Whaddup readers, it’s time for another Fancast/Dreamcast post, and this time it’s for what has to be the spiciest, steamiest, sexiest set of books I’ve read this year! Neve Wilder totally gained a fan in me with how hot these books got, they’re seriously some of the best MM new adult romance I’ve read out there, not that my list is incredibly extensive in this regards, but someday!
BEWARE OF SPOILERS IF YOU HAVENT READ THESE YET
Each book featured a different couple, and book 1 actually started off as a collection of short stories in a newsletter that gained major popularity before being brought together and published as one full length novel. Nate and Eric star in book 1, Chet and Mark star in book 2, and Sam and Jesse star in book 3!
If you want some spicy MM romance action, I can’t recommend these books enough!
To see my review of book #1 – Want Me – Click HERE
To see my review of book #3 – Show Me – Click HERE
Here is my Fancast/Dreamcast for the Extracurricular Activities Trilogy:
Nate: Ryan Ball
Ryan is a model that is total eye candy on Instagram, and exactly how I imagine the down to earth and slightly awkward Nate to look like in book 1. If he looked like this, I can see why Eric became so into him!
Eric: Charlie Matthews
Eric is described as being dark haired with green eyes and a hot build even if he’s on the slimmer side, so this model Charlie Matthews is immediately who I thought of to play Eric!
Mark: Zane Phillips
I’ve recently discovered Zane Phillips, and I’m obsessed…He might be the only reason I have to check out The Legacies on the CW network, even though I believe The Vampire Diaries DID NOT need a second spin-off show! It also helps that he’s gay in real life too, so he’d be perfect for a role in these books if they were to make it into a film/show!
Chet: Eric Guilmette
I’m basically making this fancast into a men’s appreciation catalogue, but honestly who’s complaining??? I don’t remember much of what Chet is described as, but I’m obsessed with Eric over on Instagram, so I honestly just pictured him as Chet in my head. This one may or may not be all that accurate, but hey, I’m good with using Eric to my imagination with these books!
Sam: Matt O’Brien, or Andre Lamoglia
Sam is basically described LITERALLY as a human golden retriever/yellow lab, and whoever would play him needs to look the part! Matt is guy I found on social media who I imagine Sam looking like, BUT there’s also a new hottie named Ivan on the Spanish Netflix drama, Elite, who’s played by Andre, and I get serious heart-eyes whenever he smiles, just like how I’d imagine I would for Sam!
Jesse: Alex Espenshade
Jesse is a sassy skinny ginger who was also really hard to cast! No one came to mind right away for me as to who I could picture playing him! This male model has an adorable look to him that I could see Jesse as, but consider this a place holder until I find someone who I deem more perfect!
***Warning! This book contains spoilers for the previous books in the series, so continue reading this review at your own risk! You’ve officially been warned!***
To see my review for book #1 – Want Me – Click HERE
To see my review for book #2 – Try Me – Click HERE
Total Star Rating: 4.25 Stars
You’re ridiculously simple at times and incredibly complex at others. I can’t pin you at all.”
– Neve Wilder, “Show Me”
What It’s About:
The official blurb:
Two Roommates. One Camera. A whole lot of action.
I get crushes the way some people get seasonal allergies. And sharing a house with four hot roommates is like being stuck in permanent spring. Too bad I keep getting friend-zoned.
But it’s senior year now, and I’m done pining for the impossible. Time to live it up and go out with a bang. Or a lot of bangs.
And I’m definitely, definitely not getting attached to anyone. Especially not my straight, gym-loving, football-player roommate Sam whose impressively large… smile I caught a glimpse of once. Or several times.
That’s why, when Sam asks me for help with a very special, very NSFW project so he can make a little cash, of course I agree. In the name of friendship.
And if it turns out that Sam’s more than just muscles—that he’s sweet, and smart, and a little bit filthy, and a whole lot less straight than I thought—well, that’s neither here nor there, because this time I’m gonna be smart. This time, I’m friend-zoning myself.
We’ve got a list of deliciously hot scenarios, a camera, and Sam’s huge… smile. What could possibly go wrong?
From the author of Want Me comes the third new adult college romance in the Extracurricular Activities series. Expect low angst, high heat, plenty of laughs, a flustered redhead, a gentle giant of a football player, and enough BDE to power a mid-size city.
Sometimes you just need a book NOT because it’s some literary masterpiece or because it’s the latest trending title on social media or because it’s some epic, grand adventure with an exciting plot…readers like me sometimes just seek out books for the hot sex scenes! I have no shame in admitting I’m a spicy smut reader, and this trilogy has been just a total delight in this sense! Neve Wilder is now one of my go-to’s when it comes to me looking for sexier books that I know will have some absolutely scorching scenes to enjoy.
If you liked the first two books of these, you most likely will appreciate this one too, and I personally thought the author didn’t disappoint with this final installment into this college romance story.
This final book revolves around Jesse and Sam. There’s a prequel scene at the beginning of the guys back in freshman year, and Jesse discovers his boyfriend in a compromising position with someone else…thus making him to believe he has the absolute worst luck in love…It makes him twice as snarky, and The Great British Bakeoff fan vows to have a smutty good time when it’s back to present day, senior year, and all the other guys in the house have surprisingly all gotten in serious relationships but him. Then there’s Sam: large, boy next door, football player, seemingly straight, and literal human golden retriever who has a secret of his own that Jesse finds out about…
I especially enjoyed both Sam and Jesse equally, I think they both felt fleshed out and had great personalities that fit each other well. There was definitely some chemistry there from the get go that only becomes more obvious as they keep hanging out and become closer as friends and more.
Was this book as strong as the other books? Yes and No.
The sex was hot as all the other scenes, but if I’m being a little critical, the actual relationship didn’t feel as strong as Nate/Eric’s and Chet/Mark’s. There wasn’t as much actual ROMANCE involved or tender hearted moments to make you swoon. I’m not saying this is a bad thing at all, and like I said Sam and Jesse defs have some chemistry between them, I guess it’s more that the author just doesn’t really show it as well this time around. Heck, even some moments only fade to black in the back half of the book which didn’t make the most sense.
I would say as far as content goes: this book is right up there with the others in terms of spice rating (which it gets a 4 peppers from me), but if you’re someone who likes to see deeper connections and have your heart feel like its fluttering out of your chest and want to read relationships that make you think true love is real…this might not be the one.
Personally, I didn’t have a problem with that in this story because by this point I knew what to expect in the overall tone of these books, but I can see other readers maybe turning away because out of them all this feels like the weakest of the connections.
I guess you’ll have to read it yourself to see what you think! Besides the fade to blacks, I immensely enjoyed this book!
“You’re the first person I look for in any room. I hear you louder than anyone else. Even when you’re quiet. Sometimes especially when you’re quiet. I’ve never wanted to be with someone else as much as I want to be with you. Making you happy makes me happy. I’ve never felt that way with someone else either. Everything about you makes me feel impulsive and excitable, and it’s both scary and exhilarating as hell.“
– Neve Wilder, “Show Me”
What I Liked:
Neve Wilder Writes Really Good Smut! This author skyrocketed up my list of authors whom I know will add the fire and steam to their stories! And the fact that it’s MM makes it even better! If you’re looking for hot, graphic scenes between younger and eager college age guys, these are an excellent option!
Sam is Total Book Book Boyfriend Material! I totally adored Sam in this book! I’m a sucker for the big muscles, bigger smile, slight himbo jock vibes that he gives off and how he’s probably one of the most easy-going characters I’ve ever come across…I didn’t think much of him when he was a background character in the previous books, but once the spotlight shined upon him, oh did it ever shine so brightly!
Surprisingly No Angst About Queer Self Discovery! With Sam being so go-with-the-flow and super chill about literally everything, he was even this way during his journey of self discovery. Before him and Jesse start going at it, he’d never done anything with another guy or really even thought of it, but then he realized he had feelings and just kind of shrugged and went “Well… I guess I’m bi or whatever.”
