Review: Slow Bloom by Anah Crow

Ricky Talbot, fresh from his first year at university, is looking to have a perfect summer. He gets to work for the man he's had a crush on for years and spend the rest of his days in the pool, training for the swim team. Jack Corson, on the other hand, is a suburban hermit with a tangled past. Jack's a lot more experienced than Ricky, cantankerous and more than a little anti-social. When an unexpected one-time encounter between the two of them turns into more, Ricky and Jack must see if they have what it takes for love to bloom despite all of their differences, the distance between them while Ricky's away school, Jack's past and Ricky's parents. Can their slow-blooming love come to fruition?

Hells yeah!


^^^^Me prior to reading this and me after… 

Like, I want to squirrel it away and make out with it and cuddle it and carry it around with me like Linus and his woobie.

I've been in a minor book rut lately, reading a couple pages here, a couple pages there but nothing was grabbing me, so Baby suggested bears and twinks and I perked up then I thought MANTIES! Lo and behold if I didn't get bears, twinks AND MANTIES! Plus, Anah Crow.

This is a slow burn or bloom, however you want to phrase it. It unfolds slowly but surely and these authors show you every bit of their romance. They don't hold back even a little bit. Sure, it probably could have been edited down and I'm so glad it wasn't because I loved even the tedium. 

Ricky is home after his first year of college and his father has arranged for him to work on Jack's lawn in exchange for access to his pool to keep up his training. Something as ordinary as a broken lawnmower is the catalyst for this romance. Jack notices the "golden lawn boy" having a meltdown. Who could resist Ricky?

Lithe swimmer's build.
Blond curls.
Golden tan.
Cut offs.

Who could blame the man? I bet he was kinda sweaty too. *groans*

It begins as just an illicit encounter. Ricky's had a crush on the eccentric, gay, curmudgeon of a neighbor since he was 15. A blow job is a dream come true! Until he gets gay bashed and the only person he can think of to call to pick him up is Jack. A connection is formed that night, but they're both just happy to spend the summer together. My god, do they make good use of that summer. They are so hot for each other, they scorched off the page. Oodles of kissing, biting, rimming, begging, dirty talk, needing with some kink mixed in: spanking, bondage and MANTIES.

"Now I'm going to have to go waste time lying in the hot tub and jerking off while I think about how good it would be to rip those shorts off you and tongue your ass until you come everywhere, then flip you over and suck you hard again so I can fuck my mouth on your dick until my throat is sore for days and you come so hard you can't remember anything but how to worship my cock with your sweet, rosy mouth, looking like you live to get your mouth full of my come, even if you always end up with it dripping down your chin so you look completely debauched and fucked."

My kindle crackled a little bit a few times. I didn't expect anything more than a hot, sex filled summer romance. How could I with a 30 yr age gap between them? Honestly, this can't go anywhere, except it did. Somewhere along the way Jack stopped being such a curmudgeon, at least around Ricky. He got used to Ricky being there, talking to him, being with him, going shopping with him and just spending time together. The last scene between the two of them at the end of that first summer damn near brought me to tears it was so bittersweet.

They moved against each other like they could almost soak into one another's skin and then the desperate need to be close would ease.

Ricky goes back to school and things sort of go back to normal, but Ricky misses him and turns up for Jack's annual Halloween party with a stunning surprise for him and things just progress from there. They call, they email, they buy sentimental things for each other and that evolves into special trips to spend time together which just makes the ache worse when they have to part again. Surprisingly, there's very little angst. They're both very open and honest with one another and the trust grows exponentially with every rendezvous. What I liked best was even though Jack's got his own footpath around the block nothing was the same for him. He opens himself up in ways he never has before and he just… loves Ricky. He wants him to be happy. He wants what's best for him and more than anything else he just wants Ricky to be Ricky. He's old enough and wealthy enough to fit himself into Ricky's life If that's what Ricky wants.

And he does. He has to battle both his friends and his parents to convince them that he loves Jack for Jack and doesn't care about the age difference and those are some tough battles. His friend Jason doesn't pull any punches and his mom says some really hurtful things in the heat of the moment, but love is love and it doesn't do math.


Every one of these characters came alive on the page. Some added to the subtle telling of Jack's backstory. Some added levity. Jason actually reminded me a lot of Blake from ThePrescott College series only smarter. Every conversation felt honest and genuine. All of it added to the magic that is Slow Bloom.

Maybe it just hit me at the right time. Maybe it was the MANTIES. Maybe it was the bear/twink trope I love, but this is going down as one of the best things I've read all year. I really wish this author would write more.

A version of this review was previously posted on Goodreads.


  1. Loved this book, it rang all my bells at the same time and they were even twinkling in the slow build up and when they rang, they rang!

  2. Holy crap! That first picture isn't in your goodreads review! (rapidly saving to disc)

  3. I can't find this anywhere :( Boo

    Haven't seen that first pic before. Yummo!

  4. Any idea where to get this book? Thanks.

  5. Amazing review. After reading it, all I can think is, want!

  6. I echo the comments above...where can I find this book?!!

  7. Uh oh... It looks like this has been pulled from retailers. Sowwy folks. :(

    The MANTIES pic is one of my faves. Glad you all enjoyed it. I'll check around some more & see if I can find out some more info on these authors.