Wednesday, 30 March 2016

The Little Things by Jay Northcote

The Little Things by Jay Nortcote

New Cover Reveal & Review

Book Information:
Title: The Little Things
Author: Jay Northcote
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 76,000 words
Genre: Contemporary gay romance
Cover Artist: Garrett Leigh
Release Date: November 22nd 2013
Series info: This book is a standalone
The Little Things is also available in paperback and audiobook


The blurb:

There are lots of things that brighten Joel’s life. His three-year-old daughter, Evie, is one. His close relationship with her mother, his best friend from university, is another. Joel’s boyfriend, Dan, adds spice to his child-free nights, and Joel is pretty happy with how things are.

Then one cold and rainy night, everything changes. Joel's life is turned upside down when he becomes a full-time dad to Evie, and his previously carefree relationship with Dan cracks under the strain.

Meeting Liam, who acts as if getting hurt isn’t a foregone conclusion, shakes Joel to the core. Their attraction is mutual, and Liam makes no secret of how serious he is about Joel. But Joel is wary. He tells himself he’s keeping Liam at a distance for Evie’s sake, when really he’s protecting his own heart. Taking a chance on this new relationship with Liam may seem a small step—a little thing—but is it one Joel can take after losing so much already?

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My thoughts:

Going back to one of the first stories an author ever published after you’ve read and loved (almost) all their later books can be a funny experience. Everything you’ve come to admire in their writing is already there, while it is also very obvious how much the author has grown since then. And that’s exactly what happened when I read The Little Things. Almost from the first sentence this book was recognisable as a Jay Northcote read, and yet there were moments when I thought nowadays the author would probably have done this slightly differently. In the end I decided there was only one criteria I could apply to this book. I asked myself if I would have turned into the fan of Jay Northcote I am, if this had been the first book I’d read by her, and the answer is a resounding ‘abso-fecking-lutely’.

All the elements of Jay’s writing that I’ve come to adore are clearly visible in this first book too: the recognisable, charming and realistic main characters, the easy banter between them, her knack for describing emotions—especially the emotional rollercoaster that is grief—in such a way that you can feel them while still writing a light-on-angst tale, and the steamy interactions between two hot men of course.

This is a different sort of romance. Most of the time a story starts off and ends with the same two characters being together. They may go through their up and downs, but you know X and Y will be the focus of the happy ending. Not so in this book (as the blurb indicates). Initially this pulled me up short, until I thought about it and realised that this is exactly how real life works. Not everybody is equipped to help someone else through their grief or ready to walk into a ready-made family. This doesn’t make Dan a bad person, it just means he’s young and not yet at that point in his life. Once I realised this I appreciated the story so much more. I love when I can picture the story in my book happening in the world around me, and this story was as realistic as they come.

Not for the first time Jay Northcote’s descriptions of what a person goes through after having lost somebody close to them pulled me up short. So much of what Joel goes through mirrored my personal experiences with grief. And because it hit so close to home, I found this story hard to read at times as well as almost impossible to stop thinking about.

All in all this was a charming story I easily lost myself in. I enjoyed getting to know every one of the characters, and adored Joel’s relationship with his little girl, Evie. I may have said this before, but there’s no harm in repeating it: you really can’t go wrong with a Jay Northcote book.

Since I read and reviewed this book because it has been given a new cover, I suppose I should say something about that too. J The new cover is gorgeous, I mean, what’s not to love? Having said that, I had absolutely no issues with the old cover either. I like the old one because it features the two men with the little girl, and cutie-pie Evie is at least as big a part of this particular story as Joel and Liam are. I love the new one because well, like I said, it and the man it features are gorgeous. J

Author Bio:

Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England, with her husband, two children, and two cats.
She comes from a family of writers, but she always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed her by. She spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content. One day, she decided to try and write a short story–just to see if she could–and found it rather addictive. She hasn’t stopped writing since.

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