Picture Perfect


Title and Link: Picture Perfect

Authors: Bethany Brown & Ashlyn Kane

Genre: GLBT Contemporary, M/M

Length: Novel (77,317 words)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Guest Reviewer: Kris

The Blurb:

Perhaps it’s a twist of fate when event photographer Cameron Walker runs into veterinarian Jeremy Montgomery at a wedding. Cameron has harbored a crush on the handsome man since high school, and he can’t believe his luck. Jeremy asks him to dance, and Cameron’s over the moon.

Having admired Cameron from afar, Jeremy is just as thrilled to discover Cameron feels the same. After a few dates, Cameron and Jeremy (and their new dog) are ready to embark on a loving journey they both have dreamed of—a new life together.

Cameron’s best friend, Detective Patrick Hawkins, is very happy for the new couple. But he’s equally worried when mysterious gifts with disturbing letters keep appearing, targeting Cameron. When the stalking escalates to a senseless and stunning act of violence, Patrick is there for the two men, both physically and emotionally. Working together, Cameron, Jeremy, and Patrick set out to find the stalker and put a stop to his actions, but will they be able to stop him before it’s too late?

The Review:

Honesty from the outset –

This is the second book in the Lost Boys and Love Letters series by this author team. The first, True North (reviewed here), I enjoyed so I was more than pleased to put my hand up to review Picture Perfect.

First things first –

Although this is part of a series, Picture Perfect can be read as a stand alone. I wasn’t quite certain of – or if there was – a connection between the two books and to be honest I never went looking for it when it seemed obvious the story could easily be read on its own.

The writing of these authors again impresses with its high quality. I don’t recall discussing it in my review of True North, but there is no doubt one of the joys of reading this is because of the seamless writing of the two authors. I had absolutely no idea where one began and the other left off. After I’d finished, it struck me that in Bethany Brown and Ashlyn Kane Dreamspinner Press has gained yet another wonderful team along the lines of Madeleine Urban and Rhianne Aile and Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux.

Once more, the main and secondary characters are the true gems of the work; being both well developed and appealing. Yet, they did not appear to have the same depth to them like the characters of True North. Thinking about it, I realised this wasn’t quite true; rather that because of their openness about their sexuality, their past – and current – crushes on each other, and their willingness to admit to these feelings from the outset, a lot of the angst associated with a new relationship is not there, or for that matter needed, between Cameron and Jeremy.

The conflict in the story largely comes from the secondary characters and from Cameron’s stalker. With the exception of the psycho, most of the issues seemed to be resolved pretty easily. I did vaguely wonder why some sub-plots had been included, but I was able to shrug it off because part of me was thinking it was to set up the next book. Will I be right I wonder??

A couple of issues/warnings –

There are times when some readers might feel like they’re choking on the sweetness of it all and granted, some things seem a little too perfect and happy (kind of) families. Occasionally I’m in the mood for sugar with my romance so it didn’t bother me at all. :)

The major issue I had with Picture Perfect was Cameron’s and Jeremy’s threesome with Patrick. I’m still ruminating as to whether I thought it was necessary to the plot and if I was convinced there was enough tension in the lead-up to the act or if it came pretty much out of left field. My own bias means I don’t really get how someone, especially a close friend, can be added into a relationship without feelings like jealousy raising their ugly heads. I guess I would have been more convinced had the relationship become a true polygamous one. *scratching head* I’m not certain how this would have been incorporated though.

My recommendation –

I think those who enjoyed the first book will also like Picture Perfect, although there may be some who, like me, will overall prefer True North. Regardless, I’ll be looking forward to the next in the series. The writing style of this author team is such a joy to read.

18 thoughts on “Picture Perfect

  1. Tammy

    I agree with you Kris. The whole Patrick thing kind of came out of left field although they do say that Cameron and Patrick have shared before so it wasn’t out of character I suppose for them, but there’s sharing for fun and sharing with someone you are in love with. It didn’t ruin the story or anything for me though. I also throught there was some set-up for a Patrick book down the line. Not sure its true or not. I did like True North more but enjoyed this one as well and will definitely check out future work by the authors. I like their style and sometimes a little sugar is tasty. :-)

  2. daisiemae

    I was looking forward to reading this book. I liked True North, but when I heard about the menage (I don’t like menages) I decided to skip this one. Great Review:)

  3. Kris

    Tammy, you sound as if you had the same response that I did. :) I think you’re right. The menage doesn’t ruin the book, but it just seemed a little ‘bam, let’s smex’-ish. I also agree the sub-plots re: Patrick seemed to be setting up another book. We’ll see if we’re on the right track. *g*

    These authors write so well together that I think they’ll become autobuys for me.

    Romance Sugar: 100% taste and enjoyment without all the calories.

  4. Kris

    Thanks Daisiemae. :)

    As I said I did like True North better, but did enjoy this one too.

    I hope I won’t be giving the game away by saying that the menage definitely doesn’t dominate the book. It happens fairly close to the end and is really only one sex scene.

    I’m not trying to change your mind or anything because if menage is something you don’t like, you don’t like it. :) Just wanted to let you know that it really wasn’t such a huge part of the book.

  5. jessewave

    Because you set up a Blogger profile and used your Rogers account I would think, since Rogers uses Tammy. Damn I’m smart. *g*

  6. Kris

    I was gonna say Tam because I thought I’d recognised your writing style, but didn’t want to look like a total dick. Must be psychic. :)

  7. Tam

    Sigh. I did it at work and must have signed in wrong since it didn’t have my picture either. Blah. Crazy day there. But I’m in properly now (with rogers so who knows) and hey, long weekend for me. Wheeeee.

  8. Aunt Lynn

    True North is in my TBR pile, and I think I’ll pick this up after I read that. I’ll try to not let the menage scare me away… Thanks Kris.

  9. Kris

    As I said to Daisiemae, the menage isn’t tooo scary. :) Both books are very enjoyable, Lynn; if not for anything else but the goodness which is this writing team.

  10. Jenre

    I have to admit the sugary sweetness of this novel is making my teeth hurt.

    I started reading it a few weeks ago, stopped because I couldn’t stand all the mushyness and have just picked it up again after reading this review because I thought I might have been missing something.

    I also admit the mention of the menage was another incentive to pick up the book again. I’m so shallow.

    I’m still finding it too saccherine for my tastes but I’ll stick it to the end and see whether things improve.

  11. Lisa G

    I really liked True North so wanted to give this a try. It was going good and I was liking the relationship that was developing between Cameron and Jeremy, so was really thrown when Patrick was invited into bed (or kitchen) with them. But what really pissed me off was when Jeremy and Patrick got it on without Cam because he….well that’s probably a spoiler…but that did it for me.

  12. Emeraldjaguar

    Random smexing annoys a kitteh muchly. I shall skip this, but will consider True North, which I has yet to read.

  13. Kris

    Lisa, I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought the menage was kinda odd. I couldn’t really understand the one-on-one between P and J, but admit to having a bias because I don’t get a r/ship that involves a third only now and again. Having said that, it was discussed between Cam and J. Still…

  14. Kris

    Hey Emmy. I did think True North was better. I also reckon this writing team has talent and will do good things in the future.

  15. Lisa G

    Yeah I’m with you all the way on this one Kris. I just don’t get what they were doing together instead of being with Cam after he was hurt. Just didn’t play for me. I think the only book I’ve read where I believed in a m/m/m romance was 911 by Chris Owens.

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