Title: Open Road
Author: M.J. O’Shea
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 200 Pages
At a Glance: Kudos to the author on another well-written and enjoyable story.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Angus has been with the same guy for ten years. When his boyfriend breaks up with him the night of his thirtieth birthday party and announces his engagement to a twenty-two-year-old less than ten hours later, Angus is… a mess. To put it lightly. He spends days in bed, drinks himself into a stupor every night, and ends up losing his job and his apartment. His best and oldest friend, Reece, decides it’s time for an intervention. And a change of scenery.
Reece and Angus take off on a buddy trip across the US. They don’t have much of a plan; they just start driving. It takes Angus a couple of days to do much more than grunt when Reece talks to him, but slowly he opens up. They drive, talk, heal, shout, drink a bit too much sometimes, dance, meet new friends… and somewhere between Portland, Oregon, and Portland, Maine, they fall in love.
Which was the last thing in the world Angus expected.
Review: This just cracked me up, you guys…I’m going through my notes and highlights, getting ready to write this review, and this note jumps out at me from location 104 (we all speak Kindle, right?): ‘Brad is a DICK.’ So, let’s just start there. Ha! It’s true, though; Brad was such a dick. Angus made me so sad in the beginning, because I couldn’t understand why anyone would be with such a controlling asshole. We’re talking major asshole. Who we later learn is not just a dick—but also a cheating dick. So, yeah, it made me sad that Angus was with him. But, what made it worse was not being able to see the Angus that Reece knew. Reece, Angus’s best friend since age six, knows a bright, easygoing, fun, adventurous Angus, who we don’t get to know until later in the book.
After Angus finds out that Brad is a cheating asshole (I love name-calling and disparaging this guy), he goes on a pretty hardcore bender. To go off the deep end a little after learning that your partner of ten years obviously didn’t love you, and got engaged to your younger replacement the day after breaking up with you on your thirtieth birthday (what a dick, right?), is completely understandable. Unfortunately, Angus took it to the extreme, and wallowed and drank himself out of a job and a place to live. Silver lining? Reece. He comes to the rescue, scoops Angus up, and takes him on a road trip. What was initially supposed to be just a quick trip out of town to get Angus’s mind off of his troubles turns in to the cross-country trip of a lifetime.
I’m not gonna lie—I was IMMEDIATELY shipping these guys. Between Brad being such a massive douche and Reece being so utterly fabulous, it was impossible not to. It felt like the exact opposite of being annoyed at an insta-love situation…Instead, my feelings were, “Come onnnnn! Get these guys together already!” 😉 It was obvious that Reece had always had a crush on his best friend, but Angus, believing Reece to be straight, just never saw it. I loved all of the swoony bits, where we got to see how much Reece truly adored Angus. Including this, from when Angus, whose self-esteem is shot as a result of the constant browbeating from Brad, is talking about what a mess he is, and Reece contradicts him:
“’You were creative and brilliant, and maybe a little scattered, yes, but you did take care of yourself. You were amazing.’
And beautiful and bright and a little wild. Angus had always had a touch of the wind in him. Reece envied it.”
I really loved seeing Angus through Reece’s eyes.
M.J. O’Shea did a lovely job with this one. I adored how the roadtrip played out—which was basically them flying by the seat of their pants with regard to where to go next, and how long to stay away from home—and watching them become as close as they once were again. Angus’s angsting did get a bit repetitive at one point, but after a little tantrum in New Mexico, he really began to turn things around, and the book turned an awesome corner as well. This was a good story. I LOVED Reece. I ended up loving Angus. I loved both of their families. And, I completely adored where they were at the end. Kudos to the author on another well-written and enjoyable story.
You can buy Open Road here: