A MelanieM Review: Sand-Man’s Family (Wild and Precious #3) by CJane Elliott

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

sand-mans-familyWhen Sandy Nixon’s conservative Catholic parents discover he’s had sex before marriage, they are furious. But when he blurts out he’s bisexual, they go ballistic. After they threaten him with conversion therapy, Sandy does what many queer kids long to do—leaves his homophobic parents in the dust. He moves in with his Uncle Phineas and Phineas’s partner Cody in Portland, Oregon, and is finally safe to be himself. Sandy misses his siblings, though, and decides to visit his former home in Rockford for Thanksgiving. On the train, he runs into Jade Byrne.

As the only out gay kid in their Catholic high school, Jade has stared down homophobes while being fabulous in the school musicals. He’s crushed on Sandy for years. But he’s made sure never to show it, even after they had a onetime hookup, because Sandy’s the good Catholic kid, the altar boy, and the apparently straight athlete—all the things Jade isn’t. Traveling back to Rockford together sees the start of a month of adventures, a blossoming attraction, and a chance for Sandy to learn what it means to have a family that hurts and to choose a family that heals.

Sand-Man’s Family is a continuation of that wonderful series (Wild and Precious)  from CJane Elliot and this time we get to see Sandy Nixon’s story, Phinny’s nephew.  Sandy escaped from his family after a fight and the threat of a “gay away” camp from his drunken father and conservative mother, the flight carrying him on the train west to his drag queen uncle Phinny in the second story There You Are (Wild and Precious #2).  Sandy’s back history has been the thing I’ve been waiting on and this wonderful story is a treat all around.

Again, I continue to be amazed at the fullness of the characterizations and the amount of story CJ Elliot packs into 125 pages.  It feels so much larger.  Sandy is such a great young person.  Still growing as a individual, working his way through all his sexual feelings, his crushes and figuring out who he is.  You just fall in love with him more as you watch him struggle and grow.

And of course, there’s Phinny and Cody, Sandy’s uncle and partner along as support, offering their guidance, food, and whatever Sandy needs at the moment.  Jade is a great new addition to the series and the sparks flew between Sandy and him immediately.  Plus again, Elliot makes Portland another quirky character that slides effortlessly into place here and all the books of the series.

Elliot’s writing is smooth, the conversations and dialog on point and at the level of age of the characters.  I laughed out loud at some points in the story and sniffled at little at others, the author really understands the uncertainty and  hesitation that comes with each stage of finding yourself at that age.  Just lovely.   Did I wish for more?  Of course, with this series and story 125 pages is never enough for me. However, I look forward to whatever the next book may bring.  I love this series so and I hope its something wonderful for a skateboarder in need of help.

Pick them all up and read them in order.  I highly recommend them all, including Sand-Man’s Family by  CJ Elliot.

Cover art by Angsty G is wonderful and perfect for the story.  Loved it.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 125 pages
Published May 4th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634772253 (ISBN13: 9781634772259)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series Wild and Precious:

Wild and Precious (Wild and Precious, #1)

There You Are (Wild and Precious, #2)

Sand-Man’s Family (Wild and Precious, #3)

A MelanieM Review: Wild and Precious (Wild and Precious #1) by CJane Elliott

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Wild and PreciousAspiring writer Brent Granger has good friends and a great job at an arts magazine in DC, but he’s batting zero in the arena of love. Brent begins to get a clue why things aren’t working with women from his strong attraction to his gorgeous, gay, and already attached boss, Graham Stoneford. When he sees a personal ad from a man that quotes his favorite poet, Brent decides to do something wild and answer.

Enter Cody Bellstrom, easygoing bisexual musician, who is happy to initiate Brent in the ways of gay sex. Brent now has a new problem: he realizes he’s gay and no one in his life knows it. Cody tires of hiding their relationship, but Brent finds it challenging to come out to family, friends, and especially to Graham. In the end, Brent must confront the truth of where—and with whom—his heart lies.

Wild and Precious by CJane Elliott is one of those books where I wanted to either issue no rating at all or multiple ratings for various elements because at 80 pages this author has done so many things right that the parts where that irritate or pull the story down just don’t count as much for me as they might with others.

First, I’m going to start with my largest possible author peril of them all, the location of Washington, DC.  CJane Elliot knows Washington, DC.  This story is crammed full of the right streets and locations (yes, I knew where they are/were) and I can’t tell  you how often that doesn’t happen. Jets land in Bethesda..not  Oh, the howlers I’ve read.  So to have an author get it right?  Bonus points! Handing out the gold stars now.

I like the use of a poem, The Summer Day by Mary Oliver, that’s a lovely touch and an element that will flow through the story. I very much thought the author did a thorough job with her characterizations given the short amount of story.  Brent was a treasure. I enjoyed Brent’s sexual awakening and his easy relationships with his boss and friends.  The same goes for Cody Bellstrom, the easy going musician and his two amazing women friends.  They were an especially strong couple.

Graham was the lesser of the three individuals, and that was due to his position in the story, an irritation for some (including me).  I think that will also impact how most readers will feel about the twisting relationships and who ended up with who.  Most readers go into a story with the expectation that the couple they meet first off is the couple they end with.  Is that a reasonable expectation?  Does love always work that way?  What happens when the answer is no and the people in question are better off that way?  An even more serious question.  Perhaps one not many romance readers want to answer.  I found the shift between relationships uneven and thought it hurt the story because of the imbalance.

At 80 pages, its worth taking a different look at how one man found his sexuality and true love…and sent another one his path to his own. Yes, there is a sequel to this book, There You Are by CJane Elliott.  Look for my review soon.  Yes, I loved it.

Cover Art by AngstyG.  I don’t know about the cover.  It screams politicians and teenagers to me for some reason instead of musicians and hip music writers.  Just doesn’t work.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 80 pages
Published December 31st 2014 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1632165295 (ISBN13: 9781632165299)
Edition LanguageEnglish

SeriesWild and Precious 

  • Wild and Precious (Wild and Precious, #1)
  • There You Are (Wild and Precious #2)