Will is in his last year of business school (to satisfy Daddy) playing the straight, star quarterback for SCU. What he really wants is to be a gay p..Show More »ainter, but he can’t afford to be honest with either his sexuality or his preferred profession. His goal is to win a scholarship for next year and be honest then.
Noah is an out and proud artist, working 3 jobs to pay tuition, hoping for the same scholarship Will is after because he’s so broke he’s having a hard time paying the bills. In the meantime he’s having an affair with his teacher, who is also a judge for the scholarship.
So… you can guess what happens. Will and Noah meet. They start a relationship. Noah and his professor end their relationship (this isn’t taken well by the prof.). Will gets outed by the media. Noah loses the scholarship (sort of) due to sour grapes. Will and Noah make a go of it and with some razzle dazzle Noah ends up with a scholarship, Will ends up in art school and we get a really lovely HEA.
** I’m a huge Tara Lain fan and this book just sort of underwhelmed me. It took several starts for me to finish, I just wasn’t swept overboard by any of the elements. The attraction between Will and Noah wasn’t spectacular. The storyline was predictable, which can be fine if there are other things to hook you in, but I just didn’t feel any zing with this story.
I really liked the secondary characters, Jamal and his sister Ev, and am excited to read Jamal’s story in the next installment, however.
I thought the writing was excellent, it was edited well, and of course I loved the happy ending, but overall, I just wasn’t wowed.
John-Paul Barrel is a new narrator to me. I really appreciated that he tried to differentiate each person with a unique voice. Some of the voices were better than others. I didn’t care much for his intonation and emotionality (acting) and didn’t like his overall “narrator voice” much. For me, unfortunately, it detracted from the overall listening experience.
So much to say about this one! I have to just start spewing things out before I forget!
I want to talk about the narration of the audiob..Show More »ook first because I think that that was key to my overall feeling/rating for the book. This was a very difficult book to narrate, both because of the range of voices required and how much they needed to differ in tone. John-Paul Barrel did a very nice job differentiating between voices. In fact, I was really impressed how he managed to go from the super deep voice of six foot seven inch, 300 pound Jamal Jones to the higher register of Trixie LaRue. This narrator tried soooo hard to get it right! I want to really applaud him on his effort.
However, though his range of voices was really good, I didn't really like his cadence. The narration was very choppy feelings with lots of pauses and hesitations. It didn't sound like normal conversation, more like someone trying to read a book, if that makes sense. I like when my audiobooks sound more fluid and less forced. I think I would listen to this narrator again, if only to see if the way he narrated was due to the difficulty of this particular book or if that is his style.
In terms of content, I partly loved the story, partly hated it. I love the theme of closeted jock and more femme guy, so based on that alone I was biased towards it. I liked how Jamal fell for Trixie and Trevor, and how supportive Jamal's family was. It was a sweet story, and I was rooting for all the MCs. I also didn't mind Jamal being in the closet because I really understood his POV.
But some of the parts of the story just irked me. I HATED the character of Lavinda, who was the typical EVIL (with horns!) female character. It was sooooo not what would happen in real life. Girl was legit insane, and I had no idea why anyone humored her.
I also HATE when author's use a BIG MISUNDERSTANDING as a plot point. Just NO. It is one of those things that makes me want to bash my head on a wall. That coupled with the "I'm breaking up with you because I know what's best for you/I don't want to communicate" is just the worst.
This book also had a lot of plot points that sort of trail off into nowhere's land. Some peter out, but others feel like ideas that the author just threw in there but didn't fully flesh out. Things like Trevor's family and Jamal's teammates could have used more depth.
Overall, I enjoyed this book but recognized its flaws.
But that cover tho... me likey.
**Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Story Rating: 4 of 5 Stars Narration Rating: 3 of 5 Stars Overall Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Wow, I have said this..Show More » before and I will say this again, Ms. Lain continues to surprise me. Just when I think I have a handle on her writing style she throws me another character and storyline that seems to come out of the blue and rides that line of over the top and unbelievable, yet it still works and leaves me feeling fulfilled.
Raven and Dennis came from two very different backgrounds and yet they were both struggling with the same basic issue, pleasing their parents. However, the spin on this was totally different for both men. Raven had expectations to live up to in terms of honor and upholding Native American traditions. His family pressure was in the form of guilt in order to bring wealth and notoriety to the family and tribe. Raven was expected to ignore his own desires for the sake of others. It was not easy to see him suffer but at the same time, he had so many people in his corner. There was always a ray of hope lurking beneath his misery.
On the other hand, Dennis was caught in a very horrible situation. Pleasing his parents was on a whole different level than Raven. There was no hope in sight and I honestly didn’t know how poor Dennis survived. His parents were atrocious and just really horrible people. And other than a few people who could see his pain, Dennis had no one in his corner. This was not the storyline I ever anticipated for Dennis, but it was well done and kept me on the edge of my seat needing to know how things turned out.
These men were fascinating and while their individual stories were painful to listen to at times, their romance was relatively low angst and uplifting. It was a bit hard to believe, since I truly think Dennis was not in a place for love yet, but then again, maybe he needed that love to pull him out from under his evil parents. I liked that this story took me by surprise and how well integrated all parts of the story were. The Native American culture and history, the football, the filmmaking, and Dennis’s struggles all worked together to give me a very entertaining listening experience.
I loved the Native American History that was interspersed into this story. I loved learning about the “Two-Spirited” people and the dream ritual that Raven’s grandfather performed. I always love when a book can open my eyes to different cultures and teach me things I never knew I never knew. I also like that because of the Native American influence, the gay storyline was not the main one in this book. It was just accepted as a thing and while some folks didn’t agree, it was treated as the norm. If you were looking for some big athlete-coming -out-scandal type story, this one is not for you.
Tara Lain is one of those authors I turn to when I want a good story that I know will keep me off balance yet still give me everything I crave in a good romance. I return to her stories time and again because I know I will find comfort in the way things turn out. If you are not a fan of Tara Lain, you should be. She is one of my go to comfort read authors.
John-Paul Barrel is just not my favorite because he has to narrate to right story for his style to really work well. His voice is fine but his narration just missed the mark for me this time. It was just an enthusiastic reading with few dialect changes and no emphasis on the emotion other than what was written into the story. While his narration did not distract from the story, it also did nothing to enhance it.