I greatly enjoy Sarina Bowen’s books, so I was happy to stumble over an older one that I hadn’t read yet. In some ways, this is the familiar love story between the girl from straightened circumstances and the rich man. As always, it’s the details that make or break the story and Sarina and Sarah don’t disappoint.

Callan may be the “poor little rich boy”, but he has had his fair share of trauma and it informs his character in a realistic and believable way. Grace’s circumstances probably feel more familiar for most readers; the way that constant struggle and hardship wear you down and cause you to limit your vision. It was engrossing to watch them encounter each other and be drawn in despite themselves.

But no review of this book would be complete without mentioning Uncle Jack, who we never meet but who greatly informs the entire story. His death is what brings them together, his influence on Callan’s upbringing, his apartment that they spend so much time in, his fabulous dog, and the obvious effect he had on the world around him bring a level of richness to the book that is fabulous.

Although the book ends with an HEA, it definitely sets up the plotline for more books moving forward. I, for one, would love to see what happens with Callan’s sister and to find out more about their mother’s history. It’s been four years since it was published, but I hope we get more.

Review 53: Southern Lights

Jay Hogan was recommended through another author’s Facebook page and was a bit disappointed to discover that their books were only available through Amazon. However, the author contacted me and I was able to buy ebook copies directly. That was amazing and I very much appreciated it. I’d buy all my books that way, if it was an option!

I had the first three books in the series, Powder & Pavlova, Tamarillo Tart, and Flat Whites & Chocolate Fish, so binged through them fairly quickly. The first quick note, if you missed it earlier, is that these are M/M, so if that isn’t your cup of tea then move along. These books are all set in Australia, and I greatly enjoyed all the slang and bits of local lore that help to set the scene. I do wish that there was maybe a bit more poetic description of the setting, as it tends to lean to the factual side of things.

I think that the stories themselves did a good job of portraying the balance that LGBTQ+ folks have to walk between the accepting side of society and the less tolerant members. The sex scenes are what I’d describe as middle of the pack – some nice spice, but nothing too kinky and not an ongoing parade of steamy activities. All three couples are well-developed and interesting and undergo some character development throughout their story.

I found these books to be light, enjoyable, and entertaining.