Group Review: Something Like Lightning (Storms #1) by Jay Bell

Never stop running. No matter how often life trips you up, or how many times your enemies knock you down, just get up and keep on moving until you find where you belong.

Kelly Phillips has been out of the closet since he was a young teenager, and thanks to the gay youth group he frequents, he has never been short on friends or lovers. But when you have almost everything, it’s hard not to focus on what’s just out of reach: A best friend, who would be Mr. Right if he wasn’t already Mr. Straight. Or that handsome guy at school, who would be easier to wrangle if not for his angel wings. And then there’s the one who might be a perfect fit, maybe even a soulmate… if only he wasn’t convinced he didn’t need anyone at all. Kelly has always been good at running. Now he must learn to chase, which will not only test his endurance, but the durability of his heart as well.

Something Like Lighting is a new beginning in the Something Like… saga, shifting the focus to a fresh set of characters while also revisiting a familiar face or two.


I could talk about this book for daaaaaaaayyyyyys and I have so many things highlighted that I want to share with the world, but that would mean I'd spoiler all over the place. SLL is one of those where I feel like everything I say will be a spoiler because so much happens to Kelly and the book goes in unexpected directions. I'd hate to take away from a readers experience, so I'm going to try and be as spoiler-free as I can.

Going in I was worried. Worried because Kelly was such a stinking twathead in Spring. For serious, how can I read a whole book about this guy who was rude, bitchy and fought about everything. How? But I did, and I fell so in love with his fight! 
"Too black. Too gay. Too fucking fast to lose this race! Kelly was going to own this."
Yeah, I kind of love him. He has this confidence that I adore, but this fight inside of him just wouldn't let him quit. Anything. So much that he's willing to suffer through a relationship that just wasn't working. Don't get me wrong, there were some seriously adorable moments and they were too cute in the beginning. But neither one was in the wrong, they were just incompatible and I loved how it was portrayed. It takes some great writing for me to be ok with my hero having a hurt heart. But there was no enemy here, just two guys who simply could not make it work. Kelly fought for it anyway because that's just what he did. 

He needed someone to match him. And he found him. *dreamy sigh* Oh my, he so found him.

So here's the boyfriend that makes Kelly's heart go pitter-patter:
"While your at it, send your boss over here. Better yet, have him bring us our food, because if he can't bother hiring competent staff, then he needs to get off his lazy ass and do the work himself."
Yup. That's the new guy yelling at a server. And Kelly effing swooned. I loved it. When this scene happened... hook, line, sinker. I was a goner. All this didn't happen until pretty late in the book. Now that's a love story! No 400 pages for them, nope. The chemistry was there and it was turned on high. Even though they were crazy compatible, I was on pins and needles until the very, very end. Why? Why was I made to suffer so? But the epilogue (and the page after) made me grin like an idiot. All's forgiven and now I'm jonesing hard for the next book.

I'm not going into many plot points because, again, there are so many. So many struggles Kelly has to face. Heartbreaking struggles that only prove how strong he really is. So much was taken away from him and he dealt with it in the best way he knew how. Now, he definitely made me want to smack him a few (maybe more than a few) times, but, in the end, he proves that being a fighter isn't always a bad thing.

Besides my love for Kelly, we were able to revisit some epic scenes from Spring, which was awesome. I was able to reread some of my favorite scenes and I was pleased as punch. Not to mention, Allison! She's so great and an all-time favorite character of mine.

I loved it, obvs. Was there any doubt? I didn't think so. It's no secret that I adore this series. This is the series I rec to everyone and the one I compare all others to. Something Like wins every time.


My Dearest Jay,

I hate you,
and then I love you.
It's like I want to throw
you off a cliff,
then rush to the bottom
to catch you.


