Monday, May 7, 2018

ARC Review: Squared Away by Annabeth Albert

Squared Away (Out of Uniform, #5)From the blurb:

In the wake of tragedy, SEAL Mark Whitley rushed stateside to act as guardian to his sister’s three young children. But a conflicting will could give custody to someone else—someone Mark remembers as a too young, too hot, wild party boy. Even after six years, Mark can’t shake the memory of his close encounter with Isaiah James, or face up to what it says about his own sexuality. 
Isaiah’s totally over the crush that made him proposition Mark all those years ago. In fact, he’s done with crushing on the wrong men altogether. For now, he’s throwing himself into proving he’s the best person to care for his cousin’s kids. But there’s no denying there’s something sexy about a big, tough military man with a baby in his arms. 
As the legal details get sorted out, their long-buried attraction resurfaces, leading to intimate evenings after the kids are tucked in. A forever future is within reach for all of them, if only Mark can find the courage he needs to trust Isaiah with his secrets—and his heart.

Heather's rating:

Annabeth Albert does it again with another emotional, compelling, AMAZING installment in her Out of Uniform series!

I could seriously read Annabeth Albert and only Annabeth Albert and be a happy camper. She just gets me and my taste, you know? *happy sigh*

We get a very character-focused story here, folks. It's really all about these two men and their feelings and journey through some extremely tumultuous personal times. We get a dual POV so we get to see inside both MCs' heads, and I loved that so much.

This isn't a book with a ton of crazy action or a fast-plot, so if you want something suspenseful you won't find it here. I prefer my stories to be about the relationship and the emotional journey, so I was a happy camper.

*Now, I'm going to get into some minor spoilers that are hinted at in the blurb.*

Going into this book, I really didn't know what to expect. I skimmed the blurb but didn't really read reviews, so I assumed that one of the MCs "exploring his sexuality" was going to be same-sex attraction... I was wrong.

I actively seek out stories featuring characters all over the sexuality spectrum, and I was excited to find out that one of the characters is demisexual and gray-ACE. I thought it was some exciting, meaningful, and much-needed representation, and it felt very authentic.

Smut-lovers might not be pleased by this one as the sex-scenes are few and far between, but though there isn't a lot of X-rated action, there is a lot of sensual, romantic kissing and touching, and I didn't feel like I was missing anything at all.

The story is fairly angsty, but it isn't a book that will leave you sobbing or feeling depressed. It's a story about two men recovering from great losses and growing and changing as individuals and as a couple. Squared Away is a moving and powerful story, but, above all, it's a romance-y romance that will give you all the feels, especially at the end.

*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*

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Enjoy, everyone!

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