Wednesday, April 29, 2020

ARC Review: Charlie Sunshine (Close Proximity #2) by Lily Morton

Charlie Sunshine (Close Proximity, #2)
Sometimes love is a lot closer to home than you think.

Charlie Burroughs can’t keep a man. All he wants is a good relationship like the ones he sees his friends having, but none of the men he picks ever work out. Despite him trying to be the perfect boyfriend, the men are either threatened by his looks or his epilepsy or a combination of the two. It’s lucky that he has his best friend Misha to turn to. The two of them are closer than peas in a pod and fiercely loyal to each other. He can’t imagine his life without Misha in it.

Misha Lebedinsky is the complete opposite of his best friend. Being the support system for his mum and twin sisters leaves Misha with neither the time nor the inclination for a relationship. Quick and frequent hook-ups are his favourite means of communication and any other pesky emotional needs he has are met by Charlie, who he’s devoted to. He lives a life of happy compartmentalization with no intention of ever changing.

All of this changes when the two best friends move in together. Being in close proximity means that they suddenly start to see each other in a very different light. But Charlie struggles when his drive to be the perfect partner clashes with the fact that he’s in love with a man who knows every little thing about him. And even if he can get past that, can a relationship ever work with a man who’d need a dictionary to tell him what love means? 

From bestselling author Lily Morton comes a love story about a sunny librarian who has relationship written all over him and a cynical banker who doesn’t even have it in his blurb.

This is the second book in the Close Proximity series but it can be read as a standalone.

Todd's rating:

Typically, the awesome combination of slow burn and best friends to lovers tropes are my catnip, but for some reason, I couldn't deeply connect with Charlie in this story. : (

Yes, I liked him and he was a nice guy, but for me, there as just too much "sunshine" and not enough "real" Charlie to more fully know him and form that critical bone-deep connection.

As a librarian, constantly trying to be seen as upbeat, shiny, and cheerful, he sadly came across as a fairly vanilla version of a people pleaser. Even when -- or maybe especially when -- his life was being derailed by his increasingly-frequent epileptic seizures. I fully admit this was just my own impression, so take that with a grain of salt.

Then in the bedroom, Charlie was suddenly this long-haired sex kitten in cherry-red lace panties, which is about as far out of my wheelhouse as you can get, so that huge contrast definitely didn't help me understand him on the level that I'd wanted.

Misha I got though. Probably because, even if he didn't run around with his emotions bubbling out of every available pore, what you saw was precisely what you got, so I connected with every aspect of his character right from the get go.

My very favorite parts of the book were those where Misha reluctantly, oh so reluctantly, saw his feelings for his best friend of twenty years change into something "more".
My life has been filled with a lot of laughter and many men. Many, many men. I never believed in the love songs and books which told of one great love. I happily dismissed that as advertising crap designed to sell flowers and chocolates. And maybe it was for me, until one day I really looked at the person who was my best friend and I finally got my head out of my arse and realized that he was so much more.
But with my relative ambivalence toward Charlie as an MC, this story unfortunately didn't work nearly as well for me as pretty much *any* of the books from either Lily's "Finding Home" or "Mixed Messages" series'.

The steam was pretty high here, and the angst was for the most part kept to manageable levels, but I did think that the last bit of insecurity-inspired melodrama felt slightly reaching, and I would've been more than fine if it had been entirely excluded.

As for inclusions, I was thrilled to see more of Jesse, Zeb, and Felix (from book 1) and look forward to reading the next story in the series.

I'd rate this one at around 3.25 *could-have-totalllllllllllly-done-without-the-lacy-panties* stars.

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