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Saturday, March 11, 2017

Goodbye Paradise (Hello Goodbye #1) [Josh & Caleb] by Sarina Bowen

Incredible, though really, I wasn't expecting any less from Sarina :) There's a special story behind this one, but I'll get to it later on. Joshua (Josh) and Caleb grew up in a (highly religious) cult (oddly named Paradise), which isn't the only reason their lives were miserable. But they find themselves out quicker than they expected. For Caleb it was only a matter of time, not if. But while Caleb was PLANNING it, Josh just knew he'd be thrown out one day for being useless around the farm. Well, maybe not totally useless, but slower and less capable. 

Most of the story is told from Josh's POV, though we DO get enough of Caleb to understand and see who he is. They both have many insecurities, but in the end they are strong and even more so together. But they didn't do it all alone. Maggie and her husband Daniel had a HUGE part in helping them find their home and build together a family. Maggie used to be a part of the cult as well, but she ran away a few years back. Now happily married to Daniel, she made her best to make people at the cult know (the ones who needed to know really) that she was out there, and she was waiting for anyone who needs help after they got out. Caleb took the opportunity and when Josh was thrown out he run to him and they both made their way to her outstretched hands. 

If this reminds you of something you probably aren't mistaken. Leah and Isaac from "True North" did the same for Zach. These three are actually also survivors of the same cult, though there's only one instance in which they are mentioned.  

Josh and Caleb's journey, to Maggie, and to happiness was long, but every step of the way was simply beautiful. There were so many things - big and small - they didn't know about life, about the outside world, even though Caleb was a bit "better off" because he made deliveries for the cult (being the grandson of someone important). Maggie and Daniel were a lifeline, but they weren't the only ones, it actually started with George Washington believe it or not! :)

Caleb and Josh found a true home with Maggie and Daniel, though at first they were mostly unsure about their place, it became obvious as time went by how much they were important and how much they meant to both Daniel and Maggie (and baby Chloe as well). Yet one thing remained a secret Josh was absolutely terrified of revealing to them - the fact he and Caleb are a couple. While Caleb was mostly concerned with his "worth" in the financial way, wanting a better future for him and Josh to live in, Josh was struggling with his identity, fearing the life he dreamt of - being with Caleb - would cost him the new family he just found. 

I'll stop now because I have a feeling I'm already saying much more than I should, though I DID make an effort to leaving out something pretty important not to spoiler. This book was heart breakingly beautiful. Once I started it was almost impossible for me to put it down. Can't wait to get my hands on the second part of the story - "Hello Forever" (to be re-published on 14 July 2017).  
But before I go, as promised - the story behind this one is that two years ago Sarina published this book (and the next part) as "In Front of God and Everyone" (Pay it Forward, #1) under the pen name Nealy Wagner, as they were her first MM Romance novels. Realizing she should have published them under her own name since most of her devoted readers (like me!!) totally missed them, she is republishing them now under her name with a "better suited" name (people thought it was religious because of the title which it ISN'T).  

I kindly received this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion. 

This book will be out on 21 March 2017 - 

Pre-order it now through the links below [ Also through Google ]

Read on:
9-11 Mar-2017


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