Book Reviews

The First by D.J. Manly at Silver Publishing

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance
Reviewed by Alex on 23-January-2014

Book Blurb

Trace Donahue was the hottest guitarist on the planet. Then tragedy struck. Now, he's back--the guy who stole Rob's virginity then conveniently forgot. The last thing Rob wants is to sign Trace at Jaded Music, despite his father's insistence.

Rob is a barracuda when it comes to acquiring new talent for Jaded, the music company started by his grandfather. When Trace Donahue, the last surviving member of one of the world's greatest rock groups comes out of hiding after three years, Rob's father expects his son to be chomping at the bit. Trace is money in the bank but he's also the guy who stole Rob's virginity and broke his heart then forgot all about him. The last thing Rob wants is to sign Trace to Jaded Music. But Rob's father lost out once to his rival and he is determined not to lose again. Rob will have to bring him Trace Donahue to Jaded, like it or not.


Book Review

I found this vivid portrayal of one man’s struggle to confront personal trauma to be a solid effort by an author whose previous works I have enjoyed tremendously. It took me a while to warm up to Rob, the lead through whose eyes the story is viewed, but having completed the book I believe that is because of the brilliance of the light shone on Rob’s vulnerabilities.

What makes for trauma? Like most things, trauma is relative and that truth is what gives this story its strength. Rather than focus on passages of eighteen-year-old Rob’s pain of rejection in the moment of rejection, this story explores the adult, Rob and his emotional devolution when the object of his pain becomes a threat to the man he has become. Initially it isn’t very pretty and I was tempted more than once to yell at the book “Man up!”

But with the support of his family and friends and even his rivals, I experienced a different Rob, a Rob who truly had fallen in love with the man who had taken his virginity and had been scarred for life when the object of his affection, rejected him. The fact that the man he fell for was a huge music star became incidental, and I believe even Rob was surprised to discover that it was not so much Trace the rock star whom he had fallen in love with, but Trace the man.

Forced to confront his demons, Rob began to shine for me, kind of in a heroic Hepburn-type manner. Encountering a series of misadventures, he attempts to separate business from emotion and get Trace to sign with his family’s production label.  Rob’s determination to “land his man” is adorable. His inability to reveal the truth to his father, who progressively demands that Rob sign the music star, highlights Rob’s emotional devolution from assured man to teenager gamely putting on his man face. As the comedy of errors mount, Rob tries to deal fairly, and faces more rejection, embarrassment, and even loss of physical beauty. I must admit, I sped up my reading wondering how Rob would handle the obstacles and challenges he encounters.

Strong supporting characters, wry comedy, and sexual tension morphing to hot sex serve as side dishes to this dizzying portrait of Rob, a man on the edge.

Thank you, D.J. Manly, for this unexpectedly delightful example of will and way. “Witty, Slippery, Joy”





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

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novella, 211 pages/41808 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 28-December-2013
Buy Link