Review: Gays of Our Lives by Kris Ripper


Title: Gays of Our Lives (Queers of La Vista)
Author: Kris Ripper
Publication Date: 11 July 2016
Genres: Queer Romance, Disability

Author's links: WebsiteTwitterFacebook / FB Group • Goodreads
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My rating: 4 Stars


Emerson Robinette only leaves his apartment to get laid and go to work. Having MS—and trying to pretend he doesn’t—makes everything more complicated, especially his fantasies of coming on strong and holding a guy down. Finding a partner who’ll explore that with him isn’t Emerson’s idea of a realistic goal.

Until a chance meeting with a hipster on a bus makes him reconsider. Obie is happy, open-hearted, and warm; what’s more, he gets his kicks being physically dominated, spanked, and teased until he’s begging. It would be perfect, except for one thing: Emerson isn’t made for happiness, and he doesn’t see how a guy like Obie would settle for a cynic like him.

But as far as Obie’s concerned, the only thing keeping them apart is Emerson. Can Emerson handle a boyfriend who’s more invested in his future than he is? Emerson’s barely convinced he has a future. But when Obie’s smiling at him, anything seems possible.


This is my first book by Kris Ripper and I absolutely loved it. I saw this series a while back advertised as coming soon on the Riptide site and was immediately intrigued by the concept of a community of queer people finding love and happiness. I'm always on the look out for stories with queer characters where their queerness (and coming to terms with it) is not the main focus of the story. I want to see how they cope of everyday live, with ordinary (personal, professional) issues everybody faces in their lives.

I have to say right away that this story met and far exceeded all my expectations. It worked really well for me and I had great time reading it.

I generally prefer a more flowery writing style, a bit on the side of purple prose but this book is the exact opposite and I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. It was fitting to the characters and felt so normal and right.

The story is told from Emerson's POV (a lonely gay man with MS) and his voice was totally captivating and so refreshingly normal, real. It's very easy to misrepresent disability and any illness in fiction, especially in romance. There is always a danger of it becoming just a prop, a plot element or on the other hand, the author risks coming off as condescending. I really, really liked how Emerson's health issues were portrayed in this book. In my opinion this is one of the strongest elements of the story. We have this very snarky, sarcastic and often bitter character who is able to be honest and realistic about his disease. We are together with him in the process of coming to terms with his physical limitations, there are good days and bad days, mistakes and desperation but also hope and acceptance.

It was partly with the help and support of Obie that things got better for Emerson. But it was also a lot of Emerson himself and him ultimately finding friends, a community that can be good and useful for him but also people who need him, whom he can offer something too.

There are some BDSM elements in the story and though I'm not generally of this, I love the way it was incorporated in the romance. It was an exploration of desire and ability and pleasure for both Obie and Emerson and it was presented in a very realistic way - with the awkwardness of trying new things for the first time, with the unavoidable mistakes and things not working out exactly as you expect them but ultimately, as something intimate, just between two people. They way they make love or how their whole relationship works is is for them to decide, it doesn't have to meet anyone else's standards/visions but their own.

In short, I really enjoyed everything about this story - the writing which is very succinct and natural and works so well for these characters, the characters themselves -  Emerson being a total jerk a lot of the time, yet I couldn't help but fall in love with him and Obie - the best hipster there can be, and Zane and Midred, supporting characters who shine on their own. I can strongly recommend this book to anyone looking for a good, positive queer romance, well-told!

Pre-order links: Amazon (paperback) / Riptide

PS: I'm having Kris Ripper as my guest this Friday in my Author Interview feature. You should stop by if you are curious to learn of zir series, Queers of La Vista.

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