Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Henry Beckett’s life has disintegrated while he wasn’t looking. But now he’s determined to get his boyfriend back, and the first step to that is losing the weight that he’s unwittingly put on. He takes the first step by joining a gym, and that’s where he meets personal trainer Reed Henske. Reed is perfect and beautiful. And more than that, he encourages Henry in exactly the right way.
Pretty soon, Henry is getting in shape for the right reasons: to take care of himself. And as his and Reed’s friendship grows, Henry starts coming out of his shell at work. Henry has no filter, and he’s previously done his best not to speak much at work. But now everything in Henry’s life is changing, and that’s due to Reed. But when Henry unwittingly makes Reed feel bad, Henry has to take a step back and really look at himself. There he finds someone who is truly happy for the first time in a long time. And with a heart to heart conversation with Reed, Henry finally has everything he wants.
I’m a fan of this author and I usually snap up anything she releases knowing that I’ll get a great story with great characters. But with this one, I was very…reluctant. Let’s just say that a character having to lose weight in order to finally be happy is a touchy subject with me. So I was hesitant, but it was still on my radar as one to read. But when Reading Challenge Month came up, and we needed something for TBR Pile Week, I decided it was time to take the chance. And I am so very glad I did.
So it became quickly apparent that while Henry may have joined a gym in order to get his ex back, his attitude shifted within a few days (pages). He realized he wanted to do this for himself, that he wanted to take care of himself and be healthy. As soon as this happened, I relaxed. Henry was all about being healthy, but he wasn’t doing it for anyone but himself anymore. Even more than that, Henry is an absolutely fantastic character. He’s got no filter, and the things he says are hysterical. I mean, I was literally laughing out loud, and that doesn’t often happen to me with books. He’s got a great sense of humor, even if he doesn’t always mean to, and he’s a totally adorable geek. I loved him from the very start.
We don’t get to know Reed quite as well, but he’s very open and forthcoming. So even though we don’t get his POV, it’s clear to see what kind of guy he is. He’s got a huge heart, and he’s so dang nice. Even better, he’s believable in that way. I adored him just as much as Henry.
I loved the slow burn of their relationship. First they become friends, though it’s clear they both want more. Reed is a complete support for Henry, and what starts out as recipe swapping quickly turns into sharing parts of their lives. As their relationship progresses, the attraction grows. And when they finally act on it, it’s wonderfully satisfying.
The story has got great pacing. All the way up until the end that is. Then it felt a little rushed. I would have liked to see a bit more of them as a couple, and to see their relationship flourishing a bit more. But otherwise, I really loved the way the story progresses.
So yeah. This one is an easy recommendation for me. The characters are great, Henry especially, and there’s a realness to them that I really enjoyed. I adored this story and I’m really glad I finally took the chance and read it.
This review is part of our Reading Challenge Month for TBR Pile Week! Leave a relevant comment below and you will be entered to win a fabulous prize from NineStar Press. Four lucky winners will each receive a $25 NineStar Press gift card. 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 TBR Pile Week here. And be sure to check out our prize post for more about the awesome prizes!
Oh, I should have picked this and done a read along but I didn’t think it’d been on my shelf long enough :/
I have to say one of the reason I haven’t read the book yet is because I don’t like the concept of changing oneself for another person, health reason, yes, but not because someone’s else has said so.
Saying this I have had a lot of people who know me well push this book on me, I really need to get around to reading it, lol
It’s just about a year old, so it qualified for the challenge…but barely 🙂
I agree with you completely, and it was the reason I was so hesitant as well. But Walker really handles the whole thing well. Hope you enjoy it when you get to it!
It’s definitely pushed up my tbr pile now, I’m so glad it went a different direction then I feared 😀
Yeah, I’d definitely have issues with the whole weight-loss premise, but Henry does sound cool!
He really is. He made the book for me. 🙂
Great review and I liked the book as well. I also agree I’d like a longer epilogue to see the characters together. I think a lot of writers buy into the formula that as soon as the major crisis is resolved, the story is done. After we’ve watched a couple come together and overcome their obstacles, though, I like to see them enjoying their new relationship. It feels like a reward to me for sticking through the angst or whatever the writer threw at the MC’s.
I agree with you there! I don’t need tons and tons of words after overcoming the obstacles, but I do like to see the couple solid and living their lives.
