Author Name: A.M. Leibowitz
Series: Notes from Boston
Release Date: March 1, 2016
Trevor Davidson has everything going for him. He’s just moved out on his own with three friends, and he’s landed a job as music director at a large Boston church. He has high hopes for marrying his long-term girlfriend and settling into a comfortable, devout lifestyle.
Andre Cole has spent the past few years throwing himself into a dead-end job at a Cape Cod-based call center. When an opportunity to move back to Boston arises, Andre believes it will be the do-over he needs to put his past behind him.
A chance meeting in a club on New Year’s Eve brings Trevor and Andre together for a brief but steamy encounter. Both assuming that’s the end of it, they are unexpectedly thrown back into each other’s lives when Trevor’s church hires Andre for their website design. While Andre is content at first to move on, Trevor’s conflicted feelings bubble over into his songwriting. Before he can stop it, his ode to Andre becomes an inadvertent Christian radio hit.
Unfortunately for Trevor, he isn’t the only one who knows the song’s hidden meaning. Someone has leaked the story and upended Trevor’s life. In order to put the pieces back together, he needs to learn to be honest with his girlfriend, with Andre, and especially with himself.
Pages or Words: 85,000 words / 270 pages
Categories: Bisexual, Contemporary, Polyamory
A sliver of light and the door thumping shut alerted him to the presence of someone else. His hands stopped moving, hovering over the keyboard. He looked up to see Pastor Bret standing at the back of the aud.
Trevor jumped, his face flaming, and he was glad for the dim light hiding the red flush he was sure marked his cheeks. “Uh…hi?” he squawked out.
“Don’t stop on my account,” Pastor Bret said. “The song is fantastic. You’ve been holding out on us, acting like you didn’t have anything big for the recording. Where’ve you been hiding that one?”
Covering his tracks, Trevor joked, “Under my hat.” His stomach churned.
“Uh huh. Well, I’d like to see you finish up your new song so we can use it. How long do you think it’ll take?”
“It’s about done, but—” He coughed, stalling while he worked out what to say to Bret to put him off. “I was thinking about changing some of the words, though. It’s not—I mean, it doesn’t specifically say God or Jesus, and it probably needs some other fixes. You know, so it sounds more…spiritual.” Trevor gritted his teeth in frustration as the inspiration for the song rose to the forefront of his mind.
Bret looked thoughtful. “I don’t know. Can you play it for me?”
All the blood which had previously rushed to Trevor’s face drained away, and sweat trickled down his neck to his collar. “I—”
“Not sure you want anyone to hear it til it’s perfect, eh?” Bret laughed. “Come on. Don’t worry that it’s not good enough.”
Oh, God, help me! Trevor prayed. “Okay,” he heard himself say, even though he’d really meant to say, No way in hell.
He played the opening chords and began to sing, quietly at first and then with more confidence. “You touch my heart…”
He immersed himself in the song and in the memories he’d drawn on to write it. It didn’t matter what it was about; he was perfectly capable of making it sound like a love song to his God. He kept his gaze trained on the chord sheet in front of him, not daring to look Bret in the eye just in case. When he was through, he let the note fade away and closed his eyes. He didn’t want to see Bret’s reaction.
It took a moment, but Bret finally broke the silence. “Wonderful. I wouldn’t change a thing. When we have a thousand members all singing this together, they’ll all know who they’re singing it for.”
Trevor’s immediate reaction was, No, they won’t.
Book – Anthem
Author – A.M. Leibowitz
Star rating – ★★★★☆
No. of Pages – 200
Movie Potential – ★★★★☆
Ease of reading – fairly easy to read and follow, with a few hiccups
Would I read it again – Definitely. And I can’t wait for the next one.
** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK, BY THE AUTHOR, IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW **
*This review may contain spoilers.*
I really enjoyed this one. As the first book in a series, I was pleased to get a HFN at the end, with nearly everything wrapped up excerpt a few problems that, I suspect, will crop up later in the series.
It was about 90% very easy to follow and 10% confusing, but I think that may be a cultural thing rather than the writing. I’m form the UK and the book is set in Boston, so I stumbled over a few things:
First Night – I’m guessing this is our version of Hogmany (the night before Jan 1st)
Moxie – it says it’s a drink, but I have no idea what it might be.
“well-dressed brother” – I assumed this was slang, since it would have been a grammatical error and an unexplained relation otherwise.
“reaching into the box on his chair” – I also have no clue what this means. As far as I know, he’s sitting in a desk chair, but I don’t know of any desk/office chairs that have boxes anywhere on them. It was confusing.
“Trey’s palm made slow circles on Andre’s back” – this is impossible. Try it and you’ll discover that you can’t snog, dance in a bump and grind and do this at the same time. Your brain won’t allow it. It’s like trying to circle your right hand and foot in opposite directions. It’s impossible.
As a bisexual story, about two bisexual men, there is one explicit MF scene, with Trevor and Marlie.
