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(E)ARC Book Review: Brush Strokes by E.S Karlquist

Title: Brush Strokes

Author: E.S Karlquist

Length: 230pages

Publisher: InterludePress

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I didn’t know to much about the book when I requested it from Netgalley. But it featured Art and a M/M romance. What more could you want?

Todd Navarro is halfway through college, trying to juggle his art studies with work and avoid the ongoing feud between the gallery where he works and the one next door. When his best friend Mela invites him to a frat party, he meets athlete Daniel Berger, who doesn’t fit Todd’s preconceived notions about jocks. After an unexpected night together, a romance seems possible, until Todd discovers that what they have in common could also drive them apart.

‘Why would you look at it that way? Because it’s easier than being helpless and sad.’

This book has one of the best M/M romances I’ve read in a while. After Todd and Daniel meet at a party, they end up spending all night with each other. Reading about their shared night is sweet, charming and romantic yet it’s not cliched. I think the best thing about their relationship is the chemistry they share, you can feel radiate of the pages. I mean, that’s some great writing. You instantly want them to be together, and when things go wrong you spend the rest of the book willing them to get together. The romance is subtle yet epic. It keeps you intrigued right till the very end.

I also love, the storyline of Todd trying to save the art gallery that he works for. I’m a sucker for this in books, to see our characters work hard for their end goal. It really makes me root for them. This storyline adds another layer to the plot, it makes it so the romance isn’t alway centre stage and it’s refreshing.

Now, I think a real highlight in this book is its representation. It features a character who’s hard of hearing. I’ve never read about this in a book before and I have to say, it made me quite emotional. You can feel the characters struggle and the sadness, yet it doesn’t stop his life or his dreams. I think that’s so inspiring, and I hope it inspires others who are hard of hearing. It has certainly made think twice. I love it when a book opens our minds and makes us more compassionate. It’s the sign of a great book.

‘It wasn’t until I started spending time with other people with hearing loss that I stopped feeling like I was the odd piece in the puzzle somehow…. Sometimes, especially in large groups, it’s easy for people to forget to not have several conversations at the same time or interrupt each other. It’s tiring for me to read lips… I’m proud of who I am, but it blows when other people forget who I am.’

This is E.S’s first novel. It’s self assured and the writing is confident. The book is complex, funny, sweet. It left me feeling so hopeful. In my opinion that’s the mark of a great book and a great writer. I’m looking forward to see what she does in the future. Whatever it is, I’ll be reading it.

I can’t recommend this book. I read this book in two days, I couldn’t put it down.

I have to Thank Netgalley and InterludePress for giving me a copy of this book in return for an honest review. It comes out on the 12th of March and you can preorder now. Don’t miss this one.

Until the next review

JTH

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