Title: Lift Me Up
Author: Rayne Auster
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: m/m contemporary romance
Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
A guest review by Jenre
Hurt and betrayed by his best friend, Avery is not exactly on a quest to find love when it literally stumbles upon him in the form of Dylan Kincaid, his new, sexy neighbor. Avery is quick to forgive the fact that Dylan’s arrival brings with it a series of unfortunate events hairy enough to keep the most optimistic person down, and he sets about trying to get into Dylan’s pants. But love isn’t so easy to catch, and Avery will have to face Dylan’s past and his own aversion to elevators on his way to happiness.
This novella is proof of the importance of a good cover. I saw the cover at DSP and even though I’d not heard of the author before, it made me click on the link and read the extract. After that I was hooked and had to read the rest of the book.
The novella begins with Avery involved in a dreadfully embarrassing situation in a lift with his friend. After escaping from the lift he is so shaken up and distressed that he can’t even get into his apartment and slumps to the floor in a hurt and mortified heap. He is jolted out of his self absorbed navel gazing by someone tripping up over him, breaking his ankle in the process. That someone is new neighbour Dylan who then gets Avery to hospital and before you know it mutual attraction is blossoming.
The main attraction of this book for me was the voice of the first person narrator, Avery. He has a dry wit about him and a self depreciating sense of humour which I found appealing. As far as a could tell, Avery was relating this story of how he and Dylan met from some unspecified point in the future as he often drops in information about Dylan and Dylan’s friend, Michael, which he couldn’t have possibly known at the time. This gave the narration a slightly awkward feel at first as I was pulled out of the story whenever I’d come across phrases like…
Okay, so maybe, if anyone could do it, Michael could. He has an overwhelming personality and knows how to get what he wants.
…because having only met Michael for about 2 minutes, Avery couldn’t possibly have known that Michael had an overwhelming personality. However, once I worked out that an Avery in the future was relating the incident to us, I became more settled with the narration and didn’t find it quite as jarring.
The story itself is a pretty simple one. We follow the two men as they meet and overcome a couple of obstacles on their way to love. I enjoyed reading their stories and found the characters of Avery and Dylan likeable and fairly well rounded. The other characters who flit in and out of the book were less well defined and really were just there to serve a role such as the jealous ex, or the betraying friend, or the supportive friend. As a result they never really stepped away from those roles. I was especially disappointed in Avery’s backstabbing friend, Kayden, as his role as supposed best friend to Avery could have been fleshed out a great deal more than it was and I found myself wanting to know why he had behaved in that way and how he and Avery deal with each other after what he did. Unfortunately this was never explained, and the odd incident with Kayden at the very end of the book served only to add to my questions about him.
Overall though this was a undemanding read about two men who meet and fall in love. There’s nothing heavy or angsty or complicated about the story which suited my mood when I read it. Avery’s humourous tone of voice was a big plus, as was the amusing but tender sex scenes. I would recommend it to those readers who are looking for something quick and light-hearted to chase away the cold evenings.