This was my first experience reading Whitley Gray. She has a lot of potential and I look forward to what else she has to offer.
Author: Whitley Gray
Publisher: Loose ID
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
From the Publisher:
After two months in Dubai supervising a construction project, architect Jefferson Fontaine returns home to find his boyfriend boffing the dog walker. Reeling, Jeff grabs his dignity and departs. The arrival of a mysterious wicker box and a letter requesting Jeff’s presence for the reading of a local entrepreneur’s will sends Jeff to his hometown of Crooked Creek, Colorado. The last thing he expects is to encounter an old flame who disappeared fifteen years ago.
After high school, Ashton Eiker hoped to start a future with the boy he loved, but his world crashed when Jeff refused to bring Ash along with him to college. Ash ran from the rejection, but returned to Crooked Creek a year ago, bringing his confectionary talents and opening a chocolate shop. When the great uncle of a childhood friend names Ash in his will, he could hardly anticipate getting a helping of his past in the mix.
Jeff and Ash jointly inherit the historic Jeremiah Rabbit House, and are forced to work together to meet the terms of the will or neither will have the mansion. It’s a battle of opinions, shared personal history, and present attraction, but the true prize isn’t the Rabbit legacy. It’s the chance at something better.
I am a sucker for second chance romance stories, and Rabbit Wars was a good one. 15 years apart. Outside forces trying to get them back together. Other outside forces trying to keep them apart. If you like second chance romance, give this one a try. Overall, I am of two minds when it comes to this story, so let us start out with the positive. Gray has an impressive grasp of the english language. This talent is something I often find lacking in modern literature, so I want to give credit when I see it. Additionally, while Rabbit Wars is written in third person, exclusively from Jeff’s perspective, you get a decent feel for Ash’s state of mind. Finally, Rabbit Wars kept me turning the pages, needing to know what happened next. One thought repeated in my mind as I was reading, it isn’t about the destination but the journey.
One the less positive side, I did have a few issues while reading this story. The biggest issue I encountered was that I was repeatedly jerked out of the story when a fact was just dropped in an otherwise fluid scene. These facts often provided necessary back story, but the way they were presented could have been improved. In contrast, there were a few scenes that were overly descriptive and wordy. One such scene was the when Jeff and Ash made love for the first time after their separation. Their falling into bed together seemed very abrupt, but then it took the better part of a chapter of foreplay to get to the “main event” (which was again very short and abrupt). It reminded me very much of a het romance love scene and not one I have come to expect in M/M.
Finally, let us talk about conflict and angst for a minute or two. Much of the angst introduced in Rabbit Wars remained unresolved for the sake of being unresolved. Then, once it was resolved, it was done in a very quick and superficial manner that left me wanting. Jeff spent the entire book with two main issues that he just circled about in his head repeatedly, never once trying actually to resolve them or move forward. It was only in the last two chapters of the book that he finally started making strides toward a resolution. About the time that Jeff starts moving forward toward a resolution, the author introduced another road block to Jeff’s happiness that was very abrupt and confusing. I can understand it, as it is a common conflict point in M/M (fear of being outed), but it needed to be introduced earlier in the story. Finally, let’s talk about the external villains in the story. As if Jeff did not have enough to deal with from his hated job, potential illness, and the threat of homophobia, we had to introduce the cheating, backstabbing ex and the guy with the unrequited crush on the love of Jeff’s life. The storyline with Deak played well into the angst with which Jeff was already dealing, but the story line for Trey either needed to be developed or removed. It was animosity for the sake of introducing a little more angst into a story that didn’t need it.
None of these issues is severe enough for me to say, don’t read this story. I would say the opposite, in fact. Read it. Enjoy the journey with Jeff and Ash. Enjoy the Gray’s beautiful prose. When you are done, I would suggest you follow Ms. Gray and see where her career will take her. I think we are in for something special from her very soon.
I would like to thank Loose ID for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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