Friday, August 18, 2017

Book Review: Still Water (The Boys of Bellamy #1) by Ruthie Luhnow

Still Water (The Boys of Bellamy, #1)Blurb:
"What's the protocol for falling in love with your best friend?"

Max Hartmann only cares about two things: his university rowing team and his best friend Finn—the one person Max can always count on, the one person who believes in him the most. But now it's senior year and something about Finn is different. Max can't figure out why Finn is pulling away, leaving Max adrift without him. But when a drunken hookup takes them both by surprise, everything changes. Max is straight, right? So why can’t he stop thinking about Finn's lips on him? 

"I fell for my straight best friend. What a cliché." 

Finn Stevenson feels like a failure. It took him 22 years to figure out that he was gay, and he returns to campus dead-set on ignoring his true feelings for Max. But it’s impossible to deny he’s fallen in love with his best friend. How could he not? Max lights up every room and makes Finn feel like the most special person in the world. But after throwing himself at Max one night at a party, Finn knows he might have just jeopardized the most important friendship in his life. 

"You think I'm gonna change my mind, don't you?" 

How can Finn trust that Max's feelings for him are real if Max won't even come out? And as Finn struggles with the pressures of competitive rowing, Max fears losing the person who means the most to him. As the rowing season heats up and graduation looms, the future has never been so uncertain. Will their relationship drown under the pressure or can they find a way to stay afloat?

Still Water is an m/m contemporary romance with out-for-you and hurt/comfort themes, plenty of heat, and a happy ending.

Todd's rating:

I'm rating "Still Waters" at around 3.75 stars, because there were a ton of things to love about this story.

Both Finn and Max were adorable. Their friendship, and later relationship, was all kinds of touching and wonderful. They were truly there for one another and supportive beyond measure.

And the steamy bits were off the page smoking hot. They were all about full equality in that aspect of their relationship, as they were both fairly inexperienced with same sex situations.

But this story wasn't all sunshine and roses. Far from it.

Both Finn and Max were also frustrating, idiotic children. Their fights and ability to freeze one another out could be destructive and downright cruel. Their behavior was adolescent, far surpassed high school mean girls, when they went for the jugular.

This happened three times over the course of the story and got a bit tedious to see happening over and over again.

Plus, at 375 pages, the story was waaaaaay too long. I read and read and read, then saw I was only a third of the way along. So yeah, I wouldn't have minded seeing a good bit of the page count end up on the editor's chopping block for a more concise, better-paced book.

In particular, then entire plot line about Finn's eating disorder didn't feel entirely necessary to the story, instead it felt more like a plot gimmick to extend the book's length. Then Finn's underlying reason behind it was never fully explained. Was he seeking control over one thing in his life, when everything else felt as if it were spinning out of his grasp?

Lastly, I was not a fan of the pro-motherfucking-lific over-use of the em-dash on practically every single page. As I find their use mostly distracting, as one side thought is interjected into an otherwise concise sentence, using them too often gripes my ass like super-abrasive toilet paper.

Yet overall, I still really enjoyed this one, so I was able to (mostly) overlook the negatives and tag along for a pretty fun-filled ride.

I'm not sure if I'll be reading "Daybreak," Jamie's book, mostly because it has a large age gap, not my favorite theme, and I found Jamie to be rather... bland in book 1.

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