Wednesday, May 31, 2017

[Review]: "On Point"

romance novel covers, m/m romance, On Point by Annabeth Albert
On Point by Annabeth Albert
Publisher: Carina Press (June 1, 2017)
Series: Out of Uniform, 3
Genre: M/M Romance -- Military/Contemporary 

Never fall for your best friend…

Pushing thirty, with his reenlistment looming, decorated navy sniper Maddox Horvat is taking a long look at what he really wants in life. And what he wants is Ben Tovey. It isn’t smart, falling for his best friend and fellow SEAL, but ten years with Ben has forged a bond so intimate Maddox can’t ignore it. He needs Ben by his side forever—heart and soul.

Ben admits he likes what he’s seen—his friend’s full lower lip and the perfect muscles of his ass have proved distracting more than once. But Ben's still reeling from a relationship gone to hell, and he's not about to screw up his friendship with Maddox, too.

Until their next mission throws Ben and Maddox closer together than ever before, with only each other to depend on.

Now, in the lonely, desperate hours awaiting rescue, the real challenge—confronting themselves, their future and their desires—begins. Man to man, friend to friend, lover to lover.

Where to Buy*:
More Info:

Reviews of Albert's Previous Novels:

Status Update (#1) -- TBQ
Beta Test (#2) -- TBQ
Connection Error (#3) -- TBQ

Treble Maker (#1) -- TBQ

My Review:

It was so classic Maddox to support him when he needed it most but to also call him on his behavior.

I’ve been looking forward to Ben and Maddox’s story since book 1. And while overall I really enjoyed On Point, I’m not going to lie: I was a bit disappointed, too. A solid read, but definitely not my favorite from Albert, and it didn’t hit as high on my list as I had expected while waiting for the book. Then again, sometimes that happens: the anticipation is so high that it’s inevitable there’s some letdown when you finally read it.

I really enjoyed the first 30% or so; Ben and Maddox are on a mission, but things go south and they get separated from the rest of their team. Seriously injured after a fall, they must try and make it through the jungle, avoid the enemy out to get them, and make it to the second ravenous point. Those chapters were not at all easy, as these two are literally fighting for their lives, each wanting to save the other, even if the only way to do so is for Maddox, who was more critically injured, to sacrifice himself and let Ben go ahead and find the team. Of course they’re both stubborn and Ben refuses to do this, literally dragging his best friend out of the jungle when he hears his team up ahead. They do get out, and while things are iffy for a bit while both men are rushed to get medical attention, everything is okay in the end (duh, romance!). Still, I fully admit my heart was in my throat through all of this, worried that something could happen to one or both, and hurting at the thought of it. So props to Albert for the writing here, for the high-octane feel and the deep worry over these two men.

During those chapters, both men had flashbacks about various memories of their years as friends – and their one time of pushing the boundary of friends into the territory of lovers (in the form of a super hot voyeuristic/threesome scene – Ben had brought home a man, and Maddox mostly watched as the two fooled around, before the other man blew Maddox while Ben watched). All these memories helped to add more depth and backstory (…duh, sorry) to their friendship and relationship, to show just how close they are, how much they mean to one another. Like I said, I very much enjoyed this part of the book.

Once they’re home safe and starting the long healing journey, they must also continue to dance around the fact that they’re both tempted by wanting more but afraid to ruin their friendship to reach for it. And dance around they do, for much of the book. Which was a bit frustrating, though they did have some fantastic chemistry, and that at least comes into play long before they finally settle on relationship labels/status. On the one hand, I can understand why they were both fearful of starting anything; on the other hand, the push-pull-push got a bit annoying after a bit.

"Being the best at something doesn't mean you're happy doing it."

But, push-pull bits aside, a good majority of their story was still quite enjoyable. But then I started getting pissed at Ben and his constant single-minded focus that Maddox MUST want to still be a SEAL, not caring to talk to his friend or hell, even really listen to his friend and what he actually wanted from life. Yes, in the final chapter or so, Ben does apologize and grovel for things he did, including the fact that he was an ass to make Maddox feel bad for wanting to go after his own dreams rather than stay in the Navy and keep Ben company until they retired into the sunset. But it was too little, too late for me because by the time the grovel came, I’d had to sit through a large portion of this book with Ben thinking only of himself and what he wanted, pushing his own “dream” onto Maddox rather than listening to what Maddox wanted for himself – even as Maddox was making it so clear that everyone else could see how he felt about re-uping, just not Ben. All of this also made it harder for me to really connect and love Ben, though I admit I also felt a bit disconnected from Maddox’s character, too, though I can’t quite pinpoint why.

So, yes, there were bits that frustrated me, and let me down a bit from what I expected leading up to their story. But it’s clear why I was so excited to get their story; I mean, who can resist friends-to-lovers, especially with two SEAL buddies AND one hero who’s just as kickass of a SEAL as he is a baker? Yes, please! And, for the most part, that was all good, don’t get me wrong! But I was left wanting more, while also wanting a bit less of Ben’s selfish pushing.

"Feels so good. Perfect," Maddox murmured, hands stroking Ben's thighs and ass.

"Yeah, it is." Ben looked down at him, tenderness making his voice rough.

"Why do we keep getting in our own way?" Maddox looked up at him, eyes dark pools. "Hate arguing with you. Hate fighting. Just want to make you happy."

"You do." Ben was far less capable of stringing together words than Maddox right then, so he bent forward, claiming Maddox's mouth in a bruising kiss, trying to tell him with his lips how much he cared, how happy Maddox made him, how crappy it had been not to get to claim him all evening, how much he'd needed this all damn day. All his damn life, if he were being truly honest. Couldn't remember ever not needing Maddox like this.

As I said, their chemistry was off the charts. In true Albert fashion, their sex life doesn’t revolve around anal. And this isn’t JUST because the two were battling healing injuries for so long. I always appreciate the hot sex outside of PIA – though those scenes are just as sexy and satisfying as the BJs, handjobs, etc. I believed their chemistry, believed their friendship, and generally really liked these two together. But something in the execution of the romance and story was off just enough for my rating to slip down to a (still very respectable!) 4 stars, rather than the higher rating that many of Albert’s previous books have received from me.

While this one wasn’t my favorite from Albert, it definitely wasn’t my least favorite either, falling in the middle at a solid “good”. I had some minor complaints, sure, but I still did enjoy reading their story. Although this one isn’t the one I’d rec first to a newbie reader (I’d go with one of my top favorites from her), I would still recommend On Point to readers who want a friends-to-lovers romance between two SEALs. There’s a glimpse of the next book at the end of this one, and I’m definitely curious to see how it turns out – sounds like the two men meet IRL only after they had been anonymously chatting online (hook up app, I think?). Regardless, I’m very much looking forward to whatever Albert has lined up next. 


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I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley.

*Note: The quotes used belong to Annabeth Albert; TBQ's Book Palace does not claim them. Any mistakes or typos in the quotes are my own fault.

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I didn't even share quotes on Twitter this time around -- for whatever reason, I didn't highlight more than one or two (above). That's not like me at all...


Until Next Time,


  *TBQ's Book Palace is a member of both the Amazon and Barnes and Nobles affiliates program. By using the links provided to buy products from either website, I receive a very small percentage of the order. To read my full disclosure on the matter, please see this post!

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