Read The Return by Brad Boney Online

the-return

Music. Topher Manning rarely thinks about anything else, but his day job as a mechanic doesn't exactly mesh with his rock star ambitions. Unless he can find a way to unlock all the songs in his head, his band will soon be on the fast track to obscurity.Then the South by Southwest music festival and a broken-down car drop New York critic Stanton Porter into his life. StantoMusic. Topher Manning rarely thinks about anything else, but his day job as a mechanic doesn't exactly mesh with his rock star ambitions. Unless he can find a way to unlock all the songs in his head, his band will soon be on the fast track to obscurity.Then the South by Southwest music festival and a broken-down car drop New York critic Stanton Porter into his life. Stanton offers Topher a ticket to the Bruce Springsteen concert, where a hesitant kiss and phantom vibrations from Topher’s cell phone kick off a love story that promises to transcend ordinary possibility....

Title : The Return
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781623804992
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 350 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Return Reviews

  • Macky
    2018-10-12 08:55

    5 STARS JUST ISN'T ENOUGH!I honestly don't know how to review this awesome book to give it the justice it deserves because truth be told it has me lost for words. I knew it was going to be very special from the moment I picked up my Kindle and started to read and I wasn't wrong but from the moment I finished it I've struggled with writing this review and I think its because any words I try to come up with to describe it just seem trite and cliched, plus let even just one spoiler out of the bag and you ruin its uniqueness. I can't say more than that.Its a love story but not just any common or garden love story and the frustrating thing is that I can't think of any way of describing it without giving away the essence of what makes this such a magical experience. I think its one of those books that you just have to discover yourself. If you read The Nothingness of Ben then you'll know that Brad Boney has a very unique style and way of giving his characters great voices and If anyone can manage to take romantic fiction of any genre and give it a fresh and totally different feel, then its Brad Boney.Topher and Stantons love story is the main romantic focus of the novel but there is also Chris ( or Hutch as he's known ) Marvin and eight other other men who I think you should have the pleasure of meeting yourselves and who, I would say, should be equally classed as main characters because they are just as significant to the story as the two budding lovers. Then past favourites Ben,Travis and the teens from TNOB are featured too, not just as window dressing but also to add even more depth and importance to the tale. In fact I would go as far as to say that really this story doesn't have 'supporting ' characters because more or less every person in the book has a profound effect on how the story unfolds. Told partly in present day and then in flashbacks from the 1980's ( Warning... tissue moments!! ) its the unbelievably clever way that all these men's lives are connected and interwoven, that make this compelling, poignant story the stunner that it it is and the way that its plotted is a work of pure genius. It sounds like it could all get a bit too complicated and perhaps in someone else's hands it would, but oh no, this runs as smooth as silk and never once did I find myself having to go back and recap because I'd lost the plot. Then you get the music that runs throughout the book so vividly that you feel you're at each concert and can hear each song as its mentioned, especially if you're of an age to remember Bruce " The Boss " Springsteen and all the other classic anthems that are mentioned in the story and if you're not then I suggest you have You Tube at the ready to play alongside as you read. I'm a girl of the eighties so lots of things struck a chord with me and had me going back in time, perhaps that's why it resonated with me so much. Other reviews have mentioned it but I must add that these guys talk...A LOTbut those talks were some of my favourite parts of the book. Clever, witty and erudite those conversations show just how talented a writer Brad Boney is. Everytime these guys got together and ' chewed the fat ' or played their game I wanted in! There are momentous issues brought up about what was happening in the eighties that I won't deny had me in tears and if you're an emotional magnet then I know you will be affected too, but somehow it isn't maudlin or gloomy or even overly angsty even though the romance has its bumps both past and present , but once again I'm at a loss as to how to explain why without giving out major spoilers. It was just a wonderful piece of writing! Not long ago another book did the same to me and up to now I would have said it was the best book Ive read in 2013 and I've read someawesome booksbut now The Return is right up there with it. Will it affect you like it has me? I don't know ... but its getting some mighty fine reviews so all I can say is read it. Whatever happens you'll come away with a reading experience like you've never had before. I want to say I loved it .. but even that doesn't seem strong enough.Thank you Brad Boney for touching me so deeply and for making me get so excited over a book again. Lets just say I absolutelyadoredit!

  • Rosalinda *KRASNORADA*
    2018-10-20 09:34

    Loving it... What a little surprise!!!By the way, I have a theory between Topher and (view spoiler)[ Hutch (hide spoiler)] and if I am right, I am sooooooo gonna love this book!********REVIEW TO COME**********["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Ingela
    2018-09-23 08:31

    Written May 20, 20145 Huge Stars - I'm completely overwhelmed, amazingly "OMG" goodThis book was a time on my TBR shelf "loved by all my friends" - and a lot of them (Gina, Isabel and Macky for example) recommended me to read it (see Gina's lovely review). ~ I really enjoyed the first book in this series as well, The Nothingness of Ben (3.8 stars).The Return is partly about great music from the nice old 80:s, sorry to say, but it was my "time" and my youth. It is also about love, grand huge but not easy love. And OMG, OMG, OMG (as Gina usually says when she loves something...) ~ I just finished my listening to an FANTASTIC novel. So, so very good!***********************************************************The Return is just an grand undescribable fantastic romantic tale. A novel about music, to meet the one you always loved once again and much much more. ‘The German philosopher Nietzsche: “Without music, life would be a mistake.”’ So so well done. Big round of applause to Brad Boney. ~ Nothing like anything I ever read. ~ ...and the audiobook version, narrated by Charlie David, is highly recommended.***********************************************************This amazing "tale" begin (not the book) with Stanton (aka the cute pet name Starsky), a young music student and his huge love-of-his-life, (want-to-be-a-pro-singer) Hutch (..later called by his birthname Chris). (Not a story spoiler) (view spoiler)[ ~ Starsky & Hutch - Remember that TV show and two cool cops with tousled hair?(hide spoiler)]‘Stanton pulled back and smiled. “Did you know musicians and mechanics are my two weaknesses?”Stanton and Hutch are both living in the summer paradise Long Island, and in the winters in New York City, in the beggining of the old 1980:s. There are also Stanton's best friend Marvin and Chris' three roommate besties; Robert, Michael and Paul. This is a bunch of happy irresponsible youths (all six gay guys - more or less open and out). Music, rock, pop etc is one big stuff in their lifes and the great NJ-star Boss Bruce is (...needless to say Mo!) a huge favorit. The 80:s was a pretty wild time with lots of parties, steamy lovemaking, music and life talking, smart bantering and they all just have this kind of a great youth-time (view spoiler)[ (I know this time, I was there...even in NJ and NY for a year as a 19/20 years old smalltown girl from Sweden.)(hide spoiler)]. ~ Then it happens...the horrible new dark time is there.In parallel, we are in a modern-day Austin Texas and the story is now told by Topher, a 27 year old auto mechanic (friend of the guys in the book # 1) who by chance meet the very famous music critic Stanton Porter and may accompany him to an evening at a Bruce Springsteen concert. Topher is so lucky that he gets the chance and though Stanton is almost an "old" fifty-year old "snufkin" becomes these two men at once good friends. Odd things happens, the attraction grows fast and a spiral of events kicks off.Topher is the lead singer of a local unknown rock band. He, along with his three childhood friends Robin, Maurice (twins) and Peter, makes smaller local gigs with their own-written material. They are all three straight guys who are waiting for the big breakthrough. Maybe they will be future rock-stars whit Dime Box. ~ And one night is "Big Music-Stanton" there and listening at one of theirs gigs...***********************************************************Yes, the total bottom line, this was a brief description of the background of an epic romance in two different time periods. If you haven't already read the book; just run, fly, crawl or jump and hurry up to download it. You will hardly regret that (single!?) impulse click-decision. I, for sure, didn't in any case. ...on the contrary.***********************************************************Instead of another way to long review - Four simple important statements#1 - This is a book to read for every sentimental music lover over 40 who still remember the 1980:s. Check the playlist.#2 - The narration by Charlie David must be an great example for all audiobook narrators. Perfect voice and feel for this story and (all) the adorable characters.#3 - This is what I call epic. Magnificently with just some small words. My heart swelled, I cried, laughed and enjoyed.#4 - This book is an obvious must-read for everyone who knows love is forever and adore "guys who loves guys" romances.***********************************************************Why chew more? I loved the romantic parts, the main characters, all these wonderful friends, the fun and lively, the sad and terrible, the sexy love acts and an perfect incredible resolution. ~ And of course also this author's wonderful ability to tell a clever story with twisted turns. He know how to write thoughtful stories, I will certainly continue reading his future books (see below about the next book in this series). Last but not unimportant; the outstanding music. Just read it. Please!!!I LIKE - pretty much...NO...I LiKE enormously~~~~~~~~#They where needless to say "Boss" lovers. ~ The author Brad Boney's playlist: YouTube Playlist for The Return.# It will be a third book The Eskimo Slugger in this "series", see bradboney.com.# I got both the Audible audiobook and the Kindle ebook for $10 at Amazon.com. A quite okay price.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Heather C
    2018-09-30 06:36

