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My name’s Grant Clark, and I have managed to screw up my entire life. In triplicate. Number one: I fell in love with my best friend. Number two: I thought he was straight. Number three: Because of number two, I didn’t make a move on number one. Until it was too late. Or is it? When I accidentally interrupt him with another guy—and he turns out to be the worst—well, I think it My name’s Grant Clark, and I have managed to screw up my entire life. In triplicate. Number one: I fell in love with my best friend. Number two: I thought he was straight. Number three: Because of number two, I didn’t make a move on number one. Until it was too late. Or is it? When I accidentally interrupt him with another guy—and he turns out to be the worst—well, I think it’s time I finally make a move. Don’t you? Warning: This book contains two men who don’t mind a little humor and heartache as they struggle to find their happily ever after in the aftermath of a toxic relationship.


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My name’s Grant Clark, and I have managed to screw up my entire life. In triplicate. Number one: I fell in love with my best friend. Number two: I thought he was straight. Number three: Because of number two, I didn’t make a move on number one. Until it was too late. Or is it? When I accidentally interrupt him with another guy—and he turns out to be the worst—well, I think it My name’s Grant Clark, and I have managed to screw up my entire life. In triplicate. Number one: I fell in love with my best friend. Number two: I thought he was straight. Number three: Because of number two, I didn’t make a move on number one. Until it was too late. Or is it? When I accidentally interrupt him with another guy—and he turns out to be the worst—well, I think it’s time I finally make a move. Don’t you? Warning: This book contains two men who don’t mind a little humor and heartache as they struggle to find their happily ever after in the aftermath of a toxic relationship.

30 review for Rough and Tumble

  1. 4 out of 5

    Heather K (dentist in my spare time)

    Rough and Tumble... well, this book was rough all right. I love a cute friends-to-lovers college romance, and I was excited to try a new-to-me author, but Rough and Tumble just didn't deliver. I read a good deal of new adult, but I hate it when the characters act like immature brats (and not the good spank me, daddy kind!). The story was filled with a lot of miscommunications and a lot of melodrama, and it didn't leave a lot of wiggle room for the relationship to develop organically. I was confus Rough and Tumble... well, this book was rough all right. I love a cute friends-to-lovers college romance, and I was excited to try a new-to-me author, but Rough and Tumble just didn't deliver. I read a good deal of new adult, but I hate it when the characters act like immature brats (and not the good spank me, daddy kind!). The story was filled with a lot of miscommunications and a lot of melodrama, and it didn't leave a lot of wiggle room for the relationship to develop organically. I was confused as to the central conflict (seemed more complicated than necessary), and I had a hard time connecting to the characters. I also struggled with the pacing. A lot of stuff happens in the beginning of the story, but then the action seems to peter out. I ended up feeling bored, and it was a real effort just to finish the story. There are a lot of great new adult romances out there, but, unfortunately, Rough and Tumble isn't one of them. *Copy provided in exchange for an honest review* goodreads|instagram|twitter|blog

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Claypot_Reads

    This was a very sweet NA M/M story. Secrets and hurt feelings cause plenty of angst for the two main characters Grant and Darryn. It’s a very PG read in terms of heat but it touches on some very serious subjects in a heartfelt way. I enjoyed the side characters a lot and thought the parents of both boys were fantastic. I enjoyed this one. I received an arc of this book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nadia

    Okay so I’m going to be very honest and may spoil things because the book didn’t make sense to me. First off Grant wasn’t out to many people and he had a crush on his roommate/teammate. From his prospective he thought his roommate was straight. The awkward part was finding out he wasn’t but what I didn’t understand was the anger of his roommate. Communication would have been important in their relationship. I didn’t care for the roommate Darryn. Especially when he was in a relationship, he shoul Okay so I’m going to be very honest and may spoil things because the book didn’t make sense to me. First off Grant wasn’t out to many people and he had a crush on his roommate/teammate. From his prospective he thought his roommate was straight. The awkward part was finding out he wasn’t but what I didn’t understand was the anger of his roommate. Communication would have been important in their relationship. I didn’t care for the roommate Darryn. Especially when he was in a relationship, he should have been a nicer person to Grant. His apologies was too late in my opinion. There were other characters like Pace and Kenny that I would have liked Grant to be with. Grant, I thought was great, just felt bad for him. I also needed more from the two leads to make this work for me. Overall, it was an okay book. I received this ARC from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Valeen Robertson (Live Thru Books Blog)

