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ô Read ↠´ Salvage by Con Riley ↠´ When you are burnt out from the breakneck pace and scratch your head, where did it come from I love yous from the typical M M romance, just open up a Con Riley book I promise you, it will restore your faith in M M romances Thank you Con Riley for giving me a worthwhile reading experience Salvage is about a man who comes home to help his ailing father and sister with the family business of architectural salvaging However, it is so muchthan what it appears on the surface To me, this book was about the process that each of us go through when we mature and realize that our parents are not infallible It is about flawed people, learning to trust others, and allowing yourself to take risks Each character is multidimensional I loved all of them and what they brought to the table The author creates such lovely characters that each have a heart and a soul From the father to the sister to even the people they met at the bar, they felt real to me And Con Riley has the pace of this book down pat I love how I didn t feel rushed in the relationship between Gabe and Scott It felt organic, natural, and anything but boring Sure, this book has a bit of a contemplative, melancholy feel but I love the atmosphere that Con Riley managed to create I found this book to be beautiful and completely worthy Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review Five Years Ago, An Accident Fractured Gabe Cooper S Family Believing It Was Broken Beyond Repair, Gabe And His Best Friend Jamie Carlson Left Minnesota Behind For San Diego Sunshine And College Now Another Crisis Brings Gabe Home To Help His Ailing Father, And He Finally Has To Face The Guilt That Kept Him Away For So LongScott Stark Also Returns To Minnesota, With His Young Niece And Nephew In Tow, Shouldering New Family Responsibilities While Gabe Comes To Grips With His Past, Scott Struggles To Accept His Present Role As A Substitute Parent, Caring For Two Children, Each With Different Needs As Gabe And Scott Get To Know Each Other, Reclaiming Family Life Almost Seems Possible Only Two Things Stand In The Way Of Love Gabe S Unresolved Relationship With Jamie, And Scott S Plan To Leave Minnesota As Soon As He Can Both Men Will Have To Accept Past Mistakes If They Want To Salvage A Future Together, And Time Is Running Out From the beginning, I liked the mix of characters here Gabe is a guy doing the best he can for his family He s back home with a web of regrets and guilt and resentment and love and near misses in his past He s pining for Jamie, his best friend and crush since high school whom he rooms with back in California, and whom he protects and loves, but is coming to resent for never seeing how Gabe feels He s stuck in Minnesota, with a father he believes scorns and hates him for past misunderstandings, and a sister whose disabilities were caused by an accident he feels guilty for.
And into his life walks Scott, suddenly pressed into caring for his sister s two children, and totally overwhelmed by the responsibility and all the changes in their lives Both men are gay, but the care of the children brings them together first, and the relationship grows at a believable pace, with plausible set backs and obstacles I liked the realistic feel to the story, the characters, and the plot Everything from Scott s family situation to the way Jamie comes back into Gabe s life was well done neither over angsty nor flat The children were characters in their own right, not plot muppets Gabe s father became a rounded multifaceted personality as the story unfolded This one goes on my favorites list.
stunning.
this was written by a marvelous writer at the height of her powers one of the things that defines us as a species is our drive to create metaphor to tell stories to create things from the bits of other things.
i know, i know i m a dork just wait very nearly everything we do is an abstraction of something else the names we give things are symbols for the things we have named the words we use are a kind of code for the things the words mean, and when we string them together magic.
human magic.
the real kind the word dog is not an actual dog it s a series of three symbols we have all agreed means dog further, we have all agreed that that word sounds a certain way, and that sound also means dog.
if you want to go the other direction, think about the letters we use to make up that word who decided the d should sound like duh why is it shaped the way it is how cool is it that we can use that same shape to make that same sound in all sorts of i am not high.
i m just really, really excited.
so yeah abstraction everything is an extrapolation, a symbol, a metaphor, and human speech and human writing and human storytelling is a series of them put together, which in turn form yet another abstraction, a whole other level of meaning imagery, emotion, ideas and in this way art is made.
