Three years ago, Bear McKenna’s mother took off for parts unknown with her new boyfriend, leaving Bear to raise his six-year-old brother Tyson, aka the Kid. Somehow they’ve muddled through, but since he’s totally devoted to the Kid, Bear isn’t actually doing much living. With a few exceptions, he’s retreated from the world, and he’s mostly okay with that - until Otter comes home.
Otter is Bear’s best friend’s older brother, and as they’ve done for their whole lives, Bear and Otter crash and collide in ways neither expect. This time, though, there’s nowhere to run from the depth of emotion between them. Bear still believes his place is as the Kid’s guardian, but he can’t help thinking there could be something more for him in the world ... something or someone.
©2011 TJ Klune (P)2012 TJ Klune
An affectionate story with interesting main and secondary characters. The continual first person perspective, always through the same character, is a difficult task but it was done well here, especially since the internal monologue was largely credible and established clearly the main character's difficulty in focussing and facing things directly. At the same time, at some point (early or late in the book depending on one's tolerance for self-pity and an unfailing habit of jumping to conclusions), I imagine most readers will see their patient sympathy turn into exasperation. Overall though, the patience is well rewarded by a good 12 hour journey into the author's universe.
some of the writing was repetitive, could've used a bit more editing. there was a somewhat overdone ocean metaphor. that said, now that the book is over i miss the characters! i really enjoyed getting to know them. solid romance novel, with a touch more complexity in plot and characters than some others in the genre.
Say something about yourself!
Yes! The voice used for Otter was a cross between David Putty (from Seinfeld), "Too Cool For the Room" Guy and (towards the end) Val Kilmer's Batman Voice. That combination of voices made it impossible for me to ever be won over by Otter.
Depending on what part of the book I was on, I either loved or hated what I was hearing. I don't know exactly how to describe it, but there were times where I couldn't get enough and other times where it was so silly and far fetched that I didn't think I could listen to another word. I really can't decide if I'm going to read the 2nd part of this or not.
I would have to say that Bear is my favorite and least favorite character at the same time.
As I am writing this after listening to both audio books I would have to say Charlie David.
Listen, no. I did want to read it all in one sitting.
The narrator turned the Kid and Anna into frigging Rick Moranis! Oh ick! I did see a lot of reviewers saying they really like this guy's narrating and I wouldn't discount him altogether, but I am hoping this Rick Moranis voice is not a common occurrence. I am so glad I read the book before listening to the audio. I liked the narrator of the second audio book MUCH better.
I would in a few years.
I've enjoyed a number of his books even though his male characters sound alike, lol. I thought for a hot second I was listening to Fish & Chips, lol.
The Kid of course! He was funny but almost "not real" or to grown up. I just can't imagine any kid saying the things he says or making the realizations. He seems to made Bear's character seem like a kid when it came to adult thinking. Bear was there to keep the bills paid, thats it, lol.
I'm still at a loss over the mother. I just knew she arranged for the ex-boyfriend to show up or maybe he was going to pay the mother some money to help him get Otter back but it seems she just showed up for a few hours and vanished. It was like she made an empty threat and didn't even show back up to sell wolf tickets. I thought i may have missed her second return. All in all though, I really enjoyed the book and would highly recommend it.
This almost doesn't qualify as a gay romance novel, in a very good way. Yes, there is some of that, but only enough to cement the relationship between Bear and Otter, and it's not nearly as graphic as some of the novels I've come across. The Kid is a great character, and he's supposed to be super smart with great intuition, but he sometimes seems far too intelligent for a 9 year old, almost to the point of unbelievability. But that's really the only big flaw in this story. You will find yourself rooting for Bear, Otter and the Kid. I didn't want it to end, and I hope there's more to come.
I like sci-fy and fantasy. My favorite books are Karen Miller's Kingmaker Kingbreaker series and Patrick Rothfuss' Kingkiller Chronicles.
This was a rather unconventional M/M love story involving 3 MCs; Derek, who is straight (except for when it comes to Oliver) and Oliver, the older brother of Derek’s best friend. Oliver is gay and has always secretly been in love with Derek but never acted upon it since Derek is straight. Then we have Derek's younger brother, Tyson who is referred to as "The Kid" throughout the book. Tyson is extremely bright for a nine-year-old and it would seem that he is quite adept at taking care of his older brother Derek when the need arises. When Derek was 17 years old his mother abandoned him leaving him with the duty of raising the younger Tyson who is 6 years old at the time.
The book opens three years later with a 20-year-old Derek having adjusted very well to the role of brother/father to now 9-year-old Tyson. At this time Oliver who had moved away for three years decides to return to Seafair, Oregon where our story takes place. Derek, who always had "feelings" for Oliver realizes that he loves him as they are reunited. Derek has to work through his “straight to gay” feelings, oddly enough with the help of his younger brother, Tyson. This situation lends itself to a lot of drama and humor throughout the book as Derek and Oliver both finally begin to put a label on the relationship they have. I'm not usually very fond of children when reading M/M fiction but in this case Tyson was an exception for me as I thoroughly enjoyed his part in the book. His role was usually to contribute what the reader is thinking and would like to interject into the book. Just when it seems like the two young men are making progress expressing their feelings toward each other Derek's homophobic mother suddenly returns and threatens to put an end to the relationship. How can our two young lovers overcome this obstacle that now rests between them? Will Derek be able to keep both Oliver and Tyson in his life?
