Saturday, June 7, 2014

Spencer by JP Barnaby

Title: Spencer
Author: JP Barnaby
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m) 
Series: Survivor Stories #3
Main Characters: Aaron and Spencer
Release Date: March 2014
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
A Survivor Story

It’s been nearly five years since Aaron woke up in the hospital so broken, he couldn’t stand the sight of his own face. The flashbacks no longer dominate his life, but he’s still unable to find intimacy with his lover, Spencer Thomas. With time, patience, and the support of his family, his therapist, and his loving partner, Aaron has figured out how to live again. The problem is, Spencer hasn’t. His life has been on hold as he waits for the day he and Aaron can have a normal relationship. Hoping to move things forward for them both, he takes a job as a programmer in downtown Chicago, leaving Aaron alone.

Reeling in the wake of Spencer’s absence, Aaron receives another shock when his attackers are caught.

Now, he must testify and verbalize his worst nightmare. Publicly reliving his trauma without Spencer at his side destroys his precarious control. But he finds someone who can understand and empathize in Jordan, who watched his brother cut down in a school shooting. With Spencer gone and the DA knocking at his door, Aaron seeks solace in Jordan, and Spencer will have to risk everything to hold on to Aaron’s love.

My Review:
I thought the first book to Aaron and Spencer's love story was amazing, but this one surpassed it. It takes place 3 years after the first book, Aaron, and 5 years after Aaron's horrific attack. In that 3 years, Aaron and Spencer have fallen even deeper in love. Aaron continues to improve, but is still held back by his PTSD and mental issues. Those things have held back Spencer too. He used to have friends and a social life and network of people around him. Now he only has Aaron...and at 21, that's just not enough for Spencer anymore. So when an opportunity arises to take an amazing job, he does it even though it means leaving Aaron behind. 

The reality for these two characters is just heartbreaking. I could definitely see both sides of the coin and couldn't blame Spencer. He's still young and hasn't had much of a chance at life. If you can't chase after those things...independence and a 21, you never will. And it's heartbreaking for both these guys. 

But this story is about so much more than just that. In this one, we get to see growth through both these characters. Yes, they absolutely still love each other, but they begin to see that hanging on so tight isn't do either of them any favors. They are absolutely perfect for each other, but they met very young and with the traumas that they've both suffered, never really moved past those young ages. They both do some growing up in this book. Yes, there are still issues, but unlike the end of the first book, I can now see these guys really making it work long-term and continuing to grow together instead of stagnating together.

There's a lot that happens in this story to push them both forward and JP Barnaby crafted an amazing, extremely moving story. I'm hoping that we get to see more of Jordan...his story hasn't ended, I don't think. I definitely recommend both this one and AARON, the first in the series. They aren't as smexy as normal m/m because of the circumstances (although they do have a few hot scenes.) The books are truly about the love between these two guys and it's just a beautiful thing.

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