This was exactly my kind of book. Absolutely LOVED IT!
A slow burn and gradual build up that takes the reader on an emotional journey of discovery.
Jay Bell is here with us today too talking about his favourite topic…..
“Anything for Love”
………and reading an excerpt of his book for us on video!
Title: Something Like Summer
Author: Jay Bell
Publisher: Amazon (self-published)
Released: 5th January 2011
Genre: M/M (contemporary ~ Y/A)
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Love, like everything in the universe, cannot be destroyed. But over time it can change.
The hot Texas nights were lonely for Ben before his heart began beating to the rhythm of two words; Tim Wyman. By all appearances, Tim had the perfect body and ideal life, but when a not-so-accidental collision brings them together, Ben discovers that the truth is rarely so simple. If winning Tim’s heart was an impossible quest, keeping it would prove even harder as family, society, and emotion threaten to tear them apart.
Something Like Summer is a love story spanning a decade and beyond as two boys discover what it means to be friends, lovers, and sometimes even enemies.
This was my kind of book. LOVED IT! A slow burn and gradual build up that takes the reader on an emotional journey of discovery.
We start in high school with Ben. A sixteen year old teenager who is out at school and has to cope with all the taunting this brings him in school. However, this makes him very resilient and at home he has all the love and support of his parents which enables him to cope with the school situation. I feel it takes a very brave teenager to be out in school, however he has an infatuation with a new guy in his school who has just moved to the area, Tim, who is your typical popular jock. Good looking, good at sports and loved by all the girls. Ben very often meets him jogging in the woods and is determined to get to know him better. This sounds like another one of those typical high school film tropes………
but it's not ~ it’s so much more than that!
The author gives us a great insight into the uncontrollable emotional turmoil of teenagers. Oh my, the devious machinations of hormonal teenagers with a crush. When Ben runs Tim off the road and he twists his ankle, Ben sees his chance. Now he thinks out a way to get closer to Tim. Tim's parents are rich and never at home. Tim has everything he wants materialistically from his rich parents except the most important thing ~ their love and attention. As his parents are away and Tim needs looking after Ben decides to take on the nursing role. In his teenage head he now has his chance to “play house” and be domesticated, looking after Tim while his parents are away. I thought this was a really sweet touch and you really feel the love and devotion that Ben has for Tim. Well, one thing leads to another and they end up taking the final step. However, in Tim’s world he can’t accept the fact to himself that he is gay. It’s a little like everyone else knows he’s gay, he just doesn’t know it himself yet. Well, Tim fights against this revelation and ends up breaking Ben’s heart. As with life we all leave school and everyone one goes their separate ways.
So just while I’m talking about school, I would just like to side-track a moment and mention the cover art of the book here for a minute. The cover art is great, however as a reader of more “mature” years if it hadn’t been for the fact that a number of friends recommended this book to me I would have ignored it completely, to my shame, going on the cover design alone. Why? Well, when I first saw the cover my initial reaction was ~ OK, this must be a book written for and aimed at teenagers in school or a very young audience ~ so I would have moved on without a second glance to the next book during my browsing / shopping. I am not essentially a cover whore and it doesn’t have to be covers of hunky alpha male torsos with six packs to attract my attention either, but a cover does go a long way in attracting the type of reader you want and getting an initial reaction. I just personally feel that this book could possibly be missing out on attracting a whole group of readers (who like me are 40+) and this would be such a crying shame. With my more mature years I would have passed over a real gem of a book that deals with far more adult themes than you initially get the feeling for going by the cover. You never judge a book by it’s cover? Well, I reckon we try not too but with the hundreds of books out there I know I’ve been guilty of looking at the cover art first and moving on if it doesn’t speak to me. Is it YA? Well sort of, it starts as YA as this is where Ben’s story begins, but then goes far beyond as the story moves us through his life. So phew, thanks to friends for recommending this book.
So back to the story…………… In part two Ben is at college in Chicago and in a hopeless relationship, still never finding that love he had for Ben. He has to go back to his home town, his best friend Allison needs him due to a death in the family. Allison is a wonderful character, yes you could argue she is the proverbial “fag hag” but that is a term I really hate, just because a gay man has a close female friend. Allison is a very close friend and has always supported Ben through his trials and tribulations as he did hers. On the journey home Ben is basically chatted up by the air steward Jace and they start dating. Now this really is what love is made of, they are made for each other and Jace’s patient nature shows Ben that being in a solid relationship takes working at but the rewards are just so much more and worth it. Ben is now in seventh heaven. However, he decides to stay in Austin to continue his studies to be with Allison and Jace moves to Austin to be with him. You would think everything is perfect. Well, Allison as protective as ever keeps something from him for his own good, until one day at a chance meeting he meets his relationship nemesis. Yes…..history has returned in the form of Tim who is at the same college and his world in thrown for a loop and puts him in a complete flat spin.
