In Shipped we meet Lucas and Ryan, they play a couple on a television show. But what happens when the romance starts to trickle off-screen.
SHIPPED by Karrie Roman
Publication Date: June 18, 2018 Genre: Contemporary Romance, MM Romance Source: NetGalley Publisher: Nine Star Publishing Purchase: Amazon Story Rating: 3.5/ 5 Romance Rating: 4/5
Ryan Lowe has been a lonely nobody all his life. The only time he ever feels the rush of living is when he’s acting. Wanting to get as far away from his small town life and alcoholic father as possible, he leaves Australia to pursue a career as an actor in the bright lights of Hollywood, never stopping to consider the fame that might come with it.
Lucas Evers understands fame. He’s been a successful actor on the small-screen for years and loves his career. Nothing comes for free though, and the price he’s paid for his success is keeping who he is hidden from the world. He married his best friend to keep both of their secrets, and until now, he has been content with the cost of his fame.
When Lucas and Ryan are cast in a new television series based on a wildly popular book series everything changes for them. The show is a worldwide hit and together they have just become the most popular ship on the planet. As they begin to realize it’s not just their characters falling in love, the cost of their fame rises. Together they must face stalkers, anxiety, panic attacks, and attempted murder.
I’m really struggling to write this review. The story was fine, good even, I enjoyed it but I didn’t connect with it. It seems to me the book could have been a great work of fan fiction, but it was a bit of a struggle to read this from a romance perspective.
You see, usually, there’s a bit of every book where you can see yourself as one of the characters. The average person who catches the celebrities eye, for example. You can convince yourself there still a chance. Reading about two celebrities didn’t allow for that, it left me feeling a bit awkward, to be honest.
It wasn’t a big deal though; the story was engaging and easy to follow. There was some repetitive, I shouldn’t have these feelings – he’s straight type thoughts that came up too often and for too long. Although I understand their role in the book, I couldn’t help but think they should talk things out like grown-ups.
I enjoyed the bits and pieces of the cost of fame; the crowds, the screaming, the flashing cameras. I also appreciated the way Ryan reacted to everything, it felt very genuine, and it was much appreciated that he wasn’t completely flawless. Anxiety disorders are not written about as often as they should be. It was also sweet how Lucas could comfort him and ease his anxiety when necessary. I enjoyed watching protective streak develop as the story went on.
The steamy bits were sweet and steamy. It was clear how much the characters cared about each other and that is so important in a good sex scene. I loved that Ryan and Lucas started their relationship as friends because I think friendship provides a great foundation for a romantic relationship. Another thing I appreciated was how they both tried to fight their feelings for the other.
I’ve heard about a trope in LGBT romance called gay-for-you or out-for-you. I’ll admit, I was curious how that worked. Not curious enough to seek a book out, I worried it would seem fake. After reading this book I think it would fall into that category. I’m happy to say the development of the relationship felt genuine even while other parts of the book felt unrealistic.
There was also some stalker action/ suspense type drama through the book. I don’t read a lot of books with drama like that and I was able to guess who the bad guy was early on, which is rare for me so I’m proud of myself right now.
Overall, Shipped was a cute, light summer read. I would recommend it to anyone who wants relax with a good book by the pool.