Starting From Scratch by Jay Northcote

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Starting From Scratch: by Jay Northcote
Series: Housemates #5
Release Date: April 12th, 2017
Pages: 294 • Format: eARC
Published By: JayBird Press
Purchase Links:
Amazon USAmazon UK

Starting over isn’t easy, but Ben is ready to live his life as the man he was always meant to be.

Ben is transgender and back at university after hormone treatment and chest surgery. His new housemates have no idea about his history and Ben would prefer to keep it that way. He’s starting from scratch and his life is finally on track, except in the romance department. The idea of dating guys as a guy is exhilarating but terrifying, because if Ben wants a boyfriend he’ll have to disclose his secret.

Sid is drawn to Ben from the moment they meet. He normally gets what he wants—in the short term at least. Ben’s guarded at first, and Sid’s not used to guys rejecting his advances. He eventually charms his way through Ben’s defences and helps Ben on his journey of sexual awakening.

It doesn’t matter to Sid that Ben is trans. He’s attracted to the whole person, and isn’t worried about what is—or isn’t—in Ben’s pants. They’re good together, and both of them are falling hard and fast, but Ben’s insecurities keep getting in the way. If Sid can convince Ben he’s committed, will Ben finally be able to put his heart on the line?

Although this book is part of the Housemates series, it has new main characters, a satisfying happy ending, and can be read as a standalone.

four-stars

 

Thank you Jay Northcote. Ben’s story was done really well, and you couldn’t have picked a better mate then Sid. I liked this friends to lovers story. It was very sweet, and endearing. Ben definitely came out of his shell in this book. I truly like how he evolved as a character. He tried so hard to be open to social hangouts, and I thought it was super cute his relationship with his mom.

I learned a lot of information in this book. So many things I didn’t know, and it was very real to read about. I like how informed Ben was in his choices and life. I enjoyed Sid having his doubts, but researching to figure out what to say and do. This actually was growth for both of them. They each changed for the better.

The pace of the story was perfect. Ben is Transgendered, and he is lonely. He wants to be with someone but those fears and doubts create a stopping point each time. Sid is Jude’s ex, but going through his own things, and he’s attracted to Ben at first hang out. I liked the whole talking and courting aspect. This was a developed romance. It had its flaws, and relationship problems, but that’s why its super realistic.

Not to heavy on the angst for me. I think we seem them become to connected to one another. Both experience this relationship for a first time. Both have reactions that are real to the situation. I am loving this series as it gets more along in fact. I really enjoyed this story. Ummm but Jay, you have to write Johnny’s next. No way can we see LACE and not get his story!! Please. I might go back and re-read Dev & Ewan’s because it just popped in my head as I type. LOL. This is a definite recommend folks! Get it and read it!

 

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About Jay Northcote

Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England, with his husband, two children, and two cats. He comes from a family of writers, but he always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed her by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, he decided to try and write a short story—just to see if she could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary gay romance about men who fall in love with other men, usually set in or near her home town of Bristol. He enjoys the challenge of bringing the men in his head to life through his words. Jay has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and he also publishes his own titles under the imprint Jaybird Press. Some of his books are now available as audiobooks.

Jay is a transgender man and was formerly known as she/her.

Out of Nowhere (In the Middle of Somewhere #2) by Roan Parrish

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

OutOfNowhereLGOut of Nowhere by Roan Parrish
Series: In the Middle of Somewhere
Release Date: February 24, 2016
Pages: 274 • Format: eARC
Published By:  Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazonARe

The only thing in Colin Mulligan’s life that makes sense is taking cars apart and putting them back together. In the auto shop where he works with his father and brothers, he tries to get through the day without having a panic attack or flying into a rage. Drinking helps. So do running and lifting weights until he can hardly stand. But none of it can change the fact that he’s gay, a secret he has kept from everyone.

Rafael Guerrera has found ways to live with the past he’s ashamed of. He’s dedicated his life to social justice work and to helping youth who, like him, had very little growing up. He has no time for love. Hell, he barely has time for himself. Somehow, everything about miserable, self-destructive Colin cries out to him. But down that path lie the troubles Rafe has worked so hard to leave behind. And as their relationship intensifies, Rafe and Colin are forced to dredge up secrets that both men would prefer stay buried.

four-half-stars

“You,” he says, “are lying to yourself if you think you’re living in the world. You’re barely making it through. You know what you want but you’re too scared to go after it. You think being gay is what makes you weak?” He shakes his head, and there’s no pity in his face. “Living a lie when you don’t have to. Acting like you’re the only one affected by your decisions. Those are the things that make you weak. It’s just fear.”

Brace yourself, this book was so amazing. Roan Parrish is definitely a force to be reckoned with. Her words and her emotions are so visceral. I damn it felt gutted by the end of reading this book. I didn’t think after book one that I could have those emotions, but this book was 10 times worst on my heart. I love her writing so much. It’s so gritty, authentic and just reads beautifully. I get so much of what she was dictated that I read this in one sitting, and decided to read it again the next day just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. She did write Colin’s story to real and it left my emotions eviscerated. Let’s be clear, I didn’t think no matter what Colin’s reasons were that I would be okay for his treatment of his brother. I’m so big on family, and as the oldest sibling, I couldn’t see myself treating either of my sisters like that. Colin had so much self hatred going on in his life it was look walking through fog when he decided to live his truth. Jeez, Roan writes the love interest so well. Rafe is another amazing character trying to work out his second chance life. I live for stories like this because it’s easily relate able to know someone like Colin & Rafe. They can be your brothers, friends, co-workers, spouses. It’s so easy for people to judge and spew their hate that they don’t have a clue what it’s like to put themselves out there.

That vulnerable look that says, This is how you hurt me. Go ahead, it’s easy. And I want to punish him for being so weak. So easy to hurt. For being such easy prey that he turns me into a predator by default.

The imperfection of Colin & Rafe makes this book so great. Rafe is trying to turn his life around. He’s trying for his sobriety, his livelihood, and his relationship to Colin. Colin is such a ball of contridiction. When he’s first introduced in book one, he was just mean. I didn’t like him at all. I never thought that I’d be rooting for him by the end. Him as a person was so broken, devastated and destroyed. He yearn to live up to this character of being the perfect son. I don’t actually think he realized that his father wasn’t looking for that. Reading this was heartbreaking because Colin was trying to be the best possible him, but constantly living in fear, and all this hate about himself. The first initial meeting of Rafe & Colin was Colin being a douche. Colin hating Daniel for living in his truth, for Daniel just doing what he wanted without the ramifications that Colin assumed there would be. It’s hard too say what I want without spoiling it, but I hated his father. Okay that’s not fair, but I hated how his children felt like they needed to be in order to be loved. I noticed the same thing with Daniel, Colin was so use to being by himself outside his family. I don’t think he knew how to love, or why people fall in love. I loved the patient side of Rafe. I loved everything about Rafe. His social justice ideals, and give back to the community. I loved the center with the kids. This book taught about the prison system and decarceration. I never really thought of that before, but she definitely opened my eyes on the subject. I could go on and on with how much I love this, but I feel like when you finish this book you’ll be in love the same way I am. Thank you Roan for giving me these characters.

I think sometimes the people we get angriest with are the ones who have the things we want the most.”

About Roan Parrish

ROAN PARRISH is currently wandering between Philadelphia and New Orleans. When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique.