Friday 30 October 2015

Review - A Hundred Thousand Words by Nyrae Dawn

Title: A Hundred Thousand Words 
Author: Nyrae Dawn
Release Date: October 27, 2015

Tobias Jackson grew up in Coburn, a town where the gay population equaled exactly one: him. Add that to the fact that his dream guy was his best friend's jerky older brother Levi Baxter, and it made hooking up virtually impossible. 

Now home from college for winter break, Toby is a different person. He left Coburn for San Francisco, where he wasn't the lone gay guy and the only black kid in town. And yeah, he took advantage of what the city had to offer.

Apparently Toby isn’t the only one who’s changed. Levi’s not acting like the self-centered guy with all the answers that Toby remembers from growing up. Oh and Levi’s realized he's bisexual, which makes things a lot more interesting… 

Heading back to college, Toby doesn’t expect to meet up with Levi again, despite him being in med school not far away. A surprise visit from Levi blows that assumption out of the water. As they spend more time together Toby sees Levi as more than just the fantasy. He’s complicated, unsure…he’s real. But if Toby can’t get out of the past and find the words he keeps locked inside himself, he’ll lose his chance at Levi for good.

There’s a pretty simple reason I wanted to read A Hundred Thousand Words, aside from my love of all thing M/M. Someone recently told me that Nyrae Dawn was the reason they started writing. And if that’s not an endorsement, I don’t know what is. Remind me, at the end of this review, to send that person a note saying thanks for the recommendation. Because I LOVED this book. 

Life wasn’t exactly easy for Tobias Jackson. Gay, black, and from a small town where gay OR black would have made him stand out, let alone both. Oh, and let’s not forget the fantasies about his best friend’s very straight older brother, Levi Baxter…

Time away from his small hometown of Coburn, at college in the big, gay-friendly city of San Francisco is all Toby needs to grow and change. And he’s not the only one that’s changed. Levi has too. 

He’s no longer a jerk, and he’s no longer very straight. All it takes is one drunken encounter for Toby to realize that his dream man is not as unobtainable, or as perfect, as he once thought—but finding the words to hold and keep Levi might just be…

Wow. Just…wow. This book was magic in written form, and I loved every single page of it. It sucked me in from the start, it captured not just my attention, but also my heart, and I absolutely devoured it in the way you do a perfect, delicious treat. Because that’s what A Hundred Thousand Words was. A treat. 

It was a treat to read about Toby and Levi. And unlike many single-POV books, I never once wished for more from it. I didn’t need to get into Levi’s head to understand him, or what this author was trying to convey. In fact, I didn’t WANT to get in there either. I loved seeing Levi through Toby’s eyes. Seeing the glow, trying to align the perfect, gifted Levi he knew to the one that was standing in front of him a much-changed man. It made the struggle feel more real, it made the moments more powerful. And it made Levi’s openness feel like a gift—or a treat, if you don’t mind me repeating myself. 

This book hit me in the feels. Those pesky feels that made me ache inside for Toby and all that’s happened in his past to make him question his present and his future. Those god damn feels that made me want to wrap my arms around these confused, imperfect young men, and try to make all better. Those fucking feels that made this slow-burn feel scorching hot, but also like a gentle, easy, perfect fall into love. 

And what a fall it was. If I could wipe this book from my brain and start afresh, experience the magic of a first-time read all over again, I would. I can’t do that, but I can encourage you to. And I can also say thank you, not just to Ms. Dawn for this exceptional book, but also to that somebody that told me this author reached something inside of them and made them want to find their words—just like Toby wanted  needed to find his. How perfect is that? 
~ Review by Beth

Writing has always been Nyrae Dawn’s passion. Even when she was too busy chasing kids or working, writing stories was never far from her mind. 

She feels a special pull to characters in their teens. There’s something so fresh and fun about the age that she adores exploring. Her husband says it’s because she doesn’t want to grow up. She doesn’t think that’s such a bad thing. Luckily for her, he doesn’t either. 

Nyrae 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 also a proud romantic at heart who has a soft spot for flawed characters. She loves people who aren’t perfect, who make mistakes but also have a big heart. 

Nyrae resides in sunny Southern California with her husband (who still makes her swoon) and her two awesome kids.

When she’s not with her family, you can be pretty sure you’ll find her with a book in her hand or her laptop and an open document in front of her. 

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