Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Garnet Run #1

Better Than People

Rate this book
It’s not long before their pet-centric arrangement sparks a person-centric desire…

Simon Burke has always preferred animals to people. When the countdown to adopting his own dog is unexpectedly put on hold, Simon turns to the PetShare app to find the fluffy TLC he’s been missing. Meeting a grumpy children’s book illustrator who needs a dog walker isn’t easy for the man whose persistent anxiety has colored his whole life, but Jack Matheson’s menagerie is just what Simon needs.

Four dogs, three cats and counting. Jack’s pack of rescue pets is the only company he needs. But when a bad fall leaves him with a broken leg, Jack is forced to admit he needs help. That the help comes in the form of the most beautiful man he’s ever seen is a complicated, glorious surprise.

Being with Jack—talking, waking, making out—is a game changer for Simon. And Simon’s company certainly…eases the pain of recovery for Jack. But making a real relationship work once Jack’s cast comes off will mean compromise, understanding and lots of love.

239 pages, ebook

First published August 25, 2020

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Roan Parrish

36 books2,132 followers
Roan Parrish lives in Philadelphia, where she is gradually attempting to write love stories in every genre.

When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique.

She is represented by Courtney Miller-Callihan of Handspun Literary Agency.

Roan's Newsletter
Roan's Facebook Group
Roan on Twitter
Roan on Instagram
Roan’s website

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
1,046 (29%)
4 stars
1,505 (42%)
3 stars
806 (22%)
2 stars
127 (3%)
1 star
34 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 782 reviews
Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,878 reviews5,794 followers
July 17, 2020
I wasn't sure what to expect from Better Than People, but I was charmed by this story of two animal lovers, one with crippling social anxiety and the other with a broken leg, both struggling to find their way.

After seeing some mixed reviews from my friends, I was bracing myself to not love Better Than People, but Roan Parrish won me over again with this story. It takes place in the same "world" as The Remaking of Corbin Wale, so if you enjoyed that story, you will probably enjoy this one as well.

As someone who doesn't have social anxiety other than the normal nice to meet you jitters, it was humbling and very interesting for me to read about someone who gets so overwhelmed with anxiety around new people that they are physically unable to talk. I thought the author handled that aspect of the story beautifully.

I'm a total sucker for an MC who is experiencing physical intimacy for the first time. And, whew, I loved the sexy times in this story. Just lots of detailed, new-to-sex goodness that I crave. Thank you, Roan Parrish!

The backstories were well developed, and I adored that both MCs were artists. There was so much to love here, with the brother and the grandma and the ridiculously named dogs, that I couldn't help but be charmed.

The story isn't a fast-paced one, but the beautiful messages about mental health and self-care as well as the relationship-focused story really did it for me. I love MCs with physical/emotional challenges as it gives depth to a story, and I really felt that with this one.

A lovely, lower-angst story (for Roan Parrish), Better Than People will steal your heart, especially if you love animals.

*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*

Profile Image for Snjez.
764 reviews466 followers
August 29, 2020
2.5 stars

I expected to like this story more than I did. It has a lovely setting, a lot of cats and dogs and the types of characters I usually like reading about.

I liked Simon and I liked how his character was developed. When I read the blurb, I didn't realize how serious his anxiety was. I think the author did a great job at describing his condition, I could really understand what he was going through.

I'm not sure how I felt about Jack, though. I enjoy grumpy characters, but something about Jack felt off to me. I liked how sweet and understanding he was with Simon sometimes, but I still didn't find him entirely likable. I didn't like how he treated Charlie. Charlie is his brother and he was actually my favourite character in this book. I just wanted to hug him.

I think that Simon and Jack fit well together, but at the same time I wasn't fully invested in their romance. I didn't like the intimate scenes at all. To me personally, they felt like they were from some other book, they didn't fit the overall atmosphere and they were often just randomly dropped into the story. I didn't like Jack's dirty talk, it sounded so fake and generic. And I can't stand the word "darling". To be honest, I've never been a fan of the way this author writes intimate scenes, but I've been able to look past them in some of her books I loved.

