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GOODBYE PARADISE: Hello Goodbye #1
by Sarina Bowen is on sale for
Most people called it a cult. But for twenty years, Josh and Caleb called it home.
In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world.
But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together the way he craves.
It can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret.
Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own, and a plan to get away — until it all backfires.
Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him. Can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels?
Warning: Contains a hot male/male romance, copious instances of taking the Lord’s name in vain, and love against the kitchen counter. This book was previously released under the title: In Front of God & Everyone.
GOODBYE PARADISE IS ONLY #99pennies!
Reviewed by Rachel & Sharon Thérèse
It seems Sarina Bowen has been holding out on us! Why? Because this book was originally published under not only another name, but also under a different title. ‘Goodbye Paradise’ was once called ‘In Front of God and Everyone’ and we must say we are so pleased she has ‘come out’ and given us the pleasure of this story! For us, this author’s work is one of the very few we buy on release day as she always delivers some outstanding and at times, very emotional stories. We didn’t read the blurb, the only thing we did know was it was m/m and had a religious background to it. Well, consider us SOLD because it had all the signs of being a fantastic read!
Just another day in paradise. That’s what they called this place where we lived and worked and prayed….
Both Josh and Caleb have lived under the strict control of the Elders in a polygamist colony for most of their lives. Caleb had more freedom due to the fact of who his father was which gave him more insight into the world outside the compound; however, Josh was treated appallingly. Unlike Caleb, Josh wasn’t allowed to leave and was made to work from day break to sunset doing hard labour on the farm. It seemed to us Caleb’s life was all mapped out before him because of his family name. But poor Josh was surplus to requirements. He was considered weak and the fact the order practised polygamy meant he was in real danger of being thrown away like yesterday’s rubbish!
The thing was, part of me always knew I’d be one of those boys who disappeared. I knew……
Josh and Caleb are the truest of best friends but to add more complication to an already repressed life, Josh starts feeling more than just friendship for Caleb. As you can imagine, having these kinds of feelings for another man is considered a sin. Josh has literally had this ingrained into him all his life; therefore his feelings are understandable in such utter turmoil. He simply doesn’t know how to deal with these emotions. The only trusted person he’s had in his life is Caleb and he’s not willing to do anything to ruin this.
My sin was my own, and I couldn’t stand to see that ugliness tainting my friend.
Unfortunately, Josh and Caleb’s worst nightmare transpires when disaster strikes. Drastic measures are taken to ensure they’re not separated since both of them feel they have nothing to lose. They go ahead by taking a big step and start their new lives together. All they have with them is a contact name, a vague location and a few dollars.
Caleb and Josh broke our hearts but for very different reasons. Starting their new lives together, Caleb seemed a lot more confident and at times, quite the alpha male opposed to Josh who was shy and very unsure of his position in this new world. We had to keep reminding ourselves that Caleb had had contact and experience with life outside the compound which came across in his more confident approach in certain situations.
“I’ve been dying, Josh. Wanting you. Wanting to tell you. I’m sorry if I scared you just now.”
“You didn’t. You never could.”
As you can imagine and expect, they experience many bumps in their journey to find themselves a content and happy life. It was very trial and error which is a right passage for every young person trying to find their way in the world; that being said, their steps were at times like mountains as in the back of their minds, they had religious doctrine come back to haunt them. This was also apparent in their approach to their new relationship status. Wow, the chemistry between these two was just off the scale! The sex scenes were beautifully and sensitively written which you expect from Sarina as she’s written this genre before. They were both hot and sweet which blended very well given the lack of experience they both had.
“….When I get to touch you, every awful day we’ve survived seems worth it.”
Overall, this was incredibly moving and at times, a heartbreakingly beautiful read. It’s a story about love, trust and finding where your heart and soul truly belong. We are huge fans of Sarina’s writing and this book did not disappoint. We would have loved a few more chapters of Caleb and Josh’s early days spent in the compound as we feel it would have given us a better insight into their struggles; nonetheless, this in no way affected our enjoyment of this fabulous read. Bravo, Sarina!
Sarina Bowen writes steamy, angsty Contemporary Romance and New Adult fiction from the wilds of Vermont.
The Ivy Years is her bestselling series. Centered around the hockey team at an elite Connecticut college, The Year We Fell Down began breaking hearts in March, 2014. There are three novels and a novella in the series so far. Click here for The Ivy Years updates.
For lovers of angsty snowboarding heroes, Sarina also writes the Gravity series! Coming in From the Cold features a downhill ski racer and one of the most unique plot conflicts in contemporary romance today. Falling From the Sky is book #2, about a freestyle snowboarder who nearly loses his life in the halfpipe.
Sarina enjoys skiing, coffee products and a nice glass of wine. She lives with her family, eight chickens and more ski gear and hockey equipment than seems necessary.
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