📚Review: True Brit, by Con Riley

Blurb:

cover-conriley-truebritWinning the United Kingdom’s favorite singing contest is a challenge for half-Afghani Pasha Trueman. He doesn’t have the best voice, but success would be life-changing. His strategy is simple—he’ll make the British public love him.

Ex-soldier Ed Britten has a different agenda. Winning means he’ll keep a promise made after a deadly Afghan ambush. His voice is his weapon, but he leaves his heart unguarded.

Ed and Pasha’s discovery that the contest isn’t a fair fight calls for creative tactics. Staging a fake love story could bring victory, only there’s more at stake than the prestigious first prize. If winning means surrendering each other, they could both end up losing.


Stats:

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Dates read:
Edition read:
February 18, 2015
Figment Ink Ltd
Contemporary, M/M, GLBT+
200 e-book pages
3rd person
Stand-Alone
December 20-22, 2015
Kindle Edition
See the book on GoodReads.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Ratings are 1 to 5 stars and based mostly on GoodReads standards.
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Review:

#TrueBrit #TrueLove #LoveIsLove #4Ever

Wow.

This was phenomenal.

And so much more than I expected.

I started this like three nights ago. Late. And I could only read a few pages before sleep claimed me.

Then, the same thing happened the next night.

So it took until the third day for me to fully immerse myself in this story. For those first two days and very few chapters, I was kinda confused, and things seemed weird and a little wonky and I wasn’t sure what I’d gotten myself into with this book. But, I was tired, and I had lots of other stuff rattling around my brain.

It certainly could have been me. But I’ve seen other reviews say the same thing about the first nearly 20% or so.

I’ll just say that there’s a chance the first part of the book might not be a smooth ride that keeps the eyes riveted to the page.

BUT, something happens…and I can’t pinpoint when or what it is exactly. There’s something that pops or clicks or slides into place. And then…

WOW.

Everything, and I mean everything, about this opened up and became one of the most beautiful stories I’ve ever read so that on the third night I couldn’t stop reading until I reached the end.

These characters, man, I could feel them. And the writing—it’s the kind I love with the imagery and fluid prose that manages in its gorgeousness to completely pull me into the story. The arcs and twists in the plot were utter perfection, and I had no idea, at any point, where we were going on this ride…but I enjoyed every part of the journey.

The attraction between these two and their relationship started on nothing but falsehoods for media attention. What regular person can relate to that? It’s totally out of my wheelhouse, and I wasn’t certain how that was supposed to grip me. But then…then it became this thing. More. Relatable. This beautiful thing where I was live tweeting #TrueBrit because it felt necessary that I support them too. These fictional characters.

Really?

Well, yeah.

I’ll slot in a little personal confession here: I haven’t watched television since December of 2012—no more than a few minutes of news here and there or a scene or two of something when I pass through the den. For years, I was a TV addict, a dependent of my DVR, and hooked on about 12 dramas, at least as many sitcoms, and one or three reality shows including American Idol. A thing happened in my life that made me turn it off completely; I even canceled my cable contract for a time. I’ve never gone back to TV because now I live in books. I sort of miss Meredith Grey, Sheldon Cooper, Jethro Gibbs, Sam Hanna, and countless others who I welcomed into my living room every week for years. During my American Idol obsession, I took notes. Really. I took notes on performances. I voted a few times when I felt an underdog needed me.

I don’t miss television. At all. Except that I’ve realized I’m very out of the loop on pop-culture references and newer slang often eludes me. But then I have Urban Dictionary, Twitter, books, and people who lovingly call me a dork under their breath. It sometimes makes me feel old when, in my skin and bones, I feel like I’m still in my twenties…but for the lack of a pop-culture cool factor.

But whatever. Fuck it. I’ll do me, and you do you.

Back to this book. Because this book, with its gorgeous and deceiving cover, is not what I expected. It is acceptance, letting go of painful things, fighting for the one you love, family, and belonging. And it’s crafted lovingly and eloquently. It turns, what I thought would be the heart of the story, a competition and the quest for fame and fortune, on its ear to illustrate what is really important—that love heals, that love prevails, that family is everything and can be found anywhere. You don’t have to have ALL THE THINGS to be lovable or be loved, or to be relevant—even if to only one person.

There’s humor, tucked in here and there. Places that made me smile. Also, places that made my heart hurt.

There are introspections and fears and realizations that get to the root of so many things we all feel…if we have a soul…and soften those sharp edges.

I’m now quite a bit in love with an adorable, energetic, shrewd sort-of-pain-in-the-ass Afghani guy with bad eyes, silky hair, and a cutting wit. I’m also in love with a kind and quiet soldier who’s good at dirty talk and whose duty to country, friends, family, the son and wife of his best friend, honesty and sense of rightness is noble and just. Together they are a couple I believe will live happily forever in an English seaside town surrounded by lush gardens, seagulls overhead, and the love of family and friends.

Oh yeah! Let’s talk about the sex for just a minute before I go. The sex scenes were magnificent. Here sort of lately in the books I’ve been reading the sex has mostly been nuclear and scorching–but I’ve been thinking, too, that there’s maybe only so many ways to write the sex. This author did some great things here and added in some extra…something. A pinch of flirtation? A little dash of humor? An extra twist of intimacy? I don’t know. They were fresh, fun, sweet and on fucking fire.

I wholeheartedly recommend this.

This review also posted on GoodReads and (partially) on Amazon.

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