The pacing was on the slower side, which I liked, but I still don't think I got to fully experience the beginnings of their relationship because some of it happened off page.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for ☆ Todd.
1,368 reviews1,506 followers
July 23, 2020

After adding a handful of Parrish books to my Goodreads TBR "maybe" list over the last few years, the blurb for this story finally made me request the ARC to actually read.

I found both the writing and plot to be on-point, and I liked both Simon and Jack quite a bit, but it never quite turned into me becoming deeply-invested in their relationship. :- /

Never having read Parrish before, I'm not sure if humor and/or banter are something that the author normally includes or excels at, but at least for me, I think that more playful exchanges between the MC's might have helped coax me deeper into the "feels" territory for which I was hoping.

The author covered Simon's paralyzing social anxiety well, but I think that I may not have been overly-excited about reading yet another story centering on that particular disorder. Not after having read sooooo many others on that subject in the last few years.

I guess that when I read the blurb, I didn't quite understand the gravity of Simon's situation, and that the *overwhelming* majority of the angst in this story would be learning to cope with your new partner's severe anxiety.

I did enjoy the parts with Jack's brother, especially how he and Simon (eventually) interacted with one another. And Simon's grandmother was a nice addition to the book.

The pacing was fine and the steam was believable, without feeling gratuitous or porny, so I had no problem with either of those aspects of the story.

Overall, I'd say that the book was worth reading, but left me feeling not entirely engaged to the point that I was sad to have finished, so I'd rate it at around 3.25 stars.


My ARC copy of the book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.

See All My Latest Reads (Review Quick-Links)

Profile Image for Dan.
1,122 reviews145 followers
January 10, 2023
I enjoyed Jack’s misanthropy and generally curmudgeonly ways. He is a lovable, hot jerk. Simon is so sweet, and it’s great to see Jack bring Simon more and more out of his shell. I love how patient Jack is with Simon.

Simon’s debilitating social anxiety is handled deftly.

The chemistry is strong and the sex is written adequately. The dogs are great.

Jack and Simon are an excellent couple, and one you can really get behind.

This is a feel-good, low-angst book. Sweet, enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Jonetta.
2,242 reviews966 followers
August 27, 2020
Jack Matheson is a children’s book illustrator with a small menagerie of rescue animals. He’s reached a mental drawing block following a bad break off with his former friend and writing partner, causing him to withdraw and become isolated from friends and family. One morning while walking his pets he suffers a serious fall, breaking his leg in the accident. Not able to do the walking for at least the next six weeks, he signs up with PetShare, an app that pairs pet owners with pet lovers. Simon Burke is a graphic artist who wants a dog but can’t adopt one of his own at the moment. He’s a good person but has difficulty connecting with people, experiencing severe anxiety in social settings and interactions. When he’s matched with Jack, it’s like these two were ideally paired for more than pet sharing.

Jack and Simon are two people broken for much different reasons but share a love for all things animal. Though it takes some time for the two of them to find a way to communicate, when Simon lets Jack in, their relationship begins to soar. I loved how Jack persevered with Simon, showing up differently than most people when confronted with Simon’s paralyzing anxiety. It was lovely how their romance eventually developed and all along the way the dogs and cats were at the center. By the way, one endearing aspect was Jack’s unique approach to naming his fur babies. You’ll laugh everytime they’re mentioned.

I was hoping the pets would be more than just a device in the story and I got my wish! They were an important part of both of these men and instrumental in their spiritual healing. Jack and Simon didn’t have an easy journey, especially when Jack was physically healed and the relationship was forced to transition. I loved their honesty and commitment, even when things got really tough. I opted to listen to the book and loved the narrator from the first sentence! I’ll definitely be drawn to titles where he’s featured. This was a special story with more substance than I had anticipated. I only wish I’d get to see more of these two and their lovable family.

