Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Loud and Clear by Sierra Riley

Loud and Clear
* * * 1/2

Source: This book was received from the author in exchange for an honest review.

"With just a few words, you can change someone's life for the better." 

"I became a teacher to help people, not to deal with office politics." 

Professor Daniel Talbot learned the hard way that the cost of taking risks—both personal and professional—is just too high. But when his best friend’s wedding makes him realize just how lonely he is, he gives in to one night of reckless passion with a younger man.

"Don't waste your time on me, Professor. I'm the resident screw-up." 

As a recovering addict, Matt Graves is no stranger to bad choices… he just never thought a harmless one-night-stand would end up being one of them. But sometimes one taste is all it takes to become hooked.

"You make me feel like I can be something better. Like I can do something better." 

When Matt realizes the public speaking class he’s taking is Daniel’s, both men are forced to confront their lingering attraction. Daniel can’t nurture any kind of relationship with Matt, but he also can’t resist teaching a student who desperately needs to be heard. Learning to love, on the other hand, could destroy them both. Can Daniel and Matt overcome their pasts to create a future neither one is sure he believes in?

Source: This book was received from the author in exchange for an honest review.


Loud and Clear was a wonderful surprise that I happened upon just a couple weeks ago.  The age-gap and teacher/student relationship were the things that drew me into reading this story and I wasn’t disappointed.   These are two tropes that I love but also demand be portrayed in a way that addresses the undeniable complications.  Complications that Sierra Riley navigated expertly.

From the very beginning, you can feel the chemistry between Daniel and Matt.  Their meet-up in the beginning of the book sets the reader up for the intensity of their attraction when they meet again in the classroom.   There is the expected dilemma of abuse of power both with the age difference (17 years) and the student/teacher relationship.  But the fact that they are adults also adds a surprising level of complication to the question of “should we or shouldn’t we?” 

Another obstacle that interferes with their attraction and relationship are the chronic mental health struggles that they both suffer from daily.   Daniel suffers from depression.  Although he has found ways to manage it does not mean that it doesn’t sometimes kick his ass.  Then there is Matt’s struggle with addiction.  I’ve mentioned before in my reviews that reading about addiction can be upsetting for me so I often avoid it.  But I found Matt’s recovery to be portrayed so realistically and with so much empathy that I wanted to hug both Matt and the author, Sierra Riley.  

Regardless of their struggles and positions, Matt and Daniel are adults.  And they are adults that work hard to do the right thing and face the consequences head on.   And it’s this quality that makes both of them such likeable heroes and what makes you cheer them on from beginning to end.

Loud and Clear will draw you in with romance and its beautiful portrayal of imperfect but happy human relationships.   Read this one.  You definitely won’t be disappointed.


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