Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson #Review

Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson #ReviewTrust the Focus by Megan Erickson

Series: #1 In Focus
Genres: Contemporary Romance, M/M Romance, New Adult Romance
Published by Intermix on March 17, 2015
Pages: 219
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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four-half-stars      four-flames

A Road Trip Friends to Lovers Coming Out Romance?  Sure thing!   The physical journey was most definitely eclipsed by the journey of the heart.  How far and how long must Justin and Landon travel to find what they’re looking for?  I dropped into this story and it was instant attraction for me that grew to book love by the time I closed the last page.

They fling their caps and hit the road on an epic journey in old Sally the RV- Justin, the baseball player hiding that he isn’t straight, that he doesn’t want to start a career as his mom’s political campaign manager, and that he has been crushing on his best friend since high school is joined by, Landry, the out and proud graphic artist who knows exactly what he wants and is free to pursue it.

Justin’s dad has died and it was a crushing blow.  His parents divorced long ago and he lived with his hard, demanding, and controlling mother with visits from his wandering dad who shared a love of photography, baseball, and wanderlust.  Justin has conceded all along to his mother’s demands even if they cost him a bit of his soul.  But before he returns home to the cage of his new career, he will take this last summer to leave his dad’s ashes at each of the twelve places his dad photographed for the popular scenic calendar he assembled.

Along for this journey will be his best friend since junior high and his secret crush.  Nobody knows that Justin is gay and his fears of disappointing his mom and losing his scholarship and baseball kept him silent.  It also was a torture being close to Landry and only ever being friends.  Landry has been a little distant so the journey will hopefully restore some of the closeness they have lost.  Landry will blog the journey and Justin will photograph each stop and commune with his dad.

But as the journey commences and continues, Justin learns that this time with Landry will be tumultuous and life changing.  Does he reach for his dreams or let fear continue to drive him?  His dad always said, ‘Trust the Focus’.  What will happen if he lets go of all his secrets?

I have always enjoyed the journey of the heart type stories that go along with an actual physical journey.  Okay, I like Road Trips in Real Life, too.  Each stop brought a new revelation and a new experience in this story told entirely from Justin’s point of view.  That is almost entirely.  I loved discovering that the author included Landry’s actual blog posts and the comments tucked into the story.

Justin’s heart and thoughts are laid bare even while Landry is a bit of an enigma- purposefully so.  The reader actually will catch on long before Justin does to exactly what is up with Landry.  And it is the tension caused from this knowledge and what is coming that adds another layer of depth.  The author did a good job of writing her characters and their back story as well as developing their relationship as friends with the chance of being lovers.

This isn’t a light and fluffy read.  Justin does not change overnight or easily.  His fears and pent up anger drive him.  Just as later, his mistakes are not swept under the rug and he has to earn back what he lost.  It’s hard and somewhat heartbreaking to read, but it feels real and the end is all the sweeter for it.   But there were lighter moments of humor, virgin lovers, and tender times.

In the end, I fell in love with the characters and with their story.  The author made her debut a splash hit and I look forward to continuing on with the series.  I would recommend this for those who enjoy m/m contemporary and new adult romance that packs an emotional punch.

I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met:

Romance Roundabout #34 NA
Literary Pickers #33 sunglasses
Mt. TBR #21
Blogger Shame #5
New to Me #18 author/series
Books N Tunes #6 Josh Turner and Randy Travis’ King of the Road

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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 like the friends to lovers on a road trip angle. This one sounds like it has a lot of heart. 🙂

    • It really does have heart, Grace. My first time reading her books, but I’ve seen other people say the same thing about her other books. Look forward to reading more.

  • I love the sound of this!! I’ve had it on my Kindle for so long, and just never picked it up. I’m going to bump it up my TBR now though. Glad to see you enjoyed it so much! 🙂

    • You sound like me, Lisa. LOL! I had it sitting for a while, too. Wish I’d read it sooner. 😉

  • Yay for a great debut

    • I couldn’t believe it was her first book. It felt more polished than that.

  • Debbie Haupt

    I don’t read many M/M romances Sophia but this one looks like it might be my thing. Thanks!

    • I have my m/m trope preferences, too, though mostly they run along the same likes as my m/f ones. Hope you like it if you get the chance, Debbie!

  • I love a good friends to lovers romance and combined with both the physical journey and journey of the heart and the comming out aspect this sounds like a great read. I have read only a few road trip type of stories and so far enjoyed them. I don’t read a lot of M/M romances, but this sound like one I might enjoy. Great review!

    • The road trip was what grabbed my attention, too. I’d never read her books and I really liked this one. I might skip book two and go for book three since the blurb grabs me more.

  • I haven’t read many M/M romances, but this one looks great. Also, I still need to read her books, because everyone gushes about them. I think I’ll start with Dirty Thoughts. Great review!

    • Oh yes, Dirty Thoughts is on my list, too. I used to read more m/m when I was figuring out what I liked, but now I only grab certain new ones that seem to fall in with my preferences. But I saw road trip and I snagged this one. 😉

  • Oh this sounds really good. Glad to hear you enjoyed it.

    • It was great, Mary. I’m a sucker for road trip romances, but don’t come across them as often as I’d like.

  • I love a good road trip. You make me want to start this one right now, Sophia. Super review!

    • I was amazed that this was her debut. I really did feel like I was traveling along with two confused guys on their memorable summer trip. Hope you get the chance, Lisa!

      • Me too. Ugh, that book list just keeps growing. I love it! 🙂

        • I hear ya! If my TBR Pile and Wish list were actual books they would make the Empire State Building look like a shorty.

  • Oh those road trip ones. They get me every time! The friends to lovers bit too. Maybe this’ll be the mm to break me into the genre 😀 Glad you fell for them, Sophia!

    • I’m a sucker for the road trips. It would be fun that your first m/m would be about a guy who is exploring it for the first time. 🙂