What I Didn’t Like:
Either Needed to Be Shorter or It Needed More Conflict… If I’m going to be critical–I’m a Gemini and we ALWAYS have something to say–I would say maybe this book could be a little shorter, or if not shorter, maybe it could’ve actually added more angst or conflict to the story. I’m good if it’s not about gay discovery since Sam seemed actually pretty chill about all that, but maybe Neve could’ve added more drama with Jesse’s ex or something to maybe push the story a little faster?
Later Sex Scenes Were Fade to Black…the first chunk of the book is phenomenal, but then the last bit feels a little rushed in this sense and the spicy scenes start to fade into the background, literally…for some of the scenes, it felt like a real missed opportunity.
There’s Not Much Actual Romance…While there is a LOT of sex–no complaints there–there’s not actually a whole lot of softer moments that make you really believe that its a deeper, more serious relationship…Personally I didn’t mind this too much, but I can see other readers being disappointed by this.
Overall, this was another great addition to a smokin’ hot MM college romance series that Neve Wilder has come out with! Sam was an absolute favorite of mine, and Jesse was a great fit with him too with his sassy snark. It couldve ended on a stronger note, but I think this book is still perfectly fine for what it is: a spicy new adult college romance.
Neve Wilder has totally gained a fan in me for these books now, and you can definitely bet I’m going to be exploring other titles too!
***Warning! This review contains spoilers from the previous book in the series, so continue reading at your own risk! You’ve officially been warned!***
To see my review of book #1 – Silk & Steel – Click HERE
Total Star Rating:4.5 Stars
‘Because…’ he said, ‘in the one place I expected to die, you gave me a reason to live.‘“
– Ariana Nash, “Iron & Fire”
What It’s About:
The official blurb:
Alliances are forged and broken, friendships shattered, and despite the odds stacked against them, two hearts collide in this explosive sequel to Silk & Steel.
From his mother’s cage to a human one, but Lysander’s captors are the least of his concerns. Rumors of a monstrous bronze dragon ripple through human camps, a dragon tearing great holes in the world as though searching for something… or someone.
It’s just a matter of time before the bronze chief, Dokul, finds Lysander and makes good on his promises. And should he find him, Lysander knows Dokul will not be merciful.
Amidst the greatest of elven victories, Eroan failed. Failed his people, failed himself, and failed the dragon who saved him. But he will not falter. The dragonkin are in disarray, there will never be a greater opportunity to strike. Eroan Ilanea will not fail his people again.
But when rumors of the dragon prince’s survival reach him, he must choose: Fight for his people or fight for the prince who nobody thought to save?
***Contains adult themes, triggering content, a bisexual elf, and a gay dragon shifter.***
This book got even better than the first book; no second book syndrome in sight!
The story continues right after how the previous book ended, and what heartache we must face as Lysander and Eroan were tragically separated and Eroan later believes he sent the dragon shifter to his death with the humans. But really, the Dragon lord, Dokul, knows he’s still alive and is after him still.
Again, I’m shocked how much I enjoy this story because it’s a gay romance Game of Thrones—Gay of Thrones?—and the sexual tension and overall development between them and their relationship is done so spectacularly well, It was by far the biggest driving force that kept my eyes glued to the page and seeing what possibly happened next. I loved it whenever they reunited and was sad whenever they got separated again and again.
The worldbuilding more or less stayed the same, not much really changed in that regard, but the world still remained so brutalistic and violent and harsh as everyone is doing whatever is necessary to come out on top of this game of thrones. We have Lysander’s brother Akiem popping up and causing destruction whenever he appears, Dokul and Mirann are also still like a dragon-shifter version of Cersei and Tywin Lannister, and Seraph is still Eroan’s best friend and kind of being like an elven Arya in her way too.
Lysander continues to be the MVP of these books, but also the one who unfortunately gets the most abuse out of the characters…like, holy moly does he really get put through the wringer, and my heart aches for him because deep down he really just wants to find a place to belong and not feel like a waste of space. He feels that with Eroan and has such a deep connection with him, but of course the forbidden aspect of their romance makes that plenty complicated too. BUT they really fight for their relationship and did what they can, plus there was a ton more steam and spice between them this time too!
