Book Review: The Truth About Riley by Henrietta Clarke

The Truth about Riley by Henrietta ClarkeTitle: The Truth about Riley
Author: Henrietta Clarke
Genre: Contemporary Romance, M/M Romance
Sensuality Rating: Erotic
Source: Review copy provided by publisher
Published: July 10, 2013 by Bottom Drawer Publications

Riley Aylworth’s life has been completely devoid of intimate contact since a fire three years ago left him with horrific facial scarring, so when he finds an ad for a phone sex service, he decides to give it a call. Except that the number is not a phone sex service—it’s the revenge Cameron Kirkwood’s ex-boyfriend took on the uptight advertising executive after Cam forgot their anniversary and accidentally put him in the hospital. Needless to say, after thirty-nine disturbing calls seeking phone sex, Cameron is at the end of his tether and yells at his fortieth caller. What he doesn’t expect is for Riley to hit redial and yell right back.

The argument helps both Cameron and Riley vent about their issues, and when they’ve calmed down, they decide to exchange numbers and talk again. From this decision springs a friendship that, over time, grows into a gentle romance—all over the phone, because Riley is too scared to meet Cam in person. Showing a potential boyfriend his disfigured face is the fastest way to get rejected, right? Even a month of scorching hot phone sex can’t change his mind, no matter how hard Cam tries to persuade him that with their phone chemistry, the sex would be so much better in person.

Meanwhile, Cam is haunted by the scarred blond he seems to be seeing everywhere, and Riley can’t get the handsome brunet who always seems happy to see him out of his mind. It’s a shock to both men to realise that the guy they’re falling for over the phone is also the man who brightens their day with just a smile; but it’s one thing to let a stranger smile at you and quite another to let him close enough to see into your soul. If Riley can’t break down the walls in his mind and believe that Cameron loves him in spite of his scars, their relationship may be doomed before they’ve even had a chance to kiss.

Reviewed By: J9

In a Nutshell: Uniquely told romance with very likable characters even with the tension drawn out a bit more than I would have liked.

The Set Up: Riley hasn’t had intimate contact since he was disfigured in a fire. He’s so desperate that he calls a phone sex number. Cameron’s ex-boyfriend always said Cam loved his phone more than his boyfriend so he advertises Cam’s number as a phone sex line. Cam is pissed off by the time Riley calls but instead of just hanging up, Riley and Cam begin talking. But Riley isn’t sure he’ll ever be ready to meet Cam in person and Cam begins to realize Riley may be the man he’s looked for his entire life.

Why I Read this Book: Synopsis caught my eye and had to read it

What I Liked: I loved both these characters and how their relationship develops. Riley may be disfigured and very reluctant to face Cam’s rejection but he’s also strong enough to have built a life for himself. Riley has meaningful familial and platonic relationships with his family, neighbor and even his dog. I really liked Riley’s combination of strength and vulnerability. Cam is also a great character in that he admits his imperfections and mistakes but also his attempts at being a good person. I especially like Cam’s introspection about his ex-boyfriend and even how he and Riley discuss the ex-boyfriend; it was with sadness, regret and respect, even after the ex-boyfriend got his final revenge on Cam.

The way Cam and Riley’s relationship develops is utterly delicious. Most of the novel revolves around them talking to each other on the phone. Their conversations are humorous and heartfelt and I truly felt like they were real. The conversations meandered from musical tastes to goals in life to sexual histories. The way Cam and Riley’s relationship builds is believable and intriguing since they can’t meet in person. My favorite phone conversation weren’t the overtly sexual ones, though those were great, but instead the one where they share what their first date would be like—sigh-worthy!

What I Also Liked: I also liked the secondary characters here including Riley’s big Italian family and quirky downstairs neighbor. Cam may be the professional advertising executive but he’s more isolated socially than Riley with his friends being from work.

I really thought the storytelling was good here because it left the focus on Riley and Cam and didn’t have any other plot. There was enough tension between Riley and Cam for the entire novel as Riley is so reluctant to have more than a verbal relationship with Cam.

What I Didn’t Like: I have to admit, by novel’s end I was so ready for Riley’s reluctance to be over. Perhaps it’s my day job seeping in but I thought Riley needed some professional help! If someone wants something so badly but is prevented by their own fear to that degree then it’s time to make an appointment with a therapist!

Spoiler Alert: This is book doesn’t conclude Cam and Riley’s relationship and in fact, ends on a pretty big cliffhanger. I was okay with this as I felt their relationship had the emotional closure I needed to be satisfied until book two but some readers will hate this.

IMO: I really enjoyed the unique way Cam and Riley’s relationship develops and think it’s well worth reading, even with my minor issues.

J9’s Rating:
4 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.

1 comment:

  1. Aggrrrhhhh I hate cliffhangers... I'll give it a try though


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