Advanced Book Review by Rita: The Art of Living, by Cassidy Ryan

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The Art of Living by Cassidy Ryan

The Art of Living, by Cassidy Ryan
Series: Arts & Hearts #2
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Release Date: September 6, 2016

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars


It’s time to stop running and start living again.

Gus had been living life under the radar, hiding from ex-turned-stalker Michael. He’d been running for a long time, and had had to cut ties with everything and everyone he knew—including his family.

It was a lonely, frightening existence, until he met the guys at the studios. With his dog, Zephyr, and his new, makeshift family, he has found some kind of peace. Though his new life is far from perfect, he is content.

Then he meets Brodie, and soon Gus wants to shake things up and take back his life.

But Michael isn’t ready to give up on Gus yet, and he isn’t going to let anybody stand in his way.


M/M Pairing
Gay Characters
Instant Attraction
Secret Past

Book Review by Rita

You wouldn’t expect a 70-page novella to have a slow build but that’s what we get in The Art of Living. By the halfway point I was still guessing at why Gus is so timid, living so cautiously, and if he and Brodie were ever going to spend any real amount of time together.

My favorite part of the story was Gus’ circle of friends. I thought the side characters all added a little something in their own ways and I love when I get the feeling that I could sit down with them and a share a coffee like I’m part of the group. The teasing banter and addition of kids and pets makes it feel like a big family; one that has each other’s backs no questions asked. I should say, no questions unless it’s juicy details about dates with successful handsome men. 😉

When Gus and Brodie finally go on a date, things progress very quickly from that point until the end. There’s definitely insta-love which I tend to not mind, typically, but this time around I felt that it was rushed. Between Gus’ past and his reservations for meeting anyone new, I have a hard time believing that they would fall in love practically overnight. There’s definitely chemistry between them in the sack but I felt that all of the other key ingredients outside of the bedroom were missing.

I did feel for Gus when he talks about the trouble he had in the past with authorities taking a stalking case seriously. I would imagine this is not an uncommon thing that happens to queer men frequently. It made me wish that the old “man up” mentality would finally become a thing of the past.

My final thoughts were that this book was just okay. There wasn’t any one thing that made it remarkable but that’s forgivable since it’s such a quick read. If you’re a fan of this author then I say go for it. If not, I don’t think it’s worth the mention.


A devourer of books since the age of three, Cassidy Ryan has wanted to be a writer since she discovered that actual people created these wonderful worlds and characters.

She discovered her mum’s stash of romance novels when she was twelve, and the die was cast.

These days she lives in the West End of Glasgow, and when she isn’t meeting the demands of her cat Angel—the undisputed Mistress of all She Surveys—or indulging in her life-long quest to find the perfect handbag, she likes nothing better than to sit down at the laptop and manoeuvre gorgeous men and women into bed, in whatever combination the muse sees fit to gift upon her imagination.

Follow Cassidy: Website / TwitterFacebook

You can purchase The Art of Living from:

Early download available at Pride Publishing
Google Play
Barnes & Noble

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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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