    "Without music, life would be a mistake." ~ Friedrich NietzscheThe Return brings us the journeys of Topher Manning, a 26 year old mechanic and aspiring musician living in Austin, Texas, and Stanton Porter, a 50 year old widely-known music critic for National Public Radio from New York. Stanton is in Austin for the annual South by Southwest festival and finds himself in a time crunch when his borrowed car breaks down across the street from where Topher works. Topher offers to help him out, and the two immediately connect over their mutual adoration of Bruce Springsteen and all things music. An unexpected kiss kicks off an impossible romance that opens up 'gay-for-you' possibilities, controversial age differences, and the fact that the two men have roots set in entirely different parts of the country. Can Topher and Stanton overcome all these obstacles and find their happy-ever-after?I am absolutely in love with this book! And the cover! I have been impatiently awaiting this book ever since I read The Nothingness of Ben last November and I just couldn't believe it when I finally had it on my Kindle.I will not go into all the details of the plot and rehash the storyline...I kinda want to keep those things close to my chest so I don't spoiler all the good stuff. So, instead, I will point out a few things that made this book so great for me:The Characters: You may remember that Topher was briefly introduced in The Nothingness of Ben as a coworker of Travis. This book really CANNOT be read as a stand-alone even though Travis and Stanton had no role in TNoB. All the Walsh boys, and many key events that took place in TNoB, were crucial here in The Return. Also, I've never been a huge fan of May/December romances, but, I never really felt the age gap between Topher and Stanton, because the two were so compatible...it was like they were destined for each other. Plus, there is just something about Brad's writing that makes it so easy to care about his characters, and not just the MCs...I'm talking about ALL the secondary characters too; very character focused and driven. The Music: Much of this story was told through music. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I have very limited knowledge about "The Boss," and the majority of the music discussions went right over my head. But, I can honestly say that I appreciate how the author took the meaning of the music and intertwined it with the characters’ lives. It gave important moments of the story so much more depth and meaning, and actually added to my enjoyment.The Present and the Past Storylines: The story alternated between Topher’s POV in present day, and Stanton's POV back in the early '80s. After some initial disorientation with the blast to the past, I didn't even notice it anymore and became totally immersed in the flow of the story. I wouldn't classify this as flashbacks because it felt like two interwoven storylines being told at the same time that were equally important and related. This story wouldn’t have worked any other way, and Brad has executed it seamlessly. The Dialogue: Just like in TNoB, there was A LOT of talkin' in this book! The characters talk talk talk leaving no time for the reader to ever get hung up on internal monologues and scenery descriptions. Makes for a fast reading book IMO.The Atmosphere: The story is set primarily between three different locales: Austin, Fire Island, and New York. And the vivid and vibrant way Brad portrays them left me feeling like I had experienced a little piece of the culture without ever having traveled there before. I also got the feeling that these places are very meaningful to the author.In summary, I loved everything about this book! And I doubt my words have even come close to doing it justice. If you loved Ben and Travis, I definitely think you will be able to find a place in your heart for Topher and Stanton. True, this story is a bit different, but I promise you all of the charm is still there. I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning finishing it, leaving myself with a nasty book-hangover to suffer through the next day. So, here I am again, impatiently waiting for another 'Brad Boney' experience...Highly recommended.Reviewed for The Blog of Sid Love

  • Debra
    2018-09-27 14:57

    If the blurb on this book had explained a little more about the storyline, I might not have picked this up, but I'm glad I did. Having enjoyed The Nothingness of Benand being a huge music and Springsteen fan, this was high on my list. It can be read as a standalone book, but I suggest reading Ben first as there are hints and threads in that book that are picked up and finished here. It is hard to explain the storyline without giving away what is really going on , but if you really need to know what you are getting into (view spoiler)[ the book is about reincarnation/channeling the spirit of someone who died with unfinished business and Topher is that reincarnation of Hutch/Chris and his bandmates are Hutch's best friends, all of whom died of AIDS in the 80's and we also get the explanation of the past history of Ben and Travis that was referred to in TNoB (hide spoiler)]. The bare bones of it is the story is told in alternating chapters between Stanton's current relationship with Topher and his relationship with Hutch in the early 1980's. Stanton is a music critic for NPR and he meets Topher, mechanic by day/musician by night, when his car breaks down in Austin during the SXSW Festival. As a thank you for a ride, Stanton takes Topher to the Springsteen concert and during Thunder Road, Topher has a strange experience and acts on the sudden urge to kiss Stanton, even though Topher is not gay. Add this to the phantom ringing of Topher's phone with no one there and the phone not responding, as well as Stanton's prior connection to the song, and we know something different is happening. The story of Stanton and Hutch parallels Stanton and Topher's story. Integral to this is Stanton's best friend Marvin, the men they meet on Fire Island in the 80's, as well as Topher's bandmates and the Walsh family from The Nothingness of Ben. They are all connected in unexpected and extraordinary ways. While the underlying theme is something I generally would not care to explore in a book (just a personal preference), the characters and writing really drew me in. This is a story of music, friendship, love and second chances. While the ending was almost fairytale happy, the book had me laughing and crying and as someone who remembers the 80's well and loves music I couldn't resist.

  • Gina
    2018-10-07 14:00

    OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG!! TOTALLY AWESOME BOOK!!I read one review before reading this book, a review from someone I knew would not give away any of the story. And i am so glad I did, not knowing what was going to happen certainly enhanced my enjoyment. I have been reading cute, light, fluffy stuff, recently and wanted something that would move me emotionally while still being entertaining. I wanted to laugh and cry, and OMG did this book fulfill that need.This story goes from present day to the past (1980’s). In the present you meet a group of young men who are struggling to make it in the music industry. These young men have been friends since childhood and have a special closeness. When the lead singer Topher, meets an attractive older man who happens to be a music critic (Stanton), his world takes a drastic turn. As these two get to know each other you learn about Stanton’s life and journey, and you are propelled into the 1980’s and relive it with him. So goes the back and forth, from past to present in this book and I never once found it distracting or irritating. In the 80’s you meet Stanton and the group of friends he met one summer and his relationship with Hutch. Honestly, at times I didn’t know where I wanted to be, in the present or the past. This book was heartbreaking at times, heartwarming a lot of the time, funny, maddening, it pulled me in and never let me go. The flow for me made sense and the writing superb. I spent one entire day just reading this book, mesmerized by it’s story. I skipped lunch, never got out of my PJ’s, I simply could not be parted from this book. What the core of this story is a growing relationship between a younger and older man, can they overcome the hurdles. But it is also a story about connection, friendship, trust, loyalty and laughter. I don’t want to spoil this book for anyone so I am not going to say more. What i will say is I loved so much about this book, I love the friendships, the banter between each group of friends (I so wanted to play that game with them), the love between these friends was just as heartwarming for me as the growing love between Topher and Stanton.At the end of this story I was happy, sad, moved, absolutely wrecked. I laid in my bed thinking, wishing, hoping. The story running in my head not leaving me to sleep. This book will stay with me for a long time. Superb!Someone pass me some tissues!!

  • Kaje Harper
    2018-09-25 11:43

    3.5 stars. This is the story of Topher, a young musician and mechanic, and Stanton, a 50-year-old music critic, who find themselves inexplicably drawn to one another. This is a solid read, and may be more of a hit with people who were deeply moved by and involved with the popular music included here, particularly of the 1980's. (I love music but, with some exceptions, these were not the songs I listened to a hundred times.) So take my opinions with that in mind.I don't think it's necessary to have read the first book to read this one, but knowing the relationships between the recurring characters does add an extra dimension. I particularly enjoyed the glimpses of Travis here.This book has two abiding themes. One is reincarnation, the other the popular music. Both are vital to enjoying the story, and I think in places the music supplies the emotion, so if it doesn't have that resonance for you, the story may feel flatter. Of the two main components, the music plays the bigger role. It is used as both plot and metaphor, and there are multiple discussions of the best Beatles tune, or the best ever Country and Western, where characters' choices are used to illuminate tastes and evoke character. Some take place in the 1980's flashbacks, others in present day. Even though the 80's were my college years, and despite recognizing all the songs, I didn't have the intimate experience of some of them to understand why those specific ones were brought up or contrasted. If you do, these scenes will no doubt mean more to you.The MC's rise to fame is also in music, as part of an emerging rock band, with its success couched in terms of the music scene. I thought that part was well done and very believable. I liked the expertise that Stanton the experienced music critic gave to a young band trying to make it. I enjoyed the excitement of the guys, and the realism of the way a moment of exposure can snowball in today's online communities.I did love Topher. He was to me the stand-out character in this story - talented, brash, confident, energetic and young. The scenes with him were fun to read, and I loved the way he bounced thoughts off other people, including his love interest, Stanton. I really enjoyed every conversation he was in.Stanton was a flatter character, less emotional, although there were a few moments set in his past that did tug at the heart. Be prepared for the flashbacks, which tell of Stanton's first love. In my copy, at least, they were unheralded, so I spent a few pages of the first one trying to figure out why a fifty-year-old man, even a gorgeous one, was being called the hottest boy in the bar. The early flashbacks were less engaging than the later ones, although Hutch, Stanton's lost lover, was a strong character throughout. I also liked Marvin, Stanton's best friend, whose love of classical, and slightly outsider status, made him stand out in the flashback scenes.(view spoiler)[The idea of using reincarnation as a cause of love-at-first-sight is imaginative, but I began to be more skeptical and less moved by it as it seemed to be applied to every relationship in the book, including Ben and Travis. I also thought Topher was a more interesting person than Hutch - while Stanton and Hutch matched well, I was less sure of Stanton and Topher together, if Hutch's influence was removed. So in the end, the reincarnation theme made me doubt the main relationship, rather than reinforcing it. The thought that every man who died of AIDS might come back and find his old true love is sweet, and yet it felt superficial somehow, perhaps because of how late in the book it appeared. I thought some of the serious issues of a 25 year age gap just disappeared in a wave of sentiment. (hide spoiler)]As in The Nothingness of Ben, many of the conversations in this book felt very real - serious and funny by turns, with the kind of joking and teasing that happens between guys who are good friends. This is clearly a strength of the author's. The end wraps up all too neatly, with all problems solved for everyone. A sweet HEA for those who love them. This book has a lot of great reviews, and clearly resonated with many readers.

  • ~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~
    2018-10-06 10:48

    3.5 stars~~Buddy read with my Canadian soulmate Catherine~~I have such mixed feelings about this book. Jen's review sums up my emotional state while reading The Return perfectly. Stanton and Hatch’s story deteriorated into such despair, I couldn’t get into Stanton and Topher’s story or feel truly happy for them. The present-day romance was meant to be a second chance at love for both Stanton and Topher, a do-over of sorts, but I was so lost in the sadness and anticipation of tragedy in the 1980s plot thread, I felt discombobulated and distraught the entire time, even while in the present with Topher and Stanton.I didn’t mind the paranormal elements. As an agnostic, I’m open to interpretations of the afterlife and find them fascinating. I did think the final phone call Stanton received from Topher's phone was too literal to be believable, and I didn’t buy into Hatch’s dad's change of heart.I think both stories got a bit muddled with undue details about music and long conversations about nothing at all. But the writing was evocative, and I loved seeing Travis and Ben again and exploring the connections between the various characters. WARNING: BIG SPOILER IN THE TAGS BELOW(view spoiler)[I’m still unclear as to HOW Stanton survived when Hatch did not; the timing of Hatch’s death didn’t jive unless Hatch cheated on Stanton more than once in the final months of their relationship. If Hatch was already infected with HIV before he met Stanton, Stanton would undoubtedly have become infected with the virus as well, since they were together and not using protection during anal sex for years. If Hatch became infected only after he cheated on Stanton, a week would have been too soon for the virus to manifest as AIDS. Plus, Hatch told Stanton he HAD used a condom. Does that make Hatch out to be a liar too? Either way, I found the cheating element of the story unduly harsh and unnecessary. Hatch and Stanton's love was so strong, I didn't want to believe Hatch could cheat on or deceive his forever love, especially since he understood the dangers and implications of the virus.(hide spoiler)]There is a certain beauty to this story, a sense of coming full circle. I dare you to listen to Springsteen's "Thunder Road" while or after reading and not cry. We got one last chance to make it real To trade in these wings on some wheels Climb in back Heaven's waiting on down the tracks Oh, oh, come take my hand We're riding out tonight to case the promised land Oh, oh, Thunder Road, oh, Thunder Road Lying out there like a killer in the sun Hey I know it's late we can make it if we run Oh, Thunder Road, sit tight take hold Thunder Road

  • Riley Hart
    2018-10-07 10:00

    Holy crap. I don't even know where to start when it comes to this books. I was a blubbering mess last night while reading. I didn't know how to feel. Part of me was devastated...heartbroken, so sad for the things that were missed out on and the path of a group of people's lives... but at the same time, I was happy. It was filled with hope and beauty. Second chances and love. I don't even know how to explain it except for saying it was intense. Loved, loved, loved it. Brad Boney is awesome.

