Author: Jeff Erno
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing
Cover Artist: Unknown
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 10/29/2015
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Contemporary, M/M Romance
At thirty-eight years of age, Chandler finds himself single and caring for his brother Raymond, who suffers numerous health problems.
Mired in grief from the multiple deaths of close family members, he recedes into himself, crippled with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive tendencies.
Early one morning Chandler’s life is flipped on its end when he encounters his neighbor, twenty-five year old Marcus.
Nothing about a relationship with this young man makes sense. For one thing, Marcus is… well… YOUNG. He’s also biracial and has all kinds of tattooed muscles!
The streetwise Marcus introduces Chandler to an entirely different lifestyle, pulling the would-be hermit from his shell, albeit kicking and screaming. But how long can such a relationship last, and what about Raymond? Chandler fears a guy like Marcus, seemingly perfect in every way, won’t be able to truly accept Chandler with all his baggage.
An unexpected bombshell detonates and Chandler learns some unsavory details about Marcus, who he really is, and what he’s done in the past.
Finally, it’s Chandler who must decide if he can accept Marcus’ baggage.
I don’t think I would ever have picked up Baggage by Jeff Erno on my own. Honestly, the cover skeeved me out a bit when it first came across my desk, and I dismissed it. Recently I got into a Facebook discussion with the author about something completely unrelated. Somehow that led to me agreeing to read Baggage.
If you have been following the blog, you know I am on a SciFi/Fantasy/Paranormal kick as of late. I wasn’t exactly sure how Baggage, a contemporary, was going to fit into that mind set.
I will say first and foremost, I am extremely glad I read this book. It is not your “typical” contemporary M/M romance. If you could consider anything “typical”. So what makes me say that it isn’t typical? Well it isn’t syrupy sweet or overly angsty, for one. It is kind of middle of the road as far as emotions and angst go. Depending on your own personal angst meter, you might tip that needle a bit more to the angsty side.
Secondly, this book isn’t politically correct. I don’t mean that it sets out of offend. Far from it. However, the characters have their faults. They make crude and inappropriate statements. They make judgments based on their myopic perspective and without the omnipresent tolerance and rose-colored filter so often seen in modern writings. They question people’s choices and identities. They refuse to take offense at terms the “powers that be” say should inflame.
Neither Chandler nor Marcus are perfect. They both have their baggage to work through. They boh have to determine what the other person’s baggage means to them and their relationship. They have to determine where that breaking point is, and what trade-offs they are willing to make. They both have to learn to trust in themselves and each other.
This story is confusing at times. There are dream-state-esque flashbacks intermixed with present day narrative. There is hot sex and almost insta-love. I am not entirely sure on the timeline for the epilogue. There are times that I think the story could have been well served with a better editing pass or three. However, Erno’s story will make you think.
You may not like either character, but you will still feel with them when their hearts break. You may not agree with their decisions, but you can’t help but want them to come through those decisions unscathed. You may not want them to be your friends, but you will want them to have their happily ever after.
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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