Monday, April 2, 2018

ARC Review: American Road Trip by Sarah Black

American Road Trip
A single moment—or a single mistake—can change everything.

When Captain James Lee Hooker and his lover, Sergeant Easy Jacobs, were in the Army, they made a mistake that got a young soldier hurt. Three years later, they’re civilians again, living far apart, haunted by what they lost. Now that young soldier needs their help. 

With his grandmother’s one-eyed Chihuahua riding shotgun, James Lee climbs into Easy’s pickup for a trip across the American Southwest. They set out to rescue a friend, but their journey transforms them with the power of forgiveness.

Todd's rating:

 From the blurb, I'd expected this novella to have a good deal of angst, followed by lots of deep, emotional scenes, as Jamie and Easy worked through their issues, but that sadly wasn't my experience with the book.

The story of Jamie and Easy meeting before deployment to Afghanistan and quickly falling in love over conversation and a piece of cherry pie definitely held my interest.

Then once their leave was over, Jamie felt that since they were both going to be in positions of command in the same unit, they had to end their relationship and concentrate on keeping their charges safe.

But when Easy came searching for Jamie's help in tracking down his wandering cousin, Austin, who'd gotten a traumatic brain injury under Jamie's command, Easy still harbored a good deal of resentment toward their "mutual" decision to end things, which didn't feel overly mutual to me. At all.

I really needed a lot more in-depth conversations in the story to convince me of their feelings here to get me fully invested in their relationship, instead of Jamie not wanting to talk in any great detail about the past.

I did enjoy all of the many, far-fetched reasons as to how Tino, the tiny, asshole Chihuahua, lost his eye, with my favorite being "bar fight". That really made me laugh.

But the whole thing with the cousin having left home on a ten-speed bike on a cross-country trip, well, that just felt like more of a plot device to me, side tracking the real story of Jamie and Easy reconnecting, because they'd punished themselves for Austin's injury log enough.

I'm rarely one to say that a book needed more sex scenes; however, I think that a well-written, full-of-feels, maybe even a bit of crying, sex scene might have helped cement the undying love that these 2 MC's had for one another. But other than a few touches here and there, and a few glossed over steamy bits, the story felt distinctly un-carnal.

What I truly enjoy about second chance stories is the feeling of completeness when the MC's are reunited, which I did feel here somewhat, but on a much more muted level than I required for me to *need* things to work out and feel invested in their HEA.

So while the story was fine and did end with the MC's together and the cousin found, I missed out on my heart strings getting tied up in knots along the way, so I'd have to rate this one at around 2.75 stars.

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

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