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starting-new

Life hasn’t been good to Francis Murphy. He’s survived twenty-one years of homelessness by hooking and taking handouts where he can find them. When the local shelter is vandalized, he’s forced to seek food at the Grace and Light Church, where he runs into the pastor’s son, Randy.Randy Wright believes the best in others. He's immediately drawn to Francis, even though FranciLife hasn’t been good to Francis Murphy. He’s survived twenty-one years of homelessness by hooking and taking handouts where he can find them. When the local shelter is vandalized, he’s forced to seek food at the Grace and Light Church, where he runs into the pastor’s son, Randy.Randy Wright believes the best in others. He's immediately drawn to Francis, even though Francis is hardened and wary. When Francis is attacked by one of his johns, Randy and his family take him in and offer him temporary work. Randy always thought he was straight, but something about Francis has him yearning for more than just friendship, and realizing he might be bisexual.Francis is attracted to Randy too, and Randy and his parents say they’ve always believed in gay rights. But talk is cheap. What are the odds that these Christian parents will remain open-minded when it's their own son in a relationship with another man?...

Title : Starting New
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781626494305
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 192 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Starting New Reviews

  • Susan
    2019-01-28 08:02

    This was not what I expected at all. I was expecting some lovely comfort to go with the hurt, but there wasn't enough of the comfort I so love.Francis has lived his entire life on the street (how is that even possible, especially when he was an infant??) and is turning tricks to stay alive. He is now 21, but he can’t see any other life in his future.After a bad run in with a john, he gets taken in by the pastor, his wife, and their 21 year old son, Randy. They offer him a place to stay if he wants to help out rebuilding the shelter close by. But Francis has a hard time accepting their help and kindness..Francis was such a stubborn person, who didn’t want to let anyone is, that I had a hard time liking him. Although he kind of grew on me near the end.But I really disliked Randy. I could not get a good feel for him. He wanted to help Francis, but one moment he was really sweet, and then all of a sudden he was angry and being surly to Francis. I got that he had a hard time with the fact that he might be gay, especially as the pastor’s son, but I felt he ran hot and cold all the time.There isn’t a lot of relationship development. Most of this book is Francis pushing Randy away or the other way around, neither wanting to admit their feelings.Overall I did not enjoy this, basically because the characters felt very emotionless and cold to me. Oh, and there is no on page sex, except for some frottage somewhere around 70%.

  • CrabbyPatty
    2019-02-11 00:51

    Starting New is a beautifully told story about Frances (“Francis.” Her face brightened. “Oh, like Saint Francis of Assisi?” If he was homeless and a hooker, then sure.), a 21-yr-old prostitute and Randy, whose father is the pastor at Grace and Light non-denominational church with an outreach program to LGBTQ youth. Frances has spent his entire life on the streets - constantly fighting hunger, selling his body and trying to keep safe. When Frances escapes a crazed john, he is invited to stay with Randy and his parents and do some work on a burned-down homeless shelter in exchange for room and board. As Frances slowly learns to trust, Randy begins to realize that he feels much more for Frances than friendship. I loved the pace of the book as they carefully explore their feelings, and I admired how honest and open Randy was about his struggle with those feelings. Randy's parents are also wonderfully portrayed as flawed people who strive to not just "talk the talk" but really "walk the walk" in their ministry. I would have liked to have had a bit more background on Frances, and the Epilogue, while sweet, is only a few months after the events of the book. I want to see Frances and Randy a few years down the road!I received an ARC of this book from Riptide Publishing, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

  • Lelyana
    2019-01-25 23:53

    This is a bittersweet story from a prostitute POV. Young and that's all he knew, Francis sell his body for food and a living. But still, he had a sad life and still hungry, the he stumbled into a church and met Randy and his family.This story is 'real'. You know, people's reaction when they know who and what Francis do for a living, not to mention he's gay.I liked that the author didn't sugar coated the Priest and his wife's reaction when they're finally found out that their only son is gay and attracted to Francis, the prostitute.It was not an overreaction. Anger, shame, yes, but good thing is, they think with a healthy mind after the shocked.And as for Francis and Randy (who's still 'learning' that he's gay), especially Francis who's still struggled to leave his old life to start new, seemed real. I liked it that they built the friendship first before jumped into a relationship.My only complained is the sex. There's on page sex from Francis and Baxter (his regular patron), but no sex on page from Francis and Randy. Maybe because Randy is still virgin? No idea.Overall, this one is enjoyable and worth reading for.*ARC provided by publisher through Netgalley in exchange of a fair and unbiased review*

  • WhatAStrangeDuck
    2019-02-01 00:42

    I stopped reading at 51% because, frankly, I'm not feeling it. There is hardly any backstory for Francis and that just won't do. Yes, I've been told that he is homeless (and has been all his life?), and I know that he turns tricks in order to get by but that seems more like ticking boxes than actual narration. His denial to accept charity comes over as being a petulant teenager. I don't feel his story at all. Adding to that is that the register of his narration seems all wrong. I do know that being uneducated does not equal being stupid and there is a throw-away line of him spending a lot of his time at the library because it's warm in there but still... Discussing existentialism maybe takes a little more than that. But what do I know? I know nothing because there is nothing (or at least very little) shown.Randy (the love interest) is a rather distant figure for me. Francis pretty immediately lusts for him, which is fine but there is nothing really appealing about the character for me. This might be a problem of 1st pers. narration but his mood swings seem overly dramatic and...Ach, ok, I'll say it now and this will sound really mean, and it is but that's what I felt. If you can't take mean, don't read on. If you are the author, don't read on. You've been warned.It seemed to me like a basically good story acted out by minifigs. They do the things, they talk the talk but it didn't feel organic or believable at all. Hence the DNF. If you liked the book, let's rejoice in our differences :-).

  • Bárbara
    2019-01-22 02:01

    This book was so beautiful...Sure, it had some harsh parts, and sometimes it was heartbreaking to read some of the main character's feelings/thoughts, but it all played well into building a solid story. Francis is such a precious character... The kid's had a rough life and he knows little else than what he's been given his whole life and, of course, he's got a hard time coming to terms with the idea that he can do something different, that he can really have his destiny in his own hands. His character development was slow but consistent, and it was so, so wonderful...The story pretty much nails the notion of what a good Christian should be. What makes it even better, is the realistic portrayal of the family, as good but flawed people, far from appearing as perfect as they could believe themselves to be. These are people who acknowledge they don't have all the answers, but strive to do good things with what life puts in their way. They strive to continue learning and that, I think, is what makes them real good people. The writing here was wonderful. It had some very good dialogue, and some seriously surprising moments that left you with your mouth open. It was really hard to put down. Also, the evolution of the relationship between Francis and Randy was very carefully handled, and it felt right within the characters' own pace. Everything was in its right measure, which sometimes is hard to accomplish, especially in a story like this one. I really appreciated that, ultimately, it was a story with a positive message about hope and finding happiness and love, and the importance of second chances (and mainly the importance of allowing yourself to be open to those opportunities). In many, many ways, I think it was a very valuable book. Really worth giving it a shot.

  • Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews
    2019-02-06 02:33

    Leigh's review posted at Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews4.25 starsThis was my first book by S. C. Wynne, but it won’t be my last. If her other stories pack as much heart, sincerity and honesty into them as this one did, I have just added many more books to my TBR list.Starting New tells the story of Francis’ life on the streets from his point of view. As a homeless prostitute who does what he can just to survive, he is taken in by the Wright family, a well meaning pastor, his wife and son. He expects judgment and ulterior motives behind their attempts to “save” him, but what he gets instead is acceptance and help. However, an existence on the streets and a lifetime of self-reliance has left him with a distrust of those trying to help him and it is hard for him to accept the love and caring they are trying to give. Coupled with his attraction to their son, Randy, who is himself conflicted about the feelings he has for Francis, Francis finds himself torn. He wants to do all he can to keep this new family that cares for him and preaches compassion and acceptance of others. But he doesn’t want to test their beliefs of whether their tolerance of others applies to their own son.I have to admit, but I was surprised by the lack of religion in this book. For a story focused on a preacher’s family, it was less about religion and more about faith. It was about a willingness to see the best in others, even while they couldn’t see it in themselves, and confronting true feelings when that faith is tested. The Wright’s preach tolerance in their congregation and work to help the LGBTQ community, but viewing their own son as part of this group strains the bounds of their beliefs. Their reactions were not stereotypical, not a caricature, but real. They were a family that had an initial reaction of needing to understand that the future they had envisioned for their son was changing, making peace with it, and then moving on to accept the caring child that they raised for who he really was.Seeing Randy fight his feelings for another man when he always viewed himself as straight was sincere and honest. And watching the struggle that Francis had, with both himself and his relationships, was poignant. As a prostitute who used sex as a means to an end, he refused to give in to Randy when he felt it was not the best thing for his new friend. He started the book as a man that looked out only for himself with no one to care for him, and ended as someone who found love and understanding from the most surprising places. This tale was honest and touching and full of hope. My only complaint in this story was that I would have loved to have seen more focus on the romance between Francis and Randy. They were both good men and the character development of each of them portrayed complex individuals. I just would have liked to watch them enjoy one another and the pleasure they derived from each others company, not just the struggle they experienced to be together. Review copy provided for an honest review.

