Release Date: March 12, 2019
Pages/Words: 230 // 68,000
Publisher: Interlude Press
Warnings: The main character has anxiety, which affects his thoughts and actions throughout the book; Several strained family relationships; Brief mentions of insensitivity towards a character with hearing loss (by minor characters)
Todd Navarro is halfway through college, trying to juggle his art studies with extra hours at work and finding time for his friends. Things aren’t exactly easier with the feud going on between the gallery he works at and the one next door. Or the fact that his dad just doesn’t seem to understand that art can be more than just a hobby—not everyone can be an accountant, dad!
So when his best friend Mela invites him to a frat party, he only accepts because he needs a breather from everything regarding his future. So, really, he doesn’t expect to meet Daniel Berger, who might just be his future. Well, until he finds out that Daniel has a lot more to do with the future of the gallery than Todd would have ever guessed.
4 of 5 Stars
This is a decent debut book for the author, especially considering English is not her first language. It’s classified as a romance, but I would consider it almost a ‘coming of age/growing pains’ story for Todd. While Todd does have a romantic interest in the story – Daniel, they fizzle almost as soon as they get started. Todd and Daniel dance around each other throughout the story, eventually becoming good friends. There are hints from several characters that they could be more than friends, but neither of them takes the step and almost at the end of the book (98% into the story) we discover a HUGE miscommunication/lack of communication led to them not having a romantic relationship. I am NOT a fan of the lack of communication causing the angst in a story…especially when it lasts almost until the end of the book so this was a bit frustrating for me.
Todd spends most of the book attempting to save the gallery, making it through the college year and eventually building his friendship with Daniel. Their friendship is sweet, and I’d like to see more of them together as a couple.
Secondary to Todd’s story, Daniel is battling his decisions for the direction of his future. There are hints dropped he’s not certain he’s following the right path…that he’s meant to do more, but that story line is never fully developed. By the end of the book we learn the direction he’s chosen but we don’t know what became of his project and his desire to do more in that world he feels he belongs. I’d like to know what happened with that project and whether or not he does more with those plans once he graduates.
There are several great side characters – Jesse, Mela, Daniel’s sister, Todd’s parents, Mrs. Floral, the kids in the art class and eventually Todd’s brother and Daniel’s parents.
The end felt more like HFN than an HEA so I’m left wondering if there will be a follow up story for these two, but I couldn’t find much information about that on the author’s site, so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see!
About the Author
E.S. started writing stories as soon as she learned how to string letters together to create words and sentences. One of her first creations was around seven pages, eighty words, and about a tortoise living in a microwave. Since then, her stories have become a little longer, and perhaps slightly more complex. E.S. works for the Swedish government and has a master’s degree in human resources. Brush Strokes is her first novel.
Author website: http://eskarlquist.com