Dating Nashville
Ann Maree Craven & Michelle MacQueen

[Discovering Me 1]

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Becks:

How does a straight guy accidentally come out as gay to the entire country music world? 

I’ll get back to you when I know the answer. 

It all happened so fast. One moment, my best friend’s little brother is standing in a sea of people as his boyfriend breaks his heart. Again. 

The next, I’m jumping off stage mid-concert to give him the kiss of his life—or maybe the kiss of my life. 

I’m Beckett Anderson. Yes, that Beckett. The one who never does the smart thing, messes up daily, and somehow ended up with millions of screaming fans. 

Fans who now think I’m dating Nicky St. Germaine. 

The label says I can’t come out as straight (Is that even a thing?), that I can’t tell the world I lied. 

But this lie of mine… it doesn’t hold a candle to the one I tell myself.

Nicky:

How does the quiet gay guy end up kissing the straight country music star in front of thousands of his screaming fans?

I still can’t fathom what he was thinking when he jumped off that stage, but that kiss… None of it was real, but it felt like it. At least to me. 

I’m Nicky St. Germaine, son of a football Hall of Famer, best friends with rock star, Nari Won Song—and whatever I am to country music sensation, Beckett Anderson. The jury’s still out on that one. What does a small town kid do when so many of his friends and family are famous? He hides. Frequently. 

Now the spotlight is on me, and there is nowhere left to hide. I’m supposed to pretend to be Beckett’s adoring boyfriend for a few weeks, but that’s not so easy when I’d give almost anything for it to be true.

⭐⭐⭐

Full marks for a book about discovering who you are. For a romance, though…

Nicky was difficult for me to get a read on. He apparently had a crush on Beckett, who he considered a friend, since high school, but I never really got the sense of either a crush or friendship, at least not at the start. In truth, I found him a little annoying; he seemed cheerless throughout most of the book. Yes, he was in a stressful situation, but he seemed like more of a stick in the mud than anything, and just not very compelling.

Beckett was easier to like, ego aside. Then again, he’s an up-and-coming music star–if he didn’t have an ego, he wouldn’t be where he was. His journey of self-discovery comprised the majority of the actual story (despite the chapter-alternating PoVs) and he showed a lot more in the way of growth, so overall he was the more interesting of the pair.

The reason this isn’t a romance? Nicky and Beckett spent at least three-quarters of the book apart. When they were together, Nicky was being confrontational (despite–or perhaps because of–the occasional kisses). The culmination of the romance was rather rushed, too, and a little unsatisfying. (One grand gesture, no discussion, and suddenly they’re boyfriends?)

I will, however, give the authors props for not falling into the healing cock trope. It seems to be far too often that characters discover their sexuality (whatever it may be) by falling into bed with another character. This book, however, contained absolutely no sex, which was actually rather refreshing.

Supporting characters wavered between interesting and meh. I liked Wylder and Nari, but found Avery a little on the dull side. Asher was fun; it was easy to see that he’d be half of the couple in the next book. I saw the plotline with Beckett and Wylder’s mother a mile away, so I never had any investment in her, and most of the other characters were more peripheral than anything.

The story itself felt like not a lot happened, but it moved along well enough. It was a lot of repetition–Beckett thinks about things and goes to talk to Nicky, they fight, Beckett leaves, Nicky thinks about things while dodging paparazzi. It got a little frustrating at times, in that there didn’t seem to be a lot of growth on either side, but it never reached a DNF point.

The writing carried it along competently. There were errors here and there that I picked out (the mental red pen strikes again), but none were egregious enough for more than a momentary pause. It never had a sense of urgency, though, even it parts where it could have used it. It was more sweet and comfortable, like reading a cup of hot chocolate.

Although this wasn’t anything stand-out, I did enjoy it enough to add the next book in the series to my wishlist.

tl;dr A decent read as long as you aren’t looking for a romantic romance.

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