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DOUBLE REVIEW: Summer of Hush, by R.L. Merrill

Summer of Hush - R.L. Merrill

Title: R.L. Merrill

Series: Summer of Hush Book One

Author: R.L. Merrill

Genre: Contemporary Romance

LGBTQ+ Category: MM/Gay

Publisher: Dreamspinner

Pages: 225

Reviewer: Jaye / Pat

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About The Book

Hush is back… and it’s about to get loud.

After two years grieving the death of his best friend, Silas Franklin is back on the road with his metalcore band, Hush. With a new member, a brilliant new album, and a headlining spot on the last cross-country Warped Tour, life couldn’t be better—unless Silas could meet the intriguing music blogger known only as the Guru. Silas has followed his blog for years and feels the Guru might be the only person who “gets” him.

For years Krishnan Guruvayoor has reported on the metal scene as an anonymous blogger, and he’s just landed an internship on the Warped Tour as well as a potential position with a well-respected music magazine. His best friend arranges for him to meet singer Silas Franklin—but only as Krish the Intern. Their chemistry is instant, and Krish is thrilled to get to know the man behind the music.

The rock star and blogger quickly go from meet-cute to cuddle session, but secrets, overprotective bandmates, meddling media, and a terrible accident all conspire against them. Can their romance survive the summer of Hush?

The Review

We have something unusual this time. We had two reviewers request this book, and so we have two separate reviews. Both loved it!

Jaye’s Review: Funny story about this book.  When I first sat down to read it, I found myself getting annoyed.  I couldn’t figure out why.  I was laughing at the (many) funny parts.  I teared up at the emotionally challenging parts, I sighed at the many touching romantic parts.  I could hear the music playing in the back of my head, which is funny because I’m not a hugemetalcore fan.  

Then I realized I kept waiting for a murder I knew wasn’t supposed to happen.  I’m not sure if that means I need to take a break from suspense, or take a break from things that aren’t suspense, or if I need to take a break from everything that isn’t hockey until the season gets underway.  

Whatever the reason, once I figured out what was going on I was able to keep my darker impulses in check.  Which is a darn good thing, because this was a fantastic book.  What we have here is two grieving men who, completely unknown to the other, have already helped each other through the grieving process.  Both of them still have some way to go, but they wouldn’t have gotten as far as they have without each other. 

And all without having directly communicated in any way. 

Of course, there are issues at play here.  In a lot of ways these guys are polar opposites, and the fact that Krish keeps his blogger identity secret from everyone causes problems.  In some ways, Krish seems a little immature.  He makes Silas happy though, and he’s willing to work on his issues.  

One of the things I loved most about this book was the way Merrill brought the characters and scenes to life.  I was there on that bus, bad smells and all.  I could hear the music, taste the dust of the festival in the back of my throat – in a lot of ways, this book was almost a sensory overload.  

Silas and Krish had a lot of obstacles to overcome, and sometimes they felt a little hard to believe. I liked the book and I loved the characters, don’t get me wrong, but every time Krish started to confess to Silas one of the guys in the band would interrupt them. Once was fine, more than that pushed the boundaries of believability.  While this might have ended up ruining a different book for me, in this case it just kind of made me double check what I’d read before. 

The side characters are all compelling, even the ones who aren’t there anymore.  Folks who are sensitive to issues of grief or suicide might want to make sure they’re in the right headspace for dealing with this, but it’s a pretty fantastic book and I’d recommend it to most people. 

Pat’s Review: One of the standard tropes in romances is the Big Misunderstanding. That’s the plotline in which at least one character either comes by or has a secret that will ruin the relationship if it comes to light. 

A slight variation on that huge trope is the Big Secret which is vital information one character has that is being withheld and that will most likely cause the lovers to break up. Both tropes are easily solved by the lovers sitting down and having a frank talk right away in the book. But they usually don’t, and the misunderstanding or secret linger forever until like a ticking time bomb, they explode.

I don’t know about other readers, but starting a book with a BM or BS (yes, you may snicker) and not addressing it right away is a huge turn-off for me. I don’t like watching train crashes about to happen nor do I like to wallow in doomed relationships that get past the point where they can be satisfactorily righted. Unfortunately, most of the romance BMs and BSes get bandages, not repairs.

So it’s with great delight that I can report that even though the BSes that begin Summer of Hush are dealt with smoothly even though they take up half the storyline to mull over and angst about.

Rock and roll music blogger Krish, writing under the name Guru, takes a summer job for a music magazine. For ages, he’s been enthralled with Silas, lead guitar for the rock band Hush. At the same time, Silas has read every blog Guru has written and is smitten with him. But neither has met in person. In fact, Silas doesn’t even know what Guru looks like.

So when they do meet and Krish doesn’t tell Silas he’s Guru, readers get their first inkling of the train wreck to come. Silas is going to find out his idolized blogger is Krish at some point. And then all Hades will erupt, right? The burgeoning love affair will go up in smoke, yes?

Fortunately, even though they are young and are both in ego-enhancing occupations, Krish and Silas are level-headed. While they might be angry and hurt, they can both think past their emotions and get to the real crux of the matter: Is their possible relationship worth saving? Can they forgive and move on?

Merrill develops both characters as more than their stereotypes, thereby making the series beginning both interesting and worth reading. I can’t wait for book two!

The Reviewer

Jaye: I’m Jaye. I like books with strong and interesting characters. And murder. I grew up on a steady diet of fantasy and science fiction, coming to romance later in life, and I can’t wait to read more of everything.

Pat: Pat Henshaw:

  1. Is a she, not a he.
  2. Writes MM romances.
  3. Has interviewed Arlo Guthrie, Big Bird, Fred Rogers, Liberace, and Vincent Price.
  4. Has lived and worked on all three US coasts and in the middle of the country, too.
  5. Has been a reviewer, costumer, librarian, and teacher.
  6. Has ridden an elephant, touched the pyramids, and stood at the edge of a volcano.
  7. Believes love is essential to everyone’s happiness.
  8. She wants you to remember: Every day is a good day for romance!

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