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Review: Crossed Hearts by J.R. Gray Leave a comment


Rating: 3 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

 

Adam has lived in the small town of Arrowood for most of his life. He owns the local bar and knows everyone in town, as well as their secrets. However, Adam keeps himself closed off. Adam has his best friend, Cody, and Adam just goes about his life, never letting anyone get close and never divulging too much about himself because that would make him remember things he would rather he didn’t.

It’s been eight years since Adam has seen Sage, who is Cody’s brother. But time has not dimmed Adam’s memory of the kiss they shared. Sage is now back in town and he’s on a mission to break Adam down. Adam wants nothing more than to finally give in to his desires and give into Sage, but that would mean letting Sage in and letting Sage know his secrets and Adam knows he definitely not ready for that.

Crossed Hearts follows Secret Daddy, which was the first book in the Arrowood series. Gray has also released Lost Love, which was part of the Winter Wonderland giveaway and is now available to purchase. Mostly, this book would stand alone, but the characters from the previous books are present in the story here and references are made to prior events.

I can’t seem to find a footing with this series and especially this book. I have liked other books by the author, but this book felt chaotic to me and I can’t say that I like any of the characters or felt that I really knew them, even by the end of the book.

Adam is a bit of a mystery, even to his friends and family. He doesn’t date and there is some small-town gossip about him relating to his lack of dating. No one has ever asked him about anything and either he hides past trauma so well or no one really cares enough to have a real conversation with him. He owns the local bar, which he uses to hide behind, and still dreams of Sage, with whom he had a brief encounter with eight years ago. Sage is the younger brother of Adam’s best friend, Cody, and even Cody has no idea about anything relating to Adam and Sage.

Sage is persistent and approaching the edge of over the top when we first meet him. Adam is equally elated and horrified to see Sage, as Adam still wants Sage, but getting close would mean opening himself up. Adam is hostile to Sage at times and kissing him at other times and it takes a long time to get to any further information on him. There is something to be said about not giving everything away upfront, but there is also taking too long to get to know the characters that they lack any intrigue.

There are family issues on both sides with Sage and Cody having adventurous or possibly selfish parents, which is what led Sage to Arrowood to begin with, and then a lot of it gets brushed aside at the end. Adam’s parents then stage an intervention about his dating and these dynamics are not for me. While it may suit other readers, it does not speak to my taste in reading or in characters. The dialogue also wandered at times, and when in a back and forth conversation, it was not always clear who was speaking and the characters’ voices overlapped too much for me. The trauma Adam went through has taken over every aspect of his life and him opening up and seeking help didn’t balance the hold the events had over him. While this book lacked that quality to hold my interest, it may suit other readers better.

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