First let me thank Aniko for joining us today to review the fourth book in the Seasons series by Jay Bell. She is another M/M fanatic and loved the first 3 books in the series. I trust her opinion implicitly. I was going to do the review myself, but umm… I am scared to read Autumn and I can’t make myself go out of order… but… I adored the first 2 in the series.
Title: Something Like Spring (Seasons #4)
Author: Jay Bell
Publisher: Self Published
Rating: 5 of 5 stars
Nothing in this world is permanent. Friends, lovers, even family, can all disappear in the blink of an eye. Without these anchors, it’s all too easy to find oneself drifting.
Jason Grant doesn’t have much, aside from a beat-up old guitar and knack for getting kicked out of foster homes. His latest placement is set to be just another in a long line of failures. Then he meets Caesar Hubbard, a handsome guy who lives down the hall. For the first time in his life, Jason wants to stay, which means learning to be part of a family, and not letting his feelings—or his actions—ruin his first real chance of falling in love.
Something Like Spring introduces a new character to the Seasons story, one with a troubled past and an equally turbulent future. Jason must traverse a winding road fraught with emotional conflicts and tough decisions… a road that might just lead to a certain couple in Austin.
THIS FIRST PARAGRAPH CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE PREVIOUS BOOKS IN THE SEASONS SERIES. SKIP IT IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THEM YET.
I first fell in love with Jay Bell’s writing with Something Like Summer. I loved his straightforward and evocative style, his delightfully real – beautiful and flawed – characters and their tumultuous, wonderful story. When Something Like Winter came out, I just didn’t see how a re-telling of that story from the other character’s perspective could possibly hold my interest. Of course, when I did eventually read it, I discovered it was so much more than a simple re-telling of the same story. It also made me understand how Ben could fall in love with Tim when he had seemed so very flawed in Summer, because I ended up loving him, too. With the release of Something Like Autumn, again I held back from reading it, although the reasons were perhaps a little different this time. I now knew, having read several of his books, that Jay Bell was a consummate writer, but I had loved Jace so very, very much and I thought reading his book could only serve to remind me how wonderful his character was and how he was no longer in the picture. That, even though I had grown to like Tim – especially a Tim with Ben, there was still a part of me who had wanted Jace to remain with Ben. And while that book did break my heart, it also uplifted it. Saying goodbye at the end felt like it was tearing me apart and I almost couldn’t make myself finish it. I’m very glad I did, because Jace was wonderful ’til the end, even if it did make me cry bucket loads. Worth every, single one of them. It was only last month that I read Autumn, and this time I was eager and excited to read Something Like Spring as soon as it was released. It did not disappoint. At all.
In Something Like Spring, we are introduced to a new character, in Jason Grant, as the story’s protagonist. Jason has known he was gay since he was twelve years old and is perfectly comfortable with it. When we first meet him it’s Houston in 2006 and he is an almost sixteen year old who has been at the mercy of the foster system for almost ten years. The only constants in his life are his beloved, battered guitar and his amazing caseworker, Michelle Trout. Although Jason’s previous foster families haven’t necessarily been bad, he never felt like he fit in. That’s okay, he’s a pro at getting sent back to the group home, where at least he doesn’t feel the pressure of replacing his once beloved mother’s memory with a new family.
When Michelle begs him to give foster family number twenty-four a fair go, Jason agrees to do his best. The well-to-do Hubbard’s, with their four children – adoptees Amy, Peter and Carrie, and their only biological child Caesar, who’s near Jason’s age – seem to genuinely care about the kids in their care, even having adopted the other three children and are willing to adopt Jason, too, if things work out. But for all that, their overbearing and controlling ways make it hard for him feel like he belongs there. Still, he made a promise to Michelle and if he was adopted it could give him great opportunities that he wouldn’t be able to get if he just aged out of the system. And then there’s Caesar. Gorgeous and confident, Caesar quickly shows Jason he’s not as distant as first impressions assumed.
Over the weeks their relationship shifts from friendship to lovers, perhaps even to love. Then Jason discovers Caesar has a secret which devastates him, resulting in a break up. However, during an enforced boys’ hunting trip, a distressing incident ends with Jason seeking comfort from Caesar. The following morning, they are discovered and Jason is told he is no longer considered a suitable member of the Hubbard family. Jason returns to the group home, determined to find his own way in the world. Michelle introduces Jason to her brother, who gives Jason his and his husband’s contact details for just in case Jason ever finds himself in need.
Three years later Jason has a job and an apartment and is doing his best, even though times are hard. He lost touch with caseworker, who had taken personal leave a few years ago and not returned to work. When his homophobic shift supervisor causes him the loss of his job, Jason is desperate enough to recall Michelle’s brother and his kindness. This sets him on a path that ends with him meeting a couple of well known characters from the previous books.
I really liked Jason, and not just because I felt for him with his past. I genuinely loved his personality and so wanted the best for him. He’s intelligent and caring, quick to love but wary of it at the same time, determined, funny, sweet, a little damaged but with a desire to heal, it was such a joy to see him grow from that battered sixteen year old to the confident young man we left at the end. Although this is most definitely Jason’s story, the way other well-known and beloved characters (and the connections to them) are expertly woven through it is wonderfully done and helps tie all four books together. Even when the appearance of some of those beloved characters made me cry because I still miss them. While it was nice to see familiar characters and be allowed back into a part of their lives again, I didn’t find their lack in the first half of the book at all. Jason intrigued me from the beginning and his story pulled me in and made me care very much what happened to him.
Michelle was awesome. And it’s kind of nice to see a caseworker in fiction who genuinely cares for her charges and does everything she can for them. And Ben and Tim. I adored their banter and loved seeing them from Jason’s perspective. While we do get insights into Ben and Tim’s relationship, it’s a bonus and doesn’t detract or take over from Jason’s story in any way. I loved the moments of humour that are a normal part of life. Those moments lent themselves to a smile and lightened the tone of the roller coaster ride in a very easy and natural way.
The ending was absolutely perfect. I may have been crying, yet again, but this time they were definitely tears of joy! Not only to Jason’s story, but to all of the stories that started with Summer. The wedding in the epilogue was so beautifully done. I truly felt like I was right there, a guest and witness to two men I cared about very much declaring their love and commitment to each other in front of family and friends. Something Like Spring was a very worthy finish to a superb series. Even the dedication hit me in the heart! I’m very glad to see that although the Seasons series is finished, Jay Bell will be writing more in this world because I’m really not ready to say goodbye.
All Romance eBooks
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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