    Amazon / Apple Books / Nook / Kobo Grant's been in love with his best friend/roommie nearly the entire time they've been rooming together. But Darryn's straight, so Grant knows better than to let his feelings be known. Until the day he walks in on Darryn in bed with someone... a male someone... Now things are all messed up between them - they're avoiding each other and Darryn's spending all his free time with his new boyfriend, a boyfriend Grant has serious doubts about. But when things happen Amazon / Apple Books / Nook / Kobo Grant's been in love with his best friend/roommie nearly the entire time they've been rooming together. But Darryn's straight, so Grant knows better than to let his feelings be known. Until the day he walks in on Darryn in bed with someone... a male someone... Now things are all messed up between them - they're avoiding each other and Darryn's spending all his free time with his new boyfriend, a boyfriend Grant has serious doubts about. But when things happen between Darryn and that boyfriend, will Grant stand by him, be the friend he's always been? I would characterize this piece of New Adult fiction as less a romance and more a study of how NOT to conduct a friendship. If Grant and Darryn had communicated with each other much earlier, they could have avoided all the pain, both physical and emotional, they both went through. I had my doubts they were even friends considering they didn't talk for most of the story, and definitely doubted them as a couple considering they didn't get together until about 95% into the story. Sigh...but then I remembered they were all of 19, a very young 19 at that, and it explained everything. I wanted more heat, A LOT more heat, much better communication, and for them to act more like friends. As it was written, though, I can't call them friends for most of it, but I do like that Grant was there for Darryn throughout all that he went through with his boyfriend. 3 stars is all I can give this unfortunately because I didn't particularly like Darryn, their chemistry is really weak, and the friendship bond isn't strong on both sides. ARC via Grey's Promotions for an honest review. Review / Release Blitz: Live Through Books Blog. Blog | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

  5. 5 out of 5

    ⭐Toonasa⭐ •Romance Book Lovers' Haven•

    A Sweet Phenomenal Story With Laughs, Emotions, Pain, Friendship and Love❤. I want more of Grant & Darryn! #My 1st by Shae, I'll surely check out more! ARC Received for a Honest Review. The story's fully from Grant's PoV, I loved His internal monologue, I understood his thoughts and many times It made me laugh-out-loud! I absolutely adored Grant, Darryn and the other characters (Expect Rich). Grant+Darryn have been Roommates, Gymnastics teammates & Besties since starting college. They've crushed on ea A Sweet Phenomenal Story With Laughs, Emotions, Pain, Friendship and Love❤. I want more of Grant & Darryn! #My 1st by Shae, I'll surely check out more! ARC Received for a Honest Review. The story's fully from Grant's PoV, I loved His internal monologue, I understood his thoughts and many times It made me laugh-out-loud! I absolutely adored Grant, Darryn and the other characters (Expect Rich). Grant+Darryn have been Roommates, Gymnastics teammates & Besties since starting college. They've crushed on eachother almost as long too, but they're both closeted. Grant's A virgin Gay while Darryn's Bi.. AND Grant find this tidbit about Dar when He walks in on Dar with Rich (D's Boyfriend) in their Dorm Room *Ahem, awkward*. Now Their attraction & feelings are out in the open (b/w the two, atleast)..But Darryn has a Boyfriend. Has Grant lost his Chance with Dar? Well, Grant can't do anything as Darryn's taken now. Dar also drifts away from him, Staying mostly with Rich. Cue Tense times! Alone with thoughts, Practices, Stare offs, Quarrels *Oh no..* I'm glad that Grant has his twin & her friend. They help Cheer him up, Also brings Rich's behavior to his Focus. Rich is very Possessive..But Abusive? Is he Isolating Darryn from everyone else? And their fears are proven Correct. Its quite the fiasco, Gladly Grant's there in time. Dar had minor injuries courtesy of Rich and it'll take months to fully recover Physically & Mentally..BUT he'll be Ok. And, Life Goes on. Dar recovers at home while Grant can't stop thinking about him. It takes time but Dar reaches out to Grant again.. Their Friendship Rekindles! Grant wants more..But he'll give Darryn all time he needs to Recover❤ (Dar's up for it!). I loved their parents, they're both cool & Fun! (Especially when our Guys come out) The festivities were nice😍. The two need to talk about 'us' but Rich strikes again *Oh shit*. Of Course, Grant helps however he can but This time Dar saves himself! *Yay!* Feels & Talk, the Swoony Date, Sexy times! The epilogue's cute with a Win, I love Yous and a Hot public kiss❤. FB Page | Instagram | Bookbub

  6. 4 out of 5

    Joyfully Jay

    A Joyfully Jay review. 3.75 stars It’s been a while since Shae Connor has released anything, and I was quick to pick up this newest release. But I finished this one with mixed feelings and there’s a lot to unpack here for a shorter novel. And quick mention here that there is on page abuse, though fairly mild, so be aware of that if it’s something that triggers you. Told in first person present tense from Grant’s POV, it’s a testament to this author’s skill that I barely noticed the tense. First pe A Joyfully Jay review. 3.75 stars It’s been a while since Shae Connor has released anything, and I was quick to pick up this newest release. But I finished this one with mixed feelings and there’s a lot to unpack here for a shorter novel. And quick mention here that there is on page abuse, though fairly mild, so be aware of that if it’s something that triggers you. Told in first person present tense from Grant’s POV, it’s a testament to this author’s skill that I barely noticed the tense. First person present is not my favorite, but I was quickly absorbed in the story. Connor paints a world filled with college life and gymnastics, along with two young men who are finding themselves. Read Kris’ review in its entirety here.

