Thursday, September 22, 2016

There's Something About Ari by L.B. Gregg

Buck Ellis’s future seems pretty damn bright. With a full college scholarship in hand, he’s going to ditch Bluewater Bay and pave the way for his kid brother Charlie to do the same. The only fly in Buck’s ointment is his ten-year addiction to his best friend since second grade, his true love, and his Achilles heel: Ari Valentine, Mr. Least Likely to Succeed.

But then Buck’s mother dies, changing everything, and five years later, his future is still on hold. It’s a struggle to keep food on the table, a roof over their heads, and Charlie on the straight and narrow. Buck can’t afford any temptation, especially in the form of the newly returned, super hot, super confident, super successful television star Ari Valentine.

ADHD poster-child Ari Valentine left for Hollywood and lost everything, including his bad reputation. Then the breakthrough role of his skyrocketing career lands him back in Bluewater Bay, to the stunned disbelief of, well, everyone. But there’s only one person Ari longs to impress—the only person who ever really mattered to him, the person he left behind: Buck Ellis.

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Book 2
Buy Links

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

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

What a great little story. I am partial to a novella and the author doesn't waste words or fill the story with unnecessary description or filler sex scenes.

A vivacious Ari befriends a very shy Buck when they are kids and they grow up side by side until the last year of high school when Ari takes off. We then catch up to Buck as an adult, as he is raising his teenage brother. Buck has been in love with Ari for a really long time and I was desperate for them to have a happily ever after. It was easy to love Buck. He is hard working, loyal, and reserved. Ari is very much Buck's opposite. He is outgoing, loveable, and is happy to be returning to his hometown to live next door to Buck.

I loved There's Something About Ari. When it finished, part of me was wishing the author would write more books about Ari and Buck, but another part of me thinks this story is great just the way it is and it should be left to stand on its own.

L.B. Gregg is a new-to-me author, and the rapid pacing of the storyline kept me engaged from the first page until the end. I'll definitely be on the lookout for more by this author.

There's Something About Ari is a novella in the Bluewater Bay series. Buck is the sole narrator, with the reader enjoying his take on Ari. Friends since the playground, Buck was the observant, low-energy introvert to Ari's adventure-seeking frenetic energy. The perfect balance. Things occurred that broke up the friendship, and this angsty backstory drove the storyline forward, as the reader was eager to learn the hows and whys.

I thoroughly enjoyed Buck, finding common ground with his reserved, responsible personality. The young man is raising his teenage brother, with all the major stresses of a single parent, added on top of the fear of CPS taking his brother away. Buck had to grow up too fast, making mistakes in the past he doesn't wish to visit upon his baby brother.

Ari is still as enigmatic as always, breezing back into town as if he never left, pushing Buck to break out of his comfort zone. While I loved Ari, was able to empathize with Buck, and felt them the perfect balance, I wasn't pleased with how Ari was painted as the victim to Buck's douchebaggery.

Neither was right nor wrong about the past, but I just got the vibe like Buck was to erase it all, including the way Ari came back into his life without building up to where he wanted them to be. Feelings were hurt, pain was felt, responsibilities were necessary.

There was a scene where Buck was made to look over-protective, and Ari was making it about himself, when Buck was fully in the right with his actions. Buck had to be the parent in that instance, not the friend. While he shouldn't vilify his brother, because mistakes are necessary to learn lessons, I loved the quote where he told the kid his responsibility was to his girlfriend, to protect her when he left her vulnerable to very bad things. So I was annoyed how Ari made that about him, when Buck was being a good parent, a good brother by setting an example, and a good citizen by taking care of that young woman.

It's true to life, though, how the actor made everything about him – I just felt for Buck in that moment.

Obviously I give mad props to the author for causing me to become emotionally invested in the narrator, something that happens far and few as of late. Buck was a stable, well-written characterization, and Ari was his opposite, also equally well-written and realistic.

My only complaint, even if I was thrilled with the rapid pacing, I just wish I had a tiny bit more. Maybe a chapter or two to tie it all together, as the conflict resolution was the ending, with no descent to bring the reader down from the high.

I definitely recommend this author and the series itself, and look forward to more of both.

When not working from her home in the rolling hills of northwestern Connecticut, best-selling author L.B. Gregg can be spotted in coffee shops from Berlin to Singapore to Panama—sipping lattes and writing sweet, hot, often funny stories about men who love men.

Connect with L.B.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of There's Something About Ari (Bluewater Bay #2) by L.B. Gregg to read and review.

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