a writer writes the dog barks and human beings thousands of miles away, long after she s dead, reading a translation maybe they know what that means they see a dog in their minds, and they hear it barking.
transliteration conveying a thing from one brain to another, using feelings and images made up of millions of metaphors for things everyone understands a certain way.
it s how we tell stories symbols con riley knows how this works, and she knows how to play with it.
months ago i reviewed her first book, After Ben Referring to Ben too many times probably weakened the overall feel of the book, but as a device for the purposes of explaining or enriching the context of the situation, it works very nicely indeed When you lose someone, you really do think of them as often as Theo thinks of Ben You compare everyone to the one you lost, and everything has everything to do with them.
But in fiction, it s sometimes best to be a little bit unfaithful to the literal truth of a thing, to keep the story moving along Some restraint here and there, with the Ben memories, would have better served the story than the still, frankly wonderful and amusing glimpses of the kind of crazy charming and funny man Ben was.
what i saw in her writing back then was this astonishing ability to transliterate the way your mind works in grief the so, so often retrieval of memory in loss, of the mimetic connection between smells and tastes and sounds to painful memories that savage you when you re suffering it was terribly, terribly exciting to see, even if the device was slightly out of balance.
it wasn t perfect, but it was close and it was like being able to read minds.
so, here we are, and she s four books on, and that skill, that talent connecting you to the mind of another person she s created, so you identify with them, and feel what they feel, and recognize the way things happen in your own head through the inner ebb and flow of their emotions and thoughts and memories it sit s not unbalanced any.
now, it is perfect gabriel, her main character here he s alive he s human he s real because the way his mind works memories of conversations, experiences, sounds, smells, all coming back at random times to inform his present state of mind it s real it s accurate.
and it happens just that way, doesn t it you re thinking of your high school crush breaking your heart twenty years ago, just as someone cute standing right in front of you today does something that could be taken a certain way, and you react well out of line you shut them down and the extent of your emotional response only makes sense in the context of the things you were thinking and feeling just before you went totally nuts.
like that.
but then riley does one better.
she s mastered that, y see and now homegirl s just showing off, really the way you or i use metaphors to convey the dog barks, she uses that the obscenely complicated and delicate dance of past memory and present experience to create spellbinding scenes that not only build powerful imagery in your head, but blow them up and put them back together again in absolutely incredible ways.
it was on at least three occasions literally breathtaking.
when i reviewed riley s second book, Saving Sean, i had this to say over and over, you ll find yourself reading something and wondering, why is this here why am i seeing this now what about that other thing the narrative loops over and around itself again and again, layered with surprising allusions, parallels, and metaphors and you ll find that in its playful structure and clever symmetry, you ve been set up just right for incredibly satisfying emotional payoffs.
she d improved that skill playing with the symbolism of memory and the process of cognition she d improved it so much from one book to another i found it astonishing, because the talent and ambition behind such writing had grown exponentially.
as it has, again, here.
with this book.
you re given a word marble and you re given another, and another, in a row, and they build an image in your mind green marbles in a glass jar and then somewords,images,ideas imbued into the marbles who does what with them, and what that means to whom, and when and then it all circles round at the end of a scene and that symbol marble means something completely different than it did at the start somethingsomething incredible and then, hundreds of pages later, hundreds of scenes like that later, you realize this author s been doing the same thing, but with entire scenes, the whole novel, and those same green marbles now mean something even greater, something so vast and so rich and so human yes.
yes it s really that good.
it s like getting gay lit story for MM money.
this book is compulsively readable, and very, very recommended.
