Thursday, February 14, 2013

Review: After The End by Alex Kidwell

After the End by Alex Kidwell
Dreamspinner Press
Novel: 200pgs
4 Pants Off

After Quinn O’Malley loses his partner of ten years, Aaron, to cancer, he withdraws from everything. In a single tragic moment, he goes from an artist with a loving partner and a future to an uninspired comic book store owner who barely exists. He hides behind a shield of grief, refusing to let Aaron go. He feels guilty for even trying to imagine a life apart from what he’d had.

The charming party planner Quinn’s best friend insists he meet on a blind date isn’t someone he’s ready for. Brady Banner walks into Quinn’s small frozen world and turns everything upside down. For years, Quinn has focused on endings, but as Brady begins to thaw his existence, Quinn realizes that one moment can do more than stop a life—it can also start a new one.

Quinn O'Malley is going on his first date in more than 2yrs since the death of his partner of more than ten years. Being set up on a blind date has Quinn in pure panic because he's just not ready to move on, but trying telling that to a best-friend that won't listen. When Brady shows up, he's gorgeous among other things and Quinn finds that he likes the man. Not in a ‘let’s jump into bed together’, but in a way he hasn't felt for someone in a long time. But with finally not feeling numb comes the guilt, that maybe he shouldn’t be out enjoying himself because it’s like shitting on the life he had with his partner Aaron, and removing all his memories.

The men begin a friendship of sorts filled with tender touches, cooking, and learning about each other. While Quinn enjoys those things in the now it’s the after that he can't quite deal with, when he's alone with his thoughts there is a flood gate of guilt, thoughts of Aaron, and cheating. The proverbial shit finally hits the fan when Quinn finally gets intimate with Brady, and true panic sets in. He locks himself away from his friends, and finally realizes that Aaron is dead and gone never to comeback no matter how much he misses him. Though he pulls a douche move on Brady, it’s that time of recollection that gives him a bit of courage to start moving on.

Initially I was annoyed with all the references to Aaron, and comparisons. But then I realized that they were partners for over ten years and he was huge staple in Quinn's life. Then I started thinking maybe he had some dependency issues because he seems like Quinn was barely functioning without him. There is no talk of age, but I'm guessing Quinn had to have been pretty young when he first met Aaron. Judging by his descriptions and feelings for Aaron, which is huge part of the book.

I really enjoyed the development of Brady and Quinn's relationship, the pace was very good and I was falling in love while they were falling in love. Quinn was skittish most of the time, but Brady with his gentle touches and easy smiles he really knew how to get past all that scared. The story pretty much kept on a straight road without any hills or bumps, a car accident to add a little something, but for me it came off as way for Quinn to prove himself (not a bad things but felt very obvious). Quinn and Brady aren't molten, but provide a nice slow burn.

Overall, it was a good read. Was hoping to love it more, but it still delivered a solid story. Over descriptive at times, and too much of Aaron sneaking in but I get it that this was a man dealing with a significant loss. I feel like this book is a realistic look at someone who lost a loved a one.

Should You Read It? If you're a fan of someone moving on after the loss of a partner, then you would like this book. It’s a story about a man who lost the love of his life and then goes on to find love again. Because after the end, the only thing left to do is start over. I most defi will be checking out other works by the author

SideNote- Another book with awesome food (love it).

4 Pants Off

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