Author: Cardeno C.
Length: 220 Pages (Kindle)
At a Glance: Not a Game becomes a magical fairytale romance that delivers all the feels and emotions with a twist—characters who are, for once, utterly real and worthy of love.
Reviewed By: Sammy
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: When you sign on to read a Cardeno C. novel, you are positive to get three things in return: first, a romance that is sweet and rewarding; second, a happy ever after that comes with very little angst or troubles; and third, a feel good emotional reward that leaves you smiling long after the novel’s end. Cardeno C. is a master at romance—sweet, sometimes sappy, yet always a complete story where boy meets boy, boy gets boy and they both live happily ever after. Not A Game,, the first in a new series entitled Friends, is the latest release by this author and sure to pluck every heartstring you have.
Oliver Barnaby is chubby, shy and uneasy being around other people, so the gaming world is the perfect job for him. There he can craft imaginary worlds and try his best not to notice his real one is so very lonely. But he has a new job, in a new city, and is determined to change all that, beginning with his dating track record–which is an abysmal one. His last and only boyfriend essentially told him he was lousy at sex, amongst other things, so Oliver, being the pragmatic man he is, decides to hire an escort to teach him the finer arts of seduction. Armed with his wallet, an old college textbook on the gaming world, and little else, Oliver sets up a rendezvous with a rent-by-the-hour man to begin his instruction. His goal is a simple one: Oliver wants to have a boyfriend, someone who will love him, his pudgy belly and his nerdy personality. Seemingly that is a tall order, but Oliver is determined. He waits for his guy at a local bar, and thinks he has met him. The only problem is that when Jamie Snow arrives that evening for a drink before heading home, the last thing he was expecting was to be taken for a well paid whore.
Jamie (James) Snow is a force to be reckoned with in the gaming world. Having left his partner in business and life several years earlier, he has been searching for that right someone to fall in love with again. His former lover seemed to be perfect, and he was–gorgeous, intelligent and with a body to die for–but hard as he tried, Jamie simply could not find himself attracted enough to remain in their relationship. He was content to be just friends. You see, Jamie liked a solid man, one who could make him laugh, whom he could share both lively conversation and stellar sex with—and physically he liked those love handles on his man as well. So when Jamie meets Oliver there is an instant attraction on both parts, but now Jamie must convince his teddy bear of a man that not only is he not for hire but that he is also head over heels in love with Oliver–ALL of him. Inside and out.
Before you think this is another story about the transformation of an ugly duckling into a swan, think again. Author Cardeno C. unapologetically creates characters that have very distinctive tastes, and makes them work. Jamie struggles against a world that calls him crazy for leaving his gorgeous ex. The reality for him is that he likes a man with curves, and for him it’s a real turn on to be physically active with Oliver.
Oliver is your typical overweight male in a slender body dominated world. He cannot believe that someone with Jamie’s looks and life would ever fall for him. He is, in a word, average. This is what I loved about this book so very much. You see, the scope of this novel was that we are all flawed in our own way, and finding someone who will love us despite that is golden. But it’s hard. Here is where the author hits the nail on the head; it’s nearly impossible to not be overwhelmed by what we view as our shortcomings. We can stop a fledgling relationship in its tracks when we linger in the realm of self-doubt and low self-worth. This author dares to create a happy ever after for an average guy, with an above average man who desires him. In the end, Not a Game becomes a magical fairytale romance that delivers all the feels and emotions with a twist—characters who are, for once, utterly real and worthy of love.
You can buy Not a Game here: