Monday, July 20, 2015

Focus On Me by Megan Erickson

Title: Focus On Me (In Focus #2)
Author: Megan Erickson
Publisher: InterMix
Release Date: July 21, 2015
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N / Indigo
Colin Hartman can now add college to his list of failures. On the coast-to-coast trek home from California, Colin stops at a gas station in the Nevada desert, and can’t help noticing the guy in tight jeans looking like he just stepped off a catwalk. When he realizes Catwalk is stranded, Colin offers a ride.

Riley only intended to take a short ride in Colin’s Jeep to the Grand Canyon. But one detour leads to another until they finally find themselves tumbling into bed together. However there are shadows in Riley’s eyes that hide a troubled past. And when those shadows threaten to bury the man whom Colin has fallen in love with, he vows to get Riley the help he needs. For once in his life, quitting isn’t an option…

In the last year, Megan Erickson has quickly become one of my favourite authors when it comes to romance books, especially ones that are packed with all the feels. So Focus On Me? It hit me right where it hurts. But it was oh so good.

Colin thought he was going to be spending his drive across the country thinking about his latest failure: college. But his trip has barely begun when he can’t help but noticing the guy who looks like he’s come straight out of the pages of a magazine. And he offers him a ride without a second thought. What starts out as something completely innocent, quickly becomes something a lot bigger for Colin. But Colin isn’t sure Riley feels the same way he does. Until it becomes very clear that both of them want the same thing and it all comes out one night in Dallas. But Colin can’t help but notice those moments where Riley seems to almost be haunted by his past. And Colin is determined to do whatever he can to help Riley, no matter what it takes. Because for once, Colin is determined not to fail.

Despite having only been publishing books for just over a year, it feels like I’ve been reading Megan Erickson’s books for much longer than that. In the year that her books have been out, she’s quickly become one of my favourites when it comes to romance and her books are all auto-buys for me. And earlier this year, I read what I thought was my favourite Megan Erickson book, Trust the Focus. In fact, I couldn’t seem to shut up about the book (seriously, ask my friends, they will confirm it). But Trust the Focus may now have been replaced by Focus On Me, the second book in the In Focus series. I started reading Focus On Me when I was supposed to be reading something else entirely. And then proceeded to stay up until way too late (considering I had to go to work the next day) just because I had to keep reading and know how the story would end. Well, actually, I wanted the story to last forever, but that's not really the point. I knew going in that Focus On Me was going to be an emotional read, one that was likely to hit me right where it hurts (in a good way). And it absolutely delivered on that. More so than I could have ever have predicted. Even though I could tell what was coming, it still didn’t prepare me for how much that emotional punch hit me. There was so much in this story that needs to be said and needs to be seen. Focus On Me touched me in a way that I didn’t think it would. And by the end of the book, I was crying in bed at 3 AM. Because Colin and Riley’s story was an absolutely beautiful one. Emotional, yes, but beautiful all the same.

Having read Trust the Focus, I know that Megan Erickson can write some absolutely beautiful relationships between boys. But the relationship between Riley and Colin in Focus on Me couldn’t have been more different than the relationship between Justin and Landry in the first book. Where there was a lifetime of history between the two boys in the first book, Colin and Riley are complete strangers at the beginning of the story. But the connection between them was instantaneous and I loved seeing the relationship between the two develop the way it did. Colin’s easygoing nature perfectly balanced out Riley’s intensity. And Colin was the caring person that Riley needed in his life, the person who would do whatever it takes to help him, even if he didn’t want the help. If I’m completely honest, there were plenty of times where their story was completely heartbreaking. But I wanted nothing more than to root for Colin and Riley, for them to make it through everything that was standing between them and get to be together the way they deserved to be. But in the end, all the pain was completely worth it because of what it led to. And I have to say that getting to see Justin and Landry again made my heart happy in all kinds of way.

I feel like this review may have been all over the place. But it’s just HARD to articulate all the feelings I have about Megan Erickson’s Focus On Me. This story made me laugh, it made me smile and it made me cry. And I loved every single moment of it.

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