Saturday, May 9, 2015

ARC Review: Knight of Ocean Avenue (Love in Laguna 1) by Tara Lain

How can you be twenty-five and not know you’re gay? Billy Ballew runs from that question. A high school dropout, barely able to read until he taught himself, Billy’s life is driven by his need to help support his parents as a construction worker, put his sisters through college, coach his Little League team, and not think about being a three-time loser in the engagement department. Being terrified of taking tests keeps Billy from getting the contractor's license he so desires, and fear of his mother's judgement blinds Billy to what could make him truly happy.

Then, in preparation for his sister’s big wedding, Billy meets Shaz—Chase Phillips—a rising star, celebrity stylist who defines the word gay. To Shaz, Billy embodies everything he’s ever wanted—stalwart, honest, brave—but even if Billy turns out to be gay, he could never endure the censure he’d get for being with a queen like Shaz. How can two men with so little in common find a way to be together? Can the Stylist of the Year end up with the Knight of Ocean Avenue?

Dani's rating:

One word: JOY

If you're looking for a low angst, feel good, sweet, and sexy story, look no further!

I LOVED Shaz of the snazzy clothes, flowing red hair, kimonos, and unicorn earrings. Shaz sparkles! He is "his own holiday ... Christmas and the Fourth of July rolled into one."

And burly construction worker Billy, who's been supporting his (rather ungrateful) family for years, loves his two kitties, and has a knack for interior design? Yes, Billy is clueless and swimming in the ocean of denial, but he is a good guy, and I loved the way he treated Shaz.

The chemistry between the MCs is palpable from the moment they meet. The dual POV really worked for me, as did the hawt-as-sin sex scenes.

Billy is so naive in so many ways, but his unbridled excitement at FINALLY discovering great clothes, sexual compatibility, AND mind-blowing orgasms is adorable.

The knight and princess theme could have gone way wrong, but it actually works in this book. Shaz has yearned for a man he could trust and finds just that in Billy, his blue-collar knight who fits in his life far better than Billy could imagine.

The secondary characters in this book are well sketched and add to the story:

- Shaz's best friend and colleague, Ru, who's supportive and who will get his own story (*fist pump*)

- Billy's sisters, Rhonda and Teresa (she's the best one!), as well as his imperious mother (I did not like this woman, although she got better as the book progressed)

- Billy's construction buddies, especially Jim, who are much more accepting than Billy expects

- Shaz's supportive team of stylists

- Shaz's slimy boyfriend (but not for long!), Giles

- Billy's "date" Sissy who turns out to be kind of awesome and not a rich bitch at all

The only thing I found odd was Rhonda and Mitch's wedding, as well as Giles', um, involvement in the situation. That did not turn out the way I thought it would, and the "resolution" seemed to go against the grain of the book.

But that's really a minor detail. This is a highly enjoyable, funny, light read.

Plus, Shaz's unorthodox method of helping Billy study for his contractor's exam was just ... My, oh my, I was undone.

I can't wait for the next book in the series!

Get the book:



Thanks for stopping by; happy reading!

An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Download links are provided as a courtesy and do not constitute an endorsement of or affiliation with the book, author, publisher, or website listed.

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