When you are burnt out from the breakneck pace and scratch your head, where did it come from I love yous from the typical M M romance, just open up a Con Riley book I promise you, it will restore your faith in M M romances Thank you Con Riley for giving me a worthwhile reading experience Salvage is about a man who comes home to help his ailing father and sister with the family business of architectural salvaging However, it is so muchthan what it appears on the surface To me, this book was about the process that each of us go through when we mature and realize that our parents are not infallible It is about flawed people, learning to trust others, and allowing yourself to take risks Each character is multidimensional I loved all of them and what they brought to the table The author creates such lovely characters that each have a heart and a soul From the father to the sister to even the people they met at the bar, they felt real to me And Con Riley has the pace of this book down pat I love how I didn t feel rushed in the relationship between Gabe and Scott It felt organic, natural, and anything but boring Sure, this book has a bit of a contemplative, melancholy feel but I love the atmosphere that Con Riley managed to create I found this book to be beautiful and completely worthy Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review 2 stars DNF at 65 % Review posted October 15, 2013I guess I must come to terms that Con Riley s writing and my reading tastes are no longer compatible I just don t know After loving and devouring After Ben I was so thrilled to read the entire series and it is very unfortunate that the other two books of the series didn t wow me at all In fact, I was quite disappointed Same goes for Salvage A gloomy and somber atmosphere didn t encourage me to jump around in delight Honestly, why was it necessary to add so much drama to every character It s not realistic I mean we all deal with problems now and then but each and every character of Salvage has been depicted as either view spoiler handicapped, hide spoiler 2 stars DNF at 65 % Review posted October 15, 2013I guess I must come to terms that Con Riley s writing and my reading tastes are no longer compatible I just don t know After loving and devouring After Ben I was so thrilled to read the entire series and it is very unfortunate that the other two books of the series didn t wow me at all In fact, I was quite disappointed Same goes for Salvage A gloomy and somber atmosphere didn t encourage me to jump around in delight Honestly, why was it necessary to add so much drama to every character It s not realistic I mean we all deal with problems now and then but each and every character of Salvage has been depicted as either view spoiler handicapped, hide spoiler Salvage is so muchthan your typical M M romance It was that too, but so much , it was like a breath of fresh air.
Gabe was back in Minnesota after leaving for college in San Diego years before He had left because his family experienced a traumatic event that Gabe thought they d never be able to come back from Their relationships were fractured in a way he had no hope to repair Now he s back to help his sister and sick father with the business.
Gabe is working to save what s left of his relationship with his father and sister He s desperately trying to grab all the pieces he can and fit them back together in the way they once were But, of course, nothing can be exactly the way it was before People change and grow, as do their relationships I loved Gabe and his family their interactions were so real and I could feel all the struggles they had to cope with They were a little estranged for some time, but I could tell there was love still between them and reading about their reconciliation was so touching.
While in town, another man is struggling to get his life in order Gabe s neighbor, Scott, had just been handed his niece and nephew to take care of and he had no idea what he s doing Luckily, he had a great family living next door that s willing to help him out when nobody else would.
While Gabe is trying to save himself from his past, Scott is drowning in his present He has these two kids he doesn t know very well, in a new town, trying to be the guardian they need and deserve He was completely lost in his new situation and was, very literally, falling apart at the seams I loved how Gabe stepped up to help Scott out, without being judgmental, but because he really just wanted to help somebody who needed it.
Scott and Gabe just simply took care of each other they were exactly what the other needed in order to let go of what was holding them back and to look forward The natural flow of their relationship was just that natural They were friends, someone to rely on and someone willing to listen when it was needed, before there was any romance Like I said, Salvage was like a breath a fresh air Give me a meet cute and some tight bods and I m usually all set But this The slow pace of the relationship, the believable relationships and the sense of family was just wonderful.
Salvage I don t know if there s aaptly named romance novel out there The title can be taken in so many directions and applied to so many people and events in the story These men are trying to Salvage so many things in their lives and the way they were able to do this together was simply beautiful to read about.
What a heart warming read this was Absolutely delish.
just the sort of story to curl up on the sofa with, a box of choccies and a glass of wine or 2 all within reach We had happy tears and lots of smiles, so it can only get , a massive and bring on those dancing girls Gabe Cooper has reluctantly returned home to Minnesota after 5 years in San Diego with Jamie to help his dad out running the family Salvage businessdad Coop has had a massive heart attack and obviously has to take things easy, and twin sister Ariel is non too well herself after an accident left her partially disabledshe does what she can to help out, but things are pretty strained at home.
