Title: Moment of Fate
Author: Karen Stivali
Series: Moments in Time #5
Release Date: 02-24-2017
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance, M/M Coming Out
Page Count: 244
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Bryan Dane’s been living the dream—photography student by day, up-and-coming rocker by night. His summer goals are to earn his last few credits, graduate from NYU, spend as much time in the recording studio as possible, and survive the next few months without sex so he can complete his yearlong goal of self-imposed celibacy. Everything is on track, until he meets Oliver Newcastle.
For years Oliver planned a marriage of convenience with his high school BFF, but now that she’s fallen in love for real, with someone else, it’s no longer convenient. So Oliver came out to his family, quit his job, and left small-town New England for NYC, an intensive summer study program, and a chance to find his own happiness.
From the moment they meet the sexual tension between Bryan and Oliver sizzles. But Bryan wants no part of a relationship, and Oliver wants to sew his wild oats—he just isn’t sure how. Oliver seeks Bryan’s help navigating the NYC gay scene, which throws them together in increasingly more sexual situations until they can no longer deny they’re hot for each other. Bryan is desperate to keep things simple, but fate might have other plans.
4.5 stars- Chemistry that ignites the pages
I read Moment of Fate based on a recommendation and a tease of a fantastically hot and fun scene. I was assured I could read this book (the fifth of the series) out of order, so I dove right in…and pretty much loved everything about it. The characters were fantastic, the dialogue fun and flirty without being silly, and the romance was SEXY.
The book is told entirely from a single first person narrative, using a stream of consciousness style. It is effortless, but polished, and a joy to read. Due to the style, there are disruptions to the flow, predominantly interjections of internalized thoughts during the dialogue. Those aspects I loved. It added humor and kept a smile almost permanently plastered to my face. However, when it switched between narrating/ retelling a moment and those reflections, it was a tad abrupt and through me off. I think this was just a matter of getting accustomed to the style and pacing, because it felt less disruptive as the story progressed. The tone was upbeat, peppered with humor, with a good mix of introspective moments and some angst.
The characters were fantastic. Bryan and Oliver had depth to their personality, but were fun and lively. I especially liked how their interests and education background played a part in their thoughts. Since the book was exclusively from Bryan’s POV, most of those insights were his. For example, he described moments like photos- the framing, light, ambiance, but Oliver’s writing also played a significant aspect in the story. Weaving these details into the narrative and interactions made the characters pop and come to life. Not only were the individual characters personable, but Oliver and Bryan were equally great as a couple. The fluid flow in conversations between serious topics and silly puns or side remarks made for an authentic romance. They complimented each other well, and it was evident early on there was more than lust fueling their budding relationship. Throughout their story, there was an underlying sweetness that made me sigh, and the chemistry was emotional and physically palpable. I do have to comment how crazy amazing the sex scenes were. I know having that intense emotional connection and chemistry ramped up the heat factor, but in general the scenes were smoking. There was a good variety too- different scenarios, environments, and emotions fueled each interaction, preventing any chance of monotony.
The conflicts were also well flushed out and the resolutions thorough. I liked that the author factored in Bryan’s chronic illness throughout the plot, how it weighed on him and influenced everything, yet he railed against it changing his life. That felt honest and was woven into the storyline just as a chronic illness permeates every aspect of one’s life. The outside influences on their relationship worked as well, strengthening them and sometimes stirring up conflict. And up until the last portion, I liked the couple’s unknown futures weighing on Bryan while he kept trying to simply live in the moment. It was believable, and even though they weren’t communicating about it, it didn’t feel like self-sabotage. Until it turned into exactly that. I take issue with the miscommunication plot point. It’s so frequently used that it’s become a sore point for me. Sometimes the scenario works and make sense for the characters. For the most part, the way things occurred fit with Bryan’s personality, but it made me love this story a little less. I liked how it ultimately concluded. I even liked aspects of how the major conflict went down. However, anytime the major miscommunication happens in a book, I cringe.
Overall, Moment of Fate was a fantastic read and certainly had no issue standing alone, so don’t let the #5 stop you from adding this to your shelf immediately. The characters are unique with a vibrant narrative that is sure to leave you with a smile. The chemistry was off the charts, which is always a win in my book. This was one of the hottest books I’ve read in a while. The scenes were descriptive but never monotonous, and there was a steady emotional current that made the scenes that much better. Definitely a book I’ll recommend often to friends, and a series I’ll be going back to read from the beginning.