Book Review – Against the Grain by Jay Hogan

Auckland Med #4
Publisher: Southern Lights Publishing
Pages: 305
Characters: Sandy/Miller
POV: 3rd
Genre: Contemporary, Series

I don’t like labels and I’m happy that way, but it’s taken a long time to get here. A jerk of a father, too many bullies to name, and a string of dipshit boyfriends whose interest in me rarely made it past the skirts I sometimes wear. Suffice to say, my faith in men runs a little thin.

The last thing I need is a gruff, opinionated, fiery, closeted, Paralympian jock messing with my hard-won peace. Miller Harrison is a wrinkle in my life I could definitely do without. I have a job that I love at Auckland Med., a boss who understands me, and a group of friends who accept me as I am.

I should walk away.

But Miller knows a thing or two about living life against the grain, and that hope I thought I’d buried a long time ago, is threatening to surface.

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I love Jay’s books, and am a huge fan of this series. This one kept me up reading late, and then later still than I planned when the suspense part of the story kicked in. I’d wanted Sandy’s story since his first appearance in an earlier book, and I loved him and Miller together.

I liked Miller immediately, and I liked how the author introduced his back story bit by bit as it needed to be known. Nicely done. I liked that Miller is aware of how much of a dick he can be at times, but is trying to be better. I also liked how Sandy doesn’t fit any labels, he’s just him and true to who he is. I love how he doesn’t see the chair, just Miller. I enjoyed how their friendship didn’t get off to a great start, which changes as they get to know each other. It made for a fun and realistic read.

One of the things I love about reading series is catching up with characters from previous books. I loved Cam and Sandy’s friendship and how protective and supportive Cam is. It was fabulous catching up with the other guys too, and Paris! I liked Sandy and Miller’s families, and the subplot with Miller’s nephew Sam, and how Miller and Sandy supporting him also helps Miller not be so isolated. I love how their group of friends feels more like a family, and how much of a part family plays in the story.

I loved how the tension rises as the story progresses, and everything Miller and Sandy have to work through to get to achieve their HEA. The action scene as the drama ramps up was tense and exciting. This story is a page turner I didn’t want to put down.

I didn’t know anything about the NZ Wheel Blacks either, and enjoyed that part of the story. Those games are full on!

5 out of 5 stars.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at
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