In Over Our Heads (NeRdyWYRM’s Review)

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Title: In Over Our Heads (Stories from the Shore #2)
Author: CJane Elliott
Release Date: October 16, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 216 pages
Reviewed by: NeRdyWYRM
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5


A Stories From the Shore Book

Anthony Vallen is the life of any party. Full of energy and fun, Anthony adores romance and enjoys playing matchmaker for his friends while dancing the night away with a series of Mr. Right Nows. But he’s given up on his own happy ending. A bad breakup years ago made him a secret cynic about love… until he runs into Walter Elkins—the boy who broke his teenaged heart—on a scuba-diving vacation in Key West. Suddenly, Anthony’s reasons for shunning romance no longer hold much water. Being with Walter again forces Anthony to get serious—about himself, his worth, and his heart’s desires.

Brilliant and self-contained, scientist Walter Elkins prefers deep thoughts to other people. He’s a good boss and a model citizen, but Walter doesn’t let anyone get close. After a tragedy drove him out of his science career, Walter landed in Key West and became owner of a dive shop and a bar. Things are fine until Anthony Vallen—the only person who ever penetrated his defenses—shows up, and Walter’s calm, controlled life capsizes. He and Anthony have a second chance for love, but Walter must confront the old fears that threaten to torpedo their happiness.

It’s Too Much!

Or I guess I should say, “He’s too much!” Anthony Vallen, my dear man, you are wholly over-the-top! I mean … it’s like whoa! I adored Walter, the eccentric, awkward, brilliant weirdo that he was. Tony was more than an acquired taste and I started to wonder if the author understood the difference between persona and personality. I felt like Anthony was wearing some fake-ass OTT mask like … the whole freaking time. I got the big heart. I got the feels. But he was almost too much crazy queen to be true.

it's too much

I had a hard time making sense of the two of them together. Generally, I’m good with opposites attract. I’ve seen it too many times in real life to think it’s not possible for relationships to work with people who are polar opposites, BUT this was … this was a whole lotta differences that I’m not sure I ever got used to.

I loved the fact that Tony, despite his inability to shut the hell up, never tried to steamroll Walter. Sure, there was at least one feelings-fueled ultimatum, but I understood it and Tony was quick to back down. I loved the fact that Walter worked through things even though they terrified him.

courage is~~~~~~~~~bucking horse silhouette

This one was about hurt/comfort, second chances, eccentric personalities, the pitfalls of a brilliant mind, and love. I can’t forget the love. If I knew nothing else about these two characters, and if there were more than a few things I found it hard to swallow about Tony, I knew they loved each other. I will say that their sex life seemed to work just fine for them, but some of it was a turn-off for me. Nothing to put my finger on. Nothing shocking or triggery, just a couple of “Ewww, really?” moments that are about personal preference and not anything truly gross.

Would I say this was my favorite book ever? No. Not really. I would have liked to see a little more compromise actually occur on Tony’s end. Maybe some reciprocation happens in the future—it seemed like that was a possibility—where it’s not just Walter stepping out of his comfort zone but Tony maybe giving him some of it back and/or loosening his grip on his life in Boston, worthy cause or no. Do I care enough to follow up with these two? Maybe just enough to know where they are in a couple of years, but a whole book’s worth? Meh.

Mmm... nah.

To clarify: this was a good story. I could read Walter all day. Tony tended to wear me out, but that’s just a ‘me’ thing and not a problem with the writing or with the story itself. The relationship development was good, the pacing was good, the editing was good, the secondary characters were engaging, and (for me) one of the MCs was dabombdotcom, so to speak.

Somewhere along the line some of the pieces failed to come together for me, but I am sure that’s purely personal and no reflection on the story. If you like endearingly (and flagrantly) flamboyant, out-and-proud characters with big hearts and massive reciprocated all-their-lives love affairs with beautiful, brainy, neurotic types then this book is for you.

This review cross-posted at Goodreads.
Other reviews by NeRdyWYRM can be read here.

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Stories from the Shore Series

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I am a life-long reader and an avid learner. I remember reading books without pictures when I was about four, and raided every title on my parents' full and intimidating book shelves—well, the ones they would let me read, anyway—from then on. Characters written by authors like Isaac Asimov, Carl Sagan, Robert Jordan, David Eddings, Terry Brooks, Anne Rice, Stephen King, Raymond E. Feist, Mercedes Lackey, Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman, and Anne McCaffrey were my childhood playmates. Back then, I went nowhere unless I had a book in my hand. While the rest of my generation was shifting from cassettes to CDs and from Atari to Nintendo, Sega, and Playstation, I spent my allowance on Myth & Magic pewter figurines and on books at the Stars and Stripes bookstore. These days I don't have a book in my hand anymore, at least not the printed variety. Instead, it's any device with a Kindle app. I stubbornly held on to the printed page until a military move weighed my book collection in at over a ton. Oops. Sorry-not-sorry, but I did have to exercise some pragmatism in that area, unfortunately. Now I only buy hardbacks from my favorite authors, the classics, or long-running series. Otherwise, I've surrendered to the times and our weight allowance and have gone all digital. I stay strictly on the fiction side of the fence because non-fiction is generally too dry to hold my interest. I was always a scholar, and so have read enough textbook-like titles and required reading for school and college to last me a lifetime, thank you very much. So, non-fiction? No, thanks. However, barring non-fiction and biographies (ewww people), there's not much out there I won't read. I have loved romance novels since I was prepubescent. Something about historicals and anything with horses, i.e., Native American inspired romances just did it for me. My grandmother was appalled that my parents let me read that 'smut' as she called it. I'd already justified my position on being allowed to read those controversial titles with a logical argument that there were a lot of historical facts in those books that couldn't be learned in the classroom alone. And to this day, I maintain that stance. I have learned more from books, specifically romance and fantasy novels, than I ever did in a classroom. ~~wink-wink~~ My dad always said I was too smart for my own good. Looking back, he was probably right! I could logically talk my way into and out of just about anything. It's served me well, but caused me no end of problems, too. That said, despite my love for the romance genre in general and the m/m romance genre in particular, there is little chance that a decent book of any kind will fail to catch my interest, and there's nothing at all I'm unwilling to learn. So bring it on. I hope you enjoy my reviews.