MtSnow reviews Status Update (Gaymers Book 1) by Annabeth Albert, narrated by Sean Crisden. Published March 21st, 2016 by Harlequin Audio. Original print version was published December 7th, 2015
Why MtSnow reviewed this book – Always had a love for geeks, and the idea of a video game developer and an archeologist getting together sounded right up my alley.
Note: a copy of this audiobook was purchased by the reviewer, and is not an ARC copy.
BLURB: Adrian Gottlieb is winning at life. He’s a successful video game designer with everything a man could ask for, including a warm comfy ride to Denver and a date for his sister’s wedding. But he finds himself in need of a total reboot when he’s left stranded at a snowy campground in Utah. Holiday plans? Epic fail.
That is until Noah Walters offers him shelter for the night and a reluctant cross-country ride. Nothing about the ultraconservative geoarchaeologist should attract Adrian, but once he discovers Noah’s hidden love for video games, the two connect on a new level. Soon, a quiet but undeniable chemistry sparks.
Something doesn’t add up, though. As the miles accumulate and time runs out, Noah must face the most difficult choice of his life. Meanwhile, Adrian must decide whether he’s ready to level up. Is their relationship status worth fighting for, or has this game ended before it’s even begun?
Noah and Adrian are a couple of guys that I couldn’t imagine being together until I realized that yes, they do have some things in common. Most specifically, a love of video games. I must admit, that THERE was the hook that made me want to read this series as I hadn’t really seen it as a theme in the genre yet. And the idea of a staid, stuffy professor that works at an ultra-conservative religious institute reluctantly pairing up with a (on the outside at least) young, happy-go-lucky video game developer sounded interesting.
The setup on this story actually worked for me, more-so because I’ve been to Utah, Colorado, and Los Angeles, so it became very easy for me to imagine this reluctant road trip. And the fact that Adrian meets the guy who leaves him, minus ALL his belongings: no shoes, wallet, coat – what a jerk! Then you find out Adrian has only JUST met the guy in person on this RV trip, and gets abandoned with his sweet little dog with him, but thought he KNEW this guy, because Adrian is the ‘master’ of long distance relationships? Good grief. He’s been ‘dating’ the jerk that left him via email for six months. And Adrian’s tendency to pick long distance relationships comes up later. That, and the fact he feels like the black sheep in his family of successful doctors and lawyers all give us better picture why Adrian seems to continually self-sabotage himself.
Noah, the professor? Well he’s a SERIOUS closet case. And I felt so sad for him because he really had himself convinced he didn’t deserve happiness, including the white picket fence, marriage partner, 2.0 kids and a dog. It’s like his whole life he has felt the need to punish himself as he hears the voice of his judgmental father in his head daily, after he was ‘found out’ as an impressionable teen with magazines under his mattress. And then he just assumes the rest of his family feels the same, so locks it all away inside, afraid to even visit his sister or mother in the Carolina’s because he’s sure they’ll ‘see’.
I enjoyed the gaming theme and appreciate how the author worked the video games into this series. The gamer talk and the way playing the video games became an icebreaker in different scenarios was refreshing and a new twist on an old subject, this one being more of a May-December romance. And, interestingly enough, the young/older partnership worked well here due to the level of maturity and desire to settle down with a family of his own that each Adrian and Noah both had in common, even though it took forever for them to get to the point where they realized the other person wanted the same as him!
To address the audiobook, I have to say that Sean Crisden is always a dependable go-to narrator for me. Nothing overly exciting, but pleasant to listen to. The only thing I wish had been a bit more emphasized was the Carolina accent of Noah. If I’d been reading the story, I’d have heard him differently, whereas Sean basically had him sounding more mature, but not southern.
And as for the cover, I guess I wish the publisher had done something more creative with the faded pinkish/purple photography, and played on the video games theme, as the covers in this series don’t look overall very interesting to me. They look faded and dated. But the story inside is a jewel and I can imagine myself relistening to this series. I enjoyed this book, and the next very much, and already have audiobook 3 on preorder!
If you love geeks of a different flavor getting together, family, dogs, road trips and soul-searching in your romance, I think you’ll love this series. Despite the bits of angst, this was a fun story, and I’m going to be rereading this one for sure. Definitely worth checking this author out. Highly recommended!
I give this audiobook a 9 out of 10 rating. This is equivalent to 4.5 of 5 stars, or 90% out of 100% recommended.
Where to buy:
Frequent tweeter, professional grammar nerd, and obsessive reader, Annabeth Albert is also a Pacific Northwest romance writer in a variety of subgenres.
Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two toddlers.
Website – http://www.annabethalbert.com