Monday, September 21, 2015

LGBT Monday: The Way Things Are

The Way Things AreAuthor: A.J. Thomas
Series: Standalone
Released: January 30th 2015
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Length: 266 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon
         Dreamspinner Press

A night of drunken confusion at nineteen resulted in Patrick Connelly fathering a child. Determined to be there for his son, Patrick walked away from a sport he loved and forever hid his sexuality. After Patrick's brutal divorce and a vicious hate crime, his son, Jay, has become obsessed with graffiti. Hoping for a fresh start, Patrick moves Jay to his childhood home in Seattle. Within two weeks, Jay is arrested again. On his way to pick Jay up, Patrick stops an assault, then finds himself in handcuffs too. Thinking things can’t get any worse, he’s confronted by the sexiest man he’s ever seen—his son’s new probation officer, Ken Atkins.
The hardest part of Ken’s job is working with difficult parents, and the undeniably handsome Patrick Connelly is going to be a difficult parent. A chance encounter and steamy hookup with Patrick leave Ken blindsided. As they work together to try to keep Jay on the right path, the passion between them proves impossible to resist. When the assault Patrick prevented comes back to haunt them and Jay gets into trouble again, Ken must convince Patrick that ensuring his son’s happiness doesn’t have to mean sacrificing his own.

Having read every novel A.J. Thomas has ever published, I can honestly say that I’m a big fan of her work. Her Least Likely Partnership series is one of my favorites in the genre, and her characters tend to be among the rare few that really stay with me. She always takes us to some very unusual places and shows us how they look through the eyes of somewhat unconventional characters.

Patrick is a single father of a very smart, kind young boy. His son, while otherwise a good kid, has an unfortunate tendency to express his emotions through graffiti. In an attempt to turn his life around, Patrick moves them both to Seattle, but after only a few weeks, Jay is in trouble again.

Ken Atkins is Jay’s probation officer and he is baffled by the kid’s case. So many things point to abuse in Jay’s past, but it’s quite obvious that Patrick Connelly would never harm his son. After initial distrust and a lot of investigating, Patrick and Ken become very close. However, a relationship between them would be very unprofessional and could cost Ken his job.

The Way Things Are is a romance with a very strong mystery added into the mix. Patrick is a dock crane operator and he inadvertently gets mixed up in a human trafficking case. As the new man on the docks, he sees things others refuse to notice and when people start dying, he refuses to look the other way. The danger follows him home, however, and he has to turn to Ken Atkins if he is to protect his son.

My very favorite thing about The Way Things Are is that it isn’t a conventional romance. It doesn’t follow the usual rhythm or tropes. Instead, it’s a very honest story about two flawed men and their circumstances. Their coming together has a very natural flow, a very true-to-life development. The focus of the story is very much on the characters as they overcome realistic obstacles and attempt to build a life together.

If you’re looking for excellent character development and a story that deviates slightly from the norm, look no further. With an excellent, vivid setting, very realistic characters with genuine problems and emotions, and a solid mystery to hold the pieces together, The Way Things Are is an excellent way to spend an afternoon.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.


  1. A romance that doesn't follow the norm and goes its own way, and a strong mystery to solve to boot... this one sounds like a fantastic read, Maja!
    Thank you for putting it in my radar!

  2. Ooooo I didn't know A.J. had a new book out! I've loved everything of hers I've read as well, so I can't wait to dive into this! You're bad for my bank account Maja, but so, so good for my m/m obsession:)

  3. So glad you are loving this genre so very much Maja! You have found some pretty amazing reads so far!

  4. Ooh romance and mystery! I'm intrigued, Maja.I like that this was an unconventional romance and that it was an honest portrayal of romance. Wonderful review, Maja!

  5. I love that it doesn't sound like a conventional romance, true to life can be very interesting. Always enjoy those. Great review Maja!

  6. I'm not sure I like the cover, but I really like the sound of this story! I'm happy it has some mystery in it too!

  7. I like the sound of the romance and the mystery. It speaks volumes that you have read everything this author has written.

  8. Oh, I love the sound of this, Maja. The natural way these guys drift toward each other, plus a good mystery? SO sold! :)

  9. Love the sound of the romance and mystery combo, Maja. I'll have to check this one out.

  10. Oh this sounds good. I do love a great character book and I'm curious to see how realistic and how much it deviates form the formula. Might have to check this one out.

  11. I am all for the unconventional path to romance, and a mystery to boot.

  12. Thank you for this recommendation, Maja! I seem to be loving every single book you feature on Monday. Gah. My pockets. They hurt. Lol.

  13. Ooh this sounds great. I'm glad it's not a conventional romance story. Always nice to find something a bit different.

  14. Oooh this one looks really good!! Thanks for a really NICE review!!


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