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Unraveling

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4.28  ·  Rating details ·  82 ratings  ·  62 reviews
Randy Kay has the perfect life with his beautiful wife and adorable son. But Randy’s living a lie, untrue to himself and everyone who knows him. He’s gay.

Marriage and fatherhood, which he thought could change him, have failed. He doubts if anyone can love him for who he really is—especially himself.

With his wife’s blessing, he sets out to explore the gay world he’s hidden
...more
Kindle Edition, 242 pages
Published January 13th 2020 by NineStar Press
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Average rating 4.28  · 
Rating details
 ·  82 ratings  ·  62 reviews


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Fabi

If I had to come up with one word to describe this book I would use powerful.

This is not you're everyday, happy romance. In fact, the 'love interests' barely even meet before the halfway point in the story.

This is the story of one man learning to love...himself. While another man searches for the unicorn in gay life of the 80's. Two very different stories of two very different men. Each story powerful on its own. Together they become life affirming.

I'm not going to give anything away of the plot
...more
Ky
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
*4.5 stars*

"Unraveling" is not your typical romance.

It's a story set in the eighties, with everything that that time meant for gay men. The MCs are complete opposites, not so much in looks, but in their way of life. One is out and proud, activelly looking for that one guy that is going to be in his future for a long long time. The other one is trying to come to terms with his sexuality, he's still in the closet, still married and still scared to be his true self.

The story takes place over a year
...more
CrabbyPatty
In reading "Unraveling," I couldn't stop thinking of William Dameron's exceptional memoir The Lie: A Memoir of Two Marriages, Catfishing & Coming Out, about his 20-year marriage and decision to finally come out as a gay man. It is equal parts heartbreaking and life-affirming and gives perspective on how devastating it is to live the lie.

Reed notes that his latest novel is "somewhat autobiographical."  Set in 1986,  Randy is in his early 30's with a wife, Violet, and 6-year-old son, Henry.  Feel
...more
Sheri
Unraveling is a riveting personal journey story but a romance it is not.
Let me try and tell you why...
I was captivated by the clear voice and held on tight during this emotional trek.
Randy has been fighting an internal war, losing battle after battle.
He nearly ends his life before his true self ever has the chance to shine.
Accepting his sexuality and the certain ramifications thereafter was...terrifying.
With his wife (whom he still cares deeply about) and his son on the line, every step is
...more
Ben Howard
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2020, kindle, arc
Arc provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

4.5*

Set in the 80s we follow two gay men living in Chicago.

Unraveled is a semi-autobiographical novel about being gay in the eighties; coming to terms with your sexuality, finding love and dealing with the hardships that life can offer.

Randy Kay is married with a child and is struggling to come to terms with the fact that he is gay.

John Walsh is an out gay man whose looking for love but always finds himself with the wrong man and an ev
...more
Ulysses Dietz
Jun 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Unraveling
By Rick R. Reed
NineStar Press, 2020
Four stars

When I was young and newly out (and this is 45 years ago), I couldn’t grasp the idea of a guy who got married to avoid accepting that he was gay.

And then, over the course of my life, I began to meet those men.

This is part of the great puzzle of sexuality, gay men who are not bisexual, but who can fake it with a woman because of societal expectations and are able to bury their true selves deeply enough that they get by. For a while. It can
...more
Sandra
Set in the 80s around 1986, this book is the story of Randy Kay, a married gay man with a wife and child, who is at the brink of despair because he's not able to be his true self, scared to even admit to himself that he's gay. And when he stands at the edge of the abyss, he's yanked back by his wife, who finds him before he can take that final step. Thankfully, his wife is for the most part supportive, realizing that if she doesn't set him free, not only will she lose him for good, but their son ...more
Joyfully Jay
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: veronica
A Joyfully Jay review.

4.5 stars


This is a touching and tender book, with a believable plight and three extremely compelling characters in Randy, John and Violet, who take turns narrating. As Randy and Violet’s marriage is unraveling, there’s a lot of grief, uncertainty, and fits and starts as Randy learns to overcome his longstanding self-hatred. Randy and John face situations that could be physically and emotionally harrowing. Violet’s position was interesting, and I could see how she struggled
...more
CrabbyPatty
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In reading "Unraveling," I couldn't stop thinking of William Dameron's exceptional memoir "The Lie: A Memoir of Two Marriages, Catfishing & Coming Out" about his 20-year marriage and decision to finally come out as a gay man. It is equal parts heartbreaking and life-affirming and gives perspective on how devastating it is to live the lie.

