Author: SJ Frost
Publisher: MLR Press
Cover Artist: unknown
Carolines’s Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Zane’s Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Brandon Alexander has risen to the top of theatre in Chicago, but when you reach the top, there’s usually only one way left to go. Funding fell through on the latest play he was to star in and now he finds himself an unemployed actor. Coming fresh off a bad audition, he wonders if his time in the spotlight is over. But what worries him more, is not making the man he loves proud of him.
Shunichi Miyamoto runs a highly successful dojo. He had always let work be the focus of his life, until over a year ago, the man of his dreams walked into the dojo to rekindle his passion for karate, and it led to further passions between him and Brandon. He knows Brandon is worried about his career, but he loves him, he’s proud of him, and he’ll do anything for Brandon’s happiness.
Both Brandon and Shunichi want to spend their lives together, but when a new opportunity comes to Brandon, he must decide whether to follow his career dreams or to act on his love for Shunichi.
I am a huge fan of the Conquest series and I am really pleased that we got to spend some time with Shun and Brandon. They have been together for over a year and although they appear in all the books we haven’t read too much about their relationship.
This is short and sweet and sees Brandon having a career crisis as he fluffs his lines at an audition and feels himself becoming bored with the roles on offer. When an offer comes out of the blue from an unexpected source Brandon has the chance to make his career dream come true but how will it affect his personal life?
Shun is perfect in this book. He tries his hardest to keep his fears hidden and offer Brandon nothing but support. Thankfully after only a day apart both men come to their senses, stop the internal panicking, and realise what is truly important.
They really are the perfect couple! Maybe a little too perfect in the way things work out? They get their HEA without too much angst and then Shun gets what he has always wanted when Brandon does what Jesse has been teasing him about for months. It’s a double HEA and everything settles down in the lives of Brandon and Shun very easily.
Now I will wait for Tanner’s story…..hint, hint!
If I was going to sum this book up in a single word, I’d choose “disappointing.” I’ve been a fan of SJ Frost’s book, both her kickass vampires and her rockers, for a while now. When I saw Acting for Love was finally coming out, the story of Brandon and Shunichi, I was excited. I even read Finding a Dream so I could relive two of my favorite characters before reading this one.
It turns out, my excitement was for naught. There was very little about this book I enjoyed. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t horrible and was far from the worst thing I’ve ever read, but the entire book was flat. I didn’t care about anyone or anything in the book. The characters had no life to them. All the characters felt the same, like they all came from the same mold.
The main emotion for all of the characters seemed to be horniness. None of them, not even the teenagers who only had brief cameos, seemed to think about anything other than sex. Yes, I know men are horny. I am one. But dear god, they can go a day without needing to rip someone’s pants off!
The plot fell flat as well. There was a little bit of tension, but even that didn’t leave me at the edge of my seat like some of SJ Frost’s previous books. It annoyed me that the main source of conflict was basically solved by throwing money at it. Where the book ended should’ve been the middle of the book. We never do see how the characters will cope with their situation. We’re just told money solved everything and they lived happily ever after. The end.
There was a single scene I enjoyed in this book and it was while Brandon was at the airport and everyone was saying goodbye. It was the sole scene that had more emotion than “let’s go fuck.” It made the characters come alive briefly and gave us an actual glimpse into real people, not just horny stick figures.
In addition to the flat content, the editing was very rough. There were a lot of sentences that should’ve been tightened up, punctuation errors, and general mistakes that any competent editor should’ve fixed. It felt like someone just waved their hand over the book and said “Done!” without doing any actual work. There weren’t many typos or other surface errors that most readers would notice, but below that superficial surface was a lot of work that needed to be done.
The second chapter started with an info dump about one of the side characters. None of the information was relevant to the story at hand and only really served to tie up loose ends from Finding a Dream. About two pages or so could’ve been cut out and the little bits that were relevant could’ve been sprinkled throughout the story when needed.
There were info dumps like this throughout the story. Sometimes it was to fill in gaps between previous books, other times it was to simply recap what happened in previous books. Almost none of it was directly relevant to the story. It was as if the author couldn’t come up with a better way to convey certain things to the reader so just told us instead of showing us.
Here’s an example of how Shunichi, one of the main characters, describes his relationship with Brandon, the other main character:
“They had countless similar interests and though they were different in some ways, their personalities harmonized beautifully. He tended to be more of a planner when it came to thing, where Brandon was spontaneous. Where he could be reserved and analyze his emotions, Brandon—being of an artist’s spirit like his brother—wore his emotions close to the surface. But he felt even their differences complimented each other.”
None of that actually needed to be stated. Instead, we should’ve been shown these differences and how the characters fit well together. These are basic mistakes an experienced author shouldn’t be making and that an experienced editor should be correcting.
But, worse than the editing, was the cover art. How this cover was meant to attract anyone to the book is a mystery to me. If the book hadn’t had SJ Frost’s name on the cover, I never would’ve touched it.
Overall, the book came out far below my expectations. While I used to eagerly look forward to each SJ Frost release in the past, from now on, I’ll be a lot more reserved and hesitant when it comes to picking up her books. If you’re a fan of her Conquest series, this one may be worth picking up, but otherwise I’d pass on it.
I would like to thank the publisher 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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