And since you are opening your minds to a “different” sort of romance read, and you like angsty reads, might I recommend Faith & Fidelity by Tere Michaels to you all? It’s about a single father, who recently lost his wife, the only woman he has ever loved, in a tragic accident. He is just getting by, going day by day, when he meets another man- a cop. Both men are straight, both men are depressed and just down on life, and they form a friendship in their sadness. And then it becomes more, and it’s just so sweet and romantic and angsty and GOOD.

Sherry ;) May 18, 2012 at 7:51 PM

This was an absolutely fantastic read, and I thank Jackie every day *in my head* for her nagging us about it !!!!

Thank you Jackie
XoXo

TJ Klune May 18, 2012 at 7:53 PM

Thank you for your lovely review, Maryse! To this day, I am overwhelmed at the response I have received to my first book. I am humbled daily by it and know what I am truly blessed. I hope the rest of you enjoy it ;)

TJ

Jackie May 19, 2012 at 3:43 AM

Bitchie,
I read quite alot from this genre. Have you ever read the Conquest Series by S J Frost. Its about a rock group – similar feel to ‘Sinners’ but m/m. I adored that series – easpecially Evan and Jesse. That will be my next ‘nag the ass off Maryse’ project. Its alot more playful that the Faith and Fidelity books.
xxx

Aestas May 19, 2012 at 10:10 AM

Wow I loved your review! I’ll have to add this to the pile :)
Would you consider this a good ‘first’ m/m book?
The closest I’ve read so far is Butterfly Tattoo and like the Qhuinn/Blay parts of BDB (which I loved, even though it wasn’t strictly m/m)

Bitchie May 19, 2012 at 1:35 PM

Jackie, I love SJ Frost, her conquest books are some of my favorites, especially the very first two! I’m mostly an m/m girl these days (other than recs I get here, lol!) I could talk about them for days. Right now I’m reading Armed & Dangerous, 5th book in the Cut & Run series, do you read those? LOVE me some Ty & Zane!

Jackie May 19, 2012 at 2:04 PM

Bitchie,
I have that to start tonight, but I’m in a dilemma between that and SJ Frosts Heartstrings. Did you read Tigers and Devils by sean Kennedy? – totally different story from BOATK but has the same feel – lots of humour and ‘real’ characters. Another of my favourite m/m books. xxx

Carrie May 19, 2012 at 2:06 PM

This has been on my TBR for quite awhile. Looks like I need to move it up… Great review!

The Conquest series is also on my TBR… I need to get to it.

My fav m/m read is Rough Canvas by Joey W. Hill. The last 1/3 of the book… I locked myself in a room and forbid anyone to interrupt the roller coaster ride. Oh the angst! BDSM-lite, btw. The romance was the focus and so intense! Sigh. Love Marcus and Thomas.

Jackie May 19, 2012 at 3:31 PM

Carrie – Just went to buy Rough Canvas – but it shows up as book 6 of a series. Do they need to be read in order?

Tina May 19, 2012 at 4:52 PM

I loved the 1st book!! And I’m thrilled that TJ KLUNE commented here!!

Carrie May 19, 2012 at 5:13 PM

Jackie… You do not need to read them in order. Some previous characters appear briefly in the book but Rough Canvas stands alone. The rest of the series is just as awesome though!

Just bought Bear, Otter and the Kid! My favorite way to spend a Sat nite.. with a good book. ;)

Bitchie May 20, 2012 at 2:39 PM

Jackie- A&D was SOOOO good, sweet, romantic, funny, action packed.

Tigers & Devils was good too, and Rough Canvas can totally be read as stand alone, it’s the only book I’ve read in that series, and I wasn’t lost at all.

Jackie May 20, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Started A&D last night, but had a busy day today so no reading :-( back to it now though! :-) xxx

Kate May 21, 2012 at 5:44 AM

Thank you! These books were the absolute best. Clever, witty, funny, heartbreaking and I’m pretty sure my husband rolled his eyes a few times when I cheered at the good parts with some air punches and snorts of laughter. Just what I needed to help me out of my recent Mac and Barrons coma. Will treasure these books.

Rebecka May 21, 2012 at 6:24 AM

Ok, so I read this books cause of the review and I LOVED it!! And now I’m about 80% into WWA and I’m losing my mind. I will definitely recommmend this to any one who will listen. LOL I’m kind of a nag about books I love too :) Thank you Jackie … I will now proceed to look up all the other books and authors you’ve mentioned in this thread because to my utter suprise m/m romance might just be my new addiction.

