Author: E.J. Russell
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Rating: 3.00 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 12/05/2016
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Contemporary, Drama
After the disastrous ending of his first serious relationship, Gideon Wallace cultivated a protective—but fabulously shiny—outer shell to shield himself from Heartbreak 2.0. Besides, romance is so not a priority for him right now. All his web design prospects have inexplicably evaporated, and to save his fledgling business, he’s been compelled to take a hands-on hardware project—as in, his hands on screwdrivers, soldering irons, and needle-nosed pliers. God. Failure could actually be an option. Journeyman electrician Alex Henning is ready to leave Gideon twisting in the wind after their run-ins both on and off the construction site. Except, like a fool, he takes pity on the guy and offers to help. Never mind that between coping with his dad’s dementia and clocking all the overtime he can finagle, he has zero room in his life for more complications. Apparently, an office build-out can lay the foundation for a new relationship. Who knew? But before Alex can trust Gideon with the truth about his fragile family, he has to believe that Gideon’s capable of caring about more than appearances. And Gideon must learn that when it comes to the heart, it’s content—not presentation—that matters.
If you were to use nice ingredients to bake a decent-looking cake, only to drop it on the floor while pulling it from the oven…and then burn yourself trying to salvage it…this book would be an accurate representation of that. The basic bones are fine, and if you kinda ice over some things it’s a cute enough story, but it falls apart pretty handily in the second half and IMO doesn’t redeem itself.
One of the main problems for me – a white person – was the portrayal of a black MC by an author who (as far as I can deduce) is also white. The manner in which the supporting characters, who were not of color, consistently spoke to/treated Alex made me uncomfortable from a racial equality standpoint. The aggressions and slights he experienced throughout the narrative came off in a very “this is normal and fine” way, rather than like “hey, here’s some stuff that happens IRL that is problematic, and here’s why.”
On the character front, Gideon’s snark was amusing at times, but in other scenes he honestly just seemed like a jerk. I mean, if you’re into someone, are you really going to almost literally say “I don’t think you’re smart enough for me” to their face? Why would you do that? And then Alex just lets it slide because there’s a chance of sexytimes or something. I don’t know. These MCs consistently came off as oil and water to me, and I didn’t enjoy their journey or the book as a whole.
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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