Knight of Ocean Avenue (Love in Laguna #1) by Tara Lain ~ Book Review by PizzyGirl

KnightofOceanAvenueLGTitle: Knight of Ocean Avenue (Love in Laguna #1)

Author: Tara Lain

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Reese Dante

Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Publication Date: 05/01/2015

Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)

Genre: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, New Adult


A Love in Laguna Novel

How can you be twenty-five and not know you’re gay? Billy Ballew runs from that question. A high school dropout, barely able to read until he taught himself, Billy’s life is driven by his need to help support his parents as a construction worker, put his sisters through college, coach his Little League team, and not think about being a three-time loser in the engagement department. Being terrified of taking tests keeps Billy from getting the contractor’s license he so desires, and fear of his mother’s judgment blinds Billy to what could make him truly happy.

Then, in preparation for his sister’s big wedding, Billy meets Shaz—Chase Phillips—a rising-star celebrity stylist who defines the word gay. To Shaz, Billy embodies everything he’s ever wanted—stalwart, honest, brave—but even if Billy turns out to be gay, he could never endure the censure he’d get for being with a queen like Shaz. How can two men with so little in common find a way to be together? Can the Stylist of the Year end up with the Knight of Ocean Avenue?

My View:

I would like to start off by saying that Knight of Ocean Avenue will be added to my confort re-read pile. This book turned out to be so much more than I expected and I really connected with the storyline and the characters. I read this from start to finish without putting it down because I just had to know how things happened and how it ended. Bravo, Ms. Lain. I loved this one and Billy and Shaz are one of my new favorite couples.

This book was a compilation of all the normal things you expect to see in a coming out, battling homophobia book. However, these things were put together in such a way that the story captured my attention and held it until the end. It had a variety of characters, most of whom fit some stereotypical role. But these characters were well thought out and the stereotypes served a role. The characters all had purpose and personality, even the secondary characters. But the two main characters were really my favorites. I love a great character like Billy. He was so multifaceted and likable. His personality hit home with me and Billy wrapped himself around my heart. I wanted to hug him so hard and make him see what an amazing person he really was. I wanted to slap him and make him see his own self worth! At the same time, Shaz stole a piece of my heart as well. I anticipated him being this hard assed queen who never let anything get to him. But he had emotion and depth and really was a great fit for Billy. Shaz had his own struggles and it made him more real and that bit of humanity and hurting made me feel that he was worthy of a man like Billy. I also loved that the two men had such fun together(I found myself chuckling often) and their relationship felt so natural. It had its angsty moments, but it was the lighthearted love that shone through.

The biggest thing that I connected with was Billy’s struggle to come to terms with his attraction for Shaz. He not only had to deal with his internal struggles, but he also had to overcome his fears of being gay in the construction industry, coaching young kids with homophobic parents, and with a 1950s conservative mother who was determined to change him and marry him off. Billy stood to lose a lot and have his entire life turned upside down in every aspect. How would he handle this? How would it impact him and Shaz? It was well done and Billy’s emotions and uncertainties and confusions lept from the page. I had to keep reading to find out how everything turned out! And I loved how things turned out. There was a bit of the expected push back, but then there was some amazing acceptance as well. Raoul’s reaction was my favorite!

I have been reading a lot of stories lately that have gotten on my nerves for their unimaginative usage of overdone themes, cliches, stereotypes, plot elements, etc. But Ms. Lain managed to turn those same things that bug me into a fabulous story that I enjoyed and recommend to everyone.

I would like to finish this review my saying how cruel I think the author is. To tease me with an excerpt from book 2 and the blurb of book three and not tell me when to expect them to be published! Coming soon is not good enough! I want these books NOW! Please? Pretty Please? 🙂


Knight of Ocean Avenue (Love in Laguna #1) on Goodreads
Dreamspinner Press
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
All Romance eBooks

I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
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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3 thoughts on “Knight of Ocean Avenue (Love in Laguna #1) by Tara Lain ~ Book Review by PizzyGirl

  1. Thank you so much Pizzy Girl for reading my book and for this wonderful review!! Knave of Broken Hearts will be here Aug 3rd. There are those who like it more, so i hope you will enjoy it too! : )

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