  • Mandapanda
    2018-10-05 12:39

    Complex and emotional story about a famous music critic, Stanton, who falls in love for the second time in his life with an aspiring musician, Topher. What they don't realise at first is that Topher has a inexplicable connection with Stanton's first love.This story is more than an m/m romance. It easily comes under the banner of the Gay Fiction genre. The present day romance between Stanton and Topher alternates with the story of Stanton's relationship with his first love Hutch and its tragic end. It's also a story about friends. And Topher's bandmates and Stanton's circle of friends from the 80's play a huge part in the story. I could feel the love of music on every page of this book. It permeates every part of the characters lives. It is the basis of so many of the stories they tell and the catalyst for the best and the worst things that happen to them. When Marvin and Topher were writing Homesick at the end I was so caught up in their creative process that I started thinking I would download the song before remembering - of course - that it doesn't really exist. All the songs they talk about (and there is a really wide range) made me feel so nostalgic.The other big standout is the dialogue. The whole book is pretty much made up of great conversations between all of the players. I've always thought that realistic dialogue must be one of the hardest things for an author to accomplish but this is just pure gold. Funny, serious, intimate, blokey, and believably contemporary. I wanted to join in on the discussion.It's also a big tearjerker in parts (the flashbacks are set in the 80's remember). Reasons I didn't give it 5 stars? I've never been a fan of flashbacks so I did struggle a bit with them. Although that story did need to be told. I also thought the ending was all tied up too well. Every possible event or conversation was revisited and resolved at the end in an almost too unbelievable way. All the money being handed out in the end was unnecessary for example. And including Ben and Travis from The Nothingness of Ben in the whole (view spoiler)[reincarnation storyline (hide spoiler)] seemed like overkill.Looking forward to more stories from this very interesting author.

  • R * A Reader Obsessed *
    2018-10-10 10:56

    Note: Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Read The Nothingness of Ben first! This isn't billed as a sequel or part of a series, but I don't see how this isn't a continuation from the first book. It's pretty much vital and necessary to read this in order!4.5 StarsI will be the first to admit that I was not impressed when I started this. I was a tad bored and impatient for things to pick up, and I'm not always in the mood for flashbacks, nor am I well versed in all things music which features heavily here. But as things progressed, it was like the sun slowly made its way through the clouds and everything became clear. I don't want to spoil anything, but I went into this thinking it was simply just another romance with a chance to check in on the previous couple Ben and Travis, who I loved from The Nothingness of Ben. What I got instead was epic love. I'm not joking. EPIC. However, be prepared to also have an epic array of emotions that will confront you as you read this. There was disbelief and doubt. There was plenty of anxiety mixed with amazement, as reveal after reveal unfolded. Grief and frustration were ample, as well as joy. Simply put, I was in awe.The road for Stanton and Topher was so far from easy and smooth. There were definitely some very heartbreaking, tough moments and a few points of contention that made me flinch. Not everything made me happy but the take home message was again, perspective - to not doubt the good things that come one's way is an essential theme throughout this series so far; that having faith ends up transcending logical thought but makes it so worth while.Pretty much all the stars go to Brad Boney as he continues to impress with complex storytelling of loss and love. With each revelation my heart swooned more and more. I advise the reader to really just sit back and enjoy the ride as much as possible. This isn't perfect by any means but I know it will leave you with lots of feels - probably both good and bad. However, that's the point, right? To feel?? Overall - just wow.BR with Meags - so thankful there was someone to experience this crazy story with!

  • Amy
    2018-10-20 13:35

    This was not at all what I expected. Having previously read and enjoyed The Nothingness of Ben, I kind of expected something along those lines. I knew some of the characters from that story would make appearances in this one. I had no idea there was a paranormal aspect to it. I didn't like it as well as book #1.

  • Isabel
    2018-09-23 10:55

    I honestly think that I don't have enough words to do justice to this book, or enough stars! It was one of the best books that I've read and I will definitely reread!The story is captivating and I wanted to read it without any pause! I love the plot and the characters, I love Stanton's past, his friends, his lover! And I loved that this book walks around music! I love music, and some of the songs that are "played" are from a time that I wasn't even born, but I really love them! I discovered musics in this book that now I cannot stop hearing!The alternation between the present days and the past, was very interesting to read! Stanton's meet Topher in the present, and he remembers his past with Chris!In the beginning Stanton's flashbacks are amazing. His relationship with Chris was adorable and beautiful, but, when the book is reaching the end, they are not easy, and the last ones were very difficult to read! What happened to him, to Chris and their friends was very, very sad, and, somehow, it didn't seem fiction... Unfortunately, that's was a terrible reality back then! What Stanton went through because of prejudice and intolerance, was so unfair and I felt that sorrow in me...The present days were a light in the book! Topher is the light in Stanton's life! The age gap was nothing compared to the beautiful love that they shared! Topher tenacity to conquer Stanton's heart, and Stanton's need to fulfill Topher's dream, were enough to make me believe that they were meant to each other!I cried with Stanton when Topher sang "Bridge Over Troubled Water" of Simon & Garfunkle! That was one of the best moments in this book for me! This music is beautiful and that moment so perfect!I will never forget this book, the music, the "coincidences"... I will return to it! I'm writing my review listening to "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" by Beatles, a music that I didn't knew and that this book gave to me..."The Return" Playlist (Thank you Ingela!)

  • Jennifer☠Pher☠
    2018-09-29 09:45

    I don’t really know what to say? I think first I will state that this is a really great book. A great follow up to The Nothingness of Ben. Involving all the many characters from that book and intertwining them with the new characters in this book. (can someone draw me up a family/friend tree??) It is very well written. It was like reading two different stories at the same time with the memories; two stories that were both done very well. Seriously, sometimes the back and forth can be annoying but in this case the author managed to really capture both past and present and, well, make me feel like I was reading two stories that would somehow be combined at the end. I think the problem, for me though was that these two stories that were well written just made me sad. Instead of running toward the HEA I felt like I was walking through mud. I know what I was supposed to get from this story but I didn’t and really, at some point knew I couldn’t. I truly, page after page, felt like I was reaching for it, I just never was able to grab it. Honestly, I didn’t want it. There was so much about this that I personally didn’t like that no matter the outcome I knew I wouldn’t end up happy. This is how I feel PERSONALLY. My personal feelings that have nothing to do with how good the book actually is. I wonder still if maybe this was just one story with randomly sprinkled memories instead of two full on stories if I would have felt differently? So, two well written stories intertwining into one was a blessing and a curse I think. Getting so much history hurt the present story for me. Because of it I didn’t believe in the story that was taking place in the now. Where I felt the connection between Stanton and Chris I never felt it between Stanton and Topher and I honestly think it was because of the story of Stanton and Chris. Had there just been revelations, similarities and coincidences with a brief explanation as to why I think I would have felt more comfortable. I absolutely hated, hated, HATED (view spoiler)[that Chris cheated. (hide spoiler)] I was utterly disgusted by this moment in the story that I just wanted to give up. It took one of the stories and totally ruined it. The timing just f’n sucked and I was very angry. I feel it was unnecessary and added nothing to the story taking place now. It just seriously tainted a character that didn’t need that to happen to him. His story was sad enough. At this point I knew I was losing the race and just felt like throwing in the towel. I didn’t. I kept going and kept hoping that something was going to change my thinking but it just didn’t happen. Add to that the amazing things that happen at the end to everyone and I was just like ok, too much, on to the next one.Anyway…I read as an escape. I have read my share of emotionally charged books and know they aren’t really my thing, this just wasn’t my thing. Add to that my love of reading because what I am reading isn’t real and well, this dealt with such real issues that I felt like running the other way. The past hurt. The real issues and loss just about wrecked me. The beauty I was supposed to see for the future, the romance the love and the good just got so overshadowed by the past that I was unable to see through the dark to what I am sure was supposed to be an uplifting and beautiful HEA. Don’t forget, this is my personal take on a well written book and not in any way at all meant to offend the author or other readers. Not every book will be loved and not every book is for me or you.

  • Madeline...Just a Reader
    2018-09-27 11:52

    I don't even know where to start. This story touched me on a level I cant explain. I didn't know going in what the book was about, I read The Nothingness of Ben (loved it) a while ago and didn't realize this was sort of part 2. Of course I figured it out pretty quick. I loved loved the back story of Stanton and Hutch, and of course all the characters. Me having been a teenager in the 80's I can totally relate to the time setting, and of course the heavy music influences were perfect. Me living in Manhattan then, and now Long Island I feel at home with the story, my best friend of more than 30 years lives on Fire Island during summer, she is also the one Ive had many many deep conversations with about the subject matter of this book (we believe).Im a bit of an emotional wreck now, in a good way. The way the story is written draws you in and it made me hurt and happy, not a lot of books have done that to me.Im not sure if this is making any sense, but READ THE BOOK.Now im going back to reread The Nothingness of Ben and get ready for the Eskimo Slugger.Brad Boney, thank you for an amazing story.

  • DarienMoya
    2018-10-03 07:31

    4.5Waaaaaa, this book! Its left me wrecked. I think I’m gonna need at least 2weeks to get myself in order. Brad Boney man, that man has too many words.The Return, is heartbreaking, beautiful, inspiring, magical, and gut wrenching. I cried all the tears and it hit me on a personal level.Personal Story:I was a very sick kid in Jamaica where I was born. I spent a lot time in the hospital and I use to joke about how I was heading home. It can be quite lonely in the hospital during the days, away from your family and friends. I would look out the windows into the garden everyday, too weak to do much but sit up. Across the way there use to be a thin boy (a little older than my 10yrs) sitting in a wheelchair. I dragged myself out there one day, pulling on my IV drip, weak but determined to go sit with him. I made it and we became friends of sorts for the many weeks I was admitted. My details are fuzzy but I can remember clearly one time touching him and nurse running up and telling me not do that because he had AIDS. At the time had no clue what that even was until I asked my mom what it was, and all she said it was a disease and it kills you. I cried so much because I was going to lose my friend. He never said much to me, he would smile and listen to my chatter and complaints and I always touched him regardless of what anyone would say. Long story short I got better and was released from the hospital. I told him I would see him again because I always comeback. My young naive mind couldn’t grasp the concept that maybe I never would. I did get sick again, like I always did back then and returned to hospital. Knowing that I would look out the window and see him in the morning, but morning came and there was no nurse pushing him out in the garden and in his wheelchair. I was told that he had died and my heart broke because I never got to say goodbye. In all the weeks I was at the hospital I never saw anyone visited him and I like to think that I made him happy if only for a moment. I don’t think I ever knew his name, but twenty two years later I still remember him. How he got sick I’ll never know, but I remember his smile.This book brought up all these emotions for me and left me a blubbering mess. Like Stanton I never got to say goodbye and it stays with you for a long time. I really enjoyed reading this book!!SideNote: Don’t let me being all morose put you off from reading the book. It’s beautiful shit man and you should check it out. Just make sure to start with The Nothingness of Ben

  • Tina
    2018-10-15 11:54

    I absolutely loved The Nothingness of Ben, Brad Boney’s first novel. I was looking forward to The Return from the moment I finished Ben. Mr. Boney certainly didn’t disappoint. Not only did he follow up with the major and minor characters from Ben, he introduced a whole new group of characters who are every bit as riveting.When you read the blurb about The Return, it begins by telling you about Topher Manning, then in the second paragraph it outlines Stanton Porter’s role in the book. I feel as though Stanton’s importance cannot be understated.They say that there is nothing new under the sun. Well, whomever “they” are is wrong. In The Return, Brad Boney gives us a story like I’ve never read before. There may be a similar book out there somewhere, but it is an entirely new trope as far as I am concerned. There are actually two stories happening at once. That is not unusual. The two stories unfolding in a parallel manner are about a MC’s past and present. This is also not unusual. What is very unusual is the way in which Brad Boney brings those stories together.The Return is a story about music. It is a romance novel, but at it’s heart, it is about music and how it connects us all. No matter your age, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or income level, music has played a role in your life. The role which it played in your life is something you have in common with countless others.Stanton Porter is in Austin for the South By Southwest music festival. He is a music critic for NPR (National Public Radio). Topher Manning is an auto mechanic who works at the shop in front of which Stanton’s borrowed car breaks down. Stanton is gay. Topher does not identify as gay but has had a less than stellar sex life with women. Stanton is also twenty-five years older than Topher. None of these things stop Stanton from asking Topher to accompany him to the Bruce Springsteen concert that evening.During Thunder Road, something magical happens. There are many of you reading this review who have had something magical happen during that song. I am one of them. It is a magical song, perhaps one of the best ever written. Topher’s phone vibrates but the screen is black. He tastes salt water on his lips. And he can’t help himself, he kisses Stanton. This is the first step in Brad Boney’s absolutely brilliant unfolding parallel stories.We read about Stanton as a nineteen year old, meeting the love of his life and that young man’s group of friends in the early 1980s. In alternating chapters, we read about Stanton meeting Topher and his group of friends today. The similarities are eerie. One thing remains the same through both parts of The Return, the music. It is never far from the hearts and minds and lips of this fascinating cast of characters.There are expected bumps in the roads. Homophobic parents, Stanton’s aversion to the age difference between Topher and himself. But the music overcomes it all. The music knowledge that Brad Boney illustrates in The Return proves that he is a musical genius or a very thorough researcher. Maybe he’s both.I know this review hasn’t contained much of a synopsis of the book. There are too many ways I could give away spoilers if I tried to summarize The Return for you. If you love music, if you love love, if you believe in the power of love to overcome anything put in it’s path, you will love this book. If you read and loved The Nothingness of Ben, you will love this book, if for no other reason than catching up with the first set of fascinating people Brad Boney introduced us to. I fiercely (thank you thesaurus for giving me a word even stronger than “highly”) recommend this book to everyone.I will leave you with what has been stuck in my head since Chapter One. The screen door slams, Mary’s dress sways. Like a vision she dances across the porch as the radio plays…

  • Victorialove books
    2018-10-04 12:45

    5 Groovy starsYou know what’s weird? I never was a great believer of Reincarnation until I started to read GFY books. Just the other day I came to this exact conclusion about two souls who were made for each other and they searching for each other from one live to another. And then to have this theory the one day and then the next my bestie tells you ….YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK and wow it’s a book about my theory – what the hell!!!!!!I am still a bit new to the mm reads. I love them to the moon and back but I have a very special spot for GFY because my first introduction into mm books was a GFY so I had this exact theory about to souls searching for his other half doesn’t matter the gender. These two souls they belonging together no matter what - They will be together again!!!At first it was quite confusing to read the hopping from past to presentbut once you get the feel of the story there’s no letting go. At one point I totally flipped about facts and little stuff but then I realised Girly go back in time I mean in 1983 I was toddler - you can’t take the technology and knowledge from today back to 1983 once that part made sense to me everything was all good. And that fact there, made me love this writer even more because this book was a work of art not perfect but still a beautiful piece of work the perfect imperfection of being human. This was a four season book it made me go through all the emotions.I am not going to go into the story because there is no way you can get into this book and all the characters and not give everything away and to be honest after 2 days post The return my head is still spinning and there is no way I can write it all down on this space available.

