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on February 3, 2010
This is a well written, expressive and convincing romance. I like the small town setting, with its almost ordinary day-to-day atmosphere, the interaction and dialogue among the characters. The characters including the supporting ones are your ordinary Joes but that is where the attractiveness of the story lies. Jared and Matt are both likable and credible. I enjoy the well paced development of their relationship from friendship, undeniable attraction, to love and commitment. And sex is kept to the right balance (Thank You). The writer has also done a wonderful job "growing" these characters.

Matt is a cop in the closet but refuses to admit his sexuality as he fears the consequences from his homophobic father who still has him under his thumb. Jared may admit he is gay but he is so uncomfortable in his skin. He lives in fear of the consequences of living fully gay in his small town. So much so that he rather gives up his wish to be a teacher and lives looking after the family shop.
The beginning of their relationship is very well conveyed. Matt refuses to accept Jared and yet unwilling to lose him. Jared afraid to pressure Matt as it means living openly as a gay man and of course he is fearful of eventual rejection. The growth of these two vulnerable men as the story progresses is well done. The side characters are well intertwined into their story. Matt started off needing a shake-up but when he decides to come out and be with Jared he truly shines and actually become the stronger of the two. Jared finally overcoming his own inner struggles, accepts who he is and reaches for what he wants is uplifting. The chemistry between the two men is palpable and I love a story which is well narrated. This writer has a fine style and her writing is so easy to immerse in.
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on February 1, 2010
Promises is a charming story about coming out, taking risks and falling in love. Loaded with much angst and bike riding, it was a very cool read.

Jared is out in his small town, but aware well aware that he is not always accepted as a part of his community. Initially it does not color his actions, but in the latter parts of the book it does provide a bone of contention between Matt and Jared as they try and make what they have together work. Matt has never been with another man in a long term sexual relationship, so a lot of the story is about him coming to terms with himself and his feelings for Jared. (I do have a penchant for this trope I think. I liked. A lot!!) I thought the authors treatment of the growing attraction between the two men was beautifully done and the slow building of smexual tension just made me sigh.

The rest of the book was reasonably well put together. At times the world building was a little light and a couple of the plot devices felt a little jarring, but I'm not sure how else you'd tie it all together to be honest. I also enjoyed it so much I kinda ignored that stuff.

Promises was a total winner and I can't wait to see what this author does next.
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VINE VOICEon May 5, 2010
I've read a glut of m/m books lately and I have to say this is so much better than most of them. Lots rely on tricks - he's an assassin or a werewolf or so other and strange... but here, it's just two guys, people you meet in your day to day life, one a cop, one works in the family store. They live in a regular small town, not full of charming and twee characters, or mad eccentrics. But their story, their personal drama, it's gripping. The risk that Matt takes, the love that Jared has, it feels real and palpable. They meet some homophobia, but it's their inner demons that they really have to conquer. I really enjoyed Marie Sexton's writing, I liked her town, her descriptions of the mountains, her descriptions of extended family but mainly I really liked spending time with her protagonists, and showing how love made them grow. It's a keeper and she's a writer to look out for.
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3.5 Lovely Stars

Romantic - YES

Sweet - YES

Tummy Squeezes - YES

Happily Ever After - YES

THE STORY

"The only thing you can do is decide how to live your own life. And to hell with everybody else"

So then why a 3.5?

My hesitation in giving this a higher rating is that it had predictable devices, BUT then I also found myself being surprised as a twist slowly developed. The story started out really well, has all the elements that make a MM romance enjoyable, but a couple of unnecessary cliche scenes gooped up the story and made it feel like a junior effort in an otherwise believable book. Also, I felt like the "promises" theme was dropped somewhere in the middle of the book.

So, this is a solid 3.5 stars. I can't quite go 4 stars, but I can recommend it as a solid read.

THE CHARACTERS

Matt Richards --

"Whatever this is with me and you, it's so much more, and I can't make it go away."

"How could those words make me so happy while hurting so much at the same time?"

Gorgeous Matt is the new guy in town and he makes fast friends with Jared. The author did a superb job in making it clear that Matt was struggling with his emotions, but I would have like to see certain parts of this story from his perspective.

Jared Thomas --

"...you can't just pick tiny pieces of yourself to share, and keep the rest to yourself. It doesn't work that way. It's all or nothing."

Jared is secure with his life. He's out to his family and friends, living where he wants to be and has everything in control. Then Matt enters his life.

THE WRITING

----The light breeze, the smell of the forest, the rushing water, the whispering leaves--they seem to fill me, like my soul is opening up and being swept clean. It is the only thing in my life I could call spiritual.

I found the writing straight forward and clean. Not prose filled, but still visual enough to keep me high in the mountains and this little town of Cody.

----It was simply a silent recognition that we truly were kindred spirits. That we had both been alone for a long time and maybe we didn't need to be anymore.

RECOMMENDED
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on June 11, 2011
This is a well written and very realistic romance series. I was certain I would not like this series but by the first chapter of this first book I knew I could not tear myself away. I love the style that she writes these books and then also to be a gay man to know how a femaie was able to write the feeelings a gay man would have to know in these situations. I am convinced that Marie Sexton is a gay man trapped in a woman's body.

