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A Blue Notes Series Novel

Five years after a prestigious scholarship jump started his opera career, Aiden Lind has it all: fame, choice roles, and Lord Cameron Sherrington to share his life with. Maintaining his façade takes effort, but under his poised, sophisticated mask, Aiden is still the insecure kid from rural Mississippi. Then he walks in on Cam with another man, and the illusion of perfection shatters.

Philadelphia attorney Sam Ryan never moved on after his partner died, though he tried. Instead of dating, he keeps himself busy with work—but when he unexpectedly runs into ex-lover Aiden while on a rare vacation in Paris, he’s inspired to give their love a second chance. First, though, he’ll have to get Aiden to forgive him. Because when Sam was still grieving five years ago, he broke Aiden’s heart.

When rekindled lust blossoms into a true romance, it seems like the start of something wonderful. But Aiden’s career has him on the road much of the time, and the physical distance between him and Sam starts translating into an emotional disconnect. If Aiden and Sam can’t learn to communicate, their separation may prove more than their love can bear.

Note: The Blue Notes Series can be read in any order. Each is a stand-alone story from the same classical music universe.

236 pages, ebook

First published December 24, 2012

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About the author

Shira Anthony

34 books430 followers
Shira Anthony is a complete sucker for a happily-ever-after, and rarely reads or writes a story without one. Never a fan of instalove, Shira likes to write stories about real men with real issues making real relationships work.

In her last incarnation, Shira was a professional opera singer, performing roles in such operas as “Tosca,” “Pagliacci,” and “La Traviata,” among others. Her Blue Notes Series is loosely based upon her own experiences as a professional musician.

Shira is married with two children and two insane dogs and when she’s not writing, she is usually in a courtroom trying to make the world safer for children. When she’s not working, she can be found aboard a 36’ catamaran at the Carolina coast with her favorite sexy captain at the wheel. She’s given up TV for evenings spent with her laptop, and she never goes anywhere without a pile of unread M/M romance on her Kindle.

Interested in hearing Shira sing? Here's a link to a live performance of Shira singing an aria from Puccini's "Tosca": http://www.shiraanthony.com/wp-conten...

You can subscribe to Shira's monthly newsletter for updates, free fiction, and subscriber-only contests here: http://www.shiraanthony.com/newsletter/

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 69 reviews
Profile Image for Baba  .
859 reviews3,871 followers
May 26, 2013
3 stars.

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I'm going to make it short but not so sweet.

I enjoyed Prelude very much and I was hoping I'd be reading another winner by Shira Anthony. It was not meant to be. Having said that, you might as well read it and I hope you'll end up loving it. It's not a bad book by any means and the beginning was very promising, however, the more I read the less I enjoyed it. I will refrain from writing a synopsis since I would like to get down to business straight away.

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Aria could have been a great read and it is very unfortunate that the lack of communication and miscommunication ruined this story for me. It's a huge pet peeve of mine, and for a while now I'm just not willing anymore to overlook such a weakness. Plus, there were some parts of the story that dragged too much for my taste. Despite some great segments and good men lovin', Aria fell too flat for me.

A long-distance relationship is difficult to handle, I get that. But from the moment when Sam and Aiden decided to give their relationship a chance, one should think there was enough time to TALK. I'm not quite sure anymore but I *think* the story did span a timeframe of about two years. Besides, all the second-guessing and insecurities aggravated my annoyance.

We can talk about it tomorrow. I'm tired. We'll talk about it tomorrow. We can talk about it tomorrow. I'm tired. We'll talk about it tomorrow. We can talk about it tomorrow. I'm tired. We'll talk about it tomorrow. We can talk about it tomorrow. I'm tired. We'll talk about it tomorrow. We can talk about it tomorrow. I'm tired. We'll talk about it tomorrow. We can talk about it tomorrow. I'm tired. We'll talk about it tomorrow.

My mom always told me 'Morgen, morgen, nur nicht heute, sagen alle faulen Leute.' Meaning, 'Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.'

Like Maybe this entire relationship thing was a mistake. He was tired of trying to live up to Nick's memory. Tired of being second best. F@cking Saint Nick. He knew he wasn't completely fair to Sam, either, but it was easier to be angry with Sam than with himself.

You can never replace another person, and you can't and shouldn't live up to someone else's memory either. Just…be yourself. Just love each other and work out your problems already. Talk about your expectations, wishes and dreams. Also, you really need to make some compromises in life. It's a matter of give and take after all. And first and foremost be honest with each other. So, if this is not going to happen then you need to draw the line and call it quits. Honestly, the stalling tactics got on my nerves.

