A Lucy Review: Eyes Wide Open (Graves Brothers #1) by V.M. Sanford


Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5

Jason and Spencer have been best friends for years, in spite of the atrociousness of Spencer’s mother.  The family vineyard is all that matters.  Well, that and keeping Spencer under Mom’s thumb, doing exactly what she wants him to do.  What she wants right now is for him to marry Lydia, the daughter of a soon-to-be investor in the vineyard.  Despite Spencer’s lack of interest in marrying anyone female, he’s going along with it because it’s his mother and that’s what he does to keep the peace and try to make his family proud.  His father isn’t as in his face, mainly because his father interacts hardly at all. 

What Spencer does have is Jason and the amazing supportive of Jason’s large family.   A family who love and care about their members for who they are, getting involved sure but with only each person’s happiness in mind.  So it goes that Jason’s family thinks instead of being best man for Spencer’s wedding to Lydia, he should let Spencer know he’s in love with him and see what happens.  They believe Spencer loves Jason back and all will be well.   

Of course, things are never that simple, even after a personalized bachelor weekend in New York, going to Madison Square Garden and Central Park ends up with the two of them getting together, only to return to the same plan of marrying Lydia.  Jason’s brother, Kenny, is a favorite of mine now, and he tried to get Spencer to not be stupid.  “I told him he shouldn’t marry Lydia because he’s in love with you and you’re in love with him.”  And he understands the why of it, that Spencer tries to make everyone happy except himself.  I got Kenny’s frustration – Spencer is 33! It’s time to let go of Mommy Dearest’s expectations.

It got frustrating at time watching Spencer put up with amounts to emotional abuse from his mother and watch his father remain silent about it.  Spencer “…couldn’t disappoint her the way he would if he chose Jason.”   She has no interest in what Spencer wants or needs, just herself.  So frustrating! 

I appreciated that Lydia wasn’t portrayed as a bad person at all.  She really is another one sort of doing something to please her parents (in her case, her father) although it wasn’t anything like Spencer’s mother.  Jason’s family were interesting supporting characters, and in the case of Kenny especially, endearing.  Jason’s mom is as far from Spencer’s mom as could be, thank heavens.   I was pulling for Spencer to get his head out of the ground before it was too late.   I also liked that mother didn’t magically become kind or motherly, no matter what Spencer did because to me that would have felt false.  It was an interesting story with some exasperating moments! 

Cover art:  The cover models appeared the right ages for Jason and Spencer and could have been them.  I had a different vision for the vineyard, if only because the house seems so welcoming and inviting and I didn’t picture those parents living there.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1 edition, 156 pages
Published February 2nd 2018 by VM Sanford
Original Title Eyes Wide Open
Edition Language English
Series Graves Brothers #1

Blog Tour: Eyes Wide Open (Graves Brothers #1) by V.M. Sanford (excerpt and giveaway)


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RELEASE DATE: 02.02.18

Eyes Wide Open Cover


AMAZON US: https://amzn.to/2pEni1k

AMAZON UK: https://amzn.to/2IRbtgP



Jason has been in love with Spencer for most of his life, yet there he is, organizing Spencer’s bachelor party because Spencer’s getting married—and not to him.

Spencer wishes he could marry Jason instead of Lydia. He’s loved his best friend for years, but he needs to do the best for his family and their vineyard. Knowing he’s doing the right thing doesn’t make it easy, though.

Jason’s family pushes him to confess his feelings to Spencer, and he wants nothing more, but he’s afraid Spencer will run the other way and that their friendship won’t resist the revelation. But when Spencer gets drunk during his bachelor weekend in New York and tells Jason he loves him, everything changes—or that’s what Jason thinks.

Jason doesn’t want to be the other man, and Spencer doesn’t want him to be. That means Spencer has a choice to make. Will he marry Lydia and help his family, or will he finally give in and choose Jason?

Eyes Wide Open- teaser 1

Eyes Wide Open- teaser 2


Spencer checked the office door. If he was fast enough, he’d manage to get out within the next ten minutes, and that would mean escaping his mother’s plans for the evening. If he wasn’t able to leave, though… Well, he’d have to go through the rant he knew she’d spout because he wouldn’t be having dinner with her and his father that evening. He might love both of them, but that didn’t mean he wanted to spend most of his nights with them, not after having to spend his days in their company, too.

He supposed that was one of the downsides of having to work with family. His best friend Jason didn’t seem to want to avoid his brothers, though, and they were co-owners of the company their father and uncle had built in their days.

“Spencer?” someone called from the entrance of the building, and Spencer sighed. His mother was there, and she was going to find him within the next few minutes.

He didn’t answer. He knew she’d come to his office to look for him anyway. She always said she was the owner of the vineyard and that as such, she could enter every office as she pleased. He supposed she was right—the vineyard was indeed hers, even though she shared its ownership with Spencer’s father.

“Spencer, why didn’t you answer when I called out?” she asked as she walked in without knocking, her heels clicking on the floor.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you.”

She arched a fine eyebrow. “Your door was open.”

“I must have been particularly focused on what I was doing.”

“Dinner will be on the table in fifteen minutes.”

