Review: Let There Be Light by A.M. Johnson

Posted April 23, 2019 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 24 Comments

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Review: Let There Be Light by A.M. Johnson
Let There Be Light

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
three-flames

Series: Twin Hearts #1
Genres: M/M Romance, New Adult Romance
Published by Tantor Audio
Released on April 23, 2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
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The Delight

One’s world is the water and the other immerses himself in music, but they catch sight of each other and a special connection forms that makes two worlds collide and reform to include the dazzling light of new love.  This was a random choice when the title caught my eye and the blurb pulled me in, but oh the joy this lyrical college romance gave me from start to finish.

Review

Let There Be Light is the first of the Twin Hearts duology that are a pair of standalone parallel stories about the O’Connell twins.  I discovered after I started that the Twin Hearts duo is a spin-off of the Avenues Ink Trilogy that tell the story of Royal’s parents, uncles and aunts’ earlier stories.  I had no trouble starting here as it truly is a standalone story with the promise of Royal’s sister and his college best friend getting their story next.

Let There Be Light begins when Royal O’Connell and his twin sister, Indy, head off to a private Oregon college for their first time away from home.  Royal has a scholarship for swimming and Indy for art.  Royal grew up working class and wants to make his parents proud while starting to take some of the burden off them by stepping out on his own.  He wants to get into counseling because it is his natural inclination to help and protect those who may be struggling like Indy, but he also lives for his time in the pool with the swim team when he makes his swimming his art like Indy with her brush.  He makes a best friend out of the swim team captain and fits in with all, but one bitter rich kid who is jealous of Royal’s speed and talent as a swimmer.  Then he catches sight of his friend’s roommate and his world is shaken to discover that the first person to ever interest or attract him in a romantic way is a guy.  And, not just any guy, but a reclusive, shy, classical piano protege.

Camden has been told all his life that his interest in males is disgusting and learned early on that his parents only care about what he can achieve that they can brag about.  He became a non-entity in his own family and absorbed that along with a need for distance and silence with just the music to live for and keep him going.  But, then a sunny, light-filled, smiling swimmer sees him- really sees him and loves his music.  Camden is pulled out of the shadows and into Royal’s life where they both reach out to a guy for the first time.  Will Royal stand pat when they must face others or should Camden hold back and keep his heart safe?

This was a first time gambit into this author’s writing, but holy cannoli, it won’t be the last.  The writing was lyrical without heading into cheesy purple prose-territory.  It was reflective and gentle in pacing, but it dug deep into the two separate characters and the surrounding cast for how they would figure out a lot of firsts and how to handle their relationship let alone all the other challenges of college-age folk.  The contrast in their two families back home and also the building of friendships, balance of their studies and work, and also time spent with them pursuing their talents was blended so nicely.

The guys are so very different, but the author gave strong depictions that made it easy to see their early, confusing attraction and friendship leading into more.  These are young healthy college guys so they do some exploring in the bedroom once things get going, but that does not become a focus so much as grows alongside the other aspects of their love.  It was all so organic.  The attention to the larger story going on also has me eager for the twin story coming after this one and the earlier story of the three older O’Connell brothers getting their story.

The book is told in alternating point of views of Royal and Camden and I thought it was a great idea to have two narrators for the audio edition take on their parts.  Both Teddy Hamilton and Aaron Shedlock did fabulous jobs capturing the essence of the story and the characters.  I had no trouble picturing myself on a college campus among college students and then the few family scenes.

This one took me pleasantly by surprise.  I really connected with the author’s writing and the narrator’s work.  I will be going after more from this author.  Her books are mostly m/f contemporary romances in this world of the O’Connells, but this one is an M/M New Adult Contemporary which I can enthusiastically recommend.

My thanks to Tantor Audio for providing a copy for me to listen and share my honest thoughts.

Challenges Met

New Adult #57
Romance-0poly #22 College Mews (college setting)
Books N Tunes #24 Chopin’s Fantasie-Impromptu Opus 66

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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LolaLornaRachel @Waves of FictionCarole @ Carole's Random Life in BooksKimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer Recent comment authors
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Melanie Simmons
Guest

Sounds like a fun story. I’m glad you really enjoyed it.

Sophia Rose
Guest

I do love getting a big surprise like this when I take a gamble. 🙂

Angie Elle
Guest

Oh my gosh. This sounds so good! I am going to have to try it. Great review, Sophia. I can’t wait to read this one!

Sophia Rose
Guest

It was such a sweet coming of age and figuring out love story. 🙂

Debbie Haupt
Guest

Glad you liked it Sophia Rose

Sophia Rose
Guest

It was a lovely surprise. I definitely want to read his sister’s story now. 🙂

Mary Kirkland
Guest

That sounds like such a good story. Glad to hear you enjoyed it.

Sophia Rose
Guest

It really hit the spot. New author to hunt down now. 🙂

Melliane
Guest

Oh it’s so great to find a story like that! It’s a new one to me!

Sophia Rose
Guest

Oh, you said it, Melliane. 🙂 I love good surprises like this one.

Jennifer Tar Heel Reader
Guest

Terrific review! I appreciate your thoughts on the audio for this one too!

Sophia Rose
Guest

Oh man, so sorry to not respond to your comment early, Jennifer. Just showed up for some reason.

Absolutely! This one was amazing from writing to narration. 🙂

Lindy@ A Bookish Escape
Guest

I love all of the passion and angst in the New Adult Genre! This is a story/duology that I need to check out! Poor Camden, have a horrible family like that would cause my heart to go out to him and want him to get his HEA with Royal! Great Review Sophia!

Sophia Rose
Guest

I do love reading about people coming of ages and figuring out who they are and what they believe. The writing was just so beautiful, too.

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer
Guest

Wow Sophia, this sounds superb! I love when a take a risk and it ends up being pure gold!

Sophia Rose
Guest

You got that right. 🙂 Can’t wait for more.

Carole @ Carole's Random Life in Books
Guest

This sounds fabulous, Sophia Rose! I really enjoy Teddy Hamilton’s narration so I will have to keep my eye open for the audiobook.

Sophia Rose
Guest

This was really well narrated. I enjoyed both guys voicing the characters. One of the few dual narrations I’ve liked lately. 🙂

Rachel @Waves of Fiction
Guest

Sounds like a wonderful story of romance and self-discovery. I’ll have to check this author out, I’m interested in both Royal and his twin’s story. 🙂

Sophia Rose
Guest

It was definitely that, Rachel! I look forward to reading his twin’s story and the older generation’s books.

Lorna
Member

Oh, this sounds wonderful! I think I would like to listen to it as well. I got ok’d to get ones from Tantor but can’t figure out how to load them to read. If I could, I would definitely try this one.

Sophia Rose
Guest

It was amazing. So glad I gave it a try.

Yeah, it’s tricky with that process. I know how to do the loading with my iTunes, but it took some coaching to figure it out. 🙂

Lola
Guest

Good to know this one can be read as a standalone even tough it is a spin-off series. I’ve seen this cover around, but never read on to see what it is about.After reading your review I added it to my to-read list and the service I use for audiobooks has this one, so might just listen to the audiobook, as it sounds like the narrators do a good job with this one. The characters sound both interesting and likable. I like how you say it digs deep into the characters. And opposite attract romances can be so fun to… Read more »

Sophia Rose
Guest

Yes, it can definitely be the place to start with a new author and series. Oh cool that you found it on your audiobook service. Hope you enjoy it.

I really loved how the author developed story and characters. Its a slowburn low-angst, but never gets boring. 🙂