  • Sara
    2018-10-18 13:52

    4.5 starsI am so torn with this and I hate that I am. I loved this story. I am a total music nerd and this was so music centered that I was in love and started grabbing my own vinyl copies to listen along with the boys. The chapters between past and present were done well and it was lovely to see where the story was going, it wasn't a stretch for me to get on board with it. I mean, one of my favorite romantic movies isReturn to Me- it's also a great song by Dean Martin, you should listen to it and pay attention to the lyrics - so this wasn't too far of a stretch. The back story of Topher, Stanton, Marvin and the boys with the matching initials was fun. I would love to play The Greatest Game with either group and I would kill to be a fly on the wall during those subway rides back in the 80's.I loved seeing Ben, Travis and the Walsh clan again. The whole connection with everyone; I really liked it because I am that type of girl. I like to believe in fate and second chances and past lives and the fact that you can live again. One of my favorite books is A Knight in Shining Armor and the end scene with Dougless on the plane when she meets Reed and he shows her the miniature and the words "My soul will find yours," is solid in my memory and my romantic heart. I could go on and on about what I loved because while this was part fantasy and maybe paranormal, I loved it. What I am stuck on is the end. I was with the boys, all of them from the beginning and fell for each of them but just loved the love between Topher and Stanton. That end was a perfect moment and then the last few paragraphs came out of nowhere and turned what was a transcendent love story into something... cheesy for lack of a better word. I really wish I could go back and unread that but I can't. I will just file it away with a few other scenes from books that didn't do it for me. At the end of it all, I did love this story and am glad I listened to friends and read this before I move on with The Eskimo Slugger and know a bit about Trent and Brendan even though I will admit to being a bit scared becauseI know a bit about those boys. I am two for two this author so I will trust him not to break my heart with them. *crosses fingers*

  • Lauraadriana
    2018-09-22 07:44

    The Return, Brad Boney’s sophomore effort complete with an extended visit with all the guys we got to know and love in his first book The Nothingness of Ben is completely brilliant, a fun, unique book with some heavy themes and strong writing, but even more than that it’s a beautiful and hopeful tribute/eulogy to the men who died and survived the AIDS epidemic, it’s an amazing lesson in music and it’s trascendence, it’s an optismistic and crafty story about the power of love and friendship. Yep, I loved this book.I’m going to just start by saying that this book had me at Hello. I mean it was maybe at 3% that the Love Fest for Bruce Springsteen began and I was a GONER. Bruce Springsteen...SIGHS…I am a FAN, like stone cold, die hard, rabid FAN. One of the best nights of my life was seeing Springsteen in New York City in October of 2003. I get chills just remembering how magical that night was. The thing is, Thunder Road, it’s my Battle Song. When I moved to New York City from Dominican Republic in 2002 (my homeland) for graduate school, Thunder Road was the only thing I listened to on the plane. It’s my BATTLE SONG. So with the Bruce Love, Brad went straight for my soul.In reality, this book is four stories that kind of combine into one. We have two love stories, and two stories of powerful enduring friendship, all over one lifetime. The story of Today, Stanton and Topher and their best friends. The story of Yesterday, Stanton and Chris and their best friends.Topher Manning is a musician (mechanic by day) who can’t get his songs out of his head, and into the world, he loves what he does and he loves his bandmates though. His bandmates and very best friends, Robin, Maurice, and Pete, with whom he left his hometown of Dime Box, Texas and came to Austin with to pursue their dream. Time is passing though and they’re going to need something spectacular to happen soon, he is going to have to unlock those songs from his head somehow or their band just won’t make it…I give you a song and open a door And from the shadows you come through I give you a song at dawn When I most need your light……I give you a song like a gunshot Like a book, like a word, like a guerrilla: Like I give love.-Silvio Rodriguez, Te Doy una CancionThe extraordinary thing Topher needs one day literally walks into the auto shop he works in and his name is Stanton Porter. Stanton Porter the legendary music critic for NPR. Stanton is in town to cover the South by Southwest music festival and the car he borrowed has died before he got to pick up tickets he needs to get into the Springsteen concert that evening. Since the guy is in a jam and none to happy, Topher offers to drive Stanton to get the tickets. Fast forward to Stanton asking Topher to come to the show with him as a thank you. Best frigging day of Topher’s life! I mean SPRINGSTEEN, with Stanton Porter who he completely admires, and for some reason finds incredibly hot (even though he’s straight and Stanton is waaaaay older), if only his phone would stop buzzing in his pocket (for no reason! What the hell?!) the night would be pretty much be perfect and then…Then the opening notes to Thunder Road begin, and Topher is taken over by this feeling, this BIG feeling, like nothing he’s felt before, and the only thing he can do is kiss Stanton…Wait what?!…THAT’S when EVERYTHING gets a whole lot more interesting.I’ll work for your love dear I’ll work for your love What others may want for free I’ll work for your love -Bruce Springsteen, I’ll Work For Your LoveTopher throws Stanton for a loop, he doesn’t know what to think when this 26 year old hot as hell kid, just comes on STRONG. Stanton has not done this in awhile, he’s fifty years old for goodness sake, he doesn’t know how to do “in love” anymore. He lost the love of his life long ago, and his heart never got up to trying again. But Topher he’s bringing those feelings back and Stanton’s scared. He’s scared of getting hurt, he’s scared of looking ridiculous triying to date a younger man, he’s scared of the weird signs everywhere, he’s just plain scared. But Topher is TENACIOUS and PERSISTENT, he’s only ever wanted two things this badly, and with this much clarity in his life, being a musician and Stanton. He’s going to do whatever it takes to convince this man that when something feels this RIGHT, not age, not distance, not anything should keep two people from love. He’s got faith enough for both of them.Show a little faith, there’s magic in the night -Bruce Springsteen, Thunder RoadBrad Boney wove two tales in this book that are intertwined in Stanton and his best friend Marvin. In the 1980′s Stanton and Marvin while spending a weekend in Fire Island met Chris (Hutch) Mead and his three best friends, Michael, Robert and Paul. From the moment Stanton and Chris looked at each other, they were one. Chris and Stanton fell hard and strong. Chris and his friends took Marvin and Stanton into their fold, they started a friendship that could never be broken. That first summer of youth, freedom and forging bonds that revolved around a common ground, passion for music and living openly was just the beginning. Life could not get better, Stanton and Chris were in love, deeply , completely, and their friends were there to share their lives, and for a few years “they had roses” and then things fell apart.Mary you’re covered in roses, you’re covered in ruin you’re covered in secrets Your’e covered in treetops, you’re covered in birds who can sing a million songs without any words You cast aside the sheets, you cast aside the shroud of another man, who served the world proud You greet another son, you lose another one on some sunny day and always stay -Patty Griffin, MaryThe AIDS epidemic is a history in this country that is tragic, not only for the loss of lives, it’s particularly heinous in how shameful it is to remember how people tunred their backs on what was happening. Such an awful time to live through and to remember, so many men cast aside, so many regrets from the families that turned their backs on all that hurt. Normally when an epidemic strikes it hits EVERYONE men, women, children, young, it’s where a society bands together, to fight it, as ONE. With AIDS, no one cared, they kept quiet…It was only gay men dying, and who cared about them? Who cared about thousands of men in the prime of their lives dying within months of getting sick? Who cared about men who in many cases had been outcasted from their families, left alone living in fear of dying next, of having to see the people they loved most die? Who cared right? THEY did, they who died, they who survived…And THIS is what I loved, LOVED about this book, that little shining light…What if all those lives that were gone too soon, and those love stories that were cut too short could get a another chance? What if Stanton got a second chance at love and happiness with Topher and a bit of Chris’ soul in the mix?Tonight this fool’s halfway to heaven and just a mile outta hell And I feel like I’m comin’ home These are better days baby There’s better days shining through -Bruce Springsteen, Better DaysThe premise for this book is not going to hit the spot for everyone, it’s different, and it’s not your regular Gay romance, but man if it resonates with you it is AN EXPERIENCE. To see a man’s history and his present blend so that he can have the future he lost once. So CLEVER.Oh I get by with a little help from my friends Mm I get high with a little help from my friends Mm going to try with a little help from my friends -The Beatles, With a Little Help From My FriendsTopher and Stanton, they have a bit of a rough go. There are stumbles and a lot of what happens to these men is WAAAAAY out there to take in stride. But they have their friends, the old, and the new, and the rely on them to help them navigate the strangeness of it all. They manage to come away with faith in what they have, and trusting that fate really is smiling upon them. Once they choose to see these things that are happening to them as the gifts that they are, they jump with both feet.Stanton finally is able to look back on his past and heal the wounds he had left open for too long, and what he was left with was a full free life, with love and friends, and sex and fun and Topher…Topher…And even a bit of Chris.Let’s fall in love again with music as our guide We’ll raise our ready hands and let go for the ride Down into unknown lands where lovers meet and hideWe got these lives for free, we don’t know where they’ve been We don’t know where they’ll go when we are through with them The starlight of the sun, the dark side of the moonAnd in the air the questions hang Will we get to do something? Who we gonna end up being? How we gonna end up feeling? What you gonna spend your free life on? Free Life… -Natalie Maines, Free LifeI had a great time with this book, it was fun, sexy, sad, uplifiting, hopeful…I got to visit with some of the guys from The Nothingness of Ben which was FABULOUS…What else can I say? So much of this story resonated with me from NYC, to Springsteen, to friendships that are so good, and so right, and so big, and so solid that they are trascendental…Eternal.Totally and completely recommend.For my complete review complete with wine and food to go with this gorgeous book... Go to The Tipsy Bibliophile

