According to Design by Nicole Dennis ~ Book Review by PizzyGirl

accordingtodesignTitle: According to Design
Series: Southern Charm #6

Author: Nicole Dennis

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Cover Artist: Posh Gosh

Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars

Publication Date: 08/30/2016

Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)

Genre: Contemporary, Gay Romance


Amid turmoil and triumph, two men weave through all the colors of life to find one another.

As construction on the Charm wraps up, multi-media artist Wyatt McBride creates special metal and glass designs to add the finishing touches. When his brother accepts an overseas military duty, he takes in his teenage nephew, Collin. Things are already upside down since he’s lost a dear friend to AIDS, and now he has to deal with teenage angst and losing his heart to a brilliant but shy teacher.

To keep his mind out of the past, Keegan Donaghue comes to Shore Breeze to take a position as a high-school science teacher and part-time forensics detective for the sheriff’s department. A special student connects him to the local artist, but he’s still running from his past. Addiction and abuse remain there, lurking in his mind, along with mild PTSD-induced panic attacks. Cryptic, troubling emails from his ex-boyfriend don’t help the situation either.

Shy of relationships and opening their hearts to trust, these two men learn to weave their lives together during the trials of daily life. Neither one expects everything to go according to fate.

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes involving PTSD, as well as the discussion of, and flashbacks to, domestic violence and drug addiction. There is a scene of assault involving homophobic slurs, a scene of violence and attempted kidnap, as well as a very brief reference to rape.

My View:

First off I would like to note that this book is part of a series where each book overlaps timeline-wise. Therefore you HAVE to read all the books in order for this one to make sense.

That being said, I struggled with this one. Because the timelines overlap, I found myself trying to remember HOW and WHEN things happened in the other books and often felt like some things didn’t line up just right. It was very distracting and pulled me out of the story at times.

I also struggled with the disjointed feeling of this book. It was like the author wanted to take on the world but couldn’t follow up with it all in the allotted word count. The plot points started out great and had such promise, but most of them fell flat for me due to lack of development. I wanted to see Wyatt’s depression explored, I wanted to see Jeremy and Wyatt’s grief and healing, I wanted more about Keegan’s history, I wanted more “teenage angst” from Collin, I wanted more from the series bad guy arc. But each was superficially included in the tale and then perfectly summed up with little effort. It was too perfect and not developed enough for me.

I also felt like the instant romance was too perfect. Things were great from the start with only a token amount of angst added to make this relationship seem a bit more real. But so much of this happened off page that I felt cheated. For two “demisexuals” who needed more than attraction to feel sexual desire, most of the emotional connection and development happened behind the scenes with the author telling us that these men were together for months and that they “felt” a lot for each other. I unfortunately did not see it on the page and therefore didn’t feel that connection myself.

However, I did enjoy seeing the men of Southern Charm again. I loved seeing all the couples growing together and learning more about the community. I am interesting in continuing this series if only to get Dorian’s story but I hope the next book has a bit more depth than this one. I would hate for a series I loved to end on a lackluster note.


According to Design on Goodreads
Pride Publishing
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.

Comment Contest
One random commenter with thoughtful, relevant comments will win a $25 gift certificate each month in 2016.
This post may contain affiliate links.
Prism Book Alliance® assumes no liability for the ownership of photos or content used in guest posts and interviews.  The post author assumes all responsibility and liability for this content.

Leave a Reply