Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Review: Campus Visit by Stella Huerto

Reviewed by Hannah
Campus Visit by Stella Huerto
Dreamspinner Press
Novel: 248pgs
4 Pants Off

Damian Garza and Alex Murphy became best friends in their closed-minded small town, remained inseparable through Alex’s coming out, and have stayed close while studying at different colleges. They’re close enough that Damian dares a shocking e-mail confession: he’s bisexual and wants to experiment with men. With Alex.

It’s supposed to be a simple friends-with-benefits arrangement, one weekend only. That one weekend turns into two, then three, then a whole season of unexpected passion. But life after graduation can’t be ignored: soon Damian will be obliged to return to his family’s orange orchard, and Alex will fly off to his dream job in Europe. Unless they can admit their feelings to each other—and the world—their time as best friends may be over.

As I was reading this book, scratch that, as I was DEVOURING this book I was searching my mind for ways I could adequately review it, as I kept getting stuck on one adjective, ‘HOT’!

Different things can be taken from different M/M romance books, some touch your heart with sentiment, others are all about the sex, and some even take you into a world of pure fantasy. This one, well this one gets right into the sex. The lust, the attraction and wanting are there two pages in, and this alone is enough to keep you tearing through the pages.

What made me love this book was the fact that, even when lost in that erotica haze of beautiful man on man lust, Huerto created two characters that were equally vulnerable and allowed the story to open up to the reader past the bedroom.

Damian and Alex are the two gorgeous friends at the centre of this story. Their chemistry burns off the page from chapter one. They interact as friends, allowing you to break into their deeper thoughts, but their personalities truly ignite when they come together as lovers. From the Blurb of this story, and from how Huerto sets up this story at the start, you would expect each character to have a part to play. The confident, out of the closet, sexy Alex, and the shy, reserved, confused, farm boy Damian, however as you move through their journey you see vulnerability come from both parties. It is this vulnerability that moves this book from a read that is just gunna leave you with a burning desire to transform into a Gay man to experience a level of such passion and…hotness (great use of the English language), to a read that taps into your emotions…past those of pure lust.

The emotion, fear and resistance that come from both Damian and Alex are expressed in such a way by Huerto that the reader can find something more in their story other than lust. They can find compassion as two friends try to negotiate their way through a new level of their relationship, with both parties hesitant to give into their feelings. There is humour, sadness, regret, confusion, lust, passion and love in this story. As Alex guides his best friend through the open door of his closet, Alex gets lead somewhere he never expected to end up, with his own confused feelings to confront.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was jam packed with knee weakening, heart rate rising, melt into a puddle sexual encounters, but it was also a smile inducing read as you waited for these two friends to find their way to each other. Through the stubbornness of ‘friends with benefits’ rules, and the conflict of family loyalty you wait and hope, that somehow Alex and Damian can both find a way to let in the others love.

These characters aren’t ones that are written to stay in your heart after you put the book down, which stops this being 5 out of 5. This book sacrifices some of the emotional torment you would expect from a ‘coming out’ experience in place of passion. So whilst the passion makes this a really good read, one that, if you are anything like me you will finish in day, it stops short of a story that you take into your heart, which for me, will always be the best kind.

But, hell, sometimes a girls just needs hot, man on man action, so thank you Stella Huerto for providing me with just the book.


4 Pants Off

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