Thanks for commenting!
I’ve been hesitant to read this for the same reasons you listed, Kris, but it sounds good enough to give it a shot. I’ve never truly *disliked* anything NR Walker has put out.
This one is classic Walker, so if you enjoy her style then you’ll probably enjoy this book.
Hope you enjoy it if you give it a chance!
I agree with your reason for being hesitant, as was I. I would have rated this a little lower because while sweet, it had some flaws. One thing I didn’t like was that over and over Reed tells Henry that is his funny; I get that we have to understand why Reed would be attracted to Henry and humor is attractive, but the humor should just be written in without us needing to be told. Also, it sets up that stereotype of fat people as comedians–and that it’s ok to love someone fat as long as they are funny.
I didn’t see it that way, Lennis, but I can absolutely see your point here regarding heavy people as comedians.
Reed definitely tells Henry he’s funny a lot, and I can understand how that would become tedious. I didn’t have quiet as strong a reaction to it as you, but it’s a good point and one readers might need to be aware of.
I have read this already and rated 4.5* too.
I am an NR Walker fan and enjoyed the hunour and Henry’s lack of filter in this one
Henry had exactly my kind of humor, I found him hilarious.
I think I read this one a while ago? Don’t remember. Thanks for the review
I had the same hesitations as you did, but it was getting such good reviews at the time that I went for it. I’m glad I did, according to good reads I gave this book 5 stars.
Its the only book I’ve read by this author but since other people are fans I’ll try some more
If you enjoyed this one, then there are definitely some others that will appeal. 🙂
It’s funny, I have probably 4 or 5 books by this author on my Kindle but I’ve never gotten around to reading any of them.
I need to change that, but I’m really tempted to get this one and read it first. Henry sounds like a lot of fun. 🙂
He’s got a particular kind of humor that I really enjoy, no filter and geeky references. 🙂
I read this one shortly after it was released, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. Like you, Kris, I had concerns as to how Henry’s motivation to lose weight would be handled, but I was pleased with how the author was more concerned with good health than with numbers on a scale. Now I’m tempted to re-read ….
It’s definitely gone in my to be reread pile!
Thanks for sharing, Kareni
I really enjoyed this one first time round and re-read recently – I think she deals with the issues around weight gain/loss with some sensitivity whilst retaining a good deal of the humour in the situation. It doesn’t ever come across as “preachy”.
Well put, Anna. I absolutely agree.
This isn’t an author I read, and I definitely would be hesitant doing so with this book’s premise, but I’m glad it was such a good read for you and so many others who’ve commented. I am always on the lookout for more great books with characters who don’t have “perfect” bodies.
I can definitely understand that.
I love the fantasy of perfect, pretty people in my fiction…but it’s really great to read real people too. 🙂
Yeah!! so glad you liked this one. I think i read this one as soon as it was published because Nr Walker is an autobuy for me, her Red Dirt Heart serie is my all time favorite serie.
Walker certainly has a way with characters that I very much enjoy.
I’ve seen this one floating around and it’s been lowkey on my list for a while!
I didn’t realize that the loss of weight could be a touchy subject but I get your point. In my case, I highly enjoyed it, I like this type of characters that look more “real” like to be healthy, you don’t need to look like a model but exercise is something everyone should do. Don’t get me wrong, I also enjoy those books that have “tall, dark and beautiful” characters.
I loved this book it was one of my favorite and best reads for last year. I loved the chemistry and the characters. Henry was a riot and it was easy to see how Reed became so enchanted. I like that they balanced each other out. I do agree that I would have liked to see more interaction between the two after they became a couple. I missed Reed’s POV too, I think his thoughts and feeling may have rounded out the reading and added to the story.
So far I have read all of NR Walkers books. I like her writing style and some books of her are really great. I think this one was ok , at times very funny but not spectacular good and I rated it with 3.5*.
I really liked this book!
Thanks for the good review. I’m actually surprised, give all the attention society has on it, that there haven’t been more books about “weight,” but then again, many characters in m/m romance are good looking. That’s part of the fantasy right. So I’ve been intrigued by this one since I first saw it, and it’s good to know that it’s not just a surface treatment of the issue, but realistic.
I would like to read this, but can I purchase it anywhere besides Amazon. I much prefer epub and converting Amazon’s proprietary format is often impossible.