I wonder what you'd think of me, Nick.
Aiden knew Nick had never lived in this apartment, and yet he could feel the man's presence here as surely as if he had. It wasn't only the paintings or the photographs of Nick and Sam that stood next to those of Sam's family. He could sense Nick's presence in Sam, and it frightened him. Or perhaps it wasn't Nick's presence, but his absence Aiden felt in Sam. Nick was there in the photographs and the paintings, and yet Sam had barely mentioned Nick since he'd told Aiden about him months ago.

I'm tired and I'm jet-lagged. I need to relax and stop worrying. It's going to be fine.

You could have talked to Aiden. He'd have listened.

Call him. Stop acting like a stupid kid and call him!

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S'only your fault it takes you forever to accept that things change, he could almost hear Nick say. Almost. The voice was fainter now, but it was still there.
You're right, Nicky. It's only my fault.
He pulled the backpack off his shoulder and sat down on a bench. He unzipped it and pulled out the battered cookie tin. The lettering, Macadamia Chocolate Chip, had faded, and the paint was scratched off in spots. He'd almost forgotten where he'd put it when he'd moved to Philly. Almost. He put the tin on his lap and ran his fingers over the surface. He didn't fight the tears but closed his eyes and let them spill over his cheeks. He tasted the salt on his lips and held the tin tighter in his hands.

What I liked
The ending was beautifully done and emotional . I enjoy the author's voice. Her writing is good and I really liked to get an insight into the world of classical music--especially in Prelude. Hence, I'm looking forward to reading more by this author.
Profile Image for DaisyGirl.
1,203 reviews66 followers
August 26, 2013
3.5 Stars

Ugh. This was hard but in the end (the very, very end, mind you), Shira Anthony delivered the goods. I'm beginning to realize that she usually does...

Aiden Lind is at the height of his operatic career when he walks in on his cheating bastard of a boyfriend bopping another guy's brains out. Niiiiice. Not! Sam Ryan is a Philadelphia attorney who has yet to move on after the sudden and unexpected death of his partner, Nick. On a sojourn in Paris, Sam runs into Aiden. Their reunion is lukewarm at best since Sam had previously broken Aiden's heart five years prior, when he was still deeply grieving Nick's death. Despite his past faux pas, Sam gets Aiden to give him another chance and the two soon find themselves on the precipice of something wonderful. Aiden's career, however, keeps him away from home for long stretches of time. And, the relationship begins to suffer because both Sam and Aiden lack even rudimentary communication skills. To top it all off, Aiden is fighting a losing battle against the ghost of Sam's one-true love, Nick. When all is said and done, Sam and Aiden must put aside their vulnerabilities and insecurities to fight for their HEA.

Wow. This one was tough. At different times throughout this book I felt happy, sad, angry, really angry, livid, resigned, hopeful, and finally satisfied. I have honestly enjoyed the Blue Notes series to date. I am a true-blue Shira Anthony fan. One of the things I most admire about SA's writing is her character development. She creates amazing characters that draw me in and make me want to root for them. This story was no different. I so rooted for both Sam and Aiden. Obviously, as expressed in my status updates, I was increasingly frustrated with Sam. I get that he loved Nick but it was almost too much. Almost. I totally empathized with his grief and the tremendous loss he grappled with. I don't begrudge him a single moment of his pain. What frustrated me was that his feelings for Nick (as admirable as they were) were so strong that they choked the life out of any relationship with Aiden. And that's just. Not. Fair. I wanted Aiden to dump Sam countless times. Then, when things came to a head and Sam finally realized the error of his ways (vis-a-vis Nick and Aiden), I was so relieved only to be sorely disappointed in the reconciliation conversation. It felt like the whole thing was swept under the rug. Not. Cool. Granted SA redeems Sam in the end but still ... that was way too close a call.

Bottom line: I am a hard-core fan of both Shira Anthony and the Blue Note series. I'm definitely moving on to book 4. :)
Profile Image for Deeze.
1,607 reviews267 followers
January 12, 2014
My third book in this series and I'm happy to say I'm not disappointed.

Reading Aiden and Sam's story was a little more emotional.

The ups and downs these two go through are all realistic hurdles. My heart did side a little more with Aiden I admit. At times I felt frustrated with Sam for not seeing what he was making Aiden feel. I guess I always fall more for the underdog/insecure kind of hero lol.

Cam was a surprise. I expected to loath him, but somehow I never quite managed it. I guess I see more of a lost little boy than a playboy in him. I'm certainly looking forward to seeing him in his own story.

I really appreciate the way these stories unfold in a gentle way. Nothing is rushed nor drawn out too long. We really get a feel of not just the characters but a real sense of what their lives are like.

I did find the sex a little stronger and not to my taste in this book, but that's a purely personal thing.
Profile Image for Caroline Brand.
1,741 reviews70 followers
December 22, 2015

4.5 Stars

I am still kicking myself for having this series on my TBR for such a long time!
Aria is the third book in the Blue Notes and we get to see more of Sam Ryan who we met in Blue Notes and who is still recovering from the loss of his partner Nick.

