ARC review: Gemini Keeps Capricorn by Anyta Sunday

I was sent this book as an advance copy by the author via A Novel Take. All opinions are my own.

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Synopsis:

Sometimes, one stubborn Capricorn is all it takes… to drive Wesley Hidaka to crazy, flirtatious lengths.

Wesley loves annoying his RA, Lloyd Reynolds. He just can’t help it. Lloyd is focused, decisive, grounded. He has this amusing ability to follow rules.
Of course Wesley wants Lloyd to break one… or three hundred.

Sometimes, one smirking Gemini is all it takes… to have Lloyd laying down the law and marching Wesley straight back to his dorm room.

It doesn’t stop Wesley teasing again. And again. And again…
But damn. Lloyd doesn’t crack easily. He’s full of principles. He’s unshakable.
He’s the perfect friend to have when Wesley needs help. Like with his truant brother and his old high school principal.

Sometimes, one little lie is all it takes… to find Wesley fake-engaged to his off-limits RA.

What can he say? It seemed like a good idea at the time…

* ~* ~* ~*

“Gemini Keeps Capricorn” serves up a double shot of cluelessness, with a side of rock’n’roll and topped with a slow burn HEA.
It can be read as a standalone.

Tropes: friends-to-lovers, slow burn, will-they-or-won’t-they, fake fiancé
Genre: New Adult, light-hearted contemporary gay romance

Publication date: December 18th

My rating:

★★★★✩

Anyta Sunday’s contemporary romances are among the few I enjoy, and so far I’ve always enjoyed every single one of them. I especially love this series despite my complete lack of belief in horoscopes or anything of the like.

The two main characters are gay men and they’re both aware of their sexuality from the beginning of the novel, which is something that not always happens in this type of books, so it was a welcome change. The entire story is narrated from Wesley’s point of view, and even though we don’t get Lloyd’s, the two sound so different and unique that we can almost hear Lloyd’s narrating voice in our head from a certain point of the novel on. That is something that speaks for the author’s excellent characterization, which can be somewhat hard to achieve sometimes in contemporary and “slice of life” contexts.

This romance had some of my favorite tropes, including a seriously and painfully clueless guy, friends to best friends to lovers and a good old fake engagement (which is something I hadn’t seen yet if not in fanfiction). This last element isn’t too strong, which is something I loved because overusing it would make the whole story seem less realistic.

I loved both Wesley and Lloyd and the secondary characters. I really appreciated the page time given to Wesley’s problems with his family and seeing how he helped his brother, but I did feel like his mother’s homophobia and straight up ignorance was a little bit weird and just over the top. I mean, English isn’t my first language but I’ve never heard anyone referring to being gay as “doing the gaying” nor would I find it natural to put it that way (I mean language-wise). It was something that distracted me from the reading experience because it’s something I could only see as used ironically on a shitpost on twitter or tumblr and idk, I’d much rather a portrayal of homophobia and microaggressions (if those need to be present in the novel) be accurate to what happens in reality to most lgbtq+ people. The way Wesley’s mom talked sounded a lot like an infantilization of homophobic and homomisic people and I KNOW that it’s not the way the author intended it to be, but that’s just how it felt to me.

Other than this, I pretty much liked everything else. I only found it a little hard to get into it at the beginning because I was reading it during a huge reading slump and I felt like some references were lost on me and I didn’t get some inside jokes, but once I got past the first quarter of the book it ran smoothly and I enjoyed it.

Those few problems are what prevented me to give it five stars, but it’s still very much worth reading if you want a really cute and at times hilarious romance (I was reading it pretty late one night and I had a few loud laughing fits – I think my neighbors hate me by now). Also you don’t need to have read the previous two books in the series because they’re all standalones (although characters from book one make a very welcome cameo).

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