One night a stranger knocks on the door in the middle of an awful storm, the stranger is carrying a young boy and is trying to find a young girl who appears to have run off The stranger is worried out of his mind and the little boy is having a panic attack until Coop walks into the warehouse carrying the little girl who turned up on their doorstep soaked to the skin and frightened to death, calling for her mother Who is the stranger and why does he have 2 young children with him Why was Gabe in San Diego when he really should have been helping out at home What happened to Ariel Who is Jamie All these questions andwill be answered in this story.
yes folks, it s an ah bless story, and I absolutely loved it I must start this review by saying that I ve seen Con Riley s books up and down my timeline for quite a while Heck, my two review buddies co bloggers have read After Ben and were blown away And yet, I stupidly resisted Sure, I follow Con on Twitter, and she seems like an awesomesauce person, but I hadn t seen a lick of her writing.
Until Salvage Which, after reading this book, means I must now do everything in my powah to get all her published books and devour them, because if THIS is the caliber of writing we can expect, Imma need to be all over her Her books, I mean Jeez Pervs.
So, Salvage Sucked me in from the start Gabe Cooper, the prodigal son, returns to his hometown in Minnesota after his father, Coop, has a heart attack There s some hinting at something happening in the past with Gabe s sister Ariel and Gabe s not really boyfriend but best friend Jamie, that has kept Gabe away for a five years, but nothing is explained no info dump, thank all the sweet angels So Gabe is working in his dad s architectural Salvage shop, cataloging things, unpacking boxes and feeling generally rather sorry for himself, with a dollop of guilt to round out the self pity sundae The relationship with Jamie is touched upon, and the reader gets a feeling of unrequited love from Gabe s end, with Jamie seemingly being a hard partying, pleasure seeking, don t give a damn about your feelings narcissist I was kind of glad that Gabe was away from him.
The relationship between Gabe and his father is a bit strained, with Gabe having some misconceptions about his father s feelings towards him, and Coop being an old coot curmudgeon doesn t help their communication Gabe being a somewhat unreliable narrator, you can still feel the underlying love and respect, and the familial bonds that bind these two, and Gabe s sister Ariel.
Then Scott Stark appears on the scene during a huge rain storm, clutching a little boy Josh to him, looking for the boy s sister Emma We hear about his backstory bit by bit, we re introduced to the kids and we start to feel the UST between Scott and Gabe At this point, I was glued to the pages The book touches on many themes, ranging from ASD to family secrets to deep seated guilt, alcoholism, rape and the after effects, crime, gay bashing, misconceptions, despair there s a shit ton of stuff going on behind the story front that in some books would have ended up in some convoluted mess Not here Here, the author weaves a thread of family around all the issues she brings up and creates from it a tapestry of such brilliance that at the end of the book, you sit there with this huge smile on your face, and a happy satisfied sigh leaving your lungs.
At the heart of this book, it s all about family The one you were born in and the one you choose It s about family stretching beyond a blood bond only It s about things not being as they seem a point made again and again, in very subtle ways , and how forgiveness is the greatest gift of all.
It s a wonderfully satisfying read, with a good amount of boysecksing that still never takes center stage and detracts from the emotional connections between the characters.
While Gabe and Scott might initially appear to be the main characters, their lives are so interwoven with the rest of the cast, that the lines blur and you realize that all of the characters are in major ways important to the story.
There were some funny moments that had me laugh out loud, because kids will say the darndest things, and some moments that put tears in my eyes because I was overwhelmed by the emotions Con Riley put on the pages The epilogue was cute and brought the book to a point of closure, though I wouldn t mind seeingof these people read this book, I beg you It s available on 9 16 13 Or better yet, pre order it so you too can immerse yourself in its awesomeness I received a free ARC from the author prior to publication A positive review was not promised in return.