‘What is this thing between us?‘
Eroan’s chin rubbed his head and when he spoke, his voice rumbled through Lysander. ‘It is everything.‘“
– Ariana Nash, “Iron & Fire”
What I Liked:
The Sexual Tension Between Lysander & Eroan! There was way more romance with these two in this second book, which made the overall storyline sooooooooooo much more interesting to me too! The tables have turned and this time it’s Eroan who’s rescuing Lysander and they’re hiding out together, keeping each other warm by staying super close…I’m just so glad this was a bigger focus now that the world has fully been introduced and there’s no need to further explain a bunch of other things, I’m ready for the smut! I’m ready for the romance! I’m ready for the fluff too, because both these tortured beings deserve some freakin’ happiness.
Dragons! I said this in the last review too I’m pretty sure—I don’t feel like looking back to confirm—but I love that this is so dragon-centric! It’s dragon-shifters to be exact, but either way, they’re big scaly flying lizards of death that can breathe fire! Honestly that’s enough for certain readers to want to read this
How Dark and Brutal This Story Gets! The author isn’t afraid to get to the dark and dirty content with how descriptive the more violent scenes can get. There’s also a lot of rape, which is pretty triggering content, there’s also a sex scene that’s actually kind of manipulative and was meant as a tactic to get one character to hate the other, so I know the previous review said this, but this book continues with the similar trigger warnings so there’s my PSA on the subject! It was also pretty unpredictable in a few parts that did somewhat surprise me! It was mainly battles and the big climax, but either way, I always appreciate when something raises my eyebrows and gets me to say “huh, I didn’t see that coming!”
What I Didn’t Like:
Too Many Side Characters That I Can’t Remember… I don’t know if it was just me, because I’ve been weird with books lately and my attention span has been suffering as of late, but there were quite a few side characters in this book, and half of the time I was struggling to remember who was who. It was either I wasn’t paying attention as much as I should’ve been or I simply didn’t care because I was more wrapped up in the sexual tension between Eroan and Lysander, but I struggled with this aspect of this book.
Overall, I enjoyed this book even more than the first one, but mainly because there was a ton more romance this time around. The worldbuilding and history of the world is nothing too special, but if you’re looking for some dark fantasy/smutty M/M romance that’s pretty well written, this is a great option for you! (obviously, just start with the first book obviously)
***Warning!!! This review contains spoilers from the previous book in this series, so continue reading at your own risk! You’ve officially been warned!***
To see my review of Heartstopper, Volume 1 – Click HERE
Total Star Rating: 4 Stars
I Like Charlie Spring! In a romantic way not just a friend way!“
– Alice Oseman, “Heartstopper (Vol. 2)”
What It’s About:
The official blurb:
Nick and Charlie are best friends. Nick knows Charlie’s gay, and Charlie is sure that Nick isn’t.
But love works in surprising ways, and Nick is discovering all kinds of things about his friends, his family … and himself.
A charming, sweet, and absolutely heartwarming second volume to this warm and lovable story, Heartstopper continues to steal my heart!
These graphic novels are the perfect amount of light-reading and feel-good material to make you believe in true love and happiness in this wild and unpredictable world. I am just so happy that there are stories like this that are so easily available to find for those looking for LGBT+ books to enjoy, and their such a nice change of pace from the heavier and more action-packed fantasy I also read. I know I repeat myself so much on here about this with books like these, but it’s all so true, just call me grateful I guess!
The story continues literally right where we left off in the previous volume that ended on a very dramatic, soap-opera-esque cliffhanger with Nick kissing Charlie at a party, but then freaking out and leaving him behind because of his confusion over his feelings/sexuality. Charlie is crestfallen until Nick meets up with him later to talk and hash things out, and—spoiler but not really—admits he likes Charlie and wants to try being with him. He’s still not sure what his orientation is or what this all means, all he does know is that he enjoys being with him and he wants to act on his feelings that he has!
