Friday, March 18, 2011
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
American release date: August 17, 2010
Format/Genre/Length: Kindle/M/M Romance/166 pages
Publisher/Industry Age Rating: Mature/Explicit Content
Overall Personal Rating: A
Nineteen year old Quinn Yamamoto is going off to his second year of college at Colorado State University. It's an exciting time for him, and although he knows he'll miss his mother and his eight year old sister Rayme, he is looking forward to returning to the college life he has come to enjoy. Rayme has given her brother a stuffed animal to remember her by, what else does he need?
Quinn has a new roommate this year, senior Tage MacCallister. Taking advantage of the fact that he is actually two weeks early - his desire to get all his ducks in a row before classes start - Quinn finds himself sitting at the old upright piano in the dorm common room, and how can he resist playing? He can't, and before he knows it, he's attracted an audience, thanks to his tuneful tickling of the ivories. That's how he meets some fellow musicians, who are also at the school early - Tim, and Raj, as well as his roommate Tage. They tell him about a place called the Blue Rose, where they work during the school year, playing music, and earning some money. Hey, why doesn't he come with them, maybe he can get on there too? Why not, Quinn thinks. So they all head off to the Blue Rose, being hungry - aren't college students always hungry? - to see if Quinn has what it takes to be one of them. And that is when he meets Enjoji.
If you didn't know you were looking for it, the Blue Rose is the sort of place you might easily pass by. Unpretentious on the outside, the inside is a warm family style steakhouse, with cream colored cloth tablecloths and napkins embroidered with blue roses. Quinn feels immediately at home. And when he meets Enjoji, he can't stop staring into the darkest eyes he's ever seen, like endless pools. Something gets into Quinn and he challenges the older man musically, which takes Enjoji aback but he meets the challenge and the two square off, each displaying their talents. The other guys join them and they have a rollicking impromptu jam session which lasts for hours. The customers get the best of it, and a good time is had by all. By the end of the night, the boys are feeling their liquor, so Enjoji, who is used to it, has Quinn help bring them upstairs, to his quarters, where they bed them down. There is no room left for Quinn, though, except in Enjojoi's room. So they get to know one another, finding they have much in common, including a Japanese heritage, although Quinn is only half Japanese, but he knows some of the language and the customs.
The more Quinn sees of Enjoji, the more attracted to him he is. Too bad he's straight, eh? But in the middle of the night, in close proximity, a lot can happen, and it does, and lightning strikes these two as over the course of the night they fall in love. Quinn moves in with Enjoji, besides getting the job at the Blue Rose, and life is beautiful. He tells his mom and Rayme about Enjoji, and they can't wait to meet him. But an unexpected turn of events leads them to go to see Quinn's family sooner than expected, when he learns that his mother is ill - terminally so - and his sister needs him. In the course of dealing with this crisis, others reveal themselves, and life has just gotten way tricky for these two, as secrets are uncovered on both sides. Can they transcend these things and stay together, or will the skeletons in their closets tear them apart? Can love triumph over all?
The debut novel of author Sui Lynn is unabashedly hot and sweet and romantic. The love at first sight between Quinn and Enjoji is beautiful, and reading about the two of them together gave me goosebumps. I found myself anxiously turning the pages to see what would happen when things started going south (not literally, it's an ebook, after all). I cheered with them, and I cried with them, but most of all, I felt for them, shared their joy in finding one another as they explored their fledgling relationship, and pledged their eternal love to one another.
Sui Lynn has a way of getting into her characters and exposing their hearts for all to see. By the time you finish Blue Rose, you'll really have come to know Enjoji and Quinn. The plot has twists and turns which will leave you breathless, and you'll wonder if they can possibly get past certain things which threaten to crush them and their new found love. Many books have sex scenes, that isn't unusual, but what interests me is the ability of the writer to make a sex scene into a love scene, which Sui does, very well. It's not enough to read about meshing body parts, anyone can do that, that doesn't mean much - it's the love involved that makes the difference. And her love scenes are hot and romantic both. She brings them to life very handily.
But it's more than the love scenes. I found myself crying over the scenes with Quinn and his mother, their last scenes, in the hospital. She fills them with a tenderness which will tug at your heart strings and make you feel not just the pain but the bittersweet pangs of goodbye. As well as being there for the person you love.
I recommend Blue Rose to anyone who wants a really sweet love story, as well as a hot romance - once you read it, you'll want to read it again, and re-experience it. I look forward to seeing what this exciting new writer has in store for us in the future!
Love at first sight, Blue Rose is like a fresh baked cinnamon roll - hot and sticky and very sweet! Betcha can't eat just one!