by Vanessa North
An M/M Contemporary Romance
From Riptide Publishing
Released November 30th 2015
Connor Graham is a city boy—a celebrated fashion photographer in New York. When his uncle’s death drags him back to the family blueberry farm, all he wants to do is sell it as quickly as he can. Until he meets his uncle’s tenant farmer.
Jed Jones, shy and stammering, devout and dedicated, has always yearned for land of his own and a man to share it with. Kept in the closet by his church, family, and disastrous first love, he longs to be accepted for who he is. But now, with his farm and his future in Connor’s careless hands, he stands to lose even the little he has.
Neither man expects the connection between them. Jed sees Connor—appreciates his art and passion like no one else in this godforsaken town ever has. Connor hears Jed—looks past his stutter to listen to the man inside. The time they share is idyllic, but with the farm sale pending, even their sanctuary is a source of tension. As work, family, and their town’s old-fashioned attitudes pull them apart, they must find a way to reconcile commitments to their careers and to each other.
Jed’s life revolves around his family and tending the land he rents. His dream of owning his own farm is put at risk now that the owner has dies and his out of town nephew is thinking of selling. When Connor returns to the town he left behind after high school graduation he’s not ready to deal with all the emotions his return brings forth. Inheriting his uncle’s farm is not helping matters neither is meeting the handsome man that rents it.
I liked this story very much, but I felt that there were some things missing within that took away from my overall enjoyment of it.
Jed and Connor were great characters to get to know and although I enjoyed them together, I couldn’t help but think that their connection lacked in dept and strength. However, I appreciated the fact that the author allowed me the opportunity to get to know Jed and Connor, especially in regards to what drove them. Especially since it provided insight into what issues Jed and Connor had to work through to make something work between them.
Connor had issues with being back in the town that ostracized him for being gay back in high school. He especially had issues with his brother and his treatment towards Connor. Although the author made the effort to show how Connor came to accept that the town had changed some, I still felt that his issues with his brothers were too easily wrapped up with a simple conversation.
I liked that Vanessa North touched upon the importance of Jed’s religious beliefs in his life and how it related to his sexuality. Although I appreciated that Jed showed some growth in that regard, I think it was glossed over too quickly, especially when it came to his coming out. It was great to see how Jed ultimately allowed himself the chance for something more with Connor while still at peace with his beliefs, but it was resolved too easily considering Jed’s initial statements.
I think that the length of the story got in the way of the author resolving these issues completely. A couple more pages/passages focused on these issues would have helped the story to feel complete for me. Alas, it didn’t work that way.
Having said that, I do think that Blueberry Boys was a sweet romantic story that brought together too individuals that weren’t looking for love but took the chance to work for it when it appeared it came their way.
*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.
Connor didn’t remember standing up and leaving the table, or the screen porch door slamming behind him. He just felt an overwhelming urge to get the hell away from all those people, their happy game, the cloying familiarity that wasn’t, and the next thing he knew, he was pacing in the front yard.
“Hey,” Jed called from behind Connor. “You okay?”
Connor nodded, but the nod changed into a shake as he sat on the front steps. “Yes. No. I don’t know, actually.”
“You want t-to talk?” Jed sat beside him, brushing their thighs together as if by accident. He didn’t move away, just let his leg touch Connor’s. It was a nice, comforting touch. Connor wanted to turn into Jed’s body, bury his face in that slim shoulder, and howl out his pain. Of course he couldn’t do that, because that’s the kind of intimacy grown men didn’t share unless they were lovers, and sometimes, not even then.
How was it that the death of Kyle Bauer hit so much harder than that of Connor’s own uncle? Because Kyle’s was suicide and Bruce’s was a heart attack? Because Kyle’s happened two years ago and he never knew? Or because Kyle left a wife and kids behind and Connor’s family was so broken? Wife and kids.
“Did he leave a note?” Connor’s voice was tight and raspy, even to his own ears.
“Nah.” Jed shook his head. “Big m-mystery.”
“Did you know him?” Connor searched Jed’s face.
“Knew him well enough to know he was qu-queer.” He shrugged, jutting his chin. “Not many people in town knew that.”
“That doesn’t make his life less valuable,” Connor hissed.
“Didn’t say it did.” Jed shrugged again. “M-might make it m-more so. To s-some people.”
Connor closed his eyes. “He wasn’t my lover.”
“We were friends. I guess I always hoped he’d come out too.”
Jed snorted. “Not here. You th-think he could come out, sit in his family pew at the big white church, and face judgment from the closed-minded people in this town? You think K-Kyle fuckin’ Bauer was strong enough for that?”
“You have strong feelings about what it takes to be gay in Blandford? Or maybe about who deserves to sit in that church? Christ, and people act like they don’t understand why I left.”
“Please, d-don’t take the Lord’s name in v-vain,” Jed whispered. “I have a lot of st-strong feelings about that too.”
“Of course you do.” Connor stood and paced into the front yard again. “You drop the f-bomb like it was Kyle’s middle name, and you’re offended I said ‘Christ.’ I fucking hate this town.”
“I’m not this town— Hell, half the t-time I hate it too. If you hate me, j-just say it.”
Connor stopped short. “I don’t hate you.”
“D-didn’t think you did.”
“You confuse the hell out of me.”
Jed cocked his head to the side and stared. “Why?”
“Are you gay?”
Jed wouldn’t meet his eyes. “That’s a c-complicated question.”
About the Author
Author of over a dozen novels, novellas, and short stories, Vanessa North delights in giving happy-ever-afters to characters who don’t think they deserve them. Relentless curiosity led her to take up knitting and run a few marathons “just to see if she could.” She started writing for the same reason. Her very patient husband pretends not to notice when her hobbies take over the house. Living and writing in Northwest Georgia, she finds her attempts to keep a quiet home are frequently thwarted by twin boy-children and a very, very large dog.
To celebrate the release of Blueberry Boys, Vanessa North is giving away a $30 Amazon gift card! Your first comment at each stop on this tour enters you in the drawing. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 5, 2015. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries.
Follow the tour for more opportunities to enter the giveaway! Don’t forget to leave your email or method of contact so Riptide can reach you if you win!