We also get to meet Aidan who is working through a different kind of grief after finding his lover with another man. Although he suspected Cam was cheating it was still a real kick in the teeth to discover him in all his naked glory bent over the sofa!

This story has a bit more angst than the previous two books and both the characters are a bit more damaged. Sam is plagued by self-doubt, unsure whether he should be moving on and if he can does that mean he is being disloyal? Aidan is having a hard time trusting anyone but he has an extremely hard time trusting Sam.

Sam and Aidan have history you see and it’s not a great one. Go back 5 years when Aiden’s career is just taking off and Sam is making tentative steps back into the dating game. They meet, they feel something for each other but Aiden has to leave town and Sam is too terrified to commit to anything. Sam is left lonely and Aidan is left heartbroken. There is both lust and hurt when they finally run into each other years later.

The writing is beautiful, the characters are compelling and I found I just couldn’t put it down. There is an awful moment when Sam makes a mistake and you wonder whether they can ever come back from it. Shira really made this pair work for their happy!

I think overall this is my favourite so far in the series. These books can be read in any order but you do get to see the other couples from previous books popping up every now and again. Cam was a pain in the ass in this book and I look forward to reading his story later on in the series.

Narration Review:

I enjoyed Peter B Brooke’s narration once again. I think he did a brilliant job with Cam and his voice lent to the story and all the different characters.
Profile Image for Bea.
513 reviews47 followers
January 3, 2013
Torn between a 4 star and 3, finally went with a three star when I realized that I skipped the sex a lot toward the end.

My biggest issue with this book was that I was not sure they should stay together various times throughout the book. It was clear that they both valued their careers more than the relationship. That's fine and understandable, but it lessens my interest in their end of the book. If they don't care, why should I?

At the same time, I can only imagine that this is extremely typical and realistic for any star or performer. Working on the road continuously means never being home, if your partner works. So perhaps this storyline is not unrealistic, but it felt bloated with unneeded angst at times.

What I did find amazing was the musical reference. As a musician, I could easily relate with the scenes dealing with the emotions, sounds, and experiences Aiden mentions. Those scenes I felt so connected and the author knocked it out of the park.

Overall, it was a good book, but I think I liked the first two books best.
Profile Image for Shirley Frances.
1,799 reviews114 followers
January 17, 2013
Great story of second chances and moving on. I enjoyed it thoroughly. Aiden and Sam were adorable, tortured souls and their story was a treat to read.

I was intrigued by Sam when he made an appearance on Blue Notes. I knew I wanted to know more about him and that his story would be an interesting one. I am glad to say that I was not disappointed. His story is sad which made my heart go out to him, even if I wanted to smack him upside the head a few times. Adrian was interesting to get to know and his story was just as sad ad Sam's. I read about him on The Melody Thief, but I was too into that story to really pay attention.

I liked how these two came together. Their chemistry was very hot, but it was the tender moments that I enjoyed the most. Adrien's vulnerability and Sam's detachment at times were enough to bring me to tears. I think that's why enjoyed their development so much. It felt real. Like they really made an effort to make it work and in the end I was as happy as they were.

I've really enjoyed the books in the series. I wonder if there'll be more to come. :-)
Profile Image for Shira Anthony.
Author 34 books430 followers
December 26, 2012
Book Three in my Blue Notes Series of music-themed books, each a standalone story that can be read independently and in any order. This is the story of Sam Ryan, who appears briefly in the first Blue Notes book, and Aiden Lind, who appears briefly in "The Melody Thief" as Cary Redding's best friend.

Of all the Blue Notes books so far, this one is perhaps the most realistic in portraying the realities of an international career in music. Many of the experiences and difficulties the characters experience I also experienced when I was singing professionally.

I hope you enjoy Sam and Aiden's story!
Profile Image for Jamie.
511 reviews32 followers
April 7, 2015
I liked this one better than some of the other Blue Notes books although I'm not sure why... I felt like the dialogue was a bit less stilted. I wasn't crazy about the big jumps in time though, although I understand, given the nature of their relationship, but it felt rushed. I also didn't understand Sam's family's reaction to Aiden
Profile Image for Jen.
231 reviews
March 23, 2013
I did NOT expect to love this book as much as I did, given the first two in the series (light, super-sappy entertainment), but holy shit, I thought it was great. Maybe Shira Anthony is getting better with practice? I even thought the sex scenes had moved up a few notches on the hotness scale. Is it a perfect book? No. But I still enjoyed the hell out it.

I loved both of the MCs, Sam and Aiden, equally. They are both genuinely good men who have lived through some truly awful personal tragedies, and who have very relatable character flaws. (And Aiden is a fellow IU grad - holla for the Hoosiers!)

