Title: Choosing Home (The Call of Home #1)
Author: Alexa Milne
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Release Date: July 12, 2016
Page Count: 181
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5
You can never escape from yourself.
Zac McKenzie is an ex-professional footballer with a secret he gave up his career to protect. Several years ago, he fled to his home in the North East of Scotland to avoid being outed as gay. Now, he owns a successful hotel and restaurant, but is it time to finally come out into the open?
Seth Pritchard feels he is damaged goods. He comes to Scotland to escape memories of the accident that left him injured, his bullying step-brothers and a life of lies.
For their whole lives, Zac and Seth have denied who they truly are to themselves as well as to others. When they meet, each man is forced to confront his fears and tear them down one by one.
“Show, don’t tell” is one of those written in stone creative writing guidelines, right up there with “avoid cliches like the plague” … or … okay, using “written in stone.” It’s the difference between evoking emotions and informing the reader. The blurb for this book really captured my interest; unfortunately, I finished the book feeling I was being told a story from a great distance, rather than one where you could see the characters in your mind, feel their emotions or wonder what happens to them after the book’s last page.
There is little chemistry between Seth and Zac and their sex scenes included some very odd descriptions. “The sensation [of Zac’s lips around Seth’s nipple] reminded him of the glorious feeling of finally being able to scratch an itch, and Seth wanted more.” Or, upon seeing Seth’s cock for the first time, Zac says: “I feel like Goldilocks finding the perfect bowl of porridge — not too big and not too small. In fact, the perfect size.”
After knowing each other for a few days, Zac and Seth describe themselves as boyfriends or partners and Zac insists Seth join him as he tells his elderly parents and teenage son he is gay, which on a scale of “confronting fears” ends up being very anti-climatic / no big deal. Seth comes to Scotland to escape a horrible childhood with two stepbrothers he describes as the “SS Twins” (and a resulting somewhat strange sexual phobia for Seth) as well as a car accident that badly injured Seth and his girlfriend – events which are told in a couple of sentences.
Unfortunately, I just could not connect to the story and its characters, and I cannot recommend it.