Sunday, December 16, 2018

ARC Review: Homebird by Amy Lane

Crispin Henry isn’t an adventurer. He learned early on that the world is a frightening place and that home is rare and precious. If his friends didn’t drag him to sports games and ill-advised trips to Vegas, he wouldn’t get out at all—and his trip to Munich for Oktoberfest is no exception. But it’s there that he meets Luka Gabriel, and he learns to take a chance.

Luka is a free-spirited world traveler, working at Oktoberfest to feed his enchantment with new places and new people. His only possessions fit in his backpack, and he depends on the kindness of strangers for a place to sleep. Crispin should know better—but he takes Luka’s hand anyway, and together they turn three nights in Munich into the relationship neither of them has been brave enough to risk—and neither can let go of.

When Luka turns up on Crispin’s doorstep before the holiday season, Crispin takes him in on hope alone. Yes, he knows the odds are good Luka will flutter out of his life again and leave him bereft, but isn’t it worth it to see if Luka is a homebird after all?

Dani's rating:

homebird (ˈhəʊmˌbɜːd)
1. a person who is reluctant to leave their hometown or their childhood home, or who returns after a period of living away
2. Another name for homebody

Crispin doesn't like to leave because he's been left—by two sets of parents and a college boyfriend. He feels safe in his little home, with his cat and shared-custody dog, and his sister and her husband nearby. He likes his friends, initially just colleagues until he fed them chicken soup and vitamin C, who drag him on vacation every once in a while, but he wants to return to what he knows.

If Crispin is a homebird, Luka is a common swift, always flying, always in motion, his feet never touching the ground.

Luka sees something in Crispin, something warm and comforting. They are drawn together at Oktoberfest where Luka is a waiter and Crispin a tourist sipping the sole glass of wine at his table.

Crispin is careful. He doesn't take risks. Luka is adaptable. He goes where the wind takes him.

In bed, they're great together. Luka shows Crispin how good it can be with a lover you trust. But how do you build a relationship with someone who won't stay?

Crispin was going to pretend there was no deadline. Pretend Luka would stay indefinitely. Pretend that the tender charms of his rampant domesticity could tie down a wandering star.

Homebird is not a fluffy, Santa-driven holiday story. It begin in September and ends in June. Luka and Crispin spend Christmas together, but the focus isn't the holidays but this: friendship, family, connections, trust, loss, love.

At first, I was a little irritated by Crispin's group of friends. They were constantly THERE: Link, Ray, Nick, Cam. I don't have to reference the book, because I remember their names. I know their stories. I know all about Millie and Todd (Crispin's sister and brother-in-law) too. These secondary characters are so well sketched, the story feels entirely three dimensional.

Crispin and Luka aren't just characters on a page. They are living human beings, who worry and laugh and take care of each other. The camaraderie between the boys is pretty amazing. I ended up loving Crispin's friends almost as much as Crispin and Luka.

It's worth mentioning that this is a sexy story. The MCs love each other often and freely. Luka teaches Crispin how to let go, and Crispin responds beautifully. Amy Lane writes true-to-life sex, with l normal bodies, smells, grunts, and moans. Something about is so raw, so real.

The ending is exactly what I craved. Crispin gives Luka roots, while Luka gives Crispin wings. I wasn't ready to let these men go, but their story will stay with me.

Get the book:

Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.
~Harper Lee

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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