Review: Shifting Gears, by Riley Hart

Blurb:

cover-riileyhart-shiftinggearsRod Nelson is used to being someone’s good time, and that’s fine with him. Spending his days at his adult toy store, Rods-N-Ends, he never knows who he’ll meet. The second Landon Harrison walks in, he has Rod’s full attention. It seems as if Landon wants him too, so why won’t the man jump in the sack with him already?

Landon never thought he’d return home to the town where memories lurk around every corner. He has to admit, Rod makes the adjustment a lot easier. He keeps Landon laughing. Despite the fierce attraction between them, he’s not willing to risk his newfound friendship to get laid.

Neither man wants something serious, but the more they’re together, the harder it is to keep their hands to themselves, until eventually they stop trying.

But flings between friends are never simple, and as they attempt to shift gears, diving into their first relationship, they’re slammed with setbacks. If they want to truly move forward, before they hit the open road together, they’re going to have to let go of a past that could make them crash and burn.


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Edition read:
February 8, 2016
Riley Hart

Contemporary, M/M, GLBT+
320 e-book pages
3rd person
Crossroads, book 2
February 12-13, 2016
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:

Ooooh, I’m in the minority on this one that’s got all kinds of high ratings.

It’s getting a ‘this was okay’ two stars from me.

I liked the characters and most of the story perfectly fine. Unfortunately, I felt like it was all a little underbaked. I know Riley Hart is capable of great stories and nuanced characters, I’ve read them–in other books.

My biggest problem was repetition.

Repetition of both of these guys being too introspective of their shitty childhoods, hashing over and over how they didn’t want a serious relationship because of old wounds, Landon’s mother continually bringing up all the daddy drama instead of just being excited her son has moved home.

Going over this ground more than once is…fine sometimes. If–if–we get something new out of it, and the characters gain some additional self-awareness. But, they didn’t. So, in this case, it just felt like filler.

Also, the word crazy is used forty-five times about Rod’s actions and the things he says. And look, it’s a throw-away term, I get it. I’ve said it as a throw-away. Who hasn’t? It’s a term people use to call out over-the-top behavior or something that might be outside our own experience to state when a thing is shocking. It’s generally not meant to be hurtful or literal pertaining to a person’s mental state and usually, we don’t take offense. However, the repetition of it, for me at least, became pretty damn offensive.

Rod is a wide-open kind of guy, he says what he thinks, likes to poke fun and tease, he’s very sexual, talks about sex a lot, owns a sex-toy shop, etc. He takes a bit of perverted glee in shocking people. He’s a guy who has to be the superficial funny-man to deflect from people from really getting to know him. But what he is not, is crazy.

And honestly, I didn’t think Rod was over-the-top or shocking at all. Just a guy, mostly comfortable in his skin, making his way in the world

For me, the word was overused to the point it became problematic in a way that went beyond repetitiveness and to the point that if I’d been Rod hearing that so often, I would have wondered what Landon really thought about me and wondered if I needed to tone myself down. And that’s a big red flag in my book. We might be too much for a person–but that just usually means they’re the wrong person.

Other little niggles included a Big Misunderstanding and False Assumptions that felt a bit too manufactured and unnatural. I’m at the point these situations make me roll my eyes. Hard.

This is the second book in the series. I liked book one enough to rate it four stars. I had some minor problems with it but overall found it entertaining. There’s one piddly little issue I had in that book that’s carried over to this one. The setting. It’s in Virginia, which I think is all kinds of awesome. But WHERE? I need the name of a town, even a fictional one naming a real place or body of water nearby, to give me some idea of the landscape. This state, y’all, it’s gorgeous and has everything from the beach to mountains, farmland to large metropolitan cities. I know this point is me being a whiny, picky bitch that likely wouldn’t bother anyone else so I’ll hush now.

There’s potential setup for another book in the series. But I’m at a crossroads as to whether or not I’ll be reading it.

This review also posted on GoodReads.

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