Review: Good Together by Valentina Heart

A legacy of bullying and insecurity has left its mark on Troy, affecting all his interactions in the present. Adam is an ex-hockey player turned tattoo artist who knows what he wants and isn't afraid to go after it. But no matter how hard he tried, time and again he sends the easily scared Troy running.

Though both are nearly convinced it could never work between them, they agree to give it one more try. But then bad luck and fate conspire to leave Adam floundering to reach Troy while Troy worries over losing touch with Adam.

When a good premise doesn't translate to the finished product.


My first Valentina Heart is safe to say: an all around bust. Told in alternating 1st POV, the story is mainly about Troy, a 28 year old programmer who wears the scars from high school bullying which dictates his social interactions with others. He had a weird breakup with an incestuous lover, carries a sort of torch for his ex's brother/lover and goes back and forth with being shy, direct and scared. Troy meets 38 year old Adam, an ex pro hockey player, tattoo artist and they barely talk. They have minimal, cut off interactions for a number of weeks with periods of no conversation. And when they did talk it was like reading nails on a chalkboard, their dialogue was rough.

This story tested my rarely used DNF. I knew I was in trouble from the first paragraph in the prologue when the contemporary character referred in 1st POV he went through his "morning absolutions". Ablutions is an antiquated choice for someone to use as a teenager in high school. The dialogue, the internal thoughts read formal/stilted/translated.

My rating isn't based on the editing or lack thereof due to the fact I read an ARC. I hope the finished product had a strong edit: pacing was weird, the use of flashbacks weren't effective, the main characters' relationship was diminished by the aforementioned issues. If the pair had chemistry--the odd hot and cold thing Troy did was a turn off--it could have made the story better.

If I had to describe the story it was like jumbled pieces of different puzzles that were forced to fit...but it didn't work.

I don't know if the secondary characters were from past books, but it read like it. I didn't come in knowing their backstories - the twin lovers or rock star/tattoo artist couple with a little kid. Something was missing to make this story work, it focused on weird tangents like a cell phone accidentally dropped in a toilet as a plot device or flashbacks of Troy being bullied but no explanation as to why 'Helen' was important. The flashbacks would have worked better either all in the beginning or edited different to use as a comparison or guide into why Troy was the way he was. And Adam's POV did nothing to move the story along, everything on his end was forced and odd. I went into this book knowing nothing about the main pair and I ended knowing nothing about this pair as a couple...except for the sex which was a personality implant for the both of them.

Why not just 1 heart or DNF? I'd rather DNF something worth it. Even if it didn't have all the issues, Good Together would probably be a 3 - it's too short for the issues that the shy main character had to possibly work through. And the character development failed for both men. Just saying things that you have doesn't mean the characters are layered.

The best things about Good Together are why it's rated 1.5 Hearts: 1 Heart for the cover and blurb, 1/2 Heart for the very late sex scene (didn't fit how the characters were portrayed but I can't knock wall pounding)

Otherwise, this story was a big:

I'm not writing the author off. I'll check out her paranormal books, if this book's sex scene is to be an indicator, they might be better.

A copy provided via Netgalley for an honest review.

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