Promo and Reviews: Touch The Sky: Christina Lee and Nyrae Dawn

Touch The Sky(Free Fall #1)
Christina Lee and Nyrae Dawn
RELEASE DATE: March 28th, 2016
Buy Amazon/B&N/iTunes

Lucas Barnett and Gabriel Stewart didn’t have it easy as kids. They were only trying to deal with bad situations at home when they became lifelines for each other. Their pipe dream was to someday meet in LA, where Lucas would design skyscrapers, and Gabriel would learn to fly. But then Gabriel disappeared without so much as a goodbye, and Lucas got himself in trouble with the law.

Five years later, both men are at a loss when they run into each other at a Hollywood bar. Lucas is still angry, but it’s not as if Gabriel could control how his mind and body had betrayed him. Being found on the ledge of that bridge had changed everything. 

The attraction is immediate, but it’s more than their inability to keep their hands off each other. Neither man expects the fierce connection pulling them together. Unfortunately, ignoring their problems doesn’t make them disappear. Gabriel’s internal struggles are serious…dangerous. And no matter how much Lucas wants it to be true, saving Gabriel won’t make up for not being able to save his mom. If they don’t find the strength to face their own demons before the darkness takes hold, they risk more than just losing each other forever.
Despite the fact that I've barely scratched the surface on what's out there in the genre of MM romance, I'm no stranger to the individual works of Christina Lee and Nyrae Dawn, though in the case of the latter, all my past experience has been through her other name, Riley Hart. Between the two, I've enjoyed a total of nine of their books previously, so I was excited to see they had collaborated to start a new series. After reading Touch the Sky, I'm pleased to report that my excitement was well placed.

The main characters, Lucas and Gabriel, each grew up in bad situations: Lucas in Riverside County, California, with an alcoholic single mother, Gabriel  in San Diego with an abusive father and detached mother. At fourteen, they met online in a chat room and became friends, exchanging email and sharing things they had never talked to anyone else about, including the fact that they are both gay. They made plans to escape their lives and move together to West Hollywood to live out their dreams, Lucas as an architect and Gabriel as a pilot. At eighteen, they decided they each needed to tell their parents about their sexuality, but when the time came to follow through, the emails suddenly stopped. Five years later, they meet in person for the first time when Gabriel places an order at the West Hollywood bar Lucas tends. After some initial unpleasantness, their friendship is rekindled and quickly blossoms into more, as each remembers how important the other was to him. But they both have their demons, secrets they withhold from each other for fear that one will walk away when he finds out just how broken the other is. When secrets are revealed, they both want to help each other, but it's impossible until each learns how to take care of himself.

This is a beautiful coming-of-age story for both characters with the right balance of angst to sweetness and the right pace to keep the story from dragging too much through the heavy muck inherent to the issues the authors address, not just the obvious biggies of alcoholism and mental health but the shame of knowing you haven't lived up to your potential and the fear of how those you care about will judge you both for it and for your past. While I don't have any direct knowledge with the big issues, I was convinced both authors had done their research to present the topics in realistic and meaningful way for me. Nothing felt out of place in the telling of the story, even though at times it was difficult to think about just how terrible things must have been and still were for Lucas and Gabriel.  The novel's denouement continues this realism in that while things are  significantly better for the characters, it's not the perfect fairy-tale ending so common to the genre. They have work to do and plenty of room to grow (hopefully as secondary characters in future books of the series), but we're left with hope and feeling confident they can succeed.

In addition to this, in a genre that is heavy on first-time-gay scenarios (gay for you, discovering bisexuality, and the like) and frequently uses familial strife surrounding coming out about the characters' relationship as a plot device, it was a welcome and very pleasant surprise to read a story about two gay men who were already comfortable with their sexuality and already out about it to those around them. If this hadn't been the case, it might have been one issue too many, quite possibly running the book into the ground. These two characters have plenty of problems to work through outside their friendship and relationship as it is, so bravo to the authors for making a sound decision to keep the challenges to Lucas and Gabriel's relationship from internal things, such things as mutual misunderstandings, to a minimum.

The novel uses an alternating first-person point of view (POV), and I'm pretty sure each author voiced one of the two main characters. There are a lot of similarities in these voices though, to the point where I caught myself mid-chapter forgetting whose POV I was reading on several occasions. Normally, this in an irritating distraction because it pulls me out of the story. But here, Lucas and Gabriel just mesh together so well; something about them just fits in a way that often doesn't happen, even with the best of characters and authors. So instead of being pulled out, I actually felt like it didn't matter, because even while I was reading the POV of one, I could sense what was happening with the other, as if they were really one entity in two bodies. I'm not sure how else to describe it, but whatever it was, it worked well for me.

Touch the Sky could quite well end up being one of my favorite M/M romances of 2016. I can't wait for the next book in the series because, as Lucas and Gabriel would put it, as far as Christina Lee and Nyrae Dawn are concerned, they got this.

I received a free copy of this book -- Kim bought it for me after she read her ARC. Always a good sign, no?

Read Kim and Rachel's 4.5 star reviews

Christina Lee 

Once upon a time, I lived in New York City and was a wardrobe stylist. I spent my days shopping for photo shoots, getting into cabs, eating amazing food, and drinking coffee at my favorite hangouts.

Now I live in the Midwest with my husband and son—my two favorite guys. I've been a clinical social worker and a special education teacher. But it wasn't until I wrote a weekly column for the local newspaper that I realized I could turn the fairytales inside my head into the reality of writing fiction. 

I write Adult, New Adult, and M/M Contemporary Romance. I'm addicted to lip gloss and salted caramel everything. I believes in true love and kissing, so writing romance novels has become a dream job.

Nyrae Dawn can almost always be found with a book in her hand or an open document on her laptop. She couldn’t live without books—reading or writing them. Oh, and chocolate. She’s slightly addicted.

She gravitates toward character-driven stories. Whether reading or writing, she loves emotional journeys. It’s icing on the cake when she really feels something, but is able to laugh too. She’s a proud romantic, who has a soft spot for flawed characters, who make mistakes, but also have big hearts.

Whether she’s writing young adult, new adult, or adult you can always count on a healthy dose of romance from her books. She likes to tackle tough subjects, and believes everyone needs to see themselves in the stories they read.

Nyrae is living her very own happily ever after in California with her gorgeous husband (who still makes her swoon) and her two incredibly awesome kids.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...