  • Jessica Alcazar
    2019-02-02 05:40

    One of the best attributes that Starting New has is dialogue. Our leads actually had conversations with each other, not in their own heads. And they did it often. It was almost as if you were sitting in a room listening to their story being told to you. Because it was also THAT captivating. I couldn't stop reading once I started.Another attribute in this book that is VERY true to life was religion. I'm just gonna come out and say it ... A lot of people like to talk the talk but not walk the walk. They preach religion and it's practices but don't actually follow its teachings. And in my 46 years on this earth, I find that actually quite normal. Because it is almost impossible for 100% devotion. Sometimes, rules have to be bent and beliefs have to be suspended and doing that does NOT make you less religious, it just makes you human. This book showed this in spades and I loved every minute of it. It made it real. It made it plausible and believable. HUGE props for that! Because this book was truly not about religion at all. He may have been the preacher's son but religion itself did not play a major role in this story. Just two people finding their way ....And I've saved the best for last .... this is not a sexual story in the least. It's a true journey. BOTH Francis and Randy have journeys, within themselves and together, and it is quite the journeys. If I could sing off roof tops for every one to pick this book up, I would. It's got soooooooo much heart and so much love. It took me by surprise, I won't lie. I didn't expect it. I'm glad it did because it was a beautiful story!Copy provided via NetGalley for review

  • Ami
    2019-01-29 06:44

    3.5 starsI found Francis pretty much likeable as a character. I found his behavior and attitude to be real. I could understand him not easily trusting the Wrights after living in the street for so long. I enjoyed his development, his struggle with being good despite his background, believing that he could be something better. I really liked that even if Francis was cynical, he didn't come as sarcastic jerk.Randy, on the other hand, was not fully manifested on page for me. Probably because this story was written solely from Francis' perspective. Randy went a little bit hot and cold, and I can probably sympathize with him better if I can understand to his thoughts. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. So even until the very end, I just couldn't connect to Randy and wasn't pretty certain about whether he and Francis were a good match.What was interesting was the reaction from Randy's parents though. While the scene of Randy telling his Mom and Dad happened off page, but the fact that they didn't immediately embrace their son sexuality, even though they lead an LGBT+ friendly church show that it's not always easy to practice what you preach. I had to give props for it.

  • Kazza
    2019-01-21 03:56

    Review to come.

  • Christi Snow
    2019-02-19 04:51

    My Review:I know that the story description talked about Randy being the preacher's son, so I knew there would be a religious element to this story. In fact, there was quite a bit of religion that came into the story. Normally, that would completely turn me off to the story, but I think the author balanced that difficult edge extremely well. Francis is a rent-boy...and he's not a high dollar one. No, Francis is homeless, starving, and will do whatever whenever he has to, to get by. He doesn't know any different. He was raised in this lifestyle and his mother set up his first job as a prostitute. His childhood and life is truly heartbreaking. For Randy, he can't even imagine what Francis's life has been like. He's always had a home, food...security. And although his father preaches acceptance, practicing that acceptance is certainly not as easy as preaching it...as this entire family finds. I liked that bit of realism that the author added to the story. It was really well done. And I loved Francis and Randy together. Although I had moments of anger on Francis's behalf towards the attitudes he's subjected to, I really have to admire the author for writing a story that couldn't have been easy to write. No one in this story is perfect. They are all human with very human flaws. But I enjoyed the story and have found a new author to follow. I liked it quite a bit and will certainly read this author again. I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

  • Barb ~rede-2-read~
    2019-01-27 00:41

    ARC provided by the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an impartial review.Francis Murphy has been working the streets to survive on his own for years. By doing everything from scrounging through dumpsters to pickpocketing to hooking, he’s managed to survive. Good-looking but overly thin, he’d do almost anything for food, including entering a church reception looking for the goodies from the meeting being held there. It’s been worse for him since the homeless shelter was vandalized and closed down their operation, but Francis has always attempted to maintain cleanliness so he doesn’t stand out as much in a crowd as some others he knows.When he’s just about to reach for a plump muffin, he’s hailed by Randy Wright, the pastor’s son. Immediately drawn to Francis, Randy engages him in conversation. But Francis knows just how long he can afford to linger, and as soon as he’s done scoffing down the muffin, he’s out of there.Unfortunately, his good luck takes a turn for the worse when he barely escapes with his life a few days later after a John goes crazy on him with a knife. Subconsciously, Francis seeks comfort at the Grace and Light Church where he met Randy, and Randy happens to spot him lurking in the shadows. Shocked at Francis’s condition, Randy gets his mother, and then his father involved, and before he knows it, Francis awakens in a bed in their home. There, despite his best efforts to shun their help, he finds support and friendship and finally agrees to work for them by helping to repair the shelter in exchange for room and board.Over time, he and Randy are attracted to each other, shocking Francis because he never gets involved with anyone and shocking Randy because he thought he was straight. But good things don’t seem to last for Francis and he bolts. Will he ever find peace? And what about Randy? Will he want Francis in his life as more than a friend? Will the pastor and his wife be as accepting as they verbalize they are? And what about the crazed John with the knife? Is he gone for good? This was a very interesting story. Dark in some ways, light-hearted and hopeful in others. It’s the first I’ve read from this author, and I was impressed by the character development. And it’s not “preachy” about religion, though it does explore Randy’s beliefs, which are somewhat influenced by his religious family, though in a church that is more liberal than many. I also enjoyed the slow awakening of feelings by and between both Francis and Randy. This is a good slow burn/UST story for those who prefer that theme. It’s also a good story for those who like their stories to feature MCs who seem to have no hope for the future.