  7. 4 out of 5

    wandering. bibliophile_

    Thank you Grey's promotions and Shae Connor for the arc in exhcange of my honest review. This was a really heartwarming and beautiful read. The story follows Grant, who's a gymnast currently in college and also he has a massive crush on his bestfriend and roommate, Darryn. But he's still in the closet and doesn't want to ruin his relationship with Darryn. Then one day he walks in on Darryn and he's taken aback when he comes to realise that Darryn is also interested in men. So their friendship tak Thank you Grey's promotions and Shae Connor for the arc in exhcange of my honest review. This was a really heartwarming and beautiful read. The story follows Grant, who's a gymnast currently in college and also he has a massive crush on his bestfriend and roommate, Darryn. But he's still in the closet and doesn't want to ruin his relationship with Darryn. Then one day he walks in on Darryn and he's taken aback when he comes to realise that Darryn is also interested in men. So their friendship takes a hit due to the unresolved feelings and miscommunication. But their friendship is too precious and despite it all Grant continues to be the friend he needs to be for Darryn. I loved Grant's character. He is such a precious person, always looking out for Darryn no matter what. He is extremely patient and he knows that with time things will get alright. So he never pushed Darryn or makes him uncomfortable. I loved his relationship with his sister and his family. It was really nice to read about supportive and understanding parents. Darryn went through a lot in this book and I felt bad for the turn of events that eventually brought him closer to Grant. Content warning for toxic relationship and abuse. The plot was handled really well and the story progressed with the right pacing. The relationship between Darryn and Grant was slow burn and so beautiful. Their emotions were so pure and despite the hiccup at the beginning, they were both extremely respectful towards each other and I loved that. The inclusion of gymnastics was really fun to read. The team and the coaches were super supportive and the teamwork was amazing. Overall this was a nice read. I finished this book in a sitting and had a great time reading it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kay Daniels (Kay Daniels Romance)

    Grant and Darryn are both roommates and teammates. Grant has had a crush on Darryn for quite some time, but he never told Darryn he was gay. I completely understand his thought process, straight guys are not very forgiving, especially athletes with raging hormones, and on top of it Grant is under the impression that Darryn is straight. We find out that it isn't entirely true as Darryn's started having feelings for Grant (his first time stepping outside the straight zone), but instead of ever say Grant and Darryn are both roommates and teammates. Grant has had a crush on Darryn for quite some time, but he never told Darryn he was gay. I completely understand his thought process, straight guys are not very forgiving, especially athletes with raging hormones, and on top of it Grant is under the impression that Darryn is straight. We find out that it isn't entirely true as Darryn's started having feelings for Grant (his first time stepping outside the straight zone), but instead of ever saying anything about it he went and found someone else, Rich. This begins a toxic relationship between Darryn and Rich, and leaves Grant wallowing in remorse for not saying something sooner. I will admit the story does drag a bit while Grant kicks himself around watching Darryn in his new relationship, but there is also purpose behind it which does all make sense by the end. Although I'm also going to admit, as a reader I'm there wanting that HEA for Darryn and Grant sooner.   Grant is really a sweet guy and you want the best for him, no matter how much you want to scream and shout to stop wallowing, but that is also what makes him a really great guy, he's always got your back. College is certainly a time where you are trying to find yourself and might get lost along the way. Rough and Tumble is story that highlights those mistakes and pitfalls that young adults fall into, but hopefully don't mess up too much that they can't get out of, especially with the help of a good friend and a little love.  Shae Connor is a new author for me, along with the sport of men's gymnastics. The writing is excellent and I did enjoy the gymnastics portions, if anything the pacing was a bit sluggish, but the topic of toxic relationships, especially in males, is overlooked and I respected Shae for tackling it. 

  9. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Panach

    New adult can sometimes be dicey for me - but not this book! These very very new adults (like 19 year olds) were fun to read about and were dealing with some very real, serious issues. This book tackles coming out and intimate partner abuse - so even though it is through the lens of pretty young people - the issues are very real. Grant and Darryn are sophmores, roomates, and members of the mens gymnastics team at the University of Atlanta. Grant has been in love with Darryn since they met - but New adult can sometimes be dicey for me - but not this book! These very very new adults (like 19 year olds) were fun to read about and were dealing with some very real, serious issues. This book tackles coming out and intimate partner abuse - so even though it is through the lens of pretty young people - the issues are very real. Grant and Darryn are sophmores, roomates, and members of the mens gymnastics team at the University of Atlanta. Grant has been in love with Darryn since they met - but thought that Darryn was straight. It turns out Darryn didn't realize, until he started falling for Grant, that he was bisexual. Grant finds out about this when he walks in on Darryn and another guy having sex in their dorm room. This puts a big wedge between the two friends as they try to figure out how to move forward as friends in the face of the changes and revelations between them. This is a true college aged book - so there is a lot of college life going on here. There are also barriers like - Grant and Darryn being friends and kids - that don't exist in books that deal with fully formed adults. But - Darryn and Grant don't come across as childish or immature - just still growing and figuring themselves out. I really loved how this book handled the big issues and am really interested in reading more about some of the other characters that popped onto the pages. Overall - if this genre is your jam - highly recommend! I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, but these opinions are all my own.

