Release Review: Switched: N.R. Walker

N.R. Walker
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Expected December 27, 2016

Israel Ingham’s life has never been easy. He grew up in a house devoid of love and warmth. Nothing he ever did was good enough. The fact Israel is gay just added to the long list of his father’s disappointments.

Then a letter from Eastport Children’s Hospital changes everything.

A discovery is made, one of gross human error. Twenty-six years ago two baby boys were switched at birth and sent home with the wrong families.

Sam, Israel’s best friend, has been his only source of love and support. With Sam beside him every step of the way, Israel decides to meet his birth mother and her son, the man who lived the life Israel should have.

Israel and Sam become closer than ever, amidst the tumultuous emotions of meeting his birth family, and Sam finds himself questioning his feelings toward his best friend. As Israel embraces new possibilities, he needs to dissect his painful relationship with his parents in order to salvage what’s left.

Because sometimes it takes proof you’re not actually family to become one.

This book has such a unique and interesting premise. I was drawn in through the thoughts and feelings of the main character, Israel Ingham. He is a successful businessman in his father's multi-million dollar company and has great friends, but he feels like a disappointment. He has spent his life searching for approval and love from his parents, but always seeming to fail. The fact that he is gay seems to be just another way in which he has let them down. He is angry, lost, and constantly striving to succeed and be acknowledged.

But his whole world is shifted when he learns that he was switched at birth due to hospital error. This brings out mixed feelings of relief and fear. Maybe this explains why he never felt he fit in? But what if his biological family rejects him too? It completely shakes up his sense of identity and sends his life spinning in various directions. I felt for Israel as he struggled to come to terms with the changes in his life, figure out a course of action, and deal with his conflicting feelings.

All along, his best friend, Sam is there as his rock. They have been inseparable since they were young teens. Sam is kind, genuine, caring, and protective. He also comes from wealth, but his family is the opposite of Israel's and is warm and loving. And everyone seems to be able to see that Sam has feelings for Israel, but Israel himself.

Sam is the only person Israel truly trusts and relies on...so much that he begins to worry that he is too needy and that affects him as well. And amidst the emotional situations, Israel begins to look at his best friend differently than he has before. Sam just wants to be there for Israel and is as bossy and pushy as he needs to be. But he has sensitive feelings as well.  I adored these two together. Their rapport and banter, their deep connection, their sexual tension, and the fact that they truly cared for the other so much. Their chemistry was sizzling, but there was also just so much affection. These guys totally touched my heart.

I also enjoyed their relationship with their fun-loving, supportive friend group of Jamie, Millsy, and Connor. They cracked me up. The side characters within the families were developed well enough to add to the depth of the family drama. The dynamics of the family members were an important part of the overall story arc.

This is a journey for Israel to navigate his growing feelings for his best friend, his biological family, and the parents that raised them. He is a man in need of  healing and finding a way towards forgiveness. It explores nature vs. nurture, love vs. money, and breaks down the intricacies of family. It is a friends-to-lovers story that is unique, emotional, steamy, funny, and romantic. It is also a thought provoking, dramatic story of "what if?" As Israel explores his fractured world, he has to figure out what parts can be repaired and if they can all fit together.

I stayed up late reading it and could not put it down. And I felt like I lived it all with Israel and Sam. And it had some really good messages about love, family, and forgivness.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 
N.R. Walker

N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance. She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way. She is many things: a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don’t let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words. She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things… but likes it even more when they fall in love. She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.

She’s been writing ever since…


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