Thursday, March 29, 2018

Off Base By Annabeth Albert

Rating: ★★★★ | 8 hrs 9 min | Carina Press| M/M Contemporary| 1/09/2017 | Buy Now!

Off Base is my first foray into M/M romance. I've been wanting to read M/M for awhile and  I've been hesitant about non #ownvoices, because the idea of a subgenre that is generally accepted as being, written by straight women about gay men for straight women. just made me unsure. But I've heard good things about Annabeth Albert and this series has won a few audiobook awards, so I was ready to jump in.

Zack Nelson is the good son. He has made his parents proud by moving to California and becoming a Navy SEAL. But on the inside, Zack is struggling to confront his sexuality. Even though he is serving in a post-DADT military he is still confronted with homophobic jokes by the men who are supposed to have his back.

Needing some space, Zack decides to move on off base (oh, I get the title) to a house in need of a serious renovation. He agrees to take acquaintance Pike Reynolds-- a smart, vocal out-and-proud math professor and home repair expert--on as a roommate. The two work together on the house but soon Pike is doing a rehab of his own on the tough SEAL.  As Pike slowly gets Zack to open up, their bond becomes a safe haven f, but can they ever explore the possibility of being together outside the four walls of the house they share?

The house is sort of like a third character in this book (Yeah, I said it) because it serves as this sort of refugee for the Pike and Zack. It's a safe place for Zack to explore his feelings while not having to confront them, which becomes the main emotional crux of the book.  Pike is also dealing with his career taking a turn he didn't expect, but I found his plot pretty predictable. Zack steals the show in this one.

The book doesn't glamorize Navy SEALs, there are no clandestine missions or doors being broken down. The harassment and blackmail Zack has to deal with is handled very seriously and methodically in this book, I am curious how much of this is pulled from true stories.

Narrator Tyler Stevens does an amazing job and he gets real emphatic during emotional scenes. You can just tell he is really getting into it. I'm kind of sad to find out he only does one book in this series.

 Zack is 23 years-old and I think Pike is supposed to be a bit older but to me this skewed as New Adult. The characters are finding their place in the world and no one has a ton of money to throw around.

I'm just going to say it. I really dislike the name Pike. It just made me think about Starbucks.

An emotional character driven military novel with a slow-burning romance and unbeatable odds.

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