  • Valerie ❈M/M Romance Junkie❈
    2018-10-08 09:57

    First listen 10/08/2014Several undocumented listens in between (it's a favorite)Re-listen 02/06/2016, 04/06/2016, 1/27/2017, 3/1/2017, 4/11/2017, 7/28/2017, 9/17/2017, 2/10/2018I adore Topher and Stanton. It's also always fun to spend time with the Walsh brothers. Love love love

  • SheReadsALot
    2018-09-25 08:38

    Mechanic...rock star dreams...menz...need NOW!!!

  • Shakisha
    2018-10-12 14:37

    I really enjoyed this book. If you like music especially the oldies (60's, 70's & 80's) then this book should be a lot of fun for you. I haven't read The Nothingness of Ben yet but I will. I didn't feel like I missed out on much, but I will be going back to read it now.Relationships, gosh there were many. I'm not sure I've read a book with such a large supporting cast that worked SO WELL. I loved them all....I wasn't sure that was even possible!So kudos to you Brad BoneyThe story was beautiful and I don't want to say much or I'll give it away. I will say though, I was glad that Stanton was able to get the closure he needed in order to be the boyfriend Topher deserved. That was my only sticking point with the whole plot but it was nicely wrapped up in the end.I smiled, I laughed, I ran to You Tube to find music I never heard be quite enjoyed, I was sad and yes, I cried..I enjoyed their journey it was....

  • Cory
    2018-10-07 12:46

    This was just an awesome book! I don't think you necessarily *need* to read The Nothingness of Ben before this book, but I would definitely recommend it because you will get more out of the book by knowing the characters within the first book.This was almost like two stories in one, but they were intertwined brilliantly. This book had some excellent dialogue (which I LOVE) between great friends. It also had parts that were just gut wrenching and so, so, sad. To anyone that has already read The Nothingness of Ben, do yourself a favor and READ THIS! To anyone that hasn't read The Nothingness of Ben, do yourself a favor and read it, and then read this :)

  • Meags
    2018-10-20 14:30

    4.5 emotionally charged StarsSimply put, I loved this story! My fabulous (and fricken necessary to my mental health) Buddy Reading partner, R, has conveyed all the words and feelings I find myself unable to express, right here.

  • Karen
    2018-10-03 09:30

    This book has garnered all the stars in the sky from me. I don't even know where to begin. I bought it because I really liked the author's last book "The Nothingness of Ben" and I was hoping to like this one as much. I was wrong, "The Return" blew me away. I couldn't put it down.Overall I would say the premise was incredibly unlikely, but once I started reading it, this didn't matter. The hopeless romantic in me flared to life and refused to not believe in the story I was being told. Whether this is the best book ever written or not doesn't matter. All that matters for me is the strength with which this story devoured me, drew me in, made me want it to be real, took me on the world's most incredible roller coaster ride, made me smile, cry and in the end love a group of men I will never know.May/December romances are not normally my thing at all, one of the few books that I have not finished was largely due to that subject matter, apparently when done right even that does not matter. There were repeated reminders of the age difference between the MC's and I didn't care, it just wasn't an issue but it was a very integral part of the story.What really made this story feel so personal and intimate for me was the fact that my age puts me into Stanton's generation, while my son's age is Topher's so the music was familiar to me regardless of whether they were discussing The Boss or Linkin Park. The underlying theme of music was used to weave this book into such a beautiful song of it's own, I was surprised when I found myself listening to songs because they were mentioned in the book and my brain was screaming at me to play it, play it now, thank you YouTube for enhancing my reading experience. If you love music this is the book to read along with the incredibly beautiful story it tells the walk through musical history is worth the read.

  • Taintedskyee (Books Books&More Books)
    2018-09-29 09:39

    Okay a more practical person will say"yeah sure,and pig might fly"after reading this book but as I am not one here is my opinion about this book.I was really skeptical about reading this book,didn't think I will like it,the age difference between the two MC was a major turn off me but once i started it was like.....what?And I just kept turning pages and living,feeling one of the most fantastically written book,ever.The way the author have mixed past and present was mind blowing.This book was just....mmm...think inking...okay one word PERFECT.It made me all kind of emotional,I felt tears in my eyes,soft pain in my heart and along with it came smile so heart felt I was like I had to give this book 5 and some more stars.Brad Boney u have a class of your own and the way this book was projected was perfect.I am not very fond of age gaps in a couple but this book even made that prospect lovable for me.The Return is not only a story of a couple but also of two groups of friend in different generations.I really dont want to use my pathetic storytelling skill to describe this book cause if u have read the blurb and reading my review right now u will know I highly recommend this book.So happy reading;)

  • Ula'ndi Hart
    2018-10-18 14:45

    The Return... It’s safe to say that I have never read anything like this before. Not that long ago, on a typical Friday afternoon in Bestie’s book cave (as we lovingly refer to her cosy nook of books and coffee) me and my sister-from-another-mother shared our views on the possibilities of why we think guys go gay for other guys if they were never inclined at first.Her words were this: “I think that they loved each other in another life..and that is why, when they finally meet in this life, they just click and know that they fit together.”Reading this series I had immediately reverted to that memory and THAT is why I couldn’t get enough of this. I read a whole bunch of reviews beforehand so I think I prepared myself for the little in-between stuff that bother/rubbed some of the readers the wrong way. Yes, the age difference was a hazard, something I don’t usually enjoy and tend to avoid. But in the context of this story there really was no way around it so I sucked it up. The telephone thing: SPOILER ALERTI had no problem with the phone vibrating the whole time. Even when he finally figured it out and answered the damn thing, I didn’t have an issue. What I did have an issue with though is the fact that I think it could have been done a little better?I think if something like this should really happen, the conversation would not be that ‘light” . It felt as though it was just not “deep” enough for the enormity of the moment. Both times this happened; I think the moment was played DOWN too much. It’s a heavy read, so don’t get to the “good” stuff and then shy away from the weight!!!!! You know what I mean? He should have gone for gold here and really knocked the ball out of the park.The characters: I loved Hutch. What wasn’t there to love? He broke my heart at the end. For various reasons. The way he lost himself when he let go of a vital part of his being was beyond sad, and the consequences of that decision and everything that followed made me weep. That scene when Stanton got home in the pouring rain after a visit to his parents was a pivotal moment in their relationship that I wished to heaven never happened...but it did, and I see that it had to. Things needed to reach a point after all. Stanton evolved from a “shy” boy, not comfortable with who he was, into a man who embraced his future. There was really two of him to deal with here. BEFRORE TOPHER and AFTER HUTCH.I empathized with his situation when Topher showed up on the scene. Can you imagine how bizarre it must be to see this unfold in front of your eyes? After all...Stanton didn’t “go away” he stayed behind and lived his life and Hutch was the one who left... Now in walks this 27 year old, and even though he doesn’t resemble Hutch, his mannerisms and his voice does? How to process this? Especially when you never really got over that person? I loved this aspect of the story. I’m sorry it just strummed the right cords and I lost myself in that. I found the endless discussions of music to be something special. I loved picking up on the various little things that connected Hutch to Topher. I loved seeing the puzzle pieces fit together. I felt like a kid in a candy store. Even though it ran a rollercoaster of emotions from happy to sad, to desperate despair, and hope and confusion...really just a cement mixer of feelings. I loved it for what I got from it.Topher was sweet and trusting. He embraced the situation fairly easy (also something that might have been a little easier to accept if it had a little more ‘weight’ to it) He opened up to the possibilities and went for it. The friends, both Before Topher and After Hutch, I loved. I felt more connected to the “Before Topher” group. Maybe I just got more detail out of them, I don’t know but there was something deeper and I cried so hard when things started to go downhill for them. Marvin is Marvin. Loved him, and I was happy to have him in both parts of the story.Salt water Kisses will forever hold a place in my heart. Bruce Springsteen was always a favourite, but now I have their “Touch Stone” to add to my collection. In my eyes Starsky will always love Hutch and the Devil will will remain in the details. So it wasn’t perfect...so what? It touched me. And THAT is all that really matters. Like Stanton so aptly put it, every song is how you perceive it. It’s about the current mood you’re in, it’s about YOUR personal experience and what you love or hate in this moment might not have the same results in the future. Nicely said.