This story just felt real - it's about two people who love each other SO much, but struggle to make a relationship work when they're both dedicated to their careers, which require them to be apart so often. Add in beloved-but-dead (in Sam's case) and cheating (in Aiden's case) ex-boyfriends, communication problems, disapproving family members, insecurities, and OCD cleaning habits (ha!), and you have a whole lot of additional factors working against them.

And I lost my shit when

The one thing I didn't care for was the .

But over time (a nice, long, realistic amount of time), they finally make it work. And I'm so happy they do, because they both deserve to be happy.

Bravo, Ms. Anthony, bravo.

...Can we have an encore? ;-)
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Susan Laine.
Author 78 books220 followers
January 19, 2013
Wow. This story takes you in a hundred different directions, all at once. Aiden, the shy opera singer, comes face to butt with betrayal, and then reconnects with Sam, an old casual sort of boyfriend from years back. They try to figure out if the rekindled flame between them is enough of a foundation to build upon. And sure enough, life gets in the way at every possible turn.

There's so much happening here, it's baffling at times. Everything from deep trust issues to lack of communication, from cheating to meddling exes, this story has it all. Like the other stories in this series, the time component is a vexing one. Time flies by (I wish it would slow down sometimes), and people miss opportunities for love for so many stupid reasons. You'd wish the heroes shake out of their fear and confusion, and just pursue the love that is right there! But where Aiden has to contend with a cheating ex who would do anything to get him back, Sam has the death of a long time lover to contend with. And though the sexual fire between the two is undeniable, it's the simple act of talking and being honest where these two suck!

Cities of the world become familiar throughout the book, as there's a lot of traveling back and forth, physically and emotionally. Law and music seem at first so incompatible, but Ms. Anthony knows how to enfuse life to both. The unlikely couple of Aiden and Sam is one you root for, right from the start. And... things are never quite what they seem at first. The secrets people hide, they can be real doozies. Life moves on. It's our choice whether to stand at the sidelines waiting for something to happen, or to grab life by the balls and demand what you want.

I highly recommend!
Profile Image for ✿~Danielle~✿.
4,205 reviews13 followers
March 11, 2016
Aiden Lind
Sam Ryan

2.75 stars

April 2015

I was frustrated with this book. The main characters DO NOT communicate with each other at all. It was always let's talk tomorrow. Which they never did. It was only in the last 10% of the book that they do clear the air and talk. It was so annoying. You wanted to shout at them to just talk and the misunderstanding would sorted. I liked the previous book, but this one not as much.

Five years after a prestigious scholarship jump started his opera career, Aiden Lind has it all: fame, choice roles, and Lord Cameron Sherrington to share his life with. Maintaining his façade takes effort, but under his poised, sophisticated mask, Aiden is still the insecure kid from rural Mississippi. Then he walks in on Cam with another man, and the illusion of perfection shatters.

Philadelphia attorney Sam Ryan never moved on after his partner died, though he tried. Instead of dating, he keeps himself busy with work—but when he unexpectedly runs into ex-lover Aiden while on a rare vacation in Paris, he’s inspired to give their love a second chance. First, though, he’ll have to get Aiden to forgive him. Because when Sam was still grieving five years ago, he broke Aiden’s heart.

When rekindled lust blossoms into a true romance, it seems like the start of something wonderful. But Aiden’s career has him on the road much of the time, and the physical distance between him and Sam starts translating into an emotional disconnect. If Aiden and Sam can’t learn to communicate, their separation may prove more than their love can bear.
Profile Image for Janice.
363 reviews10 followers
February 9, 2013
While I didn't get the same sense of music that I did in Blue Notes and The Melody Thief, Aria still has its own theatrical other-world quality about it. The focus is more on Sam's past, accepting differences and making a long-distance relationship work, than Aiden Lind's career and insecurites as an opera star...

Each book in the series stands alone, but I love the way the author weaves all her main protags lives through the lives of her other characters stories. Sam had a brief walk-on in Blue Notes and Jason and Jules make a quest apperance in Aria. And Cary Redding from The Melody Thief has a scene stealing moment in a flashback as Aiden's best friend. I'm really looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Prelude and I do hope there's more after that.
Profile Image for Carol.
2,601 reviews81 followers
May 25, 2021
I couldn’t wait for Aiden to lose Cam. Then we meet Attorney Sam Ryan who has his own law firm in Philadelphia. Soon the question becomes can a long-distance relationship work with two important and busy careers? Aiden and Sam are both distinct and very real characters, and despite the glamorous, high-profile life Aiden leads, he still has to deal with real life problems the same as Sam--particularly, the logistics of two people with lives trying to make things work. It is fascinating to see if and how they can manage it. And along the way are lovely, intense meetings of this bi-continental pair, along with visits to their friends, some of whom were featured in previous books It was indeed wonderful to be invited into the world of music and art and law and love, with another of Shira Anthony's books. I have loved this author from the first of her books I read several years ago.