This first book we meet Jared and Mike. Mike is the new guy in town and Jared is the only gay man in town. Well only gay guy other than the band teacher at the high school. Jared was sitting in his family's store one day when this wonderful beautiful man walks into the store to by Brian and Lizzy's jeep that was for sale. We find out that Mike is straight but really wants Jared as his friend. The friendship begins to blossom as does the flower of love in Mike. Now you may think that this is not realistic if someone is gay or straight they are not going to just change. However, we learn during the course of the book there has been feelings for men that mike has been trying not to notice since he was in school. The love they find with each other is the classic since of love.

I recommend this book and the full series to escape to another world.
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on April 4, 2012
I have never written a review before, but I felt like I had to with "Promises". It was one of the best books that I have ever read, of any category. The book is special because it is so real. I fell in love with the characters: all of them. I related to so many things in the story: the family aspect of coming out, all of the anxiety that Jared has, making decisions about life to please everyone else. The character development was excellent. I actually felt like I was a part of their family. (Jared's family of course) And I loved the fact that the guys actually got to know and love each other before they had sex. I guess I'm old fashioned that way. And the sex was scorching when they got started. Some people may think that it was a little mushy in parts, but that is what I love. There were tender and sweet moments that made me love the book even more. The more books are written like this, the more society will realize how loving someone is never a bad thing, gay or straight. 5 stars isn't enough for this book.
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on April 10, 2011
I've been buying Kindle books like crazy since I got the app for my blackberry and PC. I just wish more of the type of books I love were longer. That's probably my only problem with this book. It was good, it was sweet, it was passionate and romantic...just too short! It's just more like reading a long story than an actual book. Maybe I'm just too fast of a reader.
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on January 22, 2013
I used to read a lot of m/m fan fiction online, and eventually became a huge fan of m/m novels. Enough about me, I want to say how much I loved Promises!! Matt had me hooked from the moment he walked into Jared's family's hardware store, who knew buying a Jeep from Jared's sister in law Lizzy would be the start of a friendship turned romance? Not without struggle and finally accepting one's attraction to another. Lots of issues were addressed in this book, and I love that their relationship is like a close friendship set on fire. Read this, and the other books in the series, and you will be hooked!
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on August 7, 2011
Marie Sexton has created the perfect blend of plot, character development, and romance in Promises, book one of the Coda series. The characters (including the minor ones but especially the major ones) were believable, relatable, and sympathetic. The relationship between the two main characters, Jared and Matt, was enticing and warming. Sexton takes the time to build up their relationship, bringing them closer and sometimes creating something that pushes them apart a little, adding to the reality of her story.

I especially liked how she wrote the sex scenes. Matt, who is just coming to terms with and exploring his homosexuality, does not know everything about having sex with another man. Although he knows the basics of intercourse through having sex with women, he does not take charge in his first romp with Jared, like inexperienced "tops" in other stories. He has questions and is considerate of Jared's comfort/wants. To me, this just made her characters even more believable and relatable.

(!!SOME MIGHT CONSIDER THIS A SPOILER!!) Really the only qualm I had about this story was with the relationship between Matt and his father. It followed the typical pattern of alcoholic/stern/conservative father and closeted/uncertain son in denial that has been seen many times in (contemporary) gay literature. However, it wasn't so overdone as to ruin the overall feel of the book. (!!END OF SPOILER!!)

Although this book was 200+ pages, it felt much shorter when reading it; I got through half of it in one night, not wanting to put it down. I'm excited to know that Sexton has written more books in this series and can't wait to read about the other people in the small town of Coda. I really like Sexton's style of writing and found this book charming, sensual, and beautiful. Bottom line, if you're looking for something passionate and raw with a good story line, then this book is definitely recommended for you. :)
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on March 22, 2012
This was a quick, easy and very enjoyable read that I had trouble putting down. I'm a bit of a sucker when it comes to the gay-for-you romances anyway but this one was just perfect.

PROMISES is a slow burning romance but that just made it all the better because we get tons of sexual tension and character development. Watching these guys going from friends to lovers over an extended period of time felt realistic. The love scenes also seemed accurately portrayed, nothing gratuitous just for the sake of a sex scene and initially with lots of fumbling and uncertainty before they got down and went for it. I liked both Matt and Jared and really felt as if I'd gotten to know them both despite the fact that this is written exclusively form Jared's POV. Matt is equally accessible here due to some great writing. Marie Sexton was a new author for me but I will definitely be looking for others in this series.

As I said this is told from Jared's POV, he's lived his whole life in a small Colorado town and while openly gay he doesn't flaunt his status either. In fact one might say he's even closeted refusing to become a teacher for fear of bigoted parents and jeering teens. Nope, Jared is content to while away his days in his family's hardware store, meeting up a couple times a year with his fancy man to scratch the itch and never expecting anything to change. Well it does the day Matt Richards struts into the store. He's just been hired by the local police department and the two strike an immediate friendship. Spending their weekend's mountain biking, camping and watching football. Matt is straight and doesn't care what the townsfolk are saying about them spending so much time together, he does however make a point of dating one of the towns flooziest women just to set things right.

Jared is of course in love with Matt from just about day one and wishes there could be more. On the other hand he doesn't want to risk losing Matt's friendship either, so he just puts all horny thoughts out of his mind (for the most part) And that's when the sexual tension comes in; the meaningful looks, the light touches, the massages, the hand in the hair, the fact that he never wants to go home. Hmmm maybe Matt is willing to take this friendship to a whole other level?

Yeah this was super good, lots of complicated situations and interesting secondary characters and a just a great story. I was really rooting for these two because the odds were stacked against them. Funny in the end it was Jared who had the most issues with being in a committed gay relationship not his hetero partner. Bah, labels who needs them. Cheers.
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