Reed notes that his latest novel is "somewhat autobiographical." Set in 1986,  Randy is in his early 30's with a wife, Violet, and 6-year-old son, Henry. Feeli
...more
Roberta Blablanski
What I love best about Rick R. Reed's stories is that his characters are real. They have real flaws that ordinary people can relate to. They don't have the perfect bodies, they sometimes make silly decisions that we all know in hindsight are mistakes, and they find themselves in situations that can be all too familiar.

The same goes for Unraveling.

Randy finds himself living a life that is far from authentic. His journey to this point has been paved with good intentions, the current social and po
...more
Valeen Robertson (Live Thru Books Blog)


Randy's been living a lie. Oh sure, he loves his wife and his adorable son. But he isn't happy, he knows it and his wife knows it. So after a horrible incident, she encourages him to explore what he really wants, who he really is. If he lets himself be free to be himself, he has the potential to have a great life. The question is, will he allow himself to be his true self? Can he truly have it all? The answer is yes - but not without quite a few bumps along the way, including his wife's ridiculo
...more
Erika
Jan 02, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, netgalley, ebook
Thanks to Netgalley for the complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

This story takes place in the 1980's, highlights the threat of AIDS, and is very angsty. The writing is also very lyrical and it's told in the first person, which makes the story that much more present and heartbreaking. The story also has three points of view - Randy, John, and Violet (Randy's wife), which gives it a fully rounded view. Violet's parents were horrid, and my heart broke over their attitudes and treatm
...more
Coco.V
Jan 13, 2020 marked it as to-read
Shelves: arc
💝 ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 💝
Paulina (aspiringliterati)
Okay. This one's incredibly tough to rate. 2.5 is accurate, I guess.

My biggest issue was that I found the pacing to be ill-suited to the book's length. Had it been a much longer book, or - better yet - a duology, then the first half would have been an excellent warm-up to what was to come. Otherwise it read quite weird. Not necessarily very bad weird but I couldn't get used to character development or... plot development either considering how odd it was for me.

Because of the pacing I found th
...more
Linda
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent! Emotional mix of tragedy and hope in 1980's 🌇 Chicago 👍👍

🌇 😧 I found this quite an emotional read. It never hurts to be reminded how different things are now from the 1980's when prejudice and AIDS took such a heavy toll on the gay community. Randy, the married father who starts this story in desperation and hopelessness, has a son he adores, a wife he loves, but fears the burden of his secret attraction to men. When his world turns upside down, he reaches out to John, who has been tra
...more
Amy Dufera - Amy's MM Romance Reviews
Rick Reed's Unraveling is a powerful story of coming out a little later in life.

Randy's been living a life of hiding his truth, resulting in shame and guilt. He's weighed down by self-loathing. Luckily his wife Violet is extremely extraordinary and supportive.

The romance is good, but I preferred the development of Randy and his relationship with his wife and child. It's an outstanding story highlighting the struggles of coming out.

Yes, most of it could be mistaken for happening now, but there ar
...more
Charlotte
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Randy Kay is living, what some may call, a charmed life. He has a beautiful wife, a son he adores ... but he's also on the verge of ending his own life when the novel begins. He doesn't follow through with such a final action because his wife finds him. She finds him because she loves him and she knows him... and this is how the novel begins.

Randy has been living a lie. He's gay and it's not until he's confronted by his wife - in a remarkably loving way - that he's able to even process what's go
...more
Cammey Kelley
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Kleenex Warning!

Wonderfully written, with strong characters that were unbelievably real. I couldn’t help but wonder how many times this plot has played out in lives of friends, brothers and strangers alike.

This insightful love story is wonderful...highly recommended.
Sallyann
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book made me cry buckets of tears because I could absolutely picture so clearly everything that happened. Randy and John were so meant to be together but every time their paths crossed something or someone kept them apart. I absolutely adored Violet when she first encouraged Randy to live his true life but she broke my heart when she hurt Randy like she did, lucky she redeemed herself. So glad that Randy got his hea.
Shirley
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
I know that I tagged this book as a M/M Romance, but that’s the least of what it is. I’m not saying that there isn’t any romance, because there is, but Randy and John don’t even “officially” meet until the book is around the half-way point. Even then, it takes them a little while to get there. What Unraveling really is about is Randy and everyone around him coming to terms with the fact that he’s gay.