  10. 4 out of 5

    thehotmesslibrary

    Rough and Tumble by Shae Connor is a sweet book about Grant and Darryn, two college students, roommates and best friends. They share everything with each other…at least they thought they did, until secrets are told and their relationship changes…not initially for the better. The story shows Grant and Darryn trying to repair their friendship when both of them are hurt. We definitely see more of what Grant is thinking and feeling, not only about coming out in general (and how hard that is for thos Rough and Tumble by Shae Connor is a sweet book about Grant and Darryn, two college students, roommates and best friends. They share everything with each other…at least they thought they did, until secrets are told and their relationship changes…not initially for the better. The story shows Grant and Darryn trying to repair their friendship when both of them are hurt. We definitely see more of what Grant is thinking and feeling, not only about coming out in general (and how hard that is for those of us that have gone through that), but also about dealing with changes in a friendship, especially when the friend is in a toxic relationship that you don’t agree with. This is a slow burn romance with very little sexy scenes, but heavy on the angst. We see through the eyes of both Grant and Darryn and how they are both afraid: to be together, to be alone, to come out, to be gay, all of which is complex and doesn’t happen overnight. The characters were actually young adults who didn’t have everything together, got things wrong, miscommunicated and hurt each other….stuff which normal, everyday people do. I also liked that we saw into what it was like to be a male gymnast as most sporty type books focus on football, baseball of hockey, and the hours of training that goes into being an elite athlete. What I especially liked about the book was the family dynamic that both characters had. Grant with his sister and Darryn with his father. And although it didn’t tick all my boxes for a steamy read, it was still a cute LGBTQ+ read with some heavy themes throughout it. ARC received for a fair, honest and sometimes long review. All opinions are my own. 😊 More of my reviews can be found on my blog: http://thehotmesslibrary.blogspot.com

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kandace Denys (bookish_kayy)

    I wanted to love this. I saw the cover, fell in love(I know, I know) and needed to read this. Unfortunately, I had such a hard time connecting with the main characters that it made it almost impossible for me to love this the way I wanted to initially.. I’m all for a slow burn romance, but this felt like the confrontations and the bitterness dragged on for so long that it was definitely slow burning and made it a bit unrealistic for these characters to fall in love. I wanted more of their friends I wanted to love this. I saw the cover, fell in love(I know, I know) and needed to read this. Unfortunately, I had such a hard time connecting with the main characters that it made it almost impossible for me to love this the way I wanted to initially.. I’m all for a slow burn romance, but this felt like the confrontations and the bitterness dragged on for so long that it was definitely slow burning and made it a bit unrealistic for these characters to fall in love. I wanted more of their friendship, more something so that I could really experience the draw between them. However. The plot line was very well developed and I did enjoy most other aspects.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jocelyn H

    If you've never read m/m before and like stories that have mild elements of physical abuse from a partner in them then this is a great story to start with. Darryn and Grant are both in the closet and they don't reveal that they both have crushes on each other until it's too late and Darryn is in a relationship with Rich. I enjoyed this book about trying to stay friend's with someone you love while they love someone else and also when you can see that their relationship is becoming toxic. Well writt If you've never read m/m before and like stories that have mild elements of physical abuse from a partner in them then this is a great story to start with. Darryn and Grant are both in the closet and they don't reveal that they both have crushes on each other until it's too late and Darryn is in a relationship with Rich. I enjoyed this book about trying to stay friend's with someone you love while they love someone else and also when you can see that their relationship is becoming toxic. Well written and very low on the physical affection side of m/m so well worth giving it a read to see if m/m is your thing. Personally I love it 🖤🖤🖤🖤

  13. 4 out of 5

    Reading In the Red Room

    Darryn and Grant are roommates and teammates on their college gymnastics team. Grant is head over heels in love with Darryn but hasn’t told him yet. Darryn goes though a very difficult time both emotionally and physically. Grant is by his side helping him as much as he can. I enJoyed this story. I loved the relationship between Grant and his twin sister. I loved how excepting both pair of parents were. I just Truly enjoyed reading this book and look forward to reading more.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Pinto

    Meh. I wanted to like this and it had potential but it fell very flat for me. The romance wasn’t til the very end of the book and tbh the characters were not very developed or like able. Thank you to netgalley for this ARC.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mar

    4 stars I honestly wasn't expecting how much i ended up loving this book. The journey our main characters went through, the pain, the struggles but mostly the friendship that was shown in this was absolutely beautiful. I love how friends to lovers books don't dismiss the "friends" element as soon as the characters become a couple and this book did it perfectly! You can see that beyond any romantic relationship these two have, the friendship is still there and honestly that what you (i) want in a t 4 stars I honestly wasn't expecting how much i ended up loving this book. The journey our main characters went through, the pain, the struggles but mostly the friendship that was shown in this was absolutely beautiful. I love how friends to lovers books don't dismiss the "friends" element as soon as the characters become a couple and this book did it perfectly! You can see that beyond any romantic relationship these two have, the friendship is still there and honestly that what you (i) want in a true loving relationship.. It was wonderful. I fully recommend this book. TW: abusive relationship, violence (mild) towards one of the main characters. Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Stacey Escalera blog

