Starting from Scratch

Housemates, Volume 5
Narrated by: Lewis Carter
Series: Housemates, Book 5
Length: 5 hrs and 31 mins
Categories: LGBT, Romance
4.4 out of 5 stars (27 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Starting over isn't easy, but Ben is ready to live his life as the man he was always meant to be. 

Ben is transgender and is back at the university after hormone treatment and chest surgery. His new housemates have no idea about his history, and Ben would prefer to keep it that way. He's starting from scratch, and his life is finally on track, except in the romance department. The idea of dating guys as a guy is exhilarating but terrifying, because if Ben wants a boyfriend he'll have to disclose his secret.

Sid is drawn to Ben from the moment they meet. He normally gets what he wants - in the short term at least. Ben's guarded at first, and Sid's not used to guys rejecting his advances. He eventually charms his way through Ben's defenses and helps Ben on his journey of sexual awakening.

It doesn't matter to Sid that Ben is trans. He's attracted to the whole person and isn't worried about what is - or isn't - in Ben's pants. They're good together, and both of them are falling hard and fast, but Ben's insecurities keep getting in the way. If Sid can convince Ben he's committed, will Ben finally be able to put his heart on the line?

Although this audiobook is part of the Housemates series, it has new main characters and a satisfying happy ending and can be listened to as a stand-alone. 

©2017 Jay Northcote (P)2018 Jay Northcote

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What listeners say about Starting from Scratch

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✫✫ 4 Stars ✫✫

What a great story. I knew when this book started that the subject would be very enlightening for me. I really enjoyed these two characters so much and I adored their love story. It was so beautiful to "read" about their unconditional love. Seriously I wanted to cry for their situation at first because I can not even image how hard any of it must be but this was written so perfectly and these guys handled it with pure love <3 The narration was great!!!

6 people found this helpful

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Funny and beautiful with a flawless narration

This is a smart, sexy, heartfelt book about two men falling in love, one of whom is transgender. This is my favorite romance I've read all year. It was fun, but also deep. My wife is transgender, and I rarely find romances that accurately portray what loving a transgender person is really like. This book is amazing. I haven't read the rest of the series, but I will now. Lewis Carter was an amazing narrator too. I'll definitely be checking out his other work.

2 people found this helpful

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Exactly what I needed to life my spirits

I've always wondered why people can't just write a simple story that tells of a casual experience. I found one. I kept waiting for the tragedy shoe to drop and thank goodness it didn't. Just two people getting to know each other and building something special. Loved every second. Trans positive, realistic, relatable.

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Wonderful!

I adored this one in the Housemates series by Jay Northcote! It was probably my favorite of the entire series. The transgender aspects of the book were handled so well and I loved the main characters. Lewis Carter is a new narrator for me and I am happy to say that he did a nice job!

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A touching story.

I haven't read many books with transgender characters but this is my second one by Jay Northcote. The story is romantic and educational. It also seems very authentic to me and perhaps that's because the author himself is transgender. I've been following his writing for a while and also his journey on Facebook. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there like Jay does. Starting from Scratch is about Ben who is returning to college after hormone treatment and chest surgery. He wants to live his new life openly but he doesn't really want to come out as transgender. He's never really had a romantic relationship so when Sid shows an interest in him, he's not sure how to respond. He knows that he will have to tell Sid that he's trans if anything serious is to develop between them. I loved that Sid didn't care that Ben is transgender; he's interested in the whole person and he wants Ben. Convincing Ben to date him isn't easy but he knows it will be worth the effort. It's not easy to get Ben to come out of his shell but once he does the two of them form a bond that is really special. This story really touched my heart and I thought that Lewis Carter's performance was great. I enjoyed his voice and would definitely listen to more audiobooks performed by him. A copy of this audiobook was provided to me but my review was voluntary and not influenced by the author. ***Reviewed for Xtreme-Delusions dot com***

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So good

This book surprised me in so many ways. It’s so good, great story with genuine characters that you can’t help fall in love with. The was a new to me narrator, but I was happily surprised with an amazing narration. Very enjoyable highly recommendable

