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Gigi Rosenberg is living his best life: performances in the big city, side gigs at a dance company, a successful drag act, and the boy of his childhood dreams who now adores him. Even if the boyfriend part isn’t the sparkly ride of passion he expected it to be, life is sweet. So when his sister’s wedding calls him back to his hometown, he sees an opportunity to show the hicks from his past how wrong they were about him. Only, his boyfriend isn’t quite on board.

Brock Stubbs left their hometown and his parents behind for a reason, and the prospect of facing them again is terrifying. He swore he’d never go back, but Gigi has made it clear refusal isn’t an option, and Brock will do nearly anything for him. There’s just one deal-breaker of a problem: Brock promised Gigi he was out to everyone, including his parents. He lied.

It’s magical to run into the sunset together, but staying the course takes work. For Gigi and Brock, going home feels like the finale of a long, disappointing year. Sometimes love isn’t all you need.

245 pages, ebook

First published March 20, 2017

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About the author

Cass Lennox

5 books51 followers
Cass Lennox is a permanent expat who has lived in more countries than she cares to admit to and suffers from a chronic case of wanderlust as a result. She started writing stories at the tender age of eleven, but would be the first to say that the early years are best left forgotten and unread. A great believer in happy endings, she arrived at queer romance via fantasy, science fiction, literary fiction, and manga, and she can’t believe it took her that long. Her specialties are diverse characters, gooey happy ever afters, and brownies. She’s currently spinning in an Alpine meadow in Switzerland.

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Displaying 1 - 22 of 22 reviews
Profile Image for pi.
213 reviews42 followers
March 20, 2017
Actual rating: 2.5/5

I doubted to read this book because, having met Gigi in "Finding your feet" (Toronto Connections #2), I wasn't very fond of him. Also, what I knew about his relationship with Brock from the previous book in the series was kind of messed up. And I have to say things don't get much better in "Growing pains".

I don't like Gigi nor his attitude. He's self-absorbed, and is always reinforcing different kind of stereotypes and making fatphobic comments. And yes, I understand that he has some issues, but these remarks are harmful and need to be challenged. And someone has to tell him that his obsession with food and weight isn't healthy.

And what about their relationship? It drove me mad because Gigi and Brock don't communicate at all, and a relationship can't work if it's based only on sex. Moreover, Brock is always afraid to say or do things that can make Gigi angry, and Gigi forces him to go back to their home town even though it's obvious that he has some unresolved traumas. I mean, I know that when they were teens, it was Brock who didn't act right and hurt Gigi, but in the present, it's Gigi who is being selfish and unsensitive. I can't stand him and I spent most of the book thinking it would be better if they broke up, to be honest.

However, what I find interesting about this book, is that it adresses different kind of family dynamics. On the one hand, there is Gigi's family, which is adorable and completely supportive. They love each other so much, but they are also able to see each other's faults and call them out when it's necessary. On the other hand, we meet Brock's parents who are quite the opposite... They are abusive, homophobic, and racist, and it's terrible to read what they are capable of. At first I didn't hate Brock's mom as much as his father because I get that she's a victim as well (his father has been violent with both of them since like forever), but I can't forgive her for what she does at the end of the book.

Anyway, I'd have liked these aspects to have been dealt with more deeply, but I'm glad that Cass Lennox decided to face them, because they are important and because knowing someone's background helps us to understand their side of the story.

TRIGGER WARNING for abuse, self-harm, fatphobia, and homophobia.

*I received a digital copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

**This book is part of a series but can be read as a standalone. I didn't enjoy it very much, but I highly recommend the first and the second books.
Profile Image for Cass Lennox.
Author 5 books51 followers
January 5, 2017
For readers who read Finding Your Feet and are excited for Gigi and Brock's story - this is it! Readers new to me and my work - hi! I hope you enjoy these two. They really work for their HEA in this (and made me work for it too). Growing Pains is nowhere near as sweet as Finding Your Feet. In fact, this one gets pretty serious in places, and without minimizing the issues brought up in the other books, I consider Growing Pains the heaviest of the series. Riptide has tagged most of these on their site, but here are trigger warnings for domestic violence/abuse, self-harm, homophobia, and weight-related issues.