Profile Image for Shannon.
2,163 reviews39 followers
June 24, 2018
If there were ever any two men who communicated shittier, I haven't read about them. Holy Hell, the entire book was one misunderstanding after another. I was losing hope these two would be able to work things out at all. After a while I didn't even know if I was rooting for them or not, I was so confused and they seemed so miserable. Weird! I loved that David and the others played a part in this book and the story itself was really good. Still not sure if I loved or hated this book but I sure couldn't put it down.
Profile Image for Sophie [at] Book Suburbia.
269 reviews24 followers
December 28, 2013

While reading this book, I went back in time 12 years for just a moment. I remembered the pain and heartbreaking feeling of losing the man I thought would someday be my husband, the guy who I dreamed would be the father of my kids. The only man I’ve loved sincerely and deeply to this day. I lost him (not to death though) but knew it would be the last time we had any kind of conversations about US on a very sad May night back in 2003. It was over. 5 years loving, and idolizing a man, and he left me with my dreams and my hope. I lost a lot of things that night, not only my dignity, but my will and confidence to ever love like that again.

I will admit it was ugly specially because I was so young and so in love, full of innocence. That kind of pure and shameless love that you only feel once in a lifetime. All I wanted was to live a happy ever after with somebody I mistakenly thought was right for me. A few years later he got married, and the day I saw him heading to the church to meet his bride I finally let him go.

It has been the most painful tribulation I have been thru in my entire life, but nowadays I am proud to say that I am over it. But it wasn’t easy, and it didn’t take just a few days. It was a healing process that lasted more than 8 years.

My apologies for the too personal intro, but reading Aria touched something so deep in me that I just had to share that piece of my life so you could understand a little bit of how much reading this story affected me. I understood with all my heart, mind and soul how difficult it must’ve been for Sam to let go of Nick. Whether it’s because of death or a bad breakup, letting somebody you loved so much go is one of the most difficult trials any human being can go through; and the way how Mrs. Anthony built Sam’s character is beyond any other troubled character I have ever read about. Seriously. Only somebody who has witnessed such type of pain will understand it.

Sam meets Aiden one day at a bar and Aiden feels instant attraction to the lawyer, they share a small encounter which leads them to starting something special. Over the course of 2 weeks they live a very passionate love story that ended quite too soon, but I guess at the exact moment it needed to end. Aiden is still young and searching for that one little opportunity that will help him jump start his career and neither of them were looking for love, but they found it the night they met. And Sam, convinced it was finally time to leave the pain of losing his partner behind, found in Aiden the piece of his puzzle that he really didn’t know was missing; and that inevitably would have to still remain missing for another 5 years.

Aiden understands the clear message from Sam (due to his constant hiding) that he most likely doesn’t want anything with him, so he decides to leave to Europe in search of his big breakthrough. Aiden lives a quite hectic life from city to city, performance after performance, until after falling in love with a very powerful man and settling with him in London, his heart is shattered to pieces when he finds his lover cheating on him with another man. His world breaks, and he must fly far away from London and everything that reminds him of Lord Cameron.

That’s how he finds himself visiting his old friends Jules and Jason in Paris.

He didn’t know his destiny was still halfway written, until the day he saw Sam again after so many years, at Jason and Jules’s house. Both of them battle the attraction they still feel for one another, but you can only deny love so many times in life; and Sam and Aiden start the relationship they left on stand by five years earlier. The road is bumpy, but they do everything they can to make it work for once and all.

This book has it all. And to be quite honest I dare to say it highly exceeded my reader expectation. From a reader’s perspective, there is absolutely nothing this book lacks of. You will meet a wounded Sam, who learns how to fight his memories and his undying love, and an also heartbroken Aiden who trusted somebody who just fooled around with him. Both have humble upbringings. Both had to work hard to get where they are right now.

To tell you how marvelously written this book is would just be an understatement.

Aiden and Sam are not just your average gay couple. They come from very different yet similar places, where most of the people are hardcore conservatives. Sam was able to come out to his family, but Aiden’s family didn’t take the news so well so he was basically on his own when he met Sam so many years ago. They do have a lot in common and that’s what I think captivated me more about this story, cause character-wise, they are both hardworking – over the top – exceptional professionals. It comes as a very refreshing treat when you read about two characters so accomplished and determined. By the time they reunite again, Sam has achieved so much, just as Aiden has. There is no ulterior motives, no false pretenses. Sam though, struggles to let go of the ghost of his ex lover and Aiden feels that burden. The fight they both take in hands is just the start of something I call a ONCE IN A LIFETIME LOVE. Beautiful is not even enough to describe it.