Jackie May 21, 2012 at 9:48 AM

Rebecka – My m/m ‘thing’ started with BDB quinn and Blay….then kind of grew. Would definitely recommend the Conquest series S J Frost, Tigers and Demons by sean Kennedy and The Cut and Run Series by Urban and Roux. I also loved Bareback and Natural Disaster by Chris Owen (though be prepared to hurt real bad with ND) and Keeping promise Rock by Amy Lane. TJ’s boys are my absolute faves though!!! xxx

Maryse May 21, 2012 at 11:26 AM

Terttu & Sherry: I do love Jackie’s insistence!! A whole new genre to read!!

Melissa, Patricia, Tina. Let me know what you think once done. I can’t imagine anyone not adoring these characters.

Bitchie and Jackie: I’m so adding all of your suggestions to my list. Especially the one where you had to lock yourself away for the rollercoaster part. I LOVE when that happens!! And the painful stuff. I need a bit of pain in my reads. I dunno… *shakes head* ;)

TJ Klune. I’m on book #2 right now, and OMG my heart!!! I adore them even more then ever. Can’t stop giggling, I can’t stop reading whole sections to my husband. He must experience it’s wonderful-ness, too! but I’m so stressed right now… you know why. I love how you explore all facets of Bear’s new self.

Aestas. YES!! It’s the perfect intro to m/m. It’s steamy but SO much more then that. Like I said. I didn’t see how “I” could fall for them, but I did. As I read these, I am Bear.

Carrie – thank you for that recommendation! I hear great things in regards to Joey Hill, and I’ve decided THIS is the one I will start with from this author.

Tina! I’m thrilled too!! I’m loving book #2 BIG TIME!

Katie & Rebecka – thank you for letting me know you enjoyed ‘em too!! VERY clever, and I swear I love Bear’s mind ramblings and then we he blurts out the last thought that makes no sense. LOL!!! *adore*

Jackie May 21, 2012 at 11:35 AM

Maryse – I had something like 66 different best bits hilighted from book 2. Gave up in the end – would have been easier to highlight the bits I didn’t love. xxx

Tina May 21, 2012 at 2:12 PM

Ok. So I just finished WWA and i LOVED it!! Seriously, I think these books just became my fav.. I don’t know, it was just smth new. And the end… loved it too!

Sara J May 25, 2012 at 9:47 PM

I’m excited you are *exploring* this new genre, Maryse.. I’m addicted actually. TJ Klune is awesome.. (Burn is good too) that Faith and Fidelity series is really good..and Conquest series. there are so many and I think I love them because they are different sets of problems that these couples have to deal with and hey… more guys!.. oh.. another awesome series is “Matter of Time” by Mary Calmes.. Jory is the best character. Things come out of his mouth and it’s SO funny, but everyone loves him.. too much sometimes. I love this character and series.. check it out!

Sara J May 25, 2012 at 9:56 PM

Bitchie~ Is the Cut and Run series really good. I’ve been off and on looking at it, but I don’t know.. having trouble wanting to start that series, but I’m seriously addicted to m/m genre right now.. and I’m running out of books!! Reading Complete Faith right now.. Another favorite of mine is Amy Lane’s Locker Room. I have so many I love….

Jackie May 26, 2012 at 10:23 AM

Sara J
Cut and Run starts off with two guys who really don’t like eachother. Their relationship develops gradually over the books. i much prefer the latter books, but you’d need to read the early ones first to appreciate their relationship. it is a very good series. You’ve listed most of my faves here, but sean Kennedy – Tigers and Devils , and Amy Lane – Keeping promise Rock ( smile every time |I see cherry chapstick ;-) ) are also on my favourites list.
xxx

Sara J May 26, 2012 at 11:44 AM

Jackie, I read both of those authors.. Sean Kennedy and I’ve read everything of Amy Lane’s. I think, actually, you would have a challenge finding something I haven’t read in this genre.. Have you read the Little Boy Lost series by Barnaby? That’s really good. yeah, so many I like and so many I can go back to and re-read. Tigers and Devils is one of those that I go back to quite a bit when I run out of stuff to read. Some other authors I enjoy are Andrew Grey, Mercy Celeste, Anah Crow (Slow Bloom-some a lot of kink in this one, imo) carol Lynne, K.A. Mitchell (bad series) some of G.A. Hauser.. some annoy me how she rights, but I like some of hers. R.J. Scott’s Christmas Throwaway, DHStarr(wrestling with.. 2 books) J.L. Merrow muscling through, Cameron Dane… etc..etc..

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