Thursday, August 29, 2019

ARC Review: Release (Rent Boys #1) by A.E. Ryecart

Selling his body since he was a fifteen-year-old runaway, rent boy Sean Farrell has learned the hard lesson that the only way to survive the streets is to act tough and cocky. But an act is all it is, because underneath he’s never felt more adrift as he struggles with crippling self-doubt. Sean’s distilled life into three simple rules: earn enough cash to get by, stick close to the friends who have become his family — and don’t let anyone steal his heart.

Art is Laurie Cassell’s profession and passion. His calm and ordered life is just how he thinks he wants it, but it’s becoming harder to ignore the creeping feeling that calm and ordered has become dull and predictable. Laurie craves more but doesn’t know what, or not until a man with dark hazel eyes and a bad attitude swaggers into his life — and leaves with his heart.

Two men who should never have met, let alone fallen in love. Can Sean and Laurie release the other from lives that are holding them captive?

*** Release is a slow burn opposites attract MM romance. Found family, good friends who give advice our men don't want to hear, and the redemptive power of love can all be found between the pages. and is the first in the Rent Boys series. No cliff hanger, and a guaranteed HEA***

Todd's rating:

After really enjoying this author's "A Kiss Before Christmas", I had high hopes for this story, too, but unfortunately, this one fell a bit short for me.

I did really like both Sean and Laurie, but there was just so much internal monologue that several times I found myself feeling slightly bored and dying for more on-page dialogue between the MC's.

Also, for a story involving a sex worker, the book was strikingly "unsexy", which I found odd, seeing that even the beginnings of the story, before Sean reconnected with Laurie, only contained acts of physical violence and mental abuse.

For better or for worse, IMO at least, stories about rent boys typically elicit an expectation of titillation; otherwise, authors would simply write about tax accountants, you know?

I did adore Laurie's boss and several of the other side characters, some of which were actually from a previous story, "Company for Christmas", and the author's "Barista Boys" series, which I do plan to read soon.

The book kept the angst to moderate levels, and didn't drag out the MC separation, for which I was grateful, but with only one steamy scene and tons of internal monologue, the book too me longer to finish than I'd expected.

The editing was good and I did find myself continuing to root for Sean and Laurie, so I'd rate the book at around 3 stars and will most likely give the next book in this new series a shot.

My ARC copy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.

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