    Rough and Tumble by Shae Connor The cover design Was great! and it draw your attention even more to the story. Grant & Darryn good character's in the story. Right away I was sucked in to the story,I get really happy when an authors can capture here readers in that way. This book has everything that makes it a good story. Friendstolovers✔️ MM Romance✔️ Great story plot✔️ I was overall content with the outcome of the book. Sorry no spoilers here. I voltarily read this is.My review. Rough and Tumble by S Rough and Tumble by Shae Connor The cover design Was great! and it draw your attention even more to the story. Grant & Darryn good character's in the story. Right away I was sucked in to the story,I get really happy when an authors can capture here readers in that way. This book has everything that makes it a good story. Friendstolovers✔️ MM Romance✔️ Great story plot✔️ I was overall content with the outcome of the book. Sorry no spoilers here. I voltarily read this is.My review. Rough and Tumble by Shae Connor is now live!  My name's Grant Clark, and I have managed to screw up my entire life. In triplicate. Number one: I fell in love with my best friend. Number two: I thought he was straight. Number three: Because of number two, I didn't make a move on number one. Until it was too late. Or is it? When I accidentally interrupt him with another guy--and he turns out to be the worst--well, I think it's time I finally make a move. Don't you? Warning: This book contains two men who don't mind a little humor and heartache as they struggle to find their happily ever after in the aftermath of a toxic relationship.    Download your copy today! Amazon: http://mybook.to/randt  Apple Books: https://bit.ly/roughtumblesc Nook: https://bit.ly/nookrt  Kobo: https://bit.ly/kobort   Goodreads: http://bit.ly/3nX7GTZ Meet Shae Shae Connor lives just outside Atlanta, where she's a lackadaisical government worker by day and writes sweet-hot romance under the cover of night. She's been making things up for as long as she can remember, but it took her a while to figure out that maybe she should try writing them down. Shae was first published in 2010 and has a lineup of short stories, novellas, and novels available and a host of anthology appearances. She's won two Rainbow Awards for Best Anthology/Collection, one for the multi-author anthology Playing Ball, and one for a solo novella collection, Hands-On. Shae is part Jersey, part Irish, and all Southern, which explains why she never shuts up. When she's not chained to her laptop, she enjoys cooking, traveling, watching baseball, reading voraciously, giving and receiving hugs, and wearing tiaras. In her copious spare time, she volunteers as director and editor of the Dragon Con on-site publication, the Daily Dragon.   Connect with Shae Website | https://shaeconnorwrites.com Goodreads | https://bit.ly/2IOxiCq Facebook | https://bit.ly/2FPdNsi Instagram | https://bit.ly/31sE7jp Twitter | https://bit.ly/3o7hk6p

  17. 4 out of 5

    Andria Potter

    Review to come in November. I read this way ahead of schedule, whoops, lol.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lauriane (L.M. Durand)

    Rough and Tumble by Shae Connor - 3.5 Romance, Contemporary, LGBT (M/M) Audience: New Adult Trigger warning: physical and mental abuse This novel is about Grant who walks on his college roommate, best friend, and secret crush, with another man. Grant has always assumed that Darryn was straight, but the realization comes with a shock and a loss. I won’t go into too many details because I don’t want to spoil the book for anyone. I’ll say that this story follows the aftermath of this discovery and what Rough and Tumble by Shae Connor - 3.5 Romance, Contemporary, LGBT (M/M) Audience: New Adult Trigger warning: physical and mental abuse This novel is about Grant who walks on his college roommate, best friend, and secret crush, with another man. Grant has always assumed that Darryn was straight, but the realization comes with a shock and a loss. I won’t go into too many details because I don’t want to spoil the book for anyone. I’ll say that this story follows the aftermath of this discovery and what love can do to make things right when they can be very wrong. Grant, the main character, is like any athlete, focused, and he still pushes forward despite what goes havoc in his life. He tries to find himself and fights for the future he wants. Grant has a wonderful support system with his family. He also meets new great friends along the way. What I like about him is that he fights for what he believes in even if his temper gets the best of him at times or the situation is against him. The romance is one hell of a ride. Between a toxic relationship and the path to healing, the two of them learn a lot about each other but also about themselves. This is more of a slow burn and a beautiful story. Now, there are a few things that bugged me in this story. I didn’t quite understand the beginning of the story. Their reaction was very confusing because the action and words said weren’t in tune. It made little sense to me. Also, the main character tends to be on the whiny side, which doesn’t do well with me. With that said, I thought that the toxic relationship was well done in a way that the author educates the reader on the topic. The characters discuss how to recognize early signs of mental (and physical) abuse. The discussion helps us understand the situation. A support system and love are two important factors in this situation and it’s shown perfectly. The author did a good job of showing how difficult the situation can difficult to navigate and how it can quickly escalate to dangerous. Also, the healing and romance were beautiful and tender. Finally, the story follows two gymnasts and this was very new to me. I very much enjoy that part. Overall, despite a few elements that didn’t bode well with me, this story is a beautiful story of love and acceptance, of friendship and hardship. This is a fast read that will break your heart and piece it back together.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    The only reasons this didn't get more stars from me is that I like my romance novels with a bit more sex & escapism - but I think for a newer romance fan, or someone who is really seeking gay romances specifically, or someone who is a little uncomfortable with sex scenes this could easily be a 4 or 5 star book. Rough & Tumble is a young adult/new adult gay romance featuring two gymnasts that lines up characters for a more extensive "University of Atlanta" series. It's got only a few brief sex sc The only reasons this didn't get more stars from me is that I like my romance novels with a bit more sex & escapism - but I think for a newer romance fan, or someone who is really seeking gay romances specifically, or someone who is a little uncomfortable with sex scenes this could easily be a 4 or 5 star book. Rough & Tumble is a young adult/new adult gay romance featuring two gymnasts that lines up characters for a more extensive "University of Atlanta" series. It's got only a few brief sex scenes so it should be appropriate for a slightly younger audience, although it also addresses real issues, so it's not totally fluffy and might need a trigger warning for some issues. It's got the first person point-of-view that's common in romance aimed at a slightly younger audience, something that's generally not my favorite style but done really really well here, so I can't imagine the book any other way. It's aimed at people a bit younger than me, but I enjoyed it. I'd recommend it for a young romance fan, or a young gay man. It's a coming out story, a romance, and shows the discovery of the rainbow world with a scene at Atlanta pride. I'd definitely give this a spot on my Pride shelf if I had a book store ;). Oh, and one of the protagonists is Japanese-American and his cultural traditions are mentioned, so additional diversity points beyond being a gay romance. I'm not sure if I'll read more from the series, but I am interested in what happens with Annie, Mo, Pace, Kenny and the rest of the University of Atlanta crew, so I'll let the sample chapters of the next book decide. Read through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review & my Kobo Aura for physical device.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Phoebe