  • Cat
    2019-02-11 06:01

    4 Stars for This Emotional Story!I’m not entirely sure where to start – I thought this book was going to be an afternoon lark read for me, but instead, what I got was a heartrending tale of second chances. Let me begin with this: Starting New is not a preachy Christian “do this or else” kind of book, nor is it heavy into quoting scripture, nor does it contain stereotypical close-minded schmucks. It is a human tale that happens to have Christian undertones (and because I’m not Christian, that is vitally important to me; I won’t read those).Francis was born on the streets to a prostitute mother who walked him right into the same life she knew. When he was able to do so, he and she parted paths, and now his days are purely about survival and doing what it takes to see the next sunrise. Randy grew up as the son of a cheerful mother and pastor father who readily admit that they’re not perfect, but only want the best for others. As such, Randy has a blinding obliviousness to what Francis’s world is like. When their paths cross the first time, Francis happily devours a chocolate muffin that Randy’s mom made for a bible study session, and then he quickly makes his escape from the do-gooder churchy person. When he’s attacked, Francis runs until he’s out of energy and finds himself back in front of this church, but this time he can’t quite get away. Can putting these two polar opposites together result in success?The plot to this is focused mainly on Francis with a GFY aspect for Randy. Francis has zero sense of self-worth, because he’s been a throw-away his entire life. There are also a few subplots written in that circle around Randy’s parents. The main characters are written devastatingly well. My heart broke for Francis, and I wanted to strangle the clueless Randy on more than a few occasions. The peripheral characters include Randy’s parents, churchgoers, dogs, and police, and each representation added a new depth to the story.The chemistry between the two young men is strong, but other than kissing, there are only two fully intimate scenes. I enjoyed the men getting to know one another and learning the inner workings of Francis’s gifted yet fractious mind. The development of the main characters is robust, and the end is a charming HEA. Bring tissues – you’ll need them – but don’t miss this jewel of a tale!***Review copy of Starting New provided by the author, S.C. Wynne, for an honest review.***

  • Tamika♥RBF MOOD♥
    2019-02-11 23:40

    BORED I literally felt like this the entire story. I honestly want to take away my rentboy redemption tag!!! He wasn't even an authentic rentboy. Listen, I expect my rentboys to really bring the pain, and emotions when I read their stories. I'm sorry, Francis was no where believable for me to be as a rentboy. I didn't like Randy. Maybe if he was older and not the same age as Francis I could have liked him, but every time he opened his mouth I literally wanted to gag. The religion aspect of the story was okay. It wasn't pushing the religion onto Francis. I did like the acceptance of that, but it's all I liked in the story.The biggest problem was that the connection both guys had with each other seemed force or of convenience. It wasn't a real thing. It didn't feel real. Randy almost none existent feelings towards guys just poofed into existence once Francis started living with them. I'm all for exploring new things, but I'm not okay with Randy actions. Call it inexperience, or just being young but to insult someone constantly, then offer money to them for services rendered seems so counter-productive to me.I'd like to have seen some of Francis's back story. I mean if hooking is just what he wanted to do, then i'm all for it. He seemed so lacksidical the entire time. Most rentboy stories, they are all emo and morose. Where as Francis treated it as another day on the job. Well okay then.All in all, I was left feeling incomplete and bored by their story. I'm not sold on either character. This is didn't gel with me, and hopefully one of Wynne's books in the future can redeem this one.

  • Erica Chilson
    2019-02-17 00:38

    I received a copy of this title to read and review for Wicked Reads5 Stars. S.C. Wynne is a new-to-me author. I wasn't sure whether or not I would enjoy Starting New after reading the blurb, finding books with a religious bent to be hit or miss. But within half a page of Francis' narration, I was hooked. I even found myself laughing, when ordinarily anything meant to pull a chuckle from me, I find OTT. But there was a witty snarkiness to Francis that endeared him to me. I understood why he thought as he did, even if I didn't agree with it. Then there is Randy, who learned how even the best of us are able to be hypocritical, along with his giving and caring family. How you can accept a lifestyle or mentality, but face a different reality when it enters your family. I thought this angle of the storyline was perfect for showing both sides of the equation. Francis and Randy played off one another well, a push-pull banter, will-they-won't-they tension that absolutely addicts me time and time again. In this, Francis was being the responsible party, and I respected the author for showing how Randy was lost in what he wanted, not caring about consequences because he knew his family would stay by his side unconditionally. As for the religious aspects, in this genre, they're usually the villain of the tale, when most of us know true, giving religious individuals who are here to serve, no matter what. In this book, Randy's family is the hope Francis needed, without asking him to accept their god or ask for anything in return. Added to the mix, a stray dog named Francis, and you have the equation to melt my frozen heart. I truly enjoyed every page of the story, reading it ravenously. Recommended to fans of MM contemporary romance, moderate heat level with a few lusty scenes, but great tension and buildup.

