Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Bones of You by Laura Stone: Review, Guest Post, Giveaway & More!

The Bones of You
by Laura Stone

Genres: Contemporary, M/M, Romance
Oliver Andrews was wholly focused on the final stages of his education at Cambridge University when a well-meaning friend up-ended his world with a simple email attachment: a clip from a U.S. morning show. 

The moment he watches the video of his one-time love Seth Larsen, now a Broadway star, Oliver must begin making a series of choices that could lead him back to love—or break his heart. 

The Bones of You is full of laughter and tears, with a collection of irritated Hungarians, flirtatious Irishwomen, and actors abusing Shakespeare that color Oliver and Seth’s attempts at reconciliation.
Moira Byrnes, one of the characters in The Bones Of You, says, "Life isn't measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away." Too often I think we get caught up in the safety of routine, the protective barrier that steadfast normalcy provides, and as a result, we very possibly are denying ourselves moments that can, well, take our breath away.

I certainly can be accused of settling at times for the safety of routine rather than taking a huge leap of faith and doing something drastically different. For some of us, it may be changing our hair color or getting a nose piercing, for others it could be leaving an unhealthy relationship or moving across the country or even the globe in order to follow your passion.

Each one of these decisions is a frightening step into something unknown. But... there's something so delicious, so enticing about the unknown if you stop letting fear dictate what it could be. Sure it can go wrong. But it also can go right

That new hair color could lead to a whole new style of dressing, ultimately leading you into that Burlesque dance class you wanted to check out but never dared try before. That broken relationship doesn't have to mean you end up alone and unfulfilled. Now it can mean that you have an entirely fresh path before you, ready to be filled with wonderful people, new experiences and happy moments.

You could discover that by taking a chance and moving across the pond that you find your soul-mate while touring a Scottish castle. This has actually happened to a friend of mine. The photographs of her wedding were straight out of a fairy tale. And fortunately, she didn't mind a gaggle of bagpipes at her wedding and a traditional haggis, so it worked out doubly. They just celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary, in fact, and all because my friend realized that there are colleges all over the world, so why not get a graduate degree in a place where she'd always wanted to live?

Too many times we keep our heads down, focused solely on the task at hand, our dreams and fantasies of an exciting future seemingly too distant to even comprehend happening some day, if at all. But it doesn't have to be that way. The key is to hope that there's something wonderful waiting for you just over the horizon. It could be something as small as taking a chance on a new book club, one where you finally connect with the members, forging new, long-lasting friendships. It could be changing jobs and doing something that leaves you fulfilled at the end of the day. Or it could be taking a chance to get on stage, to build a prototype, to live in your dream city or country, or to publish that book you've been working on.

You might not make it happen that first time. You might not the second or third! But if you realize that each of these moments is really just you spreading your wings, trying something new, just trying, you'll live a much happier life, one more true to who you really are and who you want to be. In my book, Oliver has to take a leap of faith that he'll be able to have the career he truly wants, one that will be fulfilling to who he is instead of just being a desk jockey, and have the love of his life, Seth, by his side. But until he decides to take that chance, he just might not end up with either. Finding the strength to put himself out there, even with the chance he might fail, will be the most important decision of his life. It's something we all can identify with, I think, both the fear and the hope. Believe me, taking that chance is worth it. You just have to try.
And that's when he heard it, a beautiful voice that was painfully familiar. God, that sounds just like…  He dropped the satchel–the papers thankfully stowed away–and turned to his computer screen. It felt like time had stopped, that it took him forever to see proof on the screen that he'd heard what he thought he had heard. That's when he saw him.

Oliver immediately forgot that he needed to get to campus, that he had a mountain of work ahead of him, that he'd not even eaten yet. Seth. Seth, his first love, his first, well, everything, was on his computer screen, singing. And if he'd thought Seth had a beautiful voice as a teenager, that was nothing to how he sounded now. Clearly his time at Juilliard and whatever he'd done after had developed his voice into something truly special, almost otherworldly.

Oliver gripped the computer with both hands, his face close to the screen, breath trapped in his aching chest. Seth, tall and lean, his pretty, still-boyish face aglow from the joy of performing, was in the middle of the studio, hands clasped in front of him, eyes closed and head tilted slightly as he sang a song Oliver wasn't familiar with. He didn't care; he was transfixed by the line of Seth's long throat, how the fitted shirt he was wearing accentuated the breadth of his shoulders, the small smile on his face as he sang. It was Seth, but now so much more than the captivating boy he had loved all those years ago.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Seth and Oliver have a complicated history that started with their relationship in high-school. Tolerance is low in small town Kansas and growing up gay can be down right dangerous. Both boys have challenging backgrounds and have been hurt in the past. Their young love is unable to stand the test of time, distance and immaturity.

Both Seth and Oliver have perused other relationships since their separation, but the attraction of their first love remains. An unexpected second chance at love forces each man to face the mistakes that drove them apart.

While hindsight may be 20/20, it is also easy to fall back into old habits. Just when things are starting to look up for the charismatic couple again, history threatens to repeat itself, proving that sometimes you have to look backwards in order to move forward again.

THE BONES OF YOU is a complex and emotional story that focuses on love, loss and second chances. Told from Oliver's perspective, his internal dialog is raw and gut-wrenchingly honesty. Seth is a little harder to identify with, as readers get to know him through Oliver's thoughts and impressions. The cast of secondary characters is dynamic and entertaining, often bringing much needed comedic relief to the otherwise intense story. While opposite in many ways, the two main characters have an elemental chemistry that struck a deep chord and kept me engaged. Well written and steadily paced, it is thought provoking in many ways and offers a slightly different twist to the traditional story line of rekindling lost love.
A life-long fan girl, Laura Stone takes a leave of absence from the glamorous life of motherhood while the kids were in school, devoting her days to writing full-time. In the past she's worn the hat of actress, Master Gardener, and computer geek, but now sticks mostly to a Texas Ranger's ball cap as she raises her children. They're not fully raised, but then again, she would say that she isn’t either.

She began telling stories to her parents at the age of four. She was so successful in catching her parent's attention that her father actually dislocated his back, trying not to sit on her imaginary cat, Doka.

She lives in Texas as proof that it's not totally populated by hard-line right-wingers—and because that's where the good tamales are from.
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  1. Sounds like it has a little bit of everything in it. Thanks for the chance to win.

  2. Already added to my TBR list. =) Lovely cover and interesting blurb, thanks for the review too.

  3. Thank you again, Carly, for hosting me! (And the privilege of a guest post is pretty terrific, as well.)
    ~Laura Stone

  4. second chance love is always interesting

  5. Looking forward to reading The Bones of You. Thanks for the giveaway

  6. I like the review! I enjoy reading second chance love.

  7. The review was really good. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.