Just Be You (Jia’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: Jia
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.25 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…

The way this book was written, the way the bond between the characters came through, the emotions and angst… the first part of the book was an amazing read. I loved the warm, fuzzy feeling I got from reading about Scott and Marshall. I loved how Scott and Abe’s family cared for Marshall when his own family failed.

But after about one third of the book, things started heating up and I couldn’t help thinking maybe it was a bit fast considering Marshall just started to realize he wasn’t as straight as he thought he was his whole life. Here is also where I started to loose a little of the feeling for the story because I felt like it was a lot of repetition in the writing. Twice Marshall said he came harder than he’d ever had in his life and variations of ‘the hottest thing I’d ever felt in my life’ and ‘the best thing I’d felt in my whole life’ and ‘the most incredible thing I’d ever felt’ and ‘like nothing I’ve ever felt’ all expressed between one fourth of the story to about the middle. Okay, I get it – mind-blowing sex they had never experienced with anyone else before. No need to drag on about it.

I really disliked the way Scott singlehandedly made a decision and gave Marshall no chance, I mean really, give Marshall some time, he newly discovered he wasn’t as straight as he thought and he risked loosing his life-long best friend, Scott’s brother. I found it thoughtless and cruel the way Scott suddenly cut Marshall out because Marshall was afraid of coming out about what happened between them. All that suffering could have been avoided if they would have just been honest.

Just Be You is written in dual first person perspective, which isn’t my preferred style but worked well enough. The characters are well rounded and likable although I found Scott easily overreacting to things from the time in the cabin and onward. I loved Abe’s reaction to the news of them and as they ended up in the cabin to get away from the media and the public eye in the beginning, I would have loved to read about the media and public finding out about their relationship.

I loved the beginning; amazing set up and interactions between the characters, then I felt there were a lot of sex for a man who had just realized he probably was gay still I guess it can be plausible. However all the repetitive phrases during sex and then the way Scott reacted when they had to part just felt like he overreacted as to create more drama for the story. This was a source of frustration for me but it might not be for you.

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


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