Title: GOODBYE PARADISE (Previous titled: In Front of God & Everyone)
Author: Sarina Bowen
Genres: New Adult, Romance, M/M
Rating: 5 Stars
Heat Rating: 4 Stars
All The Feels: 5++++++ Stars
Release Date: March 21st, 2017
ARC received in exchange for an honest review.
Most people called it a cult. But for twenty years, Josh & Caleb called it home.
In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world.
But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together the way he craves.
It can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret.
Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own, and a plan to get away — until it all backfires.
Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him. Can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels?
Warning: Contains a hot male/male romance, copious instances of taking the Lord’s name in vain, and love against the kitchen counter. This book was previously released under the title: In Front of God & Everyone.
Okay, guys. I know it’s only March, but I’m going to go ahead and say it: GOODBYE PARADISE is one of my top reads for 2017. This book is romantic, sexy, heart wrenching and pulls on every single damn heart string! I was hooked from the first paragraph, and every page is pure perfection. Not to mention GOODBYE PARADISE delivered all the feels, so you might want to keep some tissue nearby. Seriously. I was wiping away the happy tears when I finished. The true definition of a feel good read.
Josh and Caleb are born and raised on a polygamist ranch named Paradise. Which is ironic, since it’s about the furthest thing from Paradise. Obeying the strictest of rules, working from dusk to dawn with never enough food, the only true comfort they have is each other; they have been best friends since they were toddlers.
Except Josh is hiding a big secret from Caleb, one he is sure would make Caleb hate him if he ever found out: Josh is in love with him. It’s forbidden in so many ways, so Josh keeps his feelings buried deep down.
Suddenly (I don’t want to go into all the details and spoil it all), Josh finds himself out in the world, free of Paradise. He is in a world he doesn’t understand, and one that doesn’t understand him. His saving grace is that Caleb is there, of course, right by his side helping him. Like always.
Caleb always protected Josh, and that wasn’t going to change now. He has a safe place in mind and is determined to get the two of them there. The only thing is, Caleb has a secret of his own… one that might even mirror Josh’s.
First of all, I apologize for being vague at times in this review. It’s just that I personally felt like it was a really powerful read, and I don’t want to take that away from anyone else.
I think the idea that they were raised on a polygamist ranch is so interesting. Sarina Bowen did a fabulous job of creating such a realistic world with Paradise. It was fascinating getting a glimpse into their world- you can tell she really did her research. The feelings and thoughts that Caleb and Josh have, both on and off the ranch, made me forget at times that these weren’t real people.
And gah, I just LOVE Josh and Caleb. I love forbidden romance and best friends to lovers and this has both!!! Being raised the way they were, they both clearly have issues. The biggest one, particularly for Josh, is knowing his self worth. There were times where I wanted to hug the crap out of him, even though he isn’t a real person. Their friendship is adorable on its own, but when it starts to move to something more… well, let’s just say these two made me swoon so freaking hard. Their love, their chemistry, their vulnerability all hit you right in the heart. The journey these two go on, the connection they have, and the growth they go through…well… I dare you not to cry!
One of my favorite things about Sarina Bowen’s books are her side characters. They always bring so much life to her books, and GOODBYE PARADISE was no different. I feel in love with several side character’s: Daniel, Maggie, Miriam, and particularly Washington (you’ll see why!).
The writing is amazing, it’s filled with great dialogue and has characters that honestly take a piece of your heart. Do yourself a huge favor and read this book. You will not be sorry!!
GOODBYE PARADISE is the first book in the series, but can be a standalone. Book two, HELLO FOREVER has no release date yet, but hopefully will be out soon. I’m not sure if there will be a third, but man, I hope so!
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