  • D.
    2019-02-01 01:48

    Let me start of this review with a warning: don’t read this book if you are super triggered by consent issues. This deals with a character who is a prostitute and is having unwanted (by him) sex for money. If you have major issues with that, this book does go into details that will likely set you off.Now that that is out of the way I would recommend that everyone else go read this book. I really didn’t know if I was going to like it or not because it had a religious family in it. Like Francis I was skeptical that they weren’t going to lecture him the whole time. I was pleasantly surprised!Wynne did a fantastic job of making Randy’s family religious without being super naive/judgemental/whatever. They were good characters who happened to be religious and I really liked the way they interacted with Francis. It changed him and gave him more depth of character.The growing relationship between Randy and Francis was okay at first, but by the end I could see it working. I thought Francis showed a lot of strength not just banging the preacher’s kid and running! No hitting and quitting for this guy.Francis was a smartass who had a lot of trust issues, so beyond the whole homeless/prostitution thing I related to him a lot. I liked that neither Randy nor his family took his shit, so he couldn’t get away with pushing them out of his life.Despite Francis’s hard life (like super hard, Wynne did not hold back) the angst in this book was just enough to ding your heart without leaving major gashes behind. I really enjoyed reading it and I am glad that it was a pleasant surprise for me.Originally posted over at Just Love Romance: https://justloveromance.wordpress.com...

  • Angie Elle
    2019-01-27 06:54

    Thank you to RIPTIDE PUBLISHING and Netgalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.3.5 starsOne thing’s for sure – Starting New didn’t pull any punches. It was raw and gritty, and the author didn’t just tell us how desperate Francis was; we were shown from the very first page. When Francis finds himself in dire straits, he heads to a local church event in hopes of finding food only to meet the pastor’s son, Randy, who can’t just let Francis walk away without trying to help him. But having Francis around has Randy questioning his feelings, and before long, his sexuality. What I really liked about this book was that I feel like it stepped out of the box and didn’t fall into the ‘evil Christians who hate gay people trap.’ Yes, sadly it’s out there, but there are also Christians who are accepting of the gay lifestyle, and for some, it’s been a struggle to get there. This book is much more than Francis and Randy finding their way together. It’s about walking the walk that you teach and preach, and I think this book explored that in a realistic way. I also thought Francis’ feelings were believable – that it couldn’t be possible someone would help him for nothing, and his old lifestyle kept calling to him. There is, after all, a certain comfort in the familiar, no matter how uncomfortable it can be. Overall, I thought this was an enjoyable, realistic read, and I’d read more from this author.This review was originally posted at Badass Book Reviews.

  • Beebs
    2019-01-19 05:36

    3.5 rounded upLet me start by saying that I was pleasantly surprised by this book. When I saw in the blurb that Randy was a Pastor's son I was kinda braced for some sermonising but nope! Told from Francis' POV, we learn about his life on the streets and him selling his body in exchange for food and an occasional night off the streets. He's very young and that's all he's ever known. When the local homeless shelter burns down, he has nowhere to go and starving he goes into a church meeting in the hopes of getting something to eat and meets Randy and his family.Francis runs away at first, not believing that anyone genuinely wants to help him but when he is beaten up one night he ends up staying at their house while he recovers. The build up of Randy and Francis' relationship is slow, Randy does struggle with his feelings for Francis and Randy's parents struggled with their acceptance too.Meanwhile, Francis is struggling with his feelings for Randy and the idea that his life could be different. Overall, it didn't blow my socks off but I enjoyed it.*Received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

  • Lovinghotbooks
    2019-01-22 04:40

    *A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review.*Frances is homeless and selling his body to survive and Randy is the son of a pastor. When Francis is visiting the congregation for the purpose of getting som food in his belly the two boys connect.This is a sweet, heartwarming story about a boy (Francis)growing up believing he is worth nothing, and he's way towards a life where he can think of himself as worthy of the love and care of other people.The story is good and Randy's struggling with sexual orientation versus Cristian values is interesting since he's parents has taught him to have a open mind but are struggling themselves when it comes to their own son.The writing style is excellent, I like books that are easy to read and there are no intricate descriptions that makes me loose focus on the message of the story.If you are looking for a book that's easy to read but also have a deeper message this is a perfect book.

  • T.A. McKay
    2019-01-20 07:40

    Copy from NetgalleyThis was the first book Ive ever read by S.C Wynne...but it wont be the last! I connected with the way it was written, so I was drawn into the story and it didnt let me go until I was finished. I felt the characters were well developed and they just felt...real. They had flaws and issues, but underneath it all they just wanted to belong...to be loved. I loved the way the story developed over time, so the feelings that the characters had for each other took time to develop, even after that initial spark. Im really not doing this book justice with this review, but its hard to explain that this story just made me smile. It was a good old fashioned romance story, and I fell in love with the characters. So read this book...I promise its better than this review!

