Book Review – Keeping Promise Rock by Amy Lane

by Maryse on November 17, 2013 · 10 comments

in My Book Reviews

Keeping Promise Rock
Remember yesterday when I told y’all I was in the mood for another m/m romance read? Well, I chose this one, ’cause my friend Jackie had recommended it to me over and over again like crazy. During a chat we were having she even listing her top 5 book guys of all time and included these guys, saying:

“Joint fifth and sixth place goes to Crick and Deak from Keeping promise Rock. Another gay love affair, but this one is more about love, honour and family. Loved those guys..”

and then she told me:

“I loved this book – I ached for these two main characters, I cried with them, got angry with them – both of them at different times, … Its a beautiful story and very well told. I always judge a book by how much I’m still thinking about the characters in the days after I’ve finished reading it. I am still hurting badly for Deacon and Crick. So my advise to all of you that haven’t read it – please read Keeping Promise Rock.”

And yep. She was right. SO right!

I’m officially in after book “mope-mode” ’cause I’m already lonely for these characters. Power reading 344 pages in one sitting, ignoring life, food, responsibilities (oops… errrr *stares at the piles of unfolded laundry*) and pretty much shirking all of the fun things I had planned for the day means  that I put all of my energy in completely connecting and bonding with them. And boy did I bond.

It’s so crazy how involved I can get in a book. In someone else’s whole other life, their emotions, heartache and happiness. And then once I finish and pretty much look up for more than just a few seconds and realize I’m “back“… *blink blink* Whoa. That realization is jarring!!!

From start to finish I was wholeheartedly invested in their plight. As sexy as this read could be (and *whoo* it certainly got detailed at times *blush*), this was about SO much more than that. It’s a beautiful romance, but it’s a A HUGE story of family love, friendship, and trust that captured my whole heart. Every aspect of their lives to me was just as absorbing as the blossoming love story.

This story spanned the character’s childhoods, parts of high school, and then focused largely on life as new adults. From children that become best friends out of loneliness and need, to eventually taking in that one abused boy and practically raising him as their own. The boys are raised by a loving and honorable patriarch who teaches them courage, loyalty, honesty and humanity. And they grow into wonderful men, with wonderful friends, and have a potentially wonderful future ahead of them. Supporting each other through tragedies, mistakes, and huge triumphs, I was is taken through a gamut of emotions. From heartache to realizing  I was reading with a goofy smile on my face. <— Oh yes. I was. LOL!!! My heart was swelling throughout, and aching at times, too.

And it’s when we reach adulthood, that the aching really kicks in! Some boys can make some pretty honorable (but boneheaded moves) and yep, you guessed it. Cue the angst!!! This author let’s us indulge heavily in it. Not constant over-the-top drama or anything too melodramatic… but a VERY realistic situation nonetheless and one that made my heart throb with hurt and a desperate need, and yet, considering there was so much of the book left to read, gave me hope and excitement, too.

I was right there with them, every step of the way!

So what’s it about?

Deacon helps his father on their horse ranch. He’s a shy but very good looking, hardworking and well respected teen in their community. One of the good guys, and everybody loves him. With very good reason.

And one day, “Crick” (Carrick) falls in love with him, too. But being so much younger than Deacon, it’s more of a “hero” worship type of thing, and it is sooooo sweet.

He’d always known he was in love with Deacon Winters, but he’d figured that was a “normal” kind of emotion that every boy felt for a hero. The boys around him had been talking about girls, and as sixth grade progressed, Crick had assumed he eventually would want to look at them and talk about them, too. He had been afraid at that time – because it would mean less of his soul was centered on Deacon – but he assumed it was an age thing and it would pass.

Deacon and his father pretty much rescue Crick from his abusive home (years of neglect from an alcoholic family makes it so that they barely notice he’s rarely there). And Crick grows, and works on the ranch too. The two boys bond (more of a brotherly thing at this point), and my heart was beaming with love and relief that these two had each other, and Deacon’s father, through thick and thin. And there was a lot of both.

Due to past emotional trauma, both boys have personal (and very private) fears of losing those they love, of being abandoned. Or of being rejected. They’re both so permanently scarred, and scared, and in turn, confide in each other.

“Oh God, Crick… you’re the only family I’ve got left. You’re like the only person on the planet, tethering me to its crust… and you’re going to have to leave me too.”

But as the boys grow older, Crick realizes that he’s gay, and that his love for Deacon is not just of the “hero” type.

Crick had time to come to a couple of realizations. He was never going to start looking at girls. And he would probably love Deacon Winters truly and deeply for the rest of his entire life, in the way that most men loved their wives.

And when Crick finally reaches adulthood, with a few promising emotional hints from Deacon… things begin to change between the two.

“Deacon is one of those rare individuals,” Jon began, trying to sound jaunty and failing, “whose heart takes the lead before his desire, and not the other way around.”

Their love intensifies. But a misunderstanding rips Crick’s heart out. And Crick does something that, in turn, rips out Deacon’s.