This is book one of a three-part series. It can be read as a standalone book also but if you're like me you will want to get the second book and probably the third because it is a joy to read. All the main characters and secondary characters are very well written and will capture your heart. I also listened to the audio version of this book and the narration was done by Sean Crisden. Sean is one of those narrators who does a great job with different voices and makes the reader forget that it is all being narrated by one person. On a scale of 1 to 5 I rated this book a solid 5 for both the story and narration and would highly recommend it to fans of M/M fiction.
Sweet, heart-rending, heart-warming
The Kid, just so damn precocious and a huge heart. All 3 are great though.
I would love to see the whole series of 3 books (1 more promised) be made into a short streaming series on Netflix or Amazon. Seriously. Casting would be key though, and the internal monologues might be tough to pull off if not handled correctly.
I was only recently introduced to the author's work, but I'm quite grateful for the introduction. This one isn't as light-hearted as The Lightning Struck Heart, which is hilarious and definitely worth a read, but I enjoyed the sometimes serious tone just as much.
While the characters sometimes reacted more melodramatically than I think is realistic, that didn't really cut into my enjoyment of the work. The characters were flawed, hurt, and emotional, but largely believable.
I plan to purchase the next book in this series, but maybe a break between, since I know that these people are emotionally draining.
It's been said that the characters are too selfless, but I don't agree. I've known many people like them in my life, and they tend to gravitate towards each other. Also, when the situation called for it, they all proved that they were capable of putting their needs above others.
This is a re-read/re-listen for me, as I originally read and listened to it in 2014. When I first read it, I was absolutely blown away by the humor, the angst, the feels and the quality of the representation Sean Crisden brought to the characters. In a world where not all narrators are the same, and some really don’t do much to ADD to a reading experience, I still hold Sean as one of the ones that shoot for excellence and shape the characters for the readers/listeners.
I’ve read/listened to this a few times, though never all the way from start to finish as I did this time – it’s too long for that! It’s 350 pages and that can take some serious commitment when you’re listening as that’s over 12 hours.
There are people who will always be “new” to the genre and stumbling across this title in their forays, but I’d say most of us who’ve been reading this genre have read (and loved) this or at least know of the series/author, etcetera – so, I’m not going to go into any sort of plot summaries – there are lots of reviews out there that cover that.
As I was listening to this again, I wanted to remember how it FELT to experience this story. I think TJ does an amazing job of getting into Bear’s head. One of the first things that I thought about this is how I FELT Bear’s tension/anxiety/stress. This book was published in 2011 (so probably written way before that) and it’s amazing how much has changed in those five/six years as far as gay acceptance in our world. Sure, there are still lots of hurdles to overcome, but we’ve made some big strides. In reading Bear’s anxiety about being “like Otter” – aka gay – I think TJ captures beautifully that original questioning of one’s sexuality and in Bear’s case, probably not even really having a proper label for his specific situation. (Maybe he’d be Demiromantic? I don’t know that it matters…)
In any case, Bear’s sexual identity is really just one piece of this story. He’s also dealing with his ex-girlfriend, his best friend and his brother – most importantly – his brother and how his role in their lives is how he defines himself. (In book two I think we see this even more – but that’s for later. ☺ ) Back to how it made me feel – well I kept wanting to feel calm! Bear is so tightly wound that I kept wanting him to find some solace with Otter, with Creed, with Anna. Something so his monkey-brain would settle down and just BE.
I also really appreciated Anna and her role in this with this re-listen. She definitely got the short end of the stick in that her boyfriend who loves her really didn’t trust her enough to confide in her and that really had to hurt.
There are some other things I noticed this time around that made me eager to complete the series again – how Ty says “I’m going to still like girls” and how together Ty was in comparison to Bear and when does that change? I know he still has anxiety but – at least here- he seemed more together than Bear at times.
The love between Bear and Otter felt really poetic and if I have a complaint is that, even with 350 pages, I still don’t know that we got a lot of their relationship building.
For me, this is where TJ’s writing style really shines. He mixes in the angsty with the humor so well here. The smexy times aren’t so much hot as they are heart-felt and that’s well-suited to the book itself.
4.25 of 5 stars
As I said at the beginning, Sean does an amazing job with this. I LOVE his Otter and his Creed and think he does a great Anna, Ty and Bear as well. But mmmm Otter’s voice is Delish!
There is no doubt that listening to this is the way to enjoy this. Sean is wonderful and he makes the 12 hours fly by!
5 of 5 stars
Overall 4.5 of 5 stars
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