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Without a Compass

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3.85  ·  Rating details ·  266 ratings  ·  72 reviews
Riley Anderson has always been smitten with his older brother’s best friend, Kai Brandt. But Kai is straight and he and Riley have nothing in common. Riley’s a desk jockey and hunky Kai is obsessed with the great outdoors, just like the rest of Riley’s family. It’s bad enough that Riley is forced to go camping for his dad’s 50th birthday. Even worse when gorgeous Kai shows ...more
ebook, 420 pages
Published August 24th 2017 by Nielsen UK ISBN Store (first published August 22nd 2017)
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3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  266 ratings  ·  72 reviews


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~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~
~3.5~

This was slow-going at first, but once Kai and Riley set off on a scavenger hunt alone around the 50 percent mark, the story picked up.

The plot consists of Riley and Kai mingling with Riley's family (and other families staying at the camp ground) and enjoying the great outdoors (Kai more than Riley, who's more into "glamping").

There's no angst, little conflict (save a pair of twins trying to stir up trouble), and some nice steamy bits (I really liked the way Kai and Riley's first time play
...more
Susan
Jan 29, 2018 rated it liked it
While I liked the story itself, this book had some really weird phrases about being gay. I’m surprised no one is commenting on this in their review. It constantly pulled me out of the story.

When he stood, he’d place his hands on his hips as he looked around at whatever he was doing, which, okay, was pretty gay.

Of course Kai could mess around with his best friend and pretend they were together; there was no real harm in implying there was something romantic between them after all. He and Br
...more
Michael S.
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Sweet and low-angst, but with some satisfying, slow-building yet inexorable romantic tension.

MCs were both very sexual and very emotive and affectionate, a combination that does it for me. It's a tough balance to strike, but I like my M/M leads to be masculine, sexual, AND emotional.

There's a GFY vibe here, but it's not completely implausible and is more correctly identified as something closer to BFY/OFY. There's a heavy dose of wish fulfillment in that Riley had been nursing a crush on Kai fo
...more
Meags
4 Stars

Reading Without a Compass proved to be one of those refreshing and wholly enjoyable reading experiences, wherein I found myself completely immersed by the light-hearted, angst-free, and happily heart-warming nature of this romance story. Picking up a book by an unknown author can be a worrisome endeavour at times, but thankfully I came away from this one both impressed and eager to read more from Juliet’s backlog.

In this story, MCs Riley Anderson and Kai Brandt have grown up together, wi
...more
Candice
Sep 05, 2017 rated it liked it
While I liked this one, it was just very slow paced (or the timing was WAY off). First 50% of this book was getting to the campsite and setting up and relaxing until dinner. Sure that's great and all, but then the next 50% was so rushed. We really only got like 2 days before it was all said and done. I needed more! If the pacing of this was faster or the book was longer, I could have really enjoyed this.
BR11
Ok. Everything developed too fast, too easy. It was sweet though.
Debbie
I was gifted my copy of this book direct from the author, that I write a review was not required.

Riley goes with his family camping. Riley HATES camping, but it's his father's 50th birthday and he hasn't been for a few years. He just packs everything but the kitchen sink to take along with him. Kai is Riley's older brother's best friend, and had been Riley's crush many years ago. But Kai is straight, and totally out of Riley's reach, right??

Warm and fuzzies, too stinking cute and a delicious b
...more
Anu
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing

I received an advance copy to read an review, and what a delight this was.

Riley doesn't do camping, or the great outdoors in general. But it's his father's birthday so he agrees to join the rest of them for a camping holiday. To his surprise, the attendees also include Kai, his older brother's best friend and Riley's crush since forever.

Kai is happy to see his bestie's little brother again after a long absence and is determined to show Riley a good time, knowing that camping isn't Riley's favour
...more
Mary
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Riley Anderson is joining his family on a camping trip to the Lake District to celebrate his Father's fiftieth birthday. Not his idea of a good holiday but anything for his dad. And if he has to do this he is going to be as comfortable as possible. Kai Brandt on the other hand is the outdoors kind of guy. As Brendan's best friend (Riley's older brother) he has been an honorary member of the Anderson family for years and wouldn't miss celebrating with them. When Riley arrives at the campsite he s ...more
~Kristin~
3.5 Stars
This is one of those cases where I really need a half star, because this book isn't necessarily a 3 star book for me but it isn't a 4 star read either. I liked many things about this story, but here were just too many other things that got under my skin. I think the most important being, even with as much as I really liked Kai and Riley together, it seemed to go from zero to a thousand in a hot second, so it didn't feel very genuine. I'm not going to nit pick, but over all I decided to
...more
~nikki the recovering book addict
Sweet!!