One complaint I had in the previous volume was how rushed Nick’s revelation was that he wasn’t entirely straight. To me, it just felt rushed or that not enough emphasis was put on it, so I was very happy to see it explored further in this book, and it was nice to see how despite being unsure of himself and what his orientation was, Nick still wanted to be with Charlie and kiss him and be a happy couple with him, even if he wasn’t exactly ready to go public with it.
That brings me into another interesting subject that this graphic novel brought up: dating someone who hasn’t come out or has even fully come to terms with themselves and their sexuality. It’s a slippery slope and both sides in the relationship have so much pressure on their shoulders in figuring it all out. Everyone deserves to come out on their own terms and at their own choosing, but how long until the other one loses patience and can no longer be kept a secret? This issue is handled incredibly well throughout the story, and Charlie somehow becomes an even bigger sweetheart than how he already is with the patience and tenderness he shows Nick as he’s figuring things out. A major highlight for this specific volume indeed! On the other hand, I’m also glad it’s challenge a little bit in one of Charlie’s friends, who thinks Nick is just using him or that it’s some elaborate prank Nick and his friends are pulling on him. It’s a lot of amazing tension that really adds to the story, and really puts a test on Nick and Charlie’s relationship!
The story is character-driven, so the pacing is a little slow at times, but the soft and tender moments definitely make up for it, and before you know it, you’ve finished this volume too and are already online to get the next volume ASAP—guilty!
There are many issues faced in this story so far that are so relatable to anyone in the LGBT+ community who has come out at a young age; the pressures of two people at different points in their lives, friends who question the legitimacy of their relationship and miss them because they don’t spend as much time with them like before, homophobia from people you thought were your friends, and even the whole coming out to your parents and not being sure how they’ll react. It’s a lot, but anyone who’s been in similar situations to these characters understands what it’s like and it just makes the story so real and so relatable; it’s like a voice being heard after being ignored for so long.
…honestly I’m having a proper full-on GAY PANIC.”
– Alice Oseman, “Heartstopper (Vol. 2)”
What I Liked:
Nick’s Not Sure What His Sexuality Is! While I’m sure there are a few guys in the queer community who can complain about a guy who they really liked but didn’t really know what his sexuality was, I really liked this storyline for Nick. It was explored a lot more in this second volume and I kind of liked how he still didn’t have a concrete answer, but it didn’t stop him from wanting to be with Charlie and act upon these feelings he had that were a little strange for him, but still felt so right. There’s a kind of beauty in that; not letting the fear of the unknown keeping you from experiencing joy and happiness from something that so obviously makes you feel those emotions!
Charlie Continues To Be so Freakin’ Adorable! I still love how Charlie is this kind, sweet, awkward, shy, and all around lovable guy who just wants to be happy. We’ve all felt like him at some point in our lives, and my heart just warms at how he has such a loyal and strong circle of friends and family who have his back whenever he may need it. He has the strength to move forward on his own, but there’s nothing wrong with having some help from others who care about you.
Friendships Are Tested! Things get a little tense with Charlie and one of his friends at one point in this volume, and to be fair, it’s not entirely unjustified. It comes from a place of love and compassion, and I thought it was a great representation on the theme of friendship that these graphic novels also showcase.
The Representation! Okay, but people are going to love all the queer representation that’s in these books. It feels like there are more gay people than straight people at times, and the fact that there is a nonbinary character along with even having queer POC characters is also great to see! People looking for this specifically in their reading material should pick these up for this reason!
The Scene With Nick & His Mom! So heartwarming and touching, It reminded me of the scene in Love, Simon when Jennifer Garner tells him that he can breathe and be who he wants to be….it’s just something that every kid who remembers the fear of the anticipation of coming out to their parents and not knowing how they’re going to react needs to hear. It may have also been all the pollen in the air lately, but my eyes were freakin’ watering up when I read this scene.
There’s A LOT Of Kissing! Nick and Charlie are such an adorable couple, and even though Nick has quite a few questions about himself, that certainly doesn’t stop him from being with Charlie and enjoying the pleasures of what romantic couples experience. He definitely makes up for lost time, and seems to really like kissing Charlie, which who can blame him when Charlie is just so…Charlie!
