Monday, May 8, 2017

Review Tour ~ Starting From Scratch by Jay Northcote ~ (Review)

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK 

Cover: Garrett Leigh

Length: 57,000 words

The Housemates Series is a collection of standalone stories set around a student house in Britain. Each book focuses on new characters, with themes of self-discovery and sexual awakening.

Helping Hand (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK

Like A Lover (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK
Practice Makes Perfect (Book #3) Amazon US | Amazon UK
Watching and Wanting (Book #4) Amazon US | Amazon UK


Starting over isn’t easy, but Ben is ready to live his life as the man he was always meant to be.

Ben is transgender and back at university after hormone treatment and chest surgery. His new housemates have no idea about his history and Ben would prefer to keep it that way. He’s starting from scratch and his life is finally on track, except in the romance department. The idea of dating guys as a guy is exhilarating but terrifying, because if Ben wants a boyfriend he’ll have to disclose his secret.

Sid is drawn to Ben from the moment they meet. He normally gets what he wants—in the short term at least. Ben’s guarded at first, and Sid’s not used to guys rejecting his advances. He eventually charms his way through Ben’s defences and helps Ben on his journey of sexual awakening.

It doesn’t matter to Sid that Ben is trans. He’s attracted to the whole person, and isn’t worried about what is—or isn’t—in Ben’s pants. They’re good together, and both of them are falling hard and fast, but Ben’s insecurities keep getting in the way. If Sid can convince Ben he's committed, will Ben finally be able to put his heart on the line?

Although this book is part of the Housemates series, it has new main characters, a satisfying happy ending, and can be read as a standalone.

5 Stars!!

I've read a few stories now that have featured a  transgender character, and while they've all seemed to be well researched, but it was interesting to read a story written from the point of view of someone who themselves is transitioning. The story was not only entertaining and enjoyable, as are all of the other books I've read by Jay in the past, but it was informative and educational, as well. It answered questions I had, mostly about how a transgender person feels. You can do all the research in the world, but it doesn't compare to hearing it from someone who's experienced it first hand. I can't imagine the strength and courage it must have taken for Jay to open himself up and share his deepest, most inner thoughts and feelings.

I absolutely loved Ben and Sid. I especially loved how accepting Sid was of Ben. He had questions, but he did his own research and was careful as to try not to offend or hurt Ben's feelings or to make him anymore self-conscious than he already was. These are both likable characters you can root for. As deep as the subject matter is, the story is on the lighter side. There is some angst, but not as much as I would have expected. The story is well-written and paced well. It's filled with friendship, love, hurt, healing acceptance and steamy sex. Of course, I always love getting to catch-up a bit with the other characters from this series and I'm really hoping Johnny and Ryan's story is next. **hint hint nudge nudge**

Excellent story that's highly recommendable!!

*Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn’t a requirement.*

Author Bio

Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.

Jay is transgender and was formerly known as she/her.
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