I am so conflicted here. I love Jay Bell’s writing, I love his characters, and I usually love the euphoria I get when I finish one of his books. Not this time. I’m still a little wrung out and that ending makes me want to thump Jay in the forehead. Lol

Breann nailed it when she said only Jay Bell could make you love a guy like Kelly. No truer words have ever been spoken. I’ll admit that enough time had passed since reading Something Like Spring that I was more than one-third of the way through this one before it all came back to me. It was like a sucker punch to the gut and I raged. I started questioning everything. I was trying to remember details from Spring and almost stopped to re-read it before continuing with Lightning. I'm glad I didn't because when I was able to connect the dots and remember details it broke my heart. I really hurt for Kelly. BAD! I had a completely different reaction in Spring. I don’t know how to proceed without saying too much but seeing things from Kelly’s point of view was definitely an eye opener. And not a pleasant one. It was much easier when I disliked (OK, hated) Kelly in Spring.

I struggled with most of the main characters in Lightning. I loved them one minute and hated them the next. HATED THEM! With a white hot passion. This is true for almost every single one of them except Allison. I just plain loved Allison. Again it’s hard to elaborate without spoiling something so you’ll just have to experience the range of emotions for yourself. Some of the characters I was able to forgive, at least somewhat. Others, not so much.

The plot here is very intertwined with Something Like Spring. I was expecting this new series to be completely different with brief cameo appearances from characters from some of the other 4 books. I guess on some distant level I knew this was Kelly's story but I didn't expect it to tie so closely with Spring. This one however stays true to the other book in the Something Like series in that there’s a definite connection to at least one other book. In this case it was Spring. Some of the scenes are ones you’ve seen before only now you’re seeing them through someone else's eyes.

I knew how I wanted this to end and it was close. In my opinion some things were resolved a little more than necessary and one MAJOR thing was not resolved enough. Damn you again Jay. You're an evil bastard. :)

If you like the other Something Like books, you’ll eat this one up like it's your favorite desert. If you’re like me and you’re a Jay Bell fan, you will NOT be disappointed. The writing here is spectacular as is the case with all of Jay's recent writing.

Something Like Lightning is not one I’ll soon forget and as much as it pains me to say, I’m looking forward *grumble, grumble* to Something Like Thunder. Asswipe! I love you, JAY!


My experience with this book is slightly different to the other two Unicorns. I have only read Something Like Summer (and am still building up the courage/mending my broken heart to read the next books) therefore I had absolutely no idea of anything that would occur in this book. Let me say this works really well as a standalone, but I can imagine having the background knowledge of the other characters also gives a fantastic - but different - reading experience.

Anyone who has toyed with these books knows that they are in for some angst. That their heart is going to be a bit bruised around the edges before the conclusion of the story and this was certainly no exception to that. One of Jay Bell's greatest strengths is his characterisation. Each character is unique and realistic. I really enjoy fully rounded characters, they make reading so much more real and easy to believe. I feel for fully rounded characters more because I believe in them.  I really find nothing tropey about any of his characters, they re all flawed, yet I find myself rooting for all of them. Very rarely is there an all out 'bad guy/gal' in his stories.

The story - well, the story is like a roller coaster ride. If I'd read Spring, then maybe some of the downhill turns would not have squeezed my insides so much...but it did make the reading experience all the more wonderful. As with the other Something Like books, this story follows the characters over many years, from teens to their twenties (or beyond). With this particular book Kelly is the MC and I loved him. Really, really loved him. As I didn't know anything about his story my heart ached for him at times, yet I admired his spirit. I also admire the author's ability not to just brush over events and make everything suddenly all right - or make it mellow dramatic nonsense.

With his relationships, again it was so real - yes, I know I keep using that word, but truly it is apt. The intense feelings a person can have, the ups and downs, the difficult choices and guilt. It's all there in Kelly's life and relationships. Superbly written.

The only thing I will say is, I really feel that I need to read the next book now in order to fully understand everything in this book. It's the way his books work - they are all cogs in a bigger book machine and yet we are only seeing one cog at a time, revealing one bit of the story. We may see glimpses of the other cogs as they turn, showing us their story, but I can imagine the full picture will only be available once the entire series is done. So hurry up, get writing Jay, I REALLY need to read Something Like Thunder!

I'd also like to comment on the amazing cover art work - it fits the story so perfectly and is really beautiful. I like the fact that these covers are far from typical MM covers. It's a far from typical MM book - it's just a story, whose characters happen to be gay. Yeah, kinda like life really.

A copy of this book was given to us in exchange for an honest review.

Jay Bell on Goodreads.

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