Absence is as crucial as presence.
The decision to stop dating has made Vaughn Hargrave’s life infinitely simpler: he has friends, an excellent wardrobe, and a job in the industry he loves. That’s all he really needs, especially since sex isn’t his forte anyway and no one else seems interested in a purely romantic connection. But when a piece is stolen from his art gallery and insurance investigator Jonah Sondern shows up, Vaughn finds himself struggling with that decision.
Jonah wants his men like his coffee: hot, intense, and daily. But Vaughn seems to be the one gay guy in Toronto who doesn’t do hookups, which is all Jonah can offer. No way can Jonah give Vaughn what he really wants, not when Jonah barely understands what love is.
When another painting goes missing, tension ramps up both on and off the clock. Vaughn and Jonah find themselves grappling not just with stolen art, but with their own differences. Because a guy who wants nothing but romance and a guy who wants nothing but sex will never work—right? Not unless they find a way to fill in the spaces between them.
*We each got an ARC of this book through NetGalley*
Oh this book! I have so many thoughts and things I want to say but can’t because a) they’d be spoilerish and b) way too long for a review, but.. I LOVE this book. It is, without a doubt, one of my favourite books this year. I don’t know how to put my thoughts into a coherent structure so I think I’ll just go with bullet points.
- A+ portrayal of an ace character (I have to add that this portrayal is just one experience, and not the way to be ace), I agreed so much with Vaughns thoughts and actions. I was seeing me on page. Something that hasn’t happened to me before in this way. I had a couple of books I could relate to for different reasons but never this much. It’s not been so long that I was in his place, not knowing that there is a label that fits me.
- I loved the character development from both Vaughn and Jonah. These two grew so much over the course of the book. I enjoyed the way they got to know each other and learned that there’s no “set way” for a relationship that they could do it the way they wanted to and what felt right to them. Or how they realised that they were also not limited by their background (this is more for Jonah than Vaughn). He’s not “less” because he had a different upbringing than Vaughn, but it took him a bit to see it. There were some misunderstandings along the way. Situations when Jonah interpreted things Vaughn did as Vaughn feeling “too good for someone like Jonah”. But in the end had to realise that that was for a different reason, nothing to do with where Jonah came from but with who Vaughn is.
- This one is an important one: I loved that Jonah accepted the boundaries set by Vaughn. There was a moment where he was disbelieving when Vaughn first told him he’s asexual. But when he’s home again he does his research and sees that there’s more people who are like Vaughn. And from that moment on he doesn’t try to “cure” Vaughn. Jonah accepts him as he is and doesn’t try to push the boundaries Vaughn has set, like so many other books with asexual characters do. He even apologizes after he came on him and is overall so considerate. I just want to weep with joy and cuddle the author for writing this!In Blank Spaces no one(!) gets changed to be with the other.
It wouldn’t have felt right for either of them to change just to be together and it also wouldn’t have made them happy in the long run. I loved the differences between Vaughn and Jonah and how despite (or maybe because of them) grew together and fell in love. (And how cute it was to see them falling for each other!! *swoon*)And a thing I particularly liked was how they’re just figuring their relationship out as they go, see what maybe works, what not and if something doesn’t work go back and reevaluate.At the end of the book they’re still Vaughn and Jonah, they’ve grown separately and together but they are on the inside still who they were before.
- The mystery wasn’t really that mysterious but I still enjoyed the way to find out for sure. And was curious to see how it would play out.
- Okay, let’s talk about Vaughn. Because boy do I love him. And as I said that was me on page. I know this feeling of feeling “broken”. When you think of the impossibility about having a relationship when you’re this “broken” and you don’t understand why you feel that way. But you see everyone around you having happy relationships and they’re constantly talking about sex but you don’t get what the fuss is about. And then you close yourself off to any kind of relationship (that is not friendship). I know all that and I think in a way Vaughn is a step ahead of me because I’m not there yet.My heart felt so full and at times & overwhelmed with emotion while I was reading. This book is about discovering yourself, accepting who you are but also accepting others the way they are without trying to change them. And through all of it it raises hope that having a relationship isn’t such an unreachable thing. Blank Spaces is so so fantastic and I can’t put into words how special this book is to me. Because it definitely made me think (and hope) that there might be someone for me out there too. ;).
- And Jonah. Sweet and precious Jonah. Sure you could say Jonah is a “slut” and he does use that word to describe himself, although I hate that term because yes, he likes sex, he enjoys it and enjoys it regularly (and with different people). But he’s not hurting anyone because it’s consensual and it is his decision to make. I so HATE the way people are called “sluts” as soon as they have more than one partner (and prudes when you don’t have any sex or just little).
And while I’m not like Jonah, I understand and know that different people have different needs. And it is not my place to comment on that.
Not only does he enjoy sex, but sex was also safe for him whereas letting people “in” just hurt him in the past. He definitely has abandonment issues, and acknowledges that himself, but I never felt like that was the only reason he had a lot of sex. He said again and again that he just likes it and probably would even like it when he was in a relationship with someone. And that’s fine as long as the partner is aware and okay with it.
- Drunk Vaughn is just the cutest!
- I really, really loved the secondary characters, okay except for one. xD But I really liked the rest and am very much looking forward to read Zay’s book.
- Cass Lennox has this way with words that drew me in from the first page. I immediately liked Vaughn, his humour, his nerdiness and little quirks, even his insecurities. And as a whole Ms Lennox wrote a bloody fantastic character who’s just so amazing in his vulnerability and the way he slowly figures himself out. I highly, highly recommend this book.
Annie already said a lot of the things I wanted to say, but this book meant a lot to me, too, so I’ll apologise in advance for any repetition I may do.
I loved this so much! I adored Vaughn from the first time I saw him: his love for art, his need to feel what’s under his feet, his determination to doing his job despite Maurice’s best efforts to make him feel bad. But most of all, I could relate so much to the way he felt, having given up on relationships because people would expect sex from him and he couldn’t give it to them. I felt so much for him, not knowing that that’s an okay way to feel, that there’s a whole world out there of people like him. And we he finally leans about asexuality – I’m not going to lie – I cried and hugged my kindle. I can’t tell you how important reading something like this was for me:
The realization that he wasn’t strange or weird or dysfunctional or somehow lesser because he didn’t want sex had made all the difference. It was incredible how much easier things became when he knew there was a community of people who shared his experience, and he had the language to articulate himself.
I could have written that (though way less articulate, probably) because that’s exactly how it feels for me. I’ve been much more comfortable in my own skin ever since I discovered there’s a word for what I am, and that’s make all the difference in my life.
I also liked Jonah a lot, although I didn’t relate to him as much. Even so, I could understand him and he was a complex character whose behaviour made sense to me. I really liked his relationship with Vaughn and how he seems to learn about friendship along the way. And I loved how he accepted Vaughns asexuality – he was shocked at first but after that did his own research and just accepted it.
And their relationship! Oh, I loved that! Both of them did a lot of growing through the book, both on their own and together; and I adored how they came together at the end, working through their differences and still being themselves. They talked about it, they both made changes, and they’re happy and in love. I don’t think there’s anything more important in this case.
The finish line: this is one of those books that I want to reread as soon as I reach the ending. If you’re looking for a romance with asexual representation, pick this one up.
Genre: Contemporary Orientation: Asexual (+ace-spec) Orientation: Gay Pairing: M/M Publisher: Riptide Publishing Review Tag: Friends to Lovers Tag: Own-Voices Tag: Part of a series Blank Spaces Cass Lennox Toronto Connections