Author: Embry Carlysle
Publisher: MLR Press
Cover Artist: Kris Jacen
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 01/28/2016
Length: Novella (~ 15K-50K)
Genre: Contemporary, M/M Romance
There were only two things Simon wants in his life. To fulfill a lifelong dream of visiting Pompeii, and to finally step out of the closet with his longtime boyfriend, Bryce. It seems both are going to happen and Simon is thrilled. However, two months before they’re set to go, his hopes are dashed and he finds himself going alone. Determined to have a good time and to put the past behind him, Simon is ready to tackle whatever his uncertain future holds, with or without the love of his life.
Bryce is living the American Dream. He’s country music’s golden boy and doesn’t see that changing. He’s paid his dues to get where he is, though he’s had to live a lie. Being openly gay was never something he could do and he thought his boyfriend, Simon, understood this. Then Simon plans a trip to Pompeii, the one place he has always wanted to visit. Bryce knows there is no way to keep his secret if he goes. So he does the unthinkable and backs out, even though he knows how devastated his lover and best friend is going to be.
They finally find their way together but a volcanic eruption changes their plans and they’ll have to discover which is stronger; Mother Nature or true love.
Okay, I was a little nervous going into my reading of Simon and Bryce. I consider Embry Carlysle a friend. She isn’t a Facebook friend; she is a real life friend. We went to PRIDE together in 2014. We have had meals together. We live about 15 minutes apart (which in Houston terms is practically next door). However, she knows that, as with all my reviews, that friendship can not play a part in my review. That friendship is separate from my feelings about the words she put on the page.
I have not read any of MLR’s Storming Love titles since the first series… was it a Flood? Hurricane? Heck, I can’t even remember. Each series is a multi-author look at a single catastrophic event. They are loosely connected because it is the same event. However, each title in a series is a stand alone.
Simon & Bryce hit every single one of my buttons. Friends becoming lovers (though that happened off page before the start of the story). Second-chance romance. And a setting that has always fascinated me… Pompeii.
I enjoyed this little tale of lost love found. Bryce and Simon are college sweethearts who have been living in the closet for years. Thanks to Bryce’s job in the public eye and the increasing pressures on their relationship, they have finally broken up. It isn’t because they don’t love each other, but because they just can’t make it work. Simon is trying to move on, and Bryce is trying to be the man Simon needs. Over the course of a weeklong trip to Pompeii, they start to mend their relationship.
I loved that there was tension at first. I love that They didn’t just fall back instantly together. Simon had issues that Bryce needed to assuage. They are good together. Bryce is a genuinely good person, despite the fame. I liked that the author used Simon’s best friend to tell the back story and didn’t just info dump on us. I appreciated that everything wasn’t easy, but it was obvious that they were perfect for each other.
I can’t say that this story was perfect. There were editing mistakes throughout that made the reading a bit rough. Incorrect words and switches between past and present tense (often within the same paragraph and/or sentence), stuck out to me many times. However, when I was able to ignore these issues, I enjoyed the story. I would be interested in revisiting Simon & Bryce. I would also be interested to see what else Ms. Carlysle has in store for us.
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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