Sunday, November 01, 2015

Review: Found at the Library by Christi Snow

RL1Title ~ Found at the Library

Author ~ Christi Snow

Published ~ 23rd October

Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance





His entire life, Tommy Garrett has dealt with self-doubts. He thought he’d conquered the majority of them until a chance meeting with an author brought his illiteracy to the forefront...again. Growing up with un-diagnosed dyslexia has left Tommy barely able to read, but books are his Nirvana. Now he spends his life creating art dedicated to the love of those “untouchable” items.
Robert McIntyre, Mac, is a best-selling, highly celebrated author. But his point of view has become a little bit too narrow...until Tommy opens his eyes. That chance meeting has changed everything about his world. He has no idea how to find the beautiful man he met, and offended, at the library book sale. But when he does, Tommy’s life is in crisis-mode. It’s the holidays and Mac can’t just standby when Tommy needs help, whether Tommy wants it or not.
Two artistic men. One shared passion for books.
Life is hard, and sometimes when conflict arises you have to write your own plot twist to pull yourself out of the fray.

Alan’s Review

“Found at the Library” is a heart-warming and charming book. Ms. Snow grabs the reader at the very first paragraph and doesn’t let go until the very last page. It’s a joy to read, with its authentic characters, beautifully-rendered settings, and a whole lot of affection for its characters, their lives, challenges and love.

It’s a book about books. It brilliantly defines a unique intersection between the written word and visual art. It’s about two talented people who love the same thing, for different reasons, and with different results.

Mac is a best-selling author who reveres books, whose whole life is dedicated to the written word, and not just his own. When “Found at the Library” opens, Mac is volunteering at a Friends of The Library charity book sale. He is happy to see so many people seeking out books, donating them, funding the library, and the written word being preserved for whole new generations of readers.

One gorgeous young man, Tommy, buys a huge number of books – cartons of them. Mac is asked to help him load them into Tommy’s ancient delivery truck, which he is more than happy to do, because he’s ridiculously attracted to this beautiful man. However, his flirty friendliness turns into intense – and vocal – disapproval when he asks Tommy why he bought so many books to read, and Tommy responds: “I don’t read”.

A few days later, his agent drags him along to an opening at one of the top art galleries in Denver to view an exhibit involving books. He’s not very interested in attending for two reasons: the gallery owner, Stig, is his ex; and he simply can’t abide the thought of books being destroyed to satisfy the ego of some third-rate artist. On the other hand, Stig doesn’t show third-rate artists.

What he sees in the gallery throws him for a loop. The art is sheer genius. Yes, it is books, and they are all cut up. But they are also sculpted into the most remarkable three-dimensional scenes that exquisitely and insightfully express the themes of the books they’re sculpted from. He ventures into a small back gallery, where he’s blown away – the single, not-for-sale, breathtaking sculpture on display is cut from one of his own books, and he is profoundly moved at how brilliantly the artist caught exactly what Mac intended, what he hoped he’d communicated, in his book. The artist revealed and illuminated Mac’s very soul, creativity and passion in a 3-D sculpture cut from the pages of his book, his own words the only decoration.

He desperately needs to meet the artist, but due to a family emergency, he’s not at his own opening. Mac does the next best thing, he calls Stig, the next day, and purchases every work in the show, which he then donates to the Denver Library to be exhibited to the public.

Eventually, Mac makes his way to the artist’s shop, a small, not very successful, gift and curio store, the works all created by the artist, with his studio above. When he finally meets the artist, he simultaneously realizes that he’s Tommy, the man he met at the book sale, who does not read, and that he was also a complete ass to him the only time they’d ever met face-to-face.

The couple is off-and-running. It’s true that they are both passionate about books, but Tommy doesn’t read them, because he’s dyslexic. That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t “read”, just not the written word. He plumbs the infinite world of books through audio books, and his sculptures are homages to the artists who create the books he cannot read.

Mac worms his way into the struggling artist’s life through innumerable acts of kindness, though Tommy can’t quite figure out what his angle is. What could an accomplished author, a wealthy man, at the top of the best-seller list, possibly want with a struggling, reading-disabled artist and what’s left of the wreckage of his family?

This tension drives the beautifully-written relationship between these two authentic characters. There are moments of great affection, even love, other moments of self-doubt and fear. But it’s absolutely beautiful to watch these two men become inevitable, the man who writes and the one who cannot read, but inspires him to be a better writer. The tenderness between the two is often moving. There are moments that are truly sexy, more than a few moments of pure charm, and the reader is whisked along on a glorious journey by this very talented author.

One of the best parts of the book is the section towards the end, when Mac has to convince Tommy that he truly loves him, exactly as he is. He convinces him in the most unusual (but surprisingly fitting) way, by sending self-narrated chapters of his unreleased book, the one he inspired, to Tommy, so he can see Mac’s love for him through the eyes of its characters.

I’ve never encountered such an unusual expression of love in a book – I’ve often read about musicians penning or performing songs to express their devotion and affection, but never read of any artist expressing their love for someone through the characters in a novel. But, why not? Musicians, authors, playwrights, directors, painters, sculptors - they’re all artists, all telling tales through the music of their souls, with words, paint, music, some even sculpting books in the air. It’s all the same act of baring the artist’s soul, just different media.

I really did love this book. It’s a gentle book. Though not without its challenges, it mostly centers on the art and the love of the two main characters, and of a family they build and share, a family that creates itself out of the force that binds these two men together.

Please read this book. Your spirit will be lifted, your soul touched, I promise you.  

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  1. Oh wow...this is such an amazing review. I'm so happy you liked the book. Thank you so much for reading and reviewing. Smiles...

  2. This sounds wonderful! I am adding it quickly to my TBR!!

  3. I am also adding this to my TBR list. I love books too.