Title: In Over Our Heads (Stories from the Shore #2)
Author: CJane Elliott
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
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.
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.
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.
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.
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