After giving up on his career as a country singer in Nashville, Christopher Ryder is happy enough performing at the Smoky Mountain Dreams theme park in Tennessee. But while his beloved Gran loves him the way he is, Christopher feels painfully invisible to everyone else. Even when he’s center stage he aches for someone to see the real him.
Bisexual Jesse Birch has no room in his life for dating. Raising two kids and fighting with family after a tragic accident took his children’s mother, he doesn’t want more than an occasional hook-up. He sure as hell doesn’t want to fall hard for his favorite local singer, but when Christopher walks into his jewelry studio, Jesse hears a new song in his heart.
4 of 5 Stars
This one took me a bit to get into. At first, I didn’t really care for the vocal performance and there were a couple of things in the story I didn’t like (which I’ll get to in a bit). I’m glad I stuck with it because I really liked the story!
The vocal performer underwhelmed me at the beginning…and it’s hard to describe but his voice just bugged me (sorry I know that’s not very descriptive). However, as the story progressed he changed my mind and I was pretty impressed with his performance. He had several voices – both male and female and I really felt the emotions of every character. His voice for Jesse was SEXY and perfect!
This story has several subplots so there is a lot going on. First and foremost are Jesse and Christopher forging a relationship however all the subplots touch and/or affect their relationship. Christopher broke my heart more than once. His parents were awful to him (and OTT holy rollers). His mom is unbelievable. He struggles with family issues until almost the end of the story. He’s never been anyone’s priority except his gran’s and he desperately wants that. He also has very low self-esteem and self-worth. He’s a super sweet guy and has a good outlook even though he’s been mistreated most of his life. Jesse is SMITTEN with Christopher from the beginning. He’s been a silent fan of his for a couple of years through his theme park performances. When they meet, the chemistry is off the charts. I hurt for him for what he’s going through with his wife and kids. He was pretty awful to Christopher at one point and I didn’t feel like he made amends sufficiently (but that’s my hang-up). I do love them together and think they make each other better and stronger. Jesse’s kids play a role in their relationship that goes through a huge struggle but Christopher actually ends up reaching Jesse’s daughter when Jesse couldn’t. Jesse’s in-laws are awesome. Gran is awesome.
Although I liked the story, I did have a couple of issues. My biggest issue is with Jesse and his wife. The flashback to how they got together was…frankly, terrible. And I didn’t like anything about that scene. I also would have liked to understand how things started to fall apart for them before the accident. That would have helped sell the ‘I’m actually gay, not bi’ story-line for me because Jesse seems to still be in love with her at times. Another issue is there was a super quick touch to the possibility of some bdsm between them that was completely abandoned. My last issue is the book is LONG and there are a couple of dangling plot-lines that need to be finished.
Overall, I recommend the book – whether you read or listen to it.
Quick Author Interview
When the book ended, I wasn’t done and I know Christopher and Jesse couldn’t be done. And what about Gareth? He needs a book right? What ends up happening with Jesse’s wife? So I reached out to Ms. Blake to ask these questions! Here are her answers:
Hi, Christina! I do hope to write a book for Gareth and a sequel for Jesse & Christopher where things are permanently resolved for them. But, alas, neither of those books is written yet! I wish there were five of me to write ALLL THE BOOOOKS.
November 13 – Gay Book Reviews, MM Good Book Reviews
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November 17 – Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, BFD Blog
November 20 – Gay Book Reviews, Reading In Sarah’s Corner, Valerie Ullmer, OMG Reads
November 22 – Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
November 24 – Bayou Book Junkie, Gay Media Reviews, Making It Happen
Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.
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