Thursday, February 11, 2021

Cardeno C. - He Completes Me

Not even his mother’s funeral can convince self-proclaimed party boy Zach Johnson to put aside his
flamboyant ways or even think about settling down. He is who he is, and no one can make him change. But when he meets Aaron Paulson, his brother's best friend, Zach has to step back and re-evaluate his perceptions of love and family.
Aaron insists he’s falling for Zach, but Zach is certain Aaron sees him as just another project—one more lost soul for the idealistic Aaron to save. Zach isn't broken; he doesn't need to be fixed. Aaron’s insistent, though, and Zach finds himself tempted. Zach wants to believe in happily-ever-after, but can he let go of his pride long enough to see Aaron's heart? 

Comment: Despite my words to that effect after how much I didn't like the first book in the Home series by this author, I probably had some sort of amnesia because I decided to give it a second try and went for the second book. It does bother me to have things "left hanging" but this time I'm determined to stay away from this author's work since it is obvious it won't bring me any enjoyment.

In this second book we have the story of Zach and Aaron. They meet the day Zach returns home to attend his mother's funeral. Zach has left town after his coming out because his mother and stepfather didn't welcome him anymore. His brother has been trying to reconnect but Zach decided to come only for the day and to meet his nephews and then he will turn his back forever. He didn't count on meeting Aaron in his brother's house and finding such a strong connection but things develop pretty quickly between them. Will Zach finally have the proof he is worthy of love? Can Aaron have someone who wants to be with him forever?

If there are doubts based on what I wrote, let me spoiler it for you: the HEA in this book is so sugary and cheesy, I don't know how someone doesn't get hyped right away. It was over the top silly and, to me, not in a good way. I know, I should have learned my lesson and I don' mean to be offensive and I'm glad the author has fans and readers who will like the books but the writing style simply does not appeal to me at all.

This story actually started quite well, I was liking Zach and how he felt hurt by how his family threw him out when he told them he was gay and I thought the story would have quite a angle, with him probably coming to terms while not giving up on being who he feels like being. I was even on board with the odd choice of clothes he wore for the funeral but he described it a sort of disguise, so I thought his flamboyant side wasn't as obvious as he meant to act, but things went down very fast as soon as he met Aaron.

Now this had to be the biggest cinnamon roll hero to have ever been invented, he was too cute, too forgiving, too sweet, too amazing, too helpful, too permissive, too perfect. I don't think we had any reading on his personality since he only did good things. I assume it works as a contrast to Zach, his physical and emotional opposite, but it just didn't ring true.

Now, it might seem as if I don't like Zach because he acts easy and as a "twink"-alike. I do admit I don't enjoy reading books about characters portrayed like this but the real reason why this doesn't work for me at all is because of the writing style. I need more depth and complexity to the characters and to the life they have or the issues they face. I just didn't feel that with this book (nor the other one) and the small elements which could have helped me to like something, were just so...badly used, I really can't say if there would be any redemption for me.

I won't even go to the plot situations I felt only proved these characters were not well fleshed, well planned, and  which only made me angry we're supposed to accept their actions as proof of love/commitment/feelings for the other guy. Especially Zach's actions at first, when Aaron tries to tell him he is developing feelings for him (after one meeting. One!)

Yes, it's just one opinion among many, but I'm actually pleased there are many readers who like these novels and it's good to try new stuff (or to give second chances) but this is, ultimately, not for me.

Grade: 2/10

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