Group Review: There's This Guy by Rhys Ford

How do you save a drowning man when that drowning man is you?

Jake Moore’s world fits too tightly around him. Every penny he makes as a welder goes to care for his dying father, an abusive, controlling man who’s the only family Jake has left. Because of a promise to his dead mother, Jake resists his desire for other men, but it leaves him consumed by darkness.

It takes all of Dallas Yates’s imagination to see the possibilities in the fatigued Art Deco building on the WeHo’s outskirts, but what seals the deal is a shy smile from the handsome metal worker across the street. Their friendship deepens while Dallas peels back the hardened layers strangling Jake’s soul. It’s easy to love the artistic, sweet man hidden behind Jake’s shattered exterior, but Dallas knows Jake needs to first learn to love himself.

When Jake’s world crumbles, he reaches for Dallas, the man he’s learned to lean on. It’s only a matter of time before he’s left to drift in a life he never wanted to lead and while he wants more, Jake’s past haunts him, making him doubt he’s worth the love Dallas is so desperate to give him.


Sara - 5 Hearts

Last night I finished this book. I stayed up past by bedtime because I couldn't’ stop reading. I went to bed with the biggest smile on my face and less than 5 hours later was up, still energized and happy from the ending and ran longer and faster than my training told me to. Why am I telling you all of this, because this book... GAVE. ME. LIFE.

There’s this feeling I get with books when I connect with them and I connected immediately with Jake when we meet him. No, I haven’t been in that exact situation but I felt Jake at that moment. I felt his desperation and his will all at the same time. Those conflicting emotions live within me on a daily basis and their antagonism is relentless, yet such a powerful force. You have to forgive me with this review, it may get a bit personal but, I took this story personal.

I have to say that if you compare this Rhys Ford story to any of her previous works, you are doing yourself and her a grievous fault. This is totally a Rhys Ford book and yet the purity of emotions that go deep into the level of hurt/comfort is outstanding. There are no action packed sequences or supernatural things happening in this book, the only magic you get here is the epic romance between Jake and Dallas. This is profound and emotional Rhys Ford, turned up to 11.

Jake, man do I ever get you dude. I just want to hug you and wrap you in bubble wrap so no one can hurt you and I just want to stand behind you with my hands on your shoulders letting you know I’ve got you back in any and everything you. You sir are amazing, inside and out and so fucking strong, you really don’t even know it. I was with you my dear Jake as you went through the phases of dealing with your dad. I got you, even when I didn’t want to and boy, I didn’t want to plenty of times.

Jake Moore is a wonderful and broken man. A man so deep in the closet he wears his Levi’s until they are so thin and fit perfectly to his body, because he can’t find anything else inside the darkness. I know, I am talking in circles but it’s hard for me to review this without giving anything away. Jake is special and it totally takes someone just as special to see that all he needs is a friend and then maybe more.

I adored the holy hell out of Dallas Yates. I love that he is this big goofy guy who loves his life and his best friend Celeste. He has a good life, a good family that loves him and teases the hell out of him but one moment of seeing the guy across the street from the new building he is buying and Dallas is lost. You can see from the beginning how the hurt/comfort will work with these two but then you are tossed upside down because Ford makes this even more than the traditional hurt/comfort. Yeah, she goes deep down with the darker side of humanity with this story and you feel every atrocity committed against these characters and you want to rage at it.

<![endif]-->He wasn’t going to think about his father. He couldn’t. Ron Moore belonged in a box on a shelf Jake only took out when it rattled for attention, and the guilt of putting him back there every day was getting too heavy to carry.

I have to admit, this book hit me personally on a few levels. I know what it’s like to grow up abused by a parent, both physically and mentally only to have to turn around as an adult and take care of that parent due to dementia. It’s a pretty fucked up situation when you have someone continually insulting you, even if they think you are someone else while in front of them, and have to care for that person. For me, it’s my mother and while she wasn’t the best parent and the root of a lot of issues I have with myself, her mental health has become something that is now my responsibility and seeing Jake having to deal with his asshole father, hit home like a belt to the ass.

You know what? This book should be a huge trigger for me and yet it's not because of the way the author writes it. I am in love with this story and I should have had a knee jerk reaction to that first part with Jake but instead, it made me involved from the first page.  I am a reader who feels way too fucking much and this should’ve made me run away, but I couldn’t.  Romance like this needs to be read, respected and revered for being perceived outside the norm of the author.

This isn't instant anything. Everything you get, everything the MC’s get is fought for with blood, sweat, come and tears. Yes, Jake and Dallas have instant attraction to one another but anything else is so damn slow that I had blue balls.  I think when a book deals with issues like the one Ford throws at us, it can make people uncomfortable because it's not a book where you can forget what's on the page.  It's a deeper level of romance for me, one that goes above and beyond what we're used to. Rhys Ford doesn't shy away from making shit real and in your face to see how strong a connection can be that ultimately leads to an epic romance.

Take care of yourself. That’s number one. In all things.

The fact that Dallas takes his time with Jake, allows Jake to set the pace of where things go and when was beautiful. Dallas knows that until you love yourself, you can’t love anyone else and while he loves the bones off Jake, he wants that same thing back. But Dallas also knows that if love isn’t something Jake can give him, he’ll still be there as a friend because that is what Jake needs most. And Jake, he knows what he needs to do, to let go of his past and move on but knowing and doing are two very different animals indeed.