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Amazing and Revealing

I have read this book ages ago, and have never realised how important it would be for me. But when the audiobook came out, I had to get it. It is easy to listen while commuting, and it is really amazing. Even cis people will have no issues "following" Ben's story. And I adored Ben and Sid. They are adorable characters, and I just want to hug them. The other flatmates also make an appearance and it is nice to see their relationships progress as well. I loved how Sid NEVER made Ben feel bad about being trans which is an admirable thing when it comes to books featuring trans characters. I guess having it be ownvoices in this part of the story is amazing. The narration is also very good and I'm enjoying the book every time I (re)listen to it. It is just amazing and it means so much to me and I think everyone should just read/listen to it. <3

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  • KR Phoenix @ Books, Tattoos and Tea
  • 05-30-20

A beautiful story

Another great one! This was my first if the Roomates Series and now I want to read them all! I really enjoy Ben and Sid's story. I felt for Ben and his journey and felt Jay addressed Ben's past, dysphoria and internalised transphobia with great care, respect and authenticity. I could feel Ben's fears and emotions through Jay's words and I loved how Did was there to ease, tease and please at every moment. I feel these to have a special connection and look forward to going back and forward with the rest of the books in this series! A great read and really well narrated. My first listen by Lewis and I really enjoyed his style. Looking forward to more from both Jay and Lewis!

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  • Suzanne Christie
  • 02-08-20

Fantastic romance

Another great book in the Housemates series, this is a fab romance between two guys one of whom is transgender. It brilliantly shows how these characters develop their connection into a beautiful love story. Great narration, you can really feel the emotions in the voices.

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  • H. Spanarella
  • 02-06-20

Ben & Sid

I first found this author through the Housemates series, and Starting From Scratch is one of my favorites. The narration for this was fantastic and the narrator drew me into the storytelling right away. I really enjoyed Ben and Sid’s story, and I’m glad we got to know them after meeting them in a previous book. I really loved how their relationship unfolded and how Sid was so open to new experiences with Ben. Ben’s internal struggles as he found himself in his first relationship as a transgender man really pulled me in. Sid was so patient with Ben while they navigated through their new relationship together. Their story was fun, sexy and an emotional journey. I loved getting some glimpses of past Housemates through their story as well. All in all, I thought this was a heartwarming story with a fantastic HEA.

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  • LGB
  • 12-03-19

Ben and Sid's story

I’ve been a fan of this series from the beginning and Starting From Scratch is another great installment. Each story features ordinary young men who are exploring their sexuality and entering into their first serious relationship while studying at college and living away from home for the first time. I like how the established couples from previous stories play a role in the subsequent stories. Ben and Sid were introduced in the previous book, Watching and Wanting, and now it’s their turn to fall in love. Ben was the quiet and rather reserved new housemate and Sid was Jude’s ex, who frequently made Shawn jealous. And the friction continues on and off during this story. The main focus of this story is on Ben and his blossoming relationship with Sid. I adored how Sid helped Ben feel at ease with his body and gave him the confidence to be himself, both in and out of the bedroom. The reader gains an insight into the emotional and physical issues facing many transgender men through Ben’s experience in this story. There’s no unnecessary drama or angst. I liked the ‘ordinariness’ of their everyday lives. There’s plenty of eating, playing games and watching TV. Nothing major happens. It’s all about Ben and Sid getting to know each other, how they respond and how they feel as their relationship develops. The reader experiences the anxiety and doubts as well as the warm, fuzzy feelings of happiness as they fall in love. The story finishes with a positive happy ending and a strong hint at the next couple. Lewis is a new narrator to me. I’m usually not a fan of switching narrators mid-way through a series, but Mark and Lewis sound quite similar. Both are easy to follow and listen to. Lewis did a great job, although I thought some of his character voices were rather ‘posh’. It was still a very enjoyable audiobook.

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  • Kay-Anne
  • 11-17-19

Audio was great

It turned into an infomercial, some might find it helpful but I bought it for the romance. I started the series book 5 going to read book 6 now as the 2 leads have caught my attention.

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  • Alan
  • 11-12-19

Great insight into transgender issues!

Ben has transitioned from female to male but is pretty uncertain about being accepted and navigating relationships as a man. When he meets Sid, they navigate the uncharted waters together. Fiction works best when it provides new insights into the human condition and this gave me a much better understanding of transgender life after transitioning.