This was a sweet, enjoyable read. I like Riley's character. He was quirky, adorable and funny in a charming way. Kai seemed at first like a stereotypical macho man but he turned out to not be quite so stereotypical.

I felt the last portion of the book was a bit rushed though... but I enjoyed it nevertheless.
Jess A Jaye
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Who knew that blisters can lead to true love being discovered? Well that's what happened to Riley in Without a Compass.
Riley is spending a week on a camping trip in the Lake District with his family and other Scout families. He's been avoiding it for a few years but it's his Dad's birthday so not going isn't an option. He pulls up his big boy pants and accepts that he'll have to face a week without his creature comforts and more importantly that he;ll be seeing his big brother's best friend Kai
...more
Tracy~Bayou Book Junkie
4 Stars

Riley is none too happy to be spending his holiday roughing it, camping with his family, but it's his dad's wish to spend his 50th birthday out in the wilderness surrounded by his family and friends, so how can Riley refuse? Riley brings as much of the comforts of home as he can on his trip, and although he's happy to spend time with his family, he isn't expecting to find his brother's best-friend, Kai, there and that he will be joining them for the week. Riley's always had a crush on Ka
...more
Emma
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
not quite making it - 2 stars

This is a fairly simple story about a camping trip. Riley's father chooses a group camping trip to celebrate his 50th birthday. He gets together his family and a few other families who used to do scouting trips together. The problem is Riley hates camping and stopped going to the outings several years prior. But he loves his dad and so he goes and is determined to have a good time. Of course when he shows up his brother's best friend Kai is already there. Riley had a
...more
Lauren
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
5 stars - This story was absolutely precious! Without a Compass was a sweet, wonderful romance - it builds slowly, with wonderfully cute main characters, and in a gorgeous setting.

Riley doesn't like camping, and feels out of place there, but he goes for his family since they are celebrating his dad's birthday, and he really tries to make the most of it, and tries so hard to fit in with the group. My heart melted into a great big puddle when he was setting up his tent and getting out all his bits
...more
Ariel
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gay-book-reviews
Love In Time

If someone tells you they had a crush on you in high school, they usually still have it. Riley has not seen Kai in years and when they attend the Anderson's family camping trip Kai joins them and the crush Riley had on Kai reignites and takes off like a rocket.

The plot is what drew me into this book. High school boy has a crush on another of his older brother's friends and they meet years later at a family event and surprisingly get together.

Kai and Riley are perfect together. Kai w
...more
Helena Stone
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m, new-adult, cute
(Riley) coming into his own and having his dreams come true and the other (Kai) discovering a side to himself he never knew existed. And their journeys of discovery take place against a backdrop of loving families, nasty acquaintances, and good friends.

First and foremost this is a feel good story. Yes, there is some angst and quite a bit of soul searching, but nothing to heart wrenching. Riley is a wonderful dork who’s overly aware that he doesn’t quite fit in and is teetering on a line between
...more
Kristine (A Cozy Booknook)
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, romance
I really enjoyed this book. One of many things I particularly enjoyed was the alternating points of view. It worked well for this story and helped give more insight into each of the characters. Another thing I enjoyed is the slow burn of the story. Riley has had a crush on Kai, his older brother’s best friend for years. It was enjoyable watching the blossoming relationship develop. The author drew me in to the story so I felt as though I were a part of the story. An enjoyable way to spend the ev ...more
Linda
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great story

This is the first book I've read by this author and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Since this takes place in England, some of the "name in the hat" references weren't familiar but that certainly didn't detract from the obvious enjoyment of the description of what sounds like a fun game!
I liked the honesty Kai showed both internally and outwardly in discovering his newly realized feelings for Riley. It shows a person strong of character and in touch with himself. Someone not afraid to be tru
...more
Maria Vickers
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you are looking for a sweet MM love story, then this is the one for you! Without a Compass by Helen Juliet is about finding love and what's important in life, and was written in a beautiful way. 

