Friday, January 6, 2017

Release Day Review ~ Block and Strike by Kelly Jensen

Release Day Review ~ Block and Strike by Kelly Jensen

Title: Block and Strike
Author: Kelly Jensen
Release Date: January 6, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 266

Jacob Kendricks is three months out of prison, estranged from his daughter, and ready to get his life on track. Taking care of the bum curled up on his doorstep isn’t part of the plan. When he realizes the man has been assaulted, Jake takes him to the hospital, where he learns that Max is his downstairs neighbor… and that he could really use a friend. Keeping Max in the friend-zone would be easier if he wasn’t so damned cute.
Maxwell Wilson has been bullied for years, and the only person who ever cared lives too far away to come to his rescue. Now his upstairs neighbor is offering support. Max remains cautious, suspecting he is little more than a project for the handsome Jake. When he learns Jake has had boyfriends as well as girlfriends, Max has to reevaluate his priorities—and muster the courage to take a chance at love.

Just when a happy future is within their grasp, life knocks them back down. A devastating blow leaves Max lower than ever and Jake wrestling with regret. They both have to find the strength to stand on their own before they can stand together.

4 Stars 

A lovely intro to this author, in a tale of friendship and love, trust, courage and acceptance.

This tale very much follows the book blurb, but what can't be expressed in the blurb is the warmth that the author imbues into it. The leads are lovely characters, with very different upbringings and with very different lives. One, Jake, is on the straight and narrow as he made a mistake that he had to pay for, the price being prison and not being able to see his kid, and his goal in life is to be able to see her again and prove that he can be her father. Max, on the other hand, was let down by his remaining parent, was bullied at school, and as the tale starts, is yet another kind of victim.

What brings them together, initially, is simple human decency, but that turns into a tentative friendship that Jake suspects could become more, and wants to become more, but Max is so used to being trampled on, that he has very little faith in himself. So, they become friends, then a little more and are happily building something together.

The leads are young - Jake is 27 and Max 22, but I believed in them, in their tale, in their lives and in the future that they were about to start living. There are very few sex scenes in this tale, which suited the storyline, the leads and which made their coming together all the more meaningful and poignant when it happened. I loved that Jake was so prepared to be patient and to allow Max to dictate things, and that when the life-changing event occurred, he did all he could to bring Max back to him.

There were some brilliant side characters in this - Jake's best friend and boyfriend, Jake's uncle who was also his employer and Jake's family that was so accepting and supportive of him and so welcoming of Max. I loved how the tale ended, one 4th July, with literal and figurative fireworks going off, sort of marking the start of the guys' HEA.

ARC courtesy of Dreamspinner Press and Bayou Book Junkie, for my reading pleasure.

No comments:

Post a Comment