Today I’m reviewing Coming Home by M.J. O’Shea. It’s a solid length novel at 230 pages, not too short, not too long. As far as warnings go, there’s violence, a bashing (sort of, it’s also jealousy driven), and a ton of sweet, sweet angst. Overall, it was cute.
Let’s take a look at the blurb:
Rock Bay: Book One
Tallis Carrington ruled Rock Bay with his gang of jocks and an iron fist—until a scandal destroyed his family’s name. Ten years later Tallis is dead broke, newly homeless, and on the walk of shame to end all walks of shame. He needs money and needs it fast, and Rock Bay is the only home he knows. But the people of Rock Bay haven’t forgotten him—or the spoiled brat he used to be.
The only person in town willing to overlook his past is Lex, the new coffee shop owner, who offers Tally a job even though he appears to despise Tally based on his reputation alone. When Tally discovers his gorgeous boss is the kid he tortured back in high school, Lex’s hot and cold routine finally makes sense. Now Tally has to pull out all the stops to prove he was never really the jerk he seemed to be. After all, if he can win Lex’s heart, the rest of the town should be a piece of coffee cake.
I liked the character building in this book. In most books there is a character that is more sympathetic than the other, but I actually happened to enjoy these two characters equally well. Tallis was the golden boy, asshole jock, fallen from grace and Lex is a struggling entrepreneur in small town USA. Each of their characters was decently rounded out.
The buildup in this book was spectacular. The whole, will they, won’t they, UGH just fuck already while I was reading drove me crazy in a good way. This book jerked my heartstrings HARD, especially when I thought Tallis had fucked up for good and Lex wasn’t going to let him back. (For like, three and a half seconds. Thankfully, Lex did.) I became very invested in this story and destroyed it almost entirely in one night.
Coffee love. This book takes place in a café. As a former barista I always have the love for books that revolve around cafes. I think I’m going to make a Coffee Lovers shelf on Goodreads when I’m done writing this review. I’ll start with this one and then add Kade Boehme’s Wide Awake (the coffee shop in that one is Tyler’s), and see where I go from there. My own book, Threefold Love has the Mug House. Can anyone think of any others? I know I have some in my “to be read” que featuring coffee shops. Oh! Handle with Care by Josephine Myles has a coffee shop too. I’m sure there are others. Ah, Amy Jo Cousin’s Nothing Like Paris has one too…
I spent a lot of time yelling at the characters in this book. They were being stupid, a lot, and not using their words to talk about anything. It was both good and bad because I really wanted them to work out.
There was obvious sequel bait in this book. A good chunk of the book deals with Drew, one of Tally’s asshole friends from high school who has grown up a bit and changed the same way that Tally has. A lot of the conflict deals with Drew and their friendships from high school. Go team sequel bait! Drew’s book is already out, and I’m going to be adding it to my “to be read” pile.
For the buildup, which was phenomenal, the sex scenes in this book were exceptionally forgettable. We don’t fade to black exactly, but they aren’t memorable to me. We also don’t get to “see” the first night Tallis is topped even though there’s some build up for it.
Tally was a bully, and he bullied Lex in high school. That’s a main sticking point for the drama in this book. It worked. I won’t say it didn’t work. Obviously, I read and enjoyed the book, but I didn’t really like that aspect. People do change, and usually for the better, as they grow older and mature, which is what happened to Tally in the book, but …I couldn’t sleep with anyone who tortured me in high school. I had trouble suspending my disbelief on that. It was entirely distasteful. I wasn’t bullied excessively beyond the norm for my mid 90’s educational experience, but I was weird and smart and mouthy, and that didn’t always translate into a tiptoe through the roses. I would be more likely to cross the street to get away from someone who was horrid to me in high school than fuck them. But, that’s me, and Lex, grudgingly, gets to know Tally because he needs someone to work in his café and can’t find anyone else to do it. (Small town problems.) He gets to see the difference in the man and he likes what he sees.
To sum everything up, this book is actually one of the more heartwarming, cute reads I’ve read in a bit. It reminds me strongly of some of Amy Lane’s writing, will fulfill any and all angst needs, and gives you that special, gooey, happier ever after that makes all that sadness worth it. If you like small town reads with small town politics, this is it for you.
Check out the pre-order for my book The Shape of Honey.