Author: Brigham Vaughn
Publisher: Self Published
Cover Artist: Unknown
Rating: 4.25 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 07/10/2015
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: M/M Romance, New Adult
Theater student Caleb Stockwell is ready to leave college behind. Too bad his past isn’t ready to let him go.
With less than a month to go until graduation, Caleb runs into Nathan Rhodes at a house party. Nathan is a star hockey player for Western Michigan University and finally ready to step out of the closet. He’s also the guy who broke Caleb’s heart in high school.
Nathan’s determined to make amends for what he did four years ago, but Caleb isn’t willing to risk getting his heart stomped on again. With only a few weeks left before they go their separate ways, it’ll take all of Nathan’s creativity and help from some interfering friends to convince Caleb to give him a second chance.
Second chances at love and learning to forgive the past are the basic themes of this sweet, relationship-driven new adult romance by Brigham Vaughn. Though I am a bit late to the party with this review, I always enjoy reading Ms. Vaughn’s work and find her books to be satisfying, well-crafted, and populated with characters who are believable, likable, and just fun to get to know. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that they are sexy, as well.
Told through a series of high school flashbacks and present day college segments in alternating third-person POV, Bully & Exit follows the foundation, development, and subsequent breakup of Caleb and Nathan’s relationship during their senior year of high school and Nathan’s attempts to make things right with Caleb before college graduation. The reader is introduced to Caleb and Nathan as college seniors, their chance meeting at a party setting the story in motion as their past history gradually unfolds throughout the book. Presented from both sides with authentic dialogue, emotion, and events, it takes a long look at the exciting discovery of young love as well as the angst and pain that accompanies betrayal.
The characters of Caleb and Nathan are fresh and endearing. Their interests combine two of my favorite things, theater and hockey, and I only wish there were more scenes in which these two could have their individual activities showcased. They are easy to connect with, and their characters ring true, mistakes and all. Secondary characters are intriguing and get ample page time, as well, perhaps in preparation for their own set of stories to appear as this series progresses. Caleb’s mom is particularly likable as a subtle yet powerful voice of reason amidst the high emotion of both the past and present. Though rather unsavory, Nathan’s father could possibly use a bit more page time in order to further develop Nathan’s relationship with him and to help the reader better understand Nathan’s character and his actions as a high school senior.
Overall, this is yet another gratifying read from Brigham Vaughn, filled with all the wonder, anticipation, and angst that accompanies the discovery of young love. The scenes between Caleb and Nathan, both past and present, are beautifully developed, sweet, and heartbreaking. Their touching story could be anyone’s, a story in which forgiveness and letting go of the past stands in the way of true love and happiness, yet embraces the hope that lies within the possibilities for a second chance. I highly recommend Bully & Exit and look forward to further installments in the Midwest Series. Well done, Ms. Vaughn!
I would like to thank the author 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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