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Most people called it a cult. But for twenty years, Josh and Caleb called it home. In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world. But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his Most people called it a cult. But for twenty years, Josh and Caleb called it home. In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world. But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together the way he craves. It can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret. Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own, and a plan to get away — until it all backfires. Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him. Can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels? Warning: Contains a hot male/male romance, copious instances of taking the Lord's name in vain, and love against the kitchen counter.


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Most people called it a cult. But for twenty years, Josh and Caleb called it home. In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world. But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his Most people called it a cult. But for twenty years, Josh and Caleb called it home. In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world. But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together the way he craves. It can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret. Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own, and a plan to get away — until it all backfires. Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him. Can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels? Warning: Contains a hot male/male romance, copious instances of taking the Lord's name in vain, and love against the kitchen counter.

30 review for In Front of God and Everyone

  1. 4 out of 5

    ✦❋Arianna✦❋

    4.5 Stars!! To be honest, reading the blurb I was expected this author’s debut novel to be too religious-y for me, but surprise, surprise - it really wasn’t. The religious aspect was barely there which I obviously liked. Neally Wagner delivered a sweet, steamy and heartwarming tale about to boys who find themselves and find love despite the fact their lifestyles and living conditions are unusual to say the least. Caleb and Josh have been living in a polygamist compound all their lives. In the com 4.5 Stars!! To be honest, reading the blurb I was expected this author’s debut novel to be too religious-y for me, but surprise, surprise - it really wasn’t. The religious aspect was barely there which I obviously liked. Neally Wagner delivered a sweet, steamy and heartwarming tale about to boys who find themselves and find love despite the fact their lifestyles and living conditions are unusual to say the least. Caleb and Josh have been living in a polygamist compound all their lives. In the compound there are rules and there are expectations. While Caleb is treated all the time with consideration and respect, Josh is treated pretty badly. The two boys have been friends since forever, but recently Josh started to feel something more than friendship for his best friend. He feels guilty for his sexual fantasies and for the fact Josh is the first person who’s popping in his mind every morning, not only because he knows for sure the gays are condemned in the compound, but also because he thinks his best friend wouldn’t like to find out about his sexual orientation. When Caleb realizes Josh will be kicked out from the compound he decides to go with his best friend and live his own life. The two boys decide to find Maggie, a woman who escaped the compound several years ago, so helped by a truck driver they start their journey to a more fulfilling life. They tentatively start to open up and express the feelings they have for each other trying to find out who they are individually and together as a couple. Overall the story was well done! Despite the religious aspect the story wasn’t as angsty as I had expected. Personally I wouldn’t have minded a little more angst, because I honestly think the story would have been more believable in some way. This first installment in the series was really sweet, but not too sugary sweet to be ridiculous. I really enjoyed the premise. It was my first time reading a book with such a premise and I really found it to be very interesting and also refreshing. I liked how the story progressed and how the relationship between the two main characters evolved. Both main characters were adorable individually and especially together and both of them were pretty well developed. I liked the fact they were so different from each other and of course the fact that both of them were virgins. It was very sexy to say the least. The sexy scenes between them were hot as hell, intense and at times so damn sweet. Caleb and Josh complemented each other perfectly. They were so sweet together and I have to say I enjoyed how they helped each other in some way or another as the story progressed and most of all the tenderness between them. Overall, this was a wonderful friends to lovers story that made smile and swoon from beginning until the end.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Judith

    So good... "Hi baby,"he said under his breath.He leaned in and kissed me on the lips,right in front of God and everyone. Well,this one surprised me in a good way.I would probably never have read it if I hadn't read some friends reviews. Josh and Caleb are 19 and 20 respectively and have lived in a polygamist compound for years.They have been best friends for years but recently Josh has been lusting after Caleb in a big way. When Caleb realizes Josh is going to be cast aside he arranges to meet him So good... "Hi baby,"he said under his breath.He leaned in and kissed me on the lips,right in front of God and everyone. Well,this one surprised me in a good way.I would probably never have read it if I hadn't read some friends reviews. Josh and Caleb are 19 and 20 respectively and have lived in a polygamist compound for years.They have been best friends for years but recently Josh has been lusting after Caleb in a big way. When Caleb realizes Josh is going to be cast aside he arranges to meet him and leaves the compound. They set off to find Maggie who had escaped the compound years ago.Along the way they meet Washington ( a fantastic character ), who helps them. They,tentivaly start to share their feelings for each other. Although they are both virgins ( YES !! ), things heat up between them very nicely.There's a bit of ( delicious ) awkward fumbling between them initially but when they take things to the bedroom....and other surfaces,the sex is HOT with some dirty talk. I just adored these two and how their story played out. Fantastic secondary characters in Maggie,Dylan and the gorgeous Chloe. Highly recommended....

  3. 5 out of 5

    Christy

    5+ stars!!! I've read most of Sarina Bowen's books, and there hasn't been one I've read that I didn't enjoy. But I haven't loved one quite as much as Goodbye Paradise. The Understatement of the Year is a close second, so it's safe to say this author has quite the knack for M/M romance. Caleb and Joshua are from a polