Book Review – Flare by Jay Hogan

Style #1
Publisher: Southern Lights Publishing
Pages: 335
Characters: Rhys/Beck
POV: 1st
Genre: Contemporary, Series

My own fashion label. The shiny new sign above the door means everything. My dream. My life. Worth every gruelling hour I’ve spent making it happen. Nothing can stop me now. Not the fear. Not the nightmares. Not my sad excuse for a love life. And certainly not Beckett Northcott, the sexy English professor who wouldn’t know a fitted shirt if it slapped him in the face and who has flannel down to an art form.

I don’t date for a very good reason, and yet Beck makes me want to break every damn one of my rules. But with my debut at Fashion Week looming, my business in trouble, and Beckett Northcott peeling open my terrified heart to a future I’ve never imagined, the threads of my carefully woven life are unravelling at the seams.

I could walk away. Or I could take a chance that Beck and I might just have what it takes to fashion a new life, together. A fresh design from a new cloth.

This book contains references to past sexual assault.

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I’m already a huge fan of this author, and I thought Flare is another great start to a new series. I was invested in Rhys and Beck and their HEA as soon as they met. The supporting cast adds plenty of feelgood vibes and sass, and I especially loved the found family vibe. I’m already looking forward to the next book.

I liked how the author handled the sexual assault and aftermath. I thought Rhys’ PTSD felt realistic, yet was sensitively portrayed. I felt for him wanting to move forward, but not being able to stop his emotional, mental, and physical reactions. Beck is one of the good guys, yet doesn’t always know the right response, but I liked that he was willing to find out, and be who Rhys needs. His inner monologue and his poetry are great. I love how they reflect his love of 19thC poetry and the inclusion of Wilde’s works in particular were an added bonus.

One line that particularly stood out for me was “Love is important. Sex is something we do.”

I love Kip and his sass, and I want to know his story. I loved Jack’s, Beck’s nephew, part in what happens, how he forms strong relationships with both Beck and Rhys, and grows throughout the story. Rafe is wonderful with the snark too, and I liked Hunter. Friendship is also a strong theme in this story, and one of its strengths, as is the fact that both Rhys and Beck’s friends tell them what they need to hear, which isn’t necessarily what they want. I liked the growing friendship between Jack and Drew too. Rhys’ mum, Caroline, totally rocks. I loved her immediately.

I learnt a lot about fashion, and enjoyed that side of the story too. I hadn’t realised how cutthroat it is, and how low some people could stoop. Drew’s dad is horrible too. I was very happy Drew has people on side. I loved Callum and Preston and hope to see more of them.

5 out 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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