Cover Image: Splash


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Member Reviews

Sweet, quirky, very steamy , funny and light on plot comes to mind when I think of Splash.  

Ideal for a afternoon at the pool read. 

My rating falls between 2.75 and 3 stars.

I just reviewed Splash by J.R. Hart. #Splash #NetGalley
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What a sweet summer story! 

It had a depth I didn't expect and a romance that will be very hard to top for a while. The story had a good pace and the characters development was very nice to watch and experience.
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Was it love right from the start or is it just lust? Dislike on first sight can turn into something different but is it just lust that drives them together? A book to enjoy and wonder
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WARNING: This review contains spoilers.

“Splash” is an adult romance centered around Connor, who’s working as a lifeguard at a local pool for the summer, and Tristan, a boy his age who tries to get his attention. Initially, Connor is angry with Tristan, who fakes drowning in the pool to get his attention, but at the same time, he can’t deny that he’s attracted to Tristan, and he eventually realizes and admits his feelings for him. I liked the romance in this book, as well as the fact that this book includes a couple serious situations and showcases the more vulnerable sides of the main characters. Overall, I really liked this book and would recommend it to adult romance fans.
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Mmmm not for me. 

If you’re down for lots of steamy scenes but little else to make up for a plot, then this is gonna be up your alley!
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Connor Molina is a college sophomore on a swim team for his university. He’d usually go back home for the summer break, but he messed up a course or two, and needs to take summer classes to maintain his eligibility and keep on track for his nursing degree. So, he’s taken a job as a lifeguard at a town pool not far from the apartment he shares with a teammate and occasional friend-with-benefits.

At the pool, Connor is plagued by the immature attention-seeking behavior of an otherwise attractive pool patron, Tristan. And, he’s a little bit hounded by an out high school aged fellow lifeguard who would happily toss his virginity at Tristan. Or Connor. James is horny, and not picky.

The more Tristan acts out, the more disgusted Connor is, and he makes no secret of his distaste, especially when Tristan fakes a drowning to trick Connor into kissing him. In the aftermath, Connor tears him a new a-hole and the tension between them skyrockets. Tristan is recalcitrant, and his sudden absence concerns Connor. And, that’s when he starts catching feelings.

Tristan has a precarious home life; raised by a man who isn’t his blood father, a man who’s an alcoholic with a sore temper. They have both had issues since Tristan’s mom died, but the grief plays out in passive-aggressive standoffs and Tristan occasionally couch surfing when his dad kicks him out for a few days or longer. He’s only just completed high school, and he’s planning to go to the local junior college to stay near his dad. He had better offers with schools that had real careers, but his only tie to his mom is through his home and his dad. The more that Connor and Tristan connect, the more that he sees beyond the happy-go-lucky, aggressive demeanor to the isolated young man who isn’t sure what his next move should be.

Connor tells this story, and it’s nice to see his frustration morph through shock, anger and lust into appreciation and love. Tristan’s talent in drawing astounds Connor and he pushes Tristan to look at his prospects in art and design, rather than the lackluster business degree he was pursuing. It’s a bit bittersweet for Connor, because those colleges are on the other side of the country, and he’s losing his heart to Tristan. The summer is coming to an end, and it’s clearly going to be the end of this summer fling turned into a true love story. The pacing was a little slow, for me, as Connor railed about Tristan and what a brat he was for at least the first third of the book. Then, he mooned a lot about the impending move for Tristan, once the arrangements are made for him to seek a new college plan. The love story is nice though, especially once Connor commits to Tristan. There are a lot of sexytimes, and some power games that play out to push Connor and Tristan only further together. The resolution is happier than the lead-up intimated, with Connor’s roomie playing a bit of a trick that rocks Connor’s work in the best way.
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I DNFed this book at 50%. The romantic plot and steamy scenes are strong, but I feel like the book is missing a lot of elements beyond that. There isn’t much of a subplot...we know Connor is struggling to keep his job and apartment and classes going. But what else?  IIRC there are only two secondary characters that have speaking parts up to this point, Alex, who competes for Connors attention, and James, who competes for Tristian’s. Connor needs more to his life to keep it interesting. And having his sleep with Alex seems completely unnecessary and ‘breaks the rules’ of romance. 

