Review: Match Day by Mercy Celeste

MatchDayRating: 3.5 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

Dr. Zack Sorenson has been left at the altar. He’s embarrassed and depressed, so he decides to go on the expensive honeymoon cruise he booked…and spend all ten days of it drunk enough he doesn’t have to think about it.

Brian O’Daly is Zack’s best friend, and the brother of the runaway bride. He decides he should use the extra ticket for the cruise so he can keep Zack company in his misery and keep him from drunkenly falling off the ship. Also, Brian is gay, and he’s been secretly in love with Zack for years.

As the cruise progresses, Zack and Brian do some bonding, some shopping, and a lot of drinking. They also try to sort out their unique feelings for each other and try to decide if it’s worth taking a chance on a relationship.

I wanted to love this book. I enjoy the friends to lovers trope, especially when one of those friends has been in love with the other for a long time. This seemed like it was going to be right up my alley, but unfortunately, it fell a little short for me.

challenge month 2017 copyLet’s start with Zack and Brian’s friendship. They’ve known each other since they were children. They live together and are joined at the hip. There is also something interesting and unusual about them. They’ve been giving each other bro-jobs since they were 12…hand jobs that started at sleepovers, leading to one in the shower on Zack’s wedding day. I definitely don’t have a problem with that, and I don’t think it’s wrong in any way. Yes, it’s a little strange that it happened on Zack’s wedding day, but I didn’t take any issues with that. It actually made me feel sorry for Brian because of his love for Zack. He sat back and watched his…crush seems a little childish, but it works here…dating, proposing to, and planning a wedding with his sister. Also, Brian’s sister (Ronnie) is a money grubbing, status coveting, slut, but Brian doesn’t really want to upset his best friend. Here is where I want to throw in a mention as to why Zack was left at the altar. I don’t want to give too much away, but Brian discovered something and threatens Ronnie, thus leading to her disappearing act.

There was a lot of drinking in Match Day. From page one, one or both of the men are drunk. I was a tad uncomfortable with this, not because I disapprove of drinking (I like to imbibe a bit, myself.), but because, when everything started to get serious, it occasionally affected their conversations and important moments. There were times when I wished they could just sit down and talk while they had a few sodas in front of them.

Match Day had a lot of angst. I mean a lot. Will he or won’t he? Does he or doesn’t he? Can he or can’t he? I knew they were going to be together eventually because it’s a romance novel, and romance means happy endings. It just took so much time to get there. I yelled. I cried. I seethed. I went back to yelling. I was getting frustrated and considered just putting it down. The only reason I didn’t was I hate admitting defeat and didn’t want to let the blog down.

The sex in the story was hot, and I loved how eager Zack was once he realized what he’d been missing for so long. This is definitely a case where I could have used another sex scene or two.

I didn’t hate this book. There were some well written moments, like when Zack explained what a match day actually is (It’s the day when the incoming doctors find out where they’ll be doing their residency.) Also, when Zack confesses to Brian he’s a virgin, I could feel his nervousness and shame. Unfortunately, I didn’t care so much for Brian’s response, but things moved on.

The end tied up neatly. I admit I was a little surprised, and that’s a good thing. There was a twist, and I liked that. I got what I wanted and then some, and I appreciated that little bit of extra.

I chose this book for Judge a Book By Its Cover Week because of the color scheme. Purple is my favorite color, and I though the use of several shades of it blended together was gorgeous. The silhouette of the two men with the palm trees complimented that. I liked actually not seeing their faces, because it let me create my own images of Zack and Brian. I’ll also add the cover is done by Jay Aheer, who creates some of the most beautiful book covers in the business.

This review is part of our Reading Challenge Month for Judge a Book By Its Cover Week! Leave a relevant comment below and you will be entered to win a prize pack from Interlude Press that includes a signed, print copy of Not Your Villian by C.B. Lee, plus e-book copies of some of their award-winning books. Commenters will also be entered to win our amazing grand prize sponsored by Dreamspinner Press (a loaded Kindle fire filled with DSP books!). You can get more information on our Challenge Month here, and more details on Judge a Book By Its Cover Week here, including a list of all the books in this week’s prize. 

kenna sig


  1. Thanks for the review. This one was on my radar, but I haven’t read it yet. I’ve enjoyed some of Mercy’s other books and will probably still check this one out.

  2. James Escol says:

    This book really caught my attention as well. I mean…look at the cover! And friends-to-lovers? Yes, please! I was a bit disheartened to find out that the reception of this book isn’t quite as I would have liked it. But maybe I’d like it once I read it. We all do have different tastes, after all. ,

    Maybe, one day. ^_^

  3. I agree; that is an attractive cover. I’m not sure this one is for me as the idea of being involved with the sibling of one’s fiancee strikes me as underhanded (and there’s a pun lurking!) Thanks for the review, Kenna.

  4. I have been eying this one but after reading your review i’m not sure any more. You mentioned some things like
    one or both men constantly being drunk and i don’t mind drinking but not all the time (looks like they are alcoholic) also the brojob/handjob on the wedding day? Not cool. Thank you for your review.

  5. The color of the cover is indeed gorgeous. Thank you so much for the review

  6. I really like the cover, but nothing about the story is calling to me. I’m glad you found some parts of it to enjoy even if it wasn’t fully satisfying.

  7. Reminds me a bit of some of the many, many slightly off-kilter vaguely gay-themed indie flicks I’ve seen lately…in other words, it probably would have drawn me in but left me wanting, too. I do like the cover, but I *hate* the lettering font, oddly enough…looks kind of cheap.

  8. Paul Wilgus says:

    Thanks for the review. this book sounds great. I have been thinking about it, and after your review, i will be getting it.

  9. This actually sounds like something I might like…maybe not something I would put on my reread list but who knows.
    I enjoyed the review and really like seeing all the great covers.

  10. Bronwyn Heeley says:

    I was going to read this one this week but I could never seem to pick it up, I was going to force my hand a little but after this review I think I’ll leave it off for a little bit. I’m not in the right place, mentally, to get into a angst fest book. Saying this it’s got a beautiful cover. And great buzz word troupe and I’ve wanted to read it from the moment I learnt of it. It just isn’t the time for me 

  11. I generally like this author’s work however based on this review, this book may not work for me.

  12. The blurb appeals to me I’ve always had a thing involving characters being left at the alter. Thank you for the review. I’ll definitely be giving this a read.

  13. Too bad it did not work for you, Kenna. The blurb sounds quite good for me, but I agree with you, too much drinking can feel unconfortable when two characters use it to approach serious things…. Like they are not mature enough to face life.
    I may put this in my TBR list, I’m not sure though. Thank you for the review!

  14. I have several books by this author that I like, so I am still going to try it.

  15. Thanks for the review. There were some plot points that would detract from the story for me and right now I don’t want to read too much angst, so I’m going to pass

  16. I’ve some of Celeste’s books on my wishlist but have never read one. The blurb sounds interesting enough, but you mentioned a couple of things that could bother me but maybe I should give it a try. Thanks for your interesting review.

  17. The cover is really nice but I’m not sure it’s for me now that I’ve read your review. It sounds too angsty and dramatic for me.

  18. Purple Reader says:

    Thanks for the good review, Kenna. Even the blurb made me feel a little iffy, and then it sounded like it doesn’t rise above what would be eye rolls. So probably not for me.

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