Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Review: Take Me Home by Sloan Parker


Sloan Parker
Take Me Home
Loos Id, December 13, 2011 | 247 pages

Links: Author´s website | Goodreads | Buy book here

Backblurb:
Aspiring television writer Evan Walker has been in love with his best friend since high school, but Kyle doesn’t do boyfriends. Never has. Never will. Evan knows it’s a bad idea to give in to desire when he wants more than a friend with benefits. He has a new dream job. Now all he needs is the dream partner. Kyle Bennett is a mystery novelist with a severe case of writer’s block. He needs a change. He has three days on their cross-country train trip home for the holidays to figure out how to tell Evan he’s staying there for good. He also has to write the overdue pages for his editor. Only, he’s a little too distracted by the close quarters in their sleeper compartment—and Evan’s ass—to get much done. The sparks that fly between them are hotter than ever. Good thing they have a real-life mystery to focus on: why people all around them, including Evan’s new boss, want to get their hands on a journal that once belonged to Kyle’s grandfather. When a blizzard traps them in the mountains, Kyle and Evan steam up the train’s windows and must finally face their true desires.


Genre & Keywords:
M/M Romance, Contemporary, Suspense, Mystery, Friends become Lovers, Hollywood, Writer, Train trip, Snow storm, Holidays

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Rating: 4.75 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 2.5 out of 3
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Writing a review about a book that you absolutely loved and read in almost one sitting is never easy. Doing so, when it concerns a book from an author whose other work you also couldn’t put down and totally adored, is even more difficult. What makes it hard is to find the right (and new) words to express how enjoyable and emotionally satisfying the book was. Sloan Parker is becoming one of those authors who I doubt can ever disappoint me with her writing. I love her voice, her plots, her flawed, three-dimensional heroes and their chemistry, the emotional impact her books have on me, and the intensely gratifying sexual tension and hot love scenes her stories have no lack of.

I was thinking that maybe her third novel, Take Me Home, wouldn’t be able to live up to the high expectations I had after loving her first two novels, More and Breathe, so much. I even postponed reading it for a bit, because I didn’t want to be disappointed. However, I should’ve known that she would deliver again, even while I had my extra critical glasses on. Looking through those glasses I only noticed a little bit of too much perfection – if that is even possible – regarding the pace of the mystery plot in this book. So, if I had to mention one niggle it would’ve been that it felt sort of over-plotted when it comes to the mystery. Parker is using the old trick of the mystery genre of handing out bits and pieces of information at well-planned moments, and especially the holding back that goes along with that trick becomes a bit frustrating at some points. However, this paradoxically enhanced the reading enjoyment this book offered for me too.

Let’s talk about the heroes of Take Me Home. Evan and Kyle are old friends that once shared a hot kiss about ten years ago. Since then, Evan has been in a relationship that ended 6 months ago, while Kyle never had a serious relationship during those ten years. They seem to want opposite things when it comes to commitment and that’s what kept them apart all those years. Now, however, Evan stays in Kyle’s guest room after the breakup and the sexual tension between them is building steadily. When they make plans to travel home for the holidays together by train, which means sharing a small sleeper car for days, there’s bound to happen something between them. Problem is, Evan thinks Kyle isn’t interested in a long term relationship, while Evan isn’t looking for a temporary hot fling, especially not with his best friend Kyle, whose friendship he could lose over it.
Fortunately, we know from an early stage in the story, that Kyle’s one-night-stand behavior is rooted in his love for Evan. It just took him years to admit those feelings to himself. And now he only has to share them with Evan, were it not that whenever they are alone ‘the talk’ that would clear up all the misunderstandings, gets delayed by one reason or another.

A great deal of the suspense in this story is caused by that postponed ‘moment of truth’ between the two lovers. Thankfully, they don’t hold back on the hot sex on their way there! Another part of the suspense stems from the fragmentized delivery of the journal entries from Kyle’s grandfather. There’s a secret to be revealed in the journal, we know that much because a TV show is after the journal and wants it bad, while at the same time mysterious things happen on the train ride. So, external factors keep derailing Evan and Kyle from their big moment of revelations regarding their feelings. At the same time their intimate scenes keep us readers on the edge of our seats every time they interrupt the mystery plot. It’s a fine balance Parker is trying to hold, and as I said before, it gets quite frustrating at times because she forces her readers to be patient on both levels. The snow storm only adds to that suspense arc. The ‘break’ during that storm that led them to the cabin where they stayed one night, started out rather nerve-racking. I admit, I loved that Parker is so incredibly in control of the pacing, to the point of frustration.

Another well directed aspect of this story is the richness of the secondary cast. There are just enough characters to keep it accessible and at the same time interesting enough regarding the riddle who the ‘bad guy’ is. Also, Evan’s ex-boyfriend wasn’t just a figure in the background, but came out to play a small role and functions as a catalyst as well. I liked that. As much as I liked the glimpses we got from Kyle’s grandfather’s life through his journal entries.
Additionally, the scenery of the train ride, the landscape and the frightening snow storm were all described in a colorful and expressive way. For me they added to the enjoyable reading experience that this book provided as well.

In the end the heroes arrive at their parents’ houses right in time for the holiday celebrations. There all the plot threads come together in a very satisfying solution. The wrap up is perfectly done, no open ends are left, and Kyle and Evan finally get their hard-worked for HEA! It took them a while to get there, but in the meantime we got treated to buckets full of sexual tension, delicious anticipation, suspense, wonderful emotional build-up, hot smexing and finally ultimate satisfaction. This couple and their adventures still cross my mind every now and then, months after I read the book. It’s their chemistry as much as the feelings they put me through that makes them unforgettable.
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10 comments:

  1. *perks*

    Off to get this one. I LOVE the set-up. I'm not sure if I've read Breathe or More..must go check Goodreads! Thanks for the review!

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    1. I look forward to your thoughts on this one, Mandi!

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  2. Now that is some review. Loved how you took a deeper look at the story! Very well done!

    It's a very well written story and I loved read it!

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    1. Thanks, Lis. :) Glad you loved it too!

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  3. I enjoyed this one, albeit not as much as you did! :)

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    1. I'm curious what it was that made you enjoy it less, Chris.

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  4. I have heard great things about this author! I need to grab one soon! Thanks for the great review

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    1. I think you'll like her work very much, Sharon! :D

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  5. I totally love Sloan Parker and ADORED this book. In fact, you made me want to re-read it! Great review - it reminded me of why I loved the book so much. :)

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    1. Yes, it's definitely a book worth re-reading! I can see myself doing that one day, even though I'm not much of a re-reader. :) I can't wait for her next book.

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