Book: Not A Game
Publisher: The Romance Authors LLC
Publication date: July 15, 2016
Length: 220 pages
Reviewed by Morningstar
An accidental meeting and a misunderstanding lead to a life-altering connection.
A new job, a new city, and hopefully a new life. When chubby gamer Oliver Barnaby receives a job offer from the best boutique game developer in the country, he leaves his family and his less than spectacular existence in Oklahoma without a second’s hesitation. Determined to change more than his career and his geography, Oliver implements a plan to finally land a boyfriend. Step one is improving his skills in the bedroom.
A life that looks perfect on paper, but feels empty in reality. Attractive, successful, charismatic Jaime Snow has a life other people envy. His already booming business is growing. He isn’t lacking in friends. And he has no trouble finding a date. But there’s an emptiness in Jaime’s heart and a hole in his life that only the right man can fill.
An accidental meeting, a misunderstanding, and falling in love. When Oliver and Jaime end up at the same bar at the same time, they each see something they want in the other. Going to bed together that first night is easy. Building the lifetime relationship they both desperately crave will require trust, time, and a little misunderstanding.
Sometimes when you sit down to write a review it is so difficult to get your feelings in order to convey how much you felt about the story, the characters, or a scene. No matter the emotion, putting into words how you felt about a story and WHY you felt the way, is one of the hardest things about a review. The hardest emotion for me to convey in a review in happiness. Like insides-are-melted-you-goo happiness!! Sounds silly because it’s good and awesome and how can it be hard to describe. But when a story makes you feel all squishy and happy it’s always hard to pinpoint that one or two things about this book that made you feel that way. Cardeno did that to me in this story!
I went into this book with a concern because one of the characters has body image issues and in my opinion that issue is always so difficult to write. They can take over a story and distract you from the rest of the story. Or they can be the opposite and not have enough light shone on them.
“Oliver was nothing special, average on a good day, but the awe in Jaime’s voice and the appreciation in his eyes made him think maybe, just maybe, he had been selling himself a little short.”
The story of Oli, a 28 year old chubby geeky gamer, and Jaime, 40 year old sexy successful businessman, was one that the author created such balance between addressing the body image of Oli and watching them fall in love. And let me tell you Jaime was like a super sneaky ninja with helping Oli with his self-image by simply being Jaime. He was never over the top, or contrived...it was perfect! Oli had such growth from the start of this book to the end that it was astonishing to witness. In the beginning we see a shy, self-loathing, lacking in confidence man and by the end he has such a bright smile and wonderful laugh you can see and hear it come off the pages! Oh, his sense of humor had me cracking up more than once. It was just fantastic to watch that type of growth.
“Work was good. On the way home, I found a chicken nugget wedged in the seat of my car, which is a total easter egg. I made out with a hot guy. And now I’m about to eat dinner.” He grinned. “Totally hit my bonus round today.”
Jaime doesn’t have the same issues that Oli has but he is extremely lonely because for years after getting most everything else in his life right the love of his perfect man was not to be found. Until he stumbled on Oli one night at a club with Jaime’s book on the table. I was so happy to see how the author played out this part of the story. So many times authors only go one way with how this works out and Cardeno did not go the typical path. Jaime has to work hard at this story to win over Oli but he is a patient man willing to wait as long as he needs to end up with Mr. Right. And to Jaime the husky sexy man Oli is is the perfect man for him.
As sweet and wonderful as this story was there was plenty of steamy sexy times between these two that was also tender and gentle all wrapped up together! And don’t go into this story thinking that Oli works out and gets himself the 6 pack abs to go with his hot man because you would be epically wrong! Jaime loves Oli just the way he is and when Oli doesn’t change his love of food I wanted to jump for joy because for once the HEA didn’t hinge on him changing his body to get it.
Cardeno C.—CC to friends—is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few awwws into a reader’s day. Writing is a nice break from real life as a corporate type and volunteer work with gay rights organizations. Cardeno’s stories range from sweet to intense, contemporary to paranormal, long to short, but they always include strong relationships and walks into the happily-ever-after sunset.
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