Teenage trials and tribulations, being put through the emotional wringer, to fall in love at seventeen and survive, to come out the other end older and wiser. Like the sound of this? Then you’ll love Jay’s book Something Like Lightning.
Jay is also with us today in person at the Sinfully Sexy HQ with a video guest post. Do opposites attract? That’s really one difficult question to answer so be sure to listen to what Jay has to say – seriously interesting!
Title: Something Like Lightning
Author: Jay Bell
Release: 9th October 2014
Genre: M/M (Y/A)
Never stop running. No matter how often life trips you up, or how many times your enemies knock you down, just get up and keep on moving until you find where you belong.
Kelly Phillips has been out of the closet since he was a young teenager, and thanks to the gay youth group he frequents, he has never been short on friends or lovers. But when you have almost everything, it’s hard not to focus on what’s just out of reach: A best friend, who would be Mr. Right if he wasn’t already Mr. Straight. Or that handsome guy at school, who would be easier to wrangle if not for his angel wings. And then there’s the one who might be a perfect fit, maybe even a soulmate… if only he wasn’t convinced he didn’t need anyone at all. Kelly has always been good at running. Now he must learn to chase, which will not only test his endurance, but the durability of his heart as well.
Something Like Lighting is a new beginning in the Something Like… saga, shifting the focus to a fresh set of characters while also revisiting a familiar face or two.
“You are sixteen going on seventeen, Baby, it's time to think - lalala!” - OK, if you know the song all together now, 1, 2, 3, 4………. - lol!
Seriously now, Kelly is sixteen about to turn seventeen and as you can imagine the hormones and emotional turmoil are all whirring around like a tornado. It’s a time when you fall in love at the drop of a hat, when you normally think you are in love with anyone that shows any interest at all, whether for five minutes or five years. And once you start dating your first guy, you’re head over heels and the declarations of ever undying love, making promises for ever are always on the agenda. Yes, I loved it. It took *00* years off my life! And no I’m not telling you how many – lol!
This is what I really love about Jay’s books, he really gets the whole teenager perspective spot-on and takes me back to a time (or in my case feels more like a past life *still not telling* - lol) when the future lays ahead like a big adventure and is out there waiting to be taken. Kelly has always known he is gay and has no problems accepting this, thanks here I guess also go to understanding parents. This was one thing that I found great, to read a book where a family can accept and love their son no matter of his sexuality.
He is a tri-athlete and his big dream is to compete in the Olympics, a dream and target to work towards for sure. His best discipline is running and here he excels, not being a runner myself, more a sedate stroller, I was actually left gasping for breath just reading about how this guy could run.
The book begins with him having the usual teenage unrequited love or crush issues on a best friend, Jared, who is training with him for the school competition. However, Kelly decides to tell Jared that he is gay and unfortunately this completely backfires on him. Jared can’t deal with Kelly being gay and therefore decides to keep his distance from Kelly to protect his own image. Although Jared remains totally civil it still hurts and I could feel how angry and hurt Kelly was that the great friendship they had before is no more only because Jared is too chicken shit and scared of his own reputation among his peers, i.e. getting the gay stamp. When Kelly tells Jared he’s gay the only comment Jared has is,
“Come on , man. It’s bad enough that you’re black.”
- OUCH!! I mean how cruel is that? Double whammy on the insult front. At that point I could have quite happily punched Jared for that comment and as far as I’m concerned he could have totally disappeared from the story right there and then. I know he would have completely dropped out of my life for sure! But then again I think it just shows how immature things still are at that age and teenagers don’t always think before they open their mouths and have to learn through experience. I felt later in the book that Jared had regretted his decision and probably wished he was braver, but at that age peer pressure and image is the all consuming factor.
Kelly makes friends with William another tri-athlete and is the competition for Jared and Kelly. Did Kelly do this to get back at Jared? Well, I think that was maybe the initial intention, but things never go according to plan I guess. At first they seem to compliment each other magnificently. William is a strong swimmer, a lot better than Kelly, the other way round Kelly is a much stronger runner than William. Obviously, it makes sense to train together but then it’s not long before the friendship continues off the running track. Kelly is feisty, determined, possibly a little arrogant at times and loses his temper quickly. William is mild mannered, patient, understanding and a real diplomat at heart. Total opposites in many respects and at first it seems they complement each other perfectly.
So, do opposites attract? Well, maybe it is true to a certain extent. But what if the opposites are too opposite? Are too far apart on the attraction scale? What feels at first to be like a match made in heaven gradually begins to turn sour soon enough. At the beginning comes the promises of ever undying love and never leaving each other, but someone who is a little more mature in years like yours sincerely secretly knows that they have their whole lives ahead of them and things change. Their characters have yet to be formed and they still have to discover who they really are. So I could read this part of the story with a big, fat, mature grin on my face, finding it all so sweet but knowing this can’t and won’t last. William wants to be nothing more than to join the Coast Guard and Kelly compete in the Olympics. After the initial honeymoon is over, daily routine and life take over and bit-by-bit so does the bickering and bitching. Faults on both sides for sure. Seriously, there were times I could have banged their bloody heads together behaving like the typical kids that they actually are. Never one particular thing, but a number of things culminating in an accident which then robs Kelly of his dream as an Olympic athlete.
