Book Reviews

Spencer Cohen Book 4: Yanni's Story by N.R. Walker at BlueHeart Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 09-October-2017

Book Blurb

When Yanni Tomaras is kicked out of his family home, his parents’ final words are religious insults and an order to never return. Homeless and desperate, he’s lured in by Lance—charming on the outside, an evil predator underneath—who abuses Yanni until he finds the courage to leave.

Yanni should feel free. But by the time Spencer Cohen finds him, he’s resigned to being handed back to Lance and once again being caged by fear.

Starting school and a part-time job, Yanni begins to reclaim his life. But a love for silent films leads him to Peter Hannikov, a man with a kind heart but who’s twice his age. An unlikely friendship between them blooms into so much more. Neither man knows what he wants, at first. Finding out exactly what he needs is Yanni’s story.

“I’d spent years as a bird, caged with my wings clipped, tormented and beaten.
I thought I’d escaped when I’d left my abuser, but in hindsight, I could see that I was still caged, this time by fear and self-doubt.
Spencer and Andrew, and Andrew’s parents, opened the door to the cage that confined me.
But it was Peter who taught me how to fly.”

Trigger Warning: Descriptions of violence, suicide, and sexual assault. Reader discretion advised.

Book Review

“Don't judge yourself by what others did to you.” ~ C. Kennedy (Omorphi)

From the start, Spencer is suspicious of Lance, his latest client, and his motive for wanting to find his ex-boyfriend, Yanni. Spencer takes the case anyway, thinking that Yanni, the ex, may be in some kind of trouble. Spencer decides to withhold information from Lance until he has a better idea of what this is all about. When Spencer catches up with Yanni, he almost faints. Yanni pours out his heart about his abuse at Lance's hands, confirming Spencer's suspicions, and Spencer reassures Yanni he will not tell Lance anything.

Yanni is amazed by Spencer's concern for him but he's terrified and has nowhere to go. He can't afford to quit his job and school again. When Spencer volunteers to help him, Yanni feels he has no other alternative. Andrew's parents take him in for a while where he's safe. Even though Yanni has a good place to hide, he still doesn't feel as if he can relax. Yanni follows many of the old patterns he used to survive when he was with Lance. Everyone is very nice, but Yanni is still waiting for the other shoe to drop, for all of the good people he has met and things they have done for him. He tries to convince himself that he's safe, yet, he still sleeps with the light on, listens to judge the atmosphere, and even waits to receive permission to eat. Mr. and Mrs. Landon help Yanni find a new place to live, medical care, and therapy. Yanni's new place is full of other young people who all have had problems in the past. Living in a group home is Yanni's first step toward independence. Along with housing, Yanni is given a job and mental health counseling. Yanni likes his therapist and their sessions give Yanni a safe place to explore the inevitable ups and downs during his recovery. Socializing is an important element in feeling whole again.

Once again, Spencer comes to the rescue by inviting Yanni to have lunch with him, Andrew, and a friend named Peter. Peter is a former client of Spencer's. Yanni likes Peter but both are wounded from their past and not ready to move on, so they decide to be friends instead of lovers. Even with the age gap, Yanni is twenty-one and Peter is forty-three Peter and Yanni find that they have a lot in common, silent movies for one thing. After doing things together for a while, calling, texting, making plans together, and knowing each other's secrets, Peter and Yanni have to stop kidding themselves and admit they are in a relationship. Peter knows about Yanni's past abuse and lets him take the lead. He's kind, patient, and supportive, almost to a fault. Peter offers Yanni the support, comfort, and love he deserves. It's up to Yanni to realize that he deserves it.

N.R. has created a story quite different from the ones about Spencer and Andrew. Where theirs had angst, it also had joy and love. With what Yanni went through, it's only logical that he would want and need a different kind of healing. Recovery is long and complicated, but he gets there with the aid of Spencer and Andrew, his parents, his therapist, the new friends he makes, and most of all Peter. The story is long and involved but extremely important. It is my least favorite of the series but I understand why it had to be told in just the way it is—length, progression, and content. Thanks, N.R., for taking me through the phases of Yanni's painful, yet rewarding recovery.





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Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 411 pages/120000 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 27-August-2017
Price $5.99 ebook, $16.00 paperback
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