Book Review: Heart of the Race by Mary Calmes

Heart of the Race by Mary CalmesTitle: Heart of the Race
Author: Mary Calmes
Genre: Contemporary Romance, M/M Romance
Sensuality Rating: Erotic
Source: review copy provided by publisher
Published: June 2013 by Dreamspinner Press

Varro Dacien spends his life riding toward the next adventure. Brian Christie, his best friend and touchstone, the one person who’s always truly seen him, plays sidekick on these madcap adventures and subsequent trips to the hospital until he can’t take it anymore. While Brian can see Varro, Varro has never caught on that he’s breaking his best friend’s heart.

Without Varro, Brian builds himself a life that’s all about just getting by, doing his best to ignore the hole in his heart and his life. Without Brian to balance him, Varro pushes harder and takes more risks to reach that ultimate high. His job racing high-octane bikes on suicide-level courses makes it easy to get that rush… until it’s no longer enough and Varro realizes it’s not the race, but who’s waiting at the finish line that truly matters. Now he just has to convince Brian to be there.

Reviewed By: J9

In a Nutshell: Could have been a stellar read but was still enjoyable even with its faults of too much time spent on flashbacks.

The Set Up: Brian has been passionately and quietly in love with his best friend his entire life and has played sidekick to Varro’s madcap, death-defying racing. But Brian can no longer pretend he doesn’t love Varro so he leaves him to build his own Varro-free life. Living without Brian has taught Varro who’s important to him and he’ll race into Brian life as quickly as he does everything else.

Why I Read this Book: I’ve greatly enjoyed books by Mary Calmes and had to read her new one.

What I Liked: I loved both characters of Brian and Varro. Brian manages to be vulnerable to readers with his long suffering love of Varro but just skirts the edge of pathetic as he leaves just in time to save his self-respect in my opinion. Varro’s selfishness was a little much but he redeems himself in spectacular fashion. I love the intensely intimate and erotic conversation when Varro says Brian is the only one who has seen him his entire life. Once Varro decides he wants Brian, nothing stands in his way and I loved that big time as Brian needed Varro’s assurance after years of being in pain with is unrequited love.

What I Also Liked: I like the inclusion of Varro’s family, from his mother and father to his older brother. They provide a nice cast of characters along with Brian and Varro’s racing crew who play parts in bringing Varro and Brian together.

I also really liked the epilogue here as it provided a bit more relationship resolution that I needed.

What I Didn’t Like: This is a short novella at 86 pages. While I loved the flashbacks that showed how Brian came to be critical to Varro’s very existence, I also think it took up way too much of the story. I felt like I got more of their backstory and less of their current story which is what I wanted. I think even 25 more pages of their current story would have been a better balance.

IMO: I think this could have been a stellar romance if it was told in a better balance. Still, I enjoyed its angsty and erotic romance and recommend it to other MM readers.

J9’s Rating:
3 Frogs

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About J9: Vegan. Avid runner. Android addict. Never without a book in hand. Currently devouring MM romance but reads historial romance and paranormal romance as well. Follow J9 on Twitter.


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