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4.4 out of 5
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    Read this book! Great Series!!

    I loved Quinn and Jay's story!!! Quinn and his best friend Jess go on a cruise during spring break of their senior year of college. Quinn is ..... an old soul. His parents have ingrained the importance of looking at the consequences of any action he takes before he takes it. So instead of having carefree fun teenage years, he's forgotten to live in the moment and have fun. He's determined to do just that on this cruise. JR is one of the celebrities on the cruise. When he signed the contract to be on Trip League, he agreed to play a straight guy, even though he's bisexual. He invented a girlfriend so that it didn't look suspicious that he didn't date much. The producers of the reality show like to portray JR as a hot tempered jerk...but of course there is more to him than that. Quinn has a secret crush on JR. He can't help but wonder if the reality show has type cast the members and the more he gets to know "Jay" instead of "JR" the more he likes him. On a cruise ship of 1500 people, he doubts he'll even get the chance to meet him. But he does. They meet and the chemistry is there. JR tries to deny his attraction to Quinn. You know how that goes!! Things I loved about this book: ~ Alternating POV - my favorite way to read. Quinn wears his heart on his sleeve. But JR is a tough one to figure out. I'm so glad we got to be inside his head. ~ Quinn. OMG. This character was amazing. Red hair, freckles, pale skin that flushes easily and an old soul who wants to be young and carefree. I loved Quinn and couldn't help but cheer for him to get a HEA. ~ Jay. Black, bisexual but stuck playing a straight man because his agent thinks that is the only way he will get work as an actor. He feels trapped and wants to help his family financially. I'm so glad his family was supportive. They wanted him to be happy. I wanted him to be happy too!! ~ Angst. I understood why Jay needed to keep his attraction to Quinn a secret. But I felt for Quinn. For once, he didn't want to be someone's secret. Ugh. ~ Supporting characters. I loved Jess, Levi, even Casey. ~ I also loved that we got to catch up with the characters from the previous books. They weren't main stars of the story, but it was great to see that everyone is still happy and doing well. ~ Vulnerability. I love it when the characters show their vulnerability. Jay and Quinn really became vulnerable to each other and you got to see them grow as people throughout the story. Bottom line: READ THIS BOOK!! I love this series. Start with book 1: Trust the Focus!!
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    Sweet/sexy and lighthearted NA romance!

    This is the third story in Megan Erickson’s in Focus series, and of the three to date (all standalone) I think it’s the most lighthearted of the bunch. The premise is timely – the cast members of a reality show called Trip League are taking a cruise together as part of their last tv season, and it just so happens to be the vacation getaway that quiet and reserved Quinn and his best friend Jess are going on to celebrate their last spring break before college graduation. Quinn has a secret crush on reality star J.R., who plays a straight guy on the show (because they already have their token ‘gay male’ character, in his cast mate Levi). When they meet in person, it’s a rocky start, but eventually they become fast friends – and lovers, when it turns out that J.R. is really a closet bisexual (though his family knows and supports him). But can a week long fling on a cruise ship translate into a real life relationship, especially when coming out publicly could jeopardize J.R.’s career? I quite enjoyed this story. Despite the conflict due to J.R.’s hidden sexual orientation, it’s overall low in angst. No mental illness, secret trauma or other emotional issues that often seem to run through new adult romances. Instead it’s just a story about a nice guy, Quinn, who has a fun best girlfriend, Jess, and who is finally going to get out from under his overly protective parents’ thumb and live a little. The depiction of on-board drinking and partying is par for the course of what I would expect from a spring break cruise full of college seniors (and I was glad to see that drugs were kept out of the story). It’s a classic hookup scenario too of course – a bunch of strangers meeting up and going their separate ways after a vacation fling. Quinn comes across as a pretty straight laced (though not straight) guy, a good friend to Jess, a friendly and competent young man, and one who doesn’t hold a grudge. Though his first encounter with J.R. and J.R.’s castmate Casey doesn’t go so well, they quickly move past the awkward first meeting and onto forming a real friendship. J.R. points out to Quinn that what he sees of him and his castmates on TV is manufactured to give them all specific stereotypes, and he’s happy to show Quinn that he’s not the goon that he’s been made out to be. When they get to the point in the story where J.R. doesn’t want to deny that he’s attracted to Quinn any longer, they share some steamy scenes together. And the best part of those scenes was the awkward truth telling and communication that went along with them. They aren’t porn stars after all, they’re just two young men, learning to express themselves and their feelings and that felt very realistic. Also, I appreciated that this was a bi-racial romance. J.R. is black and Quinn is white, and it wasn’t made into a big deal or dwelled upon. The conflict comes from J.R.’s having to hide his true feelings in public, not his skin colour. And J.R.s reasons for hiding his sexual orientation are sound – he signed a contract to play ‘himself’ as a straight male character. He can’t just ‘come out’ on the show. But with his contract ending, and the freedom to follow his own path finally opening up to him, that is where the challenge comes in. Should he stay in the closet and hope for some good tv roles to become available? Or can he risk being open and honest with those around him, with the possibility of not being able to find work? I liked that Quinn understood J.R.’s dilemma and didn’t make a big deal out of it, or force J.R. to deal with them publicly, but let him decide in his own time what would be best for his future. Quinn is a loving and understanding friend, and while he wants a future with J.R. and is even considering getting a job after graduation in California, he doesn’t push any agenda on J.R. The story moves at a steady pace, the conflict felt natural, and the result is a lighthearted, sometimes funny, sometimes poignant story about being true to yourself. We do eventually get a sweet happy ending for Quinn and J.R. and are left smiling as they look at building a future together. 4 stars.
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    Freedom Takes Trust... and a Big Jump

