Tiny House, by Charley Descoteaux
Series: Buchanan House, Book 3
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: April 29, 2016
Rating: 2 of 5 stars
Pride weekend is over, but for Nathan Lucas, the summer is just heating up. He appears to have it all. He’s tall and blond, ripped and handsome, and half owner of Buchanan House, a successful gay retreat on Oregon’s beautiful central coast. But his joie de vivre hides a fear of abandonment. When he was twelve his mother had triplets, and instead of the cherished only child, Nathan became a scapegoat for his exhausted parents, and he has never truly dealt with that pain.
Portland chef Paulie Nesbitt is head over heels in love with Nathan. They’ve been drinking buddies with benefits for years, while Paulie has not-so-secretly yearned for more. Paulie’s extra pounds and self-doubt have kept him from acting on his feelings. Their friends know they would make the perfect couple, but Nathan and Paulie will have to let go of past insecurities if they want a future together.
Friends to Lovers
See review for possible trigger warnings.
Tiny House is the third book in the Buchanan House series. I haven’t read the first two but I didn’t feel like I needed to in order to keep up with the story. You could tell in certain situations it probably would have been more enjoyable to know the history but I looked at it as that I was just the new friend who’s still getting to know everyone. Seems fitting since the diverse cast are very loyal and supportive to their friends and open to making new ones as well.
The book is supposed to be a romance about two longtime friends, Paulie and Nathan, but they barely speak to each other even on the rare occasions when they’re together. It made it difficult to see any chemistry between them and I couldn’t bring myself to care whether or not they would get their HEA. Thankfully the story is told from dual POV because the book would’ve been very one-sided otherwise. There was much more interaction between each MC with the side characters which isn’t a terrible thing but it didn’t leave much room for me to get to know Paulie and Nathan as a potential couple.
What I took away from this story is that for as much as they love each other, they won’t allow themselves to act on their feelings until they’ve overcome their issues.
“Nobody has to be perfect to be loved. Just being you is enough.”
Nathan has to work through feeling abandoned by his family and Paulie must get past his negative self-image. These issues are brought up several times and they do end up finding themselves in a better place but it happens with a lot of show and little tell. Maybe it’s just me but I’d rather skip the implications and go along for the ride as they fully explore exactly what it is they need to do to get what they want.
I felt the writing was disjointed and hard to follow at times. Grammatical errors and a ton of abrupt sentences thrown in for emphasis were a distraction in the flow of the narrative. I found myself rereading passages to be sure I was fully grasping what the characters were trying to say. I also would’ve liked to have seen more emotional reactions inserted into the dialogue when the characters were speaking at length. This wasn’t a major issue but there were times when I thought I had an idea of what the tone should be but since no description was given I was left to interpretation. On a positive note, I will say that Descoteaux does a good job describing all the details of the setting. I was ready to pack my bags and move right into that cottage with the ocean views.
Aside from a few minor peaks in the story arc this one flatlines most of the way through. Holding out for a grand gesture at the end was a bit of a cliché and sends the message that if you do absolutely nothing to earn your love interest’s heart, doing something extreme will automatically have them leaping into your arms and bed. The fantastical events that follow had me hoping that each page turned would be the last.
Trigger Warning: Several of the characters use alcohol abuse as a coping mechanism and while it’s mentioned that the worst offender should quit the unhealthy lifestyle, it’s never fully addressed and treatment is not explored. This may be a sensitive topic for some.
Charley Descoteaux has always heard voices. She was relieved to learn they were fictional characters, and started writing when they insisted daydreaming just wasn’t good enough. In exchange, they’ve agreed to let her sleep once in a while. Charley grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area during a drought, and found her true home in the soggy Pacific Northwest. She has survived droughts, earthquakes, floods, and over a decade living in an area affectionately known (in her strange little world) as Portland’s middle finger, but couldn’t make it through one day without stories.
Charley also writes YA fiction under the name Charli Green.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review. Grammatical issues mentioned above may change in the final version.