Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Rainbow Place by Jay Northcote Blog Tour

Can Jason find the courage he needs to be the man Seb deserves?

When Seb Radcliffe relocates to a seaside town in Cornwall, he feels like a fish out of water. He misses queer spaces and the sense of community he enjoyed when he was living in the city, and decides to open an LGBT-friendly cafe-bar.

Jason Dunn is the builder Seb hires to help renovate the rundown space where the cafe will be housed. Jason is also gay, but unlike Seb, he's deep in the closet. He's never had a relationship with another man--only allowing himself the occasional hook up with guys who are prepared to be discreet.

The attraction between the two men is instant and impossible to ignore. But while Seb is out and proud, Jason is terrified of being exposed. With the grand opening of Rainbow Place approaching, tension is growing among some locals who object to Seb's plans. When things escalate, Jason is forced to choose whether to hide in the shadows and let Seb down, or to openly support the man he's fallen so hard for.

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

Add to Goodreads –

Book 1
Buy Links

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This book is a good start to a new series. The book was enjoyable and fast paced. I loved Seb but really couldn't connect with Jason. The secondary characters were awesome and helped the story. There wasn't too much angst, there wasn't too little angst, it was just right! Can't wait to see how this series turns out.

This is the first in a new series, and there is definitely promise for a number of connected stories to be written about this community.

This was in a way a familiar, feel good story, which I enjoyed very much. There are a few twists, where Jason finds unexpected support and Seb has allies where he might have anticipated trouble. A salutary reminder not to make judgement calls without reason. Everyone has a story and deserves the opportunity to find their voice. There are some lovely fun scenes, and we meet a good cross-section of the community which will (hopefully) feature in new installments.

I liked Seb and Jason a great deal, they were a lovely match for each other, both as friends and definitely as lovers. I am looking forward to seeing more of their future together.

If you are in the mood for a low drama, very sweet and caring story with some excellent humour, and which is well written, then this is just what you need.

This book is the fluffy, feel-good romance equivalent of a unicorn shitting rainbows. When London to Cornwall transplant Seb finds himself lonely and worrying he is the only gay in his new village, he is inspired to create a safe haven for the LGBT community in rural Cornwall.

Seb soon hires a gorgeous-but-closeted builder and finds himself happily surprised by the inclusive nature of the community that comes together to protect him from the haters. The heat that builds between Seb and Jason is delicious, and I really loved both of them.

The story is predictable and sweet but also fun and kinda inspiring. I read this in the sunshine in my garden and will confess to shedding some happy tears into my G&T. This is much lighter and fluffier than many of Jay Northcote’s stories and it is definitely lower heat than the Housemates books. Even though I usually prefer my romance with a little bit more grit, this was exactly the pick-me-up that I needed on the day I read it.

Rainbow Place is the debut novel in a brand-new series by Jay Northcote.

Seb is out and proud, looking to start a new cafe/safe space for the LGBTQ community in the small town he just moved into, and he's worried about the reception he may get by the townsfolk. Singed by a past love who cheated on him and left him for a younger man, Seb is attempting to make a fresh start, a second chance at finding happiness. He's looking for something real, to set down roots, but doesn't want to be someone's dirty little secret in this closeted small town.

As a masculine builder keeping up appearances, Jason is deep in the closet, after having been married to a woman and fathering a teen daughter. Only his ex and those he has a quick hookup knows of his orientation. Jason is terrified yet willing to embrace change.

If you're looking for warm and fuzzy, a great way to spend an afternoon in the sunshine while swinging in a hammock (which is exactly how/where I read this novel), it's the perfect read for you. Low on angst, little to no drama, with a predetermined ending, Rainbow Place hits all the notes the author wished it would.

Five stars on how the novel was written, with the desired emotions/reactions it elicited in the reader. However, to my personal tastes, I'd rate this more toward a three star, rounding it out at four overall.

Personally, I needed a bit more. This was light and fluffy, exactly what it was meant to be, where the reader never had to fear the outcome. I won't penalize the author because I wanted more, wanted the novel to be something it wasn't meant to be, but I will explain in case other readers read as I do.

