Out (NeRdyWYRM’s Review)

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Title: Out
Author: Cara Dee
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: October 19, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 300 pages
Reviewed by: NeRdyWYRM
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5


“I guess I always figured coming out was something you did for friends and family, and maybe it is, but it’s personal too, you know? The person I was last night is new. I wanna get to know him.”

I had two things on my list when I arrived in Los Angeles. One, track down Henry Bennington, the uncle and guardian of my little brother’s best friend, and tell him to get his ass back to Washington. He needed to do something about his nephew, who was turning into a douchebag. And two, figure out just how non-straight I was. For the past two years, I’d had all these fantasies, and now was the time to explore them, far away from my sleepy little town.

Nowhere on this list did it say, “Get Ty’s uncle into bed and fall for him.” I wasn’t supposed to fall in love with another city either. But between brunch, making new friends, and discovering the man I was meant to be, I lost sight of the future that had once seemed pretty damn vivid. How the hell was I supposed to merge my old life and who I used to be with the new dreams Los Angeles and Henry had awakened in me?

Yeah. It was O-kay.

This title wasn’t for me. I’ve been a fan of Cara Dee since reading Aftermath and maybe I’m forever biased because of it, but this book didn’t have nearly the same impact on me as that one did. It’s probably unfair to compare the two, but being that it’s the same author, how can I not? I wasn’t as interested, I wasn’t as moved, I wasn’t as invested, and I wasn’t as pleased with Out as I have been with some of Dee’s other works. Again, that might be unfair because Aftermath, in particular, ticked all of my boxes. What I will say is: If you enjoyed some of her other works as much as I did, you might be disappointed with this one.

There was nothing technically wrong with this title. The plot was … ho hum, but that’s a preference issue on my end. Age gaps tend to make the older MC parental and that squicks me out so … yeah. I’m thinking discretion is the better part of valor at this point. I don’t want to unfairly poison an audience of readers who may find this book as delightful as I found it banal. The editing was on point, as usual, there weren’t any rabies-inducing themes to aggravate or infuriate, the heat factor was okay if you liked the dynamic between the couple, and I believed the relationship development for the most part (more on that in a bit).

I really liked Henry. I liked him very much. I thought his history with a certain person was … emotionally abusive in many ways and that person’s continued interference in his life was infuriating to me. I despise the “cake and eat it too” mentality though so that’s not an objective observation on my part. I was happy that Zach gave him a safe place to land even if Henry was a paternal idiot about it. I also enjoyed the ‘coming out’ and journey of self-discovery aspect of this story.

That’s a theme that appeals to me on a lot of levels, not because I can personally relate to ‘coming out’, but because I think anyone who wants to go the same route (or a similar one) to what Zach took in this story, should be able to—as safely as possible—have that experience. I understand that real life doesn’t often allow for safety in certain situations; I’m not deluded! There are, after all, a lot of assholes out there, but in a perfect world, Zach’s experience in this title is pretty close to ideal. I liked that about it.

That said, it wouldn’t be a good romance without a certain element of fairytale unreality to it. I mean, who meets their better half the very first time they explore their sexuality with someone who fits their true desires? It’s not all that common with heteronormative people so I can’t imagine it’s common for anyone else either. As such, suspending disbelief is necessary if you want to buy into the relationship development considering it’s a contemporary romance and the real world just isn’t that … easy. I chalked this one up to being well-written enough to make it temporarily believable and enjoyable for a reader, but ultimately unlikely that the same scenario would work out in real life. There are exceptions to every rule, but those are my general feelings.

If you’re a fan of Cara Dee, this book is worth reading. Just don’t be surprised if it doesn’t live up to expectations you may have based on her other works. Then again, this title might be the one of hers (like Aftermath is for me) that ticks all your boxes. I’ll leave it to you to decide.

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

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Out Series

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Galley copy of Out provided by Cara Dee in exchange of an honest review.


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.