Author: Christine d’Abo
Book: Losing It
Series: Ringside Romance, Book #4
Page/Word Count: 226
Categories: Gay Romance, Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 19, 2018
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
About Ringside Romance
Deep in the heart of Toronto lies Ringside Gym. Once a safe haven for troubled teens, Ringside has gone derelict, a forgotten memory of past days. Until a group of friends set out to do what they can to bring life back to the ring and create a new home for LGBT youths.
But when their lives threaten to pull down their dreams, each man must turn to others to help make it a reality. Winners take all—but there are no losers in love.
3.5✨s – I’ve waffled quite a bit over this review. The story itself checks off a lot of my boxes. A shy introvert who also trains as a boxer has a secret crush on the gym’s egomaniac, but is unable to get over his social anxiety long enough to utter two coherent words. Blinded by his good looks, Finn is unable to see what a big fat jerkface Leo is and I was kind of glad it took him so long to work up the nerve, otherwise he might have wound up with said jerk. I loved Finn as a character, I loved his journey in this story, and I loved seeing him come into his own at the end.
Which makes it so hard to admit that I’m not sure I liked Justin at all. In the beginning of the book, that feeling was instant—which is as much a product of his character in a previous book as it is his entrance in this one—then he kind of grew on me (mostly because of how he was with Finn). But while I felt for him at times and was glad Finn could see beneath the facade he was projecting, I was never really sold on his warm, gooey, just misunderstood center.
Overall, a good read if you like seeing the shy guy become the hero, because Finn totally rocked that role in more ways than one. Justin’s lucky to have him.
4✨s – This book is probably my favorite of the series so far, an interpretation of Cyrano De Bergerac, except everyone’s good looking! Finn is an introvert with a history that gave him serious social anxiety, part of the reason he trains at Ringside. But it doesn’t help with his difficulties speaking with people, or solve his dilemma over gaining Leo’s attention. The ease he immediately finds speaking with Justin doesn’t clue him in right away, about why that is. Finn is determined to find a way to succeed in his efforts to woo and wow Leo, his gym crush. Justin wants Finn to have confidence in pursuing the man he’s longed for, even at his own expense. It’s also redemption for Justin, who was a not so nice guy in Grady and Max’s story. As his background is revealed, his actions were easier to comprehend and made his desire for change quite believable. Both men find missing pieces of themselves through a growing friendship, but while Justin thought he was helping Finn, he’s the one who needed saving.
It’s a little bit slow burn, which is the pattern for most of the series, but that also fits with the plot. I still felt a fair amount of UST, while Justin keeps working at cross-purposes with what he really wants from Finn. The way their relationship and Finn’s ill-fated crush play out, was pretty exciting in the end. Yet the storyline isn’t too dramatic or overly emotional, staying realistic and engaging and alternating POV kept my interest high. This can be read as a stand-alone but I’d really recommend at least reading Faking It, book 2, to understand Justin. It also makes the interactions with other characters make more sense. The entire series offers satisfying enactments of popular romance tropes. I’m happy to recommend it.
About Christine d’Abo:
A romance novelist and short story writer, Christine has over thirty publications to her name. She loves to exercise and stops writing just long enough to keep her body in motion too. When she’s not pretending to be a ninja in her basement, she’s most likely spending time with her family and two dogs.
Where to find Christine d’Abo:
To celebrate the release of Losing It, one lucky winner will receive a $25 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on February 24, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!