This story is simply BRILLIANT. I could spend all day praising it, but the only truth is: GIVE YOURSELF A TREAT AND READ IT. I can assure you Aiden and Sam will steal your heart just the same way they stole mine.
Profile Image for Erica.
1,547 reviews29 followers
November 2, 2017
Hmmm . . . this ended up being just okay. Yeah there's the whole failure to communicate, but that isn't always a deal-breaker for me. I can't put my finger on exactly what was missing, but the entire middle of the story just failed to hold my attention.
Profile Image for Leslie.
149 reviews
March 16, 2020
I loved this book. Coming from a musical family the stories hit home. I love the ups and downs. Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful gifts with us all. 💜💜💜
Profile Image for Cryselle.
303 reviews24 followers
January 29, 2013
To paraphrase Chekhov: If the gun has been presented in Act 1, it must be fired by Act III. Aria has an uncomfortable number of undischarged firearms lying about.

The author went to considerable effort to create the backdrop of professional opera and law, and set up a confluence that never materialized. Over and over I waited for a promised payoff, and over and over I was left wanting. If this was a deliberate attempt to avoid the obvious, then why go to all the effort of the set-up?

The set-up is delicious—Sam the employment law attorney is having a lot of trouble continuing with his life after losing his partner of several years. Nick, the deceased lover, is still very much with him, and a tentative attempt at dating a year after his death is only enough to bring Sam together with Aiden for a few heady weeks before opportunities in his world of professional opera take him away.

Five years later, they have the chance to pick up again and find out if they could be good together.

Both men have had their lives devastated by loss—Aiden’s is more recent and accompanied by betrayal. The first third of the book sets all this up, and lets our hearts break with Aiden’s when he finds his aristocratic lover doing the unforgivable, after having shattered with Sam and his grief. I snuffled a little and turned the pages anxiously.

When the men do reconnect, it’s tenuous—Aiden travels a lot from gig to gig, and Sam has a secure life back in Philadelphia, and making these two things jibe isn’t easy. Aiden doesn’t quite get over the feeling of being a guest in what should be his home, nor does Sam relax enough to let Aiden feel comfortable. It’s understandable in a way—beginnings are delicate, but the things, major and minor, that they don’t talk about are, well, just about everything. “It’s okay” says Sam, or “I don’t mind” says Aiden, but it’s not and he does, and what could have stayed small and been healed grows huge and festering until it threatens to tear the men apart.

Even something as small and obvious as calling to wish Aiden well before a performance seldom occurs to Sam, who surely should be intelligent enough to set a clock to London or Vienna time. A “brace yourself” phone call from Aiden to Sam regarding the paparrazzi’s intense interest in him, plus an explanation from the source, shouldn’t be out of Aiden’s ability. For the second third of the story, I wanted to deliver frequent blows with the cluebat. These guys think but they don’t act. They lie to each other and find it easy to ignore the lie, as Sam muses at one point, and it won’t be until they are brutally honest with one another that they truly have a chance.

The text is sprinkled with promises of events to come that never materialize, not least of which is an intersection between Aiden and Sam’s careers. This is foreshadowed early on, and while the difficulties duly arise, the troubles are resolved via a third party, not by one of the MC’s skills. This has the effect of flattening out an already understated and uncommunicative relationship, and wastes a lot of potential. Aiden and Sam could have been any couple where one is rooted and the other nomadic, a teacher and a long haul trucker, for instance, though the trucker might have borrowed his pal’s bass boat instead of an ocean-going yacht. We barely see Sam’s legal career, or have the chance to follow Aiden on stage and feel his passion for the music, which would have been a good counterpoint to the drippy greasepaint we did see. Nor do we sit with Sam in the concert hall to hang on Aiden’s every golden note. Where one character needed the other’s expertise, it doesn’t happen—they barely discuss what’s wrong.

What we do have, leaving aside the unused possibilities, is a competently told story of learning to love again and the difficulties of an intermittently long distance relationship. Nick hangs over the couple like smoke, creating tension, and the tabloids’ interest in Aiden provides horrible jolts for both men. We also get some lovely appearances of characters from the first two Blue Notes novels. It was nice to see Jason and Jules happy.

I still enjoyed the book, even while seeing how a more thorough use of the various elements could have lifted this story from good to great.
Profile Image for Avid Reader.
1,725 reviews
December 13, 2015
Aria (Blue Notes #3) by Shira Anthony
4 stars
M/M Romance
I was given this book for an honest review by Inked Rainbow Reads.

This was the first in this series that I have read. It was enjoyable and tender at times, maddening and frustrating at others. Perhaps this is what Anthony intended, but the lack of communication in this story was a total downer for me.

