Title: Stand by You
Author Name: A. M. Arthur
Publication Date & Length: October 20, 2014
Three months after his rescue from an abusive boyfriend, twenty-two-year-old Romy Myers has landed his first legitimate job�bussing tables at his friend’s new coffee shop. The job has brought him some stability after years of abuse have left him feeling damaged and broken. He’s working hard on his panic and social anxiety, and those things are often tempered by the big, burly presence of Brendan Walker.
From the moment ex-football player Brendan helped rescue Romy from his ex’s abuse, he’s wanted to protect him. And he does, from a distance, with joking text messages, a new gym routine to toughen him up and a genuine friendship. So far it’s been easy�but Brendan’s feelings aren’t just friendly anymore…
When an argument spirals out of control, a hot and heavy make-out session causes Romy’s friendship with supposedly straight Brendan to reach a new level. The last thing Romy wants is to fall for another guy who could potentially shatter him, but Brendan also wakes up a part of him he thought had been destroyed by violence�his heart.
This book contains some sexual traumas and if that will bother you, do not read.
I really enjoyed this story. The characters are real, honest and easy to feel connected to. Arthur did an excellent job at creating the two main characters, Bendan and Romy, as well as the supporting characters. The story is heart wrenching, emotional, frustrating and lovable. I was able to easily understand the relationships portrayed in the book – with the struggles of the relationships, the successes of them and the ultimate failures that some have. Romy, the main character, has to work through some tough emotions. Arthur was great at bringing the reader in to the mindset of Romy and what he was working through. While I do not have personal experience with the trauma that Romy experienced, Arthur was able to write Romy’s emotions in such a realistic manner that I connected with Romy on a deep level throughout the book.
The relationship between Romy and Brendan was very sweet. I loved how Brendan was Romy’s safe place – his oasis. I found it a little frustrating that Romy was always second guessing himself and those around him, but it did not detract too much from the story.
I really fell in love with Brendan. He was a genuine friend – loyal and unwavering. He was my favorite character out of all of them in the book. I loved how he defended his friends, loved his family and found himself in the process.
This book showed that while you can’t always choose your family, sometimes those people you surround yourself with become your family and will stand by you no matter what.
The story is complex, frustrating, lovable and in the end, exactly how this story should be. Arthur did a fantastic job!
This was an absorbing, emotional read that had me engaged throughout. I really liked the personalities of the various characters, and I loved that they all had such unique voices. At its core, this is essentially a story about broken people healing each other through friendship and love.
I do have to admit, I’m a little bit over the “fragile, lost-boy twink” trope found in a lot of m/m stories. The idea that one’s body type, mannerisms, or appearance/expression have much to do with how strong that person is emotionally is a little draining. The same goes for the opposite–that a person must be physically strong to be emotionally healthy is also a little contrived. I think it creates a power dynamic more similar to het romance than I prefer in a m/m story.
Despite that, I liked the relationship between Romy and Brendan. Aside from assigning them roles based on their appearance, their reactions to their different histories and circumstances felt realistic to me. I also liked how they both eventually learned to express their feelings to each other and to their friends in a way that felt natural (rather than like they were playing therapist for each other).
I did find it a little slow-paced, and I prefer more action than psychological/emotional drama. There were moments when I almost felt like I was living the story in real-time, which dragged a bit for my preference. However, I think that’s personal taste, not a sign of poor writing.
Readers should be aware that there is some really heavy stuff in here, including descriptions of domestic violence and homophobia (not what I would call graphic, but definitely more explicit than a passing mention).
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1EIZD1g
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/1vXB5LR
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1szR1VU
No stranger to the writing world, A.M. Arthur has been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long. She credits an early fascination with male friendships and “bromance” (and “The Young Riders”) with her later discovery of and subsequent affair with m/m romance stories. When not writing, she can be found in her kitchen, pretending she’s an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments. You can contact her at AM_Arthur(at)yahoo(dot)com
Author’s Website: http://amarthur.blogspot.com.au/