Review: Meant to Be by Terry O’Reilly

meant to beRating: 3.5 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novella


Howie Bosley is looking for love. He wants the real deal, and he doesn’t want to jump into meaningless sexual encounters in the meantime. But Howie is not having much luck, until he runs into Matthew Timmons at the gym. For Howie, it’s love at first sight. But it isn’t until a few weeks later that the two men officially meet.

Matthew is struggling with his future, and his attraction to Howie complicates matters more. But even though he know he should walk away, he can’t get Howie out of his head. As they begin dating, and slowly become physical, Matthew knows he’s falling in love. Panicked, he runs. Howie is hurt and doesn’t understand why Matthew left. But advice from an unexpected source has Matthew reevaluating his choices and realizing his love for Howie is enough. If only he can get Howie to forgive him.

When I read the blurb for this story, I was immediately intrigued and really looking forward to it. But I have to admit, this story wasn’t what I expected and I had a hard time with it.

On the whole, it’s an easy, straightforward book. There’s nothing over the top and unpredictable about it. The style of writing was a bit simplistic, and an overuse of transition words pulled me out of the story some. I also had a little trouble with some of the clichés and stereotypical personifications that left me feeling a touch uncomfortable. But it flows nicely and has good characters.

What I really liked was the romanticism of it. It was love at first sight for Howie, and he and Matthew clicked well. While their chemistry wasn’t explosive, they worked well together. Howie had given up finding his special someone and that’s when Matthew walks into his life. Matthew was in need of some answers about his future, and his sudden, intense, and fulfilling desire for Howie helped him make that choice. So I liked it and was satisfied with the ending.

But I did have one major problem, though it’s partially personal preference. And since it’s a spoiler, I’m going to put it under a cut.

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Matthew is a grad student in theology and his greatest desire is to enter the priesthood. He’s been having trouble with actually taking that final step of entering seminary. Where I had issues is twofold. First, there’s a bit of theology and Catholicism peppered in the text that seemed…info dumpy and not necessary. And the second is that him walking away and, essentially, deciding to change his religion, happened at a breakneck speed. I didn’t feel like it was explored enough or as thoroughly as it should have been or that the subject matter wasn’t given as much weight as it deserved. 

Again, this is a personal preference and it highly colored by my own experiences. But for me, this didn’t work at all, and definitely brought down my enjoyment of the story. I understand why the blurb doesn’t mention this particular aspect, and for some readers, it won’t be a big deal. But I probably wouldn’t have picked up the book had I know it was included, as it’s not something I generally enjoy in my fiction.

While this book definitely had its downsides for me, there were some good moments that got me through the story.

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