Reviews for Already Published Books

REVIEW: Changing Colors by Elyse Springer


32673623Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: October 23, 2017
Received From: NetGalley

Tony Quinn has a knack for figuring people out. He likes labels, likes to be able to put everyone and everything in tidy boxes. As a theater director, it allows him to run a production without too much drama. But when he meets Gentry—“call me Gee”—in a bar one night, he discovers that some people aren’t so easily defined.

Gee Parnell is unlike anyone Tony has ever met before. He refuses to conform—to Tony’s expectations, or to society’s gender roles. He’s sexy and flirtatious, unapologetic and unashamed. And Tony isn’t sure he’s okay with that. So he breaks things off and escapes back into his well-ordered life.

But then an attack leaves Gee bloody and bruised, and Tony realizes that he isn’t ready to lose him. Not only is the passion between them off the charts, but Gee shows him a different way of understanding people. However, an exciting new job opportunity means that Tony has to decide between hiding his sexuality and his relationship with Gee, and his newfound appreciation for the color and beauty Gee brings to his life.


GENDER: cisgender, gender nonconforming
SEXUALITY: bisexual, homosexual


TROPES: second chance romance, age gap
TAGS: adult, contemporary, romance, queer romance, queer characters, queer authors, gender roles / gender expression
WARNINGS: toxic masculinity, transmisia / enbymisia, ableism, homomisia, queermisia, hate crime, misogyny, slurs, stalking


As with the rest of this series, the titles are supposed to be indicative of not only the season in which they occur, but also relate to the characters personally and the relationships they’re involved in. Changing Colors certainly takes place primarily in the fall, when the leaves change, but it’s extraordinarily misleading as to how it relates to Tony, the narrator. Because, you see, Tony doesn’t change his binary, hurtful ways until approximately the 85% mark. That’s a bit too damn far into the novel to leave even a miniscule chance that I would believe his turn around and like him. (Spoiler alert: It didn’t work and I really kind of hate him. A lot.)

To be quite frank, I was ready to quit reading the novel around the 15% mark. I had an extremely hard time reading the enbymisia and strict binary code that Tony attempted to shove Gee into in his mind, and the ways he talked and thought about Gee (“a man in a dress,” rather than just “a man” and this persists until the 80-85% mark). I nearly had a panic attack at one point from the things Tony was thinking and was very much tempted to close the book and never look back. But I kept reading, with the hope that things would get better soon. At approximately the 30-35% mark, Tony tells his best friend that he has a girlfriend so that he doesn’t have to explain that he has a boyfriend who is femme and likes to wear pink. That was the next point at which I almost quit reading. By the time the 40% mark rolled around, I was just too furious to stop reading that I had to continue to see how much worse Tony could be. Because at that percentage marker, Tony decides that he is going to work on a tv show for a company that is blatantly made up of queermisic people and purposely decides to hide Gee, to keep him separate from yet another facet of his life (read as: any part of his life that involves people he knows, so basically they spend a lot of time at Tony’s apartment). Now, though I don’t quite understand wanting to work for queermisic people when you know up front that they’re queermisic, I believe it’s totally within Tony’s right not to want to come out to people he doesn’t know. However, it is absolutely not okay to treat Gee like a dirty little secret and not even talk to him about this.

At the halfway mark of the novel, Tony is still too afraid of what people will think about him dating a man who wears dresses. He keeps telling Gee that he’s “trying” but I really see very little evidence of it. He blocks Gee from being a part of any other aspect of his life; that’s not a relationship. And he keeps doing that well past the 60% mark and on. Multiple times he comments that he really only wants to introduce Gee to his father because he believe his father would blow a gasket, which is really goddamn unfair to Gee. At 75%, it takes a teenager coming out to him for Tony to start thinking that maybe he’s made a bad decision, but he doesn’t do anything to change how he acts. The 80% mark comes around and he is still fucking embarrassed to be seen in public with Gee!!! Why is Gee even still with him! Then…THEN, Gee breaks up with him and Tony thinks it’s for the best because not he can keep his job with the queermisic people. What. Literally what? And then it takes the company firing the queer teenager from the show for wanting to come out for Tony to decline the job and move onto something different. I’m. I just really can’t.

Also, in the period that they’re dating in the past, before the series begins, it is absolutely clear that Gee is uncomfortable with strangers and giving out personal information because he’s been stalked before. Tony even remarks on it a few times in the narration. And then he and Sara stalk Gee through the internet so that Tony can talk to him. I don’t understand the logic here, but okay. The fact that, when they find Gee’s workplace, Tony ends up saving him from being beaten to hell doesn’t really make up for the fact that he still stalked Gee.

Honestly, the only things that saved this book from a one star rating were Gee himself, the cameos by the previous couples, and the wedding at the end. I may have liked the book more if we’d gotten Gee’s point of view, because was the more likeable and relatable of the two, but there are some huge fundamental issues with this plot that could not be saved without a massive overhaul.

I’m really upset that I didn’t like this book because I like the author as a person and have enjoyed her other works, but this is just an offensive mess. And it’s a great example of how not to write enby and/or gender nonconforming characters.




profile-picElyse is an author and world-traveler, whose unique life experiences have helped to shape the stories that she wants to tell. She writes romances with LGBTQ+ characters and relationships, and believes that every person deserves a Happily Ever After. When she’s not staring futilely at her computer screen, El spends her time adding stamps to her passport, catching up on her terrifying TBR list, and learning to be a better adult.

She’s always happy to chat with other readers, and you can find her online at:


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