Title: The Hardest Fall (Roadmap to Your Heart #3)
Author: Christina Lee
Release Date: June 23, 2016
Page Count: 255
Reviewed by: Vallie
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5
Lee trades country ballads for show tunes in the next standalone book of her Roadmap to Your Heart series.
After licking his wounds from a painful relationship, Tate Sullivan is ready to move back home. He picks up where he left off as drag queen extraordinaire Frieda Love in a West Village bar in New York City. He doesn’t expect to be drawn to the mysterious man with the dark eyes who shows up to every single performance—flirtatiously eyeing Tate one second and disappearing on him the next. Why mess around with a guy who is clearly giving him mixed signals?
Sebastian Clark is on a mission the first night he shows up at Ruby Redd’s. He doesn’t anticipate his plan being flipped on its head by the charismatic drag queen and even more so by the mesmerizing man beneath the makeup. But the more he learns about the vibrant and brash Tate Sullivan the more intrigued he becomes. So he pushes aside his guilt about why he sought out the bar in the first place in order to get to know the guy behind the stilettos.
They’re opposites on many levels, but as Tate spends time volunteering with Sebastian at the shelter, he begins to feel good about himself in ways he hadn’t before. For Sebastian, Tate represents a sense of fun and freedom that is completely fresh and invigorating. Before they know it, their easy companionship catches fire, and Sebastian is kissing a man for the first time, while Tate is opening his heart to new possibilities. But Sebastian is still keeping a secret, and Tate will have to decide if he can trust again, or if the betrayal he feels from Sebastian’s confession is too much to overcome.
Hmm…this one was more of a miss for me, unfortunately. I like drag queen MCs and I was not disappointed with Frieda Love, aka Tate in his day job, but the whole set-up with the big secret and the drama that came with it when it was revealed put me off.
However, there were good things about the book.
-Double POv is always a bonus. I think the characters were developed well and I felt like I knew what they were about pretty quickly.
-Side characters: Tate’s roommate, Tori, and Sebastian’s employee, Annie, don’t play a huge part in the story, but they’re there when it matters and help advance the plot. Plus, they were both very likeable to me.
-Tate’s femme side. They guy was full of sass and I was in twink heaven. His make-up tutorials/vlogs were funny and full of snark.
-Sebastian’s quiet nature. He was the type of character I am immediately drawn to. Reserved, not in your face, quite insecure, but owning up to his shit. There was no “I am hot for Tate/Frieda but I’m not gay” malarkey, thank goodness. Sebastian started questioning his sexuality pretty early on in his attraction to Tate/Frieda (as fast as it happened) and was pretty open to the idea that he was probably a late bisexual bloomer.
-The sex…? I’ll add it to the positives because it didn’t make me cringe or anything. There was steam and it was hot but nothing to write home about. It was there so I can’t complain that it wasn’t, if that makes sense…?
What made me star drop:
-The drama. Trust me, I love drama in books but with conditions. It has to be believable. The plot needs to sort of naturally develop with a dramatic twist. The characters need to grow as they go through it. And hopefully, it’ll be heart-breaking in some way for me to feel more for the characters. Not here. It was not handled well and the twists after the 80% mark were very OTT and unrealistic. Soap-opera-ish type of drama does not do it for me, sorry.
-I did not read the final copy of the book so maybe this next comment will be irrelevant (hopefully) by publication time. The writing did not agree with me. And I’m not talking typos that can be picked up with some light proofreading. I am talking bad grammar, fragments, and not for stylistic purposes either. Some of my favourite authors bend grammar rules all the time in emotional scenes for emphasis. I did not get the impression that this was happening here. It was just…wrong syntax all over.
-The ending was cheesy and although I can appreciate the grand gesture shtick with the best of them, it fell flat for me here.
So, overall, not a win for me. But I haven’t read the first 2 books in the series so if you are a fan of the author and the series, you might enjoy it more than I did.