Growing up, Jason Stern led a charmed life complete with devoted sisters, a father who was one of Brooklyn’s most respected rabbis, and a mother who made the world’s best babka. He headed to NYU ready for anything—except falling for the wrong guy, coming out, and getting disowned by his once-loving family. In spite of that, Jason managed to graduate with honors. He’s got friends who treat him like family, and he’s proudly running the largest LGBTQ teen shelter in Manhattan. Life is good, but he’s still falling for the wrong men.
When charming, sexy Quinn Fitzpatrick begins work at the shelter, Jason falls hard and fast. Quinn is tall, blond, funny—damn near perfect. Only if Quinn’s gay, even he doesn’t seem to know it. If he does, he’s not telling anyone. And he’s about one ceremony away from becoming a Catholic priest.
Long hours of work turn to long nights of talking and laughter, and Jason dares to hope this time he’s falling for the right guy. But Quinn’s got a past to deal with and major decisions to make about his future. When Quinn leaves for a silent retreat, Jason knows the silence may change everything.
Contemporary, M/M, GLBT+
257 e-book pages
Series, book 4
December 19-20, 2015
Ratings are 1 to 5 stars and based mostly on GoodReads standards.
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I really really liked this. Loads.
This could have gone so many ways being that Jason is the son of a rabbi and Quinn is on the cusp of entering the priesthood.
There’s no preachy business. None. Books with religious threads tend to alienate me because I’m a fence-sitting agnostic who is utterly fascinated by religions but also kind of freaked out and a bit scared by them.
Instead, it begins as a slow-burn attraction and a budding friendship between two men who are on rather equal footing, all things considered.
The writing was gorgeous and fluid, and the characters were well developed.
This is my third or fifth story by Karen Stivali…depending on if you count the previous collection I read as one book or three, plus a short story I treated myself to a few days ago. I’m learning that her books are quite heavy on the sexcapades. I haven’t completely decided what I think about that. Part of me wants more meat of the characters and more depth in the plot. Part of me feels like complaining about too much sex is like saying a fudge brownie has too much chocolate. NEVER!
I liked this journey, though. There’s a lot of questioning and introspection, and reflecting that no matter what you want from another person it’s only theirs to give if they’re willing and able.
Jason and Quinn—when they were secondary characters in the first books I wanted to flick their noses. Now I think they’re both incredibly swell guys, and I’d love to give them squeezes. Also, I’d fawn all over Jason’s tattoos. They started their relationship in a strong way, and although it built rather quickly, it felt solid. They had a few trials and roadblocks to overcome–biggest of which was Quinn deciding whether or not to continue his path to priesthood. As the story is in Jason’s POV, we don’t see a lot of Quinn’s struggle—but I could definitely sense it in his behavior through Jason’s eyes.
You know what else? New York. Gimme, gimme, gimme stories set in NYC. For a deeply rooted southern girl, NYC is my third favorite place on earth—barely behind Paris and Sorrento….because, PARIS & ITALY! NYC stories, when done well, I feel the energy of the city in my veins. I smell the smells and hear the noises that are like nowhere else on earth. And I can’t talk about this anymore without worrying that my fingers will start googling for a plane ticket. That’s dangerous with my one-click proclivities.
This was beautiful, fun, and captivating from beginning to end.
The next book in the series? There’s an excerpt at the end of this one for book five. I typically avoid excerpts because they make me long for things I can’t have RIGHT NOW. But…I read it because I didn’t have the strength to stop myself. AND I WANT IT RIGHT NOW.
This review also posted on GoodReads and Amazon.