Book Reviews

Moment of Fate (Moments in Time 5) by Karen Stivali

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Artists/Actors/Musicians/Authors / Students/Teachers/Professors / Romance
Reviewed by Bob-O-Link on 13-February-2020

Book Blurb

Bryan Dane’s been living the dream—photography student by day, up-and-coming rocker by night. His summer goals are to earn his last few credits, graduate from NYU, spend as much time in the recording studio as possible, and survive the next few months without sex so he can complete his yearlong goal of self-imposed celibacy. Everything is on track, until he meets Oliver Newcastle.

For years Oliver planned a marriage of convenience with his high school BFF, but now that she’s fallen in love for real, with someone else, it’s no longer convenient. So Oliver came out to his family, quit his job, and left small-town New England for NYC, an intensive summer study program, and a chance to find his own happiness.

From the moment they meet the sexual tension between Bryan and Oliver sizzles. But Bryan wants no part of a relationship, and Oliver wants to sew his wild oats—he just isn’t sure how. Oliver seeks Bryan’s help navigating the NYC gay scene, which throws them together in increasingly more sexual situations until they can no longer deny they're hot for each other. Bryan is desperate to keep things simple, but fate might have other plans.

First edition published by Dreamspinner Press, February 2017.

Book Review

An overview seems a good place to start. I loved the recent reissue of Ms. Stivali’s first four books in this ‘Moments in Time’ series. The next focused on two important secondary characters, and viola, we have a wonderful ‘Moment of Fate’. Apparently, never one to waste good characters, Ms. Stivali either intentionally gathered up Bryan, an undistinguished minor personage, or she presciently planted him in the earlier storyline so as to now reap the results of her fecund imagination. The blurb, above, probably tells you enough about the plot to determine whether your interest is piqued. Let’s see whether there is more to justify your time.

Interestingly, this novel starts with a very different sound and pacing – though eventually, with great satisfaction, I was pulled into the soft sweetness of erotic romance. I was permitted to start without prior prejudices about the heroes. The novel begins with an observation about AIDS, useful for our time, and revealing of Bryan’s excellent heart – thus he is a hero both by assignment and personality. While taking time for a “sexual cleanse” may seem odd in a gay romance, I really like Bryan and, at heart, once he undertakes the sexual education of Oliver, I knew that chastity can’t last long. Fans of Ms. Stivali surely will have already appreciated her pen’s sharp ability with a quip. That talent continues apace. Bryan: “I don’t fall in love at first sight. Lust, on the other hand, that I can do.”


‘Moment of Fate’ passes all the expected gay lit requirements. The hero is troubled, and his life is on a bumpy road. The secondary characters periodically appear and successfully test him – but can he win when he has to test himself? The hero’s love interest, Oliver, is a dream fulfilled, one for whom I rooted – especially as I witnessed his detailed erotic awakening under (in every sense of the word!) Bryan’s tutoring. Nicely arranged: starting with attraction, then lust, then joint masturbation, followed by BJs, and then intercourse – first with one atop, and then – as is the romantic trope, the other becomes the conductor of the concert of coitus. (Sorry!) While switching top and bottom, is usually final acknowledgment of successful mating, here it shows the ultimate 21st century commitment – barebacking. How can we not become enamored of these two lost souls? Theirs begins as a light story, a sort of “romance by chance.” Critically reviewing that requires little discussion of events, and much concentration on character, which grows as does their connection.


I’ve already posited how clever Ms. Stivali constructs her works. While ‘Moment of Fate’ is
presented in Bryan’s voice, frequent quotes from Oliver’s ongoing blog gives insight into him, and gives an alternative tone and point of view – which works so well.

‘Moment of Fate’ presents a world of failed relationships, and so the HEA enjoyed by Bryan and Oliver is a great reward. Thanks again, Ms. Stivali.



DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by the author for the purpose of a review.


Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 244 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 19-November-2019
Price $4.99 ebook
Buy Link