This part I loved as everyone is flawed, no one is perfect and Ben is no exception. The author here really understands these emotions and writes them beautifully. You are never left not knowing what Ben is feeling and at times it is heart wrenching. He loves Jace more than anything in the world, but the attraction to Tim, the high school sweet heart is still too big to be ignored. As they say, you never forget your first love or to coin the lyrics from a song by Rozalla “You never love the same way twice” and now Ben discovers this for himself. However, Tim is now relatively out of the closet and admits that Ben was right in many things when they were teenagers in high school, but he still has his issues and carries emotional baggage with him. Ben is no doubt good for Tim, but Tim still needs to get things sorted out. So now we have the definitive love triangle. Two antagonists and one stuck in the middle. This puts the relationship between Jace and Ben to the real test. During this part of the book I found myself shouting at my Kindle, aka Ben, with exclamations like, “What the f*** are you doing Ben?” or “Geez, Ben you are so being played, WAKE UP!” or “Ben, if you were my friend I would so seriously knock some sense into you right now.” or “That’s it Ben! I can’t deal with this anymore, just call me when you have decided!” Yes, I was distraught about Ben ruining everything he had with Jace I just wanted to slap him. But thank goodness he had Allison to do that to him when it was necessary and quite possibly a lot more subtle and gentler than I probably would have managed at that point. A book that can get me talking out loud to the characters has got me hook, line and sinker. I could totally understand Ben’s turmoil, but on the other hand just despaired for him at the same time. Anyway, it was time to breathe out at the end of part two. Ben makes his peace with Tim, leaving the way free for himself and Jace to go on and build their HEA.
So you would think that everything would end here on a happy note. All’s well that ends well ~ But oh no! We have part three. Fate takes another twist and throws Ben a complete curve ball. Gawd, I wept! Life can be so cruel at times and this was so fucking unfair. I’m not going into further details here, but the book does end on a bitter sweet note and there is hope for the future despite everything that happens and for this we once again have to thank the interventions of Allison. What a girl!
All in all, this book spans a period of several years in Ben’s life. From high school, to college, to graduation and then to working adult life. It takes the reader on Ben’s story, a journey as multi-facetted as life itself. This book is a must read for all those out there, who like me, like to be taken on such journeys of emotional discovery. I loved the character of Ben, his tenacity, his positive outlook on things and never giving up. The author handles the different emotional phases of Ben’s development very well, from tempestuous teenager to experienced, mature adult. Not an easy thing to do and here I can only say it is very well done indeed.
The book is divided into three parts and this one quote for me could have summed up the different parts very well.
“Falling in love is a subtle process, a connection sparked by attraction, tested by compatibility, and forged by memory.”
Ben goes through all these emotional phases and comes out the other end maybe a little scarred, but still there and still fighting for his HEA. If there was one small criticism to play out on my behalf apart from the cover, it felt to me that in part three the reader was being rushed through the events in Ben’s life a little faster than in the first two parts. I just wished that the third part of the book could have gone at a little slower pace, pulling out the incredible emotional plot a bit more, getting more of Ben’s and Jace’s feelings and emotions. But this is just the way I felt, as though there was so much more untapped potential in the plot than there really was on the page, to completely floor the reader emotionally, putting him / her through the emotional wringer and then building him / her back up again bit-by-bit before the end. This however is totally subjective as always and the book left me really wanting to read the following three books in the series which is always a good sign.
I LOVED IT!
Well done Jay, a great read, packed full of emotion and I can perfectly understand why this book has been chosen to be a film. More details to this you can find below.
All his doubts, every fear, even the smallest insecurity gave way to the unstoppable, immutable, uncompromising force that is love. “What now?” Ben asked. “Now we start over.”
A Word from The Author
“Anything for Love”
“Anything for love.” These three simple words could sum up any book I’ve written. Or so I like to think. I’m certain some would disagree, suggesting “countless stupid mistakes” instead, or perhaps the less concise “What the hell were they thinking?” From what I’ve heard, some readers abandon words altogether, choosing instead to throttle my books against the nearest wall. While I appreciate their passion, I’ve always felt a little puzzled by their frustration over how my characters behave. I mean, we’ve all done stupid things in the name of love… right?
