?Reviewed by The KimiChan Experience?
AUTHOR: A.E. Via
PUBLISHER: Via Star Wings Publishing
RELEASEDATE: September 30, 2019
BLURB: At only thirty-two, Bishop Stockley has lived a hard-knock life. His gang was his family, the streets his home. Until the crew he’d always called his brothers betrayed him. After doing five years in a federal prison, Bishop is back at his dad’s trailer and working for his landscaping company, thrust into a legit world where he’s no longer the alpha—a world where a criminal record is the least of his disadvantages, because Bishop can’t read or write. Illiteracy had never been an obstacle for him on the streets, he didn’t need to know how to read Moby Dick to survive, he needed to know how to read people… and that was a hustle he’d learned hard and fast. Now, he had to change his life.
Bishop’s only support system was a young, inexperienced dad who’d insisted he call him Mike all their life—since they looked more like brothers than father and son. And his hot-tempered, childhood, best friend from ’juvie, Trent. Bishop already had the deck stacked against him, but he wasn’t afraid of hard work to change his situation, and he did want to change. Especially after he encountered Edison Scala, a kind-spirited office manager who didn’t hesitate to come to his defense… a man that saw past Bishop’s grass-stained coveralls. A man who wasn’t intimidated by his stern features and his silence.
Edison hadn’t grown up the way most of his peers had. He’d been raised by a single father who’d owned an old-fashioned barber shop where Edison was taught how to not only shave with a straight razor, and shine shoes, but also how to treat others, to not judge, to be a gentleman, to be respectful and speak without profanity. But, the biggest lesson he’d learned, was to always be himself. His lack of friends and a social life wasn’t his fault. No matter how much weight he gained, no matter how many times his staff called him a square, Edison did not need to change.
Bishop knew Edison was off-limits. He’d made personal vows to himself when he was released from prison, ones that he never intended to break. But, when Edison asked him about providing landscaping services at his home, there was no way he could refuse. He hadn’t expected Edison to feed him, praise him, encourage him, and look at him the way he did—as if Bishop was somebody. Mike and Trent warned him not to mix business with pleasure and he didn’t intend to.
No multiple pairings. No cliffhangers. Ends with a very, very HFN. Warning:
This book is a M/M contemporary romance, a hardened man’s struggle to find real love. There are no police chases or doors being kicked in, in this one. But, don’t worry. Bishop is still intense enough to keep you on the edge.
REVIEW: Okay, y’all. Can I tell you how much I loved this book, these characters? Miss Via has done what she always does and spin a story that will make you care for her characters as you’re reading them. Bishop and Edison are two strong men from different backgrounds, yet they seem to find common ground even though they have nothing in common.
Even though Bishop was the main character, it was Edison who spoke to me the most. But I’ll speak on that in a bit.
I particularly loved how the author approached the topic of Bishop’s illiteracy. It was handled with kindness and understanding. The author wrote it in a way that didn’t belittle him. Bishop is a flawed hero. A man who like many of us, have made mistakes, faced the consequences of said mistakes and is looking for a little redemption and forgiveness for it. He wants to live his life—not necessarily a BEST life— but just go along the familiar lines and on the right path of it. He wants to do better and fought hard to BE better. He’s not asking for or expecting the moon and stars, he’s just asking for normalcy and stability with a man who sees him as something other than what he was.
Now, to Edison. His character resonated more with me because his kindness, generosity, sweet nature and integrity reminded me of someone I knew a long time ago. Edison is like many of us, one who struggles with poor self image, body issue and low self esteem but to me, his character was beautiful, more beautiful because he had a beautiful spirit and a big heart. I absolutely loved how the author had a character who didn’t have the perfect body and was still find the type of passionate love still. This story had a great deal of body positivity and I loved it and we need to see more of it in the romance genre.
At first glance, one would think he’s someone whose weak. But I didn’t find that to be the case at all. Edison is gentle and kind. Respectful. Mature. This comes from him being raised around older gentlemen. This made him a target for bullying by some of his colleagues but his insistence on being who he is is what makes him strong. I adored his character and I adored him and Bishop together. Bishop’s gentle toughness combined with Edison’s sweet old world charm is what makes them perfect for each other. Edison’s character was actually like being reunited with my friend. It was amazing.
This author is a master of her craft. Her writing style is absolutely superb. Miss Via’s work is always top notch, regardless of whatever genre she chooses to write. Her characters are ALWAYS vivid, complex and multifaceted. Her dialogues are ALWAYS beautifully written and her storylines are simply perfect. This book flows smoothly. She doesn’t simply tell a story, she’s giving you a front row seat of their thoughts and heart.
This book doesn’t have a traditional HEA and that’s okay because life doesn’t always work that way. You just know that these men’s life Journey is just getting started so the HFN ending fits perfectly. This story is memorable and the characters and their experiences will linger long after you’ve finished reading this book.
This author and this book is a serious must read. Take a bow, Miss Via. You’ve done an amazing job yet again.