Just Be You (Susan’s Review)

Title: Just Be You
Author: M.E. Parker
Publisher: Self published
Release Date: June 15 2018
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 293 pages
Reviewed by: Susan
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5


When Scott Cohen got word that he’d been nominated for a Grammy, he wondered if the universe was playing some cruel trick on him. Of all the songs he’d written, why did it have to be that song?

Over ten years had passed since he’d written the song and even more since Scott had become obsessed with Marshall Donavan, his brother’s best friend. It didn’t matter that Scott hadn’t seen Marshall in years. Nor did it matter that Marshall never belonged to him or even that Marshall was straight. Scott never managed to stop thinking about him.

When Scott got a call from his manager asking him to submit a song for a movie and a call from his brother Abe informing him of Marshall’s engagement to Julia Sterling on the same day, Scott took it as a sign. It was time to say goodbye and forget Marshall Donavan forever.

Submitting ‘Just Be You’ to the movie executives was supposed to be Scott’s way of letting go—of forgetting, of saying goodbye. But his plan backfired when the movie became a box office success overnight and his song was nominated for a Grammy. There was no way he’d ever be able to forget. The song would follow him for the rest of his life and so would his unhealthy obsession with Marshall Donavan.

It didn’t help things when he found himself face to face again with the man who had consumed his thoughts for years. No, it didn’t help at all when he saw the still very sexy and very straight Marshall Donavan for the first time in eight years. It didn’t matter what would happen between them. As soon as he saw Marshall again, he knew that giving up his obsession wasn’t an option…

Just Be You is a standalone, full-length, ‘brother’s best friend’ romance novel. It has ‘gay for you’ and ‘first time gay’ themes, is stocked full of STEAM, heartache, laughter, and has a guaranteed happily ever after ending.

For the first half this book ticked all my boxes. A cute insecure guy with a crush on his brother’s best friend with lots of pining. Then the two end up in a remote cabin together where said best friend turns out not to be so straight after all. Oh yeah, I was in heaven. But…. I could see the angst coming a mile away. And since I had 50% to go, I was wondering what the author would use to fill the rest of the book. So yes, we got unecessary angst. I was not happy with that.

Scott has had a crush in his brother’s best friend since he was 12 and Marshall was 16. The two always seemed to share a special bond, but when they got older they grew apart.

Scott has never been able to forget about Marshall, even though he hasn’t seen him in 8 years. When his manager asks him to send a song for a movie in, Scott knows the perfect song for the movie. He ends up sending in a song he wrote when he was in his teens. The one inspired by his love for Marshall.

Scott never would have thought the movie, and his song, would be such a hit. He even won a Grammy! But just when he told the press he is indeed involved with his manager, pictures of his manager in a compromising position show up. Scott is not happy with the fall-out of this, so he ends up at his parent’s remote cabin.

Meanwhile Marshall has just broken off his engagement and needs a place to just be for a while. He doesn’t know Scott is at the cabin too when his best friend suggests he go there to decompress a bit.

Scott doesn’t mind Marshall being there at all. The two reconnect and spend all night talking. When the power is out, they grab all the blankets and pillows and fall asleep in front of the fire place.

When they wake up pressed together it is clear there is more than just friendship going on and Scott takes a risk to kiss Marshall…

I really liked how these guys got together. I liked how they talked about Marshall freaking out and how they got past that. But…. I most definitely did not like the angst in the second half.

I hated when Scott broke up with Marshall because Marshall needed to play the field a bit more as a newly discovered gay man.
That is a plot point I never agree with.

There was also a slight misunderstanding thing in the second half that added nothing to the story, just added more distance between them. Yes, things were solved pretty fast and it wasn’t dragged out, but it still really brought down my enjoyment of this book.

Overall I thought this had an amazing start, but slowly fizzled out due to unnecessary angst to drag the story onwards.

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Galley copy of Just Be You provided by the author in exchange of an honest review.

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