5 “Candy Canes and Pine Cones and Epic and Awesome” Stars
Before I get started with any “reviewing” I should mention that we are doing a giveaway for a signed copy of THIS book over on the blog.
And, no, the above giveaway has NOTHING to do with me giving this bad boy 5 big ones.
If it had sucked, I would have rated it however many “suck” stars it deserved, written a semi-diplomatic “this thing sucked” review…
And then still done my blog-wife duty and shamelessly plugged the giveaway.
But thank fuck I didn’t have to do that.
Because this thing was awesome.
Before this book, I had never read – or even heard of – T.J. Klune, quite frankly, but a few weeks ago, my non-PNR-reading blog-wife Maria, said, “OMG Val, you just HAVE to read this awesome M/M PNR book I just read. It was fucking fabulous.”
Well, okay, that wasn’t exactly what she said…
But that’s what I heard.
But anyexaggeration, homie Maria was right.
I loved this thing.
As I said, I’ve never read anything by T.J. Klune before, so I’m not sure if this book is an example of his general writing style or just his writing style for this book. Either way…
It’s very different.
And it just really worked for me here.
The entire story is told from the POV of our main character, Ox.
Ox lives in the country in the middle of Green Creek aka Nowhere, Oregon.
Anyway, Ox’s father tells him he is stupid and the kids at school call him a “retard.”
But really, Ox is just a simple boy with simple wants and needs and a heart of fucking gold.
And when I say “simple,” I mean that the way he sees the world and other people is the way I wish we ALL could see things: with no artifice, no underlying motivations, and no cruelty.
And that is how the writing is structured.
Short, concise paragraphs that are simple in nature but tell a story of great complexity, beauty, and depth.
Also, something I am always a sucker for and always will be is the PNR Mate trope.
Well, this definitely has that, but in a different way than I’ve ever read before.
The connection between Ox and all of the other characters is so awesome, so simple, and yet so beautifully complex at the same time.
They way they all interact and play off each other is alternately heart wrenching, endearing, and hilarious.
I don’t want to talk too much about the story line though because, being that I went in kind of blind myself and loved it, I would encourage others to do so as well.
But I will say this…
What this book doesn’t have is:
– A whole lotta steam…nothing really happens between any of the characters until the end. And you know what? I didn’t notice the loss…and I’m a huge “I need the sexy times” whore.
– Artificial drama. So nice. So refreshing.
What this book does have is:
– Beautiful characters with beautiful connections
– A love story built over the course of more than a decade
– Grief and healing
– Some angst and groveling
– Camaraderie in spades
So if any of that cranks your tractor, I say snag this book.