Before I Wake by Eli Easton
Published by: Eli Easton (2nd Edition) on January 10, 2015
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)
When a comatose patient, Michael, comes into the hospital, Jonesy finds himself drawn to the young man. He learns that Michael was the victim of a hate crime. And he also learns that Michael’s parents have abandoned him. Though Jonesy is only a nurse’s aide, he’s certain that Michael stands a chance of coming out of the coma. Even though the doctors aren’t so sure.
But Jonesy is unwavering. He goes out of his way to spend time with Michael and to find any way he can to help him. Although the two have never spoken, Jonesy knows that Michael is a beautiful person (on more than just the outside). And Jonesy also knows he’s the only person Michael’s got in his corner.
Whether Michael will wake up is something that only time will tell. And if he does wake up, will he even want anything to do with Jonesy? All Jonesy has is hope, and hope can be an incredibly powerful thing.
I try not to use words like “charming” to describe a story, because I feel like they don’t tell you enough. But I feel like it’s the most appropriate word for what I read. I found it so easy as a reader to connect to these characters and really feel for them. And I think pretty much anyone would be drawn to Jonesy and his big heart. What a guy.
This is on the shorter side, so it’s a quick read. Perfect for when you just need that quick “awww” story, with only the smallest hints of angst.
Superhero by Eli Easton
Published by: Dreamspinner Press on July 24, 2013
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)
Jordan Carson met Owen Nelson in the second grade. Ever since, the two have been inseparable. There’s always been something about Owen that held Jordan’s fascination. And as they grew older, Jordan learned exactly what that was. Jordan’s gay and Owen is the object of his affection. There’s a few problems with that, though. For one, Owen is straight. He’s also a jock, the star of the wrestling team. And they live in a small town in Wisconsin. It’s not the most open or accepting sort of community.
Although Owen doesn’t seem bothered by the fact that Jordan is gay, there’s still a strain on their friendship. Jordan wants more from Owen, even though he knows Owen can’t give it to him. The heart wants what the heart wants. And sometimes even when one knows something in their head, the heart won’t listen. So while Jordan is happy that he won’t lose his best friend by coming out, it’s a bittersweet happiness. Because he’s just not sure he can stay close to Owen while knowing they can never be more than friends.
As someone who grew up in a small midwestern town, there are many elements of this story that rang true for me. The author has done a great job of capturing the environment where this all takes place. And that adds a real richness to the story. And the characters are great. It’s not hard to like and empathize with both Jordan and Owen. Owen comes across a bit larger than life at times, but that’s coming from Jordan’s perspective. Knowing how Jordan feels, it makes perfect sense in the context of the story.
There are some expected twists here just by the nature of the story. And there are some unexpected twists as well. But it is a rather enjoyable one to read.
I’ve given this a young adult label because of the ages of the characters and the issues they face. I should note that there is some sexual content, just to be clear and upfront.
The Stolen Suitor by Eli Easton
Published by: Dreamspinner Press on February 1, 2016
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)
Most people might wonder if Mabe Crassen is serious about her scheme. But her son Jeremy knows better, even though he’s surprised about one aspect of it. Chris Ramsey is set to marry Trix Stubben, a widowed single mother. Trix also just happens to live on the most successful ranch in the area. Mabe has her sights on that ranch, so she’s set her sons to work. Eric, Jeremy’s older brother, is to use his charms on Trix. It shouldn’t be too hard; Eric’s great with the ladies. And Jeremy’s assignment is to seduce Chris. If they can get Chris in a compromising position, there will be no engagement. There are two problems with that: Chris isn’t gay (is he?), and Jeremy’s never come out to his mother. There’s no way she could know, right?
Jeremy isn’t keen on being a part of the scheme. But he wants nothing more than to get out of Clyde’s Corner and go to college. That’s not going to happen as long as he’s needed to contribute to the family finances. His mother’s plan seems like his ticket out. So he’s willing to play along. But will he be able to go through with the plan when he gets to know Chris better? And if he develops feels for Chris, will he be able to leave him behind when he finally gets out of town?
The plot of this one seems like it might be straightforward. But one thing’s for certain: it’s not. There are some major twists here that throw the story for a loop. And the relationships that build here do so in a believable and understandable way. The character development is well done too. The strong writing here brings Clyde’s Corner to life and it’s almost like they all jump right off the page. I had a hard time putting this one down.
The Stolen Suitor on the Dreamspinner Press website