Tag Team Review: Running Blind by Venona Keyes and Kim Fielding

Kyle Green is on top of the world. He and Matt have been together for ten years, and—as the voice of Ecos, the wildly popular anime character—Kyle is treated like a rock star in anime circles. But in an instant, a stroke leaves him blind. When photographer Matt gets the opportunity of a lifetime, Kyle reexamines their relationship, discovers it has been a safety net rather than a true romance, and sets Matt free to pursue his dream. Kyle’s life and career as he knew them are gone, and he must now find the courage and creativity to draft a new plan.

After being away for fifteen years, Seth Caplan comes home to Chicago to care for his mother and to partner with a small start-up tech company. He and Kyle meet after Kyle’s collision with a child’s sidewalk toy, and they hit it off. Kyle wants to get back into running, and Seth becomes his guide. As they get to know each other, they start seeing each other beyond their three-times-a-week runs. But Seth’s revelation of the dark reason why he left his career in California sends the relationship into a tailspin and leaves both men running blind.

Averaged rating! ;)

Sara - 4.5 Hearts

Well this book snuck up on me and that is a good thing. This was my first read from both authors and it was a pleasurable introduction to their work.

I admit that the running part of the story was what drew me to it. I am a runner, I love running and running in half marathons. The pure joy and active meditation running gives me is kinda hard to understand unless you are a runner. We are an odd breed so the fact that this is a book about a man who suddenly loses his sight yet still runs? Yeah it was calling my name.
Our lives take sideways turns sometimes. But just because things are different from what you expected, different from what you’re used to, that doesn’t mean they’re worse.
I was anxious throughout the first quarter of the story. I liked how we get introduced to Kyle, learn about his current life and career as a Voice Over Actor for a popular anime character names Ecos and that he lives with his partner and best friend Matt. But once Kyle loses his eyesight from a stroke and he begins to build this new life, I was uneasy. I can’t explain it other than I was waiting for something really bad to happen and I didn’t want that. I want everyone to be happy and healthy and once I finally got over the anxiety, this book just took off and I flew through it.

I first heard about running guides when a favorite Ultra Marathoner of mine, Scott Jurek was a guide to Thomas Panek in the 2015 Boston Marathon. Running Boston is tough and it’s a huge marathon in the running community with having to actually qualify for the race and not just sign up, so the fact that a man who was visually impaired would be able to run this with a guide, I was intrigued. Running can be hard when you have sight not to fall, trip etc. so to be confident to guide and trusting to be guided… yeah, again I needed this book.

The information we get about Kyle’s loss of sight was so interesting. I am quite naïve to the ins and outs of vision impairment so learning about Riddoch syndrome or phenomenon was to but it simply, really freaking cool. I can’t imagine losing my sight suddenly and having to accept the fact that you can’t see any more to actually begin to see images when in motion. I mean… it was crazy to read about but also this level of hope for Kyle. Not that he would get his sight back 100% but that he would be able to do what he loves.
You were fearless at one time, Kye. And you can be again. Just think of this as an adventure.
I know I have gone on about running and Kyle losing his sight but it’s all of those details that lead him falling for Seth... literally. Their meet cute was pretty adorable even though it included a bit of blood but I fell right along with Kyle after the Disney Princess run.

Kyle and Seth have a bit of slow burn to their relationship that I loved. When a slow burn is done well, you get the time to feel it and though both men are sworn to their newly inducted celibacy and are just going to be running buddies, I was impatiently waiting for them to be more. These two are so perfect for one another. They really show that it’s the person and not the ability that makes them attractive. The first meeting with Seth lets us know how capable he is to lead Kyle anywhere and after the blind date Kyle’s sister sets him up with, you really get to see how compatible Kyle and Seth are. Seth just makes it easy for Kyle and understand his vision impairment and how it works in every way.

