Open Road (Crabbypatty’s Review)

o-open-roadTitle: Open Road
Author: M.J. O’Shea
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: July 25, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary
Page Count: 200
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 2.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Angus has been with the same guy for ten years. When his boyfriend breaks up with him the night of his thirtieth birthday party and announces his engagement to a twenty-two-year-old less than ten hours later, Angus is… a mess. To put it lightly. He spends days in bed, drinks himself into a stupor every night, and ends up losing his job and his apartment. His best and oldest friend, Reece, decides it’s time for an intervention. And a change of scenery.

Reece and Angus take off on a buddy trip across the US. They don’t have much of a plan; they just start driving. It takes Angus a couple of days to do much more than grunt when Reece talks to him, but slowly he opens up. They drive, talk, heal, shout, drink a bit too much sometimes, dance, meet new friends… and somewhere between Portland, Oregon, and Portland, Maine, they fall in love.

Which was the last thing in the world Angus expected.

“Open Road” is a light, fluffy, sweet story of two best friends who take an impromptu road trip from Portland (Oregon) to Portland (Maine) and discover some truths along the way. Reece and Angus grew up together and were inseparable for most of their early years … until Angus met Brad ten years ago. Brad’s the kind of boyfriend who alienates Angus from his friends, undermines his self-confidence, and dumps Angus on his birthday. Let’s just say in the world of Crappy Boyfriends, he is the undisputed King.

Everyone needs a good adventure Reece takes Angus on a short trip to San Francisco … then to Coachella, Las Vegas, Santa Fe, New Orleans, Nashville, New York City, and Provincetown. The pace and style of this book is fun and interesting; I love how O’Shea gives us a flavor of each of the cities and how the ambiance of each location brings out another aspect of Reece and Angus.

When Reece and Angus finally consummate their reationship (at around 87%), it’s a tender thing … the sex between Reece and Angus is more sweet than steamy, but it fits the feel of the book.

Angus was still a little shy when it came to their physical relationship. It was so new and so beautiful. It almost felt like he was holding a fragile piece of glass in his hands, full of sparkle and depth, swirls of colors, and an almost aching beauty. He was afraid to drop it, that it wasn’t strong enough yet not to break.

I had just a few small quibbles about “Open Road” –

Brad is pretty much a cartoon villain, I’m still mystified why Reece didn’t just tell Angus at some point in their lives how he felt about him, and the ending, while sweet and satisfying, has a bit of needless relationship angst.

Okay, I realize that I’ve probably exceeded my quota for the word “sweet” in this revew, but … honestly:

“But I would never do anything to jeopardize you and me unless I really thought something amazing could come out of it.”
“Something amazing?”
Angus leaned in and gave Reece a long, slow kiss. “Yeah. I think you and I could be pretty amazing, don’t you?”
“I think we already are.”

C’mon … that’s so darn sweet!

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Galley copy of Open Road provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest review.


Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.  Frederick Douglas

I distinctly remember that day in school when, all of a sudden, those squiggles on the page made sense and I could read. It has changed my life in ways I still cannot comprehend.

My favorite M/M tropes are friends-to-lovers, murder/mysteries, amnesia, hurt/healing and historicals. Shifters, vampires, paranormal? Meh … not in my wheelhouse, but I’m a sucker for a well-written well-plotted book, no matter the genre.

Favorite authors includes Brandon Witt, Rick R. Reed, Abigail Roux, Jay Northcote, JL Merrow, KJ Charles, Lane Hayes, Marshall Thornton and so many more.

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