Saturday, August 12, 2017

Random Review: Becoming Kerry by Lynn Kelling #Review #Giveaway

Author: Lynn Kelling
Book: Becoming Kerry
Genres: , , , , , ,
Collections: ,
 Lon Sarver, Rylan Hunter
Production Editor(s): Kaye O'Malley
Cover Designer(s): Siol na Tine
Cover Art Credit(s): Adapted from photos © Visivasnc & © MinervaStudio at
Proofreader(s): Emma Williams
Length: Novel
Word Count: 92,000
Chapter(s): 32
Publication Date: (Day-Month-Year) 08-08-2017
Serialization Date: (Day-Month-Year) upcoming

Reviewed by Erin


Kerry Sanderson’s life is falling apart. He’s crushing himself to fit into the boxes others have put him in: dutiful son, good boyfriend, real man. But even the small rebellions he’s fought for himself—moving into a sketchy part of town and becoming an exotic dancer—aren’t giving him the freedom he needs. Ewyn Garrity, a security guard at the gay club where Kerry dances, has found himself in protecting others. Everyone thinks he’s straight, but Ewyn doesn’t fit into simple boxes, either. When he meets Kerry, he makes a not completely innocent offer of company after work.

Ewyn and Kerry hit it off, each finding something he desperately needs in the other. But when Kerry is forced to confront the pain and self-doubt that keep him crushed in his boxes, he’s afraid that no one, not even Ewyn, will be able to love who he is when he finally, truly becomes Kerry.

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Lynn Kelling books aren't for the faint of heart. Her dark, often erotic, romances are gritty and raw and intense. I wasn't exactly sure what to expect when I picked up Becoming Kerry, but by the end I was in absolute awe of Kelling's beautiful story of becoming who you were always meant to be. She has a way of writing characters who are larger than life but so real you can't help but become completely engrossed in their stories. 

Kerry Sanderson has not had the easiest life. At only twenty years old, Kerry has endured more in his short life than most people could withstand. Abuse--both mental and physical--bullying, identity issues, the traumatic loss of a loved one...the list is extensive. Kerry struggles with fitting in--with his family, friends, and the world at large. He tries so hard, contorts himself into impossible boxes to try to please everyone and of course this leaves him not only confused but lonely. When he meets Ewyn Garrity, it doesn't take long for him to find out that Ewyn accepts him just as he is. The feelings that develop between Kerry and Ewyn are fast and strong but I fully believed in their connection. It was genuine and authentic and each needed the other so badly and were so perfect for one another. Ewyn might even be a little too perfect, if there is such a thing, but for Kerry, for the story Kelling tells, he was just awesome. A knight in shining armor with a heart of gold, who loves his mother fiercely, and a comforting, easy presence that Kerry so desperately needs. That's not to say he's not intense, because he is, and when he turns all that focus toward Kerry it's a palpable thing. 

As for Kerry, he blooms under Ewyn's careful, attentive care. When he's severely injured and Ewyn's mother comes to help, the blooming continues. I was really fascinated by the way Kelling showed the dichotomy of Kerry's strength and combined that with his need to submit. Of course we all know, or should know, that it takes a person of great mental fortitude to be able to submit to another, but at first glance, Kerry might seem to be this waifish, demure person when the opposite is true. What he needs more than anything, what Ewyn gives so selflessly and fully, is a safe space to explore the feelings he's buried inside for so long. The ones that tell him he's other. That sometimes he wants to wake up in the morning, put on a pretty dress, makeup, and jewelry and be called she instead of he.  

Kerry's transformation--and I'm not simply talking about him embracing his female identity--into a strong, bold, confident woman was nothing short of beautiful and heartwarming. It's not without pain, but it's handled with such grace and respect that it's truly something special. This book is about a journey toward self-discovery and acceptance. It's also a beautiful romance that is tender and sweet even during the most intense sex scenes. It's also about family and forgiveness. While some people might not understand all of Kerry's actions toward his step-father, it's really not for us to say how and when and why someone should forgive another for causing them pain. I applaud Kelling for the way she dealt with Kerry and his family. It totally fit with Kerry's personality. 

Becoming Kerry is a truly stunning book that is at times brutally painful and then is sweepingly romantic and happy. I would urge you to read the publisher's note at the beginning of the book and heed the trigger warnings if you are sensitive to abuse, violence, and rape. But I also urge you to read the heartfelt author's note at the end because it's every bit as important and moving as the book itself. Do yourself a favor and be sure to pick up this book. It's inspiring, emotional, and will leave you with such a strong sense of peace and happiness.


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