Posted on Blue Mood Café

(Thanks to Harlequin Audio for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)
May 26, 2021
Audiobook on sale today only 5.26.21 at audible for $5.00


Audio 5 Stars
Story 4.5 Stars

Roan Parrish delivers another sweet hurt/comfort story.

I really loved this one. It did remind me a bit of the author’s book The Remaking of Corbin Wale because one of the MCs has anxiety issues and finds it impossible to interact and communicate with people. Most people being people don’t have the patience to deal with him and the crueler of people consider him a freak.

I highly recommend this if you enjoy a mostly low angst, steamy AF, feel good hurt/comfort story.

I'm so glad this is a series. I can't wait for book two!
Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,471 reviews1,889 followers
April 10, 2021
I wish I had loved this one because pretty much everything about it should've worked. It's a sweet m/m contemporary, features a lot of pets, and is authored by Parrish. But right from the get-go this was giving me some vague THE REMAKING OF CORBIN VALE vibes (and, spoiler, it's set in the same 'world' I guess? as the self-titled character of said book is mentioned) and while I was utterly wowed by the writing in that book, it wasn't my favourite by this author, either. I think I just prefer this author's darker or angstier work? I don't know what that says about me.

Not much really happens in BETTER THAN PEOPLE. One of our MCs breaks his leg, necessitating the need for a dog walker for his many dogs (and cats), and in walks the love interest. Simon is more than just shy, he has crippling anxiety, and yet somehow, and actually miraculously, considering Jack's near constant grumpiness, they connect. I found the progression of that very sweet but it also transitions from tender and tentative to like.. (fire emoji fire emoji) very quick. Jack is seriously into Simon and he lets him know. Which, great! But, I don't know, it almost didn't fit the vibe?

Characterization-wise, I found Jack a little all over the place but he's dealing with some setbacks, has stuff to navigate, however the dynamic with his brother just kind of baffled me. I felt like we saw his true colours when dealing with Charlie and it would sort take the sweetness out of the moments with Simon. I don't know. In some ways this is very soft, with some real meat to some of the topics and issues needing to be navigated, but.. it wasn't a book I could really lose myself in and maybe that was because of the characters. I could feel for them both but didn't think they were a good fit, I guess? Mostly I was just wishing for better for Charlie. I hope he gets a book.

If you are a fan of THE REMAKING OF CORBIN WALE, I think you'll love this (in fact, I think I actually liked that one more? the rating is definitely higher..). I think a lot of readers will love this. But it's just not going to be a favourite.

2.5 stars

** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **


This review can also be found at A Take From Two Cities.
Profile Image for Mariah.
1,213 reviews449 followers
May 22, 2022
First read: 2.5 stars
Second read: 4 stars
Third read: 4.5 stars - I guess the rating will just keep going up every time I read it? lol this is officially one of my comfort book :')
Fourth read: 5 stars - I've read this four times cover to cover ffs

Listen. I'm trying not to be too hard on 2020 Mariah, cuz she was going through a lot. BUT WHAT THE HELL WAS SHE SMOKINGGGG??????? (the answer is nothing, cuz drugs are wack.)

I was in a 2 star book slump, and I decided that the obvious remedy was a reread. Don't ask me why I thought of this book, since I clearly wasn't thrilled by it the first time (I suspect aliens were involved.) but here we are.

This was so much lovelier than I remembered. It felt like a case of the exact right book at the exact right time and that is always a wonderful, magical thing.

I enjoyed both characters and their stories so much more this time, and I can't explain why. They're the same people I remembered. they're story is still the same. I honestly don't know what to tell you.


"Better Than People" was the first RP book I ever read because I stumbled on it on NetGalley and thought it sounded interesting. Flash forward to 2021 when my world was irrevocably changed by The Remaking of Corbin Wale and I greatly enjoyed her Riven series, as well as Invitation to The Blues.
I cannot tell you the joy it brough me to see these stories cross.

My original review is below. I don't discount those observations, I'm just baffled at how my perception changed with time.

ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley
2.5 A story about two animal lovers, thrown together by circumstance.
I was instantly infactuated with 'the pack', Jack's menagerie of rescues and their quirks.
However, even though I empathized with both Jack and Simon, I didn't feel like I was ever fully invested.

The romance was sweet and the connection was there, but it didn't completely take me away.

I did love Simon's grandmother though, and I feel like there was more of chance for development if we had met more of Simon's family.
My heart instantly went to Charlie though, and I feel like maybe he might get his own book? (I would read that in a heartbeat)

Overall, this was a short and sweet escape, with fluffy friends.
I did appreciate the portrayal of Simon's social anxiety, and how being on a relationship with Jack didn't instantly fix him, or even significantly improve his condition. Amen for that.
Profile Image for Bex (Beckie Bookworm).
2,012 reviews1,311 followers
September 4, 2020
Untitled design-High-Quality

My Review

I knew practically as soon as I started this that it was going to be a hit for me.
It just had such an easy flow and such a charming sentimental vibe to it.
I instantly felt at home with both Jack and Simon each with there own separate challenges and I could see them muddling along together quite nicely add in how bloody adorable they were together and I was totally sold.
Jack has such an exasperated outward persona he’s grumpy and gruff with a bark definitely worse than his bite and a tendency to stick his foot in it.
He likes his own company and what you see is definitely what you get with Jack.
Simon is anxious to the point he almost wants to disappear from sight.
His words clog-up in his throat and his awkwardness and fear take over.
With animals, he feels able to emerge from behind his protective shell much preferring them to his fellow humans.
So when Jack breaks his leg and is unable to walk his menagerie of four-legged friends it’s Simon that steps in.
Initially brought together by the petshare app they both start to feel a connection.
So I adored the way Jack was with Simon the way he coaxed and comforted him.
He was so protective and loving and his patience with Simons severe anxiety was boundless.
And Simon was willing to try and step out of his bubble for Jack.
Jack who makes him feel things he never thought possible.
This was an incredibly romantic and heartfelt story.
I adored the simplicity of this and it had such a feel-good factor to the whole thing.
This was a really great M/M romance that felt authentic in its emotion and was as hot as it was romantic.
A thumbs up from me I enjoyed this one a lot.
I voluntary reviewed a copy of Better Than People.

Untitled design

Reviewed By Beckie Bookworm
Profile Image for Trio.
3,058 reviews175 followers
May 28, 2020
Low angst and very romantic, Roan Parrish’s recent novel, Better Than People is an absolutely lovely hurt/comfort story. If pets are a beloved part of your life (and even if they’re not), the way Ms. Parrish inserts them into this couple’s relationship is truly special. A true feel good, comfort romance, Better Than People is a delight.

a copy of Better Than People was provided to me by NetGalley for the purpose of my honest review
Profile Image for Diana.
550 reviews18 followers
September 22, 2020
I have been trying to read this one for a month, so I am giving up on it and putting it on my "go back to later shelf". I usually love RP books, but I just never could get into this one.
Profile Image for Cadiva.
3,464 reviews320 followers
August 29, 2020
That was soooooo good! I'm not sure I can quite articulate why I loved this book so much but I did.

Maybe it's because I love seeing happy endings for characters that don't fit into the 'square jawed alpha' stereotype.

Maybe it's because it's a book chock full of different types of love, love that persists against the odds and love that provides a bedrock of support for the people it encompasses.

Roan has such a talent at writing outside the norm.

Her characters have an otherworldly way to them at times, here it's not as obvious but both Jack and Simon follow non-traditional character tropes even while they skirt the edges of convention.

Jack is an artist, but he's not a tortured one, he's struggling with the very real anger that comes with a betrayal of trust.

Simon's anxieties aren't irrational or treated as a joke, he's managed to make a path through life for himself to the best of his ability and with the help of his awesome grandma Jean.

