Review: You Here Tonight (You Here Series #1) by Candice Blake

In an art class at a prestigious university, Kevin meets Kyle through a stroke of pure luck. Kevin is an aspiring artist who is rapidly generating esteem in the art world. Kyle is the school’s star quarterback.

Had they not been paired up for this art project, Kevin, the tender free-spirit, would have never had crossed paths with Kyle, the rugged and handsome champion. Their future is on the line as Kyle desperately needs to pass this class to stay on the team and reach his dream of making it in the big leagues. Kevin needs this to remain in Duke's renowned art program.

To meet the deadline, Kyle agrees to spend Christmas in Wisconsin with Kevin's family. After a long road trip to a cozy cabin filled with countless nights working on an intimate art endeavor together – their lives begin to change. Swiftly, Kyle's suppressed bisexuality emerges; while Kevin refuses to accept Kyle’s genuine curiosity and lust for him. After all, girls on campus were always quick to swoon over the star quarterback including Kevin’s jealous sister.

These two young men filled with talent and promise find themselves veer off the straight road towards success into the winding beaten path full of darkness, unknowns, and forces that try to tear them apart. This 20K novella has a guaranteed HEA with steamy M/M sex sequences and also includes a deleted chapter that’s too hot to miss!

I read a lot of books. Around 300+ a year. Some are less than stellar, and some are award winning. I have pretty eclectic tastes, and can read just about anything and find something I enjoy about it. I know how hard most writer’s work at bringing their stories to life and some have the natural talent and some need to develop their skill a bit more. But I rarely regret reading a book, even if it wasn’t that great. It’s the idea behind it that makes me choose to read it. And this idea was fun. An Art Major and a College Football player are paired up to create a project. Art Major has a crush on Football player, and Football player is battling with his bisexuality. Yes please.

Unfortunately, this story read like a rough draft to me. An outline with some filler ideas. There were a lot of mistakes, a lot of holes, and a lot that didn’t make sense. This is not ready for publication. Not the story I read. To say it was an Advanced Review Copy would be a lie. This is a before beta copy. This didn’t read like anyone beta read it or edited it. There were too many mistakes. An example of this is that Kyle first says that his grandfather died, and then later on in the story he just hasn’t seen his grandfather in a while. This should have been picked up. Along with the fact that no one would have warm hands while they were outside in the snow without winter clothes and gloves. I live in a subtropical climate but I have experienced snow before and I just don’t believe someone would go outside in a t-shirt and sweats, lie in the snow, and have warm hands without them being stuffed between their legs the entire time to keep them warm. Details matter.

The blurb for this story does indicate there is some “darkness”. To be honest, I was not expecting what that “darkness” was. To say I felt ill during the glossing over of child abuse would be an understatement. I almost deleted the book immediately and had to put it down before I could continue. Child sexual abuse is something really tricky to write about in a way that doesn’t appear dismissive or as a gratuitous plot device. This story was not long enough and there was too many ideas trying to be included to justify adding this element. Kevin’s reaction, and the entire scene was completely underwhelming. I felt like it was added for shock value, and brought nothing to the story.

Kyle’s bisexuality was another issue I had with this story. It’s actually a common mistake I’ve seen writers make when adding a bisexual character. While in Kyle’s point of view, we are told through his thoughts that he has never felt the ‘spark’ with females that he has with Kevin. It is repeated a few times for effect. My problem with this is that it read like it was dismissing bisexuality and alluding to gayness. Bisexual men can be satisfied as much by a man as by a woman, and to basically say that women don’t make him feel pleasure, and calling him bisexual rather than saying he feels specifically connected to Kevin as a person, and that he hasn’t known a connection ‘like this’ dismisses the entire bisexual experience to me. To have never been sexually satisfied by a woman and to have only been satisfied by a man, well that’s not my experience with bisexuality.

I might not have been emotionally connected to my female bedmates as I was to the father of my children, but it doesn’t diminish my attraction and experiences with women. This is exactly what this story is doing. Dismissing his experiences with the opposite sex and making his experiences with a man more significant. Maybe I’m just feeling lousy about this whole story but this was a real pain point for me. Added to the ridiculousness of the “drama” that unfolded with Kevin’s sister and I felt nothing but regret for reading this story.

The only saving grace was that it was short. I didn’t have to endure it long. There were other major issues with the timeline, and plot, but I don’t want to add anymore spoilers to this review.

I love reading. And I really love experiencing someone else’s ideas. But if you’re going to sell me something, and expect me to spend my money on it, at least put in the effort to make it decent. Some authors invest their entire lives into this craft, and having people out there who throw together some ideas, without putting in any effort to clean it up and make it presentable just takes away from those who actually love writing and put everything they have into it.

I cannot recommend this to anyone. Save your money. This is not worth it.

1 comment:

  1. The only part of this whole mess I can defend is the warm fingers in the cold. It's called the hunter's reaction, and it's a common thing. Partner's hands start burning up after he's been working in the snow for a little bit.