Book: Anything But Real
Publication date: June 20, 2017
Length: 316 pages
Reviewed by Michael
Benjamin Walters and Reid Adams are good at walking away. Good at hiding the truth. So when Ben and Reid find each other again after years apart, they're surprised when the last thing they want to say is goodbye. And when Ben's sister gets engaged, asking Reid to be his wedding date feels like the right thing to do. In fact, everything about being with Reid feels right.
But when an unexpected announcement turns them from second chance boyfriends to fake fiancés, their relationship ignites in lies. Soon, both Ben and Reid are faced with the ultimate decision, one that will define their lives forever. Is their accidental engagement worth losing a future together? Because even though a wedding may be easy to fake, Ben and Reid are beginning to realize their hearts don't lie as easily.
Get ready to fall in love with Anything But Real, the perfect summer beach read with the perfect happily ever after.
“You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.”
An ironic statement, really, when considering “Anything But Real” the debut novel by Alex West is about second chances.
We’ve all been in positions before where we wish we had a do-over, whether it be a confrontation with a boss or the loss of that One Great Love. We've all fantasized about what we would say, how we would act, what we would do differently. But in life, there is rarely, if ever a second chance.
But what if there were?
What if your One Great Love, the one that you lost, suddenly reappeared?
You would be so stunned, so shocked, that all of those fantasies would fly right out the window. Particularly if their departure had been sudden and their decision. So few people truly understand how their decisions and actions impact other people. We are a product of our past, and those lessons we learned in order to survive stay with us. The questions you had, the “why's” and confusion and hurt and doubts that you thought had been long buried, would suddenly come rushing to the surface.
But along with that doubt would come hope. Hope that things could be different this time, that the mistakes of the past wouldn't be repeated. That this time, you could get it right and finally have that one thing you have wanted your entire life.
Hope and doubt. Opposite sides of the same coin. Perfectly captured in this book.
Ben Walters is you, me, and anyone else who has had one great love suddenly leave. When Reid suddenly materializes in his life, wants and needs he thought long buried suddenly spring to the surface, causing utter confusion. The inner debate is something that each of us does, talking ourselves into then out of whatever it is we want. Ben's own inner debate is fueled by a lack of closure from when Reid initially left as well as his need to be with the man. Alex shows this beautifully.
Reid Adams is a classic example of how Life can take control, and take you far into a different direction than you had intended. While some of the mistakes he made in the past may have ultimately been out his control, he does everything in the here and now to make up for them. From seemingly small gestures to the grandiose, Reid pulls out all the stops to win back Ben.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention Ben's mom, who made mistakes of her own in the past, but also tries to make up for them, if only in less obvious ways. Her presence is both comedic and heartwarming.
I loved the epilogue. To be able to see characters that you have truly come to care about years later, enjoying their life together, is the true definition of a Happily Ever After.
This book will leave a lasting impression on anyone who reads it and should be the template used for other second-chance romances.
Highly, highly, highly recommended.
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