And there it was. Spencer’s parents lived on the vineyard. Spencer could walk from his office to his parents’ house in about five minutes, which was one of the reasons he’d refused his mother’s offer when she’d wanted to build him a house there. Just the thought of living so close to her made him want to run away.

Not that he’d ever tell her that, of course.

“I’m sorry, Mother, but I already have plans.”

“You do? You didn’t tell me about it. Are you going out with Lydia?”

That was the only acceptable reason Spencer would have not to stay, at least in his mother’s opinion. “No. I’m going to the Graves’ tonight.”

She wrinkled her nose. “The Graves? Why?”

“Because Mrs. Graves invited me.” And because the more evenings he managed to spend away from his mother, the better he felt.

“Of course she did. You’ve been going there for decades. It’s a surprise she isn’t annoyed by you yet.”

Spencer had to remind himself that he loved his mother no matter what she said, and that he probably wouldn’t survive jail, not in one piece anyway. “I’ll stop going when she stops inviting me.”

“I’m sure she’s too polite to tell you she doesn’t want you there.”

Because no one could want Spencer around. Sometimes he wondered why he bothered coming to work and seeing his mother every day. Of course, if he pointed this out, she’d just say that of course she wanted to see him, that she was his mother and that she loved him. That Mrs. Graves wasn’t his family and that he should spend more time with his own parents rather than with Jason’s, as if he didn’t spend almost every hour of every day with them.

He grabbed his messenger bag and his coat. He could put it on in the car, even though he’d be cold on the way there. He wasn’t parked that far away, and he wasn’t sure he could stand one more minute in his mother’s company.

Unfortunately for him, she followed him to the building door, so he paused there to slide his coat on, trying to ignore the puppy eyes she was giving him. “I already cooked for three. And of course, I have enough for Lydia if you want to invite her.”

Spencer didn’t point out Lydia liked her about as much as he did. His mother liked his fiancée well enough, he supposed, or well enough to push him to propose anyway. He didn’t kid himself that she’d done it because she wanted him to be happy, but she was doing her best to incorporate Lydia in their life. She wasn’t as warm and welcoming as Mrs. Graves had been to Spencer since day one, but Spencer knew she didn’t have it in her. Sometimes, he wondered why she’d had children—or a child since he didn’t have siblings. She’d never been motherly, and Spencer couldn’t remember a time when they’d cuddled, kissed, or said I love you. Not that he’d done any of that with his father, either, but still. Mothers should be loving and warm. Or maybe Spencer’s idea of mothers was based on Mrs. Graves, and most mothers weren’t that way.

He didn’t know, and he didn’t care. He loved his mother, but most of the times, he wished she were more like Jason’s, and it always made him feel guilty as hell. The puppy eyes didn’t help, but he was used to his mother using guilt to make him do things.

He leaned in and kissed her cheek. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Are you sure you can’t stay? I’ve already cooked.”

“I’m sure. It wouldn’t be fair to Mrs. Graves.”

“And how is leaving me with leftovers fair to me?”

Spencer sighed. He didn’t want to fight, knowing his mother would pout and ignore him until he apologized even though he hadn’t done anything wrong. “You should have asked me before cooking for three. Even if I wasn’t going to Jason’s parents’, I could have had plans with Lydia.”

And really, what man still had dinner with his parents every night at thirty-three years old? Spencer might not have a problem with it if he did so because he actually wanted to be there, but he didn’t.

“But you don’t have plans with Lydia.”

“She could have come with me to the Graves’.”

“But she’s not. She doesn’t like them very much, does she?” She sounded as if the fact that Spencer’s fiancée didn’t like the Graves meant she was right about them.

“She likes them.” Not that Lydia saw them often. She and Spencer might be engaged to be married soon, but they’d never really meshed their lives together. They each did their own thing, had their own apartments, their own lives. She’d met the Graves family, of course, just like Spencer had met her friends and her father, but that didn’t mean they saw each other on a regular basis.

“Why isn’t she going with you, then?”

Spencer hooked his bag over his shoulder and took his car keys out of his pocket. “Because she had plans with her father. I’ll see you tomorrow, Mother.”

He left without adding anything. If he continued standing there, he’d never get to the Graves’ in time. His mother was the queen of arguments and guilt, and while he might have given in any other day, he tried to never miss dinner at the Graves. He didn’t want to disappoint them.

He didn’t want to disappoint Jason.

He felt better when he got to his car, even though he could feel his mother still staring at him. He slid into the car and started the engine, doing his best to appear as if he wasn’t in any haste, waving at his mother as he passed by her.

He relaxed as soon as he passed under the sign that told customers they were at Maureen’s Vineyard—his mother’s name, of course. How else could they have called the family business?

He didn’t want to think about his mother anymore, though. He was free for the night, and he was going to enjoy it.

VM Sanford Logo

V.M Sanford has been writing about the paranormal since he was a child but decided to give publishing a try only in his thirties.

He found out he likes writing about more than wolf shifters and already has several plot bunnies lined up, waiting for him to write their books.

He’s lived all over Europe and enjoys cats, ice hockey and reading biographies of kings and queens. He’s still confused about what and who he is even though he’s in his mid-thirties, but he finally decided to come out as a transgender man, at least to his readers.





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