I'd also steel yourselves for: car sex, orienteering mishaps, a cameo of Jonah and Vaughn from Blank Spaces, an appearance by Gigi LaMore, and nature. And feelings. So many feelings.

This is due for general release on March 20th, 2017, and will be on NetGalley before then.
Profile Image for Chris, the Dalek King.
1,163 reviews146 followers
March 23, 2017
Gigi and Brock’s relationship has had a lot of bumps and dead-ends, but that is going to be nothing compared with a weekend spent back in their hometown for Gigi’s sister’s wedding. Gigi is dreading being back in the place that sees him only as Toby, and Brock is dreading…well. Pretty much everything, to be honest. He hasn’t spoken to his parents in over five years–not to mention they have no idea that their son is gay–and after years of abuse and hiding he has no desire to change that. But if he flakes out on Gigi there is a good chance that their relationship will go down in flames–big, sparkly, world-ending, flames. With both men struggling to keep their pasts in their pasts, the weekend is bound to be a disaster in the making. And that is not even factoring in the small, infinitesimal problem of Brock having not been 100% honest to Gigi about how out he was to everyone in his old life.

This is the third book in the Toronto Connections series by Cass Lennox, and by this point it is pretty clear that she is a very good writer. I have enjoyed all three of these books–to varying degrees–and have loved the different takes on love that she has offered us in this series. For this book we are back to what would be considered a typical gay romance. Two cis guys, falling in love, making a life together amidst the troubles of homophobia, family expectations, and generally just the ups and downs of life. But this return to the norm does not mean that the characters are any less vibrant–especially in regards to Gigi–or well written.

Gigi is a queen to meet every one of your expectations. He is loud, vibrant, bitchy, and determined to take on the world. It is his past however that really worked for me. Having gone thru school as the fat drama geek, I can totally sympathize with the trials of Toby. Granted, while I turned out to be just as shy and hesitant in adulthood, Toby turned into the most sparkly of butterflies. Well maybe not turned, since it is pretty clear from the start that Gigi is who he always was, it just took a while for him to show the world.

I will say however that personally, Gigi kinda gets on my nerves at times. I just have a general dislike of being around people who are that brash, that in your face. And it really has nothing to do with him being a drag queen, and everything to do with the kind of person you have to be to stand up and say this is how I am. I am fabulous and awesome…and you can shove my six inch heels up your ass if you disagree. I applaud the sentiment…just don’t wanna spend large amounts of time in the same room with that kind of person. And when over half the book is told from his point of view, it gets a bit trying. So I’m in this weird place where I really like how he was written…but also not. Because there were times where he was too self-centered, toolook at me! pay attention to only me! And even though I agreed with the reason behind him acting like that, it also made me want to slap him for how horrible he was being to Brock.

And Brock really didn’t need shit from anyone in this book. He had enough problems already. The way he handled it–especially his crumbling relationship with Gigi–was actually one of my favorite parts of the story, though. While it may seem like the book is Gigi’s story to tell, I honestly think that it was Brock’s that actually held my attention. His growth and struggles throughout the book were the things I really looked forward to from chapter to chapter. And while his past broke my heart, watching him stand up for himself at the end was worth everything else.

I did have problems with the constant flashbacks in the story (pet peeve of mine), but on the whole I think they added to the story more than they detracted. And I never stopped wanting these two guys to figure their shit out and ride off into the sunset, so that helped bump up the rating a bit. I also really appreciated how natural and real Gigi’s family felt throughout the story. Sometimes I have a hard time relating (or believing) the fictional families in books, but that was never really an issue here.

While this book (and the previous one) haven’t quite lived up to how much I loved the first book in this series, I will still go ahead a give it my recommendation. The writing is smooth and readable, and the characters have a lot going for them. I don’t know if I will be reviewing the next book in the series, due to the fact that it is f/f and I’ve talked a bit about my issues with those kinds of stories in the review for the previous book in this series, but I will give it look when it comes out and see what the other reviewers say. I am curious, so if it doesn’t have a lot of sex-scenes I’ll probably round out the series quite happily. But for now, this story is worth the check out, so if it on your radar I’d so go ahead and give it a try.

