Monday, February 29, 2016

ARC Review: Out of Nowhere by Roan Parrish

The only thing in Colin Mulligan’s life that makes sense is taking cars apart and putting them back together. In the auto shop where he works with his father and brothers, he tries to get through the day without having a panic attack or flying into a rage. Drinking helps. So do running and lifting weights until he can hardly stand. But none of it can change the fact that he’s gay, a secret he has kept from everyone.

Rafael Guerrera has found ways to live with the past he’s ashamed of. He’s dedicated his life to social justice work and to helping youth who, like him, had very little growing up. He has no time for love. Hell, he barely has time for himself. Somehow, everything about miserable, self-destructive Colin cries out to him. But down that path lie the troubles Rafe has worked so hard to leave behind. And as their relationship intensifies, Rafe and Colin are forced to dredge up secrets that both men would prefer stay buried.

Dani's rating:

Colin is a 36-year-old self-loathing, closeted gay man, still living to please his father, and so damn unhappy, he takes his anger out on everyone else, especially Daniel, his younger brother and one of the MCs from book 1.

Colin is also the first-person narrator of the story, and, wow, is that exhausting. Colin hates his life. He hates Daniel for having what he can’t have. He even resents Rafe; Rafe, who saves Colin from a severe beating in the first chapter; Rafe, who is AMAZING.

Much like Rex in book 1, Rafe is patient and steady. He has a past, but he’s turned his life around and now runs a program for LGBQT youth.

Book 1 is angsty, but it has nothing on this book. Colin is so immature, so stunted emotionally, he acts and reacts like a teenager, not a grown-ass man. He rages at Rafe and gets drunk constantly, even though he knows how much this hurts Rafe.

I had a hard time mustering sympathy for Colin and got frustrated with his inability to have a normal conversation. He’s not honest with himself, much less with others, and pushes Rafe away constantly. Colin is a bully, plain and simple. Even his cat doesn't like him.

This book overlaps with book 1, and the story is definitely relationship driven. I liked the side plot regarding the teenagers at Rafe’s youth center. I especially loved DeShawn and Mikal, as well as Colin’s friend Xavier (I can see why X’s wife disliked Colin; I mean, who wouldn’t?).

I didn’t think much of Colin’s father. Daniel was right when he called their father a coward who just gave up. I found the dynamics between the four brothers fascinating. This is one fucked-up, damaged family, but families sometimes are. It's not easy, but it's real.

Parish brings a lot of emotional intensity to her stories, which is heightened by the first-person, present-tense POV. Everything seems gripping and immediate. I usually dislike this narrative style, but it worked here.

The sex is raw and desperate at times, but Rafe is so tender, so GOOD, it was hard not to root for him and Colin. Rafe loves Colin, and I wanted happiness for Rafe.

The ending is a HFN. Colin is barely coming out of his self-imposed prison, so we see some of his personal growth but know he has a long way to go. Rafe loses his footing for a while and hasn’t fully regained it by the time the book ends.

I do wish Parish would add more sweetness to her books. The constant fighting between the MCs made me seriously anxious. Even so, I liked this book and would recommend it for fans of book 1. I was very much invested in the story.

P.S. Out of Nowhere should NOT be read as a standalone.

Get the book:


You can't get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.
~C.S Lewis

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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