Title: Chase the Storm
Author: V.M Waitt
Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy Link Amazon:; Publisher Buy Link
Length: Novel. 210 pages
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
A Guest Review by Zac D
Review Summary: A beautiful book, let down in places by some misplaced vulgarity, but nonetheless, a strong debut from a new author, and a wonderful, heartwarming read.
Up until he buys an old truck, Elijah Morgan lives life according to his family’s plan, never feeling like he belongs. Desperate to find his own path, he heads out on the open road, only to end up stranded in Nebraska. Not wanting to ask for his parents’ help, he takes a job with tough, independent farmer Chase McKenzie.
Despite their age gap, the attraction between Chase and Elijah soon becomes undeniable. They give in to their desire, but that night changes everything and threatens the secret Chase guards so carefully.
As the summer heats up, so does their relationship. When autumn arrives, Elijah is due back at college, and he’ll have to choose whether to continue his education and follow in his family’s footsteps… or to stay in Nebraska with the man he loves.
I was cautiously excited about this book. When I was sent the blurbs by Wave, I deliberately picked out a full sized novel that sounded just the thing I would pick out at a bookstore. As you know, I tore a book to shreds last week, and I was absolutely desperate not to repeat the cycle.
For the most part, I was happily not disappointed. The opening chapter had me hooked from the get go–warm, resonate, rambly and really rather beautiful, it set the tone for the start of a wonderful book.
Let me start with the characters…
I adored Chase from the moment he walked into the book. He had everything I crave in a tortured MC—gruffness, anguish, torment, reticence. Put together with scruffy blond hair and a southern accent, and I was gone.
Elijah wasn’t quite as strong for me–with his red hair and piano playing, the set up was a little Edward Cullen fan fiction style for me, but, that being said, as the book went on, I did mostly forget about that first impression. His character developed, and developed well.
Chase and Elijah. Loved those names. So often, authors ruin books by giving their lead MC’s flat, characterless names. Not this one. Chase and Elijah. Elijah and Chase. Loved them. An inspired choice.
I loved that too. The farm and its deep Nebraska location was wonderfully described. At times I could smell the hay, feel the sun on my back and sense the fine layer of dust that surely covered everything.
The horses were a beautifully touching addition. A real treat. I felt something for each and every one of them, especially patient Lakota and haunted Admiral. The poignant relationship between Chase and his dead husband’s horse…flippin’ eck. Beautiful.
The horses were an absolute stroke of genius.
(Not going to lie, even early on in the book, I found myself getting upset that Chase was going to sell Keno. What am I like?)
And so on to the nitpicking…
To be honest, there wasn’t much to complain about–some passive voice niggles and dialogue tag abuse, nothing that would bother a normal, sane, non-nitpicking, non-OCD person.
The dialogue tag issue was irritating. I think in one scene alone the characters divulged, vowed, fumed, breathed, challenged, gasped and confessed. There was even an occasion when Elijah purred.
No, just…no, but that is one of my personal bugbears, and nothing a stronger edit next book round couldn’t cure.
The one and only major issue…
My main problem with Chase the Storm was the mismatch of writing styles within the book. For the most part, the tale of Chase and his heartrending grief for his dead husband, Owen, is beautifully written. Reading his backstory…how they married on their land, how Owen is buried on their land…how their beloved dog was never found after the accident…gah. Breaks my heart even now. Superb, superb writing. It’s been a while since a book truly touched me, but this one did. The writing at times is simply breathtaking. Even when Elijah’s slightly nauseating insta-love should’ve been irritating, the strength and skill of the narrative held firm.
Then the sex came along and ruined it. And there is a lot of sex–pages and pages of crass, vulgar fanfiction style porn, and the more of it I read, the more disappointed I became.
Don’t get me wrong, even the sex was competently written if you like that sort of thing, (and I certainly do in the right context) but it didn’t fit with the poignant style of the rest of the book. It was like too separate books jammed awkwardly together, and it muddied the beautiful glow the story of Chase and Elijah should’ve maintained.
Seriously. I was in tears over Chase’s weekly visits to Owen’s grave, only to find myself reading how Elijah wanted to smell his cock and shooting streams of semen, and sadly, this experience was repeated throughout the book, leaving me frustrated and disappointed. It was a total mismatch of storytelling and let the book down. I think the book could lose at least half the smut and be the better for it.
To sum up…
Chase the Storm is, for the most part, a wonderful book. The writing is strong, the setting beautiful and the characters emotive and compelling. I enjoyed it very much, and at times, couldn’t put it down.
A reluctant four stars. Without the crass, overdone sex it would’ve been a five for sure.