Monday, May 25, 2020

ARC Review : The New Normal by L.J. Hayward

The New Normal (Gold Coast Collage, #1)Blurb :

Brian Stagliano’s life should be pretty sweet right now. Two of his closest friends are getting married, and he’s taking a new, exciting step in his career as a doctor. Most amazing though, his best mate has been given the all clear from cancer. But Brian’s normal has just been tipped A over T and the friendship he’s relied on for years is in danger. All because of five little words.

Andrew Fitzroy should be on top of the world. The cancer that’s haunted him is gone. He can finally get on with his life—except he doesn’t know what that life is anymore. Is he brave enough to come out as bisexual? Should he pursue architecture or stay in construction? Either way, Andrew knows happiness won’t be his until he has what his engaged friends have—love, joy, passion. So, he says those five little words to Brian—I’m in love with you.

Friends since childhood, Brian and Andrew have always been closer than brothers. Best mates. Nothing could ever tear them apart. Except for those five little words. Now, Brian’s not sure about so many things—their friendship, his own desires—and the foundation Andrew’s built his world on feels like its crumbling. But if they manage not to destroy everything they have together, Andrew and Brian might just find a new normal with each other.

Christelle's rating:

The New Normal is a “friends-to-lovers” MM romance, relationship-oriented.

When the story starts, we are introduced to a group of six close friends, meeting for a drink: Carly and Troy, twins, James and Elle, soon to be married and Brian and Andrew, friends since their childhood, currently sharing a house. For Andrew, that night is a bit overwhelming: he has just been declared “cancer-free”, result of a fight he went through with the unfaltering support of Brian, and seeing James and Elle being so happy together, he needs to tell Brian that he had been feeling more friendship for him for quite a while.

This is the starting point for a lot of revaluations and confessions for Andrew, for Brian but also for the whole group of friends, on a lot of point of view: sexuality, career moves, friendship,…No angst, but some drama.

It’s well written…after all, it’s L.J. Hayward…But it felt too crowded for me, with all these friends, some drama that frankly eluded me, many talks about labels, a few “too many quick-appearing and quick-solved” twists”. For me, it overshadowed the romance and I didn't find the “intensity of feels” between the 2 MCs that I was expecting and looking forward to, after experiencing this “whoa” intensity from L.J. Hayward’s former characters.

Nice light read, though, with some good sexy times: I read it quickly with no efforts. And I expanded a bit my “Australian” vocabulary, a positive point for me.


ARC of “The New Normal” was generously provided by the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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