Thursday, February 11, 2016

Lover of Light by Mel Bossa

It only takes a touch to shatter the line between hate and love.

Andy genuinely tried to be happy when his best friend, Dimitry, decided to marry his on-again-off-again Bulgarian boyfriend, Alexei—a beautiful problem case who’s obviously using Dimitry to get a green card. When Dimitry admits only days later that it’s over between him and the little gypsy jerk, Andy can barely contain his pleasure.

Then Andy’s boss announces he’s hired a new waiter. A real firecracker. When Alexei walks through the club’s door, Andy is completely unprepared to work with the man he blames for Dmitry’s broken heart.

In spite of himself, Andy becomes captivated by Alexei the musician, the singer—the man who still carries a light inside him despite his dark past. But Alexei’s time is quickly running out, and his health is fading fast. Though the love growing between them gets brighter every day, Alexei will soon have no choice but to return home to Bulgaria.

Unless Andy can convince him that home is waiting for him—right here in his arms.

Warning: Contains a bartender who thinks he’s got his enemy categorized as neatly as a row of shot glasses…until his heart is straight-up shaken and stirred by love.

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Samhain  Publishing

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

4 Stars, based solely on the fact that I read this cover to cover in one sitting and was entertained by the train wreck. This rating is based on entertainment value, not the quality.

Warning: some readers are sensitive to cheating in a storyline. I won't spoil it to say where/how/why the cheating occurs, or by whom, but it is a major thread of the book that made me sick to the stomach with violent emotions.

Lover of Light in a nutshell: ANGST. Good thing I love angst. I was hooked from page one until the end, reading the entire novel in one sitting. Lover of Light is filled with insensitive, irrational, selfish, immature characters, who are lost and trying to be found. It takes until the 50% mark until anyone tries to act with maturity and in the best interests of others, finding some redeeming qualities.

Like a train wreck, the cast of characters' lives are a massive, dramatic soap opera. Andy is our only narrator, and the following is a rundown on the cast.

At book's start, Andy is dating Quinn. Our main character is a 28-year-old ex-bartender, now living in domestication with a 40+ divorcee with a teenager, yet the ex-wife is still in the picture. Andy's grieving the death of his father, whom verbally abused him because he was gay. Leaving the family at 16, he's estranged from his brother and sister, and their mother left them when they were small children. Andy's brother is a good guy (the only good person in the book besides lost Alexei), and I found no good qualities for his sister.

(All off-scene) Quinn, Andy's boyfriend of two years, will only have sex really quickly with Andy, because he denies his sexual impulses with men after discovering his bisexuality. A 40+, divorcing his wife, and living with a man for two years, completely out as a bisexual, Quinn STILL doesn't meet Andy's needs (or his own) unless inebriated or doing so quickly once a month or so when the pressure gets to him. Their relationship is bordering on parent/child, and bizarre.

The BFF: Dimitry (spelled oddly) the therapist, has been dating Alexei, the lost 22-year-old with an expired visa. Obviously Andy is jealous, wanting his friend to himself with a level of envy you'd think he was in love with him, but in reality he's just selfish. Dimitry is shown as a 'fixer', the mature one, the one who cares about everyone else's needs. BUT, I won't ruin it... Dimitry just feels like one of the least redeemable characters in my eyes, especially with his profession and education.

Alexei – truth be told, the editor in me would have told Mel Bossa to take the book, turn it around, and write the entire thing from Alexei's point of view. I think it would have had so much more emotional depth, with a greater capacity to entertain the readers. Alexei was given a bad rap from page one and all throughout the book because of the narrator (Andy) and Andy's BFF, Alexei's boyfriend, Dimitry.

Lover of Light is the epitome of love/hate, bordering on abusive and catty by Andy to Alexei, same with Dimitry to Alexei, and every character in the story to Alexei...

I'm at a loss.

Because I love angst, drama, and train wreck characters (when I'm in the mood) I rated this 4 stars. If I hadn't been in the mood, I can't even contemplate what this review would read like, or the rating would be. There is a lot wrong with this story – the quicker you read it, the less you contemplate it, the more enjoyment you'll find.

I'm not sure I can recommend Lover of Light to anyone who doesn't read as I posted above. I've enjoyed books by this author in the past, and still enjoyed this title. But I will admit that it was a departure from the author's usual writing style and storytelling abilities. The writing, the novel, was all over the place, not knowing what it truly wanted to be. There were so many opportunities to make this in-depth and emotional, but it didn't happen.


Genre: MM Romance | ANGST | DRAMA | ANGST | MORE ANGST | Did I say angst? | Heat level: mild, nearly off-scene fade to black |

2.5 stars

Given the amount of drama and angst in this book, it is staggeringly short. One could get whiplash from the levels of complication, and entanglements. That said it was the kind of train wreck that I had to keep following – because I wanted to know how an even mildly happy ending could ensue. Did it? Well you will have to read it and find out – but somehow it wasn't disappointing on that score.

Mel Bossa is the author of Split and In His Secret Life, both Lambda Award finalists, as well as numerous other books and short stories. She lives in Montreal's gay village where she volunteers for a crisis center. As a queer Franco-Italian feminist raised in a patriarchal family, she's felt like the Other for a great part of her life and finds peace in dreaming up worlds where grace wins over fear.

Connect with Mel

Blog  ~  Goodreads

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Lover of Light by Mel Bossa to read and review.

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