Book Review of Brave & Beautiful by Elizabeth Varlet

    Brave and Beautiful (Book Cover)Reviewed for NetGalley
    Publisher: Carina Press
    Image courtesy of Carina Press
    Genre: LGBTQIA, Contemporary, M/M Romance
    Length: pages 249

    Stars:

    Blurb

    Sexy, seductive and hiding dark secrets, the Sassy Boyz return to the stage in Brave & Beautiful

    There’s only one relationship that matters to Tameron “Tam” Kis—his love affair with dance. Life’s been pretty shitty, but dance got him through it and now he’s ready to focus on what he loves. He doesn’t have the bandwidth for any distractions—especially not his sexy, not-quite-straight new neighbor.

    Driver Ellis doesn’t need anything but his bike and the open road. He wouldn’t trade his drifter lifestyle for anything…until his friend calls in a favor and Driver suddenly finds himself pet-sitting. Driver isn’t thrilled being stuck in one place, though things start to look up when he sets eyes on the gorgeous girl next door.

    There’s just one problem… She isn’t a girl at all.

    All it takes is one spontaneous dance to turn both Driver’s and Tam’s worlds upside down. They might not have been looking for love, but as things heat up between them, it’s clear life has very different plans.

    Review

    Brave & Beautiful by Elizabeth Varlet is part of her three-book series Sassy Boyz. It’s a gay romance novel about two strong, sexy male figures, Tameron Kis and Driver Ellis. Tam and Driver have a wild attraction to each other that sparks from the beginning, but each face something very painful in his past that holds him back. Tam is fighting the demons of physical and sexual abuse, while Driver struggles to overcome a painful night in his past when he lost almost everyone he loved. The story has energy and pace. From the first lines Varlet balances the story on a knife’s edge.

    Sometimes Driver occupies the stage to give you a clearer picture of his life and motivations, sometimes Tam comes on in all his glory and panache to reveal the story from his perspective. Varlet’s writing is clear; she’s knows how to tell a story that holds your interest. Much of Brave & Beautiful involves Driver and Tam discovering what, if any, relationship they will create, but the members of the Sassy Boyz dance troupe comes on to support and encourage both men.

    If you like stories about dance, Brave & Beautiful is a nice read. When the Sassy Boyz get together to practice routines choreographed by Tam you can feel the beat of music and see their swagger and their energy as they execute some intricate moves.

    The book has some shortcomings. Brave & Beautiful leaves a couple of storylines unresolved, but the book is part of a series, so other books may address those issues. The ending is also a tad hasty. Nevertheless, I enjoyed discovering Driver and Tam and the rest of the Sassy Boyz. Varlet weaves a fine tale and I will definitely seek out other books in the series, as well as her other novels. Dealing with trauma in a romance novel is hard; how a writer handles it can make a story painful to read– like chalk scraping a board! Brave & Beautiful is not that book; it turns pain on its head. I could almost see the light dancing around Tam and the Sassy Boyz as they strutted on the stage, or partied to celebrate one victory or another.

    Brave & Beautiful gets 4 stars, easily. Hope you enjoy this novel.

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