Author: Brynn Stein
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Rating: 3.0 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 07/27/2015
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Contemporary, Drama, M/M Romance, Paranormal
Young Stevie Liston is diagnosed with autism, but is really an overwhelmed empath who mentally called out for help. Jesse McKinnon heard him in a dream from clear across the country, and that dream sent him on a six-year search to find Stevie. Once they meet, they think everything will work out and Jesse will help Stevie cope.
Stevie does improve immensely, but a disgruntled coworker of Jesse’s conspires with Stevie’s estranged but politically powerful father to keep Stevie and Jesse apart with trumped-up legal charges claiming Jesse sexually abused the boy. Jesse must watch helplessly as Stevie loses all the advances he’s made.
If it wasn’t for his growing relationship with his coworker Drew Ferguson, Jesse knows he wouldn’t have the strength to fight for his rights and Stevie’s future. Drew just might be the real thing, but with the very real possibility of serving jail time for a crime he didn’t commit, Jesse’s hopes for a future with Drew might be doomed.
There were large parts of this book I liked but many other parts I didn’t, including the so-called romance between Jesse and Drew.
The real focus of this story is Jesse and Stevie, a young boy diagnosed with autism with severe emotional issues. It starts with Jesse finding Stevie after years of them meeting in a dream world. This was one of the most fascinating aspects of the book and one I would’ve liked to have seen more of. I was especially interested in the beginning stages of their friendship and wished the story could’ve started with that so I could see more of how Jesse and Stevie bonded. Instead, we’re told about their connection rather than having seen it firsthand.
Despite that, their relationship is fully explored and we get to see how Jesse reaches Stevie and is able to help him control his emotions. Jesse is an incredible guy and I fell in love with him right away. I loved how kind he was to the boy he’d unexpectedly bonded with.
As much as I loved the uniqueness of the story regarding Jesse and Stevie there were other plot points that were easy to see coming from miles away. As soon as a co-worker was fired from the center and blamed Jesse I knew he would do something dastardly.
There ended up being a trial that was rather ridiculous. I doubt any DA would’ve moved forward with the charges against Jesse based on the evidence on both sides, despite any powerful political figure pushing to do so. Additionally, Jesse’s father, the main antagonist of the story, was cartoonish and cliché. Because of that I never felt there was any real danger of Jesse being convicted or going to jail.
The paranormal aspect of the story was also rather odd. Jesse figures Stevie is an empath and that’s how he reached out to him. Drew, Jesse’s co-worker and eventual love interest, also surmises Jesse is an empath. Many of the characters just kind of accept there are such things as empaths despite the lack of any real proof.
There is a romantic aspect of the story but I definitely wouldn’t call the book a romance. It’s barely a subplot, more like several scenes shoehorned into a story where it wasn’t needed. I didn’t care about Jesse and Drew, I cared about Jesse and Stevie. The book would’ve been strong with the romance and probably would have been better without the distraction.
Stein is a strong and talented author with varied skills. I never know what I’m going to get from her. If that’s good or bad, I’m not sure yet. I loved Ray of Sunlight but not this one or For Mac. I’ll probably keep reading her and putting up with the meh ones in the hopes I’ll find another one I adored as much as Ray of Sunlight.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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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