I have to say, there is something about Jacyln Quinn's writing, stories and characters that just pull me in completely. I loved Gabe from the first book. His wit and style made me very curious about this man and his "relationship" tactics.
Well, let's just say, he is nothing like he seems. Honest, sweet and such a devoted friend he is indeed. But there was much more to this man than met the eye and I loved him all the more.
Enter Nate. My heavens, this was also a character who is not at all what he seemed in the first book. His pushback and protective nature was wonderfully developed. And his story is one that I honestly did not see coming. But work it did...and it certainly worked on our sweet Gabe.
As with book one, the dialogue for me feels so natural and the situations never feel contrived. Once again I was drawn into this setting, this cast of characters, their friendships and love for another. The friendship that has been formed between Gabe and Jonah is the perfect example. These two are wonderful together.
I eagerly await Jonah's story...he needs him something amazing and the shy ginger may be absolutely perfect. Can't wait!
An ARC was received from the author in exchange for an honest review.
It hurts to know that fate has given me the perfect person for me to love, but has failed to make it reciprocal.
Gaaaahhhh this book is a killer and an emotional journey that I was not expecting at all.
Gabe, I have to say, I loved from the first moment I met him. His hardass work demeanor, snark, no-nonsense personality totally worked for me. Throw in equally entertaining banter by his assistant, not to mention one that does not let Gabe get away with anything, and I was hooked from the start.
“I think the first person that I’ll put on your team is Tracy from Reprographics.” Hugh immediately spits his water all over the table and Gabe’s suit.
My boss hardly reacts. He just brushes the moisture off, while staring intently at Hugh. It’s the look of a lion toying with its prey. “Yes,” he continues. “I think you really need her and it’s past time that we made her position more formalized. My only query is which position?” He shoots a quick glance at my pen scribbling over the paper taking notes, before continuing. “Should we say missionary, or reverse cow girl?”
Now, that said, this is not what I would call a typical romance and Gabe is not your typical “boyfriend”. He can be quite difficult to love at times. And while the journey to get through his issues is quite heartbreaking it is done so amazingly well. My heavens…the writing in this was quite phenomenal and the emotions are high. Every act has multiple meanings and insight and while you want to throw your kindle at times, I appreciated how Dylan mentally dealt with this man.
I hold him tight, aware when his breaths slacken into the deep, even sounds of sleep, and I can kiss his head and inhale his scent without him protesting. I don’t let go. I feel the need to grab a tight hold on him because, like water, he’s going to slip through my fingers and flow away sometime soon. I can sense it.
And with the highs are some beautifully described moments between these two men. Then throw in a set of parents that anyone would love to have and I am a mess. Rebecca and Tom were gracious, insightful and loving and saw through this beautiful man from the first moment they met him and their advice to their son was painful but real. I only wish we had gotten more of them at the end of the book.
“If his childhood was deprived of love, it will be hard. He’ll probably need love like no one else, and you can give that, Dylan. You’re one of the most loving people that I’ve met, but it won’t be easy. When you’ve gone years alone you develop a hard shell, and sometimes that shell never cracks.”
While the journey is hard, the HEA is strong. Perhaps the epilogue was a little over the top but damn, after the journey, it worked for me. And getting Gabe’s POV even for just a few moments was lovely.
Now I do wish we had perhaps gotten a little more closure or perhaps seen the door slam behind the twat…but I guess I can’t have everything I wish for.
I eagerly await more from Henry and Jude. Both amazing and caring friends who equally deserve to find love.
*Highly Recommended but don’t expect a lighthearted Romance*
Dahlia Finger is kind of an asshole. She's 29 and spends her days sprawled out on her couch, smoking weed and watching movies, funded by her well-off father. One night she has a seizure and learns that she has a brain tumor. Though no one will actually say it, she doesn't have long to live.
This is not one of those novels of illness where there's redemption ahead or that's supposed to make you hopeful and grateful for life (beyond not having a brain tumor). For that reason, I appreciated and responded to it. Unlike all the books on cancer Dahlia and her parents buy in bulk that say "you can beat this thing" if only you have the right attitude, in effect making you responsible (and to blame) for your own illness, The Book of Dahlia illustrates how we as a culture fail to deal with mortality. Though it's not addressed specifically in the novel, I personally wonder how much that American idea of pulling oneself up by the bootstraps is at play, which easily translates into victim-blaming when one can't.
One of the platitudes often given regarding illness and healing is that a sufferer must let go of old resentments and anger, that these can make or keep one sick. As Dahlia considers and recounts her past, it's clear she has almost nothing but resentments, from a mother who essentially abandoned her family to the older brother, once close, who took out his own pain on her in the cruelest ways. Throughout her life she's plainly asked for help and been ignored. Maybe it says something about me that I couldn't blame her for her stubbornness in forgiving and forgetting. It feels like the only way she's able to have any agency during her illness.
If this sounds grim, it's not, or not only! Dahlia's voice is often funny, enough to make me laugh out loud while reading. Her humor may be bitter, but that suits me fine. At the end of the book there was a reading group guide that asked more than one question about whether one is able to sympathize with her; I absolutely could. I often like female characters in popular culture that others find abrasive, though I often wonder how much it's about gender.
The toughest and most affecting aspect of this book was the relationship between Dahlia and her older brother. As a younger sister myself, I'm always interested in and more sensitive to depictions of that dynamic. It broke my heart to read about the turn their relationship takes, how long Dahlia holds out and has faith in him, even insulting herself to get ahead of his insulting her. I both wanted and did not want Dahlia to forgive him. It made me want to call my own brother and thank him for not being a dick!
Kami Glass lives in a small town in the Cotswolds of England where the Lynburns, an old family with deep and mysterious roots in the community, have just returned. People are unhappy about it, including Kami's mother, but Kami doesn't care: she's an aspiring reporter on the trail of a story for her high school paper (founded by herself and reluctant best friend, Angela), which becomes even more fascinating (and dangerous) when she comes across an animal sacrifice in the woods.
Kami has a secret of her own: she has a sort of imaginary friend with whom she communicates in her mind. This (male) friend has his own problems, and the two "reach" for each other psychically in times of need. This friend, of course, turns out to be real and a Lynburn. I anticipated as much but was still surprised by whom it turned out to be and when the reveal was made. The two struggle with the reality that the other is an actual person; their strange intimacy is not always welcome. Their bond turns out to be magical in nature and tied to the Lynburns and Kami's family.
Threats in town escalate, and Kami's at the center. In the meantime, she's also at the center of love triangle involving the two Lynburn boys. The triangle isn't terribly emphasized, but Kami's relationship with her former imaginary companion yo-yos between easy repartee and angsty denial of feelings. It got old.
Somehow I didn't feel involved enough in the mystery, and the tension didn't come across as it should. In part this may be because, as in other YA I've read, the story is somewhat rushed or condensed, including the quicksilver of the characters' changing emotions.
There's some fine prose, one of the book's saving graces, and lots of banter. It's not quite as successful as Whedon dialog or Veronica Mars, but it can be funny. It also got to be a bit much.
Kami's also one of those typical YA heroines whose friends are gorgeous, and she's supposedly less pretty but still somehow at the center of a love triangle involving the new hot guy. One of the most sincere moments is when Kami observes how each of her younger brothers is a favorite of her parents', leaving her odd person out.
I like YA but am coming to find it has to be exceptional to even be okay for me. Or maybe I just wasn't in the mood!