Monday, January 14, 2019

Rough Terrain by Annabeth Albert

The camping trip from hell may be the first stop on the road to happily-ever-after in Rough Terrain, the final book in Annabeth Albert’s critically acclaimed, fan-favorite Out of Uniform series.

Navy SEAL Renzo Bianchi has a soft spot for Canaan Finley, and not only because the man makes a mean smoothie. He’s the first guy to get Renzo’s motor revving in a long time. But when he agrees to Canaan’s insane charade—one all-access fake boyfriend, coming right up—he never expects more than a fling.

Creating a hot Italian SEAL boyfriend to save face seemed like a good idea… until his friends called Canaan’s bluff. Now he’s setting off into the woods with the very man who inspired his deception, and Canaan is not the outdoorsy type. The sparks are already flying when a flash flood separates them from their group, leaving Renzo and Canaan very much trapped… very much alone in the wilderness.

Working together to come up with a plan for survival is sexier than either of them expects. But back in the real world, being a couple is bringing its own set of hazards…

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Book 7
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Avid Reader☆☆☆☆
M/M Military Romance

Canaan is working hard to earn his degree in nursing. He was able to live the life of a traveling drummer for a while, but when his grandpa gets sick, Canaan knows that his priorities need to change. While attending his classes, Canaan also has a hobby of staring at the local SEALs that come in to buy protein smoothies. Despite his overactive imagination and fantasies, Canaan doesn't really think that he'll have a chance with anyone. I really enjoyed Canaan's character. He was thoughtful, sweet, flirty, and when it mattered, very honest and serious.

Renzo is a tough SEAL, but underneath it all, he is also just a son who is trying his hardest to please his family. Despite loving his job, Renzo lives with this constant guilt. While I liked his character enough, I did think that he was a little too whiny and insecure. Yes, he had some issues with his family expecting a lot from him, but he also never really talked about it either.

Renzo and Canaan have great chemistry. They are fun and sexy together. When push comes to shove, both Renzo and Canaan will have to decide if what they are starting is worth the fight or if they had their fun and now they can each get back to their own lives. I enjoyed this story a lot and think that it fit well with the previous books in this series.

This is the last book in the series and it was different than the rest. This book was a little more light, fluffy, and sweet. Canaan and Renzo worked well together even though I thought their first date was more like something teenagers would do than grown men. It wasn't my favorite book in the series, but it also wasn't my least. It was a good ending to a good series. I wish we would have seen more characters from previous books since this was the last book, but oh well.

In Rough Terrain, author Annabeth Albert has given us another strong m/m romance with a hot Navy SEAL. I loved the relationship between Navy SEAL Renzo and nursing student/drummer/shop assistant Canaan. Here is Renzo, this totally buff, hot guy you’d expect to be confident with dating and sex, but he had some heavy insecurities and they really were kind of sweet. It is Canaan who had the confidence to flirt and lead in that department. Even thinking about them now makes me smile. I also loved that both men are close with and love their families and that their careers were important to them. Despite the fact that Canaan was once a member of a semi-famous band and Renzo is an elite member of the armed forces, I felt like these were just two everyday guys and I really did love them.

I highly recommend Rough Terrain. It is book #7 in the Out of Uniform series but could easily be read as a standalone.

This is the story of the SEAL who falls for the cute guy at his local smoothie shop. Renzo and Canaan are an unlikely match on almost every level, but I love how they work together.

A few books ago, I was worried that this series was becoming a little bit formulaic and predictable. Thankfully, the last couple have been fresh and this story feels really original.

As a rock drummer turned nursing student, Canaan is a more complicated character than we first realise. Like Renzo and Canaan’s ex-boyfriend, I was initially wary of Canaan’s slightly obsessive interest in SEALs in general – and it took a while before I was convinced Canaan saw Renzo before he saw the SEAL. I love Canaan’s relationship with his grandfather, it's wonderful and I was plotting my own revenge scenarios for his ex from the moment he opened his mouth.

I really like it when the author adds action scenes into these books and I love that the hiking trip at the start of this one completely took me by surprise. Unfortunately, while I really liked the hiking adventure, the hiking trip probably established Renzo and Canaan as a couple too early and the men spend a little bit too much of the rest of the book in relationship limbo. I didn’t enjoy the time spent with Renzo and Canaan running around in circles, scared to commit to each other or plan for their future. Another consequence of coupling too early is that the romantic tension fades too quickly and much of the end feels like hard work as they hammer out practical solutions for a life together.

I enjoyed the characters in this story and I really like Renzo and Canaan together. I love that this feels like a fresh and original addition to the series. I just wish the structure and pacing had allowed the chemistry between these two to build for a bit longer.

This is the seventh book in the series, and definitely has links to previous books, but you could definitely enjoy it as a standalone too. Series readers will remember Canaan for sure, and will see the change as a clear indication of his change in interest levels now he has met Renzo.

This is a really enjoyable story, as in addition to the obvious attraction of sexy SEAL Renzo, we also get ex-drummer of successful band Canaan, who left it behind to care for his sick grandpa. After a slow start, and a strange mix of attraction, but caution, the two men agree to play boyfriends for a band reunion. When they all go on a trip into the wilds, little did they expect the drama that ensued. It certainly puts their feelings front and centre, but still doesn't make a future simple.

I love the pacing of this book, as we go from family, to adventure, to slow thoughtful resolutions, and some very fun and sexy private times. A really good addition to the series, thank you, Annabeth Albert.

Also Available in the Out of Uniform Series
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Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter.  In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two toddlers.

Represented by Saritza Hernandez of the Corvisiero Literary Agency

Connect with Annabeth

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Annabeth's Angels Facebook Fan Group

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Rough Terrain (Out of Uniform #7) by Annabeth Albert to read and review.

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