Oh shit! This was a turn of events. Kelly despite all his outward bravado struck me as actually being quite insecure on the inside, always afraid that William will leave him. Due to the accident Kelly is left quite bitter, who wouldn’t be? And William stays with him out of guilt and a sense of obligation. Now if that isn’t a recipe for disaster from the word go then I don’t know what is. Nothing is meant to last forever especially at this age and eventually William has wandering eyes and with someone new on the scene Kelly’s suspicions of disloyalty soon prove to be founded. However, I felt that Kelly didn’t need to wonder as it was really his behaviour that drove William away. I guess there is nothing worse, no matter what the age, when you suspect your partner is being untrue but can’t prove anything and it’s only a feeling. However, feelings normally always turn out to be correct and this led to a bittersweet breakup that nearly had me in tears. Oh the hurt, this is horrible no matter how old you are.
Kelly goes through the usual moping around stage, but like teenagers are they bounce back relatively quickly and through an unforeseen turn of events Kelly now embarks on a career in modelling despite his handicap and becomes very successful. Not the career choice he would have originally thought of for himself, but sometimes in life things never turn out to be the way you intended and sometimes it can be for the better. This is what I also love about Jay’s stories, you are never quite sure in which direction the characters are going to taken by unexpected events, but this keeps the interest and variety for sure. During his modelling he meets Nathaniel who is a little older (early twenties, although from where I’m sitting that’s almost a kid too - lol!) This time everything seems to fit, temperament, outlook on life, character, etc. But Nathaniel is not easy, a little emotionally closeted and needs a bit of working on from Kelly. I loved the way that Kelly chased him and won him over, but Nathaniel has a secret he’s not telling Kelly and no one else, not even the reader, ggrrrrr!!!! Will have to wait for book two I guess to find out what kind of emotional baggage Nathaniel is carrying around with him.
Once these two are together, as perfect as things seem to be, Nathaniel has his issues that he doesn't want to tell anyone, not even Kelly, so decides to break things off after a particular event at a party. Now if the first breakup hurt, this one was a massive emotional punch to the gut. Especially after you start to settle down to the idea that these two are maybe really going to make it and are really made for each other. I guess here the old saying, what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, comes into play. Well, in Kelly’s case at least it makes him more determined to achieve what he wants in his life anyhow, but the emptiness never really leaves him. I guess that first big love never really leaves your heart, it just finds a place where it can nestle down undisturbed, where it doesn’t hurt anymore, but I know when I think back I also thought I had found the love of my life. Being able to recall these memories I think keeps us all young at heart and that’s another reason why I loved this book so much. Although I wouldn’t change anything now for the world. Not ever!
Kelly is a character that invoked mixed feelings in me. From wanting to slap him sometimes for his tantrums and arrogance, basically his immaturity and child like behaviour, to admiring him for his determination and tenacity, to wanting to hold him to make the hurt go away. I found him to be a very multi-faceted character which was in itself for me an intriguing combination. We are taken on Kelly’s emotional ride of highs and lows finishing on maybe a note of hope. Was it a cliff-hanger? Well, I certainly felt that obviously everything has been left open to continue Kelly’s and Nathaniel’s story for sure. Did it make me feel as though I would want to continue the story with them? Well, yes because I’m curious and would like to know how these two get things sorted out and would like to see how Kelly matures with all this emotional turmoil he has been put through. Also I’m sure his modelling career will not be forever, jobs like that are also very fleeting. You’re the top of the pile one month and the next no longer in fashion. So I would like to see where this goes and how Kelly handles this.
Jay writes extremely well, bringing emotions to surface in a myriad of characters. He introduces us to Jared, Kelly’s best friend until it all goes wrong, to Kelly’s parents and younger brother who show love as a family the way it should be, William's parents who are the exact opposite of Kelly’s, his best friend Bonnie upbeat with a wonderful sense of humour, Ben who steals William from him, Allison the counsellor, Marcello the photo studio owner and manager, and last but not least Nathaniel who could be Kelly’s real true love. Well, here’s to hoping anyway. Quite a character study in itself. They all play their role in Kelly’s story and are an intricate part of the person he is and has become, all woven really well into the backdrop of Kelly’s world so to speak. Jay has produced a novel once again that for me is well balanced, puts his MCs through their paces in the romance stakes, an extensive plot line that is well thought out spanning several years and many interconnecting events. A very enjoyable read indeed!
Video Guest Post
A personal hello from Jay where he talks about his book and relationships. Do opposites attract? Then listen to what Jay has to say.
Connect with 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.
Anything else you’d like to know, feel free to ask. Reading my blog will reveal most of my hobbies and interests as well. Or you can check out the interviews below. And hey, just so this isn’t all about me, feel free to tell me about yourself below. We can start our own biography party!
Purchase Links for Something Like Lightning
Jay’s book Something Like Summer is in the process of being turned into a film! Check out the progress here and if you’re interested then get involved.
Read MARK’S REVIEW of SOMETHING LIKE SUMMER HERE.
Jay’s book Something Like Fall will see the return of Benjamin Bentley in a special new story. Anyone contributing to the Something Like Summer movie fundraiser will get an eBook copy for free from Jay!
This story is exclusive to the Indiegogo campaign, so act quickly!
Jay will be giving away a signed paperback copy of his book Kamikaze Boys which he also talked about in his video. All you have to do is enter the draw.
Don’t forget about our December Giveaway either, just answer the question and comment below.
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