Friday, February 5, 2016

[ARC Review]: "Give Yourself Away"

Give Yourself Away by Barbara Elsborg
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd. (February 9, 2016)
Genre: M/M Romance

One guy intent on caution. One an adrenaline junkie. Love could be one risk too many.

March is determined to lose the numbness that accompanies a history of loss and blame. Desperate to feel something—anything—the adrenaline junkie base jumps off cliffs, soars on hang gliders, and embarks on dangerous sea-borne rescue missions. But any release he feels is fleeting, and when you play Russian roulette with fate, eventually you come crashing down.

No matter how hard Caleb tries to forget his past, a dark shadow is always behind him. When a bizarre turn of events results in him being trapped in a sea cave, Caleb wonders how his mantra—safety at all costs—could have failed him. On the point of drowning, he’s stunned when March surfaces in the cave.

March’s disregard for the rules saves Caleb’s life but gets March into a heap of trouble. Not least of which is the guy shivering in the boat next to him. March tries to ignore Caleb but it’s already too late. Together, they take small, awkward steps toward love. But Caleb’s past is waiting to sink in its claws…and this time, it could drag him to his death.

Warning: This book contains difficult flashbacks of child abduction and sexual violence, but also the incredible perseverance of two men who never give up on love—or each other. Bring your tissues and a heart that believes in the resilience of the human spirit.

Where to Buy*:
More Info:

Reviews of Elsborg's Previous Novels:

Falling (#1) -- TBQ
Breaking (#2) -- TBQ

My Review:

First off, I won't give away any spoilers in this review. If you're truly interested in that, I know there are already one or two spoiler-heavy reviews on Goodreads.

Give Yourself Away is not an easy read at all, and for some it may be too hard to read. The backstory, especially for Caleb but also for March, is truly horrible. While not the most graphic out there, Elsborg doesn't shy away from telling the reader just what happened in the past. I would also like to note that the backstory is not given all at once, but spread out over the course of much of the book, and alternates between the present time and the past horrors. It makes more sense as you're reading it then how I'm describing it right now, I promise.

As I said, to avoid spoilers I won't go into the details of the backstory. I will say that while I did enjoy this book, and thought that Elsborg did a good job with this particular story, I did have my moments where I questioned just how far fetched it all seemed. Then again, it's fiction, and I don't need every book I read to feel like something I myself could experience in my own life, so in the end the extremity of this story didn't bother me too much.

To say that this book is emotional and at times dark is putting it mildly, but I've come to expect the high emotions from Elsborg. However, it's not all darkness, and there are moments of levity between Caleb and March, which definitely added more to the book. For example:

"You can't carry me upstairs," Caleb said.

"Want to bet?"

"A tenner."

"You're on."

"But halfway up, Caleb stuck the side of his foot in the seam of March's butt and March stumbled forward, trying not to land on him. The two of them sprawled on the stairs and Caleb chuckled.

"You fucking cheated." March nipped his ear.

"You didn't say I couldn't."

"I might have hurt you."

Caleb kissed his chin. "You'd never hurt me."

The chemistry between these two men is great as well. Elsborg also does a fantastic job at creating tension and heat in her books, and this one is no exception.

The thrill of having turned Caleb on made March's heart gallop. Caleb wasn't as broad and muscular as he was. He looked as if a strong breeze would blow him away. March wanted to be that breeze, but not to blow him away, only closer.

They stared at each other for a long moment before Caleb stepped forward and their lips crashed together. They gasped into each other's mouths, hands surging and sweeping and grabbing until March slid his hand down the sides of Caleb's body and caught his wrists. He dragged Caleb's arms above his head as he pushed him back against the wall. How could the taste of him be so intoxicating? The feel of him be so exciting? Their hips rocked together, bodies in rut as March fucked Caleb's mouth with his tongue.

Then Caleb switched and shoved March against the wall, and somehow that was just as hot. Caleb pushed his knee between March's thighs, rubbing his hip harder against March's cock as their kisses grew deeper and wilder.

There were a few minor things that bothered me throughout the book, but nothing big enough to really mention in great detail. I'll say that while I loved Give Yourself Away, it's not my top favorite from this author. I'll still be back for more of her books though!

In short: would I recommend this book to everyone? No. If you've never read Elsborg before, I'd recommend you start with Falling, then Breaking, which are my favorite of hers. But if you're already a fan, or if the book intrigues you, I say go for it. Just know that it will not be an easy ride.


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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 Barbara Elsborg; TBQ's Book Palace does not claim them.

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Have you read Barbara Elsborg before? Do you prefer your M/M romances on the more angsty side (like this) or on the lighter side?


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!

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