Monday, June 29, 2015

Book Blast: M/M ~ Brick by Brick by Cate Ashwood & L.J. LaBarthe ~ (ARC Review, Excerpt + Giveaway)

Book Blast: M/M ~ Brick by Brick by Cate Ashwood & L.J. LaBarthe ~ (ARC Review, Excerpt + Giveaway)
Book Information:
Author Name: Cate Ashwood & L.J. LaBarthe
Book Name: Brick by Brick
Release Date: June 29, 2015
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Bree Archer

Buy The Book:


They say that time heals all wounds, but losing Parley, his one true love, left Zach with a hole in his heart that no one else can fill. After forty-eight blissful hours alone together as teens in an abandoned house, Parley disappeared. Parley is what he is, and the pray-away-the-gay camp his parents ship him to won’t change that. However, finding the balance between accepting his true nature and not losing his family means tough sacrifices.
Sixteen years later, Zach is thunderstruck when Parley stands on the front doorstep of his house—the house that had been their refuge, which Zach restored. But Parley isn’t alone, and Zach wonders if he’s found Parley only to lose him a second time. If they can overcome the terrors of the past and the situation of the present, maybe they can build a new relationship just as Zach rebuilt the house—brick by brick.

Pages or Words: 62,000 words
Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay fiction, M/M Romance

ZACH FELT as if he was floating. He’d been planning this escape for weeks, but now that it was actually happening, it didn’t seem real. He chanced a quick look at Parley as they merged onto the highway. What could possibly be better than running away with his best friend?
He’d had his doubts that Parley would actually come with him. After being turned down the first time, Zach had prepared himself for disappointment, but now they were leaving together and Zach couldn’t have been happier.

“Where should we go?” Zach asked. He had some vague ideas in mind, but he wanted his friend’s input more than anything.

“I don’t know. Somewhere we can’t be found?” Zach was right on board with that.

“That’s a good idea. We’ll go for a bit on this highway, then we’ll exit and take some back roads, maybe head toward the interior.”

Parley dropped his head back against the seat. “Perfect.” After a time, he said, “I still can’t believe we’re doing this.”

“I still can’t believe you came with me,” Zach countered.

“I can’t either. I must be insane.”

“Or brilliant. It’s usually a fine line,” Zach teased.

“My parents are going to have an absolute meltdown once they’ve found out what I’ve done. They’re going to be so upset.”

Parley’s voice was quiet, barely above a whisper. Zach had seen him like this once before when he’d thought he’d lost his weird CTR ring with the spinner chain in the band.

“It’ll all be okay.” Zach tried to soothe him, to bring him back to the present, and rested a gentle hand on Parley’s knee. “Everyone flies from the nest sooner or later. We just did it in an unconventional way. I really do think this is what’s best, though, for both of us.”

Zach’s reassurance seemed to work. Parley blinked slowly a few times and then a somewhat disheartened smile crept onto his face. “I know, but my family is just… different.” 

Tracy's Review:

4 Stars

*copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by author/publisher via Pride Promotions in exchange for an honest review*

Parley and Zach meet in high school. Parley is a good academic student, very Christian and quiet.

Zach is the total opposite. He is loud and curses. He is into sports, but not doing so well academically.

Parley and Zach are thrown into one another's lives when Parley tutors Zach. Even though they are not alike, they find a common a ground and form a strong friendship.

Zach knows he'll never be good enough to go to college like his parents aspect him to, so he decides after his finals are all taken, he will run away. He asks Parley, his best friend to go with him. Parley says no at first, but quickly changes his mind. He is in love with Zach and can't see his life without him.

The two don't make it far before the beater Zach bought breaks down. They are eventually caught and brought back to their parents. Zach tries to see Parley, but his parents have sent him away, to a conversion camp. I'm going to stop right here and thank the authors. I have read The Pray The Gay Away series by Sara York, and when I got to this point in the book, I almost closed it. I can't take that. It tore me up more than almost anything I have ever read, when I read those scenes in Sara's series. Thank God, the authors skip ahead 16 years. We see none of the gory details.

After 16 years Parley shows up on Zach's door step. Zach has spent the past 16 years never giving up hope that he would find Parley. He has never given up on his one true love.

This was a good story, and I enjoyed it. It was well written and different. Different in the fact that usually we would start the story either as a prologue or in the present, but here we see things in real time, as they happen, until the point these young men are torn apart.

The characters had a good chemistry, and the relationship developed slowly when they were teens, but when they get together as adults, I felt things were a bit rushed. The authors didn't really take the time to have the characters get reacquainted, and get to know each other again. 16 years is a long time and experiences change people. I just wish the authors would have taken things a little more gradually in the second half of the book.

The relationship between the main characters was sweet and intense. The secondary characters of Zach's assistant, Tessa, and Parley's friend, Veronica and his Sister Emma, play a big part in this book. Sometimes with Veronica, almost too big of a part. I wish she would have been kept more as a background character, and more time devoted to Parley and Zach.

All in all this was a good story and I enjoyed it.

About The Authors:
About L.J. LaBarthe:
L.J. LaBarthe is a French-Australian woman, who was born during the Witching Hour, just after midnight. From this auspicious beginning, she went on to write a prize-winning short story about Humpty Dumpty wearing an Aussie hat complete with corks dangling from it when she was six years old. From there, she wrote for her high school yearbook, her university newspaper, and, from her early teens to her twenties, produced a fanzine about the local punk rock music scene. She loves music of all kinds and was once a classical pianist; she loves languages and speaks French and English and a teeny-tiny smattering of Mandarin Chinese, which she hopes to relearn properly very soon. She enjoys TV, film, travel, cooking, eating out, abandoned places, urbex, history, and researching.

L.J. loves to read complicated plots and hopes to do complex plot lines justice in her own writing. She writes paranormal, historical, urban fantasy, and contemporary Australian stories, usually m/m romance and featuring m/m erotica. She has won a Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention and another award for Best Historical Gay Novel.

L.J. lives in the city of Adelaide, and is owned by her cat.

Where to find L.J LaBarthe:
Twitter: @brbsiberia

About Cate Ashwood:
Cate Ashwood wrote her very first story in a hot-pink binder when she was in the second grade and found her passion for writing. Her first successful foray into romance writing came five years later when she wrote her best friend, who was experiencing a case of unrequited love, her own happily ever after.

Cate’s life has taken a number of different and adventurous roads. She now lives a stone’s throw from the ocean, just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia with her husband, her little boy, and their two cats. Her life is filled with family and friends, travel, and, of course, books.

Where to find Cate Ashwood:
Twitter: @cateashwood

Tour Dates & Stops:
Rafflecopter Prize: An e-copy of ‘Brick by Brick’

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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