Friday, July 15, 2016

Release Day Review: NOT A GAME by Cardeno C.


An accidental meeting and a misunderstanding lead to a life-altering connection.

A new job, a new city, and hopefully a new life. When chubby gamer Oliver Barnaby receives a job offer from the best boutique game developer in the country, he leaves his family and his less than spectacular existence in Oklahoma without a second’s hesitation. Determined to change more than his career and his geography, Oliver implements a plan to finally land a boyfriend. Step one is improving his skills in the bedroom.

A life that looks perfect on paper, but feels empty in reality. Attractive, successful, charismatic Jaime Snow has a life other people envy. His already booming business is growing. He isn’t lacking in friends. And he has no trouble finding a date. But there’s an emptiness in Jaime’s heart and a hole in his life that only the right man can fill.

An accidental meeting, a misunderstanding, and falling in love. When Oliver and Jaime end up at the same bar at the same time, they each see something they want in the other. Going to bed together that first night is easy. Building the lifetime relationship they both desperately crave will require trust, time, and a little misunderstanding.
Book Information
Publisher: The Romance Authors, LLC
Genre: Gay romance (contemporary)
Release Date: July 15, 2016
Word Count: Approx. 56,000

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Carra's Review

For me, the characters-especially the main characters-are the driving factor in determining if I like a story or not.  That's one of the reasons I keep coming back to Cardeno C.'s books...I know I'm going to get wonderful characters who are complex and deep, and with distinct personalities.  I'm also going to get characters that are easy to relate to, and that is clearly illustrated here in Not A Game with one of the main characters, Oliver.

Oh my goodness, Oliver is just so sweet and adorable.  He's insecure, extremely self-conscious and not at all confident in himself, with the majority of these things being caused by the size of his body (all of these things struck a huge chord with me).  Then we have Jaime, who is the exact opposite, and is Oliver's dream guy in pretty much every way.  They meet under some interesting and unique circumstances, setting up some complications for their relationship right from the start.

What Oliver doesn't realize?  He's Jaime's dream guy too-something Jaime has to help Oliver understand and accept.  This is complicated by a little...well, maybe not so little...secret that Jaime has.  

It is so heartwarming to watch the relationship develop between them, especially as we watch Jaime help Oliver open up.  And while things between them are sweet and evolve slowly, there's also a nice bit of spice to complement that as things grow ever more serious for the two of them.  I loved every moment of their interactions, though for me once Oliver discovers Jaime's secret, it felt less strained than I expected given what Jaime was hiding.

Not A Game is classic Cardeno C. storytelling at its best, and was a 4.5-star read for me.  I'd recommend this for any M/M contemporary romance fan, and it's for those readers 18+ due to the M/M sexual content.  I hope we get to read more from this world, as I'd love to get Jack's story as well!  As Jaime's best friend and somewhat pining ex, I'd really like to see him get his own HEA :-)


Cardeno C. - CC to friends - is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few "awwws" into a reader's day. Writing is a nice break from real life as a corporate type and volunteer work with gay rights organizations. Cardeno's stories range from sweet to intense, contemporary to paranormal, long to short, but they always include strong relationships and walks into the happily-ever- after sunset.

Cardeno's Home, Family, and Mates series have received awards from Love Romances and More Golden Roses, Rainbow Awards, the Goodreads M/M Romance Group, and various reviewers. But even more special to CC are heartfelt reactions from readers, like, "You bring joy and love and make it part of the every day."

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