Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Review: Choices & Changes by K.L Belanger

Choices & Changes by K.L Belanger
Dreamspinner Press
Novel: 258pgs
4 Pants Off

On the cusp of his twenty-fifth birthday, Bo Sanford grows frustrated with his directionless life. Slaving away at his father’s construction company all week and partying every weekend leaves him little time for introspection, but he knows it’s time for a change. When his best friend, Mac, drags him to a college party, Bo catches sight of a girl. But not just any girl—the girl of his dreams: a delicate blonde-haired beauty with a pink scarf and a smile that promises warmth and humor. There’s just one problem: she isn’t a girl.

Even after Bo discovers the truth, he keeps seeing Erick, and the choice to follow his heart despite the obstacles has profound repercussions on not only his sense of self but his relationship with his family and even his job. Being with Erick makes him all the more determined to be his own man and claw his way out from under his father’s thumb.

But Erick faces choices of his own: the choice to get involved with someone redefining his sexuality, the choice to trust again, and even the choice to believe love can last beyond the temporary.

Bo Sanford is tired and just wants to rest, but his best-friend Mac has other ideas. He wants to hit up some frat parties for some female companionship, but all Bo can think of is sleep. Working construction is a tough job, and dealing with the boss aka his father is even tougher, so Bo is strung out and just wants some sleepy time. Too bad Mac is uber persuasive and Bo finds himself heading to the party anyways. So Bo decides he's just gonna drink some cheap beer, hang and then go home but no hook-ups. Until his eyes land on the most stunning girl he's ever seen, and maybe the night is starting to look up. Well, Bo's bubble gets busted fast when Mac points out that his dream girl isn’t a girl after all and Bo does the only thing he can think of, he runs.

Maybe a little fresh air will clear the drunken haze but Bo knows that he's not drunk and clearly he just found a man very attractive. When the very person of his torment comes to greet him and offers him a beer. What Bo really wants to do is run, but when Erick takes a seat beside him Bo finds that the man is easy to talk to. Suddenly they're meeting each other at a diner and Bo is in freak out mode but behind that entire freak out is that Erick is easy to talk to. Erick isn't looking for any form of relationship, so Bo's friendship is all he needs despite the attraction sizzling in the air.

The men begin a genuine friendship, but it has the feel of first love. They spend hours just talking on the phone, and is always glad to be in each other’s company. Erick is Bo's solace when it comes to dealing with the stress of work, an overbearing father, and whatever hardships might happen in his day. But while Bo is sharing everything Erick seems to be holding a lot back. Because Bo is risking it all for their relationship and maybe Erick isn't as in it to get it as he thought.

This book has a lot to like, because it focuses on the developing friendship between two men who found each other. The romantic aspect of it all takes a backseat, and getting to know both Bo and Erick is front and centre. Bo is a man, for the first time in his life is attracted to person of the same sex, but this book is not about the GFY (gay for you) trope, it far surpasses that because Bo is attracted to Erick, not because he's male but simply because he's Erick. Conflict is provided due to Erick's past and this is the part I didn't like so much about the story. I think Erick should have just talked about it to begin with, and the revisit from the ex-boyfriend wasn't needed (that part really took away from its uniqueness). I am also not 100% on their romantic relationship, yes their friendship is solid so by the time it starts to lead into the physical stuff, and they still felt like best-friends to me. Not a bad thing, but most definitely not the best approach.

Overall, Choices and Changes is a perfect title. Bo has to make choices, and deal with the drastic changes in his life that comes in the form of Erick. It’s about a young man finding his place in the world, and building a life from there.

Should You Read It? Yes, if you want to read a solid story based on a real relationship without all the sex. It’s a character driven story, with a little something special going for it. You could say its GFY but it is so much more than that. I really enjoyed reading it, and look forward to reading more about Bo and Erick (say it is so).

4 Pants Off

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