Tuesday Book Review: Letting Go by M.J. O’Shea

Today I’m reviewing Letting Go, the second in M.J. O’Shea’s Rock Bay series. Ah, books about small towns. This is another one. If small towns were ever as kitschy and awesome as the ones I read about I wouldn’t live in a (small-ish) city. The book wasn’t bad. At 206 pages it wasn’t very long, and I was distinctly left wanting more story. The warnings for this one include homophobia and disappointed parents, not to mention asshole exes—friends and boyfriends.

Let’s take a look at the blurb.

LettingGo

Rock Bay: Book Two

Drew McAuliffe has lived in the small town of Rock Bay most of his adult life. He’d like to be happy, but not at the cost of having his private life under his nosy neighbors’ microscope, so he keeps his bisexuality under wraps.

After a messy breakup that caused him to pack up and move to Astoria, on the Oregon coast, Mason Anderson decides to avoid drama of the romantic kind. All he wants is to start over-alone.

But Drew and Mason were meant to meet. The long looks and awkward half hellos chance offered were never going to be enough. But when they do finally come together on the worst night possible, misconceptions and problems from their pasts get in the way. Until Mason learns to trust again-and until Drew learns to let go of who he thinks he is-a real connection is nothing but a pipe dream.

The Good:

Drew and Mason, our main characters, are well rounded and well-drawn. I think we have a really good idea of who Drew is, or at least who Drew would like to be, because he was a major player in the first Rock Bay book where Lex and Tally got together. Drew comes from money and is part of the trend setters and shit slingers in his small town, but he’d much rather live his own life. Mason moves to town to work at the nearby hospital. He’s young, a nurse, and comes with a mountain of baggage from his mentally abusive ex-boyfriend Todd. (I think Todd is one of those names…kind of like Nick. I expect a Todd to be a bad guy. That’s not really fair though. My apologies to any really awesome Nicks and Todds out there.) I actually feel like Drew and Mason are real guys I could run into on the street.

I liked the buildup for these two a lot. There was instant attraction, but they didn’t fall into bed. Instead they had deliciously awful awkwardness with each other. In fact, I think this book has, hands down, the worst first date I’ve ever read. It was so awkward I almost flipped past it instead of reading it. Their initial problems made it so much more wonderful when they finally got together. The phone flirting that goes on is beyond cute.

The Okay:

The sex in this book was slow coming, but that was okay. I like that there was no insta-love and that the guys took the time to develop trust between them. The sex was slow, sweet, and a bit vanilla. We get to see the first time Drew gets laid by a guy, and that’s always lots of fun. He’s not a virgin in his 30’s, but he’s not exactly well travelled either. He’s also super attracted to Mason, which makes the sex really enjoyable to read.

It was pretty convenient that Mason just happened to be friends with Amy, Lex’s best friend, which meant that Mason and Drew were by default part of the same friend group. Not that this isn’t a pretty typical romantic scenario, but it had a bit of deus ex machina in it. These two were going to get together eventually, or else, so sayeth fate. Now, sometimes this type of thing can be overdone to the point where you want to gag from it, but that wasn’t the case here.

The Meh:

At the beginning of Letting Go, almost up to the middle of the book there are a LOT of break down scenes that rehash and almost paraphrase because they are the exact same scenes from the last book. We’re now getting them from Drew’s perspective. I’m not sure how this could have been done better, but the way it is it really drags down the book. If I hadn’t just read the first book before I started on this one it would have probably been confusing as well. I don’t think most people remember books that well a good while after reading them. Maybe I’m wrong and that’s just me though.

There are so many unfinished things in this book. We don’t know what happens with Drew’s business or his parents. We don’t know if Mason ever gets the help he seems to need to get over all the crap Todd did to him, or if he gets out from under Todd’s thumb in his career. We don’t know if Drew and Mason are going to have their happily ever after, though they do get a happy for now.

We’re just left hanging with so many things. I’ve already started the next book in the series, and I’m hopeful that we’re actually going to get some of Mason and Drew’s story resolved there, since Drew’s story actually started in the first book. I’m halfway through Finding Shelter and I’m not entirely hopeful it will happen, and since Finding Shelter was published in 2013 who knows if there will be another book where it could happen? This entire series is very intertwined. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing in and of itself.

To wrap things up, I would say overall I enjoyed this book, but I wanted a lot more than I got from it. If you’ve invested in the first one and you’re a series devourer like I am it might be good to get Letting Go because it is cute, and that will allow you to get the next one which is shaping up to be a fantastic read. (I won’t say anymore about Finding Shelter, Book 3 in the Rockbay Series, because I’m only about half way through it.) There’s something to be said for wanting more from a story. I was eager to buy the third book.


Check out my book The Shape of Honey. M/M Werewolf Romance! Pre-order with Dreamspinner Press.

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