Book Reviews

Serpentine Walls (Serpentine 1) by CJane Elliott at JMS Books

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Students/Teachers/Professors / New Adult / Romance
Reviewed by Jamie Deacon on 27-March-2024

Book Blurb

Reeling from the news that his parents are divorcing, Pete Morgan starts his junior year at college cynical about love and commitment. Although his new openness to one-night stands does wonders for his sex life, fighting his romantic nature proves harder than he’d anticipated. He soon finds himself pining for a glamorous senior, Aidan, who doesn’t mind taking Pete to bed but shows no interest in commitment -- at least not with Pete. And Pete’s attempt at a friends-with-benefits relationship with sophomore Jed leaves Pete feeling empty.

One bright spot in Pete’s year is Matthew, an easygoing graduate student who assists Pete in making his first film. Matthew has some baggage too, and has sworn off relationships and sex altogether, so Pete feels safe to enjoy their friendship. But he falls for Matthew anyway, not able to fight his growing conviction that Matthew is the perfect guy for him.

Even if Pete can accept he made a mistake when he turned his back on relationships, that doesn't mean Matthew will feel the same. With a few life lessons under his belt, Pete’s ready to take a chance on love and bare his heart to Matthew. But will Matthew be willing to let Pete in?



First edition published at Dreamspinner Press, October 2013.


Book Review

I love stories set against the backdrop of college life. Perhaps this is because they bring back happy memories, although sadly my own student days weren't nearly as sizzling with sexual adventure as those of the hero in 'Serpentine Walls'. Owing in part, I'm sure, to the fact that she once attended the University of Virginia where the novel takes place, the author does a wonderful job of portraying the atmosphere, and the way the modern rubs shoulders with the historical.

As they prepare to begin their junior year at U.VA., Pete's roommate Angie predicts that this will be their lucky year, the year they each find Mr. Right. However, still reeling from the shock of his parents' recent split, Pete has no desire to become seriously involved with anyone. Not that he intends to live like a monk either. Somehow though, both his steamy hookups with the gorgeous Aidan, and a friends-with-benefits arrangement with laid-back Jed, leave him feeling unfulfilled.

The one truly positive thing in Pete's life is his growing friendship with graduate student Matthew. As Matthew helps him put together his first film, Pete discovers him to be funny, generous, and great company, and before he can catch himself, he is falling hard. The trouble is, Matthew is scarred from a bad breakup and in no hurry to risk his heart again. This confronts Pete with a dilemma—accept that their relationship can only ever be platonic, or convince Matthew to take a chance on love.

What really made this novel stand out for me were the characters. From the man-eating Aidan, to Cleo with her boldly colored hair and no-nonsense attitude, I came to care for each and every one of them. Pete is a believable hero, flawed yet immensely sympathetic, and I fell for Matthew's big heart and humor the moment he was introduced into the story. CJane Elliott has spun a tale that is as unexpectedly deep as it is entertaining, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. The first edition of this book was purchased by the reviewer.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 85560 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 09-March-2024
Price $5.49 ebook
Buy Link