“A sip of Rio is all it takes. You may never want to leave.”
Liam is unlucky in love. He has recently broken up with his cheating boyfriend — after booking the holiday of a lifetime for them both to Liam’s dream destination, Rio.
Blaine has just finalized the divorce from his wife, who found trusting him difficult because of his bisexuality. Whilst listening to the local radio station he works for, Blaine hears Liam’s desperate plea for a “Jonathan Reed” to accompany him to Rio. Coincidentally, Jonathan Reed is Blaine’s real name and he jumps at Liam’s offer, happy to have found a reason to escape London for a while.
Liam and Blaine immediately hit it off, but the question is whether they can both deny the sexual chemistry between them and whether they will leave Rio with their hearts intact.
At a time when my own life is full of drama, A Sip of Rio provided me with the perfect escapism. This is very much a feel-good story that is low on angst, but has just enough sweetness and romance to give the reader that comfortable ‘awww’ feeling. Blaine and Liam are not deep characters, but it is the fact that they are genuine and ordinary that makes them both so lovable and relatable. The issue between them arises when neither man wants to admit his true feelings, but this means that Teodora Kostova is able to craete just the right amount of anticipation for us to become obsessed with Blaine and Liam’s story.
Although Kostova chooses not to make a huge issue of Blaine’s bisexuality, she does address it, particularly with reference to the fact that he was married, but his wife mistrusted him around other men. As A Sip of Rio is a m/m romance and the story’s focus is on Blaine’s relationship with Liam, I do not think it was necessary for Kostova to explore this matter any further.
A Sip of Rio may be sweet, but damn, Blaine and Liam are hot together! Kostova ensures that the passion between the two men is palpable and at one point I thought fireworks were going to start shooting out of my kindle! I really like the fact that their relationship is more than this though, and loved the quiet moments they share that also reveal much about their closeness, for example when they spend the morning cuddling and Liam asks Blaine to tell him a story:
“Blaine smiled, kissed the top of Liam’s head, and began telling the story of a faraway kingdom, where a lonely king ruled the land until he got snatched by a dragon. Liam started snoring quitely before Blaine got to the end.”
The fact that Kostova has visited Rio clearly comes across within this story and I was captivated by the way she describes the city within her writing. As we all know, Rio is famous for its beaches, carnival atmosphere, and the Christ the Redeemer statue, but Kostova goes beyond this and when Blaine and Liam take a tour of the favelas, the reader has a real insight into Rio beyond its tourist facade.
With Fall arriving, I am reading whilst wrapped up in a thick blanket, but A Sip of Rio gave me that ideal pick-me-up, especially the story’s ending, which left me with a huge smile! This is a “go buy now” book, perfectly summed up by Liam’s description of the cocktail Diego makes him:
It’s sweet and bitter, at the same time, but it’s still beautiful and kinda addictive.