Something Like Winter

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Title: Something Like Winter
Author: Jay Bell
Cover Artist: Andreas Bell
Publisher: Jay Bell Books
Buy Link: Something Like Winter
Genre: M/M contemporary romance
Length: 374 pages
Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

A guest review by Jenre

Summary Review: A wonderful story which manages to tell the events of Something Like Summer from Tim’s point of view whilst giving an entirely new perspective on Tim as a character.

THE BLURB

There are two sides to every story. When you’re Tim Wyman, sometimes there are three.

Tim hoped moving to Texas would mean a new beginning, a chance to spread his wings, but he soon finds himself falling into the same tired patterns. Until he meets recklessly brave Benjamin Bentley. Suddenly a whole new world opens up to Tim—love, sex, warmth… home. Certain that society won’t understand what he and Ben have together, Tim struggles to protect their relationship, even if it means twisting the truth. As his lies slowly push Ben away, Tim learns that the greatest enemy can come from within. Buried beneath a decade of deceptions, Tim must claw his way to the surface in the hopes of learning to fly.

Something Like Winter, the companion novel to Something Like Summer, tells the story from Tim Wyman’s perspective, revealing new private moments and personal journeys.

THE REVIEW

Before I start, I want to mention that this review will possibly contain spoilers for Something Like Summer. Those of you who have not read that first book yet, then I suggest you read it first as I think it’s important to get Ben’s take on events before we get Tim’s, although some readers may disagree with me on that one!

As it says above, Something Like Winter is a companion novel to Something Like Summer which I reviewed here. It takes the story and turns it around so that we see everything from the point of view of Tim, rather than Ben. I have to admit, I was a little skeptical about this at first for two reasons really: firstly because I hadn’t been so keen on Tim as a character and I was worried I wouldn’t like to be in his head; and secondly because I was worried that it would focus too much on scenes which feature in the first book and therefore lack originality. As it is, I needn’t have worried because this turned out to be rather a special book indeed and I ended up enjoying it more than I did the first book.

Tim is moving to Texas from Kansas and he can’t wait to get to a new school. A bitchy, conniving ex-girlfriend had made the last few months hell for Tim and he was so relieved to put that all in the past and have a fresh start. Being charming, good looking and personable, it isn’t long before Tim is in with the ‘it crowd’ at school and he’s fairly happy balancing school and hiding the fact that he is more attracted to boys than he is girls. Then along comes openly gay Ben Bentley who literally knocks him off his feet and life is never the same again for Tim.

In my review of the first book, I said I enjoyed the first part more than the second. In this book, however, it was the other way around. I actually found the book a little slow to get into, possibly because I was reading about things which happen in detail in book 1. In Something Like Summer, I thought the author had done a pretty good job in showing the reader how lonely and conflicted Tim is, even if he came across as rather self-obsessed. With this book, Tim isn’t that different in terms of how I saw him previously, so I didn’t feel like learned anything new in the first part of the book except to perhaps soften a little my initial thoughts that Tim was an arrogant ass. In fact, I’m pleased that the author didn’t try to change Tim or make it seem that Tim was just misunderstood by Ben because it’s important to this book that we see a Tim who knows he messed up at this point in his life and seeks to address his bad behaviour later in life. The section which takes place over the year Tim and Ben are first together is shorter here than the first book, and I was glad about that because it’s when we move onto the next part that the book really took off for me.

I absolutely loved the rest of the book which takes place over the next 12 or so years. In this section the gaps from the first book are filled. We see Tim’s struggles in College to stay in the closet, and his longing for some kind of relationship. We see him meeting Eric and the fatherly relationship he has with the much older man and this section brought tears to my eyes. We see Tim trying to form a relationship with a man who uses and manipulates him. We see Tim growing, facing up to his past, behaving badly at times, but also showing us a side we didn’t see much of in book one – that of a man who loves deeply and sacrificially at times. A good man. A man who deserves Ben’s love at the end of the book. My main complaint about the first book was that I didn’t like Tim or the way he tried to muscle in on Ben and Jase’s relationship. This book showed me a man I could and did like. He wasn’t perfect – who is? – but I was happier with the HEA.

I was also happy that we get much more in terms of background on Tim which helped me to understand his actions. His relationship with his parents, with other gay men and his grandma gave me a a much more rounded view of Tim which made me wish for happiness in his life. The sections later in life, where he attempts to win Ben back, made more sense to me then. In the first book, it almost seemed that Tim was being vindictive in wanting Ben to split with Jase, but there’s so much more going on in Tim’s head and I was glad that this book allowed me to see that.

Since reading and reviewing Something Like Summer, I’ve become a huge fan of this author. There’s something special about the way that he writes characters and imbues them with true emotion which reaches out to me as a reader. This book was no exception. For those of you who have read Something Like Summer, this is an absolute must read. If you haven’t read that first book, then I urge you to read it, and then you can read this one too!

16 thoughts on “Something Like Winter

    1. Tom

      Would somebody please mind changing (or adding) the Buy Link to the Kindle version of this title (rather than just the paperback)? Thanks. :blush:

  1. Jess1

    I really enjoy your reviews on this author, whose books I haven’t gotten around to buy yet. My TBB list of books by this author just keeps getting longer.
    Thanks for the review!

  2. Lena Grey

    Great Review, Wave! I agree with you that this book was so much more than a rehash of the first one. It’s left me so emotional that I could hardly put in to words how much I appreciated the story and Jay’s talent for telling it. I hope many people read it and are able to appreciate it as much as I did.

    1. Jenre Post author

      Thanks, Lena :)

      Jay certainly is a very talented man. He’s got such a wonderful way with emotion. It’s never over the top but is still very affecting.

  3. Sirius

    I really enjoy this writer’s work and have read and enjoyed every single book which he published, except Something like summer :). Yes, I was really really dissappointed in the ending and thought that the wrong guy, you know …

    I was wondering if I buy multilayered and redeemed Tim. Were you just a little dissappointed in the ending of the first one, or a lot? I am trying to decide if my intense negative reaction to Tim could change :). Thanks Jen.

    1. Jenre Post author

      I had a similar response to Something Like Summer. In my review, I mentioned my disappointment at the way Tim and Ben get together at the end. This book helped an awful lot with that because whilst I wasn’t sure about Tim’s feelings or motivations in the first book, this book makes it very clear the reasons he acted as he did and I felt much happier.

  4. Mary G

    Awesome review Jenre! I so love Jay Bell’s writing. Loved both SLS & SLW. On his site JB says that of the 130k only 27k are parallel to the original. That’s a lot of book. I was so happy reading this book (in one sitting). It was poignant, angsty but still had humor & heart. I think you’d enjoy Kamikaze Boys too. As an aside Jay Bell has lots of videos on you tube. He is a really smart, charming guy.

    1. Jenre Post author

      Thank you, Mary :).

      I hadn’t realised what the crossover was, but yes, aside from the first part of the book, most of the story in here is new material.

      Kamikaze Boys is the only book by this author that I haven’t read yet. I really should!

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