Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Book Reviews ~ Jesse's Smile by Angelique Jurd

Book Reviews ~ Jesse's Smile by Angelique Jurd

Jesse Peterson is 26 and loves his job at a pet store. He loves the cats, the dogs and Sniffles the rabbit. What he doesn't love is the way people assume that he can't look after himself, that he's isn't a man. So, when the store's newest customer, buying supplies for his kitten, asks him out, Jesse has trouble understanding why. Jesse knows he's not stupid, but nobody else seems to know that. They just see a good-looking young man whose smile seems to be the brightest thing about him.

Drew Oliver isn't other people. A high school teacher with a history of bad relationship choices, Drew is patient, loving, and doesn't care that Jesse is different. He just cares about being able to make him smile as often as he can.

Everyone seems to have an opinion about the differences between Drew and Jesse, few notice the things they share. Can their relationship survive the scrutiny and judgement passed by everyone around them? And when one of Drew's bad choices shows up, will love be enough to help them survive the aftermath?

5 stars

Jesse's Smile is a standalone book. It's about Jesse Peterson, a 26-year-old man who has some challenges and Andrew Oliver, a 34-year-old English teacher. While everyone is quick to assume Jesse can't function alone, Drew helps him grow and treats him as any other young man. Two very different men fall in love to form an amazing couple.

Jesse has to be my favorite character hands down. Even with all his challenges, he is smart, sweet, compassionate, amazing with animals and pure (mostly). He is such a unique character with such depth. We honestly do not have enough autistic characters. While he is high functioning, I really did learn a bit about autism.

Drew is a very good man. I love that he could look above all Jesse's challenges and love him how he is while not trying to change him. Yes, he did change Jesse but not for own designs but to help Jesse grow as a man.

This book was amazing. I laughed and cried and will definitely read it over and over again. It's such a hidden gem. In M/M we do have books with characters who have challenges but we have very few that have such extensive challenges as Jesse and it shows people that they can love too. to not give up on people you do not understand. Amazing work on this book and I can only hope we will see this couple again.

*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. ***

5+ Stars

I am in love with Jesse, and I loved every part of this book.

I really think that there is someone out there who is perfect for one other person. Like Jesse and Drew are basically made perfectly for each other in this book. I think that the mix of personality traits, “disabilities”, that Jesse had to deal with in life and the fact that he was able to overcome it all and make the best of everything he was given in life just shows how great his perseverance is as a person. I loved that Drew didn’t look at Jesse’s “issues” and think that they were bad, or something that had to just be dealt with or fixed and that he also didn’t discount them. He actually listened and he learned the best ways to proceed in their relationship, while trying to make sure that Jesse didn’t feel any “less” for it. And, as always people do make mistakes, I think it’s what you do afterwards that counts, and Drew made sure that any mistakes he made along the way were not repeated and that he learned from them. He made sure that Jesse knew that he wasn’t stupid and there wasn’t anything wrong with him, that he just learns and deals with things differently than other people do. 

The author did a fantastic job writing these two men. Jesse is so sweet and cute, geeky and adorable and Drew is smart, patient and understanding and the way he treats Jesse is just so great to see. 

There were a few times in the book that the sentences seemed a little disjointed and unfinished, but I feel like it was just part of Jesse’s way of thinking, like the thoughts were maybe just being written out loud (if that makes sense?) and for me it didn’t take anything away from the story being written like that. I was also really impressed by how Jesse and Drew’s parents were both written into the storyline. I appreciated that they were all hesitant about the relationship between the two men but for different reasons, which are all explained. That the parents wanted to make sure everything was thoroughly thought out between the two instead of watching them jump in with both feet just to see them fail. And that both sets of parents still stood back enough to let the relationship happen and ended up even working together towards the end instead of trying to pull the two guys apart really showed us how families should actually act when it comes to the hard times in life.

I would also like to say that there is a special place in Hell for Drew’s ex and people like him. He is a horrible human being and I hated with a passion what he did to both Jesse and Drew. I know it gave more depth to the story with the added drama and angst we incurred with the parts added in about the Ex/David. But man, I really hated every minute of Jesse having to deal with the aftermath of that jerk's actions, my heart just hurt for Jesse and Drew. David did not get enough repercussions in my mind and I think he deserved way worse than he got.

But, even with those parts added in, I still loved this book. It was great, and I liked how it was written. You can really tell that the author did a good deal of research and put a lot of thought into how the characters are portrayed in this book. I really enjoyed this book and it is one of my new favorites read for the year. I will be recommending to everyone that they read this book.

*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. ***

4.5 stars 

The writing style took me a minute to get used to but once I did, I really enjoyed this story! I immediately liked Jesse. His character was vulnerable but strong and I appreciated the author showing both sides. Drew was kind and it was nice how he took the time to understand Jesse. There was so much depth to both characters that it just felt incredibly authentic to me.

Jesse's lack of filter was pretty much hilarious. He is honest and blunt, but caring and tries his hardest to accept and understand the world around him. Drew was thoughtful and earnest. While he was sometimes only human in his reactions to Jesse, he always worked hard to try and understand him. I enjoyed their dynamic and how the author showed how much they cared about each other.

This book is so different from other romance books because the two MCs basically get together as boyfriends early in the book. The rest of the book is the building of the relationship and the obstacles that come with that. I really liked this because I felt that we needed more time to see them together as a couple.

This book had so many emotions from sweet to heartbreaking but overall, was an amazing story. I would love to read a short from these guys in the future!

*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. ***

About The Author:
Angelique Jurd is a former print journalist and editor, with experience in newspaper, magazine and digital formats. In 2014 she left her job to pursue a double major BA in Media Studies and English, and graduated in 2017.
During this time, Angelique discovered a passion for fan produced media and has become an outspoken advocate for the recognition of fan fiction as a legitimate genre of literature. She is one of two volunteer shadow Chair of Communications for The Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) - home of Archive of Our Own (AO3)  and Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC).
A noncommercial and nonprofit central hosting site for transformative fan produced media such as fan-fiction, fan-art, fan videos and pod-fic Ao3 was created and is run by fans from a wide variety of fandoms around the world, while TWC is a peer-reviewed academic journal, founded in 2008,that seeks to promote scholarship on fan-works and practices.  Both benefit from a wide network of volunteers dedicated to protecting fan produced media as well as the legal rights of its creators without in any way trying to undermine those rights and privileges of source creators.
Angelique is currently preparing a Master of Arts thesis on the ways in which fan-produced media disrupts, informs, and influences the original text and creators of the television show Supernatural.
Alongside her academic and freelance non-fiction work, Angelique is a working independent author of MM Romance. Her published novels can be found on Amazon.

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