Book Reviews

Hanging by the Moment by H.B. Pattskyn at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / New Adult / Erotic Romance
Reviewed by Christy Duke on 18-September-2013

Book Blurb

Pasha Batalov has lived his whole life doing what a good son is expected to do. He dropped out of school to help run the failing family restaurant, and ever since he’s put up with his difficult business partner, who also happens to be his father. And, of course, he keeps his sexual orientation a secret from his conservative Russian family. After being closeted costs him his first serious relationship, Pasha resigns himself to one-night stands and loneliness.

But after a chance encounter with lost delivery truck driver, Daniel Englewood, Pasha starts to question all of his assumptions about life. Daniel is sweet, funny, smart, drop-dead gorgeous—and for the last six years, he’s been living with HIV. Pasha worries that he won’t be strong enough to help Daniel if HIV turns to AIDS, but he can’t walk away from their deepening attraction. He also doesn’t know if he can be strong enough to face the hardest task that a relationship with Daniel demands: coming out to his family and friends, and risking losing everything else he holds dear.


Book Review

H.B. Pattskyn is still a relatively new author, to me, as this is only the second book of hers that I have read. I was completely blown away by the writing and the story in the other book that I read, so I had super high hopes for 'Hanging by the Moment'. I was not disappointed. I was a little apprehensive after I read the description, because, to be honest, I didn't want to be sad reading this and I really wanted a happy ever after, but with the threat of AIDS looming I had my worries. I can honestly say, this is not a story to be missed.

Pasha is lonely, miserable, and so sad it'll break your heart. He's short, a little chubby, and doesn't think he has much value at all. He's stuck working for his father in the diner that his father recently added Pasha's name to as partner. Not what Pasha wanted from his life, not even close. With a Russian family, who all think they still live in Russia, there is absolutely no way he can ever tell his father he is gay. His father listens to Rush Limbaugh at the diner - not a real liberal kind of man. Pasha is the second son and middle child of three, and it seems to be his lot in life to be unhappy. Don't for a minute think his birth order isn't a contributing factor to his personality, and his relationship with his dad. He has an older brother and a younger sister. His brother has always been the golden boy and has done exactly as he pleased his entire life. His younger sister is married, with four kids, and her husband won't get a job, so instead she leeches off their dad. All of this puts Pasha in the middle as the one his father takes advantage of and yells at, all the time.

Pasha has no love life to speak of. His only relationship ended a year ago because Pasha was unable to come out to his family. Pasha even has one-night stands, unhappily, allowing strangers to have him in cheap, rent by the hour motels, or in bathrooms. Pasha has no self-esteem and no self-confidence. You can imagine Pasha's reaction when he meets this absolutely gorgeous, tall, built man who seems genuinely interested in spending time with him.

Daniel is that once in a lifetime person most people never get the chance to meet. He honestly cares more about what's on the inside than the out, although he thinks Pasha's outside looks great, he is compassionate, giving, honest, easygoing, and an overall catch. So in Pasha's mind there must be something wrong with Daniel, right? Well, there is something not perfect about Daniel. He is HIV positive. I won't say wrong, because that's a negative connotation I think is inaccurate and misleading. Daniel made some stupid choices when he was younger and he's paying the ultimate price. I'll be honest and admit there were a couple of times I had tests run where I was crossing my fingers because of something dumb I had done. I can't imagine what I would have done if I'd been positive.

Now here's part of the reason why I really adore this author's writing. Some authors might have written Pasha as needing some time to come to terms, but eventually moving right into acceptance. H.B. wrote Pasha as a real person with real fears. Could he be strong enough to handle this? What if he freaked out the first time they were intimate? What if he lost it completely when Daniel developed AIDS? What if he comes out, loses everything but Daniel, and then Daniel dies? Those are concerns a real person would have and it's stuff that Pasha struggles with throughout the story. I liked the fact that both main characters were flawed in human ways, I could relate to them so well. I'll admit that Pasha's insecurities made me grit my teeth and roll my eyes a few times, but it also endeared him to me so much more than if he didn't have issues. Daniel may have looked perfect from the outside, but he was far from it, and even if he left the bad choices behind years ago, he's always paying for them. Pasha learned to stand up for himself and for what was right in the end and it was truly wonderful watching him grow.

The beauty in this story is how the author wrote about HIV/AIDS. How people manage to live with it. How people have relationships where one is positive and the other is negative. She wrote about all the things most of us never have to take into consideration and she did it really, really well. I also loved the writing about Pasha and his father's conversations, especially after his dad found out he was gay. There was yelling, but there was always an undercurrent of love. His father wasn't going to throw him out because Pasha was gay. His dad just really struggled with trying to understand it in his very gruff manner.

I loved this book! I loved everything about it. H.B. Pattskyn is starting to become an auto-buy author for me after just two books. Her writing is phenomenal. The characters are amazing, the story is beautiful, the intensity is wow, and it all flows seamlessly. Thank you, again, H.B., for another incredible read.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 350 pages/112275 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 06-September-2013
Price $6.99 ebook, $17.99 paperback, $17.99 bundle
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