Book Review – Keeping Casey by Amy Aislin

Keeping Him #1
Publisher: Indie
Pages: 258
Characters: Casey/Ethan
POV: 3rd
Genre: Contemporary, Series

Casey Preston is the guy with the plan. The list-maker. The one who micromanages his own life.

Spontaneously offering to be his best friend’s fake boyfriend to get Ethan’s annoying team captain off his back?

That’s not thinking things through. It’s not even smart given Casey’s been fighting his feelings for Ethan for years.

Ethan Rain just wants to play hockey and get his college degree. Adding a fake boyfriend to the mix? He doesn’t need that complication.

If Casey were his real boyfriend, though? If he got to keep Casey forever? Now we’re talking.

But what if Casey doesn’t want to be kept?

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I got pulled into this book and invested in both Casey and Ethan immediately. They’re both dealing with the grief of losing parents, and I felt for both of them. Casey’s reaction to anything emotional is to withdraw, and Ethan’s got a chronic illness to juggle on top of everything else. I loved these guys as friends, and wanted them to act on their true feelings and have their HEA.

Casey and Ethan are both layered characters, and although I felt frustrated on Ethan’s behalf with Casey’s fake boyfriend dance, I could understand his fear in taking that step from friendship to romance with the person he truly cares about. The details in this story are wonderful, like Ethan’s needle felting addiction, and Casey’s love of archaeology and why. I like that, although Ethan’s built for his hockey player role, he’s quiet and unassuming, and just gets on with his life, despite his illness. The descriptions of their growing and changing relationship are wonderfully emotional and heartfelt.

I love stories that take part in shared universes, and got a kick out of mentions of characters from the other book I’ve read by this author. Some of the other characters felt like they came with a rich history of their own, so I’m very happy that I now have another series I need to read too. I loved that Casey and Ethan come from Lighthouse Bay, and want to read more of Roman, Cody, and their teammates. As well as the hockey guys, I loved the supporting cast and how they added to the story, and felt like family, especially Theo and Brant. Sasha the kitten needs a mention too. I have a weakness for stories that have cute cats.

The glimpse into their life a few months on is very satisfying and sweet.

5 out of 5 stars.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at
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