I also loved Jack's brother Charlie, I felt so much love for how much he'd sacrificed. I'd love to read his story and have him find a happy ending too please Roan!

That the majority of the narrative concerns just a cast of two, and a multitude of wonderful animals, but never feels claustrophobic, is testament to the author.

I also very much appreciated, in a book where one of the character's anxieties paralyse him on occasion, that miscommunication was not a major plot point.

I also appreciated the cameo appearance in reference only of Corbin Wale 😁

So, all in all, just a cracking good read.

#ARC kindly received from the publisher Carina Press via NetGalley in return for an honest and unbiased review.
Profile Image for *J* Too Many Books Too Little Time.
1,921 reviews3,458 followers
July 18, 2020
Solid 4 Star Read!

Very feel good.
Low angst.
Smoking hot sex.
Virgin alert.
Slow build.
Likable characters.

Overall really enjoyed this one. Perfect for a lazy Saturday!

ARC kindly provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Gustaf.
1,426 reviews134 followers
April 23, 2021
Reread April 2021. I loved this book just as much the second time around as I did the first. It's beautiful. It hurts in the very best way.

Original review:
This was an absolutely fantastic read. I started it thinking I would read a few chapters before doing other things... well here I am, it's 01.22 in the morning and, I'm finished.

Jack is suffering from broken trust of being betrayed by a friend and a broken leg from a nasty fall and needs someone taking care of all his animals. (He's been rescuing a bunch of cats and dogs) while he's recovering, so he puts an add up on an app and in walks Simon into his life. Simon is suffering from severe anxiety and has a hard time talking to people.

Seeing these two guys learning to trust each other and fall in love was beautiful. I wasn't so sure in the beginning, thinking this reminded me a little too much about the authors previous book The Remaking of Corbin Wale (which I absolutely love, if you haven't read it you have to pick it up), but Corbin is actually playing a part in this book and that made me more accepting of the whole thing.

The way Roan Parrish dealt with Simon's character and his anxiety was very respectfully done. It wasn't there to add a conflict to the story, it simply was part of Simon's character. And while it's heavy being in Simon's head at times, she made this book sweet and beautiful. I loved that. I'm always counting on Roan Parrish to give me all the feels. And this was no different.
Profile Image for Ed Davis.
2,355 reviews69 followers
May 30, 2021
Well, the reviews seem to be all over the place for this book. I loved it. This could have been a totally depressing story. Jack had been betrayed by his best friend and hadn’t been able to draw for nine months. Then while out walking his animals he fall and breaks his leg. He finds a dog walker to help him. Simon suffers from social anxiety. Slowly these two find and help each other. I just thought it was beautifully written and it left me feeling very emotional but happy.
Profile Image for Fabi.
1,009 reviews146 followers
August 31, 2020
A beautiful story. I wasn't expecting to get so emotional while reading this one.  But the story pulls at your heartstrings and there were a few scenes that had me blinking back tears.

There are lovely relationships in this book.  Brothers, orphaned too young. Grandparents who are too often a lifeline for children.  Longtime friends who forgive and support and never give up.

Simon suffers from extreme anxiety.  He can't interact well with people.  However, he adores animals.  This is great for Jack who has an entire pack he can't take for walks anymore since he injured himself on his last outing.

Simon is able to come to the rescue. Both for walking the dogs and in a totally unexpected way, helping Jack overcome an emotional hurt that has basically put his life on hold for months.

Jack sees right away that Simon is special and works to spend time together.  A really beautiful friendship and relationship develops. One that's good for both men.

I loved the story.  There is no major angst. No annoying long separation.  Only love growing between two men who need each other.

As an animal lover, the menagerie of pets were a real treat for me.  I also enjoyed the sweet surprise of hearing about Corbin Wale.

All in all, a lovely, tender M/M Romance.