The opening chapter in Unraveling is the first turning point in Randy’s new life. His wife, Viol
...more
Keith Chawgo
Mar 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rick R Reed’s novel Unravelling is an interesting and entertaining read that deals with late 1980’s Chicago and controversial topics during this time. It tells the story of three people with different perspectives while trying to sort out there personal lives to ensure happiness for all.

The characters are very well done as each chapter we get one of the three characters perspectives. John and Randy are fully fledge out but unfortunately Violet is kind of left dangling which is a shame. It would
...more
Stacey Jo
This is a heartbreaking story that has a great ending. It's a very real story. Randy has a wife and a young son, but he realizes that although he loves his wife very much and they are great friends, she's not what makes him whole. His wife is great and understanding, promising never to keep his son from him while encouraging him to explore the new side of himself. Things seem great until her parents get involved. They are deeply religious. That's when everything changes and Randy's world falls a ...more
Sarah
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was given a copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads.

This is a dark and gritty story that will probably feel autobiographical to far too many of the men who came of age in the 1980s. At the height of the Aids epidemic, Randy is deeply closeted and married to a woman. Only his wife’s compassion and his love for his young son keeps him alive when he finally hits rock bottom.

This is the story of Reece’s first experiences as a gay man. And while it’s not an easy read, the story comme
...more
Dani (ダニ ¦ 다니)
(I received this book in exchange for an honest review)

This was a really nice little story with awesome writing and wonderful characters.
The story plays in the 80's where AIDS and HIV was a very big deal and we follow a married guy with a child who's been living a "lie" all his life and pretended to not being gay and pretending to live a happy life with is wife and kid. When he finally breaks the walls and tells his wife that he's gay they go through a whole whirlwind of divorce, custody of chil
...more
Annie
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs, m-m
Whenever I pick up a book by this author, I know I’ll get a story full of heart and Unraveling gave that and then some. This novel reads a bit like a coming-of-age novel, but instead of a young adult or new adult, the main character is a 32 year old closeted married man who has decided to take off the mask he’s donned all his life and embrace his truth.

Set in Chicago in the late 1980s, Unraveling discusses the AIDS crisis as well as the blatant bigotry and inequality LGBTQ people faced at the t
...more
Sarita Chapdelaine
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
This story is a wonderful journey that is heartbreakingly sad at times as well as being full of hope. It is well written, emotional, intense, the characters are very real and the ending is perfect. Randy has so much to lose but he is unable to continue living a lie and he doesn't know what to do. His wife, Violet, wants to help him but they are both in an untenable situation. John just wants a strong and lasting relationship and he is drawn to Randy from their very first meeting. All three of th ...more
Calila
*A copy was provided by the author for free in exchange for an honest review*

Good story. Decent characters. I think it's semi autobiographical (I could be wrong on that) so that's awkward to say. It was a nice read, but I don't know that I loved it. Maybe my mood was just off or something but I didn't fully connect to the characters as people. They were nice. They weren't caricatures. They were flawed. They were human. The writing is good, the story this book tells should be compelling and reali
...more
Tathy
Jan 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: on-my-ereader
After finally addmiting to himself that he is, in fact, gay Randy starts a journey of self discover and explores the gay community and starts to form relationships and learn more aobur himself all while fighting to keep a good relathionship with his now ex-wfie and child.

I went into this book expecting something else, then what was delievered. It was still a good read, but much more slowburn then I expected. And thought you know by reading the synopsis that this also deals with family and self d
...more
Kathryn Manzella
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Unraveling by Rick R. Reed is a contemporary m/m romance that took me in immediately and kept me hooked. The book begins in 1986 and tells the story of Randy and John.

This well written tale is told through multiple point of Views. We get Randy who is facing the challenge of self acceptance . Then we have Violet, Randy's wife who knows she has to help him realize what he really needs in life in order to not give up on it. And we have John who has a bad history with love but really wants a Happil
...more
Diane
This book is amazing. Heartbreaking. You'll want to cry, laugh and hug those closest to you. Then you'll want to have honest conversations with the children in your lives.

You have a man who is encouraged by his wife to explore his sexuality. When he does he loses the thing most precious to him...his son.

Family isn't always on your side. It isn't always supportive. Some members can have their own agendas. And standing up to parents isn't as easy as it sounds.

The ending couldn't be better. The m
...more
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Real Men. True Love.

Rick R. Reed draws inspiration from the lives of gay men to craft stories that quicken the heartbeat, engage emotions, and keep the pages turning. Although he dabbles in horror, dark suspense, and comedy, his attention always returns to the power of love. He’s the award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction and is forever at work on yet an
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