Tag Archives: Zack Love

Sex in the Title

Sex in the TitleA Comedy about Dating, Sex, and Romance in NYC (Back When Phones Weren’t So Smart)

by Zack Love

I suppose there is a kind of art to coming up with book titles. They should covey the essence of the story; they should be snappy, memorable and, above all else, they have to grab the attention of the potential reader. And let’s be honest, who wouldn’t be drawn to a book called “Sex In The Title”, even if it’s just for the sake of curiosity? But does it tell you anything about the book it is trying to sell? In a way yes, it does. That is not to say it is either erotic or pornographic. It is a romantic comedy, and a very funny one at that. What the title does tell you is that this is not a run of the mill rom-com. 

Set at the turn of the new millennium, Sex In The Title follows the loves, losses and dating disasters of five young men, newly arrived in New York and seeking fortune and love. It is a time when the internet is still trying to find its feet and mobile phones were, well, just phones. For these intrepid wannabe executives, the dating game is not always one they seem destined to win.

The characters and their stories are both engaging and believable. Each has their own hang ups about sex and romance. For some, the attempt to follow the stereotypical macho path society has set out before them is not leading them where they want to be. For others, their own past and family commitments make dating in New York city fraught with dangers. On their own, each struggles to find and maintain any kind of lasting relationship. But, when a freak (and I do mean freak!) incident brings them all together, that all begins to change.

The support they find in each other’s experiences and strengths lead them all on a path of self-discovery that ultimately helps them discover now only who they are, but what they truly want from their lives.

For me the book is pretty much a first. I have read plenty of romantic comedies, but I have come across very few that are written from the male point of view. That alone makes this a book worth trying, but add Zack Love’s honesty, wit and engaging style, Sex In The Title is a unique insight into the male view of the world. His characters are engaging and tragic and the story itself compelling and at times, laugh out loud funny. There is a gentle humour that makes even the most extreme character traits endearing. I loved the way these diverse and rather mixed up individuals come together to support each other in their pursuit of love. 

There are moments of introspection sitting alongside slap-stick comedy. The plot does on occasions veer towards the absurd, but I think it is a very accurate reflection of the period, and a painfully accurate look at the anxieties of twenty-something males trying to make their way in a world that is more competitive than they would like. 

A very enjoyable read from a writer from whom I have come to expect nothing less.

Anissa’s Redemption

by Zack Love

Anissa's RedemptionAnissa’s Redemption is the second and concluding part of Zack Love’s Syrian Virgin series. In the first book we were introduced to 16-year old Anissa, living with her family in the Syrian city of Homs at the start of the civil war. Being Christians, they became targets for the Islamist extremists and Anissa was forced to flee from her home. She must now build a new life for herself in New York as she comes to terms with the tragic loss of her family.

In this sequel, Anissa must make some difficult decisions about her relationships and finally come to terms with the secrets of her past she kept hidden from everyone, including herself.

But she is not the only one hiding deep and troubling secrets.

Through her letters we see Anissa’s struggle with her feelings for the two men in her life: fellow student Michael who leads the Mideast Christian Association, working to help fellow Christians in war-torn Syria; and Julien, her wealthy and charismatic college lecturer whose own secrets threaten their growing relationship.

Anissa’s Redemption, told through letters and journal entries takes the reader on a roller-coaster journey. Written with a sympathetic understanding of the realities of the situation in the Middle East and its affect on the people involved, this book presents both a touching and romantic story combined with stark reality and a glimpse of the darker side of the human soul.

In Anissa, Zack Love has created a strong but vulnerable character who I found myself wishing was real. It is much more common these days to find strong female characters, both in books and in film. As she fights her demons and builds a better life for herself, Anissa is one of the most captivating of this new breed of leading ladies.

An excellent conclusion to a moving and well written story.

 

The Syrian Virgin

 by Zack Love

The Syrian Virgin

Every now and then a book comes along that really moves and entrances you. For me, “The Syrian Virgin” by Zack Love is one of those books.

The story, centred around a young girl escaping the civil war in Syria, has everything you could ask of a good book. It has pace and emotion, a good plot, is well written, and leaves you wanting to know more.

The central character is the teenager Anissa, who tells her story in a series of letters, from the atrocities she faces in her home town of Homs, to the new life she is building for herself in New York. Alongside Anissa’s letters, there are also extracts from the journal of her college professor, Julien, who is drawn to this mysterious young woman in a way that frightens and excites him.

Both characters are haunted by the events of their pasts, but each faces them in different ways. Anissa draws strength from the tragic events that unfolded in January 2012, using them to give some meaning and direction to her life. For Julien, his past is something he is constantly running away from, but continues to catch up with him, no matter how rich or successful he gets.

The two parallel stories give the reader two very different perspectives on the events that shape Anissa’s new life.

The book was a recommendation, and I am so glad I took it up. It is a very moving story, written with passion and conviction. I was hooked from the first page. There is no waffle, no padding of the story and no distractions from the story itself. The pace and style are just right. An excellent book that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys tales of human resilience and compassion.