I have to make two points.

One: The way we meet Dallas’s BFF Celeste was awesome. I will just say I love that we meet her and know her before we even are aware what letter she claims under the rainbow, but I think that’s how it should be. She is who she is, and I love that moment where Jake tells her just that… it filled my heart with pure joy.

Two: Rhys Ford has the best descriptions of a scene, people and actions in this book that it has me waxing poetically to Jenni Lea about a damn bench! Seriously, this book is cinematic and so full of stunning imagery that it belongs on film somewhere.

Back to me attempting to review this. I guess it’s obvious that I loved the hell out of this book. I think each issue brought up was handled wonderfully, respectfully and never with kid gloves. You can bring things to a story and make them real without walking on egg shells over the subjects. I think this book needed to be more present and laid bare so that the reader feels the rawness of everything Jake and Dallas go through along with those they care about. Jake and Dallas have a truly romantic love story that is all about the hurt/comfort and there are so many poignant and pretty moments between them I was hugging my Nook so that I could hug them. That end was pure perfection and while I was beyond happy, I wasn’t ready to let go of them but I knew they had each other and would be okay.

So yup. This story is simply amazing and I honestly cannot recommend it enough.

Lori - 3.5 Hearts

A point I'd like to make before I start this review.

It's not you it's me. I Promise.

Rhys Ford is an enormously talented writer and I love many of her stories, this one though didn't make me fall in love with it. Don't get me wrong, it was an enjoyable read, but it didn't get me in the gut and hang on like a five heart read does for me. But that's just me. Like I said:

It's not you it's me. I Promise.

I have tried to define exactly why it isn't a five heart read for me, I did a super poor job of trying to explain to a Rhys Ford fangirl and the most I can come up with is the pacing of the romance. It felt to quick for me, I wanted a slower burn. I guess you can ask, why do some people like chocolate ice-cream and some like rum-raisin? I really think it is pretty much that. I wanted more... angst? complexity? a longer romance? I truly can't define exactly why this wasn't my cuppa PG Tipps. All I can say is:

It's not you it's me. I Promise.

There is nothing here that you wouldn't expect from this author; great characters, an interesting storyline, excellent writing, top-notch banter...
I just wanted rum-raisin ice-cream.

This review was brought to you by:
It's not you it's me. I Promise.

Which means you probably should check this book out.

Jenni Lea - All the fucking hearts!  Mine included

Look, it’s no secret that I love Rhys Ford’s books.  I know what I’m in for when I pick up one of her stories.  Most of my reviews sound the same and reiterate everything I love about her words. They usually have some form of the phrase “everything you would come to expect in a Rhys Ford book” in them.  Well, not this time.  I did not expect this.  I never would have dreamed she would deviate from her norm and delve into something other than her usual murder and mayhem.

And I was blown away.

Jake, oh my dear, sweet, messed up Jake.  I just want to wrap him up in a blanket and hold him and keep him safe from the world!  He’s had the shittiest life.  An abusive father, a mother who told him he was going to hell for being gay and his first attempt at a relationship ending in betrayal and pain have caused him to retreat so far into himself he can’t find his way out.  There’s no light at the end of the tunnel.  Hell, as far as Jake is concerned, there is no tunnel.

At some point in Jake Moore’s life, someone made him… less. 

Jake doesn't seem depressed so much as lost.  The only thing he has in life is his metalworking.  His creations are an outlet for his rage and the lack of control he perceives he has in his own life. His life is full of ugliness and he doesn't see any way to have any beauty so he creates it, it's the only thing he has any control over.

It’s no surprise to me that he latches on to Dallas so quickly.  I mean, who wouldn’t want someone, in your darkest hour, when you feel like there is no hope left, to come along and hold your hand through it.  To show you that your world is not full of darkness and shadowy grays but instead there is color and light.  That you are worth something.

Dallas… well, Dallas is damn near perfect.  At least, he’s perfect for Jake.  Dallas is a fixer.  You know the kind, always have their hands in a project and seem to gravitate towards broken down or distressed things and have the inherent need to build them back up or repair them.  When he spies Jake across the street from his newest venture into property flipping he’s entranced.   As they slowly get to know each other over the course of several weeks, Dallas discovers that instead of wanting to ‘fix’ Jake he just wants to be by his side, offering his support and friendship while Jake learns how to repair himself.

There’s a beauty inside of Jake I want the world to see.

Damn, Rhys sure knows how to weave words into some beautiful prose.  Even the ugly words are beautiful.  If there's one thing she excels at, it's descriptors. I've always been able to fully picture a scene or a character she describes. Normally when I read the main characters are just some vague, faceless body that I don't even think about picturing. Either that or I end up picturing them as whoever is on the cover. But not with Rhys. I know exactly how Jake looks, how he moves and even what his facial expressions are.  Dallas describing men, and Jake in particular, is a thing of beauty. I can totally picture Jake in my head, right down to his smile.

This book grabbed hold of me, slapped me across the face and made me its bitch.  I did nothing else while reading it, well, except email Red back and forth.  I have 172 emails with Red about this book.  I have 68 notes and highlights I made while reading.  There is so much more I want to say about this book, I could write a thesis and still not touch on all the points that I want to make.  Having read every one of Rhys's books I feel I can say with certainty that this is her masterpiece.  Though this book won’t be for everyone I urge you to give it a try.  It just may be the best book you’ve read all year.

I know it was mine.


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