Reviewed by Morgan
Title: Not a Game
Author: Cardeno C.
Heroes: Oliver Barnaby/Jaime Snow
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 55,872 words
Publisher: The Romance Authors
Release Date: July 15, 2015
Available at: Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: An accidental meeting and a misunderstanding lead to a life-altering connection.
A new job, a new city, and hopefully a new life. When chubby gamer Oliver Barnaby receives a job offer from the best boutique game developer in the country, he leaves his family and his less than spectacular existence in Oklahoma without a second’s hesitation. Determined to change more than his career and his geography, Oliver implements a plan to finally land a boyfriend. Step one is improving his skills in the bedroom.
A life that looks perfect on paper, but feels empty in reality. Attractive, successful, charismatic Jaime Snow has a life other people envy. His already booming business is growing. He isn’t lacking in friends. And he has no trouble finding a date. But there’s an emptiness in Jaime’s heart and a hole in his life that only the right man can fill.
An accidental meeting, a misunderstanding, and falling in love. When Oliver and Jaime end up at the same bar at the same time, they each see something they want in the other. Going to bed together that first night is easy. Building the lifetime relationship they both desperately crave will require trust, time, and a little misunderstanding.
Review: It’s a case of mistaken identity at first. Oliver, an overweight game designer, has moved to Seattle and has decided to do a make-over with his life. He wants to be more social and find a boyfriend and enjoy himself more. He hires an escort to teach him how to be a better lover since he was told by an ex that he lacked skill. When Jaime, a very attractive older man, comes over and notices the book he’d brought in to signal the escort, Oliver assumes Jaime is the escort.
Jaime is no escort. He’s just a man who’s finally realized his passion leans toward bigger men and he’s finally embracing it. Oliver pushes all his buttons, especially once he hears Oliver’s story.
At first it seemed like a win-win situation, Oliver would get the “lessons he yearned for” and Jaime would get to indulge in his fantasy man. But … things get complicated.
I. LOVED. This. All of it. Every bit of it.
I was worried this was going to be a “makeover” story. In Oliver’s mind, it’s going to be. He wants to be the man other men yearn for and to him that means a certain body type. One earned with a lot more gym time than he’s really wanting to spend.
But NO! Not at all. Jaime is a perfectly self-aware older man who has come to realize that his personal preference is for the natural, non-man-scaped, bigger body type. It’s wonderful!
The other part I adored was the fact that there is normal, grown-up conversations between these two. There is logical misunderstandings and misgivings – to be sure – but when they are confronted, there is logical, fairly rational and calm discussion. Yes – there is a fair amount of hand-wringing beforehand, but afterward there’s no prolonged agony.
It was delightful!
I love Cardeno’s emotional stories and the writing is excellent as always. I couldn’t put this down and in fact started reading it again as soon as I’d finished.
I can’t wait for this to be in audio for the same reason!
I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a sweet, somewhat unique, low-angst romance. It’s funny, terribly sweet and somewhat thought provoking.
6 of 5 stars
Overall Impression: It was amazing!
*I received a copy of this book from the author in return for a fair and honest review.*