Wednesday, December 21, 2016

ARC Review: Mele Kalikimaka by B.G. Thomas and Noah Willoughby

Mele Kalikimaka (2016 Advent Calendar - Bah Humbug)Blurb:

Being rich has its advantages, but it is also rife with suffocating pressures and family telling Chandler Buckingham how to live his life. When his assistant offers to help him escape the mounting obligations of the holiday season by running away to Hawaii, Chandler jumps at the chance. Only to find nothing is quite as he’d expected.

Micah Keolu has lived in Hawaii all his life. He has to work two jobs and has little time for a social life, but his loving family and the island beauty around him have given him a heart as big as the ocean. And then one day he rescues a man trapped in an elevator in the building where Micah lives and works maintenance.

The unexpected happens as they find themselves drawn together, only to learn there is more to each other than meets the eye. Can two men from very different worlds find a way to enrich each other’s lives? Maybe the magic of the holidays just might bring them lasting joy!

My rating:

Poor little rich boy Chandler Buckingham, of the Kansas City Buckinghams, is fed up with Mommy Dearest trying to push him into a hetero relationship and appearing (with a suitable date) at the upcoming Christmas Gala/Fundraiser his family organizes every year.

It's just all too much for Chandler, and since he can't seem to find the backbone to stand up to Mommy Dearest, he does the next best (oh so mature) thing - running off to Hawai'i with the help of his PA/best friend since college.

And so Chandler finds himself in a little hovel of an apartment in Maui, which is mostly unfurnished and completely beneath his standards, without a car, without a lot of dough, and without any towels or other household goods.

Fortunately for Chandler, Micah Keolu lives in the apartment across the hall and also serves as part of the maintenance crew at the place, which is helpful when Chandler gets stuck in the elevator upon arrival.

The two men have an immediate spark, and their relationship progresses rather quickly considering the time frame this novella covers, however, they were well suited to each other, and I believed their attraction. Micah acts as a calming influence on the somewhat neurotic Chandler, without any inkling as to the true identity of the guy, and Chandler awakens in Micah a desire to perhaps see more of the world and leave Hawai'i for a little while. Also, steamy bedroom exploits - good stuff!

Chandler, who for a while there goes by Buck, because, you know, he's hiding from Mommy, initially came across as a snobbish, whiny, spoiled, and petulant man-child, sounding younger than his 30 years. As the story progresses, his sense of entitlement is slowly torn away, and the end result is a much more mature version who deserved being with Micah.

I loved Micah, who patiently deals with Chandler's odd behavior, invites him to his family's Christmas celebration and shows Chandler that money isn't everything, and that there are nice people who don't care how much or how little money you have. People who don't judge you by what you can do for them, but make you part of their circle just because.

Of course, this being a romantic love story, we do get the HEA that Micah definitely and Chandler mostly deserved. Including Chandler deftly maneuvering around his mother's plans, because he found his backbone.

Ben's writing style meshed with Noah's for the most part, though it was pretty clear which parts were written by Ben, as his unique style bled through on more than one occasion. I would have liked to see more of this story from Micah's perspective, to be honest, as I liked his character better. The writing is also very descriptive, which worked here very well, and really drew images in my head of the beauty of Hawai'i as the two men explore the island and have fun together.

This was definitely an enjoyable short story with a bit of a lesson for one of the MCs, and a lovely HEA in which Chandler finally takes control of his life. Nicely done.

** I received a free copy of this book from Ben, one of the authors. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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