NEW RELEASE!! As I Am by Melissa Collins ~ Sarah A’s Review

Chase Hansen. Broke. College drop out. Male stripper.

My life wasn’t at all what I imagined it would be. I should have been finishing up college, interning with a well-respected business, partying with my friends. But instead, I was raising my seventeen-year-old brother, struggling to make ends meet. Love wasn’t even on my radar. Besides, what did I have to offer? A few crumpled singles pulled from my G-string? Defeated and exhausted, I knew I had zero chance of finding someone to love me just as I am.

Noah Carpenter. Angry. Betrayed. Doctor.

Just when I thought my life was going exactly as it should, everything turned upside down. With my final rotation in medical school complete, I finally achieved my lifelong dream of becoming a doctor. What I never expected was to catch the man of my dreams in our bed with the man of his. Beyond infuriated, I struggled to piece together the remnants of my life. Just when I’d decided to give up on love altogether, I found a man who loved me just as I am.

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As I Am was a mixed bag, for me.  There were parts of this book I absolutely loved and parts that fell flat.  It was still an enjoyable reading experience, and I loved the couple, I just wish there was a little more focus put toward a few very specific aspects of Chase and Noah’s story.

As I Am is a standalone novel.  The main characters, Chase & Noah were featured in a previous short story for part of an anthology, that story has been worked into this novel, so there is no need to read it before reading this book.  As I Am is written in dual first-person perspective, narrated by Chase and Noah.

Noah and Chase were fascinating as individuals and as a couple.  I was glad we got to know them each alone, what they were going through, what their personalities were before we saw them as a couple.  Having that prior knowledge about them made it easier to understand each of their hesitance about entering a relationship.  It didn’t make their disagreements and misunderstandings less frustrating, but they were easier to comprehend.

I loved how supportive they were of each other, especially how understanding Noah was of Chase and his tragic situation.  When they were together and not letting their issues get between them, they were a wonderful couple.  They had fantastic chemistry, cared deeply for one another, and complemented one another perfectly.  Each of them had broken pieces, but those shards fit into the other’s sharp edges and allowed both men to heal.

I wish Ms. Collins would have made the reason Noah had gone into medicine a more significant part of his story.  It was only briefly mentioned once, then was never revisited, when the circumstances likely informed most of who he became as a person.  There was also a situation in the epilogue that came out of nowhere; it seemed like it was just thrown in at the last minute to punch up the emotional impact of what was already a very poignant ending that I wish would have been more of a running thread through the book.  Beyond that, there were a few scenes where the tone changed abruptly, and I found myself rereading sections of the book to see if I’d missed something to no avail.

Melissa Collins is an author I always enjoy reading.  She seems to fly under the radar, which has allowed me to miss a few of her books, and it’s really a shame.  She’s a talented writer who develops interesting, sympathetic characters, and the stories she tells are compelling and emotionally charged.  Ms. Collins’ passion for her art comes across in her writing, and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next.

Melissa Collins has always been a bookworm. Studying Literature in college ensured that her nose was always stuck in a book. She followed her passion for reading to the most logical career choice: English teacher. Her hope was to share her passion for reading and the escapism of books to her students. Having spent more than a decade in front of a classroom, she can easily say that it’s been a dream.
Her passion for writing didn’t start until more recently. When she was home on maternity leave in early 2012, she read her first romance novel and her head filled with the passion, angst, and laughter of the characters who she read about it. It wasn’t long before characters of her own took shape in her mind. Their lives took over Melissa’s brain and The Love Series was born.

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