Rating: 5 stars
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Growing up in a household with closed-minded parents and an openly rebellious brother left Ben Forman with little choice to be anything other than perfect. His life has been lived to please his parents, to make them happy. After all, with a son like unapologetic and openly gay Noah, they deserved a break, right? So, Ben dates women, lots of women, for a month or so in hopes that the desires he has always had for men will fade away, so that his parents won’t have another reason to be disappointed in yet another gay son.
But everything changes when Micah Trains walks into Ben’s firm and subsequently into Ben’s life. Micah is everything that Ben wants and wants to be. He is confident and happy with who he is. He is beautiful and secure in his sexuality. And Ben can’t help but be drawn to him for all of the above. As hard as he tries to fight it, Ben can’t seem to walk away from Micah when Micah asks him out or when he wants to spend time with Ben.
As Ben’s feelings for Micah strengthen, he finds it harder to reconcile the man he is with the man his parents want him to be. Fear of hurting his parents, of coming out of the closet in his thirties, is nearly too much to even think about. He has yet to tell Micah that he’s not out, and even worse, anytime Micah broaches a subject that looks like he wants to take the tiniest step towards commitment, Ben finds a way to push him away. But when Ben takes it too far, he must take a look at his own life and decide if he wants to live it for himself or for his parents before it’s too late and he loses not only the man he loves, but also the one chance that he’s ever had of being truly happy.
If you’ve read my reviews over the past year, you know by now that Cardeno C is on my must-read list. I am head over heels for the Home series and have been since I first read it nearly two years ago. I’ve also stated in the past that is near impossible to pick a favorite of the series, but there is one that I love marginally better than all the rest. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce you to Just What the Truth Is, my very favorite book in Cardeno C’s Home series.
Why do I love this book so much? Well, let me tell you. I’ll start with the characters. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a billion times. Cardeno C is a master of characterization, and this story proves that. Ben is one of my favorite characters ever. He is one of the most confused, sexually awkward man out there. He’s the guy that is the ultimate peacemaker, the one who wants to please everybody without regards to his own happiness. I love his growth throughout this story from people-pleaser to self-satisfied grown up. I love that no matter his choices, Ben remains, at his core, the same golden-hearted man. Then there’s Micah, who is this powerhouse in both his personal and professional lives. He’s confident and supportive. And he’s strong enough to be Ben’s rock without being controlling.
Not only are the main characters fantastic, but then we get to meet the secondary and supporting characters. Of course, if you’ve read the series, you’ll recognize many familiar names and faces from other books, and as always it’s a joy to catch up on those lives. Seriously, Noah and Zach kill me. But my favorite secondary character in this entire story is Micah’s mom. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read this book now, and I still laugh out loud when Deborah Trains barges her way into this story. Micah’s entire family is a wonderful highlight to Ben and Micah’s story. I absolutely love each and every one of them.
And the plot is engrossing. Ben’s journey from momma’s boy to his own man is something to behold. It is a bumpy, hard, and ugly road, but the outcome is beautiful. This story is one of a man discovering who he is and how he wants to live his life. But it’s also a story of family and reconciliation, as well as the hardships and hurt that stand in the path to healing. For me, it is perfect. The writing is beautiful and flows flawlessly. I laughed. I almost cried. I definitely teared up. And I most certainly was heartbroken more than once. But in the end I was left hoping the story would never end.
So, yes, I absolutely, hands down love Ben and Micah’s story. It’s emotional and lovely. In such a character-driven series, these characters are perfect. I love the story and absolutely love this series. If you haven’t read any of the books in this series, don’t worry. This series is written so that each story is a standalone and can be read in any order. My advice? Read them all. You won’t regret it. And start wherever you want, but definitely read this book. I highly, highly recommend Just What the Truth Is by Cardeno C.
Home Series by Cardeno C:
- Home Again
- He Completes Me
- Where He Ends and I Begin
- Love at First Sight
- Just What the Truth Is
- The One Who Saves Me
- Marriage – A Home Series Celebration