Advanced Book Review by Pixie: Breaking Bonds, by Ari McKay

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Breaking Bonds, by Ari McKay
A Dreamspun Desires Novel
Series: The Walker Boys, Book 2
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: June 1, 2017

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars


From the frying pan into the fire.

After a critic’s review attacks both Chef Liam Walker’s culinary skills and his personal life, Liam can no longer take the heat of the cutthroat New York City restaurant scene. He needs to get out of the kitchen—at least long enough to cool down and regroup.

At the Overlook Resort in North Carolina, Liam meets owner Carter Galloway. Carter has a passion for the hospitality business to rival Liam’s own, and it’s not hard to see where their shared interests—and attraction—could lead. But Carter has no interest in a fling, and Liam has no intention of walking away from the career he fought so hard for. If they want a taste of happiness together, they’ll have to find the courage to break the bonds threatening to pull them apart.


M/M Pairing
Gay Characters
Workplace Romance

This is the second ARC by Ari McKay I’ve reviewed, and I’ve come to the conclusion that we are not compatible. I’m going to keep my complaints to a minimum and just say if you want to see my musings visit my Goodreads comments section for the book.

The premise of the story is good. While on vacation in New York chef, Liam Walker volunteers to help struggling resort owner Carter Galloway whip his restaurant into shape after having a less-than-edible meal at his establishment. Seriously, the guy refused to eat the meal and instead called the owner over and told him to eat it… the owner refused. The two are pretty much instantly attracted to each other, but ABSOLUTELY NOTHING HAPPENS for like 70% because Carter refuses to have a fling in the event his parents would find out & label him as a ‘promiscuous gay’.

I noticed this to be a theme from my previous Ari McKay book: Overbearing parents that one MC is looking to live up to the expectations of; said parents causing him to be unable to enter into a relationship with the other MC. Here it felt particularly silly, since Carter has already basically told his parents to go f-themselves by not joining the family law firm, and instead opening a resort/restaurant at the ripe old age of 28.

He and Liam could have made sense. They both were at a turning point, a stage in their careers where a change needed to be made. Yet neither of them could see leaving their current circumstances, and Carter was a no for long distance. Things are kept strictly platonic until the dramatic HEA at about 85%. Complete with I love you’s; the only on-page sex scene that, in my opinion, was both awkward and unnecessary; and a weird extended family introduction that I can only imagine was deemed necessary to transition into the next book.

Bottom line: the book was too sweet for my taste. I think it you want a Hallmarky sweet romance this book may be for you. You’re on your own with this one though, as I am just going to purge it from my thoughts, never to be discussed again.


Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure. Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge watching TV shows together.

Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.

McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.


You can purchase Breaking Bonds from:
Dreamspinner Press
Barnes & Noble

Or add it to Goodreads

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

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