Monday, September 29, 2014

ARC Review: Stand By You by A.M. Arthur

Stand By You (Belonging #3)
From the blurb:

Three months after his rescue from an abusive boyfriend, twenty-two-year-old Romy Myers has landed his first legitimate job bussing tables at his friend's new coffee shop. The job has brought him some stability after years of abuse have left him feeling damaged and broken. He's working hard on his panic and social anxiety, and those things are often tempered by the big, burly presence of Brendan Walker.From the moment ex-football player Brendan helped rescue Romy from his ex's abuse, he's wanted to protect him. And he does, from a distance, with joking text messages, a new gym routine to toughen him up and a genuine friendship. So far it's been easy but Brendan's feelings aren't just friendly anymore…
When an argument spirals out of control, a hot and heavy make-out session causes Romy's friendship with supposedly straight Brendan to reach a new level. The last thing Romy wants is to fall for another guy who could potentially shatter him, but Brendan also wakes up a part of him he thought had been destroyed by violence his heart.

Heather's rating:

Very sweet Out-For-You story but a little over-the-top for my tastes.

I've been dying for this story ever since we met Romy. Poor Romy has had it rough, man. He's been used and abused so many times that I've lost count. I was really rooting for a fabulous story for him, and was salivating at the idea that big, strong Brendan could be his love interest.

In terms of the "aww factor," this book does pretty well. Brendan is irresistibly adorable in his love for Romy, and the slow way that their relationship developed over time was really well done. Romy and Brendan obviously cared deeply for one another, and I really got a sense of their connection. I also love, and I mean LOVE, gay first-timers, so Brendan going at it with Romy was a sight for sore eyes.

However, I did have some issues. Romy was a bit one note for me. He was sort of broken and forlorn as a character, and I almost viewed him as an abused child versus as a man in need of healing. He didn't seem like an adult in many ways, and Brendan almost seemed like a protector/father figure, which didn't work for me. In that same vein, the sex scenes seemed a little off for me. Less hot and more... careful? Something wasn't all there.

And the angst! Woah, totally angst-central. It bordered on too much, even for an angst-lover like me.

While I certainly liked this story, even really liked it at times, I didn't enjoy it as much as Ezra and Donner's story. And Tag's story better be next because I'm dying to hear more about that man!

**Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

(expected release date: October 20th, 2014):

Carina Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

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