Cover Design: Jay Aheer
At 10 years old Joel was uprooted from his home and everything he knew in Portugal to start a new life in the States. At 26 he finds himself returning for the first time in thirteen years. So what if looking into the eyes of his childhood best friend again still makes his heart race out of his chest?
Living in sunny, laid-back Portugal isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. For David, dreams of being a pastry chef come second to working in his family’s café where his renowned custard tarts draw in the crowds. Seeing Joel brings old feelings back. Feelings he’s not sure heís brave enough to acknowledge to anyone other than himself.
With the inspiration of an old travel journal, the two friends embark on a real journey through memories in a country where looking back into the past runs as deep as the blood that courses through their veins.
Falling in love was never meant to be a stop along the way, but maybe inevitable when you have the adventurous spirit and courage to pursue what you want, make love under the stars, and even figure out how to jumpstart an old Citroen 2CV in the middle of the Alentejo countryside.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ + half a star 🙂
Made in Portugal is a cute love story of two guys who grew up together and were childhood best friends, until they were on different continents. David, a Portuguese with a single mother, and Joel, half Portuguese, half American, were best friends but it is hard enough to keep up childhood friendships even when you go to different high schools, and so much harder to keep up when you only see each other for a few days each year.
So it is not surprising that David and Joel grew apart. When David lost his mother, he took over her café, or at least his aunt and uncle did until he grew up enough to do it himself. When his mother died, Joel’s mother and David’s mother’s best friend, came back to Portugal, but Joel didn’t.
Then the story picks up more than a decade later when Joel, due to some sad circumstances, returns home. He and David actually reconnect really quickly and they both seem to be really into each other but are convinced the other isn’t. What isn’t helping things is that David is firmly in the closet.
But their mothers have left behind a diary, and they decide to follow it and make a vacation out of it. On the road is where they really connect and seem to get at it A LOT. I mean, there’s really A LOT of sex scenes in the book.
As someone who doesn’t know Portugal/have never been there, I found the descriptions interesting and could imagine the setting a bit easier.
What bothered me a little was that sometimes the same event was described twice. It’s good to get some perspective from both characters but it was kind of…repetitive? And somewhere towards the end, everything really sped up and then in a few percent of pages, there was coming out, one major plot point, and more!
It is a nice and easy book to read, with a few sad themes but generally it is about reconnecting, about family, and … well, sex scenes. 😉
But it also has pastry! 🙂
Ana Newfolk was born in Portugal where she grew up surrounded by sunshine and countryside. She has always had a deep love of reading, and ever since she can remember her favorite presents and treats have always been books. She would often be found in her not-so-secret spot reading her favorite adventure books (when she was younger) and romance novels (when she discovered boys). At 20 years old she moved to the UK where she has lived since.
In 2015 Ana stumbled across her first MM romance novel by chance, and she was hooked. She loves reading about men falling in love, hard, fast and ever so sweetly. This new found love for LGBTQ+ romance has opened a new world for Ana, and in 2017 she decided to finally listen to the voices in her head and write them down.
In addition to the time she spends reading and writing Ana has a full-time job that involves meeting lots of people with interesting stories to tell. She also loves baking as much as she loves watching people eat what she creates, much to the delight of family, friends and work colleagues alike.
June 5 – Katie’s Book Corner, June 6 – The Novel Approach, June 7 – BooksLaidBareBoys, Bookaholic & Kindle, Love My Reads, Open Mind For A Different View, June 8 – Love Bytes, June 9 – Mainely Stories, The Geekery Book Review, June 11 – MM Good Book Reviews, June 12 – Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, June 13 – Making It Happen, June 14 – Mirrigold: Mutterings & Musings, Valerie Ullmer, Reading In Sarah’s Corner, Wicked Reads, Virginia Lee, June 15 – Bayou Book Junkie, June 18 – Joyfully Jay, June 20 – Gay Book Reviews, June 22 – My Fiction Nook, June 25 – Diverse Reader, June 27 – Two Chicks Obsessed
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