This book was provided free in exchange for a fair and honest review for Love Bytes. Go there to check out other reviews, author interviews, and all those awesome giveaways. Click below.
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Profile Image for Jennifer Koudelka.
284 reviews13 followers
August 17, 2020
This book left me feeling very uncomfortable. I'm not a huge fan of LGBT+ love stories being centered around the coming out of one of the main characters or coming out related trauma but I thought I'd give this a try anyway. What I was not fully expecting was the amount of trauma that came with this book.

CWs that should accompany this book which did not: fatphobia, LOTS of homophobia, domestic violence, abuse, self-harm.

I've read LGBT+ romance stories that featured these story elements before and they can be done well, but if you're going to tackle subject matters as dark and serious as the above, I need the romance aspect to feel realistic and treat the trauma with the gravity it deserves. But when it came to Gigi and Brock's romance, it was simply surface level and frustrating. Gigi himself is extremely self-centered and selfish, focusing himself as the center of every conversation, even serious ones. Conversations about the trauma Brock endured growing up from his extremely homophobic family morphed into Gigi's pain at not being trusted to be told these things. It's no longer about Brock, it's about Gigi. And that would be fine if we spent the time showing Gigi grow and learn from his selfish actions and figuring out what Brock needs from him in these vulnerable moments. But the time frame of the book is so short, I can't believe that anything really will change regarding the relationship between them.

I truly feel bad giving this book 1 star because I don't want to hurt the author, who I feel wrote this from a well-intentioned place. I think the set up for this book has a lot of potential, I want to root for Gigi and Brock to work through their issues. But the amount of trauma and unpacking that was going to be needed for me to believe that their relationship will deepen beyond a physical attraction is just not there.
Profile Image for Shirley .
1,877 reviews56 followers
March 17, 2017
If you're paying attention, you may have noticed that I read the first book in the Toronto Connections (Blank Spaces) series, but not the second (Finding Your Feet) and now I'm reviewing the third. It's not my usual squirrel brain hard at work, this time I skipped one on purpose. Not sure why, but Finding Your Feet just didn't grab me, but Growing Pains did. In case you're curious, I'll probably skip The Wrong Woman too, but you never know...

Anyway, for what it's worth, I'm really glad that I decided to read Growing Pains. I really liked Brock and Gigi's story... for a lot of reasons. I'm kind of a sucker for a story that brings out the 'momma bear' in me and Brock did just that. It would have been easy to sympathize with Gigi in Growing Pains, and I did... kind of.

You'll have to read the story to understand, but one of the reasons why I loved Gigi's family so much was because they loved him, supported him and they were everything that Brock's family wasn't. What made me really respect them was the fact that they saw his faults and weren't afraid to call him out on them. To Gigi's credit, he may have complained a little, but he loved them for it. They weren't perfect, but not many families are. The point is, I loved the honesty as much as I loved the unconditional love. On the flip side, I walked away from Growing Pains with absolutely no respect for Brock's parents at all.

I may find myself going back to pick up the two books I skipped, but right now I'm fine with the taste of Toronto Connections I decided to read. You'll have to let me know if I missed anything if you decide to read the whole series. ;)

I received Growing Pains in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Profile Image for Mel González.
464 reviews64 followers
March 8, 2017
"How did people talk about realizing that there were all these depths to a person, that they were sometimes a surprise waiting to happen?"

*ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*
TW: homophobia, homophobic slurs, fatphobia, self harm, abuse.

All of Cass Lennox's books have something in common, and that's the characters. You start reading the book and you're suddenly rooting for them and you don't even know how that happened. They are all incredibly charismatic with diverse and interesting backgrounds but who also have a lot of flaws and a lot of growing up to do even if they are in their mid twenties (because obviously, you don't suddenly stop growing when you're an adult). I was a bit weary about this book because we see the relationship forming in the previous book so we go into this one with a one year relationship already formed but also because in the previous book we see that the relationship is between a gay guy and his high school bully. I'm not really usually on board with those types of relationships because I think it reinforces the stereotype of the homophobic closeted person and that's harmful because hate is hate and you can't justify it. But this book shows us that Broke wasn't really a bully or homophobic. I mean, yes he did some terrible mistakes and made some awful decisions that affected Gigi a lot but we see his growth and his regret and his want to do better in this book, to be a better person and the perfect boyfriend for Gigi and I think that the fact that these characters and that relationship is so complex, makes this book unique and different.

