Finally, here I am with the promised book review! Sorry to announce it and then disappear. I'll be back again on the weekend with another post.
When One Door Opens, by JD Ruskin
If you like sweet M/M romance with laugh-out-loud humor, you're going to love this book. Logan is an ex-alcoholic of the violent variety, and also an ex-con. Out on parole, he knows he is lucky to have been given a second chance to turn his life around. Unfortunately, every new day outside of the rigid structure of prison life presents him with stressful situations that bring with them the temptation to slide back into his bad old ways. His new job barely pays him enough to live, and he's being sexually harassed by his immediate supervisor. The last thing he needs is a love affair with the boss's nephew.
Caleb, the aforementioned nephew, has troubles of his own. He's agoraphobic and hasn't left his apartment for three years. His uncle hires people to make necessary deliveries to him and hold brief conversations with him so that he doesn't completely lose human contact with the outside world. When Logan realizes how attracted he is to Caleb, he knows he should tell his boss to find someone else. But he really needs the money, and more importantly, he can't get Caleb out of his head.
What follows is a beautiful love story between two broken individuals who find ways to help each other heal. Logan's struggle to resist the call of alcohol and Caleb's very real fears of going outside and dealing with strangers are meticulously structured and detailed in ways that the reader can relate to.
Speaking purely for myself, I found it easier to understand Logan since (a) I sort of have experience with cravings for substances that are bad for me (sugar, anyone?), and (b) I tend to identify with the seme/top anyway. However, that said, It was enormously interesting to go inside Caleb's head as the story carried me along and really consider for the first time ever, the life-challenges faced by agoraphobics and/or people who regularly experience panic attacks.
If you like hot sex scenes, the book does deliver, although you may have to wait through the build up unless you skip ahead. Don't skip ahead-- this is a lovely, well-plotted build up, and was completely necessary and realistic, considering Caleb's hang-ups and Logan's fear of getting fired.
The kiss in Caleb's kitchen during the cookie-baking scene was one of the hottest and most memorable loves scenes I have ever read anywhere, and the two characters hadn't so much as seen each other with their clothes off yet!
At the end of the book, the characters had not been 'miraculously healed through love', because that would not be realistic. But they had helped each other through major hurdles and were both well on the road to recovery. The author has definitely left the door open for a sequel, as this book was slightly more weighted in favor of Caleb's recovery and less so for Logan's. Or at least, let's say that Caleb made greater strides in a shorter time. Recovery from severe alcoholism and the underlying conditions that caused it seems to be a slower and more ongoing process, at least in the understanding of this layperson. I, for one, would like to read more about these two, and since Logan was my favorite character, I hope the next book features lots of Logan!
(end spoiler alert)
You can read other reviews here at goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/book/
The publisher is Dreamspinner Press http://www.dreamspinnerpress.