Author: RJ Scott
Length: 292 Pages
At a Glance: In the end, Moments became a half-finished novel for me with too many subtexts running concurrently that never resolved.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: An actor on possession charges, hell bent on destroying his own life meets a man who quietly works to make the world a better place.
Jacob Riley is a typical Hollywood former child star with issues. He has already done prison time and at the age of twenty-six has been arrested again.
Ethan Myers is the owner and manager of Macs, an education center providing teaching and learning to local low income families. Losing his partner to cancer leaves him lost and alone and he buries himself in his work to start to mend his broken heart.
Sparks fly when Jacob has to complete his community service at Macs. Their relationship grows against a background of disenfranchised street gang members, arson, the Oscars, and despite their prejudices.
Can Jacob Riley be saved?
Review: Jacob is a spoiled, angry B-movie actor who has used drugs, sex and his scathing temper tantrums to get his way for far too long. Now, with a second possible jail sentence hanging over his head, and four months of community service needed to commute that sentence, he is sent to the Macs Education Center to both get it together and make a change or land back in prison.
Ethan Myers was never meant to be the lone driving force behind the education center he and his former partner built. Now widowed, he is left to run a crumbling edifice with bare minimum funding and a mountain of worries. The last thing he needs is a problem like Jacob, but the man comes with a great deal of money—enough to do the needed repairs to keep Macs open. So, Ethan welcomes the spoiled rich boy in and his life changes forever.
This was a tough novel to review, mainly because there were some very nice moments in the book coupled with real confusing plot choices. Jacob (after a huge moment of self-revelation) was such an incredibly sweet guy—one who desperately wanted to make amends for the relative jackass he had been most of his late teen and adult years. He became a man in this novel, leaving behind the weak willed and petulant child who blamed anyone but himself for everything from his addictions to the mistakes, both big and small, that he had made. Jacob’s transformation, while decidedly swift, was still believable despite the fact that it came with little backsliding. I think the way in which RJ Scott gave us glimpses of his inner dialogue and self-berating allowed for us to take his hasty evolution in stride and lent it credence as well.
Then, there were a few secondary characters—Isabelle and her brother, Mateo—who really rounded out this story, making the Macs center more credible and drawing us further into the idea that it was a bit of an oasis in a neighborhood that had previously been riddled with gangs and crime. They gave this novel much needed humanity, which kept it from falling into some hopeless story about a spoiled rich actor falling for a hard-working middle class good guy.
Unfortunately, not even these very strong positives could offset the gaps that kept appearing in the storyline itself. What was really going on with Ethan that certain phrases and events could trigger panic attacks? I needed so much more backstory on this man and his deceased partner, whom he still deeply mourned. Plus, he was responsible for making sure Jacob completed a set of tasks, from volunteer work to monitoring the weekly drug testing he had to report to the court, yet he rapidly fell for the man he was to be monitoring—such an incredible conflict of interest, not to mention a breach of contract with the court. Yet, other than a momentary worry, Ethan went plunging forward with Jacob, and that seemed so wrong given that Ethan was to be the genuine good guy—the straight shooter in this story. Finally, there was the idea floating that Jacob wanted Ethan to also top in the relationship; in fact, would like for it to happen. Yet a few chapters later there was a definite switch up to a scenario that reeked with Dom/sub overtones in both language and sexual behavior that I had a difficult time believing considering up till that point, Jacob was trying his best to make their sexual encounters more gentle and even-handed.
In the end, Moments became a half-finished novel for me with too many subtexts running concurrently that never resolved, and a far too easy ending that did a major disservice to the previous storyline that I felt the author had worked so hard at establishing. The writing is definitely there—and it was good—it simply fell apart before it could become great.
You can buy Moments here: