The Shore Thing, by A. R. Barley
Series: States of Love, Delaware
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: August 23, 2017
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Sunburned Delaware native Dale Seward spends his summers wrangling lifeguards and cracking crabs. His winters are a whole lot colder.
Nico Travelli’s never even seen the ocean, but when his family’s plans for him get derailed, he realizes his future in their upscale Italian restaurants might be over, and it’s time for something new. He’s hypnotized by his first look at the Atlantic—until a wave takes him out. Luckily, Dale’s there to pull him to safety.
Dale knows better than to fall for a summer person, but that doesn’t mean he can’t show Nico a good time. Between the ice cream cones and the put-put golf, these two lonely hearts soon find themselves in over their heads.
But when Nico is tempted by a second chance at the life he always thought he wanted, will he be brave enough to give it up for the possibility of true love with Dale? And what does the sexy lifeguard do during the winter? In a state as small as Delaware, secrets are bound to come out.
States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht
Gay & Bisexual Characters
Content Warning for:
Before I get into this, have you seen that cover? How high is that cover model? Maybe his eyes are so red because of the sun and salt water? I swear there is no drug use in this book. Some edibles are implied by a side character but it’s only a brief mention.
Okay, now let’s get to the story. I was leery right out of the gate because there’s a suicide attempt. It’s played off as if that’s not the case but I wasn’t buying that story once the almost-drowned Nico starts explaining what brought him to the beach town in Delaware. By the way, I love the name Nico so it’s part of the reason why I gave this book another chance. Anyway, the story then rushes along with Nico immediately moving in with Dale and them getting to know each other in all the ways.
For the most part, I had no problems with their relationship until I started realizing that Dale has a secret and, for whatever reason, doesn’t want Nico to know. It goes on for so long that once it’s finally revealed I didn’t really see the point of why it was such a big deal, and I didn’t feel that it was explained well. I’m not a big fan of secrets in books. If you wholeheartedly want to be with someone then you shouldn’t be keeping things from them unless there’s good reason why the opportunity hasn’t presented itself. So then the final conflict is a misunderstanding and I kind of tuned out. For as much as I don’t like secrets, I really don’t like when the only thing holding characters back from happiness is them getting in their own way. People who really care either fight for who they want or they stick around to hear the whole story before making assumptions and running away. Needless to say, I just wasn’t feeling it for these two.
There were other things I didn’t love as well. The fact that Dale and Nico pop boners constantly made them read more like 15 year olds. I was getting the impression that the characters weren’t allowed to be emotional because that’s not a manly trait. Whut? Then the way people from Chicago were written was as if they’ve never experienced heat before and have no idea what to expect from the beach. And I still don’t fully understand why Dale’s angry Aunt Shirley was written like a total bitch if all she really wanted was for him to be happy.
So in the end I didn’t hate this book, but I don’t think I’ll be quick to recommend it either. If beach locales and sexy lifeguards are your thing, then I say have at it.
A. R. Barley lives in the Motor City with a dog (who’s currently annoying the cat), a cat (who’s doing his best to avoid the dog), and an engineer. She likes hot drinks, hotter novels, and ice cream. She writes seven days a week (when she’s not playing referee to the dog and the cat) and is always happy to hear from readers on Facebook and Twitter.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.