I want him more than anything. But while I live in silence, Thor lives in secrets. He's holding something back-something that's keeping this intensity, this longing from being real. And the silence may be too loud to bear . . .
There’s a stupid romance novel myth critics of the genre like to throw around that says romance heroes and heroines are always “too perfect”, which makes them unrealistic. Avid readers of romance (like me) know that myth is absolute crap. In fact, we put together a list of our all time favorite imperfect heroes and heroines not too long ago, so when a myth-breaking book comes along, I snap it up immediately, often without even reading a sample or glancing at the cover. Sometimes I’m let down, sometimes I find precious little gems that I’ll most likely read more than once. Live Out Loud definitely falls into the later category.
I loved, loved, loved Harper. She’s smart, funny, capable, and anything but a shrinking violet. She doesn’t let the fact that she’s deaf hold her back in any way. She’s strong and comfortable in her own skin. Does she struggle occasionally with self-doubt and trying to succeed in a hearing world that puts her at a distinct disadvantage? Sure. But those struggles never beat her. Harper’s a survivor, and as a result, she’s a character readers can admire and relate to.
Thorin (and that’s Thorin, not Thor. I refuse to think of this character as Thor because in my mind, there is only one Thor, and he’s played by Chris Hemsworth. That is all.) is a great hero, too. He’s more of a broken character than Harper, given his self-doubts and family issues, but he never ventures so far into oh-woe-is-me-self-pity land that it pisses me off as a reader. (And trust me...self-pity pisses me off pretty quickly. I have a VERY low tolerance for that kind of thing) I found his eagerness to learn ASL to be every bit as endearing as the heroine did.
“The fact that Thor wants to learn, and is eager, it’s the most incredible feeling in the world, like my cells are infused with nitrous oxide—a hint of sweetness in my mouth along with a light, giddy disposition chasing away all the sad memories of my childhood. Who needs laughing gas when Thorin Kline’s around?”
And I don’t know about you, but there’s not too many things that are sexier than a man who’s good with his hands.
“I love his hands. Talented, skilled, beautiful. Able to coax music from a silent instrument. They can make a car purr with life. Gentle. Protective. Strong. Loud when they speak.”
If I was to nitpick (which, let’s face it, I always do), I would say that it irked me a little (just a teensy bit) that Harper was so reluctant to let Thorin hear her voice. I mean, hey, I get it. I understand her childhood record with speech sucked ass. And I watched Children of a Lesser God back in the day, so I’m not unsympathetic to her plight. I also understand that Thorin was keeping parts of his past and present secret from her. But the dude eagerly started learning a WHOLE NEW LANGUAGE just to talk to Harper. I think the least she could have done was say his name for him every now and then. His requests weren’t unreasonable, in my opinion.
But little minor nitpick notwithstanding, this is a read that has a little something for every romance lover: great characters, emotional moments that hit you right in the feels, and plenty of sexy (REALLY) sexy times.
Does this book contribute to or help crush the romance stigma?
Crushes it! No rehab needed. This one is clean and sober.
Other reading suggestions
This book was so good that I plan to dive into the author’s full backlist. But for another great read about a survivor living with a disability that she never lets break her, try Priceless by Linda Kage.
And you can check out our full review of Priceless here.