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"Finally, from so little sleep and so much reading, her brain dried up and she went completely out of her mind."

I've renamed this, "The Book That Never Ends"

Raising Shawna - Vicktor Alexander

The first half I was pretty on board with. It wasn't perfect, but the little twist with Shane's brother was cute and done well. It gave a splash of other but didn't quite feel paranormal. Shane gets Shawna, he meets Tucker, a little havoc ensues, some healing happens... and then the book should have ended. A solid 3 stars. The problem? It didn't.

The rest could have been a whole second book and it would have been pretty good, but added on to the first it just became over-saturated. I found myself rolling my eyes at all the lovey-dovey mush spewing from Shane and Tucker, and rolling my eyes at the repeated joke of how stinky it is after they have sex, and getting fed-up with all the ridiculous and inappropriate places they have sex.  Unfortunately, it all just became too much for me.

A common problem for some authors is when they 'tell' and don't 'show'. I wouldn't exactly say that's the case here, Mr. Alexander showed, but then he preceded to tell, and tell, and tell some more. It got a bit preachy in places. The author pulled from his own experiences and I think he addressed some important issues. But he was able to convey Shane's struggles as a black gay man in Florida very well, without then adding a random and unrelated-to-the-plot hate crime. Add to that a long monologue from one of the officers about her black husbands struggles and how difficult it is. We get it. We got it before, subtly is key. It happened again with their Minister, a very dramatic sermon about the mistranslation in the Bible about what 'unnatural' means. I actually found that very interesting, but it was the delivery and the drama of having more than half the congregation walk out that hit me sour.

Added to that, there were some small inconsistencies that were memorable. During the hate crime, Shane comments that he should have let Stephen teach him how to fight. Then later he says, "Growing up in the foster care system, he'd learned all about protecting himself." And Stephen talking to Tucker says he's not gay, is in fact "I am one-hundred percent heterosexual" but then later tell Shane the story about coming out as bi to his parents. Tuckers entire family can apparently take an endless amount of time off work, why didn't the author just have them living locally in the first place? And they never explained why Tucker didn't tell Shane about them. That made no sense.

There was also the oh-so-obvious set-up of future couples. I actually like getting a hint of a future-book-couple normally, but the two presented here were both so sudden, and again, unrelated to the plot of this story that it was off-putting.

And personally, I found the humor campy and a little sit-comy. Everyone blanching every time Tuckers mom says something dirty, although she does it all the freaken time.

Lastly, it got a little too religious at the end for me. Religious might not be the right word, but again, less subtle than I would have preferred. As I mentioned, I liked that there was just a hint of the 'paranormal' or 'other' element in this, and it went from a hint to an avalanche. Too much.

Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, reviewed for Hearts On Fire