Gone By the Board

Title: Gone by the Board
Author: August Li
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: May 24, 2017
Genre(s): Paranormal Romance
Page Count: 98
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5


The sea is full of jealously guarded secrets, but everything washes up eventually….

Betrayed by a trusted partner, Nathan figures he might as well be lost and heartbroken in the sunshine, and he heads to the coast of South Carolina, to stay with a friend and find a new direction for his life. But despite his efforts, he is lost in the fog, unable to find a guiding light and sometimes unable to find a reason to go on. His only respite from depression and anxiety is the soothing rhythm of the tides and the comfort he draws from proximity to the water.

When the sea sends a lifeline in the form of a strange and beautiful man, it’s easy for Nathan to ignore all the things that don’t add up about his new friend. But the tides can turn without notice, and it’s those mystical traits that will either finally lead Nathan safely to shore or drown him in confusion and despair.

Nathan is a lost man, set adrift by his faithless demeaning husband. After relocating from Philadelphia to sunny South Carolina, Nathan still struggles with depression and social anxiety, trying to find his place and purpose in the world. And after a drunken night barhopping, Nathan wanders down to the pier thinking “It’s not even worth it” and walks into the waves.

In the coastal waters, something draws Brume toward the shore – “the niggling sense of a person lost at sea grew stronger and stronger” – until he finds Nathan “limp as seaweed” and rescues him. There is something ethereal about Brume and Nathan’s first thought is “You are beautiful. You an angel?”

Brume is one of the In-Between People who has lived in the waters for centuries with the mission to help rescue lost humans. At night, he has a human-like form and during the day he turns to water becoming part of the sea. He remembers “the slaves fleeing bondage, pirates running from the certainty of the noose, the poor going to the sea to escape drudgery in factories, women who wanted more than marriage and children” – lost souls Brume had guided to safety and freedom.

August Li skillfully crafts a love story between Brume and Nathan resulting in an unexpected, unconventional and thoroughly beautiful ending. Some people go overboard and are lost forever; others are cut adrift and find their true home. I am so moved by the evocative language Li uses to relate this unusual story, and highly recommend “Gone by the Board.” 5 stars.

When a sailing ship’s mast was broken by enemy cannon or in a storm and couldn’t be salvaged, the captain would order the ropes holding it to be cut, letting it drift away or “go by the board.” We often say that something lost has “gone by the board”. (found at superbeefy.com)

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Galley copy of Gone by the Board provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest review.


Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.  Frederick Douglas

I distinctly remember that day in school when, all of a sudden, those squiggles on the page made sense and I could read. It has changed my life in ways I still cannot comprehend.

My favorite M/M tropes are friends-to-lovers, murder/mysteries, amnesia, hurt/healing and historicals. Shifters, vampires, paranormal? Meh … not in my wheelhouse, but I’m a sucker for a well-written well-plotted book, no matter the genre.

Favorite authors includes Brandon Witt, Rick R. Reed, Abigail Roux, Jay Northcote, JL Merrow, KJ Charles, Lane Hayes, Marshall Thornton and so many more.

A few “badges” from NetGalley:
100 Book Reviews Reviews Published Professional Reader

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