Author: Amy Lane
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Rating: 4.5 stars
Type: Novel in a Series
Received from Publisher
Blurb: One year ago, actor Connor Montgomery lost the love of his life to a drunk driver. But what’s worse for Connor is what he still has: a lifetime of secrets born of hiding his relationship from the glare of Hollywood. Unable to let go of the world he and Vinnie shared, Connor films a drunken YouTube confession on the anniversary of Vinnie’s death.
Review: Selfie is part of the Bluewater Bay series. As with the other books in the series, it can be read as a standalone. Some characters from previous books make cameo appearances, but it isn’t necessary to know their stories to follow this one.
After a year of mourning in secret that culminates in a drunken (thankfully soundless) video uploaded to YouTube, closeted action movie star Connor Montgomery takes the opportunity to change direction with a role on television’s hottest new show, Wolf’s Landing. With the support and friendship of his agent, Jilly, the only other person who knows what fellow actor Vinnie really was to him, Connor heads off to Bluewater Bay. There, he is introduced to Noah, his driver assigned to him by the studio. Noah is a breath of fresh air. He is funny, snarky, confident and sweet. He also makes it clear to Connor that he knows his secret, and is a safe and friendly ear for Connor. After ten years of hiding a big part of himself and his relationship with his best friend and lover, Connor is finally getting a taste of what life is like being accepted and celebrated for being who you are – all of you. But even working on an inclusive film set and surrounded by people who genuinely care about him doesn’t heal the heartbreak of loss. He still hears Vinnie in his head and is unable to let go. Connor is incredibly grateful for Noah. For his friendship and for his patience. For his willingness to wait for a broken Connor to mend, and for being there for Connor in whatever capacity he needs at that time.
This was a great story about heartbreak, despair, hope, love and rebuilding yourself when grief has torn you apart. The characters were complex and real and I loved each one, even Vinnie. They were well-drawn, with complete personalities and individual flaws. The one thing that stopped it being a full 5 star read for me was the unlikely recovery from over a year of deep grieving in almost an instant and without professional support. One cathartic moment does not fix the damage of a slow breakdown that was a long time coming; it just didn’t feel realistic to me, no matter how awesome I thought Noah was (which is pretty awesome).
However, there was a lot that I really loved about this book. I loved all the little details that made the characters believable. Connor’s love of collecting all things kitsch. Noah’s sister affectionately dealing the dirt on him to Connor. Jilly’s admission that maybe her advice to Connor and Vinnie wasn’t the right advice, although she had only ever had their best interests at heart. I loved the romance between Connor and Noah. It was so sweet and Noah was a wonderful match for Connor. He was strong and steadfast and I loved the way they bounced off each other and had fun together. The relationship between Connor and Noah developed relatively quickly, but didn’t feel rushed or contrary to what Connor was dealing with. They had to work for their HEA.
Out of everything, it is Connor’s conversations with dead-Vinnie that most broke my heart. They are an intimate look into his grieving process. It was an emotional rollercoaster watching Connor slowly come undone completely before he could truly begin to heal and love again.
Painful, cathartic, broken, hopeful and, ultimately, healing, Selfie is undoubtedly a difficult read at times, but Connor’s journey back to life and love is also beautiful and worth a bit of pain.