27 June 2012

Little Boy Lost feature: My reading experience of the LBL series


Review


Intro:
Two years ago Brian and Jamie entered my world and I found out their story is both heartbreaking as it is joyous. Each release I was full of anticipation to see where their journey would take them. As this is a six books series and this is a series review I can’t guarantee it to be a spoiler free one! I’ve written separate reviews of Enlightened (here) and Abandoned (here) Vanished (here)

Writing:
One thing that became evident throughout the series was how J.P. Barnaby was able to create convincingly detailed characters and allow their personalities to jump off the pages. The raw emotions to flow from them and sweep me along with it. I think one of things that surprised me in this series, and what eventually became such an appealing lure, where the first persons point of views. I used to take a step back from a book when I discovered it was written in first POV. But I found out over the course of a few books read in this writing style that if the author creates a character that can establish a strong connection with the reader it can be a fantastic ride! During the series the point of view alternates per book between Jamie and Brian and it delivers a profound depth of emotion. The stories voice the tumultuous road for both characters and it connected me to Brian and Jamie in a very intimate way. The level of angst is high, the story development for both Jamie and Brian takes unexpected twists and turns that for some readers may be perceived as pushing the envelope.

I love it when an author searches for the boundaries, have insurmountable dilemma’s for the characters yet simultaneously lets the love soar high. One thing each story in this series has is a gripping and shocking cliff hanger. Since it is a series, revolving around two main protagonists each story ends with an ’Oh-my-gawd-give-me-the-next-book-now’ ending. And J.P. Barnaby is a master in those endings!! Personally, the one that made me frantic and inflicted a ‘heart-in-throat’ gasp was book #3 VANISHED. Of all the possibilities I had going on in my mind I never, in a million years, saw that moment coming and it spun me emotionally on my axes.

Characters:
I think from the first kiss I was a bit in love with Jamie and Brian. Socially opposites but emotionally two pieces of the same puzzle. I loved being in both minds, it tore my heart in to a thousand pieces to see what they had to endure for the sake of being together. But it is something I so strongly believe in; that love can grow through the hardships in to something so strong nothing can tear it apart. Even with all the adversity there are incredible and beautiful things happening too. The camaraderie, the flirting, the quips and bantering between Brian, Micah, Em, Alex & others is something I will savor and made me smile so many times. From the first time Micah appeared in Vanished, with a wicked gleam in his eyes, I felt my heart flutter. And from there I got a big grin on my face whenever he appeared in the story. His personality is larger than life, he has a big heart and his visceral sexuality just hit the right buttons for me.

All the characters up till then endeared themselves in one way or another. Yet the one who pulled the hardest on my heartstrings was Jamie. The things he has to survive speaks of an inner strength which makes me root for such a person. Jamie’s anguish and despair which made me cry but the good times, his courage and the love deepening balanced the tears shed. The intimacy of the journey is one that affected me profoundly. There’s no sugar coating of anything; its raw, its real, it made me think and I loved the connection it fused between me as a reader and all the characters in this series.

Topics:
There are various topics in this series that pour a dose of realism in the storytelling. From gay bashing, to places where you can cure the gay. Also the GLBTQ centers, the homeless, violence, murder and addiction. It all takes place in some form or another in the Little Boy Lost series making it a gripping reading experience full of trials and tribulations but also blooming sexuality, friendships and love. The topic that I was entirely new to was the porn industry and how it all worked. It was something that fascinated me to no end! Why would someone choose for this line of work or how do you end up doing porn? What was its appeal and how does a scene work? Call me vanilla but I never watched a documentary about the porn industry on Discovery…if this channel would have one. Again, J.P. Barnaby made this topic work, made me understand the choices of the characters and be completely comfortable with it. I enjoyed the camaraderie on the set and the professionalism.

Sexyness:
The sexy in the Little Boy lost series is phenomenal! From the sweet yet powerful impact of a first time, the self-loving, to sex craving hunger and making love…it was all there and I was a voyeur of the first order while reading all the steamy scenes. The moments depicted soul baring emotions or simply acting on a mutual attraction or a need. The eroticism was functional, entwined with the characters development and/or personality but at the same time so utterly titillating my toes were curled during various moments in this series.

Synonyms for the LBL series:
Well-rounded - engrossing – emotional - fantastic - angst – erotic – realism – daring – layered.

Conclusion:
It is a rare kind of magic when you intensely connect with an author’s voice and characters. And it’s something that definitely happened for me with J.P. Barnaby. Even though she put me through the emotional wringer! Even though she allowed the best and worst of what mankind has to offer happen to her characters, I closed Sacrificed with a deep fulfilled sigh of emotional gratification! Brian and Jamie’s story is a powerful romance with emotions and passion blazing through the pages. I hope J.P. Barnaby has a chance to write for many more years and grow further as an author. I love to be immersed in the stories she writes!

Series rating; 5 stars

GIVEAWAY @ LBR: The complete series in e-book format of your choice! Enlightened - Abandoned - Vanished - Discovered - Escaped & Sacrificed.

Leave a comment on any of the five LBL feature posts this week and you're entered. Giveaway ends on July 2nd and winner will be picked July 3rd 2012.

Goodreads series info

J.P. Barnaby on the www:
website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter | Buy @ Dreamspinner Press

6 comments:

  1. It is a rare kind of magic when you intensely connect with an author’s voice and characters. And it’s something that definitely happened for me with J.P. Barnaby. Even though she put me through the emotional wringer!

    This! That's exactly what I'm always looking for as a reader. And hoping for with every new book/series.
    I've witnessed your falling in love with this series and it's something I want to experience as well, but honestly, I'm a little bit afraid too to start reading the books, lol. It's time to put on my big-girl-pants I think and finally start reading. :)

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  2. Janna - the final book comes out in a matter of days. It's safe now. :)

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  3. I have the first book waiting for me, but from your notes above I seem to be in for a bit of emotion (which is fine), but I also need to be in the mood. If I know I can continue through the series, then I'm ready to start reading. This is actually the push I needed to get started! Thanks Leontine and JP :)

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  4. I have not read any of the LLB series but I have had then on my "to buy" list for this summer. Would love to win!
    Yvette
    yratpatrol@aol.com

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  5. I've been waiting for this series to be finished to start it, and this would be perfect! My regular email is diremommy(at)yahoo(dot)com, good luck to everyone!

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  6. It sounds so, so intense (which is why I've been delaying a little bit), but I'm sure it'll be worth it. Amazing build-up...

    vitajex(at)aol(dot)com

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I love to hear all your voices and opinions so thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.