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  • Writer's pictureThe Word Nerd Reviews

Just Friends (Never Just Friends # 1) ~ Saxon James; Narrated by Alexander Cendese and Kirt Graves

This was the first book I’ve read that was written solely by Saxon James, and I largely came across her due to the books she co-authors with Eden Finley (CU Hockey Series – highly recommended!).

This book proves that Saxon James is a fantastic author in her own right. It is a very romantic and sometimes emotional story, where any possibility of heaviness is prevented by a lot of humour, and more than a little heat.

I have a very large soft spot for a true Gay-For-You story. Where the ‘straight’ MC is really not interested in men per se, only the other MC. Add in inseparable friends from childhood and it’s a perfect blend. Neither Tanner or Royce (Roo) have ever formed an emotional and/or romantic connection with anyone else besides each other. Although Roo is perfectly aware of his feelings, Tanner is completely oblivious, and half the fun is watching him slowly catch up.

This book demonstrates the author’s wonderful sense of humour and comedic timing. The writing just flows from page to page and it is well paced, ensuring the reader’s attention doesn’t drift. It shifts from moving quickly along from scene to scene, to slowing down and allowing the reader to revel in the romantic and emotional passages.


I have read this book twice. The first time was a read through only with just the book. The second time, a few months later, was with the audio using Kindle’s Whispersync function. The narrators, Alexander Cendese and Kirt Graves, did an amazing job of bring Tanner, Roo, and the rest of the cast to life.

I’m a huge fan of Alexander’s and I loved his take on Tanner. He was able to portray Tanner’s energy and exuberance for life, but also his confusion and complete obliviousness in regard to Roo, but once Tanner catches up, Alexander’s inflection of Tanner’s internal dialogue means that there is no denying how he feels for Roo.

Kirt Graves made Roo sound exactly like he did in my head. Roo is a quieter character than Tanner. His lifelong battle with epilepsy, especially when he was younger, left him more introverted than the energetic and outgoing Tanner. Kirt managed to capture his personality without making him out to be a depressing or ‘downer’ character. He beautifully expressed Roo’s hope for returned feelings from Tanner, but with the underlining emotion that it likely wasn’t going to happen.

For me the narration pushed this book from really, really good to absolutely amazing!

Regardless of how you enjoy this book, I’d highly recommend checking it out. It’s one of those feel good books that leaves you with a smile on your face, and that is the absolutely best type of book!

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