Monday, May 8, 2017

Starting from Scratch by Jay Northcote Blog Tour

Starting over isn't easy, but Ben is ready to live his life as the man he was always meant to be.

Ben is transgender and back at university after hormone treatment and chest surgery. His new housemates have no idea about his history and Ben would prefer to keep it that way. He's starting from scratch and his life is finally on track, except in the romance department. The idea of dating guys as a guy is exhilarating but terrifying, because if Ben wants a boyfriend he'll have to disclose his secret.

Sid is drawn to Ben from the moment they meet. He normally gets what he wants--in the short term at least. Ben's guarded at first, and Sid's not used to guys rejecting his advances. He eventually charms his way through Ben's defences and helps Ben on his journey of sexual awakening.

It doesn't matter to Sid that Ben is trans. He's attracted to the whole person, and isn't worried about what is--or isn't--in Ben's pants. They're good together, and both of them are falling hard and fast, but Ben's insecurities keep getting in the way. If Sid can convince Ben he's committed, will Ben finally be able to put his heart on the line?

Although this book is part of the Housemates series, it has new main characters, a satisfying happy ending, and can be read as a standalone.

Add to Goodreads –

Book 5
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
~ Available on KindleUnlimited ~

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

To be honest, I was slightly apprehensive about reading this installment of the Housemates series. I've struggled with transgender storylines in the past, as they usually were on opposite ends of the spectrum. Either just riding on the surface – failing to elicit true human emotion, sometimes vapid or way off base – or informational to the point the story is lost.

Jay Northcote wrote a beautiful transgender story, featuring the perfect mix of emotion and reality, with flawless fluidity of information, without coming off as preachy or textbook. It was a true look inside the mind of a FtM transgender male, with layers of emotion that had me thinking and empathizing.

Ben made a few New Year's resolutions, no longer wanting his fear to hold him back in the friendship and romance department. In walks Sid – and as they say, the rest is just history. The couple had an instant connection, attraction, and a need to get to know one another on a deeper level. The romance was sweet, realistic, and the sex was not only hot, but informational.

With all my raving – because I doubt I'll read another transgender book that delved so deeply and accurately into the complex facets as Starting from Scratch did – why am I only giving a 4-star rating?

Truthfully, I just needed a bit more in the plot department to keep me fully engaged. While I was empathizing and fascinated with the complexity of Ben's character, I needed a bit more than scenes of romantic interludes. While it was a comfort not to have a bunch of miscommunication and unnecessary strife causing me to stress out, I needed a kick of something. What? I have no idea. Just something. Faster pacing, I guess. The book wasn't written just for me, obviously, but that's the reason for the four stars instead of five.

I look forward to whatever Jay Northcote publishes next. I highly recommend this title for anyone interested in transgender romance, especially those like me who were put off a bit by the lack of authenticity in other transgender books or those who have never read a single book with this type of storyline. Most importantly, for those who are transgender – a book that accurately represents the struggles, emotion, and fears.

Finally – a genuinely sexy and fun trans romance. I’m a huge fan of the series, but after reading too many terrible attempts at trans romance recently, I was a bit wary of this one. I shouldn’t have been. This is another wonderful addition to the series.

Ben’s New Year’s resolution is to become more sociable and less shy with new people. He hasn’t had a sexual partner for nearly three years and he knows he needs to be braver. I loved his awkward, tentative confidence with his new body.

Sid was introduced to us in earlier books as Jude’s ex-boyfriend. Here he is a slightly reformed party boy who finds himself shocked by how hard and how quickly he falls for Ben. If Ben is shy and awkward, Sid has confidence for them both. I love the way he puts Ben at ease and patiently waits for Ben to grow comfortable with him. As with each of the books in this series, the magic in this book is the combination of powerful sexual chemistry and a genuine friendship between two characters who feel incredibly real.

This is fun, playful, and very steamy. The characters are believably new adult and their lives will be immediately familiar to anyone who ever lived a student life. I love that Ben’s gender identity doesn’t dominate this story. He is a guy who falls for another guy. He’s a guy who lives with a bunch of other guys. Once a little initial awkwardness is quickly dispelled, we’re back to the raunchy sex we expect from this series. And Jay Northcote writes sex like no one else can.

This series continues to be a wonderful guilty pleasure. I love the housemates and I love catching up with couples from earlier books in each new story. This is the first time I’ve read an ‘easy’ trans romance – one where a trans characters is sexy, interesting, and easily accepted. I really loved it and once again, I’m eagerly awaiting the next book in this series.

This is only the second book in the series that I have read and I am kicking myself for not reading the other books yet. There wasn't one bad thing about this book. I was hooked from the beginning and loved every minute of it. I can't recall ever reading a book dealing with a transgender person, not sure why, I guess I either never looked or came across one before now. I loved Ben and Sid and how they took it kind of slow, but not snail slow. I loved how Sid accepted Ben because he liked him, not for what he had in his pants. Great story and even better characters. Absolutely loved this book!

Also Available in the Housemates Series

Book 4
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
~ Available on KindleUnlimited ~

For review & more info, check out our stop on the Watching and Wanting Blog Tour.

Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as

Jay is transgender and was formerly known as she/her.

Connect with Jay

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Google+  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Starting from Scratch (Housemates #5) by Jay Northcote to read and review for this tour.

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