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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

By Degrees by J.B. McDonald

Heartbreaking and Heartwarming. Both apply even though they're on opposite sides of the same coin. I bought this book not knowing anything about the author; unusual? Yes. But the story description really called to me and I needed to know how Tim and Conner's story was going to go.
Tim's layers and layers of protection were a formidable barrier, but Connor was more than up for the challenge; he's knownTim for years.  Knowing him as well as he does, better than anyone, gave Connor an edge that no-one else had ever had.  But he still had to work to get past all the barriers. 
Connor's gay and has known so for a long, long time.  Tim, on the other hand, really thinks he's straight; until his girlfriend tells him different. 
Tim, wow.  I could feel his prickliness from the first; it was incredibly tangible. And yes, it was a defense mechanism.  But he's a man who has never let anything get in the way and he's not about to start now.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, Connor wasn't one to let go of what he wanted... and Tim is definitely what he wanted.

This is far more than a romance; it's about friendships, it's about families and it's about opening oneself to life, regardless of the inherent risks.  But above all it's the story of two men who, by degrees, work their way through to a love that is ... I don't know if I have the words to describe just how powerful I found this book; I do know that I'm starting to tear up.  *snort*
J.B. McDonald is on my auto buy list and I'm looking forward to exploring more of her writing... in fact I just bought two more of her books; print and ebook. 

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J.B. McDonald; By Degrees; Torquere Press; August 2009 (TPB)

Orphaned at eleven and bounced around the foster system, Tim learned young that the only thing he could control was himself. It was a lesson he took seriously, and it's the only thing that keeps him safe from more heartbreak. Conner doesn't understand this desire to control things, but he doesn't need to. He loves everything about his control-freak friend, even the way he quirks just one eyebrow. He has for years.

With Con's arrival, everything starts unraveling in Tim's life. He's questioning his sexual orientation, wrangling with emotions from his past, and fending off questions from Con's well-meaning family. Drowning in a world out of his control, his one hope is to let go and trust that love will save him. But after so many years of burying his feelings, he's not sure it's possible.

Buy this book: ebook / print


  1. I read this one last year and loved it! I definitely need to read more of her stuff.

  2. Me too! I just bought the followup book to By Degrees called In the Rough.

    Definitely going to be reading that one SOON!