1) I thoroughly enjoyed Tumbled and the book held my attention from start to finish. Audens character development and dilemma throughout the book felt real and I was very happy with the resolution. A very well written and researched read.
2) I'm not into sports romances or open-ended romances. This one ticked off both boxes, plus added a love triangle that gives us a lot to work with but not much to show in the end. Despite that, however, this is a well crafted story with realistic characters, even though the setting is supposed to be the near-future but reads like contemporary. This is about youths trying to find their place in the world, and how to fit their personal and professional lives together. Wanting to be free from expectations and demands is a struggle every young person can identify with and relate to. But wishing to excel at what you're great at and to follow your dreams is also a struggle, just different kind. I liked this story but wasn't wow'd by it.
3) There's little time wasted. The story is short and sweet and the plot develops at a good clip without sacrificing the good, meaty parts of a story. And speaking of which, this story *feels* like a story. One of the criteria I use is "if sex were removed, would there still be a plot?" The answer is a most astounding yes, and the plot itself is excellent. I have to applaud the author for the good use of pace, the right use of tension, and even though we expect the protagonist to win at the end, it's still very satisfying to read. Not a lot of cruft or excess. There isn't much to the external setting, but venue development when required is very good. The gym itself, the bar and the surrounding areas are scaffolded enough to let a reader imagine what they see, but specific enough to allow for some unique flavor. The little details are what help. These also don't take away from the focus of the story, which are the characters more than the setting. The characters feel different from one another. It doesn't feel like voices are "shared" between them as in some stories. Everyone is unique and this author has a knack for bringing characters to life. Each one had their own hopes, dreams, fears, and mannerisms and felt very real and human, most of all. Clear, concise, enjoyable. Easy to read. Straightforward. Enough to sate the reader's need to consume without robbing the reader of the ability to imagine for themselves. Excellent. Strong Recommendation for Consideration. This is the first time in reading the slush for the awards that I have been so enthusiastic about a story. I believe this is one of the best I've read so far and am glad I was able to judge this gem. Thank you!
Tumbled (Olympic Passions #2) by E.E. Grey
Gay Contemporary Romance
Series: Olympic Passions
Paperback: 166 pages
Publisher: Fantastic Fiction Publishing (March 18, 2016)
Amazon: Tumbled (Olympic Passions #2)
Amazon Kindle: Tumbled (Olympic Passions #2)
A chance at the Olympics has been everything Auden has always wanted, but now that it’s within his grasp, he finds himself slipping further away. Does he really want to be an Olympic gymnast when there’s so much more to life? To make things worse, he has a major crush on both his friends-with-benefits teammate, Trayce, and a free-spirited musician named Shane. With the Olympic trials looming on the horizon, Auden has to decide what he really wants and how much he’s willing to give up to get it.
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