An Ordinary Boy by Brian Centrone
Published by: Seventh Window Publications on February 23, 2013
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)
Tom Grove is looking forward to his first year of college. Among many opportunities, the one he can’t wait for the most is the chance to explore his sexuality. He’s read online about how much easier it is to be gay and find a guy on a college campus. But things aren’t exactly as easy as Tom expected. And for someone who isn’t used to being out, the idea of when and how to tell those close to him has Tom thrown for a complete loop. Can Tom survive despite his hot but straight roommate, the campus gay club, his overbearing mother, and his best friend who seems to keep disappearing for weeks at time?
Talk about a wild ride. This went in so many directions that I never expected when I first picked it up. And the twists kept right on coming as I worked my way through the book. But every one of those twists seemed to work, and they helped bring the story to a great conclusion. Tom’s journey feels authentic and I found myself engaged as a reader right to the end…
Title: A Bell for Andy
Author: G.L. Roberts
Published: July 24, 2014
Publisher: Seventh Window Publications
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
[I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.]
Brian and Andy meet as students at the same Catholic school in Boston. They become fast friends and before long are inseparable. The two have many things in common, including what they learn is a set of the same recurring dreams. While it’s clear the two have affection for each other, they never share more than a kiss. And though they go to college together, Andy leaves early and loses touch with Brian. Their paths cross only a few times over the years that follow, but when Brian gets a call that Andy’s in the hospital, the truth about the bond they share and their dreams slowly starts to unravel revealing a mystery and love story that spans centuries.
Romance. Mystery. Paranormal. History. This story hit on all of those areas–which are ones I enjoy–and did so in a seamless and well-written way. This is honestly a complex story and it takes a skilled storyteller to put it down on the page. The story (well, stories) of Brian, Andy, and Marc are separate yet intertwining and revealing the details in just the right order was very important to both the mystery elements but also to the general build and flow of the plot. The characters are also very well-written. I found myself just as frustrated (though also slightly amused) with Andy as I’m sure Brian was at various points and even the characters that we only see once or twice have a real fullness to them.
G.L. Roberts did a wonderful job with this one and I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a good paranormal mystery romance.
[Content warning: Suicide; discussions of past (non-graphic) violence]