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Give Yourself Away by Barbara Elsborg
Anticipated release date: February 9, 2016
I’m definitely a Barbara Elsborg fan. I’ve enjoyed several of her books in the past, so I was excited about this one. I was a bit nervous, though, too‐ the last two books of hers I read, I just couldn’t get into. One didn’t hook me and the other, I actively disliked. There was something about them that just kept me at arm’s length.
And I will say, for the first several chapters of ‘Give Yourself Away,’ I did feel somewhat distant from the plot and, more so, from the characters. When I’m not reading an ARC, I tend to drop books that don’t grab me pretty quickly. If I’d been reading this more for myself, I may have stopped. But I feel it’s important to read an entire ARC‐ I mean, the publisher or author has given me a book, it’s a privilege. So I kept on. And I’m definitely glad I did. This was an really enjoyable read.
The story is about two men, Caleb and March. Caleb has a truly terrible breakup with his boyfriend, and every single thing in his life seems to be going wrong. He goes for a wild run on the beach and ends up falling into a cave, which is slowly filling with water as the tide moves in. He’s rescued by March, a reckless adrenaline junkie. The two see something special in each other, perhaps because they’ve both had such difficult lives.
The plot is super predictable. There are absolutely no surprises. But this didn’t detract from the story for me. It was still very interesting, and entertaining, to watch Caleb and March move closer to each other, grow as characters, deal with their issues. The romance was sweet (although I did sometimes feel like March was a little too controlling, especially for someone like Caleb) and very believable.
The character development was also well done. It did take a while, like I said‐ I was maybe a quarter of the way through the book before I felt like I was starting to know either of the men at all. But once I did start to see them as individuals, they became very intense, interesting characters. They were three dimensional and I enjoyed reading about them.
I also loved the banter between them. The dialogue was excellent. There were a few times when I felt like one character or the other was info dumping a bit in their speech, and that was kind of annoying. But it wasn’t too bad. But when Caleb and March joke back and forth, it was just great. Not a lot of people can write banter like that and have it be believable and funny and also make sense, but this was perfect. Really nicely done.
So, overall, I really enjoyed this. I wish it had been a little less predictable, but that wasn’t a big deal. I wish some places had been a bit less of an info dump, but again, it wasn’t anything that drastically changed my opinion of the book. I also thought the author handled Caleb’s extremely rough past and traumatic experiences quite well. That’s a difficult subject to tackle and, for me, it was written with care and thoughtfulness. So I definitely recommend giving this book a try‐ stick with it and it will grab you.
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