If you're looking at this cover which is very nice and sexy by the way and it's got you thinking about Paul Walker and Vin Diesel don't sweat it because 1. you're probably not alone and 2. it'll all be clear when you read the books dedication...it's to them.
I knew I was going to read this one as soon as I saw that cover...hot cars and hotter men...really, how could I not? Plus we've got a friends to lovers thing going on here...seriously things were looking good for this one and for the most part they stayed that way good. I would have liked awesome or fantastic but good is what I got. So what went wrong mostly I think I needed a bit more story. There were spots in the relationship development that I felt short changed on and the ending could have been filled out a bit more, plus there's a time jump of 4 years between the ending and the epilogue and truthfully I would have loved some story in there to fill that gap. Ok so those are the overall reasons why this one was only 3 stars instead of the 4 or 5 that I was hoping for. Now let's talk characters...
I liked Justin a lot. He's one of those guys who's attractive and quiet. He's got plans for his life and while he may be working at a burger place at the moment. His plans don't include staying there. Unfortunately Justin seems to be someone who gets overlooked a lot and mistaken for Mr. Right-Now when he could really be somebody's Mr. Right, if they'd just look close enough and this leads us to Shane...
Shane's hot, seriously big, muscular, close shaven hair...ok, basically bald. Which being a mechanic is a really practical look and speaking of looking he's looking close when it comes to Justin and he likes what he's seeing and he's confident enough to take that first step towards a relationship and smart enough to know he needs to tread carefully with Justin if he wants more than a one night stand. I really liked this about Shane that he saw what others missed about Justin and he was willing to take the time to let Justin know that he mattered and that Shane cared. But having been so aware and attuned to Justin I became confused when things seem to be going fairly well for our guys until they encounter Shane's Ex from high school...seriously? Shane's been around and single all this time and this guy waits until he sees him with someone else to make his move? WTF? add to this the fact that Shane sort of went from Mr. Sensitive to Captain Oblivious in regards to both Justin and the Ex.
And there you have it the main reason that this story was good and not awesome or great for me. I liked the overall idea but I had a hard time swallowing getting into the scenario involving the Ex-boyfriend. There were just too many quirky little things about the whole situation that didn't work for me. I liked the idea but the execution of it just felt a little too contrived. The devil is always in the details and for me this time around some of those details were missing. I really feel that with a little more filling out of the details in some areas and a bit of reworking on the ex-boyfriend plotline this one could have easily gone from good to "WOW! Can I please have more."
'Beyond the Grill' was definitely a slow burn and while there were a few really hot moments if you're looking for smoking hot on page sex...well, carry on because this is not the place. Although it's not this author's first book from the looks of things it's still fairly early days in her writing career so I for one plan on watching to see what the future brings.
An ARC of 'Beyond the Grill' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.