Title: As Big as the Sky
Author: Amy Aislin
Publisher: MLR Press
Release Date: August 4, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 134 pages
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Sam wants nothing to do with his irresponsible, sarcastic neighbor…or does he?
Sam McAuley is having a rough start to the summer: Not only is he being sued, but the new guy running the animal rehabilitation center next door has no idea what he’s doing and his runaway chickens constantly end up in Sam’s pristine yard.
Everything is temporary for Bo Novak. For as long as he can remember, it’s been one town to the next, one school to the next, one job to the next. Even his current job—running his sister’s animal rehab center while she’s away on a four-month leave—is temporary. And he does know what he’s doing, thank you very much. Sure, things don’t always run smoothly, but the stick-in-the-mud next door could be a little nicer about it.
One overheard conversation, an olive branch, and a baseball game might show these guys that being at odds isn’t really what they want, and that what they want might just be each other.
Everything about this book was … fine. The main characters were fine, Sam’s family was fine, the premise was fine (although the twists were boring and predictable), and the editing and writing were fine. It was all just … fine. Soooo! I’ll try to explain why I’m about as excited about this book as this guy looks:
It was boring. That is probably a function of the fact that there were themes, but nothing to the plot, at all. Sam is facing a specious law suit that an idiot could have told him not to worry over, and Bo? Well, Bo had a relatively crappy childhood, a selfish sister, and a poodgy belly. The end. I kept waiting for something, anything to happen and nothing substantive ever materialized. We ultimately found out some things about Bo’s sister that were … underwhelming and unsurprising. Really, I saw it coming (or something like it anyway).
Oh! And the insta-love was strong with this one. It was light years faster than instant and so was pretty much every sex scene. Of course they fell in love with each other in about 30 seconds. Of course they did! Of course the sex read like quickies. Of course it did! ~EYEROLL~ I hear an authoritative media voice in my head saying something like:
Kindle Unlimited subscription … Ten dollars.
A copy of As Big as the Sky … Six dollars.
Going from supreme annoyance to busting a luuuurve nut in 10 paragraphs … Priceless.
What else? I liked the personal growth and realizations. That part rang true and made the characters, especially Bo, more likable. In a real life setting, this relationship would have been a slow, boring burn. In this book’s reality, it was a fast, boring burn. But let’s face it, readers would have died of boredom if this book had allowed a realistic time-frame for relationship development.
It should have been a slow burn, but it couldn’t because the nonexistent plot wouldn’t support it. There was nothing driving this relationship or otherwise ‘encouraging’ these guys to be together, not even an initial, mutual attraction. All they had going was a shared fence line with hedges and some ornery chickens. That’s an execution problem right there, son! An insurmountable one in this case.
Speaking of which, I was missing details. For example, I have no idea, none whatsoever, how old Sam is. We were told, repeatedly, that Bo is 24 but we got nothing on Sam. I think he might be in his 20s too, given some context clues, but he read like an older man. It was confusing and made it hard to connect with him.
Even the most basic and banal details weren’t fleshed out properly, only it didn’t stop with Sam, but was rampant throughout. It’s hard to get involved with a story if you have no idea who the characters are or what their worlds is like beyond the obvious. So I guess that’s it right there. From the blurb and the title, this story seemed like an iceberg. I could only see the tip of it, but at first it felt as though if I read long enough, there would be a lot more to see under the surface. Unfortunately, the further I got the more confused I became about the lack of substance until I finally realized this story was less like an iceberg with hidden depths, and more like an ice cube in hot coffee.
There was nothing there. Even the possibilities for anything forthcoming dwindled as time went on. There were good things about the romantic bits, but I finished this book and felt … nothing. Quite simply, it was superficial, emotionally unengaging, generally uninteresting, and sadly, was entirely forgettable.
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