Review ARC graciously provided by the publisher via NetGalley

Profile Image for Elena.
848 reviews93 followers
September 9, 2020
DNF at 42% - 2.5 stars

I’m pretty sure it’s me, not the book.
There are things I liked a lot, the pets and the way Simon’s anxiety issues were depicted, and things I liked less (), but overall I think the book isn’t as bad as my rating may lead you to believe.
Despite the good, I’m almost halfway through and I don’t feel any connection to either one of the MCs, I’m skimming the sex scenes and I’m generally bored with the whole thing.
But I think it’s just me, not the book. Or at least not entirely the book.
Profile Image for Ariana  (mostly offline).
1,388 reviews45 followers
January 27, 2021
I’d really hoped that I might like this better than other readers.

I usually do like this author’s writing a lot, after all.
I love medical themes, and here we experience what it’s like not to be able to ‘talk freely’ and be riddled by social anxiety. Highly illuminating!
And the MCs are both artists in one way or another.
And there are dogs in the book. (Ok. I admit it’s the dog theme that was the deciding factor for me to buy this.)

So …why the heck didn’t I enjoy this more?

a. While Jack is incredibly understanding and intuitively kind to Simon, his behaviour towards his caring, lovely brother Charlie irritated me to no end. Yes, we know men can be rather ‘delicate’ when they are ill which makes them behave like bulls in a china shop or dying ducks in a thunderstorm, but Jack’s moodiness and ‘snapping’ whenever Charlie tries to help in even the smallest ways, made me really mad.

“Grow up, for goodness sake!”, was on my lips throughout most of the book whenever he moans about not being able to do this or that because of his broken leg.
The author acknowledges this at 68% when Simon tells him "Please, that wasn’t suffering, you were just a huge baby about it.”
While this didn’t really help to endear Jack to me, I did like how hard he tries to figure out the best way to make Simon comfortable, and how genuine he is with expressing his feelings.

b. I was surprised how fast these two clicked, and that’s despite Simon virtually only communicating in one-word sentences at the beginning.

c. Simon is a captivating character, and following his thought procedures was exhausting but highly interesting. His anxiety robs him of social contact and so many opportunities, most of all he drowns in negativity and fear.
I liked seeing him come out of his shell a little bit, and ‘risking’ more to get what he wants.

d. Although the dogs are there, and we get lots of descriptions about them and the cats, they didn’t really play a huge role in the story.

e. It was lovely to hear about Corbin Wale again, and I liked his mention and link to Jack.

f. The thing I enjoyed most was the discussion about being honest with each other, really listening to each other and not pussyfooting around huge and important issues. Not easy for either man.

So – rant over, guys.
Cuddling up with the dog now.
I guess I’m a bit disappointed, and the fact that the book finished at 84% to then advertise an f/f romance until 99% didn’t help either.
Profile Image for Iz.
801 reviews26 followers
March 29, 2023
God, this was freaking gorgeous and, by far, my favourite Roan Parrish novel.

"Better Than People" stole my whole damn heart: it's sweet, it's soft, it's emotional and thoughtful and deep and sexy, and I adored it, start to finish.

The writing was beautiful, the plot deceptively simple but also so real? And the main characters? Their dynamic? The freaking adorable pack? WHERE DO I START.

Both Jack and Simon STOLE my soul: I really can't express how much I absolutely loved them both.
Simon, with his heartbreaking anxiety, his anger, his bravery, his sweetness; Jack, with his broody, gruff personality, his hidden romantic heart, his generous, kind affection and care.
And their dynamic? Oh my god. Their relationship managed to be the sweetest, most precious thing ever but also the hottest, most delicious one too. I really can't explain it, because I've read dozens of steamier and kinkier books than this one, but the way these two were together? The fact that Jack was so into Simon being so inexperienced? The slow discovery of bodies and preferences? The dirty talk? Jack's blessed drawing skills *wink wink* ? Be still my beating heart: I literally melted from the heat.
Jack and Simon were sexy as hell together. Needless to say, I adored their relationship, inside and outside the bedroom, to absolute bits.

