Z.A. Maxfield
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Loose Id
Release Date
September 2012
Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ

Jeff Paxton came home from Afghanistan looking for roots. Instead his pregnant sister talks him into a job babysitting the volatile megastar Nigel Gasp. Nigel is stubborn, needy, and determined to be the center of attention everywhere he goes. Before long, Jeff realizes that something is bothering Gasp, and that keeping him out of trouble might be more difficult than he thought.

Nigel never planned on getting old. He simply assumed a hard drinking, hard partying lifestyle would take care of that. Now that he's turning forty, he's depressed and a little bit desperate. To Nigel, forty seems like a fine age to deposit his DNA and check out while he's still on top.

The last thing Jeff needs is to fall in love with Nigel Gasp. The last thing Nigel expects is a whole new reason to live. But how can Jeff put down roots with a man who is never in the same place twice?

Love can be shocking. Gasp!

Book Review by Valentina Heart (author,reviewer)
Oct 04, 2012   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
126 people found the following review helpful
Sometimes a book will leave you with a lot to say, and while that can on occasion be negative, in most cases, if the book is talked about, it means if has something to offer. That said, did we even doubt Z.A.Maxfield?

Nigel is a rock star approaching forty who isn't dealing well with his age or his place at the top of the world. He feels he's accomplished everything he'd set out to do, and if you ask him – frankly, he didn't even expect to live to be forty. A handful at the best of times, now, with a death wish and unlimited energy, Nigel Gasp is a fan's dream come true, but a keeper's worse nightmare.

Jeff is just that, a keeper asked by Deidre, Jeff's sister and Nigel's manager, to watch over Nigel and basically give him everything he wants, fulfill his every wish and, on top of that, to avoid any type of scandal related to Nigel. Way easier said than done, because Nigel is driving the ex-soldier out of his loving mind and after one incident too many, Jeff shows what he's made of and the story twists into a slightly different direction.

To start off, I really did like this story. It started a bit slow for my taste, but the characters were interesting enough and the compelling plot kept me going. But since this is one of those stories and I am left with a lot to say, let's get to it.

What put me off from the start were the relationships. That might sound strange but Deidre is Jeff's sister and Nigel's best friend, someone who should be really close to them, right? Well, I didn't quite see it that way. Lack of emotion on her part was explained by her inability to grasp matters of the heart and, as a result, she came out cold and harsh. Yeah, that explanation didn't really work for me. In my opinion, the whole story of family came out weak because Jeff was shut out most of the time and Nigel, who was often referred to as the sun with everything revolving around him, got left out in the most important moments or disregarded when things got serious. Maybe it just struck me as strange or unfair because of my own experiences, but since I'm writing this review and this is my opinion, I can easily say that I would have been really hurt if I were treated by my family in the same way.

Jeff is a great character, someone who's been through a lot and has been away from home and his family for a long time. And yet, once he comes back, he sort of falls into the background for his mother and sister. I didn't expect them to cuddle him, but some consideration, a sign that they actually missed him, would have been nice. Instead it's the exact opposite where he's close to a stranger and someone who has less trouble telling his secrets (not that many were revealed) to a spoiled rock star than his own family. So yes, the way the characters were with each other seemed off to me and I never quite managed to get used to it.

Crossdressing, something that will probably attract many of you toward this book, was probably one of my favorite parts of it. It's not really significant for the story, but it's a big part of Nigel, who was truly amazing in each of his roles and whose talent screamed off of every page. Still, I found it a bit disconnected from the character and while I loved the idea as well as Nigel in his different personas, they weren't really clicking well into the rest of the later plot.

Time jumps that started abruptly took a lot as well, and I felt at times that the best parts were skipped, parts that were essential for us to see what exactly made Jeff and Nigel stick together, what made them special to each other and what Jeff could in the end offer to someone who's passed through hundreds of beds and tried out more than enough ass - because let's face it, Nigel is a rock star, he got plenty.

For such a great setting, I missed a bit more star spirit, Nigel in his fame element, and I definitely missed the army guy Jeff was supposed to be. There's plenty of consequences, don't get me wrong, but the army marked such a huge part of Jeff's life and I was denied that, the little details that made him tick and the past that resulted in the person I got to meet.

The most brilliant part of GASP! came in chapter twenty four when Nigel became truly real for me and decided on the final rating of this book. His words touched me, and I finally got to see the real person, the one behind all the empty words and perfects masks. He was suddenly vulnerable, he had feelings, hopes and weaknesses, he was afraid and, for me, perfect. It was who Nigel was supposed to be from get go and whose appearance sooner would have made this book grand.

But with that, it's time to finish my rant and say that I enjoyed this book. There is talent to go around, ego as well. Easy moments are perfect to let your mind float, to go to that different world where fame is right there in front of you in the form of a rock star, and the dramas revolving around the high life will make your heart ache. This story might make you complain, go on and on about injustice and things that made no sense to you, but the chances are, when you reach that last page, you will still love GASP!

Disclaimer: The reviewer is also a published author with Loose Id.
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