The Other Side of Winter by G.B. Gordon #Review

The Other Side of Winter by G.B. Gordon #ReviewThe Other Side of Winter by G.B. Gordon

Series: Santuario
Genres: M/M Romance, Sci-Fi Romance
Published by Riptide on March 23, 2015
Pages: 345
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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four-stars  

Some books are very challenging reads and I mean that in the best of ways. Oh the feels! For this second part of Bengt and Alex’s story the author slowly fractured them and then painstakingly put them back together again. I was hard-pressed to keep reading a few times because these two guys…ugh! They broke my heart and roused my ire in turn. I went back and forth between wanting to hug them (and I’m not a hugger) and thumping them on the back of the head (really hard). One of the most difficult reunion romances I’ve read and the thing is, I’m pretty sure these two aren’t done making things tough on themselves and each other.

“There’s been quite a bit of upheaval in your life lately, and from what I can see, you haven’t even started to process most of it. Don’t force yourself to be who you think you should be. It’s not going to work. You can ‘fake it ’til you make it’ as they say, but only up to a point. Behind that front you’ll have to deal with the changes in your life and what they’re doing to you. If you don’t, you’ll likely sabotage the very dream were following here. You’ll become your own prison.”

Loc. 877 Meret to Alex from The Other Side of Winter

Beyond the difficulty of the romance and character development of these two flawed men, the book continues with offering a well-drawn world so that I could visualize Bengt’s home, people and the life there on the mainland so well and it also provides a nice puzzle of a murder mystery that takes both of them, relying on their strengths and working together to solve. The balance does shift in this one as does the pace. The first half of the book is one long set up for what is to come- even getting slow in spots. The first book provided lots of external tension and action whereas this one didn’t provide much external danger. Different, but not necessarily better or worse since the focus is on other stuff.

Though the two guys shared the narration, I felt like the focus was strongest on Alex. He had a long ways to come in this book and it was heartbreaking to watch him have to fall to pieces before he could rebuild. He went through so much even if he didn’t talk about what happened in that year apart. I’m guessing it will be one doozy of a story when he gets around to it since he has the symptoms of someone really traumatized.   Alex felt he had nothing to bring to their partnership and he had to learn so much about being in a relationship.

“Do you love him?”

What was the obsession everyone had with that word? “You watch too many commercials. What does that even mean, love?”

She was silent for so long that he thought she’d fallen asleep. Then she said quietly, almost reverently, “Love is being naked and vulnerable, and it terrifies you, but you don’t ever want it to stop, because it feels like nothing else in the world.”

It sounded terrifying all right, and it didn’t make any sense, but it was obviously important to her so he didn’t laugh.

Loc 1365 Kristen to Alex from The Other Side of Winter

Then again, so did Bengt. At first, he comes across as a stalwart if controlling guy, but Bengt has his own demons to slay. Even so, he is the steady rock that Alex flayed against when he was fighting his internal issues, but also knew that Bengt would always be there for support if Alex would ever reach out for him. Both so very different, but yet they need each other so very much. Even if they screw up the words and misunderstand nearly everything, they communicate well when they are together exploring their spicy hot passion and saying with this wordless, physical experience what they can’t say otherwise yet.

“When you said, ‘You’re mine’, what did you mean?”

Alex remembered that? The fear of losing him had made that fierce protectiveness spill over. Bengt shook his head. “Forget that. I shouldn’t have said it. Not like that and in that situation, anyway.”

“You did, though. So, what did you mean when you said it?”

This was getting serious fast, but it was clearly important to Alex. “That you’re mine to love. Exclusively. Mine to protect. Mine to worship, with my body, heart and mind.” Loc. 3455 Alex and Bengt from The Other Side of Winter

Now, this one falls in the M/M Sci-Fi Romance category and tags for most places, but it doesn’t have a sci-fi feel or at least not in this installment. It actually crosses quite a few genre lines so I think that makes it more universally appealing. If you like the hard-fought relationship stuff in Contemporary Romances, this book will punch your ticket. If you like some Romantic Suspense, then there is an engaging mystery for the detectives to solve. And if you like exploring different worlds and cultures like these former colonists from Earth? This series has a bit of that going on too which I hope it gets back to with the next installment.

All in all, it was a tough read, but so very worth it. These sensual, passionate, stubborn, loveable men were worth it. I will be so happy when the next leg of their series comes out so I can continue along with them.

My thanks to Riptide Publishing for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

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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.
  • I’ve only read on M/M book before and it wasn’t a good experience b/c the narrator was all wrong for the story. I’ve itchy for giving the genre another shot since so may peeps have told me how HOT and emotional this stories can be, and I’m thinking this might be good place to start 🙂
    Thank you Sophia.

    • Yes, these books have some depth though I would assume a good narrator would be a must to explore it, Loupe. Start with Santuario though or this book will only feel like half a story.

      • Thank you! I had already gone and checked (for audio..lol..no luck) and saw that first book was Santuario, I meant the series 🙂

        • Ah that’s a bummer! I don’t know if you’re interested, but a different M/M Romantic Suspense that Riptide publishes (big favorite of mine too) is out on Audio. It’s the Cut and Run series by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban. The first book is Cut and Run. It’s more action and snarkiness in the pair than the Santuario books, but the suspense and the characters are really good.

          • Oh Sofia! That’s the one I tried b/c everyone loved it, and Melanie is also a big fan, but the narrator was terrible for the first book, so I never continued. They did switched narrators and maybe I should give it another go. I got a feeling I’m missing a great series.
            I added Santuario to my waiting list 🙂 I’m used to waiting for the audios..lol

            • Oopsie! LOL! As you can tell, I haven’t gotten to very many audio books yet. Did it switch narrators right away or do you have to listen to several books first? I love the series, but I don’t think I would sit through a bad narrator either no matter how good the books are.
              BTW, I’m really enjoying the Charley Davidson narrated 7th book that I won from your site. Good narrator!

              • Lorelei is an awesome narrator 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed it.
                They didn’t change the narrator until the third book, that’ s my delay, because I have to read book # 2..lol.
                I

                • Ah, well that’s not too far along. 😉

  • Fortunately (?), I read books, not listen to them so I won’t have that narrator problem 😉 I like what you said about wanting to hug or thump the characters, I like books that make you feel. Great review, Sophia 🙂

    • I mostly read books with about one audio for every fifty read ones so I’m like you. Yes, these guys really gave me the feels. Thanks, Iza!

  • I liked the excerpt on the other post… after reading your review this isn’t for me because M/M & sci-fi! Glad you loved it though 🙂

    • Haha! If it makes you feel better, it doesn’t read like a Sci-Fi and more a blend of Contemporary and Romantic Suspense.

  • RO

    I really am working on picking up more audio reads, but haven’t been as successful as I’ve liked, so far. This is a good review, and love how you tie some of your challenges to the book. If only I could be so organized. (lol) Hugs…

    • Haha! I try to be organized. I do really well and then out of the blue forget something important. 😉 I’m working on listening to one book a month now. Though I think I will always prefer reading. This was a really strong emotional read and I’d be worried that a narrator couldn’t capture all that just right.
      Thanks for the nice words, Ro.

  • Lola R

    Great review! I haven’t read any m/m romances so far and only one LBGT book in total. It’s one of those genres (for lack of better word) that I eventually want to branch out in. And there’s just something about a flawed character, it makes them feel more real.

    • Yes, a flawed character gives hope for the rest of us. 😉

      Take your time and pick and choose through the m/m stories offered. Just like m/f stories, there is a variety and some will suit you better than others. I started with historicals, sci-fi and romantic suspenses when it came to m/m b/c I love having more going on than just romance.