I want to know your story. I want to be more than a footnote to this chapter of your life.
At any other days, the level of homophobic behavior coming from Zack’s parents and military ‘buddy’ will turn me off faster than a speeding train. I realize that homophobic attitude is real and it’s a present problem, but I also have come to a place in my reading M/M preference that I want to embrace the happiness/positive representation instead. I wonder if the holiday season helps me to enjoy this book better. I usually feel mellow this time of year — and more forgiving.
Because of that, I wasn’t too bothered with the way Zack handled his closeted self, his keeping secret of his sexuality to his parents, and Zack’s inability to stand up to himself against his SEAL buddies when the gay jokes become too much and enter the blackmail/hostile/bullying territory. Yes, I may be frustrated — Zack is a SEAL albeit still in training, he should be a bad ass! — but I was able to understand his choices.
I will stand with my belief that coming out is personal — and not everyone is brave enough to do it with variety of reasons. I should know. I still haven’t come out to my parents in real life about my asexuality; although my sister knows.
I will not scoff Zack for trying to keep his relationship with Pike a secret — even from people who can and will understand. Besides, there are moments where Zack is willing to step up, like accompanying Pike to the campus art gallery show, or when he console Pack at the vet’s office. I couldn’t be too annoyed by his attitudes… heck, even Pike’s cats love him.
Of course there were also times that I thought of Pike being too much of a kindhearted saint for his sake. I loved Pike for understanding of Zack’s fear. I loved Pike for not pushing Zack before his lover was ready. I wanted to hug Pike so badly when he thought that he might not have the future he wanted with Zack, and had his heart broken.
The thing is, when Zack and Pike are together, they are wonderful. I loved when Zack started to open up to Pike. I loved their romantic moments, in the bathroom, in the bedroom, just at the comfort (and safe) of their home. Their moments were sweet and made me very happy.
I thought Albert was able to balance out the bad situation with the support from Zack and Pike’s friends, as well as showing other military characters who are out with their sexuality. I also thought that the focus of Zack when he was off base with Pike helped ease the bitter taste I had to go through whenever I read that SEAL buddy of Zack making his nasty taunts.
In overall, I love this start of Albert’s new series. Cannot wait to read the next book, At Attention coming in April 2017. There is already a lieutenant with a sad story and I want him to have his HEA.
A little trivia, Off Base is a spin-off from Annabeth Albert’s #gaymers series. Both Zack and Pike first appeared in the third book, Connection Error: Zack is Ryan’s roommate and Pike is Josiah’s friend who’s obsessed with military guys. In fact Ryan and Josiah make their appearance here as well (and Ryan have an update on his relationship with Josiah!).
The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.
Title: Off Base
Author: Annabeth Albert
Series: Out Of Uniform, #1
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 73,000 words
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: May 30, 2015