  • J
    2019-02-13 06:35

    4.5 stars. I really enjoyed this M/M story about a 21-year old prostitute who has lived on the streets most of his life (his mother was a meth addict). When the local shelter is closed, he goes to a church to find something to eat. At the church he meets the pastor, his wife and their 21-year old son. I know, anytime someone mentions "church" one immediately hears "preaching" and runs the other way. Well, you just have to trust me to say that this story is totally different. Yes, there is some preaching but there is also a lot of soul searching, some hypocritical Christians in the most unlikely places and a very nice romance.

  • Daniella Dauria
    2019-02-07 07:33

    Such a beautiful and well written m/mSuch a well-written and thoroughly captivating story. The plot was fresh and the characters were easy to connect with and never boring. I would love to read more from this author as it really was a breath of fresh air to read an m/m work of fiction with a well-developed and truly captivating storyline that wasn't all about smut.

  • Mike Oaks
    2019-01-24 02:36

    A test of faith Touching story about two boys who fall in love. John sums it up with: We need to practice what we preach, and I guess God decided we should start at home. 3.5 for pipes.

  • Ije the Devourer of Books
    2019-02-12 06:34

    This is a lovely story which overflows with hope.Francis is a sex worker. The streets are his home and where he makes his living. He is hardened and cynical and does what he needs to survive. When he goes into the local church to help himself to their pastries he bumps into the pastor's son Randy and strikes up a conversation with him.Randy is drawn to the hardened young sex worker who comes into the church building. His parents run an inclusive and welcoming church and they are trying their best to redevelop the local homeless shelter but the building refurbishment is not making as much progress as they would have liked. Randy and his parents are drawn to the young sex worker who lives on the nearby streets and when Francis is attacked they open their home to him, offering him food and board and unconditional hospitality.After being attacked Francis is glad to find some reprieve from the streets but he is very suspicious about the motives of Randy and his parents. Are they really who they say they are? Or is this some kind of weird attempt to convert him? As Francis gets to know Randy's family his hardened walls are challenged and he slowly begin to trust the family even though he feels that their welcome for him will eventually end.Randy is glad to welcome Francis into their home but this brings a challenge of his own because as he gets to know Francis he starts to feel attracted to him. Randy's parents find this challenging because although they are inclusive and welcoming it is somewhat different to realise that their own son may be gay and so they find that they also have some internal barriers that need to be broken down.As the weeks go by and the building work is done Francis, Randy and his parents encounter new love and learning which changes them as individuals and as a family.I enjoyed reading this. I thought all the characters were engaging and realistic. I especially liked Francis and his strength and courage. I also liked the way the story dealt with the issue of faith in a positive, yet subtle way, as Randy and his family work through their own challenges without letting go of love. I thought the story was written well, although I would have liked to have had a chance to actually see Randy confront his parents with his own sexuality. We don't actually get to see this in the story although we do see the aftermath of Randy's coming out. I enjoyed the way the story deals with faith issues without falling into stereotypical portrayals of religion. So there isn't the homophobic bullying pastor or lots of explaining of scripture, just a family who show radical inclusivity by opening their home, but who are honest about dealing with their own biases and prejudice. Most of all I liked the different 'voices' of the characters and the way they engaged me as a reader. The characters held my attention and the book was very easy to read and interesting too in the way it tackles some difficult issues.Copy provided by Riptide via Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

