6.15.2023 | Thursday

Washed-Up Former Child Star Ryan Lee

category: Book Reviews
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Washed-Up Former Child Star Ryan Leetitle: Washed Up Former Child Star Ryan Lee
author: Lisa Henry, J.A. Rock
published: 9 June 2023
publisher: self-published
genre(s): contemporary, lgbtqia+, romance
pages: 234
source: client
format: manuscript
buy/shelve it: Amazon | Goodreads

rating: four-half-stars

the blurb

Ryan Lee is a hot mess.
In another lifetime, Ryan had it all. He was a child star in one of the biggest sitcoms on the planet. Now he’s an adult, unemployed, and a poster child for bad decisions. Okay, so he hasn’t robbed a convenience store yet, but only because he’s always either too high or too hungover. When the opportunity to film a reunion show comes up, Ryan jumps at the chance. He needs the money, but more than that, it might be what he needs to drag his career—and himself—out of the gutter.
Except seeing his former onscreen family again means seeing Chase Ellis–the guy who destroyed Ryan’s career by leaving the show, and the first boy Ryan ever kissed. Back when Ryan believed in fairytales, he thought he was in love with Chase, and the reunion brings all those old feelings racing back. But it drags up old secrets too. Ryan’s about to learn that, when it comes to Hollywood, the only happy endings are the ones that take place on screen.
Then again, maybe it isn’t a happy ending Ryan needs. Maybe it’s a new beginning.
Washed Up Former Child Star Ryan Lee is a standalone contemporary m/m second chance romance.


a few notes

content warning: ❗reference to drugs/alcohol/abuse❗

steamy rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥
language level:
🤬🤬🤬🤬

POV: 1st person
HEA: yes
keywords/phrases: addiction, abuse, redemption

my review

This is a deeply emotional book, with some very heavy, intense themes that were often difficult to read. I commend the authors for handling difficult topics with both a sense of reality and respect for those that suffer.

Ryan is deeply flawed, some of which is the result of his own choices, much of it not. There are a lot of moments where it wouldn’t have been hard for him to be an unlovable character, but yet there was never a time that I didn’t feel for him. There was just something about him that I couldn’t help but feel for. Chase, too, has his scars and his own struggles. The pain that they both went through is heart-wrenching, which makes their story in the present a beautiful thing to read.

Romance is definitely a big part of the story, but I feel like it came secondary to Ryan’s story of healing and forging a new path. And that felt exactly as it should. With Ryan comes the idea that to be broken doesn’t mean that there is nothing left. One may be broken, but there is always the chance of fixing those cracks.

All in all, tough though it may be to read at times, the story is beautiful and full of hope.


About J.A. Rock

J.A. Rock is the author or coauthor of over twenty LGBTQ romance, suspense, and horror novels, as well as an occasional contributor to HuffPo Queer Voices. J.A. has received Lambda Literary and INDIEFAB Award nominations for MINOTAUR, and THE SUBS CLUB received the 2016 National Leather Association-International Pauline Reage Novel Award. J.A. lives in Chicago with an extremely judgmental dog, Professor Anne Studebaker.

About Lisa Henry

I like to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters. But they’ve gotta work for it! No free lunches on my watch.

I live in tropical North Queensland, Australia. I don’t know why, because I hate the heat, but I suspect I’m too lazy to move. I spend half my time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting my escape.

I attended university at sixteen, not because I was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. I studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.

I share my house with too many cats, a dog, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how I imagined life as a grown-up.

Rating Report
plot
four-half-stars
characters
four-half-stars
writing
four-half-stars
pacing
four-half-stars
Overall: four-half-stars

reading challenges:

  • 2023 Beat the Backlist Reading Challenge
  • 2023 PopSugar Reading Challenge
::spread the love::

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