Color Me Crazy, Carol Pavliska
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.
I love rock star romance when its like this, a step up from NA. Olivia Cummings and Kylie Scott being two authors that use older characters, not teens, and for older readers like me that’s great. I’m always looking for more works that run in a similar style but recently have had a disappointing run. Not finding anything else by Carol I hadn’t any idea what to expect,and after my recent let downs wasn’t hoping for too much. Its a fabulous read though, full of characters that feel real, have flaws, act just like we do, has a terrific storyline that kept me gripped and is well worth reading if you enjoy novels by the above authors IMO – its not quite as erotic,but a fantastic and romantic plot-line.
Julian – ah poor Julian, he’s one of those with such talent but using it comes at huge cost to him via the Synaesthesia that he has to such extremes, no odd pretty colours or scents, he gets bombarded with them to the degree that he gets almost catatonic. I so felt for him, he’s such a lovely man and coping with this and the pressures fame brought him nearly killed him. Then he meets his sister’s friend Cleo, and somehow he ends up not only employing her but opening up his home and letting her stay there….
Cleo – She’s great and such a klutz. I know how that feels, I’ve done so many things she has, where things just seem to fall over as soon as we look at them, and objects develop a life of their own. My mum used to say I was the only person she knew that would fall UP the stairs ( I fell down them often too!) Cleo comes from the “perfect” family and feels like an oddball, pressured to conform and yet with a strong streak of individuality, along with a weakness for musicians that got her into her current scrape, jobless and homeless, and how she ends up with Julian.
They spark off each other, fit together perfectly and are exactly what the other needs even though they are opposite – Julian like control, order, tidiness, his clothes are colour coded and arranged in order and even sticky notes are set out in order and pattern,and then Cleo bursts in to his life, and she is Chaos personified. Always wearing things that look like she’s thrown on the first thing to hand, clumsy and creating mess wherever she stands or looks it seems. Yet they work and I loved it when Julian finally recognised that. There was some amazing humour and sarcasm in this novel that lifted up some of the darker times, and kept a perfect balance.
Then he’s off on tour and the pressures get to him. Cleo is so worried for him, and wonders if all they’ve got will fall apart. I just loved this part, the drama, the touring and rock star pressures. It felt like I was there with them. The band muscle, Sheik, was a terrific character and really helped Julian. I thought he was an important presence in the story. When things went wrong it was just as I love, a real drama, a tear-jerking moment that lasted for ages, chapters, beautifully drawn out. There were times when I thought they were going to work out, then some other misunderstandings would crop up and it was all so realistic, that when it finally worked I was so happy for them. There’s a short epilogue that was fabulous for wrapping up any lingering questions. I loved this read, and it will join the keepers files.
Stars: Five, a great story, full of emotion, drama and realism. I’ll be happy to read more from Carol.
ARC supplied by Netgalley.
Delivered Fast, Annabeth Albert
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.
Genre: GLBT, Romance
This is part of a connected series, featuring different characters in each book, but as a stand alone novel. I hadn’t read any of the others but found that wasn’t a problem, everything was made clear and it read easily.
Chris, Mr Grumpy. He gave up his dreams to follow those of his ex, an older man. At the time it didn’t seem like a sacrifice, everything was fun and went well until they opened a second shop and fell apart years later. I like Chris, he’s loyal, a good boss, hard working and even though he comes across as a bit gruff and irritable he clearly has a very loyal staff who care for him. Life for him seems to just be existing from day to day, working, sleeping, eating and fun and frivolity seem lost. He’s only 35 but seems much older, kind of resigned to his life and I felt so sorry for him. He deserved love – his ex is a jerk, and Chris needs someone new, someone better.
Then Lance drops in to his life. There’s an attraction there straightway but Chris thinks nothing can come of it – he’s so much younger at 22. Lance is determined though – he wants Chris and has that dogged, never give up outlook. Somehow he wears Chris down and they have one hot and sensual time together – that Lance then stretches to a second and then to a friends with benefits relationship. He wants more but Chris can’t, or rather won’t, do that. He’s scared, he doesn’t want the heartbreak that comes from a breakup he sees as inevitable, the age gap figures large with him, and knowing Lance is off to uni hundreds of miles way he’ll only agree to the summer as the FWB affair. Its odd isn’t it this hook we have about age gaps? Usually we see the concern being older woman younger man, other way round it seems to get applauded ….In a gay relationship though it varies. I can see much of Chris concerns stem from how he now regrets giving up so much for his ex, and he worries that in time Lance could feel the same. Plus of course Lance has had this dream of going to that uni for so long, and has worked so hard. Chris is making decisions for him though, not recognising that Lance is an adult too and capable of making his own mind up. Its a huge block for them, and creates a real problem.
The decision needs to be made, and the way it looks it seems as if both are going to get hurt…can they find a way forward, a way to keep together? They really work so well as a couple and complement each other. Can Chris stop comparing Lance to himself at a younger age, and what went wrong? Can Lance persuade Chris that he knows his own mind, that one persons mistake doesn’t mean another will make the same error? Its a compelling read, and with real problems and concerns that faces many couples whatever their sexual orientation. There’s a good balance of sex to story here too – enough to give some heat, some spice, but not to dominate the story. That’s how I enjoy books best.
Stars: Four, a fun read with very realistic feeling characters and issues.
ARC supplied by Netgalley.