Author: Loren Leigh
Heat: 3 Flames
Rating: 4.5 Hearts
Synopsis via Goodreads:
I avoid him.
Every time Kepler Quinn steps into a room, I get the hell out.
He does . . . something to me. When those discerning gray eyes flick towards me, his brow rising in a silent greeting, there’s a tightening of my abs. A zapping hum quivering low along my spine.
There are about a million reasons it shouldn’t be what the little voice in the back of my head insists . . . a crush.
Because Kepler isn’t just some random guy. He’s my brother’s best friend. He’s also my TA for physics this semester. And also . . . a guy. I’ve never held strongly onto being straight, but I’ve also never had this sun-scorching need for another guy before.
But I can’t avoid him when we’re suddenly in the back stacks of the library—alone—nothing but the smell of old books and softly falling dust around us. And instead of walking away from him, I let out the two words that burn in my throat:
Review: Always is a swoony M/M college romance with a bisexual awakening and sizzling chemistry. It’s the first in the Indigo Falls College series, a standalone, and features a happy ending. It’s the first story I’ve read in a while with a single POV, which only added to the mystique that is Kepler.
Kepler’s just different. He always has been. In a sky stacked with stars, he’s the brightest one.
Ms. Leigh’s debut novel is a good one. I really loved it. It’s such a sweet romance with great MCs. Their relationship has a depth that you can only gain from knowing each other since childhood. While they weren’t necessarily friends, they did grow up together which is how their relationship develops organically with deeper bonds than we might see in a new one.
I don’t know when it began for me with Kepler, but it’s always been there like my own heartbeat, my own breath, the stars above—ever present.
I usually have one MC as my favorite, but honestly, I loved them both.
This is a quiet romance. At times, I felt like I was intruding on a private moment as I read. Like I shouldn’t have been there. That’s not to say that it’s boring, because it’s far from it. I started this one morning and then came back to it later that same evening and was unable to put it down. I ended up reading it until 5 am. Ms. Leigh shines here in her ability to create atmosphere and moments that make you swoon, and others that tug at your heartstrings.
Jae-Jin or Jin as Kepler calls him, finds strength in Kepler. He’s tired. He’s spent his entire life trying to hold his family together after his father dies. His somewhat estranged brother is a cop and his mom is an addict, unable to cope with her loss which is a subplot throughout the book.
If I have any complaints it’s the almost never-ending inner monologue of Jin since we’re only in his head. While most of the time, I was able to read along and absorb the scene she was setting, there were a few spots where it grew tired, and I would rather have had some dialogue to show the same sentiment to break up the text.
Second, I have a little problem with one of the scenes, that is indeed a spoiler. (Highlight to read if you wish):
More research was needed in treating alcoholism. You can’t take all the alcohol away from a raging alcoholic of nearly ten years (how his mom is depicted) without severe, possibly deadly consequences. I know because these are my patients, it’s what I do. Severe alcohol withdrawal can kill a person. There is a scene where Jin takes all the alcohol out of the house and then leaves his mom alone. You cannot do this unless you take the person to a hospital/medical detox where they can go through withdrawal safely under supervision.
That said, there are so many swoon-worth moments that made my hopelessly romantic heart sing.
“You don’t know how many firsts you’ve given me.”
“Name one,” I challenge him.
Leigh’s use of definitions to convey the overall theme of the coming chapter, while not new, was something I hadn’t seen in a while and I really enjoyed. There’s also this thing that Kepler does with post-its to keep himself in Jin’s thoughts. I loved that! I also liked learning the Korean words she used while telling the story. The most central one being:
‘Simkung.’ It’s Korean for that throb you get in your chest with some people.
This is the feeling that Jin uses to describe how he feels whenever he’s near Kepler. With the exception of the couple of things I mentioned, I truly enjoyed this read. It can be found in the Kindle Unlimited library, but I liked it enough that I bought it afterward because I want to be able to read it again any time I want.
“I love you to the depth of my ability to love.” ❤
~ Happy sigh ~
Purchase Link | Amazon