Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Helix by Anna Martin

When high school student James has trouble with his truck, Dylan, who is studying to be a mechanic, comes to the rescue. James thinks he hides his immediate attraction well, but is happy to be wrong when Dylan asks for his number. Since James is new to romance, they take things slowly, and because Dylan is in college, James keeps the budding relationship secret from his overprotective dad.

Across town, Mark, a teacher and single father to James and his sister, Frankie, meets Steve at a bar for what both believe will be a quick hookup. Mark doesn’t see any reason to tell his kids about Steve or press Steve for details about Steve’s adopted son… It’s just sex between them. Isn’t it?

Two very different love stories grow side by side, each hidden from the other. But all of that changes at a family barbecue, when Mark decides it’s time for his kids to meet Steve and for him to meet James’s boyfriend, who none of them realize is Steve’s son, Dylan. The inevitable explosion means the two couples have some explaining to do to soothe the hurt feelings of their families—and lovers.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I’m still not too sure what to make of this story. On one hand, it’s a wholesome, family-focused, new adult romance. Set in a small town, it’s the story of two kids who find an instant connection despite their very different backgrounds. It’s sweet with a few steamy moments. But then there’s the twist. This book isn’t just about James and Dylan, it’s also the story of their dads, Mark and Steve, and their slightly kinkier connection that starts with a backroom hookup and slowly becomes something more.

After the first few chapters, my head was spinning. I wasn’t quite ready for the parallel romances. Readers are jolted from James’ high school angst to Steve’s conquest in a club toilet without any segue. Once I figured out the characters and their relationships, the story made more sense.

I really liked all four characters, but I found it difficult to get too far into any of the characters’ heads when the next chapter featured their dad or son shagging their partner’s dad or son. I loved James and Dylan’s coming of age story and their sexual explorations are both sweet and sexy. I was probably less keen on Steve and Mark’s slightly dirtier, kinkier connection. Although, maybe it was just the contrast and the dad/son thing that made me slightly squeamish. I think I would have loved Mark and Steve’s story in its own book.

I enjoyed this book. The format is original and I can’t think of anything to compare it to. I like the complexity of the relationships in both families and I love the way Dylan’s past and his adoption are explored in this book.

ANNA MARTIN is from a picturesque seaside village in the southwest of England and now lives in the Bristol, a city that embraces her love for the arts. After spending most of her childhood making up stories, she studied English literature at university before attempting to turn her hand as a professional writer.

Apart from being physically dependent on her laptop, Anna is enthusiastic about writing and producing local grassroots theater (especially at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she can be found every summer), going to visit friends in other countries, and reading anything that’s put under her nose.

Anna claims her entire career is due to the love, support, prereading, and creative ass-kicking provided by her best friend Jennifer. Jennifer refuses to accept responsibility for anything Anna has written.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Helix by Anna Martin to read and review.

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