The crux of the plot – and the title – is a song Trevor writes about his conflicted feelings towards Andre. I loved the cringe-worthy factor and the idea of all these dedicated worshipers singing about Trevor blowing Andre in a club.
There were a lot of characters to keep track of, when I started. I wasn’t a fan of being introduced to three room mates by their first and last names, as it came across a little forced and unnecessary. As with a few information dumps – history of the characters – there was a more fluid way of doing this that was more natural. However, it’s a small matter and one that I forgave.
The introduction of those three characters, by first and last names, made me wonder if they were the three that would be most involved in the story, as this was billed as a poly romance (though that aspect is very light and doesn’t result in any sexual scenes, which I approve of). However, only one was a main character and the other two were surplus, but good friends. It is, however, only the start of complicated introductions to many, many characters. Within two chapters alone, we were introduced to eleven characters, who would all be recurring, important and pivotal to the way the plot moved forward. This made it difficult to keep track of who was who and what their role in the story might be. If they’d been introduced in a more gradual manner, it might have been easier.
Moving on to individual characters, I hate Marlie. At every turn, she’s done the wrong thing, but even at the end of the book she got everything she wanted. I don’t like that. I don’t like a hypocritical, judgmental person being rewarded with their dreams, when they’ve caused nothing but harm and problems all throughout the story. She’s uncomfortable with gay people, but is a supposedly dedicated Christian, having sex with her boyfriend out of wedlock, who even considers an abortion and only decides against it, because of what her parents might say.
Trevor, as the main character, is very realistic. He makes mistakes, he’s naive and selfish, but it makes sense. He’s spent his whole life fighting against the idea of being bisexual and is suddenly surrounded by people who are trying to tell him how to live his life. He’d done things that are unfair to himself, Nate and Marlie, as well as Andre at points, but he owns his mistakes in the end and does everything he can to remedy or correct them.
Nate and Julian, for me, are very similar. They’re the best friends of the main characters and they do everything they can to push them towards the inevitable, no matter how reluctant they are. Although they both make mistakes, pushing too hard or not hard enough, they’re always there for their best mates. I love them both and really hope Nate can get his HEA or even an HFN in another book.
The flat mates are cool, but kind of irrelevant, as they don’t really do much. I want to read Jamie’s story, but find Mack too judgmental and arrogant to care about his. The Boyfriend intrigues me.As for everyone else, I like Irina, Jagathi and Grams, but they’re all background characters and I don’t feel a pull towards any of them in particular.
Andre is a great character. The chemistry between him and Trevor is brilliantly written and really well explored. I like that they take things slow, even when they find it hard to keep their hands off each other. I also love the way they try to help each other, when problems pop up and things get crazy. They both have to deal with a lot grief and drama, but they make it through because they’re open with each other and work together.
The characters were unique, but all holding their own dark secrets, their own drama and heartache, while trying to keep each other sane and together. I can’t wait to read the other books to see who gets a story and how it will progress.
I don’t get the poly theme. For me, Marlie doesn’t deserve to have any part in Trevor’s life. She’s messed up so many times in such important ways that I’d love to see her get her comeuppance, but I don’t imagine that will ever happen. Right now, she’s settled with Trevor and Andre, about to have a baby. I’d much rather she handed her unwanted child to Trevor and Andre to raise, rather than pretending that she can be a mother, when she doesn’t want to be.
The writing and storytelling are both fantastic. I love and hate characters and know what I want to see in future books, which is a good sign of how invested I am in the characters involved.
“Trevor shifted then ground his teeth against the pain that shot down his back. He used the pads of his fingers to press on the sore spot.
“Here,” Jamie said. “Let me.” He moved to sit behind Trevor and began massaging his neck and shoulders.
“Oh,” Trevor moaned. “So good.” He leaned into the touch, reveling in the way his muscles loosened.
Jamie snickered. “Bet you say that to all the boys.”
“Please shut up and just rub.”
“Bet you say that, too.”
“Oh, my God.” Trevor nearly reached around to smack Jamie, but the massage felt too good, and he didn’t want to interrupt.”
Rafflecopter Prize: eBook of choice: Anthem, Passing on Faith, or Lower Education
Notes from Pride Promotions: Please note – The Rafflecopter code encompasses the cover reveal and the release day blast.
A. M. Leibowitz is a queer spouse, parent, feminist, and book-lover falling somewhere on the Geek-Nerd Spectrum. Ze keeps warm through the long, cold western New York winters by writing about life, relationships, hope, and happy-for-now endings. In between noveling and editing, ze blogs coffee-fueled, quirky commentary on faith, culture, writing, books, and hir family.
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/UnchainedFaith
Twitter: https://twitter.com/amyunchained (@amyunchained
Web site: http://amleibowitz.com
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00OIC158W (A. M. Leibowitz)
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27414019-anthem
Publisher: Acquitted Books
Cover Artist: Brett Kessler
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