Rating: 4.75 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
Choices and Changes is the debut novel of K.L. Belanger and I absolutely loved it. I’ll have to admit that I was initially drawn to the book by the cover, which displays one of the prettiest men I’ve ever seen. And I love myself a pretty man. But from the instant I started this book, I was hooked. Belanger is a skilled writer and has created two characters whom I adored. The story drew me in and I was unable to put it down. For me, it had the magic combination of great writing, compelling characters, and a sweet and sexy chemistry between MCs.
In order to appease his best friend, Bo Sanford once again finds himself at a party, wondering why he must spend his weekends, after working hard all week for his father’s construction company, in the middle of a group of people he couldn’t care less about. While at the party, however, something happens. He sees a girl across the room and he cannot tear his eyes away from her. Until he realizes that that girl is a guy and is he headed straight toward him. It freaks Bo out so much, he turns and runs away. When Erick approaches him later that night as both of them are trying to escape the party, he finds that sitting and drinking beers with the man has made him happier than he’s been in a long time.
Erick knows he’s being an idiot. He can’t deny his instant attraction to the big, gorgeous Bo, but it’s the worst possible situation with the worst possible timing. He knows that Bo is straight and, on top of that, scared to death of him, but as they sit and talk, they continue to be drawn toward each other and continue their discussion well into the night. It’s when they’re sitting at a diner together that they come to a decision, that they want to give whatever it is that they have together a chance. So begins a sweet, tentative relationship built on friendship and understanding and support.
The relationship between Erick and Bo is what kept me reading. Bo is, obviously, conflicted. He’s only ever been attracted to women, but cannot deny he has stronger feelings for Erick than he ever had for any of them. Erick knows this relationship will come to an end, but he thinks they were brought together for a reason and, since he cares deeply for Bo, is willing to do whatever he can to help him until that time comes. There is no ridiculous miscommunication keeping them apart here. They talk. A lot. Some may have a problem with that, but I loved it. And Belanger can write some amazing speeches. I say speeches because no one’s that smart and put together in real life, but the things that they say are so honest and open and so damn sweet, it just simply doesn’t matter.
There are definitely some obstacles to overcome for these two. Bo works in a field that is dominated by what he thinks are close-minded bigots. Erick is getting over a relationship that ended really badly and is finding it difficult to be open to love again. But these two are committed. They care about each other and help one another through the difficult times. And their chemistry is achingly sweet. Belanger is more of a fade to black kind of writer when it comes to sex scenes, but the more I read, the more I can appreciate the less is more mentality. I can especially appreciate it when it’s done so well, when the connection they have with one another is so rife with electricity and promise, it is more exciting than any explicit sex scene could ever be.
I had a few problems with this book. When Bo first meets Erick, he’s initially drawn to his feminine appearance. And while I find feminine looking men to not only be extremely hot but not lacking at all in the masculinity department, the frequent comparisons to how Erick was like a girl in certain areas seemed to be a bit insulting. I understand that Bo only had that frame of reference from which to draw, but eventually, he should’ve been able to appreciate Erick for being a man rather than being similar to a woman. I do think Bo gets to this point; it just took longer than I would’ve liked.
I also thought the epilogue was completely unnecessary. I’m not anti-epilogue, even when it seems to tie things up a little too neatly, but in this case, it didn’t add anything to the story. It could’ve easily been left out and the book would’ve been better for it.
I adored this book and was especially impressed by the level of writing on display here from Belanger. When the perfect combination of skilled writing, interesting plot, and lovable characters comes your way, you need to snatch it up. I’m certain you’ll fall in love with Erick and Bo like I did.