Finding Hope

Kindle Unlimited & Audible.

Publisher’s Synopsis:
At 19, Beck Barretti is living two lives. To his family, he’s a young man trying to find his way after years of battling a mental illness that nearly cost him everything. But to the rest of the world, he’s just another privileged kid with problems. The truth doesn’t even lie somewhere in between, because Beck’s entire life is actually about keeping secrets.

From the people he loves.

From the ones he doesn’t.

From himself.

Spending a summer in Dare, Montana, with family friends isn’t about starting fresh – it’s about escaping the crippling darkness that threatens to consume him.

Until one encounter that was supposed to mean nothing, ends up changing everything….

Quinn Donovan had the life he’d always dreamed of until a brutal act of violence ripped it all away. Even though he’s found a new future working at the CB Bar Ranch in Dare, Montana, he’s not interested in trying to get back what he once had. All he wants is a quiet life that includes a job that’s worth getting up for each morning and hanging out with his best friend, a black-and-white paint stallion named Koda.

But nothing prepares him for the strange twist of fate that brings not one, but two men into his life….

Brody Wilder is done hiding in the closet. As the son of a political scion, he’s spent his entire life hiding the truth about who he is just so he could inherit a legacy he never wanted. But those days are behind him, and he’s starting a new life in rural Montana where he’s saving lives as a paramedic and building a successful construction business that would surely horrify his old-money, society-loving family.

After years of denying himself, he’s taking advantage of his newfound freedom by indulging in random, meaningless sexual encounters that are about pleasure, not emotion.

So no one is more surprised than him when one night in the back room of a sordid gay club leads to something more….

Can three men who came together by chance find the hope they need?

Point of view:
3rd person. Alternating perspectives, not by chapter but clearly defined.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
This is the 5th book in the Finding series. While you don’t have to read them first, this book is best enjoyed after some foundations in books 1-4. It also features Beck Barretti, the son of the MCs from Kennedy’s Redeeming Rafe (book 2 of Barretti Security series).

Please check the CWs for this book. Kennedy’s stories always discuss some difficult topics but this one feels particularly laden. Usually I leave these until the end, but there’s no way to discuss the book without mentioning some of them (spoilers): attempted suicide of MC, abuse & SA of a child, attempted SA of secondary character, homophobia & abandonment by family of MC, death of a spouse, child “prostitution” (obviously a child can’t consent, but it’s the most succinct word)

After a suicide attempt leaves Beck crushed under the constant watch of his family, he seeks a fresh start in Dare, Montana with family friends. He meets ranch hand/horse trainer Quinn, and EMT Brody in what’s supposed to be a one night stand at a bar. Of course, his first day of work he learns he’ll be in fairly constant contact with both of them. The relationship evolves from there.

While I enjoyed how things evolved with these three – the trauma that Beck endured for his two decades of life was just too much. Piled on top of Quinn’s loss of his husband and Brody’s homophobic family – it really makes the romance a minor part of the storyline. Especially since most of the final chapters concentrate on revealing a litany of abuses/incidents. The resolution & healing didn’t feel like enough. While there’s an HFN epilogue, the additional chapter from Cade’s POV covered more of the trauma.

Frankly, it feels like Kennedy was trying to see how many things she could pile on a single character and it just missed the mark on being a romance for me even if meeting the technical definition.

Notes: While Finding is it’s own series, some of the Finding characters & events are interconnected with the Escort, Barretti Security, and Protectors series. Visit Sloane Kennedy’s website for a list showing how several of her series tie together and different reading/listening order options. You don’t always have to be familiar with the other books to enjoy them individually, but I really enjoy the entire “world” she has created. My personal preference for reading order is chronological/timing.

Michael Dean was great. Nearly all the characters are male and he does a great job of giving them all unique voices and personalities.

About the author:
Although Sloane Kennedy always dreamed of being a writer as a teenager, she didn’t take the plunge until 2015 when she released her first novel. Since then, she has released nearly 30 books including the Amazon best-selling “Pelican Bay” and “Protectors” series. While she initially began writing M/F romance, she found her true passion writing gay romance and nearly all of her most recent releases reached the #1 spot on Amazon’s Gay Romance bestseller list and several have made it to Amazon’s overall bestseller list. Sloane was born in Germany but grew up in the U.S. and although she currently lives in Wisconsin, the place where she has always felt most at home is Seattle and many of her books take place in the Emerald city. When not writing, a menagerie of 2 dogs, 3 cats and 2 horses takes up what little time she has left in the day!

You can connect with Sloane Kennedy here:

About the narrator:
Originally from Chicago and currently based in New York City, Michael Dean has performed around the country and the world on stage, television, and film. He studied acting at the University of Arizona and the University of Kansas City Missouri. As a narrator he has voiced over 450 titles.

You can connect with Michael Dean here:

Published by rellimreads

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