Author: Karen Stivali
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 114 Pages
At a Glance: A slightly disappointing final chapter to this story that I wish I had enjoyed more.
Reviewed By: Sadonna
Blurb: Spending the summer together on Fire Island brought Collin and Tanner closer than ever, but back in their conservative college town, challenges confront them at every turn.
As they search for their new normal in their old environment, Collin’s brother Sean surprises them with help when they need it most. But when word about their relationship gets out, trouble erupts with friends and family. When Collin’s relationship with Tanner becomes an issue in his brother’s custody battle and Tanner struggles with his feelings for a heartbroken Wendy, Collin wonders if everyone he cares about would be better off without him in the picture.
In order to save them both, Tanner must make it clear to Collin that their love for each other is all that matters.
Review: Note: This is the final installment of a three novella arc, and as such, is full of major spoilers for the first two books. Definitely not recommended to read out of order.
In this last chapter of Collin and Tanner’s story, the boys return from their angst-ridden summer on Fire Island. They have spent some time at Tanner’s mom’s place and haven’t been alone for a week! Then, they get to their college and discover that they will not having housing for a couple of weeks because of a fire. They really don’t want to be stuck in a crowded gym on cots, and it just so happens that Collin’s brother, Sean, decides to reach out to him. He is experiencing a marital separation and along with having plenty of room, feeling guilt over how the rest of Collin’s family has treated them, and needing some help with his kids, he volunteers a place for the guys to stay until their dorm is ready.
All is well until the wife who cheated on him decides she hasn’t made Sean and Collin suffer enough, and decides to try to turn the situation to her advantage. I found this character to be a bit cartoonish, and she is only a vehicle to move the story along with the guys once again facing a housing crisis. Wendy has not forgiven them for the events on Fire Island (which I had a hard time with her blaming them, anyway), but she does come through.
Eventually the guys make their way back to the dorm, and then, of course, there is some overblown drama there as well. Honestly, unless it’s a Bible College, I found this kind of reaction from fellow students did not ring very true to what I am led to believe to be the case (by my nephew and other college students of my acquaintance). Perhaps I’m mistaken, but I kind of was rolling my eyes at the events of the dorm confrontation. Most colleges have a nondiscrimination policy, and if ANY student reacted this way, they would be asked to leave. Even when I was in college – back in the dark ages – and granted I went to a music and liberal arts college (although there was also a big science and business colleges as well), it wasn’t a big deal and everybody got on with their lives.
As a result of the some of the backlash, then Collin decides that he has to do something to try to make things right. This is where I had the most trouble with the story, I guess. No spoilers here, but Collin’s plan and Tanner’s reaction just seemed pretty trite to me. I did, however, love Tanner’s mom. She’s a lovely character and I would have liked more interaction with her and the boys.
I’ve really struggled with this entire series. I’m not a fan of these novellas being strung together over the space of several months. I also think with the pricing of $4.99 for each, it’s a lot to pay for what is essentially one novel length story told in three parts. When you compare it to something like Amy Lane’s Beneath the Stain, it rather pales in comparison from a volume/price standpoint.
You can buy Moment of Clarity here: