Review: The Half of Us, by Cardeno C. (Rating: 2/5)

cardeno-half-of-usThe Half of Us, by Cardeno C.
Published: October 2014; 2nd Edition: October 13, 2015
Page Count: 206 pages
Genre: Gay (M/M) Romance

Rating: 2 out of 5

* I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review. *

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Short-tempered, arrogant heart surgeon Jason Garcia grew up wanting a close-knit family, but believes he ruined those dreams when he broke up his marriage. The benefit of divorce is having as much random sex as he wants, and it’s a benefit Jason is exploiting when he meets a sweet, shy man at a bar and convinces him to go home for a no-strings-attached night of fun.

Eight years living in Las Vegas hasn’t dimmed Abe Green’s optimism, earnestness, or desire to find the one. When a sexy man with lonely eyes propositions him, Abe decides to give himself a birthday present—one night of spontaneous fun with no thoughts of the future. But one night turns into two and then three, and Abe realizes his heart is involved.

For the first time, Abe feels safe enough with someone he respects and adores to let go of his inhibitions in the bedroom. If Jason can get past his own inhibitions and open his heart and his life to Abe, he might finally find the family he craves.

This is a re-release of Cardeno C.’s 2014 novel with the same title, but it was the first time that I’d read anything by this author. That said, I’d seen the author’s name multiple times in the genre, always with positive reviews, so I was looking forward to a novel about two men who manage to complete each other.

But I guess you can’t always get what you want, right?

I’m sorry, I just didn’t buy it. Any of it. The relationship, the characters, the way scenes were shown as montages instead of any actual detail… none of it. At 30%, I had to get up to get chocolate to keep me awake. At 46%, things finally started to pick up a bit, but the second half was less a downhill and more a sludge.

Jason is probably the most ridiculous human ever, and I don’t mean that in a good way. He’s oblivious, selfish, and is an openly gay man who doesn’t believe gay men can have families or truly be in love. He meets Abe, who’s a decade younger than him, sweet, and mostly-innocent, and for some reason Abe is attracted to him. Sex happens. Again, and again. But still Jason refuses to believe that the things he’s feeling are legit emotions.

I wanted to punch him in his stupidly oblivious face. A lot.

Not being the possessive type, he wasn’t sure why the idea of Abe not being with anyone else turned him on… (Kindle Loc. 887)

The writing also drove me insane. There would literally be a super serious scene, one with a lot of emotional turmoil and Important Discussions, and then immediately after that SEX SEX SEX! with no transition. It was jarring, and honestly kinda uncomfortable as a reader to have my emotions jerked back and forth like that.

(Also, I personally didn’t find the sex scenes very erotic, but that’s likely a personal preference for writing styles, and not a fault of the author.)

The saving grace of this novel was Jason’s family. His ex-wife and kids were interesting characters, and I enjoyed Abe’s interactions with them. Kristen was bright and sassy and delightful, and I wish we’d gotten to see more about Donny’s problems and how those were worked through.

Final verdict? It’s readable, but I didn’t particularly enjoy it.

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