Part of the divide, I suspect, is that I often write about young people. Late teens to early twenties is my favorite age group, since the mistakes made then are the most wonderful of all. Bear with me a moment and cast your mind back to when you were that age. If you actually are that age, stop reading now and go do something more exciting. You’re too young to listen to the ruminations of an old fart. Now then, the rest of you try to remember what it was like to be in your teens, to slowly gain one freedom after another: The ability to drive, opening the world to you. The abolishment of a curfew, unleashing the night’s potential. And best of all, the discovery of all that adult stuff, which just a few years earlier had seemed so much less appealing. Love! Sex! Romance! Doesn’t the thought of it all send your heart racing, even today?
At this magical age when everything is new, the stakes are higher than ever. And everything has more gravitas than it will in the decades to come. A three month relationship is already serious business. An adult would probably call that dating, but when you’re young, a few months, even just a few weeks or days, can be considered a serious relationship. Heck, I was with my first boyfriend for less than two months before we felt it was time to get an apartment together. I was sixteen and he was nineteen, and to me it felt like we were married. Now I look back, and I’m a little baffled at how we moved so fast, and how little I actually knew about the guy. There were plenty after him too. My journal at the time is filled with embarrassing poetry written for guys that came and went in the blink of an eye. They couldn’t have really meant that much though. Surely I was just being naïve.
Then again, it’s all relative. When you’re sixteen, you probably only have ten or twelve years of cognizant memory. So of course a relationship which lasts almost a year can seem like a big deal, because it might be nearly a tenth of your waking life. Couple this with the intensity of a new playing field and a lack of experience and you have a recipe for disaster. Or for a great story. When you were younger, what’s the dumbest thing you did for love? Maybe you bought a guy a stuffed animal, bringing it to school with a mylar balloon tied around one plush arm. Or maybe you waited outside someone’s house at night, hoping to catch a glimpse of your crush through the window. Poetry dropped inside a locker, lies told to cause a break-up, or switching classes, schools, or jobs just to follow your heart’s desire.
Recollect all those silly things you did in the name of love, and ask yourself how many you would still do today. Probably not all of them, if any, because we adults have a bad habit of convincing ourselves that we’re reasonable and rational. But we’re not. In fact, I think we have a lot to learn from those younger selves. It’s all too easy get lost in routine—to simply accept that there’s someone in bed with us every night, when once upon a time, such a possibility was nothing more than a wild dream. Or to take for granted the option of going to a bar, hoping to catch someone’s eye while having a drink and getting funky on the dance floor. These are the sort of freedoms we once longed for, and that caused us to stomp our feet in frustration because they were denied to us. But now we’ve got it all. All but that little part that’s willing to make fools of ourselves—the part that’s open to making stupid mistakes. But it’s still there. Nothing is lost to us. Sometimes all we need is a reminder. Maybe this can manifest in the form of a story, one with characters that we shake our head at… and yet also sort of admire, because they still allow themselves to act impulsively. While there’s no doubt that we’re wiser—and hopefully better at the art of seduction—it doesn’t hurt to occasionally remind ourselves of how far we’ve come. Somewhere deep inside, that younger self is still urging you to follow your heart. Anything for love.
Here we have Jay reading an excerpt from Something Like Summer….ENJOY!
About The Author
I’m always a little bit uncomfortable writing about myself. It feels too egocentric. Then again, I enjoy stalking people online, so it’s only fair I allow others to do the same.
My name, if you haven’t guessed already, is Jay Bell and I was born February 19th, 1977 in Merriam, Kansas. For simplicity’s sake let’s say I grew up there, although I also spent a decade in Missouri and Texas somewhere in between. I suppose my childhood could be summed up in two words: rebellious nerd. Come to think of it, that pretty much covers my teen and adult years as well.
I was never much for school. Professionally I got by doing tech support or other computer related jobs. While working in Lawrence, Kansas I met my future husband. Andreas was an exchange student from Germany, a country I hadn’t given much prior thought to. Andreas was that just-right combination of handsome, intelligent, kind, and talented for me to fall in love. What he saw in me is the real mystery, but we packed up the cats and moved to Germany to get married.
Not being able to speak German left me blissfully unemployable and allowed me to focus full time on my writing. I’ve always loved books, delving into fantastic worlds and letting myself get lost there. I grew up marvelling at the creative genius of C.S. Lewis, Piers Anthony, Robert Asprin, Terry Brooks, even that guy that wrote the Mr. Men books. The list could go on and on. It’s a daunting task to try and add my own stories to the countless volumes already out there, but I’m giving it my best.
Connect with The Author
Jay’s Book has also been selected to be filmed and will be released in 2015
Other Titles by Jay Bell
Jay will be giving away an ebook copy of Something Like Summer to one Lucky winner.
Just enter the rafflecopter draw below.