Some things didn't add up for me, the major details that will be small to most readers – as the daughter of a contractor/business owner/someone who has done their own renovations, I can tell you it would take much longer to do what was done in such a short amount of time, especially by one guy and his helper, when that can't be done with an entire work crew of trained employees. Another is how it would have been impossible to do the logistics of business in a work-zone. Seb would have been in the way, and his electronic devices (with all the dust) would have been toasted, and interviews would have been impossible over the noise, which was never mentioned. Seb made it look as if getting a business up and running and operational is that 'easy' when it's most certainly not, not to mention red-tape to get permits/licenses.

Sounding overly picky, I only noticed that issue because it's what I deal with on a continual basis. If it didn't hit so close to home, I wouldn't have noticed nor cared.

The carefree, stress-free scenes will no doubt be a comfort to many readers seeking something not as angst-riddled drama. For me, it felt a bit inane everyday life, laundry list scenes as I call them, where everything that happened that day is summarized in a list when it doesn't add/subtract from the story but drags the pacing down. I appreciate how this was meant to show time, allow for a more slow-burn between Seb and Jason, but it didn't propel the plot forward.

As for Seb and Jason, I 'felt' their heat, found their connection to be realistic, and the journey of their relationship to be organic. To me, Seb felt a tad narcissistic, as if the world revolved around him and it was all about him. The author did an excellent job showcasing Jason's terror at coming out, it's just too bad Seb was too blinded by his own goals and desires to recognize fear when he saw it. Seb was too worried about what Jason not coming out on Seb's timeline meant for him, not what it meant for Jason. Thirty-five years of mental and emotional obstacles had to be overcome, and Seb forgot all that fear and uncertainty he felt nearly two decades ago, acting as if it was no big deal for Jason.

Overall, I connected with Jason, felt for him, and was proud of the journey Northcote wrote for him, but was disappointed in Seb. Panic attacks should not be written off as if it's nothing, just because you feel the world revolves around you. I realize this is the gut-punch sensation, where readers will side with Seb, but I offer another perspective.

In the midst of a mental breakdown, work and the ability to support others goes to the wayside, and Jason suffered alone in silence, as if his issues paled in comparison. Mental/emotional trauma cannot be erased by love/responsibilities, and I couldn't imagine having to be 'on' while in a large grouping of people, during a stressful situation, while having to continually validate Seb, when you're going through your own stuff. While it's too bad Jason didn't support Seb one day out of many, as everyone in the novel supported Seb, it's also too bad Seb never once supported another character, especially Jason.

While Seb pities himself, getting angry over Jason not being there for him, not once does he ask himself 'why' Jason isn't there in a context that doesn't involve himself. Instead of texting to ask if Jason is okay, after asking the helper and hearing Jason had a panic attack while driving, he ignores Jason, leaving him to suffer in total silence. This happens in every relationship, one feeling they are justifiably right, while having zero empathy for their partner.

I'm positive most readers, and no doubt the author, will see it as if Seb was supportive, not pushing his own agenda in wanting a public relationship, while that is not what they negotiated. Jason was the one who has to apologize, which I felt was in gaslighting territory, where Jason has every right to come out on his own timeline, without pressure from someone who should understand. This wasn't even broached in the novel. Seb said Jason let him down, not the other way around too, where Jason had no support at all while Seb has 30+ people and the whole of the internet to validate him. In the end, the relationship was balanced, because Seb takes and Jason gives, and hopefully at some point it will even out.

Rainbow Place was a solid first installment, whetting my appetite for more. I had the heart-clenches as the town rallied around the cafe. Clearly my issue was a strong dislike for narcissists, but I can appreciate how the author didn't mean for Seb to appear that way, but I overanalyze everything and that's how I saw it.

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 audiobooks.

Connect with Jay

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads
Google+  ~  Instagram

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Rainbow Place (Rainbow Place #1) by Jay Northcote to read and review for this tour.

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