Dana reviews Nachos & Hash (Mary’s Boys Book One) by Brandon Witt. (Published by Dreamspinner Press, January 25, 2017, 105 pages) A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Blurb: A Mary’s Boys Novella
Darwin Michaels is living his dreams in the Mile High City. While Denver offers the perfect job, scrumptious dining, and whirlwind dating options, Darwin is losing hope he’ll find the right man to spark his interest for more than a one-night stand—until he sets eyes on Cody Russell.
Cody has just accomplished his life’s goal—get the hell out of Kansas. In one fell swoop, he lands a job at Hamburger Mary’s and gets a newfound family and the chance to be with other gay people! All that’s missing is someone special. But when Darwin shows his interest, Cody is sure it’s too good to be true. After all, what can Darwin possibly see in the high school dropout serving him nachos?
As Darwin falls in love, Cody struggles to realize his worth. When his past threatens the fragile life he is building, Cody spirals into a moment of dark desperation. But Darwin is determined to show Cody that love and family and home are there for him… will Cody accept what is offered?
Buy links: Dreamspinner | Amazon | B&N Add to GoodreadsDana – Even though I own six books by Brandon Witt, this is only the second book I have read by him. Most of them have heavier subject matters, and I know I have to be in the right mindset to read them. But Nachos & Hash is a lower angst novella with fun and exciting settings. It was very easy to read. The series is called Mary’s Boys because the main characters meet at a Hamburger Mary’s restaurant, and one of them works there. I assume it will be the same with the following books, there were definitely a few side characters in this story that work at Hamburger Mary’s I would love to see more of.
The author does a great job of describing the setting in his scenes. I have never wanted to go to a restaurant more than I want to go to Hamburger Mary’s after reading this book. Lucky for me there are three locations not that far from me. Another restaurant in the story called Casa Bonita looks to be a Denver novelty that I won’t be able to visit unless I make it to Denver, so here’s hoping. Both restaurants sounded great, and it does seem that going to dinner is a big part of Darwin and Cody’s courting.
Darwin is an interesting character. For only being 24 years old, he seems to have quite a maturity about him. He is ready to settle down and quit dating, or just give up on finding someone. Though his parents are pretty supportive of his sexuality and everything else about him, it was touch and go when he first came out. He definitely doesn’t act like the typical early twenties gay man that I usually read about, looking for the next hookup. Luckily for me, since I’m a romance addict, Cody comes along just in time to stop him from quitting his search for the right guy.
It’s not apparent at first that Cody is the one, not to me. He is very skittish and pretty young. Only three years younger than Darwin, Cody’s family has never supported him in anything. That’s without him even coming out to them. He just knows that will make it worse, but it’s okay because he made his escape to Denver. He can finally be himself. The relief of just being is enough for Cody and his lack of life ambitions make him feel he isn’t worthy of a relationship, especially not with someone like Darwin who seems to have his life together. I definitely can feel for Cody. I don’t think there is a magic age where you actually feel like you are making a success of adulthood, and some of us constantly wonder. Darwin has some sympathy for Cody and he understands his concerns are a byproduct of the way he was raised. He cares for Cody no matter what job he has or what his apartment looks like. The trick is getting Cody to believe him.
I said the story was low-angst, but I won’t call it no angst. There is a moment when things hit the fan and Cody handles it badly. We learn a lot more about both Darwin and Cody in these moments. It is not a fairy tale ending for them, but the need for help is recognized and they take the proper steps to secure their relationship and their well-being. I was happy at the outcome of the story. Both men were young and good looking, but human and vulnerable at the same time. I look forward to reading more in this series. So many great characters I want to see get their happy ending and I look forward to seeing where else in Denver the author takes us.
9/10 Pots of Gold (90% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars
Brandon Witt’s outlook on life is greatly impacted by his first eighteen years of growing up gay in a small town in the Ozarks, as well as fifteen years as a counselor and special education teacher for students with severe emotional disabilities. Add to that his obsession with corgis and mermaids, then factor in an unhealthy love affair with cheeseburgers, and you realize that with all those issues, he’s got plenty to write about….
Visit Brandon’s webpage: http://www.brandonwitt.com/
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