Better Than People
Author: Roan Parrish
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Imprint: Carina Press (Carina Adores)
On-Sale: August 25, 2020
Format: Trade Paperback (ebook & audio also available!)
Price: $14.99 U.S.
Buy Better than People NOW!
It’s not long before their pet-centric arrangement sparks a person-centric desire…
Simon Burke has always preferred animals to people. When the countdown to adopting his own dog is unexpectedly put on hold, Simon turns to the PetShare app to find the fluffy TLC he’s been missing. Meeting a grumpy children’s book illustrator who needs a dog walker isn’t easy for the man whose persistent anxiety has colored his whole life, but Jack Matheson’s menagerie is just what Simon needs.
Four dogs, three cats and counting. Jack’s pack of rescue pets is the only company he needs. But when a bad fall leaves him with a broken leg, Jack is forced to admit he needs help. That the help comes in the form of the most beautiful man he’s ever seen is a complicated, glorious surprise.
Being with Jack—talking, walking, making out—is a game changer for Simon. And Simon’s company certainly…eases the pain of recovery for Jack. But making a real relationship work once Jack’s cast comes off will mean compromise, understanding and lots of love.
About The Author
Roan Parrish lives in Philadelphia, where she is gradually attempting to write love stories in every genre.
When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique.
Much thanks to Stephanie from Carina Press for sending me a copy for review and for inviting me to be a part of this tour. This review is voluntary and opinions are fully my own. Also, all quotes are taken from the ARC and may not appear in the final published copy.
A Pet Lover’s Dream Come True
I came into reading this book with zero expectations, aside from the promise of a happy ending. Having read all the recent Carina Adores titles, I was feeling hopeful of a good time – and frankly, it was what I got. Better Than People is a sweet, and fairly light, M/M small town romance and I adored it to bits.
As you probably know by now, I am a sucker for anything involving doggos, so, the cover alone got me sold. And when I finally got the chance to check the blurb, I was so happy to find that these pets play an important role in the story.
Adorable Premise & Characters
Better Than People tells the story of Simon and Jack, and I can describe both of them as seriously adorable. Jack, a children’s book illustrator, meets an unfortunate fate when he had an accident that led him to be on crutches. The main problem is that he has lots of pets to care for and they need to be walked everyday.
His saving grace comes through PetShare, an app that connects pet owners in need to pet lovers wanting a few hours to spend with some fur babies.
“JackofAllDogs, he typed. Then, with a guilty glance at the cats, he changed it to JackofAllPets. Then, he decided that looked too much like Jack off and changed it to JMatheson.”Better Than People, Kindle Loc 109
Through this app, he meets Simon, a very shy graphic artist who finds it difficult to connect to people, and finds solace in animals. This leads to quite a rough start for this two — as they deal with their own issues and the decision to let people in.
“Animals didn’t make him feel self-conscious. They didn’t make him feel like he was drowning. They gave and never required anything of him except kindness.”Better Than People, Kindle Loc 251
Content Warnings: social anxiety (undiagnosed), broken leg accident, anxiety attacks / panic attacks, animal abuse, death in the family
Dogs! Cats! and Their Fun Personalities
For me, the best thing about this book is the highlight on all the animals. I love each of them and their quirky antics and I just adore every time the characters interact with them and treat them just like they would do a human. It reminds me of my interactions with my dog, Munchie, and these precious moments just give me so much joy.
Shedding Light on Social Anxiety
One of the themes explored in this book is Simon’s social anxiety. Most of the time, he finds it really hard to talk – even just a few words, and it as a concern that he had problems dealing with every since he was a kid. This mental health concern even has its own physical manifestations.
What I loved about how this book discussed everything are the moments they addressed that anxiety is not a person’s fault. It is a real illness, there’s a possibility that it cannot be fixed, and that’s okay. Then again, I cannot vouch for everyone who suffers from anxiety, particularly social anxiety. If you are an #ownvoices reviewer on this theme and has read this book, I would love to know what you think.
Final Thoughts: Dog Lover Approved
Overall, Better Than People is a sweet and cute book for me. It’s my first read from the author roster of works and I have to say that I enjoyed her writing style. Admittedly, there are some very cheesy scenes, especially on the steamy moments, but as a whole, it as intimate, vulnerable, and very ‘human’. Her characters are very charming, even the supporting ones, which led to a very ‘smiley’ and chill reading journey.
My Book Rating Breakdown
Thrill & Suspense ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Book Cover: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