  • Deanna Against Censorship
    2018-10-02 07:40

    This book starts with a quote from Kahlil Gibran: Sadness is but a wall between two gardens. Perfect for this story. The many musical references in this book made me want to listen to them as I read. Maybe a good re-read happening.Stanton is in college in NYC and spends a summer on Fire Island with his best friend and roommate, Marvin. He meets Hutch and Hutch's friends. His world and life is changed forever. Stanton's life is Hutch and his three friends and Marvin, but at the center of his life and his heart is Hutch. Hutch nodded. "I love you, Stanton. More than my friends, more than my family, more than music itself. You are the simple truth of my happiness. Yes, I want to shack up with you. We're going to have a place of our own, and I'll sing for you whenever you want, and it will be everything we always hoped for."Years later music critic Stanton meets Topher in Austin Texas and his world is again changed. The connection is a Bruce Springsteen concert. The three men are immersed in the world of music. Their second connection is deeper and stranger. Stanton came out while in college, but found it very hard to accept himself, becoming depressed and suicidal. Marvin, already out, was there for him. Hutch was out and happy and lived for his music. "I was in the hospital overnight, and Marvin never left my side. Afterward, he did the one thing I needed more than anything else." "What was that?""He treated me like an adult and told me that truth. He said everything I didn't want to hear."Topher thought he was straight, just not a sexually person. Stanton looked at Topher's dick in his hand, then leaned over and wrapped his lips around it. Topher threw back his head and choked on his cry. In his head, church bells rang, lights began to flash, and a host of other clichés followed. Topher had always believed he didn't like sex, but now he laughed at the absurdity of the idea. Stanton's warm tongue felt awesome as it swirled around his cock. He lay back on the bed and allowed himself to drift away for a moment. when he felt Stanton kissing him again, he took control and rolled on top. He pinned Stanton's hands above his head and planted his face in one of Stanton's armpits. "I love the way you Smell," he said. Music was Topher's life. "I know that I go through my life as Topher Manning. I know I'm having an individual experience, I get that. But I also know there's something out there bigger than me, and you can call it God, or the collective unconsciousness, or the goddamned smoke monster for all I care. Everything that I do and everything that you do - and everything that any one of us ever does - is ultimately an attempt to connect our puny little lives to that bigger something. Nothing makes that connection like music - not a painitng or a sculpture or even a book or a play - so that's why I get up on stage and sing songs. I'm trying to plug into the universe."Scanton held up his hands. "Now, do you see the difference between that answer and the other one?""Yeah, I suppose I do.""Do you think music can change the world?""No, I don't think that, but can you imagine a world without it? That sounds like just about the worst possible place imaginable.""You and Nietzsche.""Who's that?""A nineteenth-century German philosopher. He said "Without music, life would be a mistake.'""That would make a great tattoo."I love the idea of Nietzsche as a tattoo. Stanton is in his early 50s. Topher is in his 20's. Hutch and Stanton had been almost the same age. The 80's were the time of Hutch and Stanton. Could today be the time of Topher and Stanton? There is a depth to this story. It is about Topher's journey, but also about Stanton's journey back to living life not just reporting on it. Life as it is told through music and Springsteen. Or maybe just "Music and sex. Marvin says they're the same thing." How can you not like a story that quotes Kahlil, Nietzsche and Bob Dylan? But woven around and among the music is a story of love and despair. There is sadness and hurt but over everything is love. Can Stanton accept Topher's love or is he just a substitute for Hutch? What is the connection between Topher and this Hutch that he has never met? We revisit Travis and Ben and the boys, which is very nice. The new characters are fun and so a part of their times. We also discover the depths that are Topher. And we thought he was just another mechanic working with Travis. We see and feel Topher trying to create cracks in the shell Stanton has around his heart. Topher is an amazing character, open to life in all of its forms. A beautiful story, well told, that touched me in ways I had almost forgotten.

  • LiveYourLife BuyTheBook
    2018-09-21 14:49

    4 StarsThis is another one I had no idea what I was getting myself into! This is is a story of reincarnation. The blurb never says a thing about that but that’s what this is. Admittedly that’s not my thing but for the most part I liked the book.The story is told in two parts, past and present but it flops back and forth throughout the book. I know some people hate flashbacks but this is more two stories being told at the same time. The joining thread is Stanton the music critic. One part is him at twenty and discovering love and friendships for the first time in the early eighties. The second part is him at fifty and finding someone who makes him want to try again. Topher is almost half Stanton’s age and has never been with a man but there is something beyond normal attraction pulling them together. Lots of little hints from their few dates bring back memories of a happier time in Stanton’s life but with that comes the heartache he felt when it was all taken from him. Topher is also a budding musician with amazing talent and music is what Stanton’s life revolves around. He helps Topher and his band by giving a shout out on a radio show which catapults their career. That’s the story I thought I was going to read about. Without the reincarnation stuff. Hopefully that’s not too spoilerish but I wouldn’t know how to review this properly without putting that in this review. Some people just won’t want to read about it.The details and coincidences Mr. Boney comes up with are both a little obvious and charming. I think if he would have stopped at the four guys I could have bought into it a little more. However, it’s fiction so I rolled with it. The idea behind the ending bordered on fairy tale but I liked it the more I thought about it. Kind of wish fulfillment for the HEA lover in me. I really enjoyed the characters. They were fun, sweet,witty and flawed. I think they’re what made the book for me.Besides the theme, which I’m trying not to hold against it because that’s my issue, I did have a few problems with the book. The dual relationships with Stanton from his past and present made it difficult for me to enjoy both couples. I wanted one couple together more than the other which left half the book with me wishing everything had turned out differently. Not so good for the “not favorite” guy. Also, the back and forth between past and present slow the pace of the book. There is no way I could read this in one sitting. The changes occurred so often I was lost until I found someone’s name on page that wasn’t Stanton so I knew which decade the guys were in at that moment. It was a bit confusing for a while.Overall I liked the book. Some parts were a little much for me personally but I laughed and cried. Fell a little in love with the guys. So, for me this was worth the read.Whit's review can also be found at Live Your Life, Buy The Book