A big ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ to “Diary of a Shy Backpacker: ii. Eye on the Prize,” by Bruce Spydar! The fun continues!
Find the full Shy Backpacker series here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08L61RZBQ
Following the Shy Backpacker to New Zealand – Whether you’re desperate for a summer vacation adventure or daydreaming of a holiday getaway in the middle of winter, the Shy Backpacker is ready to whisk you off on another fun journey of a lifetime. In Bruce Spydar’s “Diary of a Shy Backpacker: ii. Eye on the Prize” we join British protagonist B.J. (the author’s alter ego) as he leaves Australia and lands in New Zealand.
In this second installment of the Shy Backpacker series, the author begins by reacquainting the reader with B.J. and the two ladies (from back home) who he met during his journey through Australia. This is a nice bit of continuity for the reader, reminding us of the dynamics in play between the three: main character B.J.; Megan, a lusty lady he ‘snogged’ on a bus; and her best friend Suzi – a woman B.J. connected with in a more meaningful way. With Suzi, he not only burns with desire, but the warmth of new love sparks to life in his heart. Or as B.J. describes to the reader at one point: “An aching heart and a twitchy groin are such a difficult combination.”
But B.J.’s itinerary takes him out of Australia and over to New Zealand – without the two sexy ladies. While plans are in place for Suzi and Megan to meet up with B.J. later in Auckland, he spends nearly a month by himself navigating through New Zealand and through his thoughts on life, libido, and love. The bulk of this book might be without Suzi (and Megan) by his side, but the two are never far from his thoughts.
Which is a bit of a conundrum. If Suzi might be ‘the one,’ the girl he could picture settling down with someday, why does Megan keep popping up in some of his fantasies? Again, to quote one of B.J.’s musings: “Does authentic love for someone actually extinguish all your love and lust for others? Would true love really turn off all such feelings?”
This kind of reflection is what makes author Bruce Spydar so appealing. Not only can he delight readers with wit and naughty bits, but he can also process feelings and questions with the reader in such a way that we get to participate in the story. We get to think about these deeper concepts and come to our own conclusion – while being entertained.
While the author certainly does not shy away from sharing B.J.’s explicit fantasies – adult readers only! – I was delighted to also find a matured B.J. What a difference between book one (which was awesome) and book two (which is even better). I daresay when you read “Diary of a Shy Backpacker: Eye on the Prize,” you’ll discover a maturing author voice as well.
I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that I’d already read Spydar’s later novel, “Refining My Dining: The Changing Tastes of Megan Turner” – a storyline that takes place after the three books in the Shy Backpacker series. Because of this, I already knew a couple of the outcomes I’d find during B.J.’s trek through New Zealand. Having said that, my experience reading “Diary of a Shy Backpacker: Eye on the Prize” was not diminished. I still loved tagging along with B.J. and learning how events unfolded.
Some last notes: B.J. (the author) continues to share his love for cricket, so you’ll find that thread continuing in this installment. You’ll also get to meet a couple of new characters – a favorite, of sorts, will be Brigit, a woman B.J. describes as an ice-queen. (She IS a bit intimidating.) The author’s enthusiasm for traveling to and learning about other places and cultures continues, too. I really enjoy how respectful B.J. is toward the people and places he visits. That’s one of my favorite things about B.J. a/k/a the author: he’s genuinely curious and respectful.
So, a big five stars to “Diary of a Shy Backpacker: Eye on the Prize” and to the author, Mr. Spydar! I look forward to reading book three in the series and finding out what kind of Canadian escapades B.J. experiences in North America! I can only imagine… ha!