Gigi was such a gorgeous character. He kept reminding me of Angel from Rent but also a queen that you might find in RuPaul's Drag Race. I mean, he was fierce and unapologetic about what he felt but that also made him self centred and even arrogant sometimes. It was hard to keep loving him when he had those moments of "everything is about me" or "everything has to be the way I want it to be" but we can see that he has a good heart, especially at the end so that's what made me like him still. Also, Broke was easily lovable. He was so in love and so scared to loose Gigi that it made me feel bad for him. I don't think that he ever tried to justify his actions in high school and the book doesn't do that either. They don't try to erase it either. They are together with all those complications and despite all the terrible things Broke did, they are not pretending they never happened. It seemed that they fought a lot to get where they are in their relationship and even if they needed a lot of work in their communications skills, I think they learned how to do that by the end of the book because no relationship is perfect. Also, I think seeing different types of families living in small towns was so well done, I mean, we always see these racist, homophobic small town families in the media but there are good, loving families as well and it's important to show that.

There are a lot of things in this book that I wasn't on board with though. Something that I noticed in the last book but that I didn't mentioned in my review because it wasn't as present as in this one is the fatphobia. I mean, I understand Gigi has his issues but I felt like his fatphobic thoughts and the fatphobic thoughts that people around him have are never challenged on page. Yes, they tell him he's beautiful now and that he was beautiful then but it seemed that every time they said that, they were like you were adorable when you were fat but now that you're thin you're sexy. That's a really harmful thought. Also, if you're going to read this book be aware that there are a few homophobic slurs (I think three or four times). The last thing is that there's a talk of self harm in this book that happened in the past of one of the characters that can be triggering if you suffer from that. Even though it happened years in the past, I thought it could have been better handled because they don't really talk about it that much. They mention it and get past it really fast and I would have liked to see more depth there.
Profile Image for Kira.
320 reviews16 followers
April 26, 2017
Growing Pains didn't have quite the same level of "interesting" as Blank Spaces did, but it certainly wasn't a boring book. I think that if you like to read about a couple having struggles (real ones, not some trifle thing blown out of proportion) and overcoming them, then this book might be really satisfying for you.

I loved how much emotion Lennox managed to invoke. You read one character's POV and you support him all the way, while his lover really seems like a jerk. Then you read the POV of said lover and involuntarily begin rooting for him, and now the other one comes off as insensitive.
You also see why they couldn't just sit down and talk about everything. And when they do overcome it all, it makes that so much sweeter and earned.

I didn't read Finding Your Feet, where Gigi and Brock begin dating, and I can't say it's absolutely necessary that you do, but some episodes from that time were told in retrospect, and it certainly will be better to witness them first hand.
Profile Image for Nicole Field.
Author 18 books142 followers
February 14, 2017
NetGalley Review

I think the biggest problem with this novel was that it was attempting to conform to a romance novel format.

There were some really big things being dealt with in this book, most specifically physical abuse, shaming and family. Because of the format of a romance novel, however, the beginning of the book read as Brock being unreasonable in not wanting to go to the wedding of his partner of one year's sister.

For a long time, Brock gives no reason for this, longer in the world of the story than in the pages of the book, and from that point of view it's completely reasonable that Gigi is absolutely fed up with it.

However, from an abuse point of view, it's completely reasonable that Brock was hiding a lot of this in a small corner of himself and trying to pretend it didn't exist. This is one of the common coping mechanisms of abuse, especially when it's within a family setting, one that makes it harder to separate yourself from.

Most of the stuff that we got from Brock's point of view, experiencing this and also reflecting on it, was spot on to my eye. When he made his separation from them, and burst into tears instead of cheering, I was there. When he worried that he was turning into his father because he exhibited some violent behaviour, I was there. The way it makes you guess and second guess yourself... I was there for all of that.

However, in between all of these wonderfully insightful and well drawn scenes, we got chapters bringing the reader back into the romance between Brock and Gigi. Whether it's three months before, 8 years ago, a couple of seasons ago or whatever, these chapters told their own story. It was a sweet one, where a very closeted Brock was trying to come to terms with his feelings for a very camp Gigi. I absolutely loved some of these scenes. There were also some scenes in which we saw Gigi's feminine side come out good and proper, complete with female pronouns and acknowledgment of them from Brock, which absolutely made me squeal with happiness.