Seth though, he breaks my heart with his secrets and what made him come back home to Chicago. I know it’s tough to deal with an ailing parent as my mother has dementia and the things she remembers and doesn’t can make things hard but Ruth and he response to something Kyle has done over 100 just hit me in the feels. It’s a guessing game to know what will come out of someone’s mouth when they have Alzheimer’s or Dementia and the fact that Ruth has the exact same response every single time was a tender moment. I know I am being vague but if you read the book, I’d like you to experience that moment first hand.

Kyle thought about how two very different paths could lead to the same place. Maybe not the place either traveler was expecting, but that didn’t mean it was a bad place. One thing he’d learned - sometimes the surprise experiences were the best ones.

Kyle and Seth have a beautiful and patient romance that makes me swoon thinking about dark basements and impending storms. I adored the way they worked together as running partners and how Seth understood the loss Kyle felt with the possibility of not being able to be the voice of Ecos anymore and his plan to help was pulled off with humor, respect and oh so much love.

I have to give a quick high five to the authors at having Kyle work as a narrator for gay romance while he worked out his issues with being a VOA! It was great to get everyone’s reaction to it and they were all awesome moments.

At the end, Running Blind was a sweet and sexy slow burn romance that proves beauty is in the eye of the beholder, regardless of your actual vision. It’s a book about trust and instinct and about taking chances on life and love. It’s a book I’d recommend and now I need to check out both authors back lists.

Adam - 3 Hearts

Right after finishing voice recording for the popular anime Ecos, Kyle Green suffers a stroke that leaves him blind. When he wakes up in the hospital, he’s forced to reevaluate his life. He realizes his ten-year relationship with Matt was just a crutch, and the two felt nothing for each other beyond friendship. So Kyle cuts Matt loose, letting Matt chase his dreams, while he learns how live without eye-sight.

It’s not easy, and when he tries to reclaim an important part of his life, running, he meets Seth Caplan. Seth, who has experience being a running guide, eventually convinces Kyle to give guided running a try. The two soon become friends, and it’s impossible to deny the growing attraction between them. Kyle, who’s still adjusting and hasn’t dated in a decade, isn’t too sure about a relationship at first. But with Seth’s patient support, Kyle’s willing to give love a try.

Right off the bat, I really liked that this book explored voice acting, particularly audiobook narration in the world of gay romance. Kyle’s first love is anime voice acting, but after his stroke he turns his career towards MM. I’m a big fan of audiobooks, so that angle got bonus points from me.


The first half of ‘Running Blind’ focuses on Kyle learning to live without sight. I have to give kudos to the authors for depicting Kyle’s journey realistically, with the different trainings and therapies he gets after his stroke. Plus, I liked that Kyle didn’t fight against what he needed in order to be functional, which is way too common in books depicting disabilities.

Kyle was immediately likeable. He refuses to let the stroke break him. He was genuine and didn’t have a mean bone in his body. Although he was also lonely, even before he breaks up with Matt. He wanted to love and be loved in return. It wasn’t at all hard to connect with Kyle.

Seth’s story is revealed in stages, so it took me a bit longer to warm up to him. His relationship with his mother, who suffers from Alzheimer's, was both heartwarming and heartbreaking. He’s also very attuned to Kyle’s needs, without becoming overbearing or coddling.

The romance in ‘Running Blind’ is takes a while to get going. Once it kicks off in the second half, Kyle and Seth agree to a slow courtship, instead of a quick and dirty romp. Slow romances are a hit-or-miss with me, but I thought that the courtship was very sweet. Seth sets his mind to wooing Kyle, taking him out on dates and romantic dinners.


What I liked most about Kyle and Seth’s relationship is that they were equals. Kyle wasn’t relegated to being a chore, and Seth didn’t see himself as Kyle’s protector. They built each other up, working out how to make their relationship a permanent one.

The ending was all sunshine and roses. Kyle and Seth get the perfect happy ever after!

While it was a bit too slow at times for me, overall I enjoyed ‘Running Blind.’ If you’re looking for a slow and sweet romance that’s low on steam and has a brilliant HEA, I’d recommend this book.

Find on Dreamspinner Press or Goodreads!

1 comment: