TITLE: Valor on the Move
AUTHOR: Keira Andrews
GENRE: LGBT Contemporary, Romance
TAG LINE: “He’d give his life to protect the president’s son. But he never expected to risk his heart.”
RATING: 1 Stars
SUMMARY: Growing up gay in the White House hasn’t been easy for Rafael Castillo. Codenamed “Valor” by the Secret Service, Rafa feels anything but brave as he hides in the closet and tries to stay below the radar in his last year of college. His father’s presidency is almost over, and he just needs to stick to his carefully crafted plan. Once his family’s out of the spotlight, he can be honest with his conservative parents about his sexuality and his dream of being a chef.
It’s definitely not part of Rafa’s plan to get a new Secret Service agent who’s a walking wet dream, but he’s made it this long keeping his desires to himself. Besides, it’s not like Shane Kendrick would even look at him twice if it wasn’t his job.
Shane’s worked his way up through the Secret Service ranks, and while protecting the president’s shy, boring son isn’t his dream White House assignment, it’s an easy enough task since no one pays Rafa much attention. He discovers there’s a vibrant young man beneath the timid public shell, and while he knows Rafa has a crush on him, he assures himself it’s harmless. Shane’s never had room for romance in his life, and he’d certainly never cross that line with a protectee. Keeping Rafa safe at any cost is Shane’s mission.
But as Rafa gets under his skin, will they both put their hearts on the line?
BUY LINKS: Amazon
I’ve been meaning to write this review for awhile. I was putting it off because I know I’m one of the few that didn’t like this book, and well, I hate saying bad things about novels, especially when I have nothing good to say about it.
I did finish it—so hey, that’s something—but I skimmed a huge chunk of the book. The writing wasn’t terrible. Keira Andrews has a style that’s very simplistic, not really igniting much spark, but still painting a basic enough picture that you get an idea of the characters and the environment. I’ve never read anything else from her, so I don’t know if this is a-typical of her writing, but I will admit, it was on the lackluster-side of things.
Going into Valor on the Move, I had high hopes. I love me some age gap, some forbidden love, and some interracial love. This book seemed like a tri-fecta. This is one of those situations where, when you think it’s too good to be true, you’re right. I’m going to try to break this down as succinctly as possible.
My first biggest issue was the writing. There was nothing that drew me in. I wasn’t eager to read the next page. I could set the book down, not come back, and even skip paragraphs and feel like I hadn’t missed anything. This also says much about the plot. There really wasn’t much of a plot, other than Rafa being whiny/sad. I get his plight, I do, but it didn’t make for an interesting read. There was some side plot about Rafa wanting to cook and not being able to. I didn’t understand why his parents thought it was too feminine to cook, especially since there are a lot of famous male chefs, a large chunk of who are heterosexual (since that’s the only reason I could glean from them being anti-cooking). It was a weak attempt at adding conflict and just didn’t really hold.
These weak conflicts carried on throughout the book. Towards the end, when Rafa is kidnapped, none of it made sense. The motive was poor. While I’ll give nod to the fact that Keira Andrews did do a good job of foreshadowing, it still came off as a stretch, and the execution was really messy.
I think what frustrated me most was that she had an opportunity to really make the story exciting, and she decided to go the safer route. Instead of giving us an amazing action scene with Shane, we had to read about Rafa being in a box. Personally, I believe that if you can’t write fight scenes, don’t set yourself up for them. Because you’re only going to let your readers down.
The characters were all really flat. I didn’t like any of them. None. Rafa was alright, but he got on my nerves. And he acted so much younger than his 21 years. Shane wasn’t much better. He was the opposite and came off very old. And while I don’t mind huge age gaps, it is an issue when your characters aren’t acting their appointed ages.
I didn’t get Rafa’s parents. I didn’t get the other agents. They all came off as shadow people, just background characters to fill in the void between Rafa and Shane’s interactions. When Rafa and Shane were with other characters the story really took a dip in the boring direction.
This brings me to my third issue. There was no chemistry between Rafa and Shane. I’ve said it throughout, I like age gaps, but only when it’s consensual and when both characters are also emotionally mature. Since Rafa had the mentality of a sixteen year old, this just felt weird and awkward between them. They never fully developed into a relationship.
After Rafa gets kidnapped, when they’re stuck in the cavern, we get the “big moment” which was nothing more than some blow jobs and such. Honestly, I didn’t like it. It wasn’t hot. It wasn’t romantic. They’re stuck. Rafa is emotionally upset about being kidnapped. He isn’t in the right headspace. He was in no way in a state of mind to consent to anything. Shane also knew how much Rafa cared about him. Shane should have been the adult and said no, because neither needed to be giving out blow jobs or handies.
Plus, it’s dirty, they’re sweaty, and bloody, and they have limited air supply. They should be conserving energy and focused on getting out. And yes, they decide to sit and wait because rescue is coming, that doesn’t mean they should reek up the place with spunk. Because the scent of sex would have lingered, especially since it was closed off, and people would have noticed.
After that we get a time jump and Rafa finding Shane in California, being kind of stalkerish. I actually did stop there (so okay, I guess I didn’t finish). I just didn’t care if they finally had penetrative sex. I didn’t want them to be together. I didn’t like them. And their relationship was weird.
TL;DR: Did not like. Did not ship. Would not read.