They just didn't mesh incredibly well with what Brock was trying to deal with in the present. Why? Because Brock and Gigi weren't together in dealing with what was going on in the present. They weren't learning from past mistakes. They were griping with each other, in the lead up to Gigi's sister's wedding. While that added to the abuse story, an the way that Brock felt increasingly cornered and threatened, it didn't add to the romance story, at least for me.
Profile Image for Angie.
2,326 reviews228 followers
March 19, 2017
I received an ARC through NetGalley.

Growing Pains is very different than the previous two books in the series. This time we're following Gigi and Brock, whom we met in Finding Your Feet. We already know a little bit about their past and how they winded up together again. However, there's a lot more going on there and it's certainly not happy. Gigi is heading back to their hometown for his sister's wedding, but Brock is not with him. At least not at first, which means the book starts with a fight.

The tone of Growing Pains is very dark and heavy, which is not what I would have expected given Gigi's very bright personality. But he is clearly not happy with Brock's decision to initially stay behind without giving him a reason why. I was frustrated with Brock at first because he just refuses to talk to Gigi at all. But then I found myself frustrated with Gigi, because he is quite overbaring and doesn't even stop to think that Brock may have a very, very good reason for not wanting to return home. This did not read like a Romance Novel for the most part, which threw me off. But once I settled into what it was, I did enjoy it a lot.

Growing Pains deals a lot with abuse. Brock doesn't want to go home because he's not out to his parents. He's been lying to Gigi about that fact, which is not okay. But it was even more not okay for Gigi to pressure him into coming out. Brock's father is highly homophobic to the point of physical abuse. Brock also had used self harm as a way to deal with being in that household. It is absolutely understandable for him to not want to be back there with a boyfriend in tow. Of course, things do work out at the end. Not in a sunshine and rainbows kind of way, but Brock faces his demons and comes out alive. I was very nervous for him for awhile, since I wasn't sure how it would turn out since the book had not had typical Romance vibes.

Growing Pains was just a heavy read. I could see both Brock's and Gigi's sides as they were fighting, because there was such a lack of communication between the two that they couldn't possible know when they were in the right or in the wrong. This felt realistic, if it was frustrating. Although that just shows that I was very emotionally invested in their story.

Read more of my reviews at Pinkindle Reads & Reviews.
Profile Image for Les Joseph.
Author 5 books37 followers
March 21, 2017
Cass Lennox's Toronto Series is full of rich, diverse characters and the newest book in the series, Growing Pains is no different. We first met Gigi and Brock in book two, Finding Your Feet, and now we're a year into their relationship. What interested me the most and had me really wanting this book was to see how Brock and Gigi manage to put their past behind them and move forward. It's a tough go at times, especially for Brock and this book had my heart aching numerous times.

If you haven't read Finding Your Feet, a little background for Brock and Gigi. These two have known each other for some time, in fact Brock was the bully who tormented Gigi so often in high school when they lived in a small Canadian town. Now, they're trying to move past all that to be together. It helps that this time, in Growing Pains, we learn so much more about Brock and the issues he's been suffering from that have helped shape him into who he is now and why he acted the way he did, namely that he was abused. Being in Brock's head and seeing things from his point of view was utterly heartbreaking at times. Not just the abuse he suffered, but the guilt from treating Gigi the way he did and the supreme difficulty Brock has in accepting his sexuality. Truly painful stuff. Gigi though, he's Brock's complete opposite in that he's open and honest about who and what he is. He's a diva and flaunts his gender fluidity. This makes for some tense moments between Brock and Gigi.

There are some flashbacks to help get a better picture of things that happened in the past and while I'm normally a big fan of flashbacks, here they didn't work quite so well. I did appreciate the things I learned from them, but they were done in a way that took me out of the present day story more than I would have liked. I also have a bit of a problem with the fatphobia from Gigi. I do understand where Gigis is coming from and the things he's overcome, but it was a bit off-putting. All in all though, Cass Lennox has a way of telling a story that completely sucks you in. Even if you get frustrated or angry with the characters, you're feeling something. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series for sure.

