A MelanieM Review: Just Like Heaven by T.L. Bradford

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Rating:   3.25 stars out of 5

Noah Sinclair
Noah Sinclair is best described as an egotistical, pompous, anal retentive, asshat. And those are his better qualities. Lately, Noah has lost touch with his playboy character “Jace” on the show Americana and can’t quite put his finger on why. The studio decides it is time to shake up his character by making him an offer he can’t refuse, literally. They will introduce a new love interest for his character “Jace.” Only this time, there’s a twist.

Josh Hill
Josh Hill is up a creek and sinking fast. He’s got no job, no money, no credit and is about to be kicked out of his apartment. Opportunity comes in the form of a job offer from the show Americana. Everything should be perfect; only there is one hitch. He will be the new love interest for Noah Sinclair’s character on the beloved show.

So, opposites are supposed to attract, right? Not so fast. No one said life was that easy. Both actors find themselves in untested waters. Will they be able to play a same-sex couple with no prior experience authentically? Well, they say practice makes perfect.

Carefree, fun-loving Josh and uptight, overbearing Noah, realize they need to make the best of their bad situation and are forced to find common ground. Over time, their roles in each other’s lives become blurred. Is their attraction fake, or is it real? To top it off, Noah has a dark skeleton in his closet that can prevent them from ever moving forward.

Can they get on the same page and save both of their careers and their relationship?

Or will they end up yesterday’s tabloid fodder?

Like Heaven by T.L. Bradford was an interesting read.  Just as there were elements to like and be entertained by there were also aspects of the story that were disjointed, character issues that took away from the plot, and continuity problems that you couldn’t overlook. Plus it just felt overly long.

The manner and plot is the initial element that drew me to read this story. Loved the idea of a Netflix type serial deciding to take a popular character down a new  “path” in the series storyline to gain new followers and higher ratings.  Sounds legit.  The story is almost narrated by both main characters, Josh and Noah.  Noah being the already popular actor on set, but in fact in danger of losing his job because his on series love interest was reassigned to another storyline.  The other actor?  A hardluck newbie, Josh, down to his last dime, almost ready to return home if something doesn’t happen soon. Both men say they are straight, and now become destined to play gay roles as lovers.

Great.  But this is not a comedy.

Bradford has created Noah with a dark, tormented past that will slowly reveals itself until it crashes out  with a horror towards the end. It’s with Noah’s character and history that I raise many issues.   We are told repeatedly that he was raised on an estate and his real father is rich.  The truth, which is not supposed to contradict that statement,  would actually have no bearing on reality. Fundamentalist whackjob preachers living on estates? Compounds perhaps.  Anyway, just didn’t connect.  As did so many other things about Noah’s upbring, the abuse, the lack of reporting, including his college incidents.  I don’t want to go into particulars because that runs into spoilers but lets just say the things that happended to Noah, the lack of reporting all throughout his life, how if affected him.  And his lack of therapy.  There are huge holes here that are never resolved.

That speaks to changes in the character’s personality.  He is not the most likeable fish in the sea tbh.  While he will be honest about  why is his hurting Josh, being emotionally unavailable etc, , and the author clearly wants you to believe that they have laid down the foundation here  for this couple, instead there was a part of me that thought there was something missing. Possibly because Noah himself seemed so unstable and fluid for someone who is supposed to be so rigid.

Josh on the other hand was adorable.  I enjoyed his character (except for the bit where he was worrying that he was the “woman” in the relationship because it made him less of a man. Really? I found that  demeaning to women, btw.  But the author breezed through that convo in a matter of minutes so all done.

The parents of both Josh and Noah (stepfather) were wonderfully drawn and spending time with them as well as the rest of the cast and families was a joy.  Made the book fly when other parts just dragged.

Continuity is a problem here.  As I talked about years ago in a blog post, readers care about the pets authors give their characters.  A author either needs to commit to  them or leave them out.  Here Bradford does the worst possible.  The author introduces Lola the cat as Noah’s sole companion as a way to show how restricted Noah’s life is  and how routine. And then dumps the animal all together, forgetting the cat until it makes a brief appearance at approximately 86% where Josh makes some comment about Noah returning home to “feed Lola”. Than the cat disappears for good. Smh.  The poor cat could have been a porcelain dolly for all the emotional weight that animal carried or effort the author put into it.  Why not just leave it  out?

There’s also the eye patch (won’t say how or on who that appears). But sometime you are looking at both eyes, sometime just one.  Ugh.  Continuity people.  Wounds also work that way as well here for secondary characters.  The end of the story just gets out of control and my disbelief ran deep.  In about everything.  Especially Noah’s actions.

Well, I just think the promise here was huge in the original storyline.  The two men meeting as actors, learning about their sexuality, coming out and finding a way to happiness.  For me at least, all that stuff with the father, well it almost belonged in another story.  it was like there were two books here and two Noah’s.  I bet you can tell which novel I preferred reading..

 

Cover Artist: Photo by Neospot, design by T.L. Bradford: It’s a half naked guy.  Doesn’t really have anything to do with the storyline.  Meh.

Buy Links

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 484 pages
Expected publication: September 4th 2019
ASINB07V9F9B4J
Edition Language English

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