Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Release Day Review: The Shape of You by Felice Stevens

The Shape of YouTitle ~ The Shape of You

Author ~ Felice Stevens

Published ~  28th June 2017

Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance

Rating

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Synopsis

Too big. Too fat.
All his life Eric Sontag has judged himself on his size, believing love and friendship aren't in the cards for someone like him. Tired of being alone and scared of his doctor’s warnings, he enrolls in a nutrition support group, determined to change his life. When a beautiful thin man sits next to him, he can’t believe they have anything in common, but conversation between the two soon proves first impressions aren’t always what they seem.
Drifter. Loner.
Corey DeSantis has always been the scrawny waif; he’s tired of struggling with his art and with life. Scarred by the disappearance and death of his drug-addicted mother, he doesn’t wish for love, believing it will bring him nothing but pain in the end. Now his only hunger in life is his desire to paint…until a health scare and his mentor force him to attend a nutrition class where he meets a man who piques his interest. One drunken kiss later, Eric is all Corey can think about.
The same, yet different.
An unlikely friendship is born with both men wanting more but afraid to listen to their well-guarded hearts. When Corey receives shocking news leaving him angry and helpless, it’s Eric he turns to, to help see him through, while a surprising career opportunity finds Eric leaning on Corey for advice. One night of explosive passion leads to a second and soon neither man can imagine a life without the other. Life is shaped by the challenges accepted and roads not taken but as Corey and Eric walk the path together, they’ll discover the most beautiful destination of all. Love.

 

Debra’s Review

In The Shape of You, Felice Stevens gives us two men whose problems outwardly seem on the opposite ends of the spectrum, but who really are dealing with some of the same things. Eric and Corey have battled weight issues all their lives and both have gotten to the point where their health is at risk. They meet at a nutrition class and become partners in the class. The attraction is immediate but neither of them thinks the other would want to be with them. Both men are lonely, without family and friends (they each tend to hold people at arm’s length so they won’t get hurt), and their friendship grows based on mutual support. They each may lack self-confidence but they can see so much goodness, strength and potential in the other that they become a great support system, encouraging not just healthy habits when it comes to eating, but helping each other through work and personal issues.

Eric has had one failed relationship that left him feeling used and hurt, while Corey is used to hooking up with nothing more, using sex as a means to an end. When they finally get together, Eric has second thoughts, casual sex just isn’t his thing, and pulls back. Corey respects it, but soon the pull between them is too strong. The men complement each other so well and are so sweet together. It took work for them to trust in their feelings, Eric used to being the guy men avoid and Corey feeling he has nothing to offer other than sex. Even their approach to being together is different, but they find that together they are stronger than when they are on their own and seeing themselves through the other’s eyes helps them on their way to self-acceptance.

I thought their food issues were handled well. I’m used to seeing thin characters with eating issues being portrayed as anorexic or bulimic, but Corey’s issues are more a lack of interest in food and his appetite and the resulting failure to eat regularly and inability to gain weight. Eric’s eating issues are also steeped in his childhood and the memories of his father, but for him food is more of a comfort. I related to Corey’s weight struggles and I think a lot of people will identify with the issues Eric and Corey have, and get a better feel for what people go through on both ends of the problem.

Both men were wonderful, but Corey really grabbed me from the start. Working as an assistant to an artist who paints male nudes, he sees a certain standard of outward perfection all the time, but what he sees in Eric is perfect for him. The body Eric is ashamed of screams safety and warmth to Corey and the heart inside that is all goodness is something that Corey knows is rare. Eric isn’t easily convinced though, even as he can see how much Corey wants him.

Along with reevaluating their eating habits they both find themselves reevaluating all other aspects of their lives, from careers to family and past hurts that may or may not be able to be overcome. The story feels real, the men have issues that are easy to relate to with no magic fixes. Not everything is worked out in the end. They have ups and downs, but they also have unwavering love and support for each other. I loved the ending and Corey’s gift to Eric had me wiping at my eyes.

This was another well done romance by Felice Stevens. The pacing was good, the MCs both very likable and relatable, and the romance was sweet with a very happy ending.

Purchase Links

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Meet Felice Stevens

Felice Stevens has always been a romantic at heart. While life is tough, she believes there is a happy ending for everyone. She started reading traditional historical romances as a teenager, then life and law school got in the way. It wasn't until she picked up a copy of Bertrice Small and became swept away to Queen Elizabeth's court that her interest in romance novels was renewed. But somewhere along the way, her reading shifted to stories of men falling in love. Once she picked up her first gay romance, she became so enamored of the character-driven stories and the overwhelming emotion there was no turning back. Felice lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Her day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. Although she practices law, she daydreams of a time when she can sit by a beach and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be some angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.

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