Review: Status Update by Annabeth Albert00:00
Author: Annabeth Albert
Genre/Themes: Romance, MM, Holidays
Release Date: 7 Dec 2015
Author links: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads
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Rating: 3 Stars
Adrian Gottlieb is winning at life. He's a successful video game designer with everything a man could ask for, including a warm comfy ride to Denver and a date for his sister's wedding. But he finds himself in need of a total reboot when he's left stranded at a snowy campground in Utah. Holiday plans? Epic fail.
That is until Noah Walters offers him shelter for the night and a reluctant cross-country ride. Nothing about the ultraconservative geoarchaeologist should attract Adrian, but once he discovers Noah's hidden love for video games, the two connect on a new level. Soon, a quiet but undeniable chemistry sparks.
Something doesn't add up, though. As the miles accumulate and time runs out, Noah must face the most difficult choice of his life. Meanwhile, Adrian must decide whether he's ready to level up. Is their relationship status worth fighting for, or has this game ended before it's even begun?
This is my first book by Annabeth Alberts and I was drawn to it with the expectation of a cute romcom which was more or less fulfilled but I wasn't awed like I wanted to be.
I find the title and blurb slightly misleading in their emphasis on online games and gamers. It's true both characters played/loved video games and Adrian was a game designer but I felt the focus on the story was not on that aspect of their lives.
I have mix feelings about this story. It was rather tame and I don't mean the sex scenes only but overall I found it lacking in intensity, it felt somewhat superficial, too descriptive and without enough depth.
I was interested in Noah, a reclusive professor, a closeted religious gay man who has accepted celibacy as the only (best) option for himself. His gradual coming out, first to himself; his opening to living a fuller life; reaching out and actually sharing his life with other people who love him (his family, his lover) was an interesting journey to follow. It felt like the author tries to cover too things in his story and many of them were left underdeveloped - Noah's religiousness, his relationship with his family needed more depth to fell really engaging for me.
Adrain on the other hand, was more straightforward in terms of character development. He was cute and funny, making some silly decisions and mistakes but overall a nice guy. His inner conflict seemed rather weak - some family tension, reluctance on his part to get too close to people (preferring long-distance relationships). I like how patient he was with Noah, how understanding and didn't push him on anything Noah wasn't ready to take up.
I'm not a big fan of either character, yet still their connection felt real and the intimacy they shared was touching and tender. Unfortunately this couldn't really make the story more than an OK read for me.
My major complaint is the feeling that the author tried to cover too many serious issues in too few pages and as a result to story felt cramped and many interesting points were underdeveloped.
I was annoyed with how the whole professional situation with Noah was dealt in the end. It required too much suspended belief for me to buy into it and didn't really fit in the story. Romantically things got far too sweet for my liking towards the end and even though I like a good HEA, some more realism would have worked better. It's disappointing when major issues the characters struggled with throughout the story are just miraculously resolved in the end. Life doesn't work that way and I prefer my romances to reflect that in some way.