*this review will also be posted on www.diversereader.blogspot.com*
Profile Image for Sarah.
1,457 reviews29 followers
March 13, 2017
I was given a copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads.

This is a story for everyone who got out. It’s a book for all the rural kids who built adult lives in big cities on their own terms but still find themselves terrified of their hometown ghosts. When Gigi and Brock return home for a family wedding, Brock gets so anxious that he vomits on the side of the road. I fell in love with him instantly.

As a somewhat gender fluid drag queen, Gigi’s didn’t quite fit in his small town. He was the fat gay kid. And he was bullied. Badly. As an adult, his childhood memories are still raw, but his community looks different through adult eyes. His family is amazing and his town is more accepting than he remembers.

It’s news to Gigi, but Brock still hasn’t come out to his parents or anyone else in town. His ghosts are still secret but his childhood experiences are worse than Gigi can begin to imagine. Years of conditioning have made it impossible for Brock to talk about his past with anyone - even Gigi. If he can’t start to open up, he knows he is going to lose his boyfriend.

I love the way this story starts with an established couple struggling with their relationship. Gigi and Brock know each other and they love each other - but they can’t communicate and they’re not making each other happy. Their hometown reunion is their breaking point. They both need support and they don’t know how to give it or ask for it. For a new adult romance, there is a maturity to this couple and the problems they face that I really love.

There is so much to this story that I loved. The themes of identity and belonging are universal. The long-term consequences of domestic abuse and bullying are explored with sensitivity. And somehow, the author keeps this from being too heavy. Cass Lennox is a new author for me and I completely fell in love with her writing style. She manages to bring a whole community to life and I absolutely loved Gigi, Brock and their rocky relationship.
Profile Image for Amanda.
153 reviews2 followers
May 6, 2017
Growing Pains is an emotional romance. I recommend this to someone looking for down-to-earth contemporary romance.

This is a realistic look at a relationship that’s already gone through the honeymoon phase. When things get difficult, what makes you decide to stay or leave? This story is character-driven and introspective with vibrant characters.

I didn’t enjoy this as much as the previous two books in the Toronto Connections series. As with the others it’s wonderfully written, but I found it hard to stay engaged. The first third of the book was difficult for me to get through because of the near constant fighting or angst between Gigi and Brock. It fit with the story and the characters, but it was difficult for me to read.

Despite this, I did enjoy the book, and I’m looking forward to continuing the series.

*I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for Elisa Rolle.
Author 72 books219 followers
December 4, 2017
2017 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Growing Pains (Toronto Connections #3) Cass Lennox
1) This was a couldn't-put-down read, in spite of the many times Gigi got on my nerves. I'm glad I trusted the author to redeem him - this happens realistically, and whilst I still wasn't enamoured by the end, I could appreciate where Gigi was coming from. He's self-absorbed and shallow, and kind of a cliché, but I know people like him, so he's plausible. Brock, on the other hand, is lovely and has a much better sense of what changes he needs to make in his life. All in all, this is not my usual kind of read, but it was a good one. I felt for the characters and enjoyed the setting immensely. 
Profile Image for Tessa.
137 reviews10 followers
March 12, 2018
I feel a bit bad leaving only 2 stars, but Goodreads calls that 'it was ok' and I feel that is fair? I couldn't really stand one of the main characters, and though it got a bit better by the end of the book, I prefer to read about characters I might like in real life. The story in itself was fine, well written, I liked the flashbacks, but my annoyance at how Gigi acted really dragged the enjoyment of the story down for me.
Profile Image for Lovingbooks1.
1,185 reviews25 followers
March 10, 2017
*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley and I'm freely giving my honest review.*

I loved this book, Gigi and Brock are awesome but in a realistic way; they have flaws and troubles but they survive.

Gigi is a total diva but still I can't help love him because he had a challenging time growing up and when he moved away he could finally be fully himself. Only now I feel like he's taking it to fare in som situations.
And Brock, I was so frustrated with him but my goodness did I cry for him halfway through the story. His childhood was not a walk in the sunshine but rather hiding in the shadows.

I liked the way the story kept alternating between the past and the present. Most times I find that irritating but I think it suited the story, because the characters past had coloured their present life in so many ways.

