Review: Shipped by Karrie Roman

ShippedRating: 3.5 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel


Ryan Lowe came to the U.S. from Australia in the hopes of making it big in Hollywood. Acting was the only bright spot in his life while living with an alcoholic father and Ryan wants a different life.

Lucas Evers has been a successful TV actor for years and while he loves his job, he knows the price of fame. He has to keep his true self hidden from the world and he married his best friend, Anna, to keep both of their secrets. Luke and Anna are the best of friends, it’s truly a marriage of convenience, and Luke is fine with the arrangement. That is, until he meets Ryan.

When Ryan is cast as Luke’s love interest on the hottest new show, it’s not only the fans that want them together. While their characters are falling in love, so are the men themselves. But, Ryan sees Luke as married and Luke sees Ryan as straight and the bright lights of fame may be too much for Ryan as he’s faced with panic attacks and a violent stalker. The men feel better when they are together, but they are going to have to come out of the friend zone to get the relationship they have always wanted.

Some books are just okay and this book didn’t do its job to fully keep my attention. We get caught up in both characters’ lives fairly quickly as Ryan and Luke become costars on the wildly popular TV show. They have instant chemistry on screen and off and the fandoms go crazy for them. The first half of the book is partly Ryan trying to navigate his new-found fame as he gets caught up in anxiety and too much drinking. Ryan came to California from Australia, but aside from a few uses of the word “mate,” he wasn’t presented as overly Australian. The other part of the book is both men thinking the other is straight, which went on too long for me. Luke is married (in name only), so Ryan thinks he is straight and while the men become the best of friends, they never discuss the terms of their relationship. Luke’s wife, Anna, is fully supportive of Luke telling Ryan how he feels, and while the guys have chemistry, it’s a slow progression to movement on their relationship.

There were also many side plots going on here with Luke’s family, Ryan having severe anxiety over being in the spotlight, and then him being stalked, as well as a brief storyline of Anna finding love. The story line with Luke’s family, as well as with the stalker, never felt finished. When Luke and Ryan need full-time bodyguards, an entire cast is introduced and then this leads up the set-up for the next book in the series, but it was clunky in its presentation.

The main storyline is current with a popular TV show and Ryan and Luke being shipped, yet some of the word choices read as dated and some of the dialogue felt forced without that natural flow of conversation. There were also repetitive thoughts that looped around too often and I found the flow of the story being constantly broken for too many reasons.

The core relationship between Luke and Ryan had something to it, but everything around it worked against it. The stalker was obvious, but that part of the storyline never felt fully resolved. There were also too many new characters introduced toward the end of the book with an epilogue that raised questions instead of wrapping things up and I’m not sure I’m up for a sophomore season. I would only suggest this book if you like stories involving fandom with a lot of moving parts and a lot of hesitation by both characters for half of the book.

 

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