Friday, August 14, 2020

ARC Review: Better Than People by Roan Parrish

Better Than People
 It’s not long before their pet-centric arrangement sparks a person-centric desire… 

Simon Burke has always preferred animals to people. When the countdown to adopting his own dog is unexpectedly put on hold, Simon turns to the PetShare app to find the fluffy TLC he’s been missing. Meeting a grumpy children’s book illustrator who needs a dog walker isn’t easy for the man whose persistent anxiety has colored his whole life, but Jack Matheson’s menagerie is just what Simon needs. 

Four dogs, three cats and counting. Jack’s pack of rescue pets is the only company he needs. But when a bad fall leaves him with a broken leg, Jack is forced to admit he needs help. That the help comes in the form of the most beautiful man he’s ever seen is a complicated, glorious surprise. 

Being with Jack—talking, walking, making out—is a game changer for Simon. And Simon’s company certainly…eases the pain of recovery for Jack. But making a real relationship work once Jack’s cast comes off will mean compromise, understanding and lots of love.

Todd's rating:

After adding a handful of Parrish books to my Goodreads TBR "maybe" list over the last few years, the blurb for this story finally made me request the ARC to actually read.

I found both the writing and plot to be on-point, and I liked both Simon and Jack quite a bit, but it never quite turned into me becoming deeply-invested in their relationship. :- /

Never having read Parrish before, I'm not sure if humor and/or banter are something that the author normally includes or excels at, but at least for me, I think that more playful exchanges between the MC's might have helped coax me deeper into the "feels" territory for which I was hoping.

The author covered Simon's paralyzing social anxiety well, but I think that I may not have been overly-excited about reading yet another story centering on that particular disorder. Not after having read sooooo many others on that subject in the last few years.

I guess that when I read the blurb, I didn't quite understand the gravity of Simon's situation, and that the *overwhelming* majority of the angst in this story would be learning to cope with your new partner's severe anxiety.

I did enjoy the parts with Jack's brother, Charlie, especially how he and Simon (eventually) interacted with one another. And Simon's grandmother was a nice addition to the book.

The pacing was fine and the steam was believable, without feeling gratuitous or porny, so I had no problem with either of those aspects of the story.

Overall, I'd say that the book was worth reading, but left me feeling not entirely engaged to the point that I was sad to have finished, so I'd rate it at around 3.25 stars.

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

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