Title : Glitterland
Author : Alexis Hall
Publisher : Riptide Publishing (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Contemporary
Length : 248 pages (e-book)
Published : August 26, 2013
Rating : ★★★★★
The universe is a glitterball I hold in the palm of my hand.
Once the golden boy of the English literary scene, now a clinically depressed writer of pulp crime fiction, Ash Winters has given up on love, hope, happiness, and—most of all—himself. He lives his life between the cycles of his illness, haunted by the ghosts of other people’s expectations.
Then a chance encounter at a stag party throws him into the arms of Essex boy Darian Taylor, an aspiring model who lives in a world of hair gel, fake tans, and fashion shows. By his own admission, Darian isn’t the crispest lettuce in the fridge, but he cooks a mean cottage pie and makes Ash laugh, reminding him of what it’s like to step beyond the boundaries of anxiety.
But Ash has been living in his own shadow for so long that he can’t see past the glitter to the light. Can a man who doesn’t trust himself ever trust in happiness? And how can a man who doesn’t believe in happiness ever fight for his own?
I’m just going say straight away that I loved this book. Its starts off with one of the MCs in a dark place. That’s not really the tone of the book but it addresses Ash’s problems from page one. Then quickly introduces a heavily accented character. To the point of broken English. Apparently people from Essex do in fact speak this way. Honestly I had no idea about the Essex. I had to actually ask a friend if this was for real after reading a few pages. Some may be totally turned off by it, but stick it out a few chapters and get to know Darian before you write him off. It’s rather fitting that my first response to him was so much like the snooty people in the book. To laugh at his speech and him not being all that bright. He’s not dumb just looks at life a certain way and believes in being who is.
Ash is a writer. His books sell thank goodness or he’d be in trouble. Ash is bipolar and depressed. Falling into fits of despair and being institutionalized have made Ash mark himself as a lost cause. He doesn’t enjoy life anymore. Each day is a task. He has friends but doesn’t particularly want to be around them even though they do care for him. One night he can’t get out of a bachelor party he’s agreed to attend. Ash is all ready to go down dark road again after a fight with his, not always as helpful as he thinks best friend, Niall, when he sees a beautiful sparkling man on the dance floor. It awakens a desire he hasn’t felt in so long. I know this has been done to death but this really was a breakthrough for Ash. Even after the guy speaks, Ash can’t wait to touch him. Ash is kind of a posh jerk and admittedly cares more about people thinking he’s crazy than being a jerk. Well, he’s both. But He wants Essex so badly the excitement alone is triumphant for Ash.
Darian or Essex as he’s named in the book because he’s so obviously from there with his fake orange tan and his flashy trashy clothes. If you didn’t know it by looking at him you’d know it when he speaks. I’ll admit to it being bothersome at first but once you settle in and get to know the real man, there’s no way you won’t love him. He’s kind and honest. Darian was such a beautiful person inside and out. No worries, he’s not a Mary Sue character at all because he’s not the brightest and plenty of people in this book, including Ash, think of him with disdain. Personally, just thinking of him is making me smile. 😀 Darian accepts Ash as he is. A little weird but very clever and funny. Gorgeous. And the way Ash looks at him gets him going. Like Darian is something beautiful he can’t wait to have. It makes Dorian feel like maybe he’s more than just a pretty face from Essex.
Ash has no interest in a relationship. He’s done nothing but hurt the ones that care for him in the past. Ash has nothing to give because from one day to the next he’s all over the place. Can’t get out of bed. Doesn’t do well in social settings. Can’t drink or do drugs to mask how low he’s feeling. So, when he starts caring about Darian it’s spectacular but terrifying. Ash also doesn’t have much of a filter. He’s become at lying but he sure doesn’t sugar coat what he thinks. It may sound like Ash is bit of a downer character but he really grows throughout the book. The author did an amazing job of getting in his head space. Even at the point where normally I’d be fuming at the character for being so awful, all I could feel was disappointment in him for his actions. That I wanted to shake him and tell him he’s screwing up something so perfect. And these boys were good together. The sex in this book was so intensely beautiful. I swear you could just feel the connection between Ash and Darian.
The secondary characters were great. I laughed out loud and smiled throughout the book. Got a little teary eyed once. Truly one of my favorite books of this summer. I can’t recommend this book enough. If you love flawed but completely engaging characters you have to pick this one up.
Rated 5 stars by Whit