Friday, March 7, 2014

Review: Think Outside the Box by Ellen Holiday

Think Outside the Box
by Ellen Holiday
Published February 3rd 2014 by Dreamspinner Press
Formats Available: mobi, epub, pdf, zip/html, Paperback

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars 

Political radio host Ryan Ryder’s motto is “What I do is none of your business.” He refuses to label himself as liberal, conservative, rich, poor, straight, or gay. Ryan is a great on-air personality, but in daily life he has trouble making connections and feels no attraction to a rising pop star when she comes onto him after a benefit. Reporter Craig Ducey is a fan of Ryan’s who calls Ryan’s radio show to accuse him of being gay. Ryan blows him off on-air, but not before Craig hints at where he'll be later. Ryan meets him, and their intense one-night stand blows Ryan’s mind. 

As their relationship intensifies, Ryan starts to understand why people let society put them in a box. When he finally accepts who he is, he has a big decision to make. He can continue to hide from the truth and risk losing Craig, or learn to think outside the box of his own prejudices, and accept that placing himself into a category may not be the death sentence for individuality he'd once thought.

One of the reasons why I like Ellen Holiday's style is she makes a supposedly serious and angsty plotline read light and sweetly romantic. 

Set in D.C., Ryan Ryder is a popular radio talk show host whose comedic approach to the political goings on in the nation's capital provoke so many different and opposing reactions. He likes to clash opinions with all sorts and levels of politicos as well as entertainers. His views are thought provoking and sometimes he can step on a few toes. What he does over the air, however, he refuses to even touch in private.

Ryan is a man who loves his privacy and no matter how he is taunted on air, he does not give way. Especially when the questions are about his personal life, his sexual preferences. He holds on to this privacy that even he himself refuses to give himself a label. Things are fine even a little boring, and he is secure in this. Until one night, when a man called Craig calls in and issues a challenge. A challenge he could not refuse.

Craig Ducey is a an openly gay reporter of Out Washington, an openly gay daily. He had been a fan of Ryan's radio show for some time now and makes sure to tune in every night. When he challenges Ryan on air, never did he imagine that it would change his life and Ryan's.

Soon the two men's relationship change and instead of the expected one-night-stand, Ryan cannot seem to get over his need to have Craig in his life. He starts questioning himself and it is affecting his show. Fans and haters are beginning to talk: what's up with Ryan Ryder? The same question Craig is asking. You see, Ryan still will not handle the issue of labels, of being placed in the metaphorical box. Will not even label their relationship for what it truly is.

Events unfold without seeming high drama. There were a few spots, especially when the read is about what is actually being broadcast over the air, that were hilarious and thought provoking. The romance between the two men was fast in the lust stages but very slow on the love angle. When they do reach that point where they either had to go for it or just leave things unanswered and break it off, it became a bit desperate for Ryan. Craig was a stronger individual, he was there to wait but not forever. Setting things to motion even Ryan never thought to think.

Light hearted, easy to read, thought provoking and very romantic, Think Outside The Box is one of those books that gives the readers a sense of sweetness that is difficult to ignore. 

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