★★★★ Four Corners by Kate McMurray ★★★★

Four CornersFour Corners by Kate McMurray

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Since childhood, Jake, Adam, Kyle, and Brendan have been teammates, best friends, brothers. Then one day, when they were twenty-five, Adam disappeared without a word, devastating his friends-none more so than Jake, who had secretly loved Adam since they were teenagers.

Now, five years later, Adam is back, and he has his mind set on Jake. But those years of anger, hurt, and confusion are a lot to overcome, and Jake doesn’t find it easy to forgive. He isn’t sure they’ll ever fit together the way they did. Jake, Kyle, and Brendan have moved on with their lives, but Adam’s high-profile career keeps him in the closet-the same place he’s been for years. Still, his apologies seem sincere, and the attraction is still there. Jake desperately wants to give him a chance. But first he has to find out why Adam left and if he’s really back for good.

So what did I think?

This is a really interesting look at the relationship between two men, Adam and Jake as they deal with the emotions of meeting again, five years after Adam left without a word.

I enjoyed the exploration of Adam’s acceptance of his own sexuality and the response Jake had to his friend’s perspective. “It was okay for me to be gay but not for him. I wondered how his own self-loathing affected what he thought about me. I’d worried for a long time that any judgments he held about himself applied to gay people generally or me specifically, that he couldn’t muster up the pride to just say out loud that he was gay, that he condemned me for coming out. I guessed I had my answer.”

I think my favourite part of the book was Jake’s realisation of the difference between he and Adam. ” I finally got what he’d being trying to tell me since Wednesday night. I was capital-G Gay: I was out to everyone, I lived in Boystown, I had rainbow tags on my luggage. He was lowercase-G gay: he was attracted to men, but that’s where it ended as far as he was concerned. I was more flabbergasted than angry then, surprised I hadn’t put that together sooner, and also feeling a little hurt.”

What I didn’t enjoy was the whole on again off again thing, it mainly coloured my opinion of Adam and therefore I found it hard to warm to him initially. The whole book actually had a strange unease about it. When Adam and Jake get together it doesn’t even feel like happiness and joy. But what it does have is a sense of realism – real life has conflict and emotion and it isn’t always plain sailing.

Bonus points for the fabulous ending and sweet epilogue!

4 Stars

To find out more about Kate McMurray and her books visit the website.

Buy Four Corners from Amazon.

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Home Team by Jameson Dash

Home TeamHome Team by Jameson Dash

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The blurb...

After fifteen years playing pro hockey, Aaron Buckley screws up, and his mistake and his attitude get him sent down to the minor leagues. His new team is in his old city, where he started his career in hockey, and also where he left his boyfriend behind. His luck hasn’t improved since joining a team of rookies and kids, but he has discovered that Zach—the ex-boyfriend who could never compete with hockey for Aaron’s love—is still in town. Aaron has a second chance to answer the same question: Zach or hockey? But maybe it’s time for a new question.

So what did I think?

I love a good romance with a sporting backdrop. There’s just something super sexy about althletes and I usually like the difficulties that are faced as they balance their desire for an elite sporting career and a need to follow their heart. Home Team tells the story of Aaron who is at the fading end of his pro hockey career, relegated to the minor leagues who meets up again with his ex-boyfriend.

I need to say upfront that I never really warmed to Aaron. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I didn’t want him to have put a sporting career before true love but mainly I think I was put off by the present tense telling of this story. It was just off putting.

What I did like was the insight provided into why Aaron made some of the choices he did..“He remembers the promise he made himself more than twenty years ago. Hockey is hockey, and the rest of his life is the rest of his life. If he focuses on making hockey work, everything else will fall in place. It did, at first.” There is a real sense of sadness and of regret and Aaron is redeemed by this regret, without which I don’t think his relationship with Zach would have worked. “But none of that was even an option in his mind back then. It was hockey or nothing. It was hockey or Zach, and Aaron hates himself for how easily the choice was made. Zach deserved so much more.”

The other strength to the book was Zach and the obvious passion between the two men – some great sexy bits! It’s a sweet ending but I wanted it big and public as fitting for someone in the public eye.

So all-in-all, a nice quick story although I found the writing style really prevents me from loving it.

To find out more about Jameson Dash visit the website.

Buy Home Team from Amazon.

Buy Home Team from Dreamspinner.