Saturday, April 28, 2018

ARC Review: Test of Valor (Valor, #2) by Keira Andrews

Test of Valor (Valor, #2)
Blurb:
They’re free of the White House, but can their forbidden romance survive in the real world?

With his father no longer president, twenty-two-year-old Rafa Castillo can finally be with ex-Secret Service agent Shane Kendrick. Shane’s given up his career for Rafa, a move his fellow agents question the sanity and morality of. Eager to get away from the questions and judgement, Rafa and Shane are building a new life together in Australia. Though Shane struggles with nightmares and his over-protective instincts while Rafa fights his own insecurity, they love each other more than ever.

Now they just have to get through a visit from the former president and first lady.

Rafa’s parents certainly don’t approve of his romance with forty-year-old Shane, and they’re determined to make him see reason. They don’t see how their son could possibly be happy settling down with an older man, and they question Shane’s motives. Shane and Rafa just want a normal life together—but when they must suddenly battle for survival, they fight to prove their fierce love can withstand any threat.

This gay romance from Keira Andrews is the conclusion of the Valor duology. It features a May-December age difference, sex on the beach, and of course a happy ending.




Jewel rating:



​​Test of Valor is the sequel to ​​Valor on the Move. Unlike, book 1, there is no suspense here. The whole story focuses on Shane and Rafa's fledgling relationship.

The story starts approximately 6 months after the ending of ​ ​Valor on the Move . Shane and Rafa have moved to Australia, where they have a little house near the beach, and Rafa is set to attend culinary school at Cordon Bleu in Sydney, while Shane is launching his personal security business. They spend their free time, surfing, camping on the beach, making love, and taking some much needed R&R after the events and traumas of book ​one​.

I loved revisiting Shane and Rafa. I loved them both in ​ ​Valor on the Move and the story starts out showing them happy and in love. I never doubted - throughout the story - that these men were in love​ and committed to one another​. They spend time together, are devoted to one another, they want to be together and that was always clear. They also get a lovely HEA here. ​Shane and Rafa each have people in their court, even though there are plenty of people that disapprove of their relationship.

But...


I missed the suspense. I missed the emotional charge. Not much really happens here and we spend more than half the book listening to inner thoughts and insecurities. I did not fancy so much of that. One of my pet peeves is when MC's don't talk about ​things that really bother them. The attitudes of "I don't want to bother him with that" or "I'm weak because I'm having trouble" make me want to smack the MC's with their own book. I admit to those urges here. I'm also not a fan of overbearing parents treating their 22 year old son like he can barely be trusted to tie his own shoes.

Shane and Rafa​, understandably,​ have leftover stress from their ordeal and their previous lives. Shane is having nightmares about what might have happened if he had not found Rafa in time. Rafa is having to deal with an overbearing family and insecurities that Shane doesn't see him as an equal. And for more than half the book, they don't talk to each other about these things, until the stress gets so high that they get blown out of proportion.

I didn't much care for Rafa's parents in book one ​or for a good portion of this book. His mother, especially, was overbearing in her disapproval of Rafa's relationship with Shane. Never mind that Rafa is a grown man and was at the start of the relationship, also. The parents do come to see reason, but it took a catastrophic event for them to truly accept Shane.

Things do end on a positive note, though...

Where Test of Valor finally took a turn for the better, for me, was when ​tragedy struck and they finally see what they as individuals and as a couple are capable of. And then finally, they talk.​ From that moment on, I enjoyed the story again.​

​Truthfully, while I overall liked the story, I didn't love it. ​I did like it, though, so if you enjoyed ​Valor on the Move, you'll probably enjoy this book, as well.​

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ARC of Test of Valor was generously provided by the author, in exchange for an honest review.


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