Thursday, July 14, 2016

Selfie by Amy Lane

One year ago, actor Connor Montgomery lost the love of his life to a drunk driver. But what’s worse for Connor is what he still has: a lifetime of secrets born of hiding his relationship from the glare of Hollywood. Unable to let go of the world he and Vinnie shared, Connor films a drunken YouTube confession on the anniversary of Vinnie’s death.

Thankfully, the video was silent—a familiar state for Connor—so his secret is still safe. He needs a fresh start, and a new role on the hit TV show Wolf’s Landing might be just that.

The move to Bluewater Bay may also mean a second chance in the form of his studio-assigned assistant. Noah Dakers sees through Connor’s facades more quickly than Connor could imagine. Noah’s quiet strength and sarcastic companionship offers Connor a chance at love that Hollywood’s closet has never allowed. But to accept it, Connor must let Vinnie go and learn to live again.

Bluewater Bay stories can be read in any order — jump in wherever you'd like!

Add to Goodreads

Book 13
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Riptide  Publishing

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Our Wicked Reads Mistress read this book for another blog and was gutted by it, so when she posted it as an opportunity to review, I jumped at the chance. So I knew I was in for an emotional journey before I began Selfie.

I've read several of Amy Lane's books previously, finding her writing style fluid and easy to read, and Selfie was no different. Some books are a struggle from the start, to fall into the story, or work out who is who, but it's never a problem with this author. Just pick the book up and start reading, with no confusion to be had.

Truth be told, I've only read 2 books in this series, reading them as standalones. Their existence in the Bluewater Bay series is a smooth transition, with no confusion to be had. I'm sure the emotional impact may be greater if I knew who was who after reading the series from start to finish, but I believe it would only be a connection to past narrators. I feel no disconnect, nor am I worried it will spoil my reading experience when I finally get the time to start on book #1.

I'm going to be honest in my review, so my apologies. Obviously I loved Selfie, and you can read all the other reviews to find out why. It was an angst-fest of epic proportions. But I felt the need to express what didn't quite work for me, so as a reader, you can make an informed purchase.

I have no idea if it was my current mood, or what, but it took me over 4 days to complete Selfie, and I'm a speed-reader. I did find myself skimming large portions, simply because in the beginning, it was mostly inner monologue with all telling, no showing. I understood it was the setup for the novel, especially when one of the characters in the book has passed on. But the depth of the 'telling' bogged the story down from progressing forward. This affected the emotional impact – I expected to be a mess while reading. One of my favorite things is to feel gutted, and it only happened twice for me, both mildly.

Don't expect any wild or thrilling storylines, not that that's a bad thing. But I felt I better state this in case a reader was expecting something other than one man's emotional journey. Selfie is 100% character-driven, with the reader only truly getting to know Connor, and Vinnie because he resides in Connor's mind. So while I appreciated Connor's journey, watching his career evolution while watching him devolve emotionally before getting better, I couldn't buy the romance with Noah. As a reader, if I couldn't connect with Noah, because the story was so focused on Connor and his love and loss with Vinnie, then I couldn't imagine how Connor and Noah connected to one another.

Noah is perfect in every way – understanding, firm yet sweet. I would have loved to get to know him as a character, other than as someone who supported Connor. He was never developed into a person who had any hopes and dreams. His entire existence was to be Connor's shadow.

Selfie was about love and loss, and moving on. But even to the last page, Connor was still telling Vinnie's story, with Noah's help. In a way, I knew flawed Vinnie more than I knew the narrator. This wasn't Connor & Noah's romance, while letting go of the past. It was Vinnie's story from page one until the end, with Connor narrating and Noah lending Connor the strength to tell the story. Which means both Connor and Noah got shortchanged.

I'm not saying this is a bad thing. I'm simply expressing how, while Selfie was about Vinnie's loss, it was also supposed to be about a new love springing up with Noah, but there wasn't enough connection between our live characters to forge this love affair.

I give mad props to Ms. Lane. No doubt most readers were devastated while reading, and that is due to the fact that the author felt the story as it was written. So whatever you felt, multiply that by a thousand for Amy Lane. I enjoyed the book, Ms. Lane, and I'm happy you finished it in one piece emotionally – I know the toll it takes.

Now I have to get this off my chest. I'm not trying to be a douche – it's a catharsis. 'Oh' was used almost 400 times, I believe, with 'Oh God' nearly 70. Normally I don't notice such a thing, but it was 70 errors of 'Oh God', and it drove me to distraction. 'Oh (comma) God'. Habitual, along with not always using that comma with names during dialogue. My editor brain engaged, and that jarred me from the story.

Lastly, if you 'are' someone, or 'know' someone who is depressed with suicidal thoughts, get them professional help. While it's great in fiction, in reality, you can't love or BDSM depression away. The circuitry in the brain has been rewired, and it requires professional help to resolve the issue. There is grief in its natural state, and then there is Connor, and there is a huge difference.

Connor's story is so moving. The love of his life and partner of 10 years, Vinnie, died a year before our story commences. We learn about Vinnie through Connor and his memories and through the memories of others. Connor is still deep in his grief and unable to share it with anyone but his agent, because he and Vinnie were firmly in the closet.

The opportunity to work on Wolf's Landing has Connor meeting Noah, his new driver, which gives him a chance to start living life again. Their budding friendship is hampered by Connor's grief, but Noah is nothing like Vinnie. He is infinitely patient and strong, exactly what Connor needs.

As Connor struggles to move on with his life, starting a new job and friendship, trying to decide if he should come out of the closet, he is regularly having conversations with Vinnie. Things are not right for Connor and it tore my heart apart. I cried so hard, big loud wailing sounds spewing from my mouth until I had trouble catching my breath. My advice is read this somewhere private with lots and lots of tissues.

Selfie is amazing and gets 5 hugely emotional, big ugly cry stars from me.

Amy Lane has two kids in college and two in soccer, and an indulgent spouse. Together they exist happily in a crumbling suburban crapmansion, and equally happily with the surprisingly demanding voices who live in her head.

She loves cats, movies, yarn, pretty colors, pretty men, shiny things, and Twu Wuv, and despises housecleaning, low-fat granola bars, and vainglorious prickweenies.

She can be found at her computer, dodging housework, or simultaneously reading, watching television, and knitting, because she likes to freak people out by proving it can be done.

Oh! And she’s been nominated for a couple of awards. She’s even won some. Swear.

Connect with Amy

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Selfie (Bluewater Bay #13) by Amy Lane to read and review.

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