Monday, May 18, 2015

LGBT Monday: Knight of Ocean Avenue

Knight of Ocean Avenue (Love in Laguna, #1)Author: Tara Lain
Series: Love in Laguna, #1
Released: May 1st 2015
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Length: 254 pages
Buy: Amazon

How can you be twenty-five and not know you’re gay? Billy Ballew runs from that question. A high school dropout, barely able to read until he taught himself, Billy’s life is driven by his need to help support his parents as a construction worker, put his sisters through college, coach his Little League team, and not think about being a three-time loser in the engagement department. Being terrified of taking tests keeps Billy from getting the contractor's license he so desires, and fear of his mother's judgement blinds Billy to what could make him truly happy.
Then, in preparation for his sister’s big wedding, Billy meets Shaz—Chase Phillips—a rising star, celebrity stylist who defines the word gay. To Shaz, Billy embodies everything he’s ever wanted—stalwart, honest, brave—but even if Billy turns out to be gay, he could never endure the censure he’d get for being with a queen like Shaz. How can two men with so little in common find a way to be together? Can the Stylist of the Year end up with the Knight of Ocean Avenue?

Knight of Ocean Avenue isn’t my first book by Tara Lain and it won’t be the last, but if you asked me to tell you some details about any of her books I’ve read before, I’d be hard pressed to remember them. Outing the Quarterback was my favorite among her books, and one I’d certainly recommend, but her shifter PNR and her latest contemporary series, apparently, are cute and light-hearted, but ultimately forgettable.

Lain starts this new series with two rather interesting characters. Billy is a 25-year-old construction worker so deep in denial about his sexual orientation that he ignores even the most obvious clues. He is deeply insecure and timid and he constantly allows his family to run his life. Shaz is his exact opposite, bold, and very openly gay. He is practically a walking stereotype, a long-haired, elegant, effeminate stylist. Their lives collide over a wedding and while it takes them a while to admit their attraction – after all, Billy isn’t gay and Shaz wants nothing to do with closet cases – it soon becomes clear that the two are made for each other.

The book starts out with both of them in relationships with other people, which is something I strongly dislike in my romances. In fact, Shaz is in a relationship for most of the book, and although his boyfriend is portrayed as a lying, cheating, self-centered jerk, I still didn’t appreciate the obstacle he created for Billy and Shaz or the fact that Shaz was obviously intimate with him during the story. I can’t help it – as cynical as I am in real life, in romance I’m a hopeless romantic and a one-person-one-person kind of girl. Throwing someone else into the mix, even a despicable someone, is pretty much a deal-breaker for me.

Another thing that didn’t ring true was Billy’s cluelessness. I understand that people sometimes discover truths about themselves very late in life and that’s fine. We do things in our own time. But Billy’s blindness didn’t strike me as genuine; in fact, it made him seem a bit stupid at times which isn’t something I like to see in my heroes.

Overall, though, Knight of Ocean Avenue is a very cute story. It reminded me of a soap opera at times, but it was very readable and occasionally funny. If nothing else, it’s a pretty good way to spend an afternoon.


  1. Ah yes it's difficult when a romance starts like that I can understand the problem there. I don't think I've tried the author yet but maybe one day.

  2. I usually didn't like romances that start with people while on a relationship, and since my own break up even less, so I think I'll be skipping this one.

  3. Thanks for sharing. It sounds like a good enough read but nothing that really stands out too much. I appreciate the honest thoughts though.

  4. Oh this is the type of pairing that will frustrate me. You know, the stubborn quasi-straight guy and the all-out gay guy. Have I mentioned I love that you're featuring these type of books regularly?!

    1. You have! I figured it's time to do away with the prejudice.

  5. Doesn't sound like this wowed you but that it was a nice read overall. Glad you did like it. :)

  6. "I can’t help it – as cynical as I am in real life, in romance I’m a hopeless romantic and a one-person-one-person kind of girl. "

    ME TOO MAJA!!!! I can't help it either, I get hugely uncomfortable when two people who I know are supposed to be together are with other people at any point after they've met one another. I'm obsessively monogamous when it comes to my romances I guess. I'm definitely going to check out Outing the Quarterback though!

  7. While the writing sounds lovely, I think I would be very frustrated with Billy's reluctance to accept that he is gay! Still, I'll be sure to check out the author's other books because her writing sounds nice.
    Lovely review!

  8. I don't know why authors employ this plot device in a romance book of all things! Give me friendship that develops slowly, or life-altering one-night stands that turn into forevers, or even flirting and no more - as long as it's clean. Three is a crowd. A nasty sort of crowd. I concur to your one-person-one-person stand. I've been married for almost 15 years to the same man, and he's still my hero :P

  9. Hmm... I think the the things that bothered you would bother me as well. I don't think the long denial of his sexual identity is believable.

  10. Yea, I'm the same way with romance. It would have bothered me as well. I do like the cute, but not the soap opera part. Hm... don't think this one is for me, but I might have to check out that Quarterback story.

  11. I love that you review these LGBT books regularly. I don't like when there are other relationships included but I like the sound of the rest of it quite a lot! I'll definitely have to consider picking this one up.

  12. Yeah, I prefer my romances to be one person to one person too. If you're seriously interested in someone else, it's probably time to break off your current relationship. I hate cheating of any form - even if it's just emotionally.


Thank you for stopping by and commenting. If you're a fellow blogger, I'll visit and return the favor as soon as possible. If your're using Google+ to comment, please make sure that your blog link is clearly visible on your profile.

Unfortunately, this is now an award and tag free blog, but I do thank you for your consideration.