Erryn and Marc review ‘Buzz (The Riley Brothers Book 1)’ by E. Davies. This book was released by the author on November 24, 2015 and is about 302 pgs long. The audiobook version of this story was narrated by Michael Pauley, released on December 13, 2017 and is 7 hrs and 15 mins long. Copies were provided in exchange for honest reviews.
Why I read this book:
[Erryn] I love to try new authors and this seemed like a great E. Davies book to start with.
[Marc| I met the author at Euro Pride Con and GRL and LOVED what he had to say on panels. I wanted to check out one of his books and read ‘Flaunt’, which was amazing, so when he released his first audiobook and we were able to get codes, I needed to listen to it.
“We can’t guarantee your life if you keep playing.”
At twenty-three, an undiagnosed heart condition sends pro hockey player Cameron Riley back to his hometown newly single and looking for work. Cam can’t hide his past – especially when his heart racing is a big risk, and boy, does his new boss’s nephew make his heart race. Noah’s exactly the kind of guy Cam needs after his hellish ex.
“I want to do something new.”
Art curator Noah Clark is glad his beekeeping uncle hired this hunk. Cameron is a sweet, smart bad boy. Noah works hard, like organizing a hockey-themed art exhibition, and he wants to let himself love hard. Noah’s busy life would be perfect with Cameron, but what’s his new lover hiding?
“Tell me why you’ve been watching me.”
Pitting Cam’s budding relationship with sweet Noah against millions of bucks, Cam is offered a lot of money to abandon his new priorities: life, love, and family. The game of their lives is on the line. And after all’s said and done, is it too late for Noah to forgive Cam for his partial truths?
***NOTE – this e-book is free on Amazon***
This was my first E. Davies book and I’m already a fan. I was up for a low-angst book with two great men, two sexy brothers, and an adorable beekeeping uncle, and parents who accept their sons for who they are.
The prologue starts with a bang, and chapter one continues that drama, only in a different venue.
Cam Riley plays hockey on a professional team, just one step below the NHL (National Hockey League). He plays in Toronto –a hotbed of hockey fans. Even though the beloved pro team – the Toronto Maple Leafs, have one of the longest Stanley Cup droughts in the history of the league, Leafs fans stand by their team, convinced that this year will be ‘the one’. With Austin Matthews on their team, it’s a near-future possibility.
But I digress.
I love books set in Canada – bias here, I admit – Especially books that portray this vast country in such an accurate way.
Montreal drivers are angry (sorry, it’s true and I have firsthand experience). Toronto, according to Cam’s brother Jackson, is a ‘soul-sucking hellhole at the best of times’. There’s a truth to that. Again, firsthand experience. If you don’t have friends and family to keep you grounded, it can be very lonely. Cam’s hockey buddies are great, but they are enjoying the freedom of living in the big city with lots of people who love hockey. And the one boyfriend Cam had? True jerk.
Finally, there is the small-town life. Fredericton, New Brunswick isn’t a one-light town, but with the city filled with Maritimers, it can feel like everyone is a friend. It’s a place where a former hockey pro with an undiagnosed heart problem can meet a cute guy and secure a job at the Saturday morning Farmer’s Market.
Noah Clark is manning his uncle’s honey stand while the older man tends to a beehive emergency. And when he meets a hunky guy who’s returning to town and looking for a job (and he’s gay!), Noah considers himself a lucky guy. He’s an art curator and a bit on the feminine side. Many men find that a turnoff, but he is exactly Cam’s type.
Thus begins a series of dates with a slow burn of escalating passion. Noah is wary of people because often people who leave New Brunswick don’t come back. Also, this amazing man wants to build boxes and learn to tend bees. It seems too good to be true.
And maybe it is – because Cam is still in the hockey scouts’ sights and when one makes him an offer, he has a choice to make.
I love that this is a book about family as much as romantic love. Noah misses his family back in Ottawa, but his job in Fredericton is good for his career and his Uncle Billy is there.
Cam is the middle brother. Jackson is the eldest and came out early in high school. Because of being a jock, Cam wasn’t ‘out’. Thomas, the youngest, was the one who was bullied because everyone thought he was gay. His sexuality is a non-issue as he never discusses his personal life, never mentioning a boy or girl friend. He also points out that the statistical odds of three brothers being gay are astronomical.
Given there are more books, it will be interesting to see how the story develops.
(That having been said, ‘Clang’, which is Book 2, is Jackson’s book and ‘Swish’, the final book in the series, is Thomas’ story. I’m hoping they will be released on audio soon).
As I said, low-angst, great storyline, and then there’s Michael Pauley. He’s a narrator who delivers a solid performance every time. Even his pronunciation of French words such as beurre and Trois-Rivieres, is done valiantly and with a degree of accuracy, so good for him. As always, he is a treat to listen to.
9/10 Points of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars
It was a joy to listen to this book. It was low angst, without being boring and sweet, without giving me a sugar shock. That is a hard balance to achieve. I have to admit that I tend to go for the more angsty books that crush my heart in a thousand pieces and then knit it together again. Now and again, a story like this is a nice change of pace and a much needed break, though. There are several developments with angst potential, but those external conflicts are usually resolved in a non dramatic and realistic way. It is all about choices and consequences (good and bad).
I love reading about Hockey and though I do not follow the sport, I have learned quite a bit about it through books. I enjoyed that aspect of the book, like meeting the team and seeing their bond, but it is not the main focus. It is more about that dream that has almost become a reality and how hard it is to let go and move on. And how seductive it is even then to be lured back. It was easy to see the thrill Cam got from the competitiveness of it (and being very good) and the team aspect, even when only playing for fun. I loved Cam’s new job even more, though. For me bee keeping is so exotic and unknown that it was a personal highlight to read about it. I love learning new things and seeing characters strive in unexpected places and situations. Noah’s uncle Billy, who gives the job to Cam, is also an awesome, supportive guy and I loved him from the beginning. They make a good team and it was nice that the job connects Cam to Noah’s family.
Noah’s enthusiasm for Hockey, even playing himself, was also very nice to see. There are far too few ‘femme’ characters in the M/M romances I have read and it was wonderful to see that Noah not only is completely fine with who he is, but also shows how stupid sterotypes are and crushes them. He may have a slight lisp at times, but that does not mean that his words are any less meaningful. He loves to play hockey and is awesome at organizing his team and exhibitions at the museum or fund raisers. Other characters (and I) have a lot of respect for his drive and his achievements and he is such a nice character that he quickly burrowed his way into my heart.
From the very beginning, Noah and Cam have a wonderful chemistry and just fit together. They both had crappy relationships in the past, but find something new and special in each other. This kind of chemistry is so important in a romance and seeing how well these likable characters fit together makes readers root for them. And it makes it a joy to ‘see’ them connect in an intimate way. They are hot together 🙂
Another very important aspect about the book is family, though. I loved the secondary characters, especially the other Riley brothers. Which is good, considering they are the MCs in their own books and like Erryn I can’t wait for the sequels on audio. Michael Pauley really does an amazing job with this narration and I really, really enjoyed listening to this audiobook. I smiled the entire time I listened to it and it just made me happy.
8.5/10 Points of Gold ( 85% Recommended) – Compares to 4.25/5 Stars
E. Davies was proficient in real estate ad shorthand (the old-fashioned newspaper kind) by the age of nine. Growing up moving constantly taught him what people have in common, the ways relationships are formed, and the dangers of “miscellaneous” boxes.
As a teen, he tore through a stack of found romance novels, wishing someone had written similar for M/M, though he could never find anything at Chapters or the library. Just after graduating university in 2013, semi-out and clutching his English B.A. for dear life, he stumbled on an Amazon M/M short story. It was a whole new… phrase he dares not repeat for fear of lawyers. It shone and shimmered splendidly, though.
After failing forty times to avoid crafting happily-ever-after endings for steamy short stories, he plunged into romance novels and hasn’t looked back. As a young gay author whose formative gay fictional role models were characters punished for their sexuality, Ed prefers his stories lightly dramatic, full of optimism and hope.
Now out and proud, he writes full-time, goes on long nature walks, tries to fill his passport, drinks piña coladas on the beach, flees from cute guys, coos over fuzzy animals (especially bees), and is liable to tilt his head and click his tongue if you don’t use your turn signal.
To find out when E. Davies has a new release, you can subscribe to his newsletter at edaviesbooks.com/subscribe, like his Facebook page at facebook.com/edaviesbooks, or visit his website at edaviesbooks.com.