Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Longest Stride by T.A. Chase

Oh where, oh where has my T.A. Chase gone? Because the T.A. Chase who wrote this book doesn't seem to be the same person whose work I loved when I started reading M/M romance.

There's nothing wrong with the premise of The Longest Stride. It's the story of Branimir, a horse shifter who lost his lover in a car accident five years ago, and Austin who's a wealthy event jumper that trains beginning eventers as well.

Branimir and Austin are brought together when they save, and begin to rehabilitate Mary's Gospel; a horse that was horribly abused.

Here's where the coulda-woulda-shouldas start.

The coulda
There could have been alot done with the idea of horse shifters. I, for one, am a little tired of the wolves, tigers, panthers, and bears oh my! Horse shifters are a nice change of pace. Unfortunately, at the end of the story I said to myself...

"Self, what did Branimir being a shifter have to do with anything?"

and the inner Laddie said...

"Oh, there was a shifter in this book? Oh, yeah, there was wasn't there? "

Except for the mention of Branimir being kicked out of his home by his father (the dominant herd stallion) and the couple of times Branimir shifted, most of the story had nothing to do with him being a shifter. It comes into play a bit at the very end but by then it seemed like a last ditch attempt to rev a story that had stalled, at about 20%, into gear.

I needed more evidence of herd politics than the mention of Branimir's banishment from his family. I needed more shifter personality and physical traits than Branimir's "larger than average" cock and balls. I really felt like this book was one big missed opportunity.

The woulda
I wish the author would have inserted something into the plot that made me more forgiving of the fact that there wasn't much of anything going on on the shifter end of things. There was nothing. I said to myself...

"Self, do you think something is actually going to happen soon?"

and the inner Laddie said...

"C'mon, what do you think?"

The inner Laddie is such a smartass...but I digress. The writing in this book was dry and, I hate to say it, a bit lazy. T.A. Chase's books used to pull me in. The last couple of books she's released have really taken the shine off of her writing, for me.

As a result of me not being invested in the story I started focusing on little things that annoyed me. At one point Branimir is said to touch Austin's asshole through his jeans. I spent the next few pages wondering how tight Austin's jeans were. Someone's jeans would have to be all up in their ass crack in order for that person's asshole to be molested. Then I spent the next five minutes going "Austin had to have a wedgie! How is that sexy?! Wedgies are not sexy!"

I should not spend 10% of someone's book thinking about wedgies.

The shoulda
The biggest "shoulda", in my opinion, is that the author should have made this story a bit shorter. When you put together dry writing and a thin plot that's in no way captivating, you get a story that should not have dragged on as long as The Longest Stride did. At about 55% in I said to myself...

"Self...hey, Self. Self! WTF where did you go?!"

and the inner Laddie said...

"Huh? Whaaa? Oh, damn, sorry. I drifted off. Are we still reading this book??"

All in all, there was just too much about this story that was lackluster. T.A. Chase's writing seems to be going through a devolution and it's a shame because her older stuff was good. I hope her next offering is better but, unfortunately, I can't recommend this book.

Grade: C...maybe a C-

P.S.: Here are some books that I enjoyed by T.A. Chase
My review for Duncan's World
Angel's Evolution
Kissed By God
Embrace My Reflection


  1. I've asked that same question re: TA Chase...

    1. Yeah, I've tried reading Pestilence which is another one of her recent works and I'm just not loving that one either.

  2. Replies
    1. It was a struggle for me not to give up on it.

  3. I totally agree with you. I also enjoyed the ones you recommended. I wish she would write more stories like her Home series or even her Love of Sports series. I thought she was going to write a sequel to Death or Life? Don't know what's going on.

    I did get her Christmas story Joy of the Season and really liked it even though it made me cry.

    1. I liked the first two books of her Home series. I tried to read the third and couldn't get into it. I may go back and try to read it again.

  4. Oh I loved her Home series! I think my fave was the last one, with the country singer. That was sweet and SO HOT!

  5. I think the country singer was the one I was trying to read. I definitely have to try it again.

  6. Laddie, love the letter grade, my puny brain processes that better than stars for some reason :D