Monday, December 11, 2017

Romance Redefined by SJD Peterson


Romance Redefined by SJD Peterson

Review by Lauren

source: copy from publisher; all opinions are my own

Official Summary (add on Goodreads): Opposites attract, but are some differences too drastic for a romance to survive?

On the surface, Benson Howard Winthrop III and Hugh Bayard have a lot in common: they’re young, handsome, and blessed to be one of the wealthiest couples in the country. Surely they have everything anyone could want. But Ben is no longer satisfied with their long-running relationship. Hugh’s need to control every situation is suffocating him, and Ben needs to know if he can make it on his own merits by following his passion.

But Ben’s mother isn’t about to let her son live in a rundown apartment as a struggling actor. She’s determined to get him back to his rightful place at the top of the social ladder—and back with Hugh.
Rekindling their romance will require more than doing what’s expected. Ben and Hugh need to understand and embrace each other’s differences. They’ll have to support each other even when one makes a decision the other doesn’t agree with. For their passionate love to grow, they will need to redefine the meaning of romance… only then can they find true happiness.

Review: I really loved the premise of this one! Ben has loved Hugh for years, and it's obvious he would still be with the man if he thought Hugh could give him what he wanted. What that is is essentially emotion - and attention. Hugh closes himself off, even with Ben, and he doesn't always treat Ben how someone should if they are really in love. Also, Ben has dreams of his own and he wants the chance to pursue them on his own terms, instead of just using family money to get what he wants. What made me not love this book quite as much is that I didn't think there was enough of Ben and Hugh working on their relationship. Yes, they are in each others lives throughout the book and getting pulled back into each other's orbit, but it didn't seem like the bigger conversations and/or revelations happened until later in the book and I would have liked it more throughout. Regardless, I did really enjoy this one! It's an intriguing look at a relationship - a bit of a second chance romance, if you will.

Friday, December 8, 2017

All of the Above by Quinn Anderson


All of the Above by Quinn Anderson

Review by Lauren

source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official Summary (add on Goodreads)Brendon isn’t in a rut, per se—he just always seems to be in-between things. Jobs. Degrees. Boyfriends. He never finishes what he starts. The perfect path is out there somewhere, and if he can just figure out what it is, he’s certain everything else will fall into place.

The last thing he expects is to meet his soul mate in the pages of a magazine quiz. “Who Is Your Perfect Man?” by Matthew Kingston seems like a road map to his future husband: the author himself. Brendon may not have his life figured out, but if Matt is as romantic as his quiz, Brendon can check “true love” off his to-do list.

When Brendon fakes a meet-cute between them, Matt proves to be as wonderful as he hoped. The more Brendon gets to know him, the harder he falls. But Brendon has a confession to make: how can he explain to Matt that he arranged their “fated” meeting? Brendon can’t tell if he’s found his soul mate, heartache, or all of the above.

Review: I gave this one 3 stars on Goodreads, and I often find those middle of the road reviews to be the most difficult to review sometimes. I liked aspects of All of the Above, but it was definitely not a favorite of mine and it's not something I could really recommend to just anyone. I think the whole "meet cute" idea is kind of fun, though the fact that Brendon orchestrated his could be seen as a bit creepy. Granted, I don't think he does anything too out of the box and he's obviously a good guy. I think my biggest issue with the book is that these two just didn't really seem to go together for me. There is an intriguing part later in the book where the two of them tell each other the things they don't like about each other (it's kind of the middle of an argument, so it's not out of the blue) and I was thinking "Yeah, they are kind of right...why do they like each other so much?" It's definitely a cute read, but again, it didn't really click with me.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Life on Pause by Erin McLellan


Life on Pause by Erin McLellan

Review by Lauren

source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official Summary (add on Goodreads): Niles Longfellow is a nerd, and not the trendy type of nerd, either. He wears a historically accurate homesteader costume to work every day, has a total of one friend, and doesn’t know how to talk to guys. So when he gets a flat tire and the hottest hipster ever stops to help him, all Niles can think is that he’s wearing his stupid cowboy getup. Normally, Niles feels invisible to other men, but he’d take that invisibility any day over Rusty Adams seeing him in suede and fringe.

Rusty moved to Bison Hills to help his sister raise her daughter, and nothing is more important to him than that. He’s also fresh off a breakup, and isn’t prepared for anything complicated. But then he meets Niles. Rusty sees Niles as more than a clumsy, insecure guy in a costume. He sees a man who is funny, quirky, and unexpected.

Nothing about their connection is simple, though, especially the lies and insecurities between them. Niles doesn’t know if he can trust Rusty with his heart, and when Rusty’s sister decides to move away, Rusty doesn’t know if he can stay behind.

Review: I really loved both Niles and Rusty, together and as individual people. Life on Pause did have a lot of drama, but I felt that it was realistic and handled well. Niles has very low self-esteem so it's difficult for him to think that Rusty might actually want to be him, as opposed to someone else.

As for Rusty, he's very much a part of his sister and her daughter's lives. He helped raise his niece and with the idea of them moving, Rusty isn't entirely sure if getting into a relationship with Niles is a good idea. Neither of the guys wanted to hurt each other, and they were often trying to keep themselves from being hurt, but it's almost inevitable in a relationship. There were moments where I wished the two would talk more to each other and just be honest. It might have helped alleviate some of the drama, but at the same time, a lot of what occurs does help the two of them grow. When Rusty and Niles work, they work well together. I liked how the two of them did open up about certain aspects of their lives as they grew their relationship.

Another aspect I really liked about Life on Pause are the secondary characters, from Rusty's family to his co-worker/ex-boyfriend, to Niles' best friend. It added a lot of layers to the story so that while the relationship aspect was fraught with difficulties, the book wasn't entirely about Rusty and Niles' love life. This is the only book I've read from McLellan so far, but she's someone I'll keep an eye out for in the future!