Wednesday, January 4, 2017

ARC Review: I Love You More Than Pierogi by K.A. Merikan



Blurb:
Marek and Adrian dated in high school, but a bitter breakup led them to choose different paths. Adrian is out and proud while Marek is in the closet. Adrian embraces his eccentricity while Marek clings to a conservative image. And while Marek worked hard to build a successful life and financial stability by climbing the corporate ladder, Adrian threw caution to the wind and has spent the last five years backpacking across the world.

Now Adrian is back in Warsaw, Poland, but while Marek thinks they will have a hookup and have a blast from the past, Adrian is just looking for a place to crash. Worse still, Adrian turns up at Marek’s advertising agency for help with his outrageous new business venture, and if Marek wants to get promoted, he might have to work with the guy who broke his heart.


Dani's rating:




Disclaimer: This book was a huge nostalgia trip for me. Warsaw is my home town. I was 10 when we moved to the States, and I also lived in Poland as an adult, never mind the many trips I've taken to visit friends and family.

I am fluent in the immigrant experience and could relate to Marek, who moved from a small town to a big city feeling like he had everything to prove.

Poles are not known for being lighthearted and whimsical. The Polish character speaks to loyalty and a strong work ethic, but unfortunately homophobia runs rampant (thanks to the massive influence of the Catholic church).

I'm not ingrained in day-to-day Polish culture, but this book gave me hope that the younger generation, especially, is coming round.

In the book, Marek and Adrian serve food at an LGBQT festival, and Marek's roommates have no issue with Adrian being gay. But Marek is still afraid to come out, and I don't blame him, what with his boss thinking a prostitute is an appropriate reward for a job well done.




Marek and Adrian are complete opposites, and Adrian is the more likable MC by far. Adrian is sweet and adventurous; he's traveled the world, experienced different cultures, and has big dreams. As my friend Ele said, Adrian has his head in the clouds.

Marek, however, has his feet planted firmly on the ground. He works 12+ hour days and owns expensive suits; his main goal is to get a promotion at the prestigious ad agency where he works. Never mind that his boss snorts cocaine in the office. It's what Marek WANTS.

When Marek learns Adrian's dream is to start a food truck business called "Jars," he's outraged. Marek is resentful that Adrian's grandma left him money so Adrian can start all over again after "wasting" five years playing a vagabond.

Marek is one of the many "jars" (słoiki) who moved from the country to Warsaw seeking opportunities; these small towners are often poor and travel with containers filled with homecooked meals. Marek finds the term "jars" offensive and thinks Adrian is thoughtless to use it. Adrian tells him he wants to reclaim the word and create positive connotations around it.

I loved the descriptions of Polish food! It made me miss my babcia and her cooking something fierce. Adrian cooks traditional Polish cuisine but with a healthy, modern flair. And Marek believes in Adrian's cooking. He helps Adrian market his food truck and eventually falls in love with the idea.

This is a slow burn story. The men, once high school sweethearts, have to find the connection they lost when Marek abandoned Adrian after Adrian came out.

The steam doesn't come until 80 percent, which didn't bother me at all (and y'all know I'm a massive perv). The unfulfilled sexual tension (Adrian and Marek share a flat AND a bed) burned bright and hot.

At one point, Marek is so upset that Adrian is taking a bath when he needs to take a shower, he dismantles the bathroom lock and climbs into the bathtub with him. This was bratty and playful and all kinds of sexy too.

The epilogue is EVERYTHING. I was so happy that these two men could have a HEA in Warsaw, and I'm beyond grateful to Kat and Agnes for writing this charming, authentic story that highlights the very best of Polish culture—except maybe hooligans named Baldy.



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If the crowns of all the kingdoms of Europe were laid down at my feet in exchange for my books . . . I would spurn them all.
~François Fénelon







An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Download links are provided as a courtesy and do not constitute an endorsement of or affiliation with the book, author, publisher, or website listed.

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