Sam is grieving his lover, Nick's death when we first meet him. While Sam knows that it's time to move on, he has a difficult time making that decision - even more he has a difficult time following through on that decision.

Then you have Aiden. I felt sorry for him from the beginning, due to his terrible relationship that he had with Cameron. While I wanted to shake Cameron, I also wanted to shake my head at Aiden. Love does tricky things to people - even allows you rose colored glasses. I am so happy those glasses splintered.

When Aiden and Sam begin their journey, there is little to no actual communication about how their relationship will work. It seems that there are hopes and dreams of what each imagine their relationship as, but without communicating, these two mess up time and time again. And, in the end, I was so upset with Sam - but even more so with Aiden. I felt that he slid right back to letting people walk over him again, just like when he was with Cam. I wanted him to stand up for himself - with Sam's family, with Sam.

So, despite my giving this book 4 stars, that was my main sticking point - lack of communication made for a longer book than probably was needed.
Profile Image for Pat.
Author 25 books76 followers
August 1, 2013
Committing to someone romantically and living with that person are two very different things as Anthony explains in this third Blue Notes romance.

As Aria begins, Philadelphia attorney Sam Ryan is heartbroken and can’t quite bring himself to dispose of his late partner’s ashes. Sam’s family and friends urge him to cut the ties and move on with his life. But Sam is a captive of the good times he had with Nick. Sure, he had a fling with a guy named Aiden after Nick’s death, but Sam left before anything got serious.

Concurrently opera singer Aiden Lind in London finds his wealthy partner and patron having sex with another man. Since this isn’t Lord Cameron Sherrington’s first foray outside their relationship, Aiden leaves with Cam apologizing on the one hand and threatening to ruin Aiden on the other.

When they meet again in Paris, Sam and Aiden realize that sparks still fly between them. Slowly they come together and decide to become a couple, using Philly as their home. Making this arrangement work is the other half of the story.

Both men are established and successful in their fields with all the commitments and daily hassles that keeping and honing their positions require. While they have many friends in common, they aren’t colleagues, nor are they active in the same professional circles, so carving out time for themselves isn’t easy.

Read the rest of my review at AAR: http://www.likesbooks.com/cgi-bin/boo...
Profile Image for Kate.
Author 58 books48 followers
May 24, 2013
Of the Blue Notes series, this was a brave attempt at portraying a relationship in the absence of outside plot devices. The only "nudge" by external forces was a minor accident; the rest of the stress was jobs, travel, long-distance relationships, petty grievances that occur in a relationship over time, and so on. I hold deep admiration of the author for not yielding to the temptation of "force majeure" to drive the plot, because this type of writing is a lot more demanding than, for instance, squishing two guys together while waiting out a hurricane. I truly enjoyed this book (and swallowed it in two days), and gave it a solid 3.5 instead of the usual 4 or 5 for the following reasons: 1. I expected more music. Previous books bring us closer to the musical mind than just show schedules and the dressing rooms, and I would have treasured the peek into the world of opera - yet I felt the privilege was denied. 2., some of the psychological tension within the characters themselves could have been exploited to better advantage. Yet it was still there, the "Aria" is still a fine book with very good characterizations, the descriptions of foreign environments are vivid and enticing, and I fully expect to reread it in the ripeness of time. In the meanwhile, I am patiently awaiting another fine work from the pen of Shira Anthony.
Profile Image for Aislinn.
482 reviews2 followers
November 20, 2014
This is the second of the Blue Note books I've read, and I've enjoyed both of them. I seem to be a glutton for punishment this week though, as this is the second book that I've read in as many days where the story opens with one of the main characters saying goodbye to his dead/dying partner. Anthony handled the loss deftly in this story, as it becomes integral to how Sam deals with his next relationship.

I really liked both of these characters, especially since they both have their own insecurities and flaws, which always makes characters more interesting. Aiden's an opera singer, and I really enjoy the musical details that Anthony includes in the books in this series. Even though each one is able to stand alone, it's nice to see secondary characters show up from the other books in the series. The difficulties these characters have to overcome felt realistic and evolved naturally. I liked the fact that both of them sucked at communication, since that's all too often a problem for men especially.

There was a nice sense of place, as we spend time with the characters in various European cities, as well as a few US towns. I'll definitely be seeking out the other books in the series.
Profile Image for Kara.
674 reviews22 followers
December 22, 2015
Aiden has it all.. He is a famous Opera singer and the perfect person to share his life with or that is what he thought until he finds out how much his partner had been playing around behind his back.
Sam is a attorney who meets Aiden one night at a friends party and they both have a instant attraction to one another. But with Sam living far away from where Aiden lives and Aiden always traveling they both have a hard time making it work.

