Title: Status Update (#gaymers)
Author: Annabeth Albert
Publisher: Carina Press
Pages/Word Count: 189 Pages
At a Glance: This story has opposites attract, a bit of angst, cute dogs, coming out and family drama. What more could you want?!
Reviewed By: Sadonna
Blurb: Adrian Gottlieb is winning at life. He’s a successful video game designer with everything a man could ask for, including a warm comfy ride to Denver and a date for his sister’s wedding. But he finds himself in need of a total reboot when he’s left stranded at a snowy campground in Utah. Holiday plans? Epic fail.
That is until Noah Walters offers him shelter for the night and a reluctant cross-country ride. Nothing about the ultraconservative geoarchaeologist should attract Adrian, but once he discovers Noah’s hidden love for video games, the two connect on a new level. Soon, a quiet but undeniable chemistry sparks.
Something doesn’t add up, though. As the miles accumulate and time runs out, Noah must face the most difficult choice of his life. Meanwhile, Adrian must decide whether he’s ready to level up. Is their relationship status worth fighting for, or has this game ended before it’s even begun?
Review: When we first meet Adrian, he’s with his little dog, Pixel, in a campground in Utah. He’s on his way to Thanksgiving and his sister’s wedding in Denver, via RV, with his “online” boyfriend, Trent.
Noah, an archeology professor, is in the same campground, for peace and quiet, as he finishes his book before heading back to his Texas Christian college campus. After Adrian and Pixel are dumped by Trent, with literally only the clothes on their backs and no shoes for Adrian, Noah ends up rescuing Adrian from the elements, and it seems from his very poor choice in boyfriends.
After his phone dies, and still no contact from Trent, and the manager of the RV park being little help, Noah agrees to drive Adrian to Denver. Adrian has discovered a few things about Noah; he contributed to the crowdfunding for Adrian’s new game; he is on a deadline for the book he is writing; and, oh yeah, he’s secretly gay. Adrian is more of an open book. He spills all his family secrets, including his sister being pregnant and marrying his ex-boyfriend, which is why he cannot show up to the wedding without a date unless he wants to be totally humiliated.
Noah really, really likes Adrian, and he can’t seem to stay away from him. After they are in such close quarters in the RV, and then stranded in the snow for an extended period, that nearly makes them miss the wedding festivities. Adrian begins to hope that they might be building something more; Noah is not very socially adept but he really makes a huge effort for Adrian. He makes friends with Adrian’s nephews, and the rest of the family seems to like him as well. But Noah is still living in fear—fear of losing his job, his family, everything he has worked so hard for, and that he truly thinks are the things that make him a man. And that fear keeps him from reaching out to Adrian or accepting what Adrian is offering.
Adrian does grow up a lot in this story, and realizes at some point that he is deserving of a real partner and a real life and real love, and that his pattern of keeping everyone at arm’s length will never make him happy. Noah goes through a lot of soul searching and takes huge risks that can’t be underestimated. His growth is extraordinary and, at times, the fear he felt when taking on each new challenge was palpable.
I really enjoyed this book and have become a big fan of this author. I’ve read her Portland Heat series, and the second book in this series, and with each book, she brings new life to her characters. The conflict and the insecurities feel authentic, and the characters are engaging and real. I’m really looking forward to reading more of her stories.
You can buy Status Update here: