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Review: Hurricane Reese – R.L. Merrill

Hurricane Reese - R.L. Merrill - Forces of Nature

Genre: Contemporary

LGBTQ+ Category: Gay, Bi

Reviewer: Maryann

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About The Book

Tony award-winning musician Reese Matheson’s life resembles a natural disaster, and caregiver Jude De La Torre is caught in the eye of the storm. Can the love these two opposites find together survive caring for an ornery octogenarian with wayward balls and a meddling family insistent upon tradition?

A public break-up is not what Reese expects upon returning from the successful run of his musical in London. All he wants to do is spend time with his beloved grandfather and musical mentor, who suffers from Alzheimer’s. Reese knows he doesn’t have much time left before the elder Matheson doesn’t remember him. In classic “Hurricane Reese” form, he moves into the cottage by the sea, displacing Jude, the intriguing caregiver he’d hired two years before. When Grandpa proves too much for Reese to handle on his own, Jude comes to his rescue, taming Grandpa… and the Hurricane as well. Soon all Reese can think about is how to get Jude out of his scrubs and into his bed. Permanently. Will Hurricane Reese destroy everything in its wake, or will this gay odd couple learn to harmonize together?

The Review

Reese Matheson is his own personal hurricane – everything he does, he does with excess hyper-ness and very little forethought. At the age of eight his grandfather, Thomas Matheson, took him in and gave him love and understanding. Thomas has a history in the music world, as he played and sang with the famous Frank Sinatra in Las Vegas.  Music was a big part of both of their lives, and at thirty-two, Reese has achieved fame and fortune in the music world.

Jude Joseph De La Torre is a live-in care giver and has grown to love eighty-seven year old Tom Matheson. He’s become family to Jude. Frustrating as it is at times, he gives the old, fiesty gentleman all the attention he needs. Jude is twenty-two and has completed his two-year nursing assistant program. Now, he’s taking night courses to obtain his nursing license.  He also strives to save money to get a place of his own, so he can care for his sister and brother, Brianna and Bailey.  And he volunteers as choreographer for the color guard at the their high school. The live-in caregiver job gives him an extra opportunity to save. His culture believes in taking care of family, and so all of this puts extreme pressure on Jude.  

When Reese returns from a two-year tour with his friend and collaborator Toby Griffiths, he can’t wait to spend all his time with his Grandfather. But first Reese has to feel the wrath of his girlfriend, to whom he’s given just about everything. Reese always seems to rush things without a second thought, and tells Jude he no longer has to stay in the house, since he will be there to care for his grandfather. Reese isn’t being rude. but he thinks he can do the caregiver job himself. He doesn’t realize what he’s gotten himself into, or what he’s done to Jude, until he finds Jude sleeping in his car.  

Jude had to take on big responsibilities at the age of twenty, when his parents left for the Philippines to take care of Jude’s elderly grandparents. Even though there are Aunts and Uncles who help take care of  Brianna and Bailey, Jude tries to make his own way so he can care for them himself.

Reese has to face the realization that he may be running out of time with Tom, whose Alzheimers disease is changing everything. Tom doesn’t always remember him. He spends more time with his grandfather and they enjoy music together, and Reese discovers a secret. He makes plans for a show about his grandfather’s life.

Reese has brought all kinds of issues down upon himself: a crazy now ex-girlfriend craving publicity, as well as the time and attention needed to take care of Tom. Reese also finds himself attracted to Jude, and Jude is avoiding him as much as possible. Something will have to give.

Hurricane Reese covers a number of issues from a different culture and time. Jude’s family is Filipino, and they believe strongly in family, taking care of elders, and their Catholic religion, which leads some to being homophobic.

I highly recommend Hurricane Reese, the first book in the “Forces of Nature” series. The writing is perfect, and it’s filled with heart-wrenching sadness, joy, understanding, love of family, romance and hope for an everlasting love.  

The Reviewer

Hi, I’m Maryann, I started life in New York, moved to New Hampshire and in 1965 uprooted again to Sacramento, California. Once I retired I moved to West Palm Beach, Florida in 2011 and just moved back to Sacramento in March of 2018. My son, his wife and step-daughter flew out to Florida and we road tripped back so they got to see sights they have never seen. New Orleans and the Grand Canyon were the highlights. Now I am back on the west coast again to stay! From a young age Ialways liked to read.

I remember going to the library and reading the “Doctor Dolittle” books by Hugh Lofting. Much later on became a big fan of the classics, Edgar Alan Poe, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and as time went by Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury and Stephen Kingand many other authors.

My first M/M shifter book I read was written by Jan Irving the “Uncommon Cowboys” series from 2012. She was the first author I ever contacted and sent an email to letting her know how much I liked this series. Sometime along the way I read “Zero to the Bone”by Jane Seville, I think just about everyone has read this book!

As it stands right now I’m really into mysteries, grit, gore and “triggers” don’t bother me. But if a blurb piques my interest I will read the book.

My kindle collection eclectic and over three thousand books and my Audible collection is slowly growing. I have both the kindle and audible apps on my ipod, ipads, and MAC. So there is never an excuse not to be listening or reading.

I joined Goodreads around 2012 and started posting reviews. One day a wonderful lady, Lisa Horan of The Novel Approach, sent me an email to see if I wanted to join her review group. Joining her site was such an eye opener. I got introduce to so many new authors that write for the LGBTQ genre. Needless to say, it was heart breaking when it ended.

But I found a really great site, QRI and it’s right here in Sacramento. Last year at QSAC I actually got to meet Scott Coatsworth, Amy Lane and Jeff Adams.

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