Enlightened by J.P. Barnaby

First instalment in the “Little Boy Lost” series

Blurb: Little Boy Lost is the story of Brian McAllister, the boy next door.
Brian goes to school, he does his homework, and he helps his foster parents around the house. Brian also has a secret. He is in love with his best friend.  In Crayford, Alabama being in love with another boy is the worst kind of sin.

In this first book, Enlightened, Brian and his best friend Jamie discover just how deep their emotional bond runs, and at what cost. From fumbling through their first sexual experiences to shrouding every aspect of their relationship from everyone in their lives, Brian and Jamie battle for the one thing that is truly theirs – love.

What will they do if their secret is discovered?

My thoughts: OK, from the blurb this story had so many things going against it that I’m amazed at myself that I even started it. I don’t particularly like stories with two teenage boys discovering their sexuality, I don’t particularly like 1st person POV and I definitely dislike reading about religious zealots and fervent preachers who condemn everybody who doesn’t fit into their small little Bible Belt world. But I read the excerpt on JP Barnaby’s site and that made me curious because I really liked the writing style and the scene.

Maybe it is because I live in Europe and views over here often tend to be more liberal than in many parts of the US, it seems, that I always have trouble believing in the existence of those religious, self-righteous parents and overzealous preachers, but I must assume they do exist somewhere. To my great relief their personal appearance in the story were kept to a minimum, even though they were always present in the minds of the two boys and they had a great impact on the course of their story.

Anyway, before I digress even more, I couldn’t have been more wrong with my apprehension. I totally loved this story. Looking at some of the sub-standard stuff that is sometimes being sold by the known publishers I’m at a loss as to why this story is self-published  and didn’t get picked up by a publisher. Unless, of course, J.P. Barnaby chose to self-publish for other reasons. Maybe it’s the age of the two boys who are both under 18, but I have read other romance fiction with at least one partner underage, so it doesn’t seem to be a total taboo.

Brian and Jamie are very lovable boys, insecure at first, but extremely mature and grow into their relationship in a very believable way. They are ready to face the world when it comes to that and won’t be swerved by superior behaviour or irrelevant prayers, whether they come from a preacher or a parent.

The love scenes ARE love scenes. Not simply some quick, inexperienced, uninspired fumbling either, but loving, tender and perfect. Brian and Jamie go through various stages in their physical relationship and each one of them is described in such a beautiful way,  I was so enthralled I couldn’t stop reading. At 216 pages I was expecting to take a few days to finish the book, since my reading time is limited, but I just couldn’t stop and finished it in one day.

The story goes more or less medias in res with Brian’s and Jamie’s visit to church where the pastor goes on about homosexuality is a sin yadda yadda. At first I didn’t know when the story is set and thought that it must be in the forties maybe. It definitely had that feel to it for me, with the Sunday church clothes, the boys in suits and ties, the girls in neat dresses…until it turned out that it must be set now. I was dumbstruck. Can it be that the Bible Belt is being stuck in the 40s or 50s in more ways than one? 

At the cliff hanger end of the book there is a preview on the next instalment “Abandoned”. It seems Brian is in for a rough time for the next year (which was to be expected). I can’t wait to read more about those two boys. In the meantime I might have a look at “The Forbidden Room”, another first book in a series  by J. P. Barnaby dealing with BDSM. Again not my first choice as far as topics are concerned, but after reading “Enlightened” I’m afraid I can’t trust my own preferences anymore.

Highly recommended.

Available as .pdf at J.P. Barnaby’s site, or as paperback and kindle on amazon.com

8 Comments Write a comment

  1. Hi, Rikki! I think Kassa reviewed this one as well over at Three Dollar Bill Reviews and she liked it very much, too. I’m fascinated that the excerpt was good enough to get the book past your usual reading preferences. I always forget to check the excerpts when I’m buying — probably because often I have to click a link and go to another page. I’ll have to keep this one in mind especially since I can get it in ebook form.
    .-= valkovalin´s last blog ..Review Happily Ever Before by Jaye Valentine =-.

    Reply

  2. Hi Val, thanks for your comment. I had a look at Three Dollar Bill reviews but there was no review of the book by Kassa (or anybody else for that matter). I would have liked to read what she thought about it.
    I always read excerpts when the author is new to me, no matter how far I have to go. I usually know immediatley whether the story has “I like”-potential or not. The excerpt of Enlightened is a love scene and convinced me to read the story right away.

    Reply

  3. Oh honey, you got to read The forbiden room, it´s amazing, even with the BDMS the story is so much more than that, the carachters are deep and likable, the plot its thick angst an sweet. its worth the reading, i bet u will wan´t to read it non-stop

    Reply

  4. Hey Rikki…

    I am due to read this one at the end of the month – it was highly recommend by K.C from Smokin hot books…

    I think a lot of people are surprise that it was not picked up – but as you said it might have been the authors choice…

    You have highlighted some point that really seems to make this book stand out – and I agree with you, about living on this side of the pond where everything is more liberal, sometimes it hard to imagine the whole anti gay motivation…

    I have never seen it myself… They are hot on heavy on things like that over here…

    Thanks for your thoughts…

    Here’s the link for her review.

    http://smokinhotbooks.com/blog/2010/03/23/littlelostboy-jpbarnaby/

    E.H>
    .-= Erotic Horizon´s last blog ..Whatever is in your bag this weekend – Enjoy….. =-.

    Reply

  5. Renata, I will definitely look into the Forbidden Room. Thanks for the recommendation.

    EH, yes, this whole anti gay movement is totally inconceivable to me. I’d hate to live in an area like the one in the book. Thanks for the link to K.C.’s review.

    Have a good weekend.

    Reply

  6. I haven’t read the book yet but thanks for thinking of me Val. lol It’s actually on my list to read and review for TDB since the author submitted it but I just haven’t gotten there yet. I skimmed your review since I know I’ll read the book soon and don’t want to be influenced but with a highly recommended tag, that speaks good things. I can’t wait.

    BTW – I’m new to your site but I like it a lot!

    Reply

  7. Kassa, thanks for stopping by. I know what you’re saying about skimming the review. I saw that there was a review on jessewave before I started reading and forced myself to go away from it… I can’t wait to read your thoughts on Enlightened. I’ll have a look out for your post on TDB.

    Reply

  8. Pingback: The Bookkeeper » 55 Quirky questions for readers, part 1

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