Author: Riley Hart
Narrator: Sean Crisden
Series: Crossroads #1
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Release Date: 11-17-2015
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance, M/M Gay-For-You, M/M Bisexual, M/M Coming Out
Page Count: 340
Listening Length: 7 hrs 23 mins
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
After divorcing the woman he’d been with since he was seventeen, Nick Fuller is starting over. He owns the restaurant of his dreams and he’s determined to meet new people, find new passions, and experience life to its fullest. Easier said than done—that is until he meets his new neighbor, Bryce Tanner…
Bryce is all about a good time. He plans to show Nick how it’s done, help him meet a few women, and enjoy the gift of the single life he’s been given. But things don’t go as planned, and soon they realize they’d rather be together than with anyone else.
Neither man has ever wanted another guy, but there’s a connection between them from the start—a spark they can’t deny. They find themselves navigating an unfamiliar new world and dealing with unforeseen obstacles. Physical desire isn’t enough, and now Nick and Bryce are at a crossroads. They have to decide which way to go: the easy path they’ve always followed, or the one that’s determined to trip them up at every turn.
4.5 stars- Enjoyable double GFY
I’m hesitant when it comes to the gay-for-you (GFY) trope. As many opportunities as this plot device has for emotional stories, it has an equal amount of chances to not work for me as a reader. Naturally, a double GFY book had me suspicious, but I found Crossroads to meet or exceed many of my expectations. The writing was solid and flowed well. There were some great humorous moments, which kept the mood light and countered nicely with the more intense emotional moments. At times it was slightly repetitive, specifically when describing characters’ thoughts and emotions. But overall, the casual tone made for an easy, enjoyable read/listen.
The characters were very likable and relatable, with just as many strengths as vulnerabilities. I liked the contrast of their personalities. It made the relationship fun and provided frequent opportunities for lively banter between Bryce and Nick, as well as the secondary characters. I thought the characters were well developed and had a good amount of depth. The familial relationships were an interesting addition to the plot. As often as families play a role to a degree, I don’t know the last book I read where they were so intricately woven into the plot. It definitely offered a different source of conflict. The conflicts and relationship progress were natural, though there was a hearty dose of family drama. It seemed realistic, but was uncomfortable and drawn out at times. I’m not wholly convinced this is a negative thing given the story and character backgrounds. I really enjoyed that the characters overcame hurdles regarding their relationship with the same sort of determination and reaffirmed their commitment to each other.
The sex scenes were realistic- hot with some fumbling, awkward moments you’d expect from two men embarking on a gay relationship for the first time. These moments extended to the relationship itself, specifically in regard to public displays of affection and coming out. I think that was my favorite aspect of the book. It made the story interesting and honest, and explored a lot of the conflicting emotions expected in these circumstances. I never quite understood the apparent shying away from the term bisexual. It seemed as though their past relationships with women were negated, and they now considered themselves gay but only for one man. I’m also unconvinced both men discovered they had a sudden attraction to a man out of thin air. I could make sense of it for Nick, considering his long term relationship, but Bryce had no such constraints. I would have preferred more exploration of that and the realization they were bisexual rather than the family angst. However, the good aspects or the book far outweighed my points of contention.
Since, I listened to the audiobook, I feel compelled to say I was a little on the fence about the narrator. I generally enjoy Sean Crisden’s narration, but the voices he used for the female characters were jarring. I would have preferred him not throw his voice as much. As I’ve come to expect from his narration, he does have excellent intonation that makes the book really come alive. While there are a few things that I didn’t love about Crossroads, it really was an enjoyable book that drew me in. I’ll definitely continue this series and read more by the author.