…we're keeping our name but expanding our offerings!
The amazing Jay Bell contacted the blog about reviewing his new release, “Something Like Spring”. Being honest with him, we let him know that 3 of our reviewers (Jenni, Sheri, Susan) had read Summer and all didn’t love it! So he challenged us to read Winter and see if the controversial character of Tim could win us over. Here is our review…
Boys in our Books is offering a chance to win ALL FOUR books in the Seasons series! Leave a comment on this post (or the Jay Bell interview post) to enter! Winner will be chosen and then announced on February 26th!
There are two sides to every story. When you’re Tim Wyman, sometimes there are three.
Tim hoped moving to Texas would mean a new beginning, a chance to spread his wings, but he soon finds himself falling into the same tired patterns. Until he meets recklessly brave Benjamin Bentley. Suddenly a whole new world opens up to Tim—love, sex, warmth… home. Certain that society won’t understand what he and Ben have together, Tim struggles to protect their relationship, even if it means twisting the truth. As his lies slowly push Ben away, Tim learns that the greatest enemy can come from within. Buried beneath a decade of deceptions, Tim must claw his way to the surface in the hopes of learning to fly.
Something Like Winter, the companion novel to Something Like Summer, tells the story from Tim Wyman’s perspective, revealing new private moments and personal journeys
The 3 of us, at different times, all read Jay Bell’s “Something Like Summer” last year. Here are lines quoted directly from our past reviews:
Jenni (3 stars): “Tim was a jerk! And he never fully redeemed himself.”
Sheri (3 stars): “Tim is a selfish, spineless jerk.”
Susan (2.5 stars): “Adult Tim is creepy, overbearing, desperate, borderline pathetic and a stalker.”
Clearly, erm, we didn’t like the character of Tim Wyman. So, to find that he got his own book in the series, “Something Like Winter”, well, obviously none of us was going to run and read it. Until Jay Bell, the author, challenged us to do so.
Jenni: After I read Something Like Summer last year, I was a hostile, angry mess. I couldn’t believe the outcome; it was my first experience reading a book where I actually liked the writing but hated one of the main characters. So imagine my reaction when the BioB team got the challenge to read the second book in the series, which, as it turns out, is in Tim’s POV, the very MC I despised from SLS.
Sheri: The timeline nearly matches the first book, with an extra peek into Tim Wyman’s life before Ben’s collision into his life and a lovely looksee as to what happened after ‘Summer’ ends. It was helpful watching things unroll from Tim’s eyes; it sprinkled understanding and compassion into their story. It pains me to say, however, my annoyances and irritations were not erased and quite possibly, intensified.
Susan: I wanted to believe that Tim acted the way he did out of youth (in the beginning) and out of love (in the end). But, honestly, I can’t say that. I think Tim acted out of…selfishness. The man loved himself so fully. And I don’t doubt that he could love Ben and Eric and others. But, I did doubt that he could love them more than he loved himself.
Jenni: But here’s what SLW DID do for me. I began to understand Tim a little. I related to his fear of coming out. I understood the way his past in Kansas haunted him. I worried for his parent’s rejection. And most of all, I forgave him for not fighting for the love he kept telling me he felt (whether I bought it or not is a whole other issue).
Sheri: Deprived of love, Tim is starved for attention. He is desperate for acceptance, dying for approval and most of all longing to be loved. Yes, I see the imbalance in his life loud and clear. He was alone, very alone. I feel terrible for the neglect he suffered and I do sympathize for his misfortunes. Unfortunately, he was the force of devastation more than once. Tim was Tim’s own worst enemy. He sabotaged his happiness and then persecuted himself to penance.
Susan: It was bad decision after bad decision…and that should made me feel sorry for him, right? But, I struggled. Treat Ben like crap? Try to force Travis into a relationship he’s not ready for? Even that weird photo shoot he did for Eric’s friend? And his crazy time with Ryan? Time and again, Tim’s choices frustrated beyond! But all of that could be forgivable and understandable if he wasn’t so SELFISH in so much of it.
Jenni: In SLW, we learned a lot about Eric, Tim’s (much) older, rich benefactor. I was happy about that for several reasons. In SLS, I was…uncomfortable with the idea of Tim and Eric, and I never fully believed Tim didn’t have an intimate relationship with Eric. What I discovered was that Eric was this loving, special, nurturing man, whom I REALLY liked.
Sheri: Did I understand him better? Sure.
Did I want his happiness? Absolutely.
Did I mourn with him? Damn straight I did.
Did this make everything better? *sigh* No, it didn’t.
Susan: I think by the end, I was so worn down by my Tim-hate, I actually kinda gave up. I confused even myself wanting Ben & Tim to be together, to be happy. Maybe I just wanted it all to end in a way that made the rest worth it. I’m not sure.
Jenni: This book gets two ratings from me: 4 stars for solid writing and 2 stars for the way things turned out. I’m splitting the difference on my overall rating and going with a bitter 3, in total.
Sheri: I respect solid writing and powerful stories when I see them, even if the characters infuriate me. I can say that this is an impressive tale that spans a decade of soul mates torn apart, brimming with dozens of emotions, and a guarantee that you will fall onto one side of the divide or the other. 3 stars
Susan: I think any book that makes me FEEL this strongly, not because of irritating writing, but because of thought-provoking and emotion-inducing characters is produced by true talent. I just don’t think I can get past the bad taste in my mouth that is Tim. I’ve read Jay Bell’s “Kamizake Boys” and really really enjoyed it. So, I admit he’s gifted. I guess if I was a literary critic, I could speak to the power of this book. But, I’m but a reader for entertainment and a reviewer for release. So, with that, 2.5 stars for me.
Jenni – 3 stars
Sheri – 3 stars
Susan – 2.5 stars