Wednesday, March 2, 2016

ARC Review: Out of Frame (In Focus #3) by Megan Erickson

Out of Frame (In Focus #3)
Perpetually shy, Quinn Mathers is content to remain in the shadow of his brash best friend Jess Hartman. But before their college graduation, he and Jess have planned one last hurrah: a spring break Caribbean cruise.

And it won’t be just any cruise. On board are members of the reality show Trip League, which follows young twenty-somethings on adventures around the world. Since the show’s beginning, Quinn has been fascinated by J. R. Butler, with his amazing body, warm eyes, and killer grin. Unfortunately, he’s straight—or so the world thinks.

At nineteen, J. R. signed a contract to play straight for the show, and there’s no way to get out of it now. Yet with each passing day, Quinn and J. R. find it harder to keep their hands off each other and to keep out of the camera’s frame. But when the lens finally focuses on them, J. R. must decide if he’s willing to risk his career by admitting his bisexuality, and Quinn must determine if he's bold enough to stand in the spotlight with the man of his dreams...

Todd's rating:

Okay, you know that one kid who always did exactly what his parents expected of him and never stepped out of line? Well, that would be Quinn, the main character from book 3 of Megan Erickson's In Focus series.

But he's graduating college and finally starting to question what's going to actually make him happy long-term, so he's saved up for years to take a spring break cruise with his best gal pal, Jess, and maybe, just maybe step out of his comfort zone.
I was going to act like a real, live college student rather than the old man I’d been since birth.
But on this particular cruise, they're also filming for the hit reality TV show, Trip League, which is a bit of a mash up between MTV's Real World and Road Rules.

Enter the 'angry, young black man', J.R. Butler, who is one of the reality show cast members. And stereotypes absolutely must be maintained, right?

Well, J.R.'s manager and the show's producers seem to think so, which means that J.R. must keep his bisexuality hidden or risk getting sued. A fact that is wearing on J.R. and actually turning him into that 'angry, young black man' that the show wants.

Until he meets Quinn.

I loved how Quinn could immediately soothe J.R.'s inner ragey, savage beast and how J.R. could make Quinn stop overthinking all of his choices and consequences.

Together, they feel free to simply 'be.' (Except for all of the hiding from the cameras, that is.)

But when the show is over and J.R. isn't obligated to play it 'straight' any more, will he have the courage to come out as bi, his acting career be damned, and be with whomever he pleases? That's the $64,000 question.

This was a fun read with some cool supporting characters (I want Levi's book next, hint, hint, Megan) and some interesting hi-jinks, as our two would-be heroes hide from cameramen and live feeds.

One of my very favorite scenes was where Levi playfully tricked J.R. into admitting <something I won't spoil for you> I snorted so hard, then had to go back and re-read that scene at least three times. Hilarious.

As with the other books in this series, the sexy scenes weren't overly abundant; however, they were full of feels when present.

And I was thrilled to see that J.R. and Quinn got a bit flip-floppy in the bedroom vs. sticking to any rigid " Me Tarzan, you Jane " top and bottom roles. Verse is always more fun and interesting on page. ;- )

The story ends with an HEA, solidified by a nice epilogue from 2 years down the road, putting <something I won't spoil for you> on summer vacation together, which I seriously loved.

Book 3 could be read as a standalone; however, the previous MC's do make appearances on-page in this story, so for full enjoyment, I'd suggest reading the entire series. Well, to be honest, I wouldn't have missed ANY of the books in this series, as they were all really good.

This one crossed the finish line with 4 solid *jump-with-me* stars for me.

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

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