Conner owns the bookstore on a street lined with little shops, and he’s been eyeing the new tattoo place across the way. He doesn’t really know much about Kennedy Ink, but he knows he’s attracted to one of the owners, Kayson. When an irate patron punches Conner, Kayson and crew come to the rescue, and Conner and Kayson finally meet.
Though Kayson, his brother, and their makeshift family are new in town, they are quickly learning what life in small town Georgia is all about. And Kayson finds himself inexplicably attracted to Conner. After a few false stars, they eventually end up on a date and things go well. They don’t even let a homophobic patron ruin their night.
Kayson and Conner get quickly attached to one another, and their relationship progresses quickly. But someone is after Conner, making threats, and when Conner’s life is danger, Kayson might just lose him forever.
So for Self Published Book Week, I took a chance on a book that’s been floating around on my radar for several months. I always admire authors who go the self publish route, and I know it’s not an easy one. While there are some glaring errors and issues with this book, I think Wood does an decent job with the story as a whole.
First things first. The author let us know that this book, and the series as a whole, is about to go through reediting. Hopefully this will take care of the copious punctuation errors, the occasional tense shift, and a few other small issues with word choices. So I’m not basing my review on those issues at all.
What I really liked about the story were the two MCs. Conner is a geeky bookstore owner, and he’s a small town boy, born and raised. He’s got a southern charm that appeals, and his narrative has a sort of a stream of consciousness, telling a story feel that works well for the character. The author uses dialect and slang native to Georgia, so it really grounds the story as a whole in the place.
Kayson is a little more worldly, having lived in California and now residing in the small town of Madison to be closer to his family. This includes his brother and their crew, who all work at the tattoo shop with him. There’s a nice balance of created family in there, along with blood relatives. Kayson is a little confused about his attraction to Conner at first, but he rolls with it. And the two of them are very sweet together. Conner seems, at times, a little younger than he should. But Kayson’s protectiveness is nice to see and I enjoyed them both. Their chemistry sparked, even if it really never caught fire, so their relationship was nice, if not explosive.
The story is told in alternating first person. For Conner, I think it worked pretty well, as he had a charm about him I enjoyed. But Kayson wasn’t distinctive enough when it was his turn, and I had trouble remembering who was speaking, often having to backtrack to get a clue and remind myself whose head we were in. So I definitely had some trouble with that.
The plot didn’t work as well for me either. On the whole, it’s a little over the top, and takes things a step too far on occasion. By that, I mean, there isn’t enough development on some of the points to really make the story believable. The pacing is off throughout the story as well. There are points throughout where it slows down too much, or conversely, goes too fast. The ending left something to be desired, as a big thing happens and then we are told of the resolution over a couple of paragraphs. So I found it dissatisfying, and really wanted to see the events play out. The uneven plot and pacing really brought down this story for me. I couldn’t really engage in the story, and that made it harder for me to enjoy.
All in all, the book was pretty much a mixed bag. While some parts worked, a lot left to be desired. If you’re a big fan of small town southern charm, and alternating first person narrative, then you might want to give this book a second look after it is re-edited.
This review is part of our Reading Challenge Month for Self Published Book Week! Leave a relevant comment below and you will be entered to win one of seven fabulous prize packs from an amazing group of self published authors. 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 Self Published Book Week here, including a list of all the prizes being offered this week. And check out our prize post for more details about the awesome prizes offered this month!