"She shook her head. "He seems like he's the opposite of simple."
I snorted. He's completely complicated. And lost. And frustrating. But we do something for each other." I intertwined my fingers. "We fit. We need each other."
The first book in this series, Strong Signal, was already close to perfection for me. But this? THIS WAS GODDAMNED EVERYTHING. I really don't think you can write a better story about imperfect characters with realistic problems and reasonable motivations and actions.
This book reminded again why the "fuck buddies-to-lovers" trope is such a favorite of mine. I just LOVE the concept of "lust first, feelings later". When what was supposed to be just a casual hookup with no strings attached becomes a regular arrangement, then feelings (oh, those damn feelings) are beginning to sneak their way in, slowly but unavoidably. With jealousy, possessiveness and all. Ugh, so good.
Usually, once the MCs got together in my books, I lose interest. Very quickly, very thoroughly. Sure, it's nice to see how they manage their everyday life (family, friends, work) now that they're in a new relationship, but I already know that life is hard and complicated and I don't want to read about it. It unnerves me.
But that wasn't the case here. Not at all. I loved the first part of the story (the "getting together" part) just as much as the second part (the "handling RL together" part). The sex scenes in the first half were nothing but smoking HAWT (not really a big shocker if you're familiar with these authors' other works), and the (multiple) family dramas in the second half were realistic and believable. And thankfully not too angsty.
I can't really say anything more or add anything else that hasn't been said already in other reviews. This was a solid 5 star-book for me, it goes onto my "favorites" shelf and I can't recommend it highly enough.
"Named a Best Romance of the Year by The Washington Post"? Well, consider me NOT surprised. Absolutely rightful and deserved.
Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell, I salute you.
"Riley stared at him. "How do you just say that stuff?"
"What do you mean? How do I just say shit without thinking about it? I dunno. I just do. It's not that hard. Just try it sometime."
"Okay," Riley said, and then he said, "I love you."
Ok, this was much, MUCH better than the silly first book in this series. Thank fuck.
But I don't know, even though I really liked Riley and Ethan, their romance left me cold and unsatisfied. This author writes the most boring relationships for me; there never is any real conflict that needs to be resolved or anything. Both of these guys never had sex with a guy before and yet they jumped into bed and into a relationship without so much as batting an eyelash. Sexual openness to the max! I'm not complaining though, but not having any doubts, insecurity or confusion AT ALL makes for a boring read. But still
And as much as I liked the characters, they once again read more like 17-year-olds than guys in their twenties. Or do hockey players in general just behave like immature neanderthals who do nothing but playing hockey and video games, eating pizza and coke and only like sex and fighting?
All in all, this was just an OK read for me that needed a little more "Umph!" to be memorable.
"I'm not the same man I was when I first came to this city. Nothing is the same. I'm not cold anymore. I'm not lost. And when I'm worried I might lose my way, I've got someone in my corner who knows the way home."
This book turned out to be just "ok" for me in the end. The romance between Rand and Will was believable, honest and sweet. I liked how they grew together as a couple and how each on his own matured as a person at the same time. Oh, and
But everything else?
The cross-dressing theme was... Well, it wasn't really one. Will likes to glam up Ziggy Stardust-like with glitter, eyeliner and make-up when he's on stage, but the one time he fully dressed as a woman was when he got paid to do so. It's not at all like Will has a feminine side he wants to embrace.
The side characters? I still know next to nothing about Rand and Will's other band members other than their names and who they dated. Everyone else besides the MCs was pretty two-dimensional.
The villains? OTT. First, there are way too many bad guys in here (Terry, Leah, Martin, Will's parents) and yet somehow there wasn't any retribution for any of them in the end. They all just vanished and that was that.
Half an extra star for an excellent audiobook narration. I loved Seth Clayton's voices for the MCs and how he brought the story to life by giggling, snorting, munching etc.