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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Paint the Stars (Free Fall #3) [Ezra & Dae] by Christina Lee & Nyrae Dawn

Ezra and Dae story was truly unique, we already knew it has to be from the previous installments. Ezra is an introvert, who and how can anyone break into his inner shell? That's where Dae comes in. It was really sweet seeing them become friends and slowly morph into a couple almost without both realizing they are actually "there", in love and together. Unlike SO many romance stories it was simply refreshing seeing the friendship buildup BEFORE the steam begins. 

Ezra is a very interesting character and yet I found it at times a bit hard to truly understand and therefore relate to him. His emotions are hidden beneath layer and layers of fears and a difficulty to connect and interact with others. He has his friends - his two previous roommates Gabriel and Conner and their boyfriends Lucas and Jamie, and Henry his friend from college, yet he mostly sits by himself at home and paints. That's his true passion and the way he expresses his deeper emotions. 

Dae is a care-free kinda guy. He is a flirt, he enjoys life and he doesn't want to settle down as long as he "doesn't have to". His parents had him when they were 16 and 17 and through their loving connection they encourage him to explore life in a way they weren't able to in their time. He studies psychology, he works as a yoga instructor and even finds time to volunteer - he has a lot on his schedule, yet he doesn't mind "babysitting" Ezra two times a week when Ezra is painting the walls in the yoga center he works at. Someone has to be with Ezra since he is working after closing time and so this is how they become friends. Twice a week Dae stays late with Ezra, he studies while Ezra paints. 

Dae, being the flirt that he is, keeps coming on to Ezra. He likes what he sees, and so he tries his best to catch Ezra's interest. Yet he doesn't get anywhere with his attempt up until Ezra tells him he is Ace (Asexual), or more specifically Demisexual which means he can only have a sexual relationship with someone he knows and trusts. That's a sort of turning point for them because THEN they start becoming friends or at least that's how I see it. before they were texting and talking but I think once Ezra opened up to Dae even if just a little bit, Dae started pursuing something differently with Ezra which allowed them to become much more than they were before. 

It was interesting seeing their friendship developing, seeing how Ezra kept him to himself, not sharing him with his friends at the beginning, yet once Dae started to be more important to him, he wanted to be with him and show how much he meant to him. With Ezra it's the gestures not the words which shows his feelings. Dae is good at reading those and good for Ezra period. He teaches him a little bit of meditation and enables him to be a little less of an introvert. I loved that he didn't want Ezra to change for him, but he did those little things that Ezra actually wanted. He DOES want to meet his friends, but going out of the house isn't always an easy decision for him. I could really relate to that. I'm not a true introvert, but I have, let's call it an introvert side and I see how some friends (the closer ones) are able to take me out of my closed box and how much it DOES mean for me to do that because I love spending time with my friends, and yet they know that pushing me isn't the way because I WANT to be in my own corner alone at times and not be disturbed. I felt Dae really respected Ezra and his way of living but at the same time they both did little adjustments so they could be together. They had more things that WEREN'T in common than the things they shared and yet they made it work. 

What stands in Ezra and Dae's way to happiness is mostly Ezra. Dae is willing to try, giving it a shot. He is truly there from the beginning, trying to see what happens between them. Ezra, well, that's something else entirely. He has two main issues to deal with, first his religious family and the fact his parents don't accept him for who he is. His sister is a help, but it's no always enough. The second issue is his past relationship with Ben, his boyfriend from college. The story there is clear and yet unclear. I wish we could have gotten a better emotional feel to what Ezra went through at the time. He is still not over Ben, I don't mean romantically, I mean the damage to his ability to trust and since it's THAT crucial for him in order to build any relationship he constantly second guessing himself and Dae - if he could be who he wants him to be. 

I enjoyed getting Ezra and Dae's story and yet there were things that were difficult for me. First, as I mentioned, I didn't FEEL Ezra enough. I'm not Dae as it seems. I got WHY he was hurt by Ben but I didn't FEEL how he hurt him. Also even when a resolve WAS possible it was done "off page" which really annoyed me which leads me to my second complaint, I felt we had too many missing pieces. Naturally in order to have a realistic relationship buildup the book needs to span a while. They can't form a friendship and trust in a week.. and so we get small chapters of Ezra and Dae together (and a little bit apart) but somehow I felt it was less fluid than I would have wanted. Because of the way the scenes / chapters were built, there were issues that happened and we didn't get to see how each character dealt with what happened, their inner feelings and thoughts. It felt "chopped". 

With my little misgivings I still loved their story and the way it was progressed. This book CAN be read as a standalone, nothing is revealed about the previous couples though I DO recommend reading them (you just don't have to do that in order... ;)). It's not easy writing a book about someone like Ezra, I feel it must have been a challenge, him being an introvert, his fears and difficulties, the fact that he is Demisexual. Yet Christina and Nyrae made it work! He found everything he could have wished for in Dae even if he wouldn't have guessed they were even a possible match. Dae wasn't even expecting to find this great love, he stumbled into it with his huge heart, peacefulness and optimism. With how much he appreciates the physical-emotional connection in meditation and yoga, Ezra with his limited emotional language also talks with his body and so it's no wonder Dae understands him the way he does. It was a beautiful journey to finding love. 

I kindly received this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion. 

This book is out TODAY on 20 February 2017 - 

Grab it now through the links below.

Read on:
13-16 Feb-2017

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