Rating: 5/5 stars
Series: Signs of Love, Book 1
Genres: Romance, Male/Male Romance, Contemporary, LGBT+
I absolutely adored this novel. I picked it up on a whim based on a video I watched on YouTube by Chandler Ainsley, where she talks about reading the fifth book in the series. While each book can be read as a standalone, I figured I’d give the first book (Leo Loves Ares, of course) a shot before picking anything else up. As this is my first read by Anyta Sunday, I wanted to see if I have a taste for her writing. Turns out, I certainly do.
I’ll admit, I haven’t read a lot of MM romances so I don’t have a lot to compare this to. All I know is that I really did enjoy this read. The romance felt real, the relationship natural, and the second hand embarrassment was strong. Yup, it was so strong that at times I had to put the story down and sit there with my hands over my eyes as I processed what I’d just read. It was amazing.
I’m also not a person that believes in horoscopes. Some might call me a skeptic, like Theo, when it comes to them. However, I adored the way that horoscopes played a part in this read. Just because I don’t follow them myself doesn’t mean they aren’t valuable to others. It was great getting to watch Theo come to terms with being a strong headed Leo when it comes to dating. Theo might not know what he wants, but the universe is more than willing to provide for him what he needs.
Yet even with those things… against me? Even though I don’t normally read books like this one, I was drawn into it from the start. The writing on this book is entertaining and the characters themselves drew me to them. I couldn’t wait to see how the characters would react to things thrown their way and I absolutely adored being in Theo’s head.
Reading from the perspective of a clueless narrator isn’t always my thing, but it certainly did it for me. If you’re looking for a fantastic MM romance, look no further (said this noob in the subgenre). I found myself unable to put this book down until it was over…. and mysteriously it was 2am on a work night. I look forward to picking up the other books in this series and giving the subgenre as a whole a more thorough read.
Theo might very well be the most clueless narrator I’ve ever had the pleasure to be in the mind of. While it was a struggle at times to sit there and read about Theo misunderstanding things with Jamie, I’ll admit I was absolute trash for it. I mean that in the “oh my gosh I never want this to end, I’m dying on the inside with second hand embarrassment but can’t look away” way. The story was phenomenal.
I cringed so hard when Theo was telling Jamie to make a move (on his sister) and Jamie thought Theo was actually being blunt about their relationship. I literally laid in bed for ten minutes with the heels of my hands pressed to my eyes, trying to process what had just happened. And then I had to read it again once the shock wore off. Oh Theo, you poor, sweet, innocent child. I nearly jumped with joy when he got home after leaving Leone and Jamie alone for dinner and Jamie was waiting for him in his room.
Back to the start of the story, now. I thought it was absolutely adorable that Theo was trying to make sure that Jamie was a good fit for Leone before letting her know that he was pretty sure Jamie liked her back. After all, they had to be flirting with each other. (Oh Theo…) The second that Jamie told Theo he was an Ares, he decided to try pretty hard to see if he’d be good enough for his sister. If only Theo had realized why Jamie had told him. I wonder what star sign Sean is…
This slow burn romance hit me right in the core. I absolutely adored the growth that happened between Theo and Jamie, from Theo trying to convince Jamie to tutor him to two people that absolutely loved each other. It was great seeing Theo trying to stomach his jealousy concerning Jamie without understanding what it is he was feeling. Their flirty messages back and forth were adorable, made even more so by Theo’s naivete on the subject. My personal favourite might just be when Jamie straight up said that he might cross the room and kiss Theo, and the poor guy thought Jamie was telling Theo to get back to work.
I do feel bad for Liz, though, going on a date with Theo only to have the date morph into one between Theo and Jamie. It must have been hard for Jamie, agreeing to play bystander on a date with his crush. Even if it did turn into Theo teaching Jamie how to skate. Poor Leone, being forced into the middle of things just because her brother was trying to set her up with someone that he himself was interested in. Just because Theo didn’t realize he was interested in Jamie and Leone realized that Jamie was gay doesn’t make it any less awkward. She certainly was a good sport, though, letting Theo come to the realization of his feelings all by himself.
And then there’s the shirt! Oh my goodness, I jokingly thought to myself “Hey, JLM. It’s probably Jamie saying that he loves someone. Oof, but he didn’t give the shirt to anyone so it must not have worked out. Nah, that can’t be it”. BUT IT WAS. Oh Jamie, I’m so sorry that Charlie was such a prick. I wish Sean had let Theo punch him in the face. He deserve worse than that for what he was saying about Jamie.
Such a cute story about the origin of the shirt, too. I’m not the best gift giver in the world, but even I wouldn’t consider giving someone a shirt to declare I have feelings for them. I am glad that it became Theo’s favourite shirt to wear, even if he didn’t know the meaning behind it for a while.
I can understand Jamie being worried about how Theo would react to his feelings. After all, Theo was adamant that what was going on between them was just sex. Sure Theo’s heart didn’t feel the same way, but sometimes the mind and the heart just don’t speak to each other. Still, having Theo walking around with a declaration of Jamie’s love for him was pretty bittersweet. No wonder Sean got so mad about it when he saw Theo wearing the shirt, oblivious to the hidden meaning within the gesture.
I can’t wait to read more of this series, even though I know that the other books won’t be focusing on Theo and Jamie’s relationship. I can’t wait to read about more people falling in love and seeing how the different star signs are going to impact these relationships. Five years ago I probably wouldn’t have been interested in a series like this, but the me now can’t seem to stop thinking about it.
Bonus: Leo Tops Ares Review
Rating: 5/5 stars
Series: Signs of Love, Book 1.5
Publication Date: December 25, 2016
Okay, I couldn’t help myself. The second I found out there was a novella about Jamie and Theo I had to devour it. And I’m so glad that I did. It brought the same kind of grin inducing cringe that Theo’s story filled me with in Leo Loves Ares. Running into Charlie brought out Theo’s dumb side and I’m so glad that it did.
Of course, I loved the interactions between Jamie and Theo even more. Sitting there, messaging each other even though they’re sitting in the same room, brings back fond memories. (Yes I might have just read their story a couple of days before this, but they’re still fond memories!) Teasing each other and Theo being nervous about how Jamie was going to respond was perfect and just the way things were, even at the very beginning.
It was also great to see Theo grow out of his stubbornness – at least a little bit. Instead of forcing Jamie to give in, he realized that it wasn’t what he actually wanted. No, he wanted the man that he loves to be happy. So instead of forcing Jamie to give in, Theo gave in and spoke the words that were true. He can’t be without his Ares. I’m still smiling thinking about it. Selfish Leo, giving in to his Ares.
I loved getting spend those extra few minutes with Theo and Jamie. While I’m sad that my time with them is over, I can’t wait to continue on with this world and its characters.