New Release Reviews ~ The Weight Of It All by N.R. Walker
Book: The Weight Of It All
Author: N.R. Walker
Length: 244 Pages
Release Date: September 12, 2016
After being dumped by his long-term boyfriend for being overweight, Henry Beckett decides to make some drastic changes. In a vain attempt at getting his boyfriend back, Henry does the most absurdly frightening thing he can think of.
He joins a gym.
Reed Henske is a personal trainer who isn’t sure he’ll ever be ready to date again. He’s sick of guys who are only interested in the perfect body image, never seeing him for who he really is.
As Reed tortures Henry with things like diet and exercise, Henry enamours Reed with recipes and laughter. As the friendship lines start to blur, Henry is convinced there’s no way Thor-like Reed could ever be interested in a guy like him.
Reed just has to convince Henry that life isn’t about reaching your ideal bodyweight. It’s about finding your perfect counterweight.
It’s not about finding your ideal weight. It’s finding your perfect counterweight.
Most people can’t tell you the moment their life changed. One day they’re twenty years old with the world at their feet, then the next they’re closer to forty and wondering where the hell their life went. There’s no Logan’s Run age qualifier that deems you’re past your use-by date. There’s no ceremony with gowns and funny hats to say you’ve graduated from ticking one age-group box on a survey to ticking the next age-group box. You just turn around, and wham-bam-thank-you-very-fucking-much, you’re old.
I’m thirty-five. I don’t classify myself as old. Well, I didn’t.
Until Graham, my live-in boyfriend of eight years, came home and told me he was done. He didn’t want to spend his life with an overweight old man. I wasn’t fun anymore. I didn’t look after myself anymore. I wasn’t what he wanted.
And that was the moment my life changed.
Just to be clear on one thing, my now ex-boyfriend is the same age as me. And when he called me an old man, he wasn’t having a dig at my age. He was having a go at how I lived my life. I didn’t go out clubbing, I didn’t go for runs through the park, I didn’t want to go hiking on weekends.
Strolls for coffee, yes. And weekends at a log cabin reading books, doing wine tours, and cooking too much food, yes. I was more about enjoying the finer things in life, whereas he was avoiding his thirties the same way a cat avoided going to the vet. And apparently that made me old.
So the age comment I could ignore because I liked what I liked. But the overweight comment hit me hard.
After I’d gotten over the shock of his words and the shock of seeing his stuff packed in boxes and his front door key sitting on the kitchen bench, the realisation hit me that, yes, he really was leaving me. But the biggest shock came afterwards. After two bottles of wine and sobbing with my best friend, Anika, on the now-mostly-empty living room floor, I made my way to the bathroom. Drunk and an emotional mess, I stripped off intending to shower. Only I saw myself in the mirror and, for the first time, saw myself.
And I saw how Graham saw me, and I saw why he left me.
I was overweight. I did look old. I was a fucking mess.
So yes, that, the very lowest point of my life, was the day my life changed.
* * * *
Two days later I stood out the front of the local gym, which was ten minutes from my place, that I’d driven past a thousand times, gathering my resolve to walk inside. With a deep breath and newfound determination, I pushed through the doors and walked up to the reception counter. A young and fit looking woman smiled brightly at me. “Can I help you?”
“Yes. My name is Henry Beckett. And I need some help getting my boyfriend back.”
She blinked. “Pardon?”
“My life,” I amended quickly. Great work Henry, you idiot. Announce that you have no life and you’re gay as an icebreaker. Seriously, this is why you’re single. “I meant to say, I need help getting my life back.”
I heard someone chuckle beside me, and I turned to see a gorgeous, six foot fridge-sized man smiling at me. He had short blond hair, stunning blue eyes, and he wore a gym uniform so tight it looked like it was painted on. He held out his hand, and I was almost scared to shake it in fear he would crush my fingers or something, but it was warm and firm. “My name’s Reed. And you’ve come to the right place.”
*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie in exchange for a fair and honest review. ***
Henry has been dumped by his partner of eight years for being old and overweight, and after realizing he needs a change, he joins the gym to start changing his life around, only he didn't imagine it would be as hard as it is. He hits it off with his personal trainer, Reed, and they forge a nice friendship both in and out of the gym, trading recipes, laughter and company. Henry thinks Reed is perfect (despite loving to torture him in the gym) and way out of his league, and even if his friends keep saying that Reed is interested in Henry, that just couldn't be, could it?
I loved Henry! He was such a fun, down-to-earth, relatable character. I think a lot of us readers will see ourselves reflected in him when he starts exercising, after years of neglect. His self-image issues were realistic, same as the fact that they played a very important part in all the process. His sense of humor, be it when he was using it as a shield or in his everyday life was just priceless. I was in stitches throughout several passages of the book. I just loved seeing his progress throughout the book as he worked on exercising and dieting, and seeing how much his perception of himself slowly morphed, it was quite inspiring!
"His full pedigree kennel name is Shameless Bottom Needs a Muscle Daddy, but he gets called Chihuahua Boy for short."
"And by the time the finish line came into view, my feet hurt, my legs were moving on autopilot, and I left my will to live somewhere along New South Head Road."
Reed was the stuff dreams are made of. Tall, built and very sweet and attentive to Henry, willing to go above and beyond to show him that he deserved to be treated right and that he actually deserved to be loved no matter what he looked like. I adored seeing them together, just the perfect blend of sweet and hot.
Their friends were amazing as well. I really liked how much depth they brought to the story, without taking attention away from Reed and Henry.
This book was amazing, cute, fun, with just a sprinkling of angst for good measure. A must-read that will definitely leave you with a huge smile on your face and perhaps shedding a tear or two after reading that lovely epilogue!
Rating: 5+ Stars!!!
***Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie in exchange for a fair and honest review***
After eight years together, Henry's boyfriend leaves him because he's overweight and old. Henry decides to make drastic changes with the thought he could get his boyfriend back. He goes way outside of his comfort zone, joins a gym and gets a personal trainer. His trainer, Reed, challenges and pushes Henry and they move into friendship with recipe swapping and Henry's crazy sense of humor. They both develop feelings for each other, and Reed teaches Henry that physical appearance isn't everything.
I loved this book! Though a lot of this book was about Henry learning to move past his ex and accepting himself, it was hilarious! There were several parts that I was crying from laughter! And yes, Henry's sense of humor is a defense due to his insecurities (I mean, if I was a gay man, I would be Henry, so I get it!), but as the epilogue will show, whether skinny or not, he's funny. And personally, I find a sense of humor to be the most attractive thing about someone! Reed is a gorgeous man, inside and out, who isn't stuck on appearances. He understands where Henry is coming from and he's able to provide the perfect support, encouragement and push to get him to reach his potential. And Reed appreciates Henry's sense of humor. Their relationship is a slow build but it starts with friendship, and is not an insta-love story.
The supporting characters, Anika and Sean, Emily, and Melinda were written so well and just made this story even better! They were great support and encouragement to both Henry and Reed. There was no drama or angst in this story. The ex didn't come back causing trouble. There was no hate or jealousy from others trying to break them up or cause issues. It was a very sweet, funny, happily every after type of story that I absolutely love! This was about Henry learning to love himself, despite what the scale said, and that's a valuable lesson we could all learn! This is a book I will reread and will highly recommend to others!
Rating: 5+ stars!
We're giving away a copy of The Weight Of It All by N.R. Walker to one lucky reader, to enter you just need to leave us a comment on this post (if you want to share a fun gym-related story, please feel free to do so), with your e-mail included. Contest closes on Friday, Sept. 16 at 9pm CST.