Friday, December 4, 2015

ARC Review: Winter Oranges by Marie Sexton

Jason Walker is a child star turned teen heartthrob turned reluctant B-movie regular who’s sick of his failing career. So he gives up Hollywood for northern Idaho, far away from the press, the drama of LA, and the best friend he’s secretly been in love with for years. There’s only one problem with his new life: a strange young man only he can see is haunting his guesthouse. Except Benjamin Ward isn’t a ghost. He’s a man caught out of time, trapped since the Civil War in a magical prison where he can only watch the lives of those around him. He’s also sweet, funny, and cute as hell, with an affinity for cheesy ’80s TV shows. And he’s thrilled to finally have someone to talk to.

But Jason quickly discovers that spending all his time with a man nobody else can see or hear isn’t without its problems—especially when the tabloids find him again and make him front-page news. The local sheriff thinks he’s on drugs, and his best friend thinks he’s crazy. But Jason knows he hasn’t lost his mind. Too bad he can’t say the same thing about his heart.

Twenty percent of the proceeds from this title will be donated to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) National Help Center.

Dani's rating:

This is Marie Sexton's best book to date. It left me breathless and yearning and hopeful.

Fair warning: If you're a coldhearted skeptic (i.e., didn't cry during the last pottery wheel scene in Ghost), this might not be the story for you.

Winter Oranges asks you to believe in the impossible: a man existing outside of time, trapped in a prison created to save him; dreams that traverse dimensions and whisper sweet promises; a connection that crosses centuries and defies logic.

Jason is a former child star who’s lost all passion for his art. He’s been in love with his best friend Dylan for years, but Dylan is not a one-person kind of guy.

Jason is disillusioned … with his career, his future, his life. He buys a home in the panhandle of Idaho to get away from it all. And that’s where he meets Ben.

Ben appears in the guest quarters above Jason’s garage. He’s transparent and intangible. But he’s not a ghost. Because Ben, with his slender body, pale skin, and jet black hair, is very much alive … alive but not living.

Ben was born long before the Civil War; he remembers when Thanksgiving was first declared a federal holiday. He loves silly commercial jingles and 80s soap operas. He desperately wants to know who shot J.R.

Ben challenges Jason to believe. Left with no human contact for more than a century, Ben finds joy in the small things we take for granted and teaches Jason to do the same—every walk, every laugh, every limited conversation is precious.

[Ben] shook his head and shut his eyes tight. "You deserve more. You deserve to be with somebody real."

"You think I've ever met anybody more real than you?"

As Ben and Jason spend days and weeks together, Jason’s unusual behavior begins to draw attention. After all, only Jason can see (and eventually hear) Ben.

Dylan is worried that Jason is having a mental breakdown and goes after the one possession that means the world to Jason, and is his link to Ben.

I read this book cover to cover in one go. The writing is evocative and Ben and Jason’s connection so powerful, I alternated between despair and hope.

"This," [Jason] said, kissing Ben's temple. "This is my new best day."

"Not mine, but only because I've stopped keeping track. I have too many good days with you now to count. It's the most wonderful thing in the world."

Prepare for orange-Life-Saver-flavored kisses, Murder, She Wrote marathons, Christmas cruises, stolen touches, meddlesome best friends, and a rather pushy sheriff who means well.

This is a poignant, romantic, magical story, perfect for every season!

Now go smell an orange. And remember.

Get the book:


I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library.
~Jorge Luis Borges

An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Download links are provided as a courtesy and do not constitute an endorsement of or affiliation with the book, author, publisher, or website listed.

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