    Holy sugar Rough and Tumble is intense. Shae Connor takes us on two separate journeys. Two young men whose friendship path takes a hard left when Grant walks in on his friend and roommate Darryn being intimate with a guy. The shocks keep coming for Grant as Darryn shares more with him. This is where the hard left comes in. Connor then takes us into possible trigger territory for some readers as they deal head on with abusive relationships. The choices people can make when they think their love is Holy sugar Rough and Tumble is intense. Shae Connor takes us on two separate journeys. Two young men whose friendship path takes a hard left when Grant walks in on his friend and roommate Darryn being intimate with a guy. The shocks keep coming for Grant as Darryn shares more with him. This is where the hard left comes in. Connor then takes us into possible trigger territory for some readers as they deal head on with abusive relationships. The choices people can make when they think their love is unrequited and how we all want love and what it is supposed to look like. The road can be dangerous instead of filled with rose petals. Grant’s road is just as treacherous as he has to face his own truths about himself, his relationship with Darryn, and with being a homosexual. What is being a friend? How can you be a friend through the bad times and the good? When, when, when...all of those “whens” that have to be answered while still trying to figure out who you are. Connor adds in competitive gymnastics and the pressure mounts. The “warning” at the end of the synopsis makes it sound as if the book focuses on the aftermath of the toxicity and this is not true. Rough and Tumble is about all of Darryn’s relationships even though the voice is Grant’s. Connor makes this story more about friendship and family than about romance. There is romance and a happily-ever-after...don’t worry. I just want to emphasize that Connor focuses on the coming of age aspect versus the dating and romance part. Rough and Tumble’s characters draw you in and don’t let go. I want to see where they end up and you will too. I received an ARC of this book and I am writing a review without prejudice and voluntarily.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Amy Dufera - Amy's MM Romance Reviews

    Rough and Tumble is an emotional college romance by Shae Connor. From the start, we learn that Grant has long been in love with his roommate and best friend, Darryn. Soon after, we learn that Darryn's boyfriend, Rich, is both controlling and toxic. I immediately felt bad for Grant, as his pain of losing his chance with Darryn is front and center. After that, I just got mad. Omg, I wanted to punch Rich. Throughout the progression of events, I just got so damn frustrated with Rich. I know people e Rough and Tumble is an emotional college romance by Shae Connor. From the start, we learn that Grant has long been in love with his roommate and best friend, Darryn. Soon after, we learn that Darryn's boyfriend, Rich, is both controlling and toxic. I immediately felt bad for Grant, as his pain of losing his chance with Darryn is front and center. After that, I just got mad. Omg, I wanted to punch Rich. Throughout the progression of events, I just got so damn frustrated with Rich. I know people easily fall prey to controlling partners, but I was just so angry and annoyed by it. I wasn't easy to read. I definitely don't love every aspect of this story, but it isn't that I disagree with the author's choices, but rather it all just mad me so angry. This is about much more than the romance. This is about saving one's friend from an abusive relationship, as well as the aftermath. I appreciate the way the author deals with the aftermath, being genuine with the mental healing. It would have been a disservice to not deal with it and fluff over this aspect. Written all from Grant's pov, his inner monologue fully kept me intrigued. The title is perfect for this tale, as it certainly can be interpreted multiple ways. Rough and Tumble is a riveting college romance. I love college athletes falling in love so I am happy to have found this Shae Connor story. There's never a question that the men love one another, but rather a doubt as to how they'll find their way to a happy ending.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Shirley Frances

