Monday, March 16, 2015

[Review]: "Trust the Focus"

Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson
Publisher: InterMix (March 17, 2015)
Series: In Focus, 1
Genre: M/M New Adult Contemporary

With his college graduation gown expertly pitched into the trash, Justin Akron is ready for the road trip he planned with his best friend Landry— and ready for one last summer of escape from his mother’s controlling grip. Climbing into the Winnebago his father left him, they set out across America in search of the sites his father had captured through the lens of his Nikon.

As an aspiring photographer, Justin can think of no better way to honor his father’s memory than to scatter his ashes at the sites he held sacred. And there’s no one Justin would rather share the experience with more than Landry.

But Justin knows he can’t escape forever. Eventually he’ll have to return home and join his mother’s Senate campaign. Nor can he escape the truth of who he is, and the fact that he’s in love with his out-and-proud travel companion.

Admitting what he wants could hurt his mother’s conservative political career. But with every click of his shutter and every sprinkle of ash, Justin can’t resist Landry’s pull. And when the truth comes into focus, neither is prepared for the secrets the other is hiding.

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My Review:

#JustLanForver. That is all.

“Are you really here?” I asked.

“Put down the camera.”

“Are you really here?”

“Trust the focus and put down the camera.”

Two best friends. An RV named Sally. A road trip across the country. A journey that will change them both. Warning: be prepared with chocolate and tissues before starting Trust the Focus.

I’ve always wanted it to be you.” 

Those words melted my bones and my brain. I hugged him to me, wanting to fuse his skin with mine. “I’ve always wanted it to be you, too.”

I quickly fell for Justin and Landry, and loved every moment of their life-changing road trip. My heart was in my throat for much of the journey and I'm not joking when I say that this book gave me ALL THE FEELS. Every. Damn. One.

“I just . . . I don’t want you to regret doing all this for me because if it ends up—“

“Stop.” I tugged my arm out of his grasp and curled my hand around his neck, bringing our heads closer. “I did this for me, Lan. For me. I’m gay and that’s a fact. And I don’t want the future that was planned for me. I dreaded it and I’m too fucking young and have too much going for me to settle. So I did this for me. Getting you back is the best result.”

Megan Erickson did such a beautiful job telling Jus and Lan's story. It's not easy – there's drama and some angst – but it's believable and real. The thing I loved the most was the fact that everything Jus did in the course of the book, he did for himself. It wasn't simply a grand gesture for Lan, but rather Jus finding his footing in life. This made me love him even more.

Lan was also great, and I fully admit I'm picturing Jake Bass in my mind (even though the only similarities they share are tatts and ear gauges, plus the road trip). Anyway, I do wish that some of the story had been told from Lan's POV, so that we could better explore his character. BUT, I do realize that the bulk of this story was about Jus and his journey, and I'm not sure if the book would have been the same with Lan's POV in it. Maybe some outtakes or something? Hint, hint, Megan  . . .

Together, Jus and Lan were beyond  cute, the best of friends and lovers.

I thought I liked girls, but something about Landry drew me to him. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. And when his pale skin flushed red, those eyes flashed sparks, and he bobbed on his toes, I knew the skinny guy was going to blow his top and get into something he would regret. 

My father was a physically affectionate guy, so I reacted on instinct and grabbed Landry’s hair, pressing our foreheads together while I clamped my other hand where his neck met his shoulder. I stared into his eyes and willed his breath to match mine. 

He gripped my wrist and locked onto my stare. I didn’t say anything, but kept myself present in order to bring him back from the brink, anchor him to the ground before he took flight. The taunts from the kids faded into the background until the words were white noise, and the only sounds were our breaths. 

The anger ebbed from his eyes. He tugged against my grip and I let go of his hair and pulled back my head. 

He held my gaze, a whole story flashing behind the depths of his baby blues.

I knew from this scene (from when the two were younger) that they were meant to be together. Such a powerful scene . . .

