Author: JR Loveless
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 11/02/2016
Length: Novella (~ 15K-50K)
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult, Young Adult
Scott has been in love with his best friend Craig for years, but watching Craig with his manipulative boyfriend has worn Scott down, and he knows he needs a break from the pain and maybe a change of scenery and perspective. His twin sister, Karen, convinces him to spend a summer in Paris.
Karen is sick and tired of seeing Scott suffer, and she’s not going to stand for it anymore. She confronts Craig and tells him what he’s been missing by spurning Scott’s affection in favor of a jerk who mistreats him.
When Craig unknowingly breaks Scott’s heart, Craig opens his eyes—and his own heart—to the possibility of a future with Scott. He plans to use the time while Scott’s abroad to orchestrate a romantic surprise that will show Scott they belong together. But when he sees Scott with another man at the airport, Craig fears he’s too late.
I wanted so much to love this book. I was drawn in from the first line of the blurb. Friends to Lovers? Yes, Please. Heartbreaking come-to-Jesus moment for the the MC’s? Is there any other kind? Hauntingly beautiful cover? Anne Cain outdid herself.
However, the reality of the story was far from my expectations — both of the author and the publisher. While it was a relatively clean manuscript, the content editing seemed virtually nonexistent. There were way too many scenes that just had nothing to do with the story. Seriously, I did not need to know, nor care, about Karen’s first time. Honestly, all the scenes from Karen’s point of view could have been left out without detriment to the story. There were more, but I will continue. I expect better out of one of the premier publishers in the genre.
As for the story between Scott and Craig, I couldn’t stop rolling my eyes. I might have even sprained them from rolling them so much. The entire setup was contrived. Most of the conflict was the result of lack of communication — such an overused device! The conflict that wasn’t the result of a lack of communication was the result of one person being completely and totally oblivious and the other being a complete and total doormat. This did not make for a couple I really cared to see together. Heck this didn’t make for a couple I thought SHOULD be together. Sadly, the author never managed to change my mind on the latter point.
Another niggling issue I had with this story was the age of the characters. Though never explicitly stated, I got the impression that they were in high school – in which case this should have been a YA novel and not had quite the amount of sex — especially sex that really had nothing to do with the main storyline in it. I really don’t want to read about sex between teenagers. If they weren’t High Schoolers, then the author really needs to attend a college – there are no bells or lockers at a college – just saying. Honestly, I never could ascertain which they were supposed to be, but I had issues either way.
Speaking of teenage boys, who could possibly believe the following scene? I know I didn’t. Maybe with two different boys in a different story, maybe… but even then, probably not.
<blockquote>Craig gestured toward the stairs, and Scott saw rose petals on the floor leading up the stairs. Scott lifted one eyebrow at Craig but preceded his friend up the stairs to his bedroom. The door was partially open, and he couldn’t stifle a small sound of surprise at the sight of his bedroom. There were so many red roses everywhere, along with a beautifully arranged picnic.
The sound of a lighter flicking caught his attention, and he turned around to see Craig lighting the many candles lining the furniture. A soft glow started to spread over the room, splashing across Craig’s features. Scott’s heart swelled in his chest at the romantic gesture. It was all he could do to keep from throwing himself into Craig’s arms. “You did all this… for me?”</blockquote>
Finally, lines such as the following just put the horror that was this novella over the top for me.
<blockquote>It was like a fragile grain of rice waiting to be crushed beneath the heel of a shoe.</blockquote>
I have enjoyed offerings from this author in the past, so I will give her another chance. However, this one was a complete and total miss for me on all levels.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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