Book Review ~ Anthony by JP Barnaby ~ (5 Star Review + Giveaway)
Aaron Downing worshiped his mother. She saved his life. She did everything for him. But Anthony Downing has a different perspective. He sees the woman who tossed him into a basement for eight long years and forgot he existed. When Anthony decides he’s done being invisible, he packs up and heads for Detroit to stay with his Internet friend Jay, but fate intervenes.
Brendan Mears lost everything the day the man with a gun came into his father’s store. Now, he’s tethered to a business he can’t manage and a brother who resents him.
Different in all the ways that matter, Anthony and Brendan struggle to overcome their psychological obstacles, until a crushing betrayal sends them running for cover and each other.
*Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by Dreamspinner Press for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.*
This wasn't a romance per se. The romance takes a definite back-seat in this story. This was mostly Anthony's story. Anthony is Aaron's youngest brother and after Aaron was attacked, their parents moved Anthony and their middle brother Allen into the basement, so they wouldn't be disturbed by Aaron's nightmares, but now both Aaron and Allen have left home and Anthony still remains alone in the basement. He feels isolated and ignored, but mostly unloved and unwanted. When he decides to meet up with an online gaming friend in Detroit, fate has other plans and leads him to Patrick's liquor store, and eventually Patrick's brother, Brendan.
Brendan is a recluse. An agoraphobic, who after witnessing the brutal murder of his father and the attempt on his own life during a robbery, can't bring himself to leave his home. When his brother brings Anthony over, it's not only instant attraction, but Bren also feels a peace with Anthony that he hasn't felt since the shooting, but are these two young men too damaged to make this romance work?
I absolutely loved Aaron and Spencer, but I'll be honest I haven't read Ben, because as good as it sounds, I just can't do BDSM. When I saw Anthony had been released I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. This was an amazing read that I just couldn't put down. Anthony and Brendan don't even meet for the first time until 40% into the book and usually, I'd be really upset with this, but JP had me so enthralled I didn't even notice. Anthony was such an interesting and intriguing character I couldn't get enough of his story. I loved seeing the layers peeled back and discovering what was beneath all that teenage broodiness. It also doesn't hurt that Ms. Barnaby is such a talented writer she could probably make the phone book an interesting read. I know that's not the correct analogy, but hey, it works!
These three MC's and yes, I say three, because although Brendan is Anthony's romantic interest in this story, Brendan's brother, Patrick, is also a huge part of this story, and a good portion of the book is told from his POV, these three are so complex and each is damaged in his own way, I just wanted to hug each and every one of them and tell them it would all be alright.
This story is well-written and captivating. From the moment I picked it up, it engaged me and held my attention. I loved watching these characters grow and change. I adored Anthony's snarkiness when he finally began to come out of his shell. And watching him make real friends was so heartwarming. I loved Patrick. He was the ultimate older brother not only to his brother Brendan, but to Anthony, as well. Brendan, well he was a different story. Honestly, I hated him on sight, but as he grew closer to Anthony and I got to know him better, I fell for him, too. There was an undeniable chemistry between Anthony and Bren. The sexual tension was off the charts and the sex was hot, yet passionate and loving, as well.
The mystery of the "Jay" storyline was well-written, but so sad. The ending was realistic. It's more of a HFN rather than a true HEA, but this is a 18 and 24 year old, so while it's happy, it makes no promises. I know JP Barnaby has her reasons for retiring, but she is such a gifted writer that when she puts her pen down, it really will be a great loss the literary world. I can't recommend this book, as well as Aaron and Spencer, enough. These are dark books with damaged characters, but in each book there's a light at the end of the tunnel waiting to lead them out of the sadness and into happiness.
(1) ebook copy of Anthony and (1) $5.00 Amazon GiftCard
JP Barnaby, an award-winning gay romance novelist, is the author of over two dozen books, including Aaron and the Little Boy Lost Series. She recently moved from Chicago to Atlanta to appease her Camaro who didn’t like the blustery winters. JP specializes in recovery romance, but slips in a few erotic or comedic stories to spice things up. When she's not hanging out with hot guys in leather, she binge watches superheroes and crime dramas on Netflix. A physics geek, she likes the science side of Sci-Fi, and wants to grow up to be Reed Richards.
Want to keep up with JP’s latest releases? Follow her on her Website .