Blank Spaces, by Cass Lennox
Series: Toronto Connections, Book #1
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: November 14, 2016
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Absence is as crucial as presence.
The decision to stop dating has made Vaughn Hargrave’s life infinitely simpler: he has friends, an excellent wardrobe, and a job in the industry he loves. That’s all he really needs, especially since sex isn’t his forte anyway and no one else seems interested in a purely romantic connection. But when a piece is stolen from his art gallery and insurance investigator Jonah Sondern shows up, Vaughn finds himself struggling with that decision.
Jonah wants his men like his coffee: hot, intense, and daily. But Vaughn seems to be the one gay guy in Toronto who doesn’t do hookups, which is all Jonah can offer. No way can Jonah give Vaughn what he really wants, not when Jonah barely understands what love is.
When another painting goes missing, tension ramps up both on and off the clock. Vaughn and Jonah find themselves grappling not just with stolen art, but with their own differences. Because a guy who wants nothing but romance and a guy who wants nothing but sex will never work—right? Not unless they find a way to fill in the spaces between them.
Art and Art Theft
This book did a great job of portraying asexuality and an asexual character. It was nice to have them discover what all their disinterest in sex meant and it was especially nice that there was a build up to it. It’s kind of awkward when a character suddenly declares themselves to be asexual without putting a lot of thought into it. I don’t know why the author decided to pair someone grappling with asexuality with someone who is extremely sexual, but for the most part she made their developing relationship believable.
For the most part Lennox did a good job with character development in this book. Even the secondary characters were built up past two dimensions enough to have them add more depth to the book. Most of the character development was focused on Jonah because he had the most skeletons in the closet and it was contributing to his behaviors. I can’t get into it too much without giving too much away, but a really good part of his character development was learning to be ok with Vaughn’s boundaries (sexual or otherwise). It was really great to read because it showed a lot of respect between the two.
Where Lennox kind of failed was with having people seriously address the risky behavior Jonah was engaging in. There is more to safe sex than protecting yourself from STDs, and I think that kind of got glossed over in order to focus on Vaughn’s asexuality.
Vaughn was hands down my favorite character in the book. He was a sweet, caring guy who was accepting of other people and just needed a little acceptance in return. He treated everyone with respect and caring even though he felt like he was broken. It was a nice change from characters that go off the rails when they feel insecure, or like something is wrong with them. I do feel that some people might find him boring since he is kind of a goody two shoes sweet guy.
Vaughn’s character development was more driven by his discovery that he was asexual and not just broken. He discovered his own boundaries in terms of sex, and what that meant, and learned to verbalize them. This is super important because asexuality isn’t really represented in a lot of media, and this goes about showing it in a constructive way instead of just saying they don’t like sex.
The next paragraph contains mild spoilers.
The part of the book that I think is going to put people off the most is the open relationship that happens. Not going to get too into it to avoid spoilers, but since a lot of people consider it cheating and get put off by reading it I do need to bring it up. I am personally not okay with open relationships and I don’t particularly enjoy reading it. However, Lennox did a good job of convincing me that the open relationship in the book was working for both partners. It is a big part of this book so you might want to skip this if that’s a problem for you.
The mystery part of the book isn’t particularly hard to figure out but Lennox used it to bring Vaughn and Jonah together. It was a way to drive the plot and add depth to the book without having something overshadow the relationship. Some people might complain that it wasn’t mysterious enough, but it served its purpose.
All in all I really enjoyed this book, even though it does have faults. Lennox’s writing is clear and easy to read so I think that elevated this book to a higher star rating for me. For me good writing and plot development can help a book that might not be as captivating otherwise.
Cass Lennox is a permanent expat who has lived in more countries than she cares to admit to and suffers from a chronic case of wanderlust as a result. She started writing stories at the tender age of eleven, but would be the first to say that the early years are best left forgotten and unread. A great believer in happy endings, she arrived at queer romance via fantasy, science fiction, literary fiction, and manga, and she can’t believe it took her that long. Her specialties are diverse characters, gooey happy ever afters, and brownies. She’s currently sequestered in a valley in southeast England.
Find out more about Lennox and her books over at her website http://www.casslennox.wordpress.com
You can purchase Blank Spaces from:
Barnes & Noble
I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.