I also loved this book because of the animals (ADORABLE) and all the lovely, lovely side characters. My pack of dogs and cats own my heart, and seeing Jack and Simon with the Matheson Pack was, simultaneously, deeply relatable (yes, animals are definitely better than humans) and so damn cute it melted my heart. Charlie and Jean were fantastic side characters and although I'm not sure about continuing with this series (I've now realized that life is too short, I have a mile-long TBR and I should be able to pick and choose the standalones in a series I want to read), but I admit I'm very curious about Charlie.
Profile Image for Meep.
2,114 reviews201 followers
August 29, 2020
Difficult one to rate. I really liked the characters and love dogs so this book should have been an instant win. Unfortunately as attraction turned to love I was seeing less and less reason for why these men were together so couldn't fully invest in their HEA.

Simon's crippling anxiety is the main focus of the book. It means the whole romance is basically Jack learning to navigate Simon's fears. While the story is slow and meanders there needed to be something more between them than the instant attraction, to make the reader feel it.
The sex scenes don't feel quite natural to the characters and come too frequently as the book continues.

The pack intro was chaotic, perhaps too many animals. Two of the dogs and two of the cats had some personality but the four/five pets were merely a jumble of names. They're a constant in the story though and I do love animals. Wanted to cuddle Puddles. Only one big niggle there

Grandma Jean was a great addition, would have liked more of her and if brother Charlie gets his own book I'll snatch it up, he needs some loving.

Overall I liked it, I just didn't love it, which I wanted to.
Profile Image for ⭐️AMST⭐️.
129 reviews16 followers
August 30, 2020
~ 3.5 Stars ~

That was a cute story. I read a few books by Roan before and prepared for a lot of angst.
Although Simon’s social anxiety was painful to witness (read? Watch? You get what I’m saying) it didn’t left me with sadness and the hopeful side of the story was more powerful.

I could really use an epilogue here. I feel like the story suddenly ended where it shouldn’t (at 83%!! Can you blame me? I didn’t even mentally prepared for it) and I would liked a HEA instead of HFN.

Anyway, I always loved Roan’s writing, Jack and Simon were perfect for each other, it was great hurt/comfort story and the sex was HOT 🔥
Profile Image for CrabbyPatty.
1,588 reviews172 followers
August 31, 2020
This is a charming story of two men who find each other and bond over the love of animals, plus there's plenty of well-detailed steamy sex.

Jack Matheson, who creates whimiscal illustrations for children's books, is burrowing in after a problematic parting of the ways with his co-author. He's hurt and gathers comfort from his tribe of cats and dogs named Pickle, Mayonaise, Bernard (yes, he's a St. Bernard), etc. When he breaks his leg, he advertisers for a pet walker and Simon answers the ad. Simon is shy ...
It was a word people had used to describe Simon Burke since he was a child. A tiny, retiring word that was itself little more than a whisper. But what Simon felt was not a whisper. It was a freight train bearing down on him [...] it was a swimming head and a pounding heart. A furious heat and a numbness in his fingers. [...] Shy was a word for a child's fear, shed like a light spring jacket when summer came. What Simon had was knitted to his very bones, spliced in his blood, so cleverely prehensile that it clung to every beat of his physical being."
Jack's little menagerie is lovingly created and personalized and Roan Parrish does a wondrous job of developing and deepening Simon's character. I love how Simon and Jack navigate their way into a relationship that is equal parts heat and heart.

However, I would have loved to have had deeper development of Jack's character; while Simon's shyness is well documented and explained, Jack remains somewhat of a mystery. His insecurities about his talent as well as his unwillingness to move past his betrayal by his literary partner seem unfounded given that we don't have as strong an understanding of his personality. While this doesn't derail the story, it just didn't work for me.

But the ending, which realistically creates a HEA for Jack and Simon without ignoring his continuing issues, is well done and I'm giving "Better Than People" 4 stars.

