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4.4 out of 5
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  • 3 person found this review helpful

    3 people found this review helpful

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    sweet and sexy!

    This was a very sweet and sexy story. I really liked both of the characters, in particular because neither of them is a really alpha male. They are both nice, friendly guys, who meet as equals, and while Noah might be shy and reserved to Adrian's outspokenness, when they are together they just click. Noah's definitely got the more challenging situation. He's gay but very in the closet, a necessity for the Christian college he works at, and the one he's almost made tenure with if he can just finish up his publication and stay out of trouble. And Adrian is definitely trouble for him. Adrian is the kind of guy who makes rash decisions, who lives his life to the fullest (if not always the smartest when it comes to relationships) and his job as a video game designer keeps him on his toes in a good way. At first, that's how Noah and Adrian get over their initial communication barrier, as Noah is a huge fan and supporter of the game Adrian is working on, and they start to bond over conversations about the game and its progress. But once Adrian figures out that Noah has an interest in him that he's trying to suppress, he works on coaxing Noah out of his shell, even with the tacit understanding that what might happen between them on the road can not happen in 'real life' when Noah is back home and working again. They share some sweet and steamy love scenes, and Adrian's patience with Noah and Noah's ability to finally let himself feel made for a deep connection between them. The two of them bring out the best in each other, and while neither is perfect, there's no denying that they make a good team. Another aspect of the story that I quite liked was that they both had dogs, and as opposite as Noah and Adrian are in their characters, their dogs reflected that too. They added some fun scenes to the story, and a good touch of cuteness. Other characters play an important role as well, mostly Adrian's family as they are the ones we see at the wedding Noah drives Adrian to. Adrian is seen by them as the goof, the one who makes the questionable decisions and the one who always stands out, whether it's by his choice of clothing, his job, or his relationships. Having Noah with him, even if their relationship is just friends, gives him the support he's looking for. In fact, they support each other very well, making it difficult to imagine that they have to end things when Noah heads back to his college teaching. There are also some great scenes that take place at Adrian's workplace, showing a bit of the inner workings of a video game company, and the camaraderie between him and his co-workers. It certainly looks like a fun place to work, and it's easy to see how Adrian flourishes in that environment. Noah struggles with his choices after meeting Adrian, both in terms of coming out to his family and his work. In the end he makes the ones that give us the happy ending for him and Adrian. Even with Noah's personal history I found the story to be low angst and not overly dramatic (though there were some happy tears at the end, I freely admit it). It was really quite lovely and I'm looking forward to reading more of the series. At first I was going to give this 4 stars, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized just how much I enjoyed it. So it's 4.5 stars for me.
  • 1 person found this review helpful

    1 people found this review helpful

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    Likable characters, but plot dragged for me.

    ⭐ ⭐ Provided by Netgalley in Exchange for an Honest Review ⭐ ⭐ Judging a Book by it's Cover: Cozy, affectionate m/m couple on/at the couch with a dog - perhaps a small Rottweiler or Rott-mix. Colors are subdued. Nothing to really catch the eye. (*Funny Note: Cover features the same couple and dog, just repurposed, as a book I read this summer.) Synopsis actually sounds rather mediocre, but I've read several books by this author with mostly good outcomes. I hope this will be more enjoyable than it's looks. Looking Deeper: Short novel / long novella - hovering just on the underside of 200 pages. Third person POV. Adrian, and his lap dog Pixel, are stranded in Utah by a barely-boyfriend while on his way to Denver by way of California. Noah retreated to the quiet campground from Texas with his giant canine companion, Ulysses, to finish writing a book. Both men are introverted, work-obsessed men. Adrian is out and proud, while Noah is very closeted due to location and upbringing. When Adrian is stranded in the neighboring campsite with only the clothes on his back and temperatures dropping, Noah feels compelled to help. These two men couldn't be more opposite on the surface if they'd tried, but once they get to know one another a bit more, it seems they have a number of things in common - much more than either would have ever guessed. I am a big fan of Ms. Albert's work, but have to admit that this one started out much slower than I am used to from her. Thankfully it starts picking up after the first 1/3. Adrian is a fun and very likable character from the start. Noah takes a bit to grow on you. The dogs are a fun added touch. There is not a lot in the way of secondary characters for the first half, then we are slowly introduced to family and co-workers. The chemistry between the leads is a gradual progression, filled with raw emotions and pent-up passion. Dialogue is believable, interaction natural. The plot was good and, as stated, the characters were enjoyable - but, for once, the flow of the book was almost painfully slow to me... very unlike Ms. Albert's other books. There were some conflicts along the way, internal and external - all of which are resolved in a timely and mostly appropriate manner. Predictability was low, but not completely lacking. The conclusion was well-wrapped, leaving no loose ends. Overall, it was just okay to me. I'm not sure what it was exactly that made this book drag on the way it did, but I did seem to prefer the author's Portland Heat series over this one. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Rating: 3.75 [R] ~ Score: 3.95 ~ Stars: 4 -------------------------------------------------------------------------
  • 0 person found this review helpful

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    The ride of their lives

    Adrian and Noah meet at an RV park when Noah witnesses Adrian get left behind by not only his date, but his ride to his sisters wedding. They hit it off right away, having a lot in common that is not obvious. Their love for their dogs for example. Noah is stunned by the immediate attraction he has toward Adrian. When he is left penniless in the park, hoping his date will come back - Noah reaches out and offers to drive him home to his sisters wedding. Adrian normally has everything going for him. A natural charmer, pet lover, and video gamer, he is affectionate and easy to talk to. Noah, being quiet, with life goals and guilt is more of an introvert who is afraid to try something new. Together, they make quite the pair. The ride is not always smooth, but Adrian brings Noah out of his shell. The story us rather old fashioned and sweet. I found myself rooting for them right away. By the end of the book, I was hoping they would make a movie out of it so we could see these fun moments from the book! ***This ARC was given by Netgalley.com and its publisher for an honest review.
  • 0 person found this review helpful

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    Loved it!

    The book started slow, but it turned into an amazing, emotion-filled, satisfying read and one of my all-time favorites from one of my all-time favorite authors.
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