I have been trying for two days to formulate this review It s not working, so I m just going to gush and spill and squee and be generally obnoxious for the duration There truly is nobody who writes quite like Con Riley for me, this is simply How You Write.
Con Riley does it for me on so many levels, but mostly because her writing is so darned intelligent She doesn t write stuff on my nose, she doesn t Tell me anything, but she Shows me all, she doesn t scream at meYou get it You get it Huh Huh , no, it is so muchsubtle Also, she doesn t tell me everything at once, she doesn t dump backstories and information on me when I don t need it Yet.
This writing just presents information as it is needed and when needed Not a second earlier Con Riley has the knack of keeping me on my toes for the whole run, and there I am, thinking, just onechapter, and then suddenly it s been twochapters, threechapters, four, and there s just no stopping me, I keep reading like a river in full spring snow melting water madness running from angry bulls and swimming in deep, dark oceans and it just KEEPS ME READING until my eyes bleed or drop or my iPad hits my face, or I keep on until until until until it s done Finished And then there is wailing, because Feelings.
The book is over Cuewailing.
It s finished Snotsobbing happens.
And by all that is holy, this was a ride and a half I adored Gabe Hated Jamie for almost the whole book, but no, never mind, you read it, and tell me what you think, mkay and I positively fell in love with Scott Some parts made me scream out loud, laughing like a crazy person, and some just gutted me How Con Riley manages to circle around so many difficult themes ha, you want to know which ones How about autism, rape, homophobia, handicaps, illness, alcoholism , circle and circle and never get heavy or boring or teaching Just the softest touch, by a hand that shows me what it means to live with a child on the spectrum What it s like to have a mother who drinks How you live with the loss of limbs And it never feels like I m being taught new things, never am I being punished for being whole, unraped, straight, happy Yes, a lot of books try to make me feel bad about who I am, instead of showing me how other people live I sincerely prefer the second This book makes everything just feel like FAMILY Like fucking family Warm and good and comforting Even when things are all fucked up beyond any measure I have ever had to deal with myself I appreciate the voice in this telling I appreciate taking a stand, being there for your friends Or simply for someone who really needs a hand Especially the little woman who stepped up at the mall to tell people to mind their own business when Scott was having a hard time, was brilliant.
And that s the low key bonus in Con Riley s story she treats women in m m stories like real people Like assets Not like asshats Well, some are asshats too, goes without saying.
What really amazes me is how what seems like an unimportant detail in the beginning can go and become a major point towards the end Brilliant writer is brilliant Why am I not surprised one little bit And I m going to keep all of my own, personal 21 highlights to myself, because you Need to read this one for yourself Go slow, and enjoy the wording Highlight the shit outta this book A free ARC of this book was given to me before publication A positive review was not expected nor ever promised in return And you know what They say it is out today Disclaimer I m quite cold hearted or a glacial bitch, as some would say so take what I m about to say here with a pinch of salt This book might make you cry buckets, even though it didn t do that to me.
When I say this novel was light, pleasant reading, I definitely do not mean that it s a simple, easy story I mean that it s a difficult story, handled with an incredibly delicate hand that somehow managed to squeeze my heart without making it bleed.
Con Riley s strength lies in words It s not the plot that had me glued to the pages although that has its merits too but the way it it was told.
The story unfolds over the course of a few months, not once lagging or speeding up too much.
Gabe, Scott, Ariel, Jamie and Coop s backstories are doled out in small doses, just enough at a time to keep the reader happy, but slightly obsessed and hungry forBut what I found most fascinating about each character, Gabe and Scott in particular, is that despite a slight air of mystery around them, at least in the beginning, and the uttermost complexity of an actual human being that Riley managed to transpose here, there is a crystal clear transparency about them that had me following their thought processes, agreeing with their actions and sympathising with them even when the path they chose wasn t one I would have chosen myself even when it seemed to me they were doing something senseless somehow I saw the sense in it.