And that is where the bulk of their story lies. The consequences that are suffered, and the time it takes to maybe get back what we (I mean THEY) so badly wanted all along. Ohhhhh the moments of betrayal, hurt, anger and unnecessary suffering that we endure with them. But both boys are so loyal and so honorable. They do what they must. They do what’s right, they make mistakes and they take us with them on this incredible heartfelt and heart aching story.

“No one could live up to that picture, Carrick. No matter how bad I wish I could always be your hero.”

Oh but don’t get me wrong. As “wholesome” as their story feels at times, er… *waggles eyebrows* it gets steamy, HOT, and INTENSE!!!! *whoooooo* Oh yes it does!

*sigh* I loved them. They felt like home, to me. Even despite their incredible (physical and emotional) distance from one another, I felt like I was in the middle of them both, sending my positive love energy their way and just rooting for them with all of my might. Yep… I felt like I was home with them (even through the heartache and bone-headed moves —> URGH!!!!), but could they find they find their way back home to each other?

Only time (and reading this book) will tell. ;) Tee hee! *zips lips*

But I will say is that yes, this is a series (I think two more books after this, but I will check). BUT… this book is complete. No cliffhanger. Who knows where the series will lead me, but I’m SO in for more!

“People hurt each other all the time just by being. What matters is that when you hurt someone, you do what you can to make it right.”

4.5 stars!!!

P.S. I’ve had this book for over a year and a half now (since Jackie’s recommendation). And while I always seem to enjoy m/m – gay romance – as much as any of my favorite romance novels for some reason, I had this one continuously hovering in the upper-middle of my TBR list). What the heck was I waiting for!!?? This was right up my alley! Jackie. I totally get it. I miss them SO much right now it hurts.

P.P.S. It *could* be the cover that was holding me back… I mean it’s a nice drawing! Very nice! But I was wondering what it was about m/m books and the artfully drawn covers that so many of them use (another m/m series that I love has drawings as the covers, too). BUT!!! I get it with this one. I know what drawing this is, what it means and it’s a sweet part of the story. So now I find it perfectly appropriate! ;)

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Jill November 18, 2013 at 8:58 AM

Now I’m on the fence… I’m about 70% with the sample of Bear, Otter and the Kid – but now you throw this one at me! ;) I finished Try by Ella Frank last Thursday morning but have been mourning the ‘loss’ of those characters ever since as well. I tried to start an NA book on Saturday, but it wasn’t doing it for me. :( So went back to this genre last night. Which book would you recommend more? BOATK or Keeping Promises? Thanks! :)

Jill November 18, 2013 at 8:59 AM

*Keeping Promises Rock

Maryse November 18, 2013 at 10:35 AM

Oh well my FAV is BOATK but you know what? They both have a similar feel in terms of friends becoming family and all that.

BOATK is funnier and had me laughing like crazy (Bear’s thoughts…) if I remember right, it was even steamier for me in terms of that delicious tension between the two.

This one is awesome too, but a bit more serious and serene, you know? Beautiful and sweet and heartfelt (and steamy) but there’s a different kind of BIG angst in this one.

And BOATK was my first real m/m experience and I loved it and wouldn’t change having read it first.

So I recommend both absolutely, but maybe BOATK first (unless you’re more in the mood for a tear-jerker kind of feel).

Jill November 18, 2013 at 11:07 AM

That help a lot! I’m not really in the mood for a tear-jerker, at the moment, so I will stick with BOATK. The sample hooked me as well. Thanks for your input! :)

Traci B. November 18, 2013 at 11:17 AM

Maryse I blame you for my m/m romance addiction…ever since you recommended the cut and run series I have been hooked…my friends probably think I’m weird when I told them I read these types of books. Anyway I just bought this one. Thanks

Tracie November 18, 2013 at 12:02 PM

Can someone please tell me what BOATK is? I really am enjoying this m/m romance genre and if it’s one of Maryse’ favorites then I must read it.

Maryse November 18, 2013 at 12:23 PM

Tracie, it stands for “Bear, Otter and the Kid”. Now, don’t be put off by the odd title and cutsie cover… this book is AWESOME and if you love m/m it will rock your world. Hilarious, angsty, the romantic tension is INTENSE… and it’s super sexy steamy!!!!

Here’s my review:

Tracie November 18, 2013 at 12:34 PM

Thank you, Maryse. I’m gonna download it now.

Isadora November 18, 2013 at 2:51 PM

I have to say that BOATK and the second one Who we are were amazing books, that I really enjoyed reading. It’s one of those books that even a year after now I can still remember with details their personalities, situations… God I loved those books!!! Now I’m definitely going to check this one out!
Thanks Maryse, your reviews are contagious!!!
I’m downloading it…

Maryse November 18, 2013 at 3:36 PM

YAY!!! I’m making a Top Recommended M/M list as we speak so if we want to continue reading these, we’ve got a GREAT list to pick from.

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