    This was a sweet, quick read, but a bit disappointing. When I saw the cover and read the blurb, I was definitely expecting a great friends to lovers story, and even though I enjoyed that aspect of the story I couldn't help but feel a bit of disappointment of its execution. Right from where the story started, I felt my interest fading. Especially because of how both MCs handled that first scene. I knew coming in that both MCs were on the young side, but there's being young and then there's acting This was a sweet, quick read, but a bit disappointing. When I saw the cover and read the blurb, I was definitely expecting a great friends to lovers story, and even though I enjoyed that aspect of the story I couldn't help but feel a bit of disappointment of its execution. Right from where the story started, I felt my interest fading. Especially because of how both MCs handled that first scene. I knew coming in that both MCs were on the young side, but there's being young and then there's acting immaturely. I didn't care much about the melodrama between these two, especially since it was sunc an easy fix. I understood where they were coming from, but I think the author tried to hard to make it into something more. I would have preferred it if she would have focused more on developing their connection further and in bringing more of their chemistry to the page. Ultimately, that was my whole problem with this story, every single element had the potential to be developed further, but ultimately, they lacked in their execution. There was a lot of telling and not a lot of showing. For me that is a huge turn-off. Thankfully, there were some great moments of camaraderie and humor and some pretty awesome moments that had me nearly convinced on this pairing, which explains my rating. All in all, a sweet read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mari Cardenas

    3.5 Stars! What I Loved: The cover, which is gorgeous. The colors, the tenderness between the models, it really drew me in. And the premise, which sounded really good, although I was a bit let down with the execution.  What I Liked: Grant. My heart went to him. He seemed nice overall, although both he and Darryn were very immature and needed to work on their communication big time.  The abusive relationship angle between Rich (the aggressor) and Darryn, was realistically done, although it kind of t 3.5 Stars! What I Loved: The cover, which is gorgeous. The colors, the tenderness between the models, it really drew me in. And the premise, which sounded really good, although I was a bit let down with the execution.  What I Liked: Grant. My heart went to him. He seemed nice overall, although both he and Darryn were very immature and needed to work on their communication big time.  The abusive relationship angle between Rich (the aggressor) and Darryn, was realistically done, although it kind of took over the book to the detriment of Grant and Darryn's story. I was disappointed that it took them so long to actually get together that by the time when it happened the book was nearly over. What I Didn't Like: Darryn, he was a jerk to Grant while Darryn was in a relationship with Rich. It also made little sense to me that if Darryn knew Grant was gay and he had feelings for Grant and an inkling of Grant's crush on him, he would pursue a relationship with someone else. I hated Rich, but with how he treated Darryn, it was a given. Overall, the book was well-written and it was a good enough read, although I would've liked more of Grant and Darryn being together to actually fall for them as a couple.  *** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. ***

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Light

    As a lover of M/M romance, I was very excited to adventure into Rough and Tumble by Shae Connor. While the book itself and its characters are good and the plot easy to keep up with, I was a little disappointed on the spice level. From the cover and blurb, I thought this was going to be a slow burn, friends to lovers’ story, however it is not. Grant and Darryn are young, they are in college, but the amount of immature drama was really not needed. There is always a need for conflict in a story, bu As a lover of M/M romance, I was very excited to adventure into Rough and Tumble by Shae Connor. While the book itself and its characters are good and the plot easy to keep up with, I was a little disappointed on the spice level. From the cover and blurb, I thought this was going to be a slow burn, friends to lovers’ story, however it is not. Grant and Darryn are young, they are in college, but the amount of immature drama was really not needed. There is always a need for conflict in a story, but Rough and Tumble’s character have little maturity or growth. There were some awesome supporting characters that I would love to have seen Grant grow with, as well as more compassion from Darryn. The issues and misunderstandings between Grant and Darryn go on way longer than they needed to and the actual romance part doesn’t come up until the book is practically over. This again felt like the author was dragging out unneeded conflict for as long as possible. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some really good moments in Rough and Tumble, funny tid bits that give the readers a giggle and meaningful moments between friends. I think the story had a great message and it was a good book. 3.5 stars for Rough and Tumble.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Crissy

    The cover of the book was eye catching and the blurb had me wanting to read this story. I wish I could say that I loved this story but that just wasn't the case. The characters in the story were okay. Grant and Darryn are best friends who shared almost everything but a huge secret they have been hiding. When the secret is revealed and words are said their friendship completely changes. I wish that instead of the author just letting readers know that their friendship was strong, she instead gave The cover of the book was eye catching and the blurb had me wanting to read this story. I wish I could say that I loved this story but that just wasn't the case. The characters in the story were okay. Grant and Darryn are best friends who shared almost everything but a huge secret they have been hiding. When the secret is revealed and words are said their friendship completely changes. I wish that instead of the author just letting readers know that their friendship was strong, she instead gave readers some scenes to let us see the closeness between Grant and Darryn. After everything exploded they didn't act like they were friends for years at all. Grant throws a pity party more than half of the story and I was more than over it. Darryn was no better in the way he acted. They argued and disagreed so much that when it came to them falling in love it was unbelievable. I just didn't and couldn't make myself believe in the love they claim to have for each other. The story has secrets, revelations, abuse, a stalker, good friends and more but it just wasn't one that I fell it love with. I didn't love it but it wasn't completely terrible and it is a one time read for me.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Starla