In a novel-length work, I would expect a more complex secondary plot and secondary characters. In general, there’s too much exposition and not enough dialogue.
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Like others who read Splash (I may have skimmed a couple of reviews) it took me by surprise. On the surface and in the beginning, it seemed like a fun summer romance, and in a lot of ways it was. The further into the story I got, the more intense it became. There was so much more to Tristan than the reckless, immature kid that Connor first met.

The more time Connor and Tristan spent together, they more they grew. Not just as a couple, but as individuals. They were both there for each other when they needed to be. Connor helped Tristan with his present and plans for the future and Tristan helped Connor come to terms with events in his past that he never really got over.

Their story came to a satisfying end… eventually. At least it was an end filled with hope for both of them. ❤
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I enjoyed the romance in this book but there wasn’t enough to the story to keep me fully interested. I think if the book had been a bit longer I would have enjoyed it a lot more.
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I'm on the fence about Splash. I can't figure out if I somewhat liked it or didn't like it at all. 

While the writing itself isn't bad, the characters and story didn't draw me in. The plot points felt like they existed purely to have a reason for the MC and his love interest to be together. I didn't get their connection at all. In fact, the stunt the love interest pulls to get the MCs attention left me uncomfortable and wondering how, considering the MCs past trauma, this incident could be overlooked in favor of a sexual, and eventually romantic, relationship. Also, the MCs relationship with his roommate was weird. It didn't really fit the story, in my opinion.
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I have to admit I requested to read this before realizing it was LGBTQ. I've worked as a lifeguard, so I was curious to see how Hart would write about the job. All of that being said...

I enjoyed this book. I wouldn't put it on my list to reread, but that list is pretty short as it is. I was pleasantly surprised by the author's writing about working as a lifeguard. it was extremely accurate. I've encountered a few Tristan's of my own, although I have yet to meet someone as serious as Connor. 

I love a good enemies-to-lovers trope, and this book didn't disappoint there. It did feel like something was missing between our couple. Maybe the depth of their conversations never going beyond their life at the pool and their attraction towards each other. 

Overall I would give it 3 stars. It wasn't the best, but it was enjoyable. It might even be fun to read poolside. Wink wink.
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This is a short, m/m, new adult summer romance. It had the dislike to love trope and I thought I was going to really enjoy it. However, I just didn't enjoy this at all. The characters bugged me, particularly Connor. I thought his hatred of Tristan at the beginning was over the top for Tristan's actions and after that I couldn't get into this. I also didn't feel the chemistry between Connor and Tristan, maybe because I was still bothered by Connor and the start of the book. However, this was a personal issue for me and does not reflect the quality of the book. If this wouldn't bother you as a reader, then feel free to pick this one up.
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Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for providing an ARC of this book!

Connor Molina is working a summer job at the pool while attending summer classes at the community college. While working at the pool as a life guard, he meets Tristan a nineteen year old boy. Connor hates him for his ego and attitude and does not want anything to do with him. But eventually soon, the two blossomed into a romantic relationship...

I have mixed feelings about this book so I am going to start with the positive ones first. The plot line is OK--the life guard working during the summer meets a boy and the hatred eventually turns in love. Towards the end, it was a bit emotional and sad to read though I did like how the romance blossomed between the two. I also like the book cover which actually will appeal to the reading audience. Also this book is really good for someone who would like quick read books

The negative ones? Too much graphic sex details that I actually had a difficult time reading the book. But maybe for others, it might not be a big deal. 

Overall, this is a good book for a quick read. Worth three stars though.
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Review by Lisa Pineo

*I received this eARC from NineStar Press via NetGalley in return for an honest review. 

My ratings:  * I hated it   ** It was okay   *** I liked it   **** Really good   ***** Great
TW (trigger warnings): death, graphic sex scenes

Long streams of exposition and many detailed sex scenes made "Splash" by J.R. Hart a bit of a slog to get through. 3.5 stars

Description from the publisher: 
"Connor Molina’s summer can’t get any worse. He’s stuck in his college town taking summer classes, and he’s got a dead-end lifeguard job he’s too old for and a baby gay who’s thirsty for all the wrong guys.
Even worse? Tristan, a wild patron, won’t leave his section of the pool, splashing him and pulling stupid stunts to get his attention. When Tristan fakes a drowning to get closer to him, Connor’s furious, but he quickly realizes that Tristan’s reckless nature isn’t always infuriating…it’s also intriguing.
Can he let his guard down and let Tristan in, or will he be bound by his own rules and drown in the self-doubt this summer could free him from?"

I almost DNF'd this book but kept going because I had asked for and received an ARC of the novel. The first half of "Splash" was filled with so much internal dialogue and repetitive thought that I had to force myself to keep going. The story itself, Connor working his boring job and having a summer fling that turned into more, was somewhat interesting but I never really came to love the characters. Even with all that rambling introspection I still didn't feel like I had a complete idea of who Connor or Tristan were. Half the book was spent detailing every sexual encounter between the two characters, which was at least well written and where the most emotion was felt. It's the other parts of the book I found lacking. I am by no means the intended target audience being a cisgender woman in my 40s but I have read a lot of LGBTQIA+ young adult novels and this one just wasn't up to par with others in this category. Recommended if you want to read a lot of gay sex, other skip this one.
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I've never read a male/male romance before and, although a little cliché and predictable at times, I did enjoy this book. It follows Connor as he works as a lifeguard over the summer and meets Tris and their  The first few chapters did seem to be somewhat repetitive and Connor's character did begin to irritate me slightly however I'm glad I persevered as the story then became a lot more interesting and enjoyable and I really began to warm to Connor's character, especially as we learnt a little bit more about him and his backstory. 

I totally did not expect the book to turn the way it did but I think this helped the reader to feel more deeply for Connor and Tris and see their characters in a whole new dimension and this is definitely what pushed this review from a 3 to a 4 star rating. 

I would like to say thank you to J.R. Hart and NineStar Press for allowing me to read a copy of this book pre-publication.
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SPLASH was a fully satisfying, 'perfect for summer' reading experience. One of the best M/M Romances I've read recently, it's full of all the things I could hope for: the thrill of the chase, deep passion and intense lust, a little danger, a little risk, and a whole lot of steamy sex. 

Connor and Tristan are handsome young men with their whole lives ahead of them. Sounds like the same old story? It's not. Connor is settling in for a boring, monotonous summer, but Tristan has an entirely different idea. Can he weave his spell and pull Connor in to his web? I loved the progression in the story revealing characters that could be seen as immature and carefree, transformed for the reader in the very real 'adult' existence they are actually living. 

J.R.Hart writes steamy, slow-burning desire mixed with intense passion very well. I felt the whole story evolved beautifully and organically. Some writers have a difficult time introducing  difficult topics in to their work, but Hart does it flawlessly. Each time the plot took a turn, I was fully vested in the outcome. Though some may feel there are moments that are a little outlandish-- I found it all believable and natural.

I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Interestingly for most of this story I gave it a 3. The cliches abound, the transition from enemies to lovers was far too swift and barely a transition, and the first half was utterly predictable. But Tris and Connor's relationship captured my attention second half and kept me wanting more as each page turned. Connor's narrative grows from sounding like a spoiled whiny teen to an adult tackling his first real love, wanting, and loss. I enjoyed watching them grow and mature as they tackled a serious situation together and their ability to keep what's best for each other in the forefront, even at the possible detriment of them being together. All in all I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it.
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I will start with some trigger warnings: pretended drowning, death of a child, death of a parent. 

