Book Review: The Realist by Riley Hart

The Realist

Author: Riley Hart
Series: The Vers Podcast, book 3
Publisher: Independent (May 17, 2023)
Kindle edition, 239 pages
Romance, Adult Contemporary M/M Romance



To listeners of The Vers, a queer podcast I host with my three best friends, I’m known as The Realist—I accept life the way it is, believe in honesty over sugarcoating, and okay, I can maybe be a little bossy.

If you asked The Vers guys, they’d tell you I’m a caretaker who’s always thinking of others, but they also give over-the-top hugs and don’t believe me when I say feelings are the worst.

It’s why I have no business offering Kai Lewis a place to stay when he’s in need. He’s a flirt who makes no secret about wanting in my bed…somewhere I’d like to have him if he wasn’t the employee of one of my closest friends. But, he’s too trusting and leaps before he thinks, so at least he won’t get taken advantage of if he’s with me.

Now he’s always around, wearing shorts that leave nothing to the imagination and saying he wants to take care of me because I’m always doing it for others. It’s not long before I can’t resist him—a man who likes listening in the bedroom but is stubborn in other situations.

Kai is sweet and funny. He gets me to open up to him. Maybe this whole relationship thing wouldn’t be so bad…if he wasn’t nine years younger…and leaving Southern California soon…or if I had any idea what I was doing.

The Realist is an age-gap, forced proximity romance with a bossy realist and a sunshiny flirt who has Marcus wrapped around his finger.


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The way Marcus is with Kai’s fish – that alone had me positively swooning. It also breaks my heart how he takes care of everyone else he loves but won’t let them take care of him. I love that Kai comes from a place where materially he doesn’t have a lot, but he takes care of Marcus in really important ways (that Kai doesn’t necessarily realize are that important). The chemistry between them is sizzling – Kai is such a flirt, but he actually wants Marcus. And Marcus wants Kai but there’s an age gap and the issue of Kai being the employee of one of Marcus’ best friends…

I LOVE the dynamic between these two! Kai is so flirty and open and fun, but when it comes down to it he’s actually very alone with nobody to count on. Marcus is so pragmatic and kind of closed off, but the friendships he does have run very deep and he actually has a very rich and plentiful support network. The dichotomy between their public personas and who they are deep down and the way those reflect off each other is so clever, and such a joy to read them making those connections and filling in the gaps in each other’s lives.

This is the third book in the Vers Podcast series, and while it can be read as a standalone, these guys are so intertwined you’re probably going to want to read the series in order.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are unbiased and my own.

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