I thought this book was so sweet! Yes they have their up and downs but the way they work through everything together was just so sweet. Then there was the way you could feel how much they really cared for each other.

Loved the way this author wrote these characters and this story! The sweet and steam mixed in with some angst grabbed me from the beginning of this book and did not let me go until the end.

All together I really loved this story and would recommend this book!
I received this book free in exchange for an honest review from Inked Rainbow Reads.
Profile Image for Michael Halfhill.
6 reviews2 followers
December 28, 2012
Nicholas Savakis is dead and there is nothing Sam Ryan can do but let go of five years of happiness in Nick’s arms. It’s never easy and it takes Sam a year to do it. Even then, after meeting Aiden Lind, Sam’s first steps away from hurt do not go well. Relationships are made from two whole people, not two broken halves trying to make a couple, and Aiden has his own hurt, that of betrayed love.
“Aria” Shira Anthony’s latest book in her Blue Notes Series has it all when it comes to human emotion, loss through death of a loved one, loss through deceit, and the unsure first steps toward the renewal of love’s promise. False starts, uncertain desires, and honest hearts come together to make “Aria” one of the best romance novels in its genre.
Michael Halfhill

Profile Image for Suze.
3,492 reviews
August 13, 2016
Another good read in the Blue Notes series, and for me if I had to rank them, probably number 3 by a smidge - The Melody Thief is still my favourite.
Sam is still hung up over the death of his partner over 7 years ago - the thought in my head head was, 7 years? Really? But we do find a reason for this late on in the book.
Aiden has crossed paths with Sam before but most recently after a bad break up which has just added to his off stage insecurities.
Sam and Aiden have lots of angsty moments - to the extent that I wanted to bang their heads together at the end. I didnt get a big feel for Aiden's music in this one - in the other books, musical instruments were involved so you could feel the characters interactions a bit more - Aiden's singing happens off stage if you like!
Profile Image for MountainKat.
2,089 reviews90 followers
November 5, 2013
Another enjoyable book in the (loosely related) series. I really liked Aiden and Sam, but their lack of communication came close to driving me crazy at times. Especially when their inner dialogues had them telling themselves over and over to talk it out! I was glad to see them work out the difficulties of their relationship - the work schedules, the long distance and past hurts. I really felt that their feelings were strong, even though they often took the easy way out and didn't do what was best for the relationship, each other or themselves. Definitely looking forward to the next in the series!
Profile Image for Marinieves.
1,157 reviews
December 28, 2013
Book 3 of the series. Aiden is a renowned Opera singer ... Sam is a lawyer ... Aiden is in a relationship with Cam , but it breaks due his multiple infidelities , something that Aiden could not believe until confronted with the situation. Sam has been grieving for years the death of his partner. Sam is invited to Paris and there he sees Aiden , that unbeknownst to Jules and Jason their host and friend, they knew each other from meeting one day in New York . Without spoiling the story , has a lot to do with their fears and mistakes. They keep sabotaging the relationship between them until they finally need to understand that sometimes you have to let go of the past to move forward with love and life.
Profile Image for Tamela.
1,849 reviews23 followers
June 1, 2018
Aiden's insecurity is such a force in his life. It drives him to try harder, to do better, but it never lets him get comfortable in his own life. Cam almost destroys him with his thoughtlessness but Aiden turns to David for support and weather's the worst.

Sam has been trying to deal with the loss of his partner for years but until he meets Aiden again there is really no one in his life.

These two men have a hard way to go and when Sam makes some serious errors it takes both of them a long time to realize that whatever the past, their future is to be together.

1st read - Jun 30, 2013
2nd read - Sep 16, 2014
3rd read - Aug 08, 2015
Profile Image for Risa.
9 reviews2 followers
December 27, 2012
This was such a sweet book. I loved Sam from the first Blue Notes book, and it was really good to see him again. Sam's partner has just died at the beginning of the story, and he's really suffering. He meets Aiden, an opera singer, but he's just not ready to have a relationship again so soon. When Sam and Aiden meet again in Paris, the attraction is still there.

The mood of the book is sweet and funny and the two men are really good together. Its one of those stories that makes me smile and the ending was really nice.
Profile Image for Shierra.
33 reviews1 follower
March 3, 2013
3.5 star...

shira anthony is such a great author. i was amazed by her stories and characters.

however, ... SPOILER!

i love the book, Heck! i love the series but..

I hate how the story goes in this book. I just felt sorry for aiden.
Aiden was competing with nick for more than 3/4 of the book, it was 7 years since nick died and hes still present everywhere in the story. its painful for me to read because aiden deserve more than a replacement. i dont hate nick, he was a great person, what i hate is the memories.

this is less favorite of the but i still didnt regret reading it.
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