Welcome to the Life on Pause blog tour! Follow along as I stop off at several blogs this week to learn more about this small town m/m romance, which follows a nerdy museum worker and a high school choir teacher as they watch way too much sci-fi on Netflix, wear ridiculous historical costumes, and fall in love.
Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a $20 Riptide Publishing gift card!
About Life on Pause
Niles Longfellow is a nerd, and not the trendy type of nerd, either. He wears a historically accurate homesteader costume to work every day, has a total of one friend, and doesn’t know how to talk to guys. So when he gets a flat tire and the hottest hipster ever stops to help him, all Niles can think is that he’s wearing his stupid cowboy getup. Normally, Niles feels invisible to other men, but he’d take that invisibility any day over Rusty Adams seeing him in suede and fringe.
Rusty moved to Bison Hills to help his sister raise her daughter, and nothing is more important to him than that. He’s also fresh off a breakup, and isn’t prepared for anything complicated. But then he meets Niles. Rusty sees Niles as more than a clumsy, insecure guy in a costume. He sees a man who is funny, quirky, and unexpected.
Nothing about their connection is simple, though, especially the lies and insecurities between them. Niles doesn’t know if he can trust Rusty with his heart, and when Rusty’s sister decides to move away, Rusty doesn’t know if he can stay behind.
Available now from Riptide Publishing. http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/life-on-pause
Oh my gosh, what a feels-palooza! I was blown away by Erin McLellan’s debut novel, Controlled Burn, and had high expectations for Life on Pause, which totally delivered.
One of the things I was most impressed with in her first book was the way McLellan puts personal growth at the forefront of the story, and that is definitely the case in Life on Pause as well. This is a romance, yes, but the romance between Rusty and Niles doesn’t drive the story. In fact, they aren’t even a couple for a good 50% of it. Instead, we watch as Rusty and Niles (in dual third-person POV) face the struggles life has thrown at them.
My heart continually broke for Niles. He’s living in his family home, which is almost a time capsule of his parents, his mother who passed away from cancer and his father who suffered two strokes and is living in an assisted care facility with a poor prognosis. He is painfully, almost debilitatingly insecure and shy. Without his parents, and with his one friend working on a cruise ship and not nearby, he’s lapsed almost into stasis. He has never had a relationship, and his only sexual experiences have been anonymous hookups in bar bathrooms or backseats. He doesn’t think he’s worth more than that. Seriously, my heart broke for him constantly. I absolutely loved watching him come into himself as the story progressed, standing up for himself against bullies, against Rusty, and even against himself.
Rusty was such an honest character, IMO. Not in, like, he always tells the truth, because whoo boy is that not the case. But he was realistic and a reflection of an actual human being, not a two-dimensional, perfect love interest. I had some issues with some of his choices and actions, but his reasoning behind it was such that I completely understood why he does what he does. I might not have liked it – I might have raged at my Kindle a few times because seriously, miscommunication is my least favorite trope ever – but I understood it and could actually see why he thought the way he thought. And in case you missed that, poor communication is HUGE here. Like, it’s basically the entire plot. As I said, that’s normally something that I completely hate, but for some reason, it worked for me in this story.
And side note, this book contains one of the absolute hottest sex scenes I’ve ever read. If that’s one of the things that you look for in a romance book, this one has it. Chapter seven. Get on it.
Another note: superb bi rep. Rusty is bisexual and owns it, and there is very little to no bi-erasure in this story. The one or two times characters mislabeled him or dismissed his bisexuality, Rusty shut that shit down ASAP. It was awesomely refreshing. Another win was the side characters. I loved Niles’ best friend, Victor. LOVED HIM. I’m not sure if we’ll get his story (maybe? please?) but if we do, I’ll be all over that like a fat kid on cake. And Rusty’s family, his sister Jackie and niece Margo, were absolutely amazing. I was kind of meh on Rusty’s ex, Todd. I see potential in him, though, so maybe this won’t be the last we see of him.
I really only have two small complaints, one being the same as I had with Controlled Burn – the book is a bit too long and drags in places, namely around 50-70%. It could’ve been tightened up a bit, removing a couple of scenes that seemed extraneous. Secondly, we don’t get to see a lot of the early relationship/friendship building on-page – it’s summarized and referenced at various parts of the story, but we don’t experience it, which made it a little harder for me to really feel the connection between Niles and Rusty, especially when things were so difficult for them.
Overall, this book was overwhelmingly a win for me. Erin McLellan continues to be an author to watch and I can’t wait to see what she publishes next.
An advance copy of this book was received through NetGalley for review on OMGReads.
About Erin McLellan
Erin McLellan writes contemporary romance, often set in the South or Midwest—particularly Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas—with characters that are complex, good-hearted, and sometimes a little quirky. Erin likes her stories to have a sexy spark and a happily ever after.
Erin has a bachelor’s degree in creative writing from Oklahoma State University and a master’s degree in library and information studies from the University of Oklahoma. She has always enjoyed writing, but becoming a librarian and meeting enthusiastic romance readers helped her find her own writing passion. Now Erin cheerfully writes romance with characters across the LGBTQIA spectrum. A former public librarian, she still enjoys being surrounded by books and readers, but Erin hopes to find her stories on the shelves as well.
Originally from Oklahoma, she currently lives in Alaska with her husband, and spends her time dreaming up love stories set in the Great Plains. She is a lover of chocolate, college sports, antiquing, Dr Pepper, and binge-worthy TV shows.
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To celebrate the release of Life on Pause, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 4, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.
Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!