Besides the cute and emotional scenes (and there are plenty of both!), there's also a nice dose of heat. Their first time together was so intimate and tender that I might have blinked back a few tears. There are a few other scenes after that, and they are intensely sexy as well.

He gazed up at me and I ran my fingers through his curls, then down his neck and left arm, tracing the tattoos. I lingered on the one inside of his bicep – the pitcher’s mitt and ball.

His grin faded. “You know why I got it there?”

“The only spot left un-inked?” I said, poking the ball.

He shook his head and crossed his arms over his chest. “Where is the ball now?”

I stared at him. “What are you talking about?”

He gave me a look like I was an idiot. “What part of my body is the tattoo touching when I cross my arms?”

I opened my mouth to say his bicep to be a smart-ass but then it hit me. I pulled his left arm off of his chest, looking at him, then dropped his arm back down. “Your heart,” I whispered.

I lowered him to the bed on his back and covered his body with mine. He was mine now, just as I was his. When I ran my fingers over his clavicle, it wasn’t with longing, it was with a contented possession. Here, this moment in Maine, it was no longer the finish line we’d been dreading. It was just a stop on the journey I planned to take my whole life with Landry by my side.

There were more than a few times when I had to take a (brief) break. The emotions were just so high! But it was so worth it, and I highlighted so many scenes, I had a difficult time picking just a few to share.

He inclined his head and said out of the corner of his mouth, “That’s a bear.”

“Jesus Christ.”

“A Hispanic bear. I think they’re rare.”


“He looks cuddly.”

And I can't forget the humorous moments, which I also loved. Besides the Hispanic bear (snort), there was also the scene when the two were hiding from a group of kids at an amusement park, and . . . you just have to read it, okay? It's fun, promise!

And then he was in my arms, a lanky bundle of energy as he wrapped his thighs around my waist and clung to me. I somehow managed to stay on my feet and clasped my hands behind his back, burying my face in his neck because that’s all I had thought about since he left.

His body shook. Or maybe that was mine. I couldn’t tell because I didn’t know where he ended and I began.

“I’m so sorry,” I muttered into his neck. Over and over again I apologized against his skin, my lips tasting the salt of his sweat and the sea air.

He held the back of my head, his lips at my ear, saying “It’s okay, I’m sorry, too,” and we were a broken record of apologies until I skipped the needle and said, “I love you, Lan.”

His thighs released their tight grip on my hips and I helped him find his footing, but he held my face between his palms. “I love you, too, Jus.” 

In short, I loved Trust the Focus. There's really no other way to put it. Jus and Lan made me smile, laugh, cry, and hurt, and I'm glad that Erickson shared their beautiful story with us. I dare you to read this book and not get caught up in their story.

4 1/2 STARS! 

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I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest opinion.

*Note: The quotes used belong to Megan Erickson; TBQ's Book Palace do not claim them.

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Gah, Jus and Lan gave me such a book hangover (I'm still not recovered, almost a month later) -- but it was worth it! I'm dying for the next book in the series. :D 

Have you read Megan Erickson before? 

Remember, I'm interviewing Megan Thursday, Mar 19th, so be sure to come back!

Also, since this is a Royal Pick, come back on Mar 26th for a chance to WIN an ecopy of your own!


Until Next Time,


  *TBQ's Book Palace is a member of both the Amazon and Barnes and Nobles affiliates program. By using the links provided to buy products from either website, I receive a very small percentage of the order. To read my full disclosure on the matter, please see this post!


Red Iza said...

Great review, great excerpts, great everything ! I can't say I'm attracted to books that need to be read with a bunch of tissues, but who can resist when a writer is so talented that she can make you *feel* ?

The_Book_Queen said...

I love books that give me the feels, but I have to space them out while reading -- I can't read them back to back or I'm a big sad mess! :)

Sophia Rose said...

Just a quick glimpse at the rating b/c I've got it for review. Oh nice!