Review From User :

5 "Candy Canes and Pine Cones and Epic and Awesome" Stars

I originally read this book in preparation for a giveaway over on the blog; but rest assured, said giveaway had 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.

Yeah, exactly.

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.

Find this review, other reviews, and general shameless shenanigans at:

Ox was twelve when his daddy taught him a very valuable lesson. He said that Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then he left.

Ox was sixteen when he met the boy on the road, the boy who talked and talked and talked. Ox found out later the boy hadn’t spoken in almost two years before that day, and that the boy belonged to a family who had moved into the house at the end of the lane.

Ox was seventeen when he found out the boy’s secret, and it painted the world around him in colors of red and orange and violet, of Alpha and Beta and Omega.

Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town and tore a hole in his head and heart. The boy chased after the monster with revenge in his bloodred eyes, leaving Ox behind to pick up the pieces.

It’s been three years since that fateful day – and the boy is back. Except now he’s a man, and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.

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