March 17, 2016

REVIEW: Out of Frame (In Focus #3)

Out of Frame (In Focus #3), by Megan Erickson
Publish Date: March 15, 2016
Publisher: Intermix
Format: e-ARC, provided by the publisher
Genre: new adult contemporary m/m romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 5 STARS

(Synopsis) Perpetually shy, Quinn Mathers is content to remain in the shadow of his brash best friend Jess Hartman. But before their college graduation, he and Jess have planned one last hurrah: a spring break Caribbean cruise. 

And it won’t be just any cruise. On board are members of the reality show Trip League, which follows young twenty-somethings on adventures around the world. Since the show’s beginning, Quinn has been fascinated by J. R. Butler, with his amazing body, warm eyes, and killer grin. Unfortunately, he’s straight—or so the world thinks.

At nineteen, J. R. signed a contract to play straight for the show, and there’s no way to get out of it now. Yet with each passing day, Quinn and J. R. find it harder to keep their hands off each other and to keep out of the camera’s frame. But when the lens finally focuses on them, J. R. must decide if he’s willing to risk his career by admitting his bisexuality, and Quinn must determine if he's bold enough to stand in the spotlight with the man of his dreams...

If there's one thing I've come to expect from Megan Erickson is that she will put her epic genius to work to bring you the full spectrum of feels in her books. While reading Out of Frame, I laughed, I was angry and frustrated, and I totally swooned. 

Out of Frame is her third book in the angsty m/m In Focus series, and I have to say, this one was a bit of a departure from the first two in the series. The first two dealt with some pretty serious problems and as a result, the tone was pretty heavy and deep. Out of Frame is markedly lighter. It seems like I laughed a lot more while reading it, and I didn't feel despair at all for what either guy was going through. 

Despite the lack of intense drama, that doesn't mean that there weren't hurdles for Quinn and J.R. to overcome. They meet on a reality show cruise. Quinn is desperate to cut the apron strings with his stifling parents. J.R. is sick of his role as the "straight bad boy" on his reality show, and wants nothing more than to just be who he is for once - a nice gay man who loves acting and has an intense desire to take care of his parents and his sick brother. But, his agent thinks that coming out publicly will harm his ability to get roles beyond the reality show. 

"My skin is tight, and I want to scream. I want to scream until I'm hoarse that this isn't who I am. That I'm so much more than the J.R. Butler they edit me to be on TV."

Quinn came along at the wrong time, and I get why J.R. was feeling so backed into a corner. He finally found someone he wanted to be with, but if he wanted to keep on making the kind of money his family needs, he had to keep pretending to be straight. It really was an impossible situation. I loved how J.R. tried to steal moments with Quinn where and when he could. Those moments were sweet and poignant and so, SO hot. 

I also like how J.R. is up front with Quinn about why they have to sneak around. They were very honest with each other about their situations and their feelings, and that's so refreshing. I hate when couples play games and hide things from one another. Quinn and J.R. had enough to deal with - at least they were up front about it all.

Since we first met Quinn in book two, as he's BFFs with Colin's sister, AND since Riley is good friends with Landry, there is a point in the book where we do catch up with both previous couples - Colin and Riley and Justin and Landry. I LOVE that Megan Erickson gives us those moments in her books. 

In Out of Frame, we're introduced to Levi, who will be the subject of the next In Focus book, and I can't wait to see what's in store for him and what awesome feels Megan Erickson will subject us to next. 

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