  • Veronica of V's Reads
    2019-01-20 05:53

    This book was reviewed for Joyfully Jay Reviews and can be accessed here: http://joyfullyjay.com/2016/08/review...3.75 Stars for this contemporary New Adult M/M romance.Francis Murphy is a homeless 21-year-old gay man who makes his money as a prostitute. He’s essentially starving and sneaks into a Bible study at nearby Grace and Light Church in order to scam some baked goods. There he meets Randy Wright, son of the new pastor. Randy’s honest and forthright, and tries to befriend Francis.Later, when Francis has been attacked by one of his johns, he ends up at Grace and Light, where he receives shelter from Pastor Wright’s family. Over the course of his recuperation, Francis is uncomfortable with the level of kindness he experiences—these strangers treat him better than his own drug-addict mother ever did. He can’t help feeling attracted to Randy, and that’s a new, and unwelcome, sensation. While Francis sells sex all the time, he’s rarely ever attracted to his johns, even his regulars. Randy’s innocence is so foreign, and his compassion is unheard of. He arranges for Francis to work with the church, cleaning up the homeless shelter he’d stayed at many a night, which had recently been closed due to fire.The longer Francis stays, the more he notices Randy noticing him. And, Mrs. Wright sees it too. She’s not terribly subtle, in Francis’ mind, at pushing Randy toward a female congregant. It’s this pressure that alerts Randy to the budding questions in his mind. Randy attempts to get Francis to help him explore his newly-fluid sexuality. Francis wants to, but refuses, afraid that the Wrights will kick him out of their home if he and Randy begin a physical relationship.This book was a little bit of a miss for me. I struggled to connect with the characters, and part of that was my lack of belief regarding Francis. His paltry back story left me with too many questions. Despite having been homeless his whole life, he lacks any mannerisms of a homeless man. He has no satchel with his essential items, no street companions, no regular haunts for sleeping. His mother was a meth addict from his birth. That doesn’t make much sense, as crystal meth has barely been on the drug scene for that long. There’s a million and one social supports for homeless children and drug-addict mothers. Even if his mother studiously avoided every single one, how had they survived on the street, literally, for 20 years? Given the way his character was written, I expected a harder, savvier man. I’ve read quite a few books with a hustler MC, and Francis is the least touched by his hardship. He seems really disconnected and disaffected, which is noted by his fellow characters. I know it didn’t endear me. I don’t think he’s a bad guy, I simply didn’t bond with him.The themes of forgiveness, tolerance, and overcoming prejudice are big in the book. I think the pace of the story might have been a little rushed, which was why some of these felt a little heavy-handed on the application. On the up side, the religious aspects were all handled positively, and reading a book with an LGBT-inclusive church was interesting, with realistic levels of friction from some of the members. I personally live in a town with several churches that proudly welcome gay parishoners, so I’m happy to see it reflected in fiction.I liked the Wrights, all of them. They are good people, preaching tolerance to an elderly and initially unwilling congregation. They are, in fact, really happy people, who seek to act out their Christian principles in their daily lives. Francis is not the first homeless person they’ve helped, and they want to see him safely settled, however that can be arranged. That said, they are also human, and make some missteps. Randy’s potty-mouth kinda got to me, I must say. And, he’s a guy with nearly zero filter, so he says a lot of stupid stuff, for which he is in constant apology. Randy’s parents aren’t best pleased when they learn of Randy’s sexual confusion. They do make it right—ha!—and the end is an HEA. I received a review copy of the book via NetGalley.

  • Frederic
    2019-02-06 06:35

    **This is a 4.5 stars review round up to 5***I always have loved that dichotomy between saint and sinner. I knew that by reading a book about a young male prostitute that is being helped by a pastor family, it would open the door to an interesting story. I was a little worried about the religious characters because it can easily fall into a moralistic story. That was not the case at all with Starting New. Au contraire, it was all about total acceptance and living our life with our own faith (whatever it can be).Francis is living in the streets. That is all he ever knew. Growing up he had become a prostitute to survive and help his mother to buy drugs. One day he is attacked by a customer and found himself at the Grace And Light church. He did not want any help, he always had to survive by himself and he doesn’t trust that anyone would want to help him out. He Fell while leaving the church in a hurry and that managed to slow him down for a while. Randy is the pastor son and he has 21 (the same age as Francis). Never before was he attracted to a man, but with Francis presence, everything changed. The story is about their soul searching and their mutual growth as a human being.I want to stay as far as I can from giving out spoilers. I’ll stay as vague as I can, however, I need to write about some highlights in this book. The inclusion of a dog called Francis in the story is amazing That small element is giving a new dimension to the main character (yes the one called Francis as well). I also have to mention what a great job the author did with the character of the pastor (John) and his wife (Patricia). Ultimately, they are only human and that’s what made them so special.I think that an accurate social comment can be found in this book. Most of us consider ourselves accepting and open to others, but when we found ourselves in a situation that is changing our daily life that is a different story. The author is depicting this situation at the perfection in this story. It is very difficult to walk the talk and also very difficult to have to face a challenging situation that we haven’t see coming up at us. The concept of acceptance is a theme that is present throughout the story. This book reminded me that it can be very difficult to let people love/accept us if we don’t fully accept ourselves as we are. However, having people that are believing in us is making all the difference. That’s what we can see with Francis and his change of behaviors as the story progress. I also liked the fact that the author is talking about how difficult it is to have a religious institution and its followers changing their judgments to become more inclusive in regards to the diversity.It was a really good book, It is touching, intelligent and it is showing that we can change the world by helping one individual at the time. By doing so we give them back their biggest asset: being able to dream again. I definitely recommend this book.*I have been gifted this book by Jeep Diva in exchange for an honest review

