Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Release Day Review: Rebound by Andrew Grey

Title: Rebound
Author: Andrew Grey
Release Date: February 12, 2019
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 194

Professional basketball player Bri Early needs a physical therapist after an injury, and he’s heard that Obie is the best. Bri takes an immediate liking to the out-and-proud man with the magic touch, and even though Bri isn’t openly gay himself, he’d never let anything stand in the way of something he wants.

Obie can’t deny that the sexy athlete presses all his buttons, but he’s a professional and has no intention of getting involved with a client. While they’re working together, it’s hands off, no matter how great the temptation.

But being a pro athlete isn’t easy. Bri has enemies, and one of them is making his life hell. When his house is set ablaze, Bri can no longer pretend the threatening messages he’s receiving are jokes. He needs a safe place to stay, and Obie can’t turn his back. But the two of them in the same house is a recipe for combustion that could burn them both…

3.5 Stars 

This feels very different to the Andrew Grey I last read: contemporary, realistic and 'I could see that happening'.

I've not read an Andrew Grey book for a while, as he was churning out books so quickly that they felt same-ish and a little less than exciting. This was a good book to pick up to catch up on what he's up to, and if he keeps to this contemporary theme/feel, I will be reading more.

The tale has a couple of decent leads and a storyline that doesn't seem that far fetched, considering Bri's a professional athlete, with the fame and fortune and envy that success brings, but, there was quite a lot of filler in the book. I think the filler was meant to be red herrings as to who was after Bri and why, but when one person gets mentioned, bigged up and then disappears, and another gets mentioned, bigged up and disappears, and then a memory gets mentioned, bigged up and then disappears... you kind of get a pattern. I think red herrings need a bit more subtlety to make them work as intended. And, at 74% of the book, when a certain something - really, really conveniently and with a complete non-sequitur feel to it - popped into Bri's mind, and got bigged up, I couldn't help but eye roll. It was just a little too obviously a plant that had been saved for last, but the timing and the sowing of that particular seed was clumsy.

But, the tale was a decent enough read. I can't say that the guys did that much together in bed or out, but they did try to keep things professional for the most, and I'm glad this wasn't a tale of succumbing to sex, trying to have the 'we shouldn't, because...' talk and then back to the succumbing to sex. There was very little sex in the tale, actually. I think both guys wanted this to be more than fleeting and I think they had a true liking, though I couldn't really sense a sexual attraction.

I liked Bri's full name - Brighton Early - and why his rocking dad gave it to him; I think it built character. And, I really liked how his dad, a psych professor, was totally in his corner. I liked Obie's name, too - again, given to him by his dad - Obediah Juan Kenoble, lol! And yes, Obie also had a great relationship with his dad, who sounded like he'd been gay teen Obie's biggest supporter, and would always be looking out for him. Both dads were great, which was lovely to see, as too often, parents are made out to be baddies in MM tales. I thought it was refreshing and perfectly normal that a parent would love his kid unconditionally and that it all felt organic.

What really grated was all the giggling that Obie seemed to do; it made him sound really immature and twink like. He might have described himself as twink like, but I didn't see that; he was a strong character who had plans, who knew his mind and who ran a successful business, and who came to Bri's rescue and literally kicked butt, so to hear him giggle so much seemed at odds with the guy we were presented with. He had so much self-confidence and self-awareness that the giggling didn't fit him. Even David and Chippy, his full-on, tongue-in-cheek stereotypical twink friends weren't even that twink like, but they were fun, loud, and yet even they didn't giggle. Oh, and I liked how they always had Obie's back and were surprisingly pretty good with the advice they dished out: one was a bit of the let's-not-give-it-too-much-thought brigade, but the other was surprisingly mature, so they worked well as a duo. But, they again were filler in the tale; they were the slapstick element, and as the tale went on, like the red herrings, they disappeared. Which was completely at odds with how big a part of Obie's life they were, and with how they'd kept tabs on Bri and Obie before, especially when they didn't appear or even call when the fire made the news headlines. So, yeah, filler again came to mind.

I think this tale could have been better had quite a bit been cut out and the main theme of the tale stuck to; it felt like the book was made longer in order to satisfy a word count requirement. None of the filler really added to the tale or was relevant, so...

Overall, it's a decent tale, even though it does end surprisingly one-sided-ly, and with something that seemed pulled out of a hat. The ending felt really, really rushed, and without the leads seemingly having had a proper discussion about themselves and their future. Bri came out with his thoughts and what he wanted to say and had planned, and it felt like Obie had to like it or lump it; he had no say in the matter. And, that was at odds with what Obie's dad had previously brought up with Bri, about the mechanics of being a closeted guy wanting to be with an out-and-proud guy, so that really didn't quite gel for them, or for me.

ARC courtesy of Dreamspinner Press and Bayou Book Junkie, for my reading pleasure.

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