The romance is not, by any means, the main focus of this story of personal growth, but it s delicious, heartwarming and sexy all the same.
In a story full of issues and trauma, the love story between Gabe and Scott is the only easy and angst free happening It s plain to see how well they fit together right from the start, in a way that requires no words and no explicit commitment, but comes naturally and brings only joy.
The other characters are just as lovable and interesting, each of them with a clearly defined personality and a past that shaped them and changed them In a way, most of them aren t even secondary characters, because they spend just as much on page time as Scott That makes thisof a choral, family centred story family in every sense the one you re born with, and the one you build for yourself and despite the fact that my tastes don t usually run in that direction, I loved it I absolutely adored it I enjoyed the hell out of it Is there a way to make this any clearer oremphatic The issues in this story, ranging from rape to illness, homophobia and ASD, have the potential to be very heavy and difficult to handle for the author and for the reader.
But what I said about Con Riley s magical way with words comes into play here too, and the narration never turns preachy or oppressive.
Every plot thread, every single small detail is weaved into the plot so seamlessly that at the end, when this masterpiece of a tapestry was finished, I was left smiling, completely satisfied and speechless Speechless All that came out of my mouth for the next three hours was green marbles.
Irrealistically realistic, astonishingly beautiful, and heartbreakingly comforting.
There s probably a lotto say about this, but other people have already written everything you need to know I can only hope I helped someone make the decision to pick up this book, because it s worth every penny and every minute This is the quality I hope for every time I start reading a novel.
originally reviewed for The Blog of Sid Love, which is now dead.
This book is so beautifully written, I felt like I was actually there with the main characters watching the story play out Salvage unfolds at such a natural pace, nothing felt rushed or out of place More than just a romance it is a story about family, acceptance and friendship When Gabe returns home after 5 years to help with the family Salvage business and care for his father, who is recovering from a heart attack, every relationship has seems strained He worries about his best friend roommate ex lover Jamie, who he left behind in San Diego His relationship with his father has been tenuous and defined by a lack of communication since he left for college, shortly after an accident that severely injured his sister An accident Gabe blames on himself One stormy day Gabe meets their new neighbor, Scott Stark, who also has an unpleasant family history, and has suddenly become guardian of his sister s two young children, one of which has autism To say Scott is in over his head is an understatement as he has cannot find his niece and his nephew appears to be in the midst of a meltdown Soon the families begin to bond, and their back stories are slowly revealed Gabe returned to MN planning to go back home to San Diego as soon as his father felt better, but he is soon faced with the fact that he will not be leaving as soon as he thought Scott is also living there on what he believes to be a limited stay, but that is another situation that is up in the air There is a slow build to the romantic relationship between Gabe and Scott, while the two men focus on their families There are so many issues to be dealt with and they all flowed together so easily I never felt distracted by one storyline over another and each played out very naturally and the ending fit the tone of the rest of the story.
From the beginning, I liked the mix of characters here Gabe is a guy doing the best he can for his family He s back home with a web of regrets and guilt and resentment and love and near misses in his past He s pining for Jamie, his best friend and crush since high school whom he rooms with back in California, and whom he protects and loves, but is coming to resent for never seeing how Gabe feels He s stuck in Minnesota, with a father he believes scorns and hates him for past misunderstandings, and a sister whose disabilities were caused by an accident he feels guilty for.
And into his life walks Scott, suddenly pressed into caring for his sister s two children, and totally overwhelmed by the responsibility and all the changes in their lives Both men are gay, but the care of the children brings them together first, and the relationship grows at a believable pace, with plausible set backs and obstacles I liked the realistic feel to the story, the characters, and the plot Everything from Scott s family situation to the way Jamie comes back into Gabe s life was well done neither over angsty nor flat The children were characters in their own right, not plot muppets Gabe s father became a rounded multifaceted personality as the story unfolded This one goes on my favorites list.