    ✩ ✩ ✩ ✩ FOUR-STAR ✩ REVIEW ✩ ✩ ✩ ✩ ⭐ ⭐ Provided by NetGalley in Exchange for an Honest Review ⭐ ⭐ Judging a Book by it's Cover: Young Adult male, shirtless, behind a slightly watery foreground, gives no indication what the story may be about - other than him. Synopsis is inviting. Looking Deeper: Note: Interracial M/M Romance. Alternating first-person POVs. J.R. is a cast member on a reality show, portrayed as straight and angry at the world. Nobody but his agent knows he's bisexual and he signed a contract that prevents him from acting out of character. Quinn knows they're more to him than all that anger, has seen small glimpses of it shining through in microbursts - or is that just wishful thinking brought on by his crush? Quinn and his best friend, Casey, embark on a Caribbean Cruise during the Spring Break of their final year of college. They'd been best friends since childhood and Quinn will soon have to make some big decisions. One big adventure together seemed like a great way to close out their era of growing up together. The cast of "TRIP LEAGUE" (think Road Rules and The Real World) are ending their season on the same cruise. J.R. (Jay) had an extremely warm and caring side. He took the less-than-ideal role to help support an ill sibling. He came to Quinn's rescue after a castmate was an a-hole. But the cameras loved making him look like the bad guy. Forced to hide who he was and lie to everyone daily took a toll on him. Quinn's a quiet, shy, and repressed guy by nature and design. Gay and out did not caused many issues, it stemmed more from his overbearing, overprotective parents. Their chemistry was natural and fun to read as it developed from the gift of Sea-Bands. Secondary characters included Casey, the show's cast, and the leads' family members. The Epilogue brought all the guys from In Focus together for a week's vacation. Colin, FOCUS ON ME, #2 is Casey's brother and Riley (FOCUS ON ME) served as Landry's (TRUST THE FOCUS, #1) fake boyfriend. They'd all since become friends. Dialogue and interaction was very good. The plot was pretty full and somewhat dimensional; although, to be honest, I was expecting a few more things to happen that never did... the use of said emergency services (phone call from parents), port calls. Megan Erickson's writing style is always pleasantly smooth. Other than Jay wanting to come out and be free of his lie, there was not a lot of conflict in this one. Predictability was low. The conclusion was solid and satisfying. Overall, it was another enjoyable read from Ms. Erickson and eagerly await Levi's book (OVEREXPOSED, #4), due out later this year (September 2016). ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Rating: [R] ~ Score: 4.3 ~ Stars: 4 -------------------------------------------------------------------------
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    Review: Out of Frame, by Megan Erickson

    Erickson continues to write great books in her In Focus series. Out of Frame was no exception. In fact, it was more enjoyable than I was expecting. I wasn’t too keen on the reality show and cruise ship aspects of the book, after reading the description. Those are just two things I don’t normally have interest in. But, it’s a book written by Megan Erickson. I had to give it a chance, especially since I loved the first two books in the series. The two aspects of the book that I wasn’t expecting to like may be the two that made this story as good as it was. Being on a cruise ship, the characters were limited in where they could go, who they could interact with, and what they could do. Add in the cameras, fans, and script of a reality show…you get a difficult to develop relationship between two characters needing something good to happen to them. I think if I went into more detail about why Quinn and J.R. were so great, and why I liked them together, this review would end up being too long. Plus, I want to leave readers with things to discover for themselves. Just know, like all Erickson’s characters, there’s a great deal of depth to them. Even the secondary characters. (Maybe Jess could get her own spin-off?) Out of Frame takes to the seas for a road trip of a different sort. But it still continues on in a series full of memorable moments with memorable characters. I’m confident that when I get to the 4th book, Overexposed, the magic will continue.
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