Tuesday, April 12, 2016

ARC Review: Selfie (Bluewater Bay 13) by Amy Lane

One year ago, actor Connor Montgomery lost the love of his life to a drunk driver. But what’s worse for Connor is what he still has: a lifetime of secrets born of hiding his relationship from the glare of Hollywood. Unable to let go of the world he and Vinnie shared, Connor films a drunken YouTube confession on the anniversary of Vinnie’s death.

Thankfully, the video was silent—a familiar state for Connor—so his secret is still safe. He needs a fresh start, and a new role on the hit TV show Wolf’s Landing might be just that.

The move to Bluewater Bay may also mean a second chance in the form of his studio-assigned assistant. Noah Dakers sees through Connor’s facades more quickly than Connor could imagine. Noah’s quiet strength and sarcastic companionship offers Connor a chance at love that Hollywood’s closet has never allowed. But to accept it, Connor must let Vinnie go and learn to live again.

Jewel's rating:

First, I want to mention that the Bluewater Bay books can all be read as standalone. You will find character crossovers in the books, but they're not so predominant that you can't easily follow along. So, if you haven't read any of this series, don't be daunted by the fact that this one is #13. I will say that both of my favorite books from this series (so far) were both written by Amy Lane.

Amy Lane has this thing where she writes a story that when I read it, it makes me feel all the feelings, sometimes all at once. Selfie is a story about loss and about love and about finding that you still have something to live for. It's about healing. It's an emotional story and you will feel it. On the Amy Lane angst scale, I'd say this one falls somewhere between Candy Man and Beneath the Stain. So, not really light and fluffy, but not apocalypse level angst, either.

Connor Montgomery lost the love of his life a year ago and he couldn't even grieve in public. Since they were both closeted, no one knew that he and Vinnie were more than best friends and so for the next year he grieved alone. And that never really does go well. Once Connor starts to reclaim his public life, he finds that more and more he's only losing himself. Getting cast on Wolf's Landing was supposed to be a new beginning, and it was, but it also meant he needed to let go of things past, and embrace who he is now.

And that's where it gets sticky. Connor rents a house on the sound and he can see an island across the water and that island metaphorically becomes the place he keeps his pain and his memories. And he has so many conversations with Vinnie, in his head, that just broke my heart, over and over and over again. Connor hasn't really dealt with the loss and moving forward seems so impossible.

But in comes Noah Dakers. Strong, self assured, and very much attracted to Connor. The feeling is mutual. Their connection is a bit of a slow burn, but Noah doesn't do anything in half measures. There are times when Noah is the only thing holding Connor together, and that's not really fair to Noah, who is so ready for his forever guy. Connor takes forever to really get there, but I don't think he would have ever gotten there at all if it hadn't been for Noah's efforts to keep Connor in the present.

The whole time, with the internal Vinnie dialog and the island, I could feel Connor's pain and his loneliness. It was palpable. But when he was naked with Noah, he was able to focus on the now, and he needed that so badly. He needed to be able to let go and let someone else take charge. And Noah gave him that, while doing his best to be patient while Connor worked on himself. And Connor definitely got worse, before he got better.

Sometimes the water between you and closure is cold and even though you think you can make it across, you really just need to let it all go before it consumes you. And that is hard to do. And Connor doesn't know how for the longest time. But he does find his way and his and Noah's HEA is strong and well fought. Just like I've come to expect from Amy Lane.


ARC of Selfie generously provided by the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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