Riley is not an outdoors person, but he sucks it up and goes because it's his father's 50th birthday and the family is going camping. But not only does he have to worry about the great outdoors, he also finds out that Kai, his brother's friend and his crush, is coming too. 

Kai thought he was straight,
...more
K.M. Neuhold
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic

Absolutely loved this book. Such a sweet and sexy GFY with awesome characters and happy feelings. Can't wait to check out more by this author.
Valerie
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was hooked the moment I started this book and I read it completely in one sitting!

Riley, while confident in who he was and his choices in life, dreaded spending an entire week with his family doing his least favorite thing, camping. Although he knew what was to come for the week, he hadn't expected was his brother's best friend, Kai, to be there.

I loved the interactions between Kai and Riley. Although Riley would like to spend his week hiding away and staring at Kai while spinning fantasies ab
...more
Dara Nelson
Aug 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-blog
At first I wasn't sure about this one because it was slow, so slow and so angst ridden that it bordered on annoying but then it redeemed itself. Once Kai and Riley had their overnight adventure this book really turned around and was beautiful. After that you were treated to things like:
It was as different as it could possibly be to the drunken kiss they'd shared under the unforgiving gaze of Charlotte and Daryl Grinter. This was soft and full of warmth and patience. It held fragile promises<|
...more
Shaztwirl
Aug 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining.

A really cute story of the older brother's friend. Lovely setting, interesting supporting characters and a refreshing lack of indecision and nerves. An enjoyable read.
Funzee Shu


For ten years Riley hide his crush on his older brother bestfriend, Kai.

For years Riley had seen Kai gone from one girlfriend to another girl.

For years Riley avoiding meetings Kai to protect his already fragile heart, but fate then bring him meet his crush again when he MUST attend his father 50th Birthday which held in the campsite.

More handsome, more gorgeous....

Will Riley survive spending a week with Kai walking around before his eyes?

🍀

For years Kai used to see his bestfriend little brother
...more
Joyfully Jay
Sep 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: michelle
A Joyfully Jay review.

3 stars


The premise of this book interested me with the brother’s best friend scenario, as well as the friend having never been with a man before. That was there, but the style and overall storyline for this one never really took off for me.

Riley was interesting as we first meet him as he’s driving to the camp site. He has brought along many comfort items to make his stay bearable, even if he knows he will get teased by his family. He wasn’t expecting Kai to be there and hi
...more
Amanda
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a sweet slow-burn story about a man falling in love with his brother's best friend, who finally opens his eyes and falls right back. Riley and Kai are adorable together, and have chemistry they cannot deny. I will admit, though, it took me a bit to really like Kai. It wasn't that he is not a likeable character, I just had trouble connecting with him and his views... which, before Riley educates him, are rather naïve and stereotypical. But he is open to learning and I appreciate that even ...more
MillsyLovesBooks
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Without a Compass is my first Helen Juliet read. This really was a sweet and endearing read of two people finding their HEA with their person.

Riley is dreading spending an entire week with his family doing his least favourite thing, camping. This was the life he grew up in, scout's and camping. But as he grew older he avoided as much as he could. It's his dad's 50th birthday and as much as he doesn't want to go he loves his family and won't let them down. Although he knew what was to come of the
...more
Tanja
Aug 27, 2017 rated it really liked it

Riley is on his way to his dad’s fiftieth birthday that is taken place at a camp site in the Lake District. He is not really a camper but for his dad and to see his family again he will do it, in his own way. Several old friends of his dad’s scouting days are there including Kai, his brother Brendon’s best friend. Riley has a crush on Kai for years. However, Kai is straight and only sees Riley as the little brother, until he sees that Riley has grown up rather nicely.
Although the romance is happ
...more
Tanya
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
These 2 men have know each other for years but have been mostly estranged for the past 4 years.

Although the vacation is a week long the events we read about is the first 3 days. To see a long time crush coming to fruition and a "straight" man taking a risk outside what he has always thought about himself.

This is my first book written as Helen Juliet but I've read a few H.J. Welch and this book was just as great as the others.
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Helen Juliet is an M/M author currently living and working in London. She’s been writing stories since she was young, and got her start publishing fanfiction of sites like Wattpad. Fifteen years and over a million words later, she discovered the world of M/M fiction and found it was just as good as the fanfiction she was reading. She fell head over heels in love with the genre and became determine ...more