  • ItsAboutTheBook
    2019-01-22 05:46

    Review can be read at It's About The Book When I first read this blurb I expected this to be a depressing book. I have triggers sometimes with these types of books but had no issues at all with this one. Anytime you read twenty-one years on the street it’s shocking when the MC is in his twenties. The tone was kind of grim for Francis but meeting Randy gives you some hope to cling to. I liked how the author managed to give us both of their perspectives even though it’s told from Francis’ POV. I definitely understood their struggles and felt invested in the outcome of their journey.Francis is the son of a homeless druggie. He’s lived most of his life on the streets so he really doesn’t know anything else. Normal is a foreign concept for other people. He started earning money as a prostitute fairly young. It’s all survival in his mind. A few meals or a day out of the elements is as far ahead as he can think. He meets Randy and his parents while attending a meeting at their church solely for the purpose of snagging a free muffin and some coffee. A church that claims to want to embrace the LGBT community. Francis is understandably skeptical of them. He refers to them as “do gooders” who want to preach to him and change him. Francis soon realizes they’re better than most people he’s come across when they save him after one of his Johns attacks him. Not that he fully trusts them. They offer him a place to hang stay and warm food while he heals. Even offer him a job. All the normalcy should sound good but Francis has serious issues with self worth. He’s angry and skeptical. There’s also the challenge of being attracted to the Preacher’s son Randy. Who he thinks just might also be attracted to him.I thought the internal struggle of Francis was pretty interesting. He’s so stubborn but you’re made to understand why he’s that way. He always questions help when offered. He sees himself as tainted but by no means hates himself. He just thinks he doesn’t belong in Randy’s world. Or living a normal life. Not to mention that he thinks corrupting the son of a preacher would surely get him kicked out of their home. Falling in love with one is out of the question. Nobody has ever loved him. It also highlighted how hard it might be to climb out of a situation like that. It’s easier said than done. The romance was fun but frustrating. Randy doesn’t want to want Francis but he can only resist it so long. He also wants to help him and doesn’t understand why Francis won’t accept it. Together it was all pretty compelling stuff. I enjoyed this book. There were some pretty funny and sweet moments to keep my spirits lifted through the bad. If you like stories about new beginnings for people down and out I’d give this one a try.

  • Joyfully Jay
    2019-02-01 06:55

    A Joyfully Jay review. 3.75 starsThis book was a little bit of a miss for me. I struggled to connect with the characters, and part of that was my lack of belief regarding Francis. His paltry back story left me with too many questions. Despite having been homeless his whole life, he lacks any mannerisms of a homeless man. He has no satchel with his essential items, no street companions, no regular haunts for sleeping. His mother was a meth addict from his birth. That doesn’t make much sense, as crystal meth has barely been on the drug scene for that long. There’s a million and one social supports for homeless children and drug-addict mothers. Even if his mother studiously avoided every single one, how had they survived on the street, literally, for 20 years? Given the way his character was written, I expected a harder, savvier man. I’ve read quite a few books with a hustler MC, and Francis is the least touched by his hardship. He seems really disconnected and disaffected, which is noted by his fellow characters. I know it didn’t endear me. I don’t think he’s a bad guy, I simply didn’t bond with him.The themes of forgiveness, tolerance, and overcoming prejudice are big in the book. I think the pace of the story might have been a little rushed, which was why some of these felt a little heavy-handed on the application. On the up side, the religious aspects were all handled positively, and reading a book with an LGBT-inclusive church was interesting, with realistic levels of friction from some of the members. I personally live in a town with several churches that proudly welcome gay parishoners, so I’m happy to see it reflected in fiction.Read Veronica’s review in its entirety here.

  • Stephanie
    2019-02-08 01:38

    I was a little nervous at starting this book after having just read another book about. homeless junkie that completely tore me apart. Thankfully, this book didn't do that.Yes there were some down times, but I felt this book was more filled with optimism and hope than angst. I believe Randy had a lot to do with that. He had unwaivering faith and a sunny attitude, while not being nieve about how Francis actually lived. Of course Francis is reluctant to accept the Wright families help, why shouldn't he be? The street is all he knows, loneliness is all he's ever had. Why should he trust outsiders. The Wrights played it pretty cool though, turning it around that they *needed* him. Yes he'd have a place to stay and food in his belly but he was doing them a service by helping them out. Pastor Wright opened the first LGBTQ church in their area, and he preached about loving people from all certain walks of life. So when he's faced with having to walk the walk, at first, he fails. This is the part that had me fall apart. When Randy's parents were asking Randy and Francis for forgiveness for their initial reactions and having to explain said reactions. It was a very "human" moment and he definitely had me tearing up. I've never read this author before and I really liked the style, the characters, and the story in general. I would definitely pick up another SC Wynne book.

  • Danielle
    2019-01-27 02:51

    This book was not at all what I was expecting from the synopsis. It's raw and gritty which isn't a bad thing.Francis has a hard life. He lives on the streets and does his best to get by. He sees a flyer for a church group offering free food with a bible study. He needs the food and hopes to slip out of the church before the speaker starts, with a free muffin and coffee in his belly he is ready to go but the pastors son has other things on his mind. Randy doesn't see many young people in the study groups and is eager to make friends. He sees the good in people and wants to help francis but he is reluctant. Francis has been homeless most of his life and isn't good with handouts but Randy intends to brake down his walls.This book is about new beginnings and finding your place in life. It is loosely a gay romance. This is the struggle of one man to survive and to accept love can be found in the strangest places.3.5 stars out of 5. *I received this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks Netgalley*

  • Natalija
    2019-01-21 05:54

    This is probably my favourite book by the author. I literally finished it one sitting and was very reluctant to say goodbye to the characters. I loved Randy, but it's Francis who will stay with me for a very long time. At times, the things he said were quite hurtful, but all I saw was him wanting to downplay Randy's feelings in order to make Randy feel better and less conflicted. Highly recommended!