Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Review Tour: Helix by Anna Martin #Review #Giveaway

Length: 61,000 words approx.

Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press


When high school student James has trouble with his truck, Dylan, who is studying to be a mechanic, comes to the rescue. James thinks he hides his immediate attraction well, but is happy to be wrong when Dylan asks for his number. Since James is new to romance, they take things slowly, and because Dylan is in college, James keeps the budding relationship secret from his overprotective dad.

Across town, Mark, a teacher and single father to James and his sister, Frankie, meets Steve at a bar for what both believe will be a quick hookup. Mark doesn’t see any reason to tell his kids about Steve or press Steve for details about Steve’s adopted son…. It’s just sex between them. Isn’t it?

Two very different love stories grow side by side, each hidden from the other. But all of that changes at a family barbecue, when Mark decides it’s time for his kids to meet Steve and for him to meet James’s boyfriend, who none of them realize is Steve’s son, Dylan. The inevitable explosion means the two couples have some explaining to do to soothe the hurt feelings of their families—and lovers.


What are the chances of your dad potentially dating your boyfriend’s dad? Surely that just can’t possibly happen and yet that’s exactly what occurs to poor James. When he meets the quiet mechanic in training after his truck decides to catch on fire, James is initially both intrigued and a little scared—after all Dylan rarely smiles and is pretty quiet but there’s something about the guy that draws James in. Plus Dylan is older and that means James is very reluctant to tell anyone about him when they start dating given the fact that he knows his dad will instantly disapprove of Dylan’s age. Dylan doesn’t really mean to wear a constant scowl but life has not always been kind to the young man. H was bounced from foster home to foster home until he was nearly fourteen years old and a gay man took the chance and adopted him. Steve and Dylan have spent quite a few years working through all the bad memories that made Dylan the angry young man he was. It also meant that Dylan couldn’t deal with conventional high school so instead Steve home-schooled the teen and he not only got his GED but was now on his way to becoming a fully certified mechanic. Meanwhile James is finishing his last year of high school, having just turned eighteen, and also having no clue as to exactly what he wants to do with this life after graduation. The two guys shouldn’t really fit and yet they do. In fact, the only thing that is clear to James is that if he has his way, Dylan will be part of his future—that is, until they discover their dads are dating and all hell breaks loose.

Anna Martin has provided quite the interesting twist in her latest novel, Helix. Exploring both a casual hookup turned tentative relationship between the two older men, Steve and Mark, the author decides to take up the awkward factor ten notches and has the two boys falling for each other at the same time unbeknownst to any of them. So rather than once romance we get two and both have their difficulties. For Mark and Steve, the idea that neither of them has had a serious relationship recently means that they both grapple with just how to go about trusting each other and whether they seriously want to explore the idea of starting up something permanent when casual sex is all either of them has had for quite some time. Both Mark and Steve are traveling new territory with each other and they are just at that stage where they are ready to meet each other’s kids and then the world implodes.

James had been keeping Dylan a secret not because he was ashamed of him but because he knew his dad would not approve of the age gap—Steve is twenty-one. Dylan, on the other hand, is used to keeping his life private and finds it hard to share a great deal with his stepdad Steve---something they have worked through and are comfortable with despite Steve wishing Dylan were more forthcoming and trusted him. So the idea that none of these guys knew about the others was quite realistic and felt like a train wreck waiting to happen. This novel was a journey of two different relationships that had many of the same obstacles. For Mark ad Steve it all came down to just how much they trusted and believed in getting a second chance at a happy ever after. For Dylan and James it was whether their love could stand the test of potentially being apart for the four years James went to college and the two of them had to deal with the potential loneliness and strain that separation would put on their fledgling relationship.

I really liked how nothing was easy for either couple—instead the author chose to go with a more realistic approach and force these guys to struggle with real-life problems. I wasn’t keen on how hard Mark ended up coming down on James when it all came out in the open but then again a protective parent can be a bit over the top in such a crazy situation. I also felt the ending of this novel was a bit rushed making it feel as though the author ran out of story and needed to suddenly tie things up to achieve that elusive happy ever after. However, the journey these guys took and the juxtaposition of the young love against the backdrop of the older men getting their second chance at happiness was nicely done and made for an entertaining story overall.

Author Bio

Anna Martin is from a picturesque seaside village in the southwest of England and now lives in the Bristol, a city that embraces her love for the arts. After spending most of her childhood making up stories, she studied English literature at university before attempting to turn her hand as a professional writer.

Apart from being physically dependent on her laptop, Anna is enthusiastic about writing and producing local grassroots theater (especially at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she can be found every summer), going to visit friends in other countries, and reading anything thatís put under her nose.

Anna claims her entire career is due to the love, support, prereading, and creative ass kicking provided by her best friend Jennifer. Jennifer refuses to accept responsibility for anything Anna has written.


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