I received an ARC from the Publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Visit my blog, Sinfully Good Gay Book Reviews
Profile Image for RateTheRomance.
826 reviews120 followers
June 19, 2021
I asked for Queer Romance recommendation on Instagram and many recommended BETTER THAN PEOPLE and the second book in this same series. And they were not wrong. This book is AMAZING. So many different aspects of this book were perfection that I'm going to address them one by one.

WRITING STYLE: The actual prose in this book is just beautiful. This Author weaves words and imagery in a way that I really connected with. Roan Parrish writes like poetry and I loved it so much.

ANXIETY DISORDER: I have a daughter with Acute Generalized Anxiety Disorder. She began showing symptoms at 18 months and she is now 16 years old. I have a lot of 2nd hand experience with her debilitating Anxiety and I have never found a book that writes an Anxiety more faithfully than this one. It feels amazing to see it on the page. Anxiety Disorders of this magnitude are so much more than "feeling nervous" not wanting to perform karaoke, or disliking public speaking. But, so often, I find Romantic Fiction dabbling in Anxiety disorders in a way that feels very shallow. But BETTER THAN PEOPLE hits right to the core of the physicality that goes beyond shaking hands. It's vomiting and have muscle spasms. It's not being able to breath or speak or stand still. These are things I have observed as the parent of an individual with severe Anxiety and Parrish writes it beautifully and with true depth.

QUEER ROMANCE: The handling of the Queer romance aspect of this love story is perfection. There is so much intimacy and sweetness and openness. This is my first time reading descriptive sex scenes between two men and those scenes were both crazy-hot and also emotionally impactful. The physical intimacy between Jack and Simon is exactly what I want good Romance genre sex scenes to be: a balance of the physical and the emotional.

And their first kiss.....GAH! In my top 5 First Kisses in Romance of all time!

This story is achingly sweet, boldly truthful, and has stayed with me ever long after I finished reading this book. I have already recommended BETTER THAN PEOPLE to many friends and I will continue to do so! It's just so damn good.
Profile Image for the kevin (on brainrot hiatus).
946 reviews124 followers
May 5, 2022
DNF at 22%

I had a few major issues in this, and I didn’t like anything about the story or writing enough to redeem them and so….DNF.

Issue 1: I would never ever let someone who punches a doorway take my dogs out, or be near them. Your response to frustration is to hit something? Get the fuck out.

Issue 2: We know from Simon’s POV that he can communicate by email/message just fine. Why does he not then take some agency into his own hands, and message Jack saying that he has some trouble talking to strangers? Then he wouldn’t end up in the whole situation of trying to talk and not being able to. It’d probably really lessen the pressure on him too, but that’d require doing something I suppose.

Issue 3: Jack solves this, by suggesting texting instead of talking. Look! Solvable!! Why didn’t you do this before, simon. There’s no thoughts about how its such a great idea/why didn’t i think of it from Simon to excuse it as an oversight, no, it’s just Magic Jack Solutions.

Issue 4: When simon first comes to the door - they have only communicated on the app at this point - Jack asks if he’s SimpleSimon, the username on the app. Simon gets angry about this. Why? Because he chose to use a name that bullies used to call him. Why would he do that??? I DONT KNOW

Issue 5: aka I gave up - they just sort of…start interacting, talking/messaging, and it feels very out of nowhere. Especially the sudden heart-to-heart. Weird progression. Especially after Jack going a bit Suburbia on his neighbor. That’s where I DNFd though.

Also, poor under appreciated Charlie. Why is jack such a rude asshole. Everyone but the animals and Charlie sucks here. Which also, there is such a thing as too many animals in a story, it felt like a roll call every time they were mentioned. Could have settled on a few less and the story would be the same while being more readable.

Overall, i had significant issues with the start of this story. I didn’t really like the writing or characters in general, so I’m just gonna officially DNR this author for my future happiness.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 782 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.