The writing style is easygoing and with lots of dialogues so I couldn't put it away.
And there where som fun parts:
"He moved past them, careful not to brush against Brock in case that somehow released gay rainbows into the air and told Tina they’d been making out and that their ...... had touched."

This is a book I feel like I should have a group of people to discuss with because I have so much to say about it. And I can't say it all in a review without spoiling the story for others.

So I hope someone read it and like it as much as I do, find me on GR and let's discuss:-)
Profile Image for Carol (bookish_notes).
1,284 reviews110 followers
March 7, 2017
I love the characters in this book. I think Gigi and Brock are definitely my favorites in the Toronto Connections universe. This book made me laugh, but it also made my heart absolutely ache for these two whenever something went wrong. I was a bit tentative about reading this after really only knowing Gigi's explanation of their history in Finding Your Feet. However, things get explained from Brock's  POV this time and it's just heartbreaking.

This was a really emotional read. Gigi and Brock have some rough history together. They grew up in a small Canadian town and Gigi had been bullied all throughout high school for being gay. Brock hid his sexuality, and was going through his own issues, but what he knew was that he really liked Gigi. All these years later, and Brock still loves Gigi and their love is so...fragile. They both love each other, but neither of them are great at communicating their feelings. Okay, well maybe Gigi shares too much, and then there's Brock who scared that one wrong thing will be the catalyst that drives Gigi to leave him.

"I promised myself I wouldn't go back there. Not for anything."

"So did I, but life's a bitch, honey." Gigi paused. "Not for anything? Not even for me? What about what we talked about? You and me, together. Remember that?"

Brock was silent.

"So, not even for me."

Their weekend going back to their hometown for Gigi's sister's wedding means that there's not a lot of cameos from characters in the previous two books. These books all work as a standalone, but even the small interaction between Gigi and Jonah is hilarious and I would love to read a scene where the couples are all together. Gigi is also hilarious when he asks Mark, his dance partner from Finding Your Feet, advice on what to expect at a straight bachelor party. Gigi is an absolute queen and the confidence and shade she throws out as Gigi Lamore is everything. I love that Brock just loves Gigi, no matter if one minute he's Gigi Rosenberg, or the next, she's Gigi Lamore.

"Twenty-five is when most people stop growing. I'm officially on the road to death, Grandma."

Brock's story about his past just kills me. I like what the author put into the author's note at the end of the book, because how Brock and Gigi handled situation isn't at all recommended, but it was nice to read about in a book where,  Brock especially, gets a really great moment and realizes he has nothing to be afraid of. I'm kind of sad how he didn't try to help his mom out at all, but I think I can understand. It's a sad situation, and in real life situations, I'm not sure there is a right answer for it. Especially, not with what his mother put into that shoe box. Was it her choice to remind Brock that he got out and that he should never look back on those times?

Reality wasn't as noble and easy as his imagination.

I love every minute Gigi and Brock are together and not arguing. Their relationship in this book is very hot and cold. And everyone staying over at the Rosenberg's place for the wedding has noticed. All the family members and all the secondary characters attending the wedding are so lovely. I wouldn't mind more stories with the other characters. One key point I really liked about this book is that Gigi's sister is marrying a Chinese guy and *gasp* he's a lawyer and not some doctor, karate master, or some other stereotypical Chinese role. The book treats everyone equally and doesn't make any cringeworthy skin color comparisons. GOOD JOB.

I loved this book, loved the characters, and I can't wait to read the next book in the Toronto Connections universe, The Wrong Woman!

***Thanks to Riptide Publishing for providing me an ARC through NetGalley***
Profile Image for A.
361 reviews13 followers
January 18, 2017
I read this as an arc from netgalley, but I've pre-ordered the whole series due to the enjoyment of the second book...that might have been a mistake. I didn't like Gigi and Brock's story line in Finding your Feet and I really did not like the book about them. They felt so flat as characters. Gigi seemed to fall into a walking trope and Brock's emotional storyline never had a pay off. The whole thing failed to come together in a way that made me think Gigi and Brock were good for each other in the long rung.

(Cw: physical abuse, parental domestic violence)
Brock is a survivor of abuse, and ends up being forced into situations where he has to interact with his abusers. The whole thing is extremely uncomfortable, and there isn't a lot of processing done by the characters. It felt kind of cheap, like a plot device.
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