Out of Frame (Vallie’s Review)

outofframeTitle: Out of Frame (In Focus #3)
Author: Megan Erickson
Publisher: InterMix
Release Date: March 15th 2016
Genre(s): New Adult
Page Count: 202 pages
Reviewed by: Vallie
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 2.4 stars out of 5

Romance trades the open road for the high seas in the latest from the author of Focus on Me and Trust the Focus…

Perpetually shy, Quinn Mathers is content to remain in the shadow of his brash best friend Jess Hartman. But before their college graduation, he and Jess have planned one last hurrah: a spring break Caribbean cruise.

And it won’t be just any cruise. On board are members of the reality show Trip League, which follows young twenty-somethings on adventures around the world. Since the show’s beginning, Quinn has been fascinated by J. R. Butler, with his amazing body, warm eyes, and killer grin. Unfortunately, he’s straight—or so the world thinks.

At nineteen, J. R. signed a contract to play straight for the show, and there’s no way to get out of it now. Yet with each passing day, Quinn and J. R. find it harder to keep their hands off each other and to keep out of the camera’s frame. But when the lens finally focuses on them, J. R. must decide if he’s willing to risk his career by admitting his bisexuality, and Quinn must determine if he’s bold enough to stand in the spotlight with the man of his dreams…

Eeeeeeeeeeeeele! Ele! Bring out that box of shame honey, I’m gonna need it today

*sighs dejectedly*

So. I loved book 1 and book 2 of this series. I especially loved that both books dealt with heavier themes, that the characters went through the wringer for their HEA, and that I was torn to shreds waiting for it. I thought the third book would follow along those lines. But then…

I’m reading about college kids on a cruise and the star of a reality show who’s contractually obligated to go on the cruise as a last hurrah before the show ends. Okaaaaaaay. I was still looking forward to “meeting” the new characters. I was particularly looking forward to loving them just as much as I loved Justin & Landry and Riley & Colin. But unfortunately, that did not happen.

Don’t get me wrong, ginger Quinn was adorable and I was so psyched that he got finally noticed by someone who saw his worth. And I liked that JR was such a good kid, wanting to help his family out and willing to be cast as the “straight black angry guy” on the show so he could start a career that would pay for his kid brother’s medical expenses. I especially liked that JR being black was not made a big deal out of –as it shouldn’t.

But I didn’t really feel the connection between the characters. They were young, but they read really young. Like teenager young. And that was off-putting. I love reading YA and if I’m in that mind-frame I have no problem with it. But when I am expecting to read a story about young 20-somethings, I want more. The characters were not as developed as I would have liked.

JR was the closeted bisexual guy who worried about his career after the reality show and his brother. That’s it. That’s all we got out of him. There was no more exploration of his personality. Quinn was afraid that he would always be wallpaper, going by unnoticed, unloved, and under his strict parents’ thumb. Again, that’s all he was. That’s what he thought, that’s what he talked about, and that’s all he was consumed with. So I got bored. I struggled to finish the book and almost DNFed several times –after reading about some escapade on the ship yet again. Maybe I wasn’t in the mood for it, I don’t know.

On a positive note, the book has received 5 star reviews from most of my friends on GR whose taste and recommendations I absolutely trust. I will not discourage people from reading this, because the writing was good quality, as usual with this author, the story was sweet, and there were feelings that will make you smile. It just didn’t work for me.

In Focus Series

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Galley copy of provided by via NetGalley in exchange of an honest review.

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