Wednesday, January 6, 2016

M/M Reviews: Tied Together + Give Yourself Away

Tied Together by Z.B. Heller - Out Now

Review by Lauren

source: copy from Netgalley: all opinions are my own

Official Summary: Ryan Keller has it all: a great supportive family, friends, and no limit to his self-confidence. Coming out of the closet was not as traumatic as he would have thought. In fact, it was glitter, unicorns and rainbows. Navigating through life isn’t easy for any man, let alone a gay one. Rest assured that Ryan has it handled.

Brandon Ford comes from the wrong side of the tracks. With a dark past, he doesn’t have much going for him, no money, no friends, definitely no charisma, and his family makes people on Jerry Springer look like total winners. Life can’t be worse—until it becomes unbearable.

When Ryan helps Brandon out of a bad situation, chemistry sparks between them. Only Brandon has one problem: He’s hiding in the closet with no way of finding his way out.

After years apart, Ryan run’s into Brandon as he has his head in-between his friend’s lady business to deliver her baby. This spells emotional turmoil for both Ryan and Brandon. Can years of resentment and bad feelings pull them apart or force them to work on their relationship so they can end up Tied Together.

Review: I really enjoyed Tied Together. I thought that Ryan and Brandon were really good friends, though Ryan is definitely not as aware of other people's situations as he should be. It was easy for him to come out, so when Brandon starts to show keen interest in Ryan, it's all Ryan can do not to shout it out to everyone he knows. He truly cares for Brandon and it's sweet, definitely, but it's also not enough. Brandon has to come to terms with not only being gay but being able to be open and proud about matter who that person may be!

This book goes through years, starting in high school, going to college, and then ending with both men having their own careers. It works okay though because none of the sections felt overly long and you're just excited and curious to see how Ryan and Brandon's lives will intertwine as the years go on. This is definitely an adult book in terms of mature moments, but if you like friends-to-lovers stories, I highly suggest!

Give Yourself Away by Barbara Elsborg- Comes Out on Feb. 9

Review by Lauren

source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: One guy intent on caution. One an adrenaline junkie. Love could be one risk too many.March is determined to lose the numbness that accompanies a history of loss and blame.Desperate to feel something—anything—the adrenaline junkie base jumps off cliffs, soars on hang gliders, and embarks on dangerous sea-borne rescue missions. But any release he feels is fleeting, and when you play Russian roulette with fate, eventually you come crashing down.No matter how hard Caleb tries to forget his past, a dark shadow is always behind him.When a bizarre turn of events results in him being trapped in a sea cave, Caleb wonders how his mantra—safety at all costs—could have failed him. On the point of drowning, he’s stunned when March surfaces in the cave.March’s disregard for the rules saves Caleb’s life but gets March into a heap of trouble.Not least of which is the guy shivering in the boat next to him. March tries to ignore Caleb but it’s already too late. Together, they take small, awkward steps toward love. But Caleb’s past is waiting to sink in its claws…and this time, it could drag him to his death.

Review: I've read books by Elsborg before so I had a feeling I would really love this one, and I did! I  like when you can find romance books that are more than just the relationship between the two main characters. This is definitely the case for Give Yourself Away. The book takes place in the present time, but it also has flashback scenes of two young boys named Tye and Baxter who were kidnapped. Only one gets away fairly quick; the other is held captive for 12 years. If you want a book that is fun and light, this is not the story for you. However, if you want a book that deals with some dark topics but ultimately shows that light and love can prevail, give this one a go on February 9, 2016!

When it comes to characters, I really liked March and Caleb - on their own and together. March is definitely an adrenaline junkie who doesn't mind putting his life on the line. It scares his friends and family, but March mostly does what he can to stay safe. He certainly risks his life when he goes into a sea cave after Caleb, who has fallen into it. Water is rising and if March hadn't ignored direct orders not to dive in, Caleb may not have made it. Of course, going against the rules does put March into some trouble - which is how Caleb initially worms his way into his life, even though March tries to put up a bit of a fight.

I don't want to go into details about the book because there are some twists and turns, though nothing that isn't terribly easy to guess as the book goes on. This isn't a mystery though, so figuring out how people fit isn't a big deal. In all, this was a great read!


Medeia Sharif said...

I like it when I can follow characters through different stages in their lives. Great review.

Melliane said...

It's great to have 2 wonderful books like that and I like the fact that for the first one we follow through the years the character, something quite interesting!

Brandi Kosiner said...

Like the friends to lovers theme

Karen Alderman said...

Tied Together sounds like a good one and Give Yourself Away intense.

Have you read Tied to Trouble by Megan Erickson? I really loved it and think you might too.

Karen @For What It's Worth

Tracy Terry said...

What sounds like two promising reads, it is however Tied Together that really appeals to me as I really like the sound of the characters.

Kindlemom said...

Glad this was such a nice read for you, you're starting off the New Year right! ;)

Adriana Garcia said...

I think everyone loves friends to lovers. I like that Brandon and Ryan had to grow up before they could become more I'm guessing.

Kate Midnight Book Girl said...

I like the Tied Together doesn't sound like a typical fall-in-love to our-happily-ever-after kind to time line. But I sometimes feel jarred when the author doesn't handle the jump forwards in time. I might have to give this one a try!

Joyous Reads said...

Ohh sounds great, Lauren. You know I'm always looking for a good M/M romance!

The Bibliophile Babe said...

I love the sounds of these!

Aylee said...

Woah, that second one has quite the plot, way beyond a simple romance as I would have expected! I like that in a book :) It's good to hear you enjoyed both of these a lot - makes me think I should be going outside of my comfort zone more, trying out some adult and/or romantic reads!

Grace @ RebelMommyBookBlog said...

I think the first one sounds like something I would really enjoy. Great reviews!!