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All he ever wanted was to be a normal guy….
Phil Brask spends his days in the basement of his mentor’s Victorian home, converting legal documents into electronic format. When the pipe feeding the water heater bursts, Lee Redding arrives in the plumber’s truck and draws Phil away from the narrow focus of his computer and camera lens. Lee gives Phil hope for a life beyond the walls he’s constructed using the nesting habits of migratory birds and dense legal files, a guided tour through a world filled with romance and music…maybe even family. But there’s a reason Phil retreated behind those walls, why he panics at a simple touch.
Lee has a good life—working with his uncle and on his mother’s farm, playing bass in a horrible metal band, and hooking up when he pleases—but he’s always suspected something was missing. When he meets the hot photographer with the icy-blue eyes, he knows exactly what that something is. Phil isn’t like other guys, but neither is Lee beneath his carefree exterior. Maybe Lee’s the perfect guy to show Phil that everything doesn’t have to be done the hard way and “home” isn’t a four-letter word.
Ever read a blurb and, despite not being familiar with an author’s work, you’re positive the book’s going to be good? That’s what happened to me with The Nesting Habits of Strange Birds. I was smitten when I read the description, and even though it’s oddly creepy, something about the cover pulled me in, too.
Cue the disappointment.
I can’t explain why, but absolutely nothing about this novel turned out the way I thought. The plot idea is simply spot on. It’s not a badly written book. I didn’t dislike the characters too much. I just had a very hard time connecting to or being compelled by MCs Phil and Lee. They both are very complex men dealing with some significant baggage, and maybe that’s where things went wrong.
Phil was timid to the point of annoyance. I accept that it was part of his characterization, but reading his stutter nearly drove me mad. Instead of coming across as fragile, it made him seem mentally disabled, which made me wonder how and why he could function within the parameters of an adult relationship. I’ve got to think entering a partnership with someone like Phil would takes heaps of time and an epic ton of patience, but neither happened here because…insta-love.
By about three-ish percent, these two were waxing poetic about their attraction to one another, and it was extraordinarily hard to believe. By five percent there were straining T-shirts and exposed skin, and by eight percent, breathless kisses. And so on. When you come to understand exactly what’s happened to traumatize these two (that’ll be much later), you’ll scratch your head and wonder how they (well, Phil, really) make it out their front doors each day. Their mutual problems—Lee’s especially—became repetitively redundant (ahem) over time, and the angst factor wore. me. out. Lee treated Phil pretty awfully, pulling away, pushing back, asking for forgiveness, and poor Phil took it like a Target doormat.
It’s sad what happened to Phil and Lee, truly. I’m sure there are people just like them in the world, and I hate that. I feel this story had major potential. If only it had a much slower burn and way more care and consideration in terms of developing the MCs–and explaining their issues at the onset instead of using them as plot devices to move the story forward. Actual chemistry would have been nice, too. Props for some nicely written supporting characters, but they just weren’t enough to affect my overall feelings about the story.