What I Didn’t Like:
The Homophobic Bullying…While it’s actually a pretty accurate portrayal of how certain teenagers react towards homosexuality or anything that’s outside the realm of heteronormativity, it’s still just so tiring to see it and the I still continue to hope that one day it goes away—the hatred and exclusion of LGBT+ people—but this has nothing to do with the author including it in her story. For that alone, this conflict works because it’s real and it’s something queer teens—and adults—deal with sometimes on a daily basis! It’s more me putting it on here to say how I just can’t wait for homophobia and hatred of queer people to go away as time moves forward.
It Felt Like Not Much Had Happened…By this point in reading the graphic novels, part of me thought to myself that for how many pages it is, it felt like not a whole lot actually happened, or I just wanted more to happen that what actually did. The pacing can be a little slow, but to be fair, that’s usually the case with character-driven plots much like this one, so it was a little expected. I think it was more along the lines of I just want the story to move even further along, but there are still two more volumes of these books too!
Overall, I continue to gush about these graphic novels because they’re such an uplifting and seriously adorable story; I know I repeat that word a lot on here, but it’s also the one word I’d use to describe these books if someone asked me! The story continues on and gets better and better as Charlie and Nick grow closer and their bond become stronger.
I’ve got the next volume in this 4-part series, so I can say it’ll be sooner rather than later to when I’ll start that one and include it on my blog too! Stay tuned!
This wasn’t ending, and he didn’t know if it would ever end, and Coop didn’t know if he wanted to celebrate, cry, or destroy the whole fucking world.”
– Riley Hart, “Collide”
What It’s About:
The official blurb:
At ten years old, Noah Jameson and Cooper Bradshaw collided mid-air when they dove for the same football. For three years, they were inseparable…until one day when Noah and his parents disappeared in the middle of the night.
Noah and Cooper never knew what happened to each other. Now, seventeen years later, after finding his boyfriend in bed with another man, Noah returns to Blackcreek looking for a fresh start. And damned if he doesn’t find his old friend grew up to be sexy as sin. Coop can’t believe Noah—the only person he trusted with the guilt over his parents’ death—is back. And gay… Or that Cooper himself suddenly wants another man in his bed for the first time.
There’s no denying the attraction and emotion between them, but can they overcome the ghosts of their pasts to have a future together?
This was a nice, short, lighter read to enjoy while I’m taking a small break from Fantasy; I don’t know why, but lately as I’m typing this review, I’m noticing that I only seem to be in the mood to read smutty romance novels. I have tons and tons of Fantasy-genre tales on my shelf, and on my desk, and on the floor near my bed, and on my dresser (basically my room is a giant pile of growing books that will hardly shrink anytime soon), but that doesn’t matter because I just want simpler, lighter, and just overall easier to read right now.
Back to this book, but it was a great addition to my growing collection of M/M romance titles.
It was far from perfect and actually there are quite a few things I wish could’ve been better about it, but it still fulfilled what I wanted out of it: it had some really good smutty sex scenes and also just an overall swoon-worthy romance between the two main characters, and even between two side characters too. It was cute, it was absolutely so funny with the banter, it was heartwarming, it was sexy and sizzling, and isn’t that all we really want in a romance novel?
It was the perfect distraction for Cooper to ignore the flood of…contentment… Hearing that their friendship had meant to Noah even a portion of what it had meant to Coop. Which, as a kid, had been everything.“
– Riley Hart, “Collide”
What I Liked:
The Smut! If you’re looking for a quick but super hot and smutty book to read, this is a great choice for you! The smut in this book is super well done and really hot content, especially with the whole dynamic of the two main characters with Noah and Cooper. Noah being openly gay for much longer has him kind of in the role of the “mentor” or teacher in a way with how he takes Cooper through the ropes of what they do and what he’s willing to try out as they explore their relationship. Which brings me to my next point…
The Relationship Between Noah and Cooper! I really liked their dynamic for the most part in this story. I like romance stories with the tropes like “second chance,” “small town romance,” “keeping it a secret,” and “friends-to-lovers” and reading about how much these two guys care about each other and the moments where their friendship shine through are so soft and affectionate and heartwarming, which is also so cozy when in comparison to all the scorching hot sex scenes. I find it funny I’m saying this when I’m also a reader who usually doesn’t turn towards a specific story for its fluff versus steam.
