Thursday, November 24, 2016

Review: Sweet Scents (Sweet Briar Farm #2) by Hollis Shiloh

sweet scentsTitle ~ Sweet Scents (Sweet Briar Farm #2)

Author ~ Hollis Shiloh

Published ~ 23rd October 2016

Genre ~ Paranormal M/M Romance, Young Adult





Jon, 18, is a bunny shifter who's very youthful-looking for his age...and very gay. He's so happy with life on Sweet Briar Farm, now that he's safe and free from bullies.
Fitch, 17, is a skunk shifter who just arrived. Trusting anyone is hard for him, and he throws up a barrier of assumed toughness. He's survived a lot of pain and doesn't want more. But he can't resist Jon's warm friendliness.
The two boys are drawn inexplicably to one another. Will they be friends for life...or more than friends? And what, precisely, does that mean for two boys who'd never been particularly interested in sex?
Sweet Briar Farm is a place for them to heal, to find themselves, and to find each other...whatever that means to the two of them.

sweet gay romance set in the same world as the "Shifters and Partners" series but can be read alone


Cheryl’s Review

This was a sweet little story, and a good, solid 3.5 if not maybe a little bit more, because of all the sweet moments and delightful language it presented to me. I would give it a 3.75 if I could, just for that.

There will be people who won’t like the book because of its simplicity and the almost childlike way it’s written.

“Maybe skunks didn’t mind stinky smells because skunks were so stinky anyway. It was an unworthy thought and Jon was properly ashamed of it. But he’d still thought it.”

Yes, the writing is immature in places and sometimes the characters are frustratingly childish. It was often hard to believe, even with their histories, that these two boys were over eighteen. Jon, especially, was very childlike, but I think that was partly his character, partly his nature as a bunny shifter and partly his life experiences.

Personally, I found the childlike simplicity absolutely charming and the style of writing just added into its charm. “…there were pumpkins and leaves, and coffee tasted extra good in the chilly mornings.”

One of the things I think the book did well, was deal with the issue of asexuality. When the issue of sex first came up it was a huge hurdle for the boys. I loved that Jon diligently researched the subject, starting with typing into Google “I don’t like sex”. The resulting search was interesting and educational, even if it dipped into a rather preachy state sometimes. How the boys took the information and related it to their own situation was lovely to see.

It would be easy to say that the book has editing issues. Yes, I think there are – not with regard to typos, spelling, grammar and punctuation etc, but with regard to construction and convention – but to me that isn’t a problem at all and fits with the “feel” of the book. I think using the words “immature” and “childlike” with this story aren’t necessarily negatives.

Another thing that I very much liked about this story was how consistent it was. Jon and Fitch can’t have been easy characters to keep consistent because they are so different and so different to anything else I’ve read. However, they were kept absolutely consistent throughout. Not only that, but they grew and developed.

In many ways this could be a children’s book, at least one I would have liked my children to read as it teaches a lot, not just about the subject of asexuality, but also about tolerance and the consequences of being bad to each other, and good to each other.

On the whole, this is not the book to read if you’re looking for something gritty or with a lot of meat. It is what it is, a charming and quirky book with a sweet story and a happy ending.

“Wherever life took them, they were heading there together.

The day they took the GED…the day they got the news they’d both passed…the day they saw a meteorite overhead in the night sky through their skylight and looked at each other in astonishment, to see if it had been real….”

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