Title: Fast Forward
Author: Xio Axelrod
Publication Date: June 27, 2017
Rating: ★★★★/ 4 Stars
Genre: Contemporary, M/M Romance (music as a subgenre?)
As a nineteen-year-old, wunderkind doctoral candidate, Ian Waters had little interest in social interaction. Books were his companions, and that had suited him just fine. Then a hurricane named Jessen Sørensen blew into his life, throwing Ian off his axis.
On the cusp of rock stardom, Jessen had burned brightly, and Ian had fallen heart-first under his spell. But Ian soon learned he was only a temptation, a pit stop on the road to the rocker’s dreams, and Jessen was gone as quickly as he’d come. Ian buried his heartache in academia, the only home he’d ever known.
When Ian encounters Jessen at a party, the seven-year separation seems insurmountable. There’s too much pain, too much distrust. But Jessen declares he has a new dream, and that’s a life with Ian.
—I received an electronic advanced readers’ copy from NetGalley for free in exchange for an honest review.—
I promise that my blog isn’t turning into Mariam Reviews M/M Romance… It’s just what I’ve been reading lately… looks away from their growing list of M/M Romance books… I picked this up because it was short and it was gay. I am very straightforward in my tastes. Also it was available for immediate download. You’ll find that my rating isn’t four stars because it like wowed me out of my pants or anything, I just didn’t find problems with the book and I might even read future works by the author. Let’s start this review!
Fast Forward kicks up when Ian Waters runs into an ex-boyfriend at his friend/mentor’s party. At this point, Ian a man in his late-twenties, but one glance at Jessen Sørensen takes him back to when he was nineteen on the brisk of twenty and experiencing his first whirlwind relationship. The reunion is sexually charged and at some point I was rolling my eyes at all the description of how beautiful Jessen was but to be honest, I’m a sap and I’d probably do the same if I came across a former love who’d rocked my world. It’s obvious that Ian never got over Jessen, not after seven years. Jessen is kind of pushy in getting into Ian’s orbit again but not pushy enough for me to go “NO THANKS.” Their first reunion ends with tears, not mine!, but like Jessen’s… I think. The man isn’t what you expect him to be.
I thought one of them would be like all broody and macho and unable to talk his feelings out but surprisingly… neither of them was like that. Ian was outspoken of his hurt and called Jessen out while Jessen was heartfelt in his apology.
Anyway, a big chunk of the book is a flashback to their first meeting. There isn’t a lot of relationship talk but the two hit it off very well and even though it felt a bit insta-love, I didn’t care. As long as gay men were finding happiness, I was happy. The sex scenes were very healthy and they talk unabashedly about their boundaries and preferences. Jessen tells Ian he’s pansexual and Ian doesn’t judge him or anything, so that’s fun! Funny this is whenever Jessen called Ian “Little Ian” because it was so funny to me. Mind you that Jessen was only 2 years older than Ian. That kind of shit is something I’d do… I’d call a person 2 weeks younger than me a fetus…
There is quite some focus on music seeing as Jessen in the flashback is part of a duo with his twin brother MATTHIAS (LOL) and then is a solo artist in the current day setting. The last chapter kind of changes up its point of view as we finally see things from Jessen’s eyes and it turns into present tense. I like that kind of shift. It tells me something about the plot: that things are moving on, the characters aren’t stuck in the past. To Ian who was indeed living with memories of Jessen seven years ago and Jessen regretting leaving Ian without a better explanation.
I could relate quite a bit about the whole “meeting someone at the wrong time” bit because I did that. I met someone great but we were too young and things were too hectic. I’m happy that Ian and Jessen. I wanted more from the book but seeing as this was a feel-good novella, it didn’t disappoint at all.