Review: Hello Forever by Sarina Bowen

Reviewed by Joanna

Axel and Caxton were best friends from the age of eight, when they met at church camp. At age sixteen, their friendship took a turn, and they were caught kissing by a pastor.

Theirs was not a progressive church.

The boys’ parents were called, and Cax’s father came down on him like a ton of bricks. The man is a nasty ‘phobe, and it was the last time Cax got to see his friend. For the sake of staying with his family, he gave up all contact with Axel, leaving them both heartbroken.

Leap forward six years and Axel is job hunting after finishing his degree. He’s interviewed for a job at a university, promoting their sports facility (he’s a basketball nut), and watches a video of their team while he tries to make up his mind whether to accept their offer. Then he gets the shock of his life. There in the crowd is Caxton. After a bit of internet stalking, he finds out this is where Cax relocated to.

Axel can’t take the job fast enough.

He ups sticks to Massachusetts, and moves into a tiny apartment owned by book one heroes Josh and Caleb. It was lovely seeing these two again, and witnessing their domestic bliss. When Josh answers the door covered in small children? My heart melted. I think I actually enjoyed seeing them more than some of the scenes with Cax and Axel.

Before long, the long lost lovers meet, and it’s clear their feelings never went away. But Caxton’s dad is still the same old asshole, and worse-he’s threatened Cax with never seeing his brothers again if he comes out as gay.

It’s hard to imagine not being able to celebrate the person you’re in love with, let alone hide a huge part of your life. Caxton is in a horrible position, and seeing Axel makes it so much worse as well as so much better. Axel waltzes in and Cax’s life falls apart. His fake-girlfriend, Amy, dumps him. She was playing along for the sake of being an excellent friend, but finding her own real boyfriend meant she couldn’t continue the charade.

Then there’s the rest of his family. Cax plays such a vital part in the lives of his three motherless brothers. He’s the one to go to their school events, and take them to events. He is their true parent, and he won’t give them up, no matter how much he loves Axel. And therein lies the problem.

I was reading this wanting Cax’s damn dad to fall off the planet. The issue was pretty much the whole plot rotated around this one nasty-baddie device, meaning there was far less spent on building up the love, and the story ended a bit flat. I wanted to feel these guys had big feelings, and that each touch was important, but I never got there. Second chance stories suffer with this occasionally, as the falling-in-love already happened, and Axel particularly seemed resigned and underwhelming in his feelings.

I needed more, and though there was nothing wrong with the story telling, the pace and the excellent writing quality, the love and the action weren’t strong enough for a higher rating. Bowen being one of my favorite authors, this certainly won’t put me off grabbing each and every new book she produces.

Rating: C+

*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review

**This story was originally published under the pseudonym Nealy Wagner, in case it sounds familiar

Click to purchase: Amazon

Hello Forever
by Sarina Bowen
Release Date: July 14, 2017
Publisher: Rennie Road Books

Comments

  1. Sounds a bit diappointing that it didn’t quite meet up to expectations especially in regards to the romance aspects.

    • There is lots to like in the story – SB is such a great writer – but it just didn’t make my heart race. No doubt other readers will adore it 🙂

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