The Friends/Side Characters! Both Cooper and Noah have a friend on the side that really be there for them when they individually need it, and even better that they actually end up hooking up! Wes and Braden’s romance gets introduced in this story, but they’ll get the spotlight in the next installment which will be fun because I want to see more of their certain dynamic too!
What I Didn’t Like:
How Cooper Is Only Gay For Noah…So the whole “GFY” is an iffy one because sometimes I feel like it’s not the most realistic storyline, but I guess it depends on your own personal views of sexuality. It’s such a fluid subject nowadays, and their are so many different terms and identities that are out there now, and while I can say I support it all and hope anyone who’s questioning who they are has the courage and confidence and support to figure it out, I feel like the “gay for only this person” is a little questionable, or maybe it’s because it’s not explored far enough in this story. Before Cooper reunites with a returning Noah, he was sleeping around with women and never really questioned his sexuality (at least that’s the impression I got). Noah coming back into his life calls a lot into question, and just like that, Cooper is no longer the straight guy he’s always been known as. I also know that there’s no set time of when you are supposed to have this all figured out; some people discover their sexuality at a young age while some may not discover it until they’re 50 with a wife and kids….but the point I’m trying to make is that maybe I just feel like the shift was too quick and not a whole lot of it was explained or explored as much as I wanted it to be. Maybe the author didn’t want to make it that deep of a story at the time this was written, but I guess I was just hoping for more answers in this regard. Like I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the fact that a label isn’t put on a whole lot of him or their relationship was frustrating! I’m never one who needs to compartmentalize stuff like that, so I’m confused at myself about it too, like maybe I’m not as open minded about it all?
The Homophobic Side Characters…With Cooper being a firefighter and sort of coming out of the closet in a sudden way, he deals with some homophobia with some of his fellow coworkers and even a little bit from his uncle. It’s not really an outright hatred of gay people, but it’s more these snide, rude comments and jokes they all make that any gay guy has heard in their life and has made it hard to come to terms with yourself if you yourself are questioning or in the closet. It brought back terrible memories of times in middle school and high school casually say the word “f*g,” or “that’s so gay…” as a way to instead say how something is stupid. I know there are still people who are honestly just against gay people and don’t accept it, but part of me always wishes we didn’t have to face this kind of rejection in fiction, like why can’t books with gay characters at the forefront just not deal with homophobia?
WAY Too My Flashbacks…I’m never someone who’s a big fan of them to begin with, and this book had wayyyyyyyy to many as well. I get it, a lot of the story revolves around Noah and Cooper meeting as kids and how their friendship/relationship has blossomed from it all, but I feel like the amount of flashback scenes could’ve been reduced. I know the past is important to learn from in order to grow and move forward, but in this case I’m falling under the whole “the past is in the past and let’s leave it that way.”
Grammar Issues…The book felt a little amateurish with all the many commas and just simple grammar issues that popped up throughout the book. I mean, I’m not perfect at it all the time either, but when you read a published book you just expect more and hold this sort of thing to a higher standard. You’d think the editors and multiple sets of eyes who look over these words before they’re sent to print would fix this sort of thing.
Overall, “Collide” by Riley Hart wasn’t as good as it could’ve been, but this was still an enjoyable story that’s a great consideration to anyone who loves M/M romance with plenty of fluff mixed with steam. It’s so great for fans of “second chance” romances or “friends-to-lovers,” or “gay only for you” type of stories. Noah and Cooper have quite the story here, and while it wasn’t exactly mindblowing, that hopefully doesn’t detract from when I say I still really enjoyed this book too, and plan to read on in this series with the two friends who hooked up in this book who also get the spotlight on them too!