    This was an enjoyable book and I read it in one sitting. The plot was interesting, and characters were pretty strong, although the villain seemed a little one dimensional at times. I loved the MCs and their dynamic. They were sweet and they had a lot of chemistry, but we didn't get a lot of time with them together. While the relationship development was believable, it was a very slow burn, and I would have liked to see more of them as a couple. Most of their interactions revolved around the abus This was an enjoyable book and I read it in one sitting. The plot was interesting, and characters were pretty strong, although the villain seemed a little one dimensional at times. I loved the MCs and their dynamic. They were sweet and they had a lot of chemistry, but we didn't get a lot of time with them together. While the relationship development was believable, it was a very slow burn, and I would have liked to see more of them as a couple. Most of their interactions revolved around the abusive relationship one of them was going through, the aftermath, and the recovery. I must admit it was realistic but it wasn't what I expected so I was left wanting more. I thought the writing was very good, even if I'm not a fan of the first person present tense, and I honestly skimmed through a lot of the gymnastics scenes. There were a couple of secondary characters that intrigued me, and I hope there's a story for them too. It's a 3.5 for me but I'm rounding up because I really liked the characters, it was well written, and I would love to read more from this author. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    I was ready to absolutely love this story, but unfortunately I was left feeling disappointed. I was expecting a nice friends-to-lovers romance, which I got, but the way it was executed fell short of my expectations. This story has a rough start, with love interest Darryn being upset with main character Grant because Grant never came out to him. Grant meanwhile is upset because he has just walked in on his best friend/roommate/the guy he has a big crush on/teammate in bed with another guy. And in I was ready to absolutely love this story, but unfortunately I was left feeling disappointed. I was expecting a nice friends-to-lovers romance, which I got, but the way it was executed fell short of my expectations. This story has a rough start, with love interest Darryn being upset with main character Grant because Grant never came out to him. Grant meanwhile is upset because he has just walked in on his best friend/roommate/the guy he has a big crush on/teammate in bed with another guy. And instead of talking, instead of acting like the (new) adults they are, the guys just fight and waste time being angry with one another. The levels of melodrama and immaturity were just too high for me to really enjoy, especially since a lot of the issues could've been solved by just communicating with each other. We also never really see their eventual relationship develop and grow. We're just told that they have fallen for each other, then they get together, and then the story ends with them just together. I feel like I never got the chance to connect to either character or their relationship. (I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sid Blackwood

    I received this free ebook in exchange for an honest review. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Overall I liked the book though it was a bit light on the romance for me. Because of the focus on Darryn's abusive relationship that works for the storyline though. For me there was on thing that bothered me the whole book. Apparently Darryn knew for some time that Grant was gay and in turn knew for a while that he himself was bisexual a I received this free ebook in exchange for an honest review. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Overall I liked the book though it was a bit light on the romance for me. Because of the focus on Darryn's abusive relationship that works for the storyline though. For me there was on thing that bothered me the whole book. Apparently Darryn knew for some time that Grant was gay and in turn knew for a while that he himself was bisexual and had a crush on Grant. It also seemed like Darryn knew that Grant had a crush on him. But why didn't Darryn approach Grant then? I was very confused by this because the only reason they aren't together from the start seems to be that Grant didn't know Darryn was even into men. I don't know why this bothered me so much but I couldn't get over it enough to fully enjoy the book. Otherwise I can say it's a good sporty college romance though I do recommend checking in with yourself about abusive relationships. If this could trigger you at all maybe skip this one. It is a prominent theme.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lovely Books Blog

    Overall - ⭐⭐ Heat - 🔥🔥 Rough and Tumble is the new MM novel by Shae Connor about two best friends that share a secret that neither of them know the other is keeping. Grant’s been harboring a crush on his friend Darryn for a while which is difficult because he’s pretty sure Darryn is straight. But when he catches Darryn with another guy, could there be more between them than just friendship? The blurb and cover of this book really drew me in, but it really failed to live up to the potential once I Overall - ⭐⭐ Heat - 🔥🔥 Rough and Tumble is the new MM novel by Shae Connor about two best friends that share a secret that neither of them know the other is keeping. Grant’s been harboring a crush on his friend Darryn for a while which is difficult because he’s pretty sure Darryn is straight. But when he catches Darryn with another guy, could there be more between them than just friendship? The blurb and cover of this book really drew me in, but it really failed to live up to the potential once I started reading. The author claims she writes “sweet and hot” books, and I gotta say this was neither. It felt like an immature melodrama for much of the book. The romance between the two guys didn't feel like the primary focus of the book, so I got pretty bored. Save your pennies on this one friends. Website | Facebook | Instagram

  30. 4 out of 5

    Shirley

    I’ve gotta admit, this one took me a while to get into, but eventually, both Grant and Darryn grew on me. Eventually… I found myself sympathizing more with Grant than with Darryn, even though Darryn was the definite victim in this story. I think that’s mainly because the story was told strictly from Grant’s POV. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t get aggravated with Grant more than once. He made some mistakes and could have handled things better at times, but he owned up to it. The supporting charact I’ve gotta admit, this one took me a while to get into, but eventually, both Grant and Darryn grew on me. Eventually… I found myself sympathizing more with Grant than with Darryn, even though Darryn was the definite victim in this story. I think that’s mainly because the story was told strictly from Grant’s POV. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t get aggravated with Grant more than once. He made some mistakes and could have handled things better at times, but he owned up to it. The supporting characters in Rough & Tumble were great. From friends to family, the support was evident. There was humor, danger, tough issues handled with care and a sweet romance to offset the not so sweet moments. I’ve also got to say that the parents were refreshingly adorably supportive. This is my first read by Shae Connor and I’m pretty sure it won’t be my last. Even though it took me a while to get into, it was well worth the read. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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