Now. First thing I will say is that pretending to drown to get someone's attention is NEVER okay and the scene hasn't been sitting right with me. 

HOWEVER. Not taking this scene into the equation, I loved it? It was the perfect mix of romantic, sexy and serious and I enjoyed every second of it. 

I came to really care for Connor and Tris (and James if I'm honest!) and I was rooting for them and being excited and I may have even swooned a little bit once or twice. 

Similar to other reviewers, I did not expect this to take the dark emotional turn that it took but I absolutely loved it. It showed the manifestation of the relationship between Connor and Tris and also had the benefit of... "setting Tristan free", which made me nothing but happy for him. 

I enjoyed this book a lot and can only recommend!
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Thank you to NetGalley, J.R. Hart, and Ninestar press for the opportunity to read in exchange for an honest review!

Splash is a quick, 50% light and raunchy summer romance, 50% dark but relatable account of young love and the realities of life. I enjoyed both protagonists, and the enemies-to-lovers trope didn't rely on one enemy being an absolute asshole, which I always appreciate. In a romance, I want both love interests to come across as genuinely decent people, even if they don't start that way, and I'm glad Splash adhered to that! There's a lot of open door sex scenes, so if that isn't your preference steer clear, but if it is your preference, you'll enjoy them! They're passionate and steamy and realistic, but also eventually turn incredibly loving. I will say (and am noting this to the publisher) that the content warning is useful, but missing a warning for implied coerced sex (sexual assault). I won't give spoilers here, but I think that warning should have been included!

All around, a read that truly feels like going through your own summer romance. Tristan and Connor will fit into your heart as a couple you want to see succeed, and I wouldn't be upset if we got a sequel....
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I recieved this copy in exchange for an honest review. Thank you J. R. Hart, NineStar Press and NetGalley.
The review will be posted on my instagram account @soooomanybooks 24/08/2020.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐(⭐)
Oh my... wooow! I did NOT expect this! It started out lightly and it got really intense really quickly!

In Splash, Connor works as a lifeguard at a pool where Tristan acts like a total douche to get his attention. And his attention he gets. But instead of feeling attraction Connor is annoyed and truly hates Tristan for his stupid, dangerous behaviour. His past issues cause him to react extremely to the younger guy's stupidity.
They start from anger to frustration and then en up with understanding and feelings.
Their relationship is an emotional rollarcoaster! They are both intense and the their past and present makes them more and more so. They have one summer of this... whatever this is between the two of them.

The Cover:
It was the first thing that cought my eyes. And as their hate-to-whatever relationship starts at the pool, this summer-y cover suits that theme perfectly.

The Story:
It starts out as an ordinary new adult MM story with college aged guys figuring out their attraction to each other. But it is easy to see how they both have issues to get through. And what a beautiful way they help each other. Tristan through his art and affection shows Connor his worth and then when Tristan needs him he gets him through it because he caught feelings without meaning to. And the story unfolded to something I did not expext at all. In the ocean of fluffy love stories it turned out to be sonething a little different. And the ending? It killed me a little.

The Characters:
The story is told in Connor's POV so we mostly get to know him through his thoughts. His feelings pour through the pages. He's a passionate but closed off guy with deeprooted confident issues and self-loathe. But he grows from page to page in the caring hands of Tristan. Tristan who is more insecure than he lets us to see under his confidence. We get to know him from Connor's view, how the other boy sees him is magical. We got to witness him coming out of his shell and show the artistic, caring man he is.

The Writing:
The whole story is written like a reminiscence. Connor telling a story from a later time. It's a bit distracting at first but becomes a great tool to increase tension and angst. There are some espacially beutiful parts where the author shows the depth of their relationship and the pain they're in sometimes.

All in all, I would say this was a surprisingly great read with two amazing lead characters one summer full of lus and mire, hot scenes, drama and feelings. So much feelings.

I loved the book and maaaan! I really need to get a hold of the author to demand answers to that ending!
So bye.. I'm outta here harassing writers!
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