A Stella Review: White Lies by Jack Byrne

Standard

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

White Lies coverBrent Winton is doing all the wrong things for all the right reasons. Since the death of their parents years ago, Brent is helping his younger brother Zach through law school in sunny Queensland, Australia. The boys share a cheap flat, and Brent works two jobs to support them, but Zach thinks the second job is merely bar tending. In reality Brent has turned to gay prostitution to ensure that Zach has all the best textbooks and the up-to-date laptop he needs so he can focus on his studies. When hot Russian refugee Dimitri moves in next door, Brent finds him mesmerizing, but fears that if he gets involved, Dimitri will expose Brent’s white lies. But Dimitri has a dark secret of his own, and the question becomes how either of them can learn to trust the other without blowing their cover.

 

White Lies by Jack Byrne is a simple story, there is nothing twisted in the plot, just a common guy, Brent, who chose to be a rent boy to support his brother Zach in his dream to become a lawyer. He meets Dimitri, a Russian refugee who just moved in the flat next to Brent and soon they are attracted to each other. It’s a story of sacrifices, abuses, friendship and courage. It’s sweet and full of lovely characters; I liked each one of them.

I found White Lies to be what I call a “family’s book” because it’s not just Brent and Dimitri story, but Zack’s one too and it’s the story of Dimitri and his chance to have his own family in a better place. Everything is set around the family and the related feelings, first of all the love no matter what.

My issue with this book was its length. It was too short for the various themes the author decided to talk about. Especially in dealing with Dimitri’s past. It seemed to me a little shallow in some parts just cause it felt rushed. I liked the blurb but I was expecting something different and I would have preferred a longer and with more depth story. I hope the author will give us a sequel cause I’m really curious about how the MCs’ story developed. They need more.

At the end White Lies was a light and sweet short story, well written and easy to read. I like Jack Byrne’s style, in this book too, even if it’s not my favorite so far, but the characters made it an enjoyable reading.

Cover art by Bree Archer . I love the cover so much, especially in the light use of the violet color. It’s well done and the models reflect exactly how I imagined Brent and Dimitri in my mind. Well done!

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 89 pages
Published August 12th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN B0139STSQ6
Edition Language English
AMAZON http://www.amazon.com/White-Lies-Jack-Byrne-ebook/dp/B0139STSQ6
DSP

A Stella Review: ACE by Jack Byrne

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

ACE coverJake Tanner is a gay asexual man who finds peace on his small Australian farm and is content to lead a quiet life taking care of his animals. Then a random act of kindness on his part sets in motion a complex series of events that results in him playing the piano in a local pub and meeting Damien Jamieson, a sexy gay biker with a penchant for leather. Damien finds Jake instantly irresistible, but that could be the worst thing for their budding relationship, as Damien is determined to bed the reluctant Jake. However, Jake has no intention of going along with his plan. If there’s a chance for anything between them, Damien will have to figure out how to turn Jake on without scaring him off.

ACE was my first novel by Jack Byrne, non considering the story done for the A Taste of Honey anthology (still waiting for the sequel BTW!). I know he usually writes historicals and in fact his Bushrangers series is next on my reading. I picked up ACE because I was really curious about the asexual aspect, as last month I read another book on the same subject and really liked it.

I read ACE and soon loved it. It’s well written but most of all it’s real, emotional, sensitive and sexy too. I was caught up in Damien and Jake’s story from the start. The characters were well defined. Especially Damien, so sure of himself, he is sexy and wants Jake no matter the cost. He seems so strong but he hides a deep insecurity due to his young years spent on the streets taking care of himself and the person who become his daughter, Diane.

The story was unusual to me, starting just with the relationship between Diane and Damien, never met a 29 years old father of an (adopted) 24 years old. It was interesting  look at their dynamics. Moreover, the relationship between Damien and Jake was strange too and I’m not talking about the asexual aspect. It was strange but absolutely believable because it felt real and possible. All the struggles,  emotionally and physically, of two people so different from each other, still so needy and full of love to give. Two aspects, the physical and the emotional one, so fused together, seeing Damien so frustrated to not be able to be completely himself with Jake and use the sex as the only way to show his feelings, the only one he knows about. And it’s exactly when that way is barred that I found the realism in the story.

And where some people had some misunderstanding with the blurb, I can say that I didn’t find this strong feeling Damien has in wanting Jake as a constriction or a duty, just as something normal and real. I know, I’m saying the world real a lot, sorry.

Now about the asexual aspect, I could have a lot to say but I’ll keep it brief. I read the book when I still knew nothing about ace people, I wanted to see how the author dealt with it. The word “asexual” was at no time mentioned by the two MCs. The story is a discovery journey, one Jake is still working on. It’s a complex and well done story and later, when I went looking for more clarifications about a couple of things that seemed to be “unclear”, I discovered the author makes his stories this way.

I was pleasurably surprised by ACE and I’m going to read more by this author soon. I want to highly recommend it.

Cover art by Christy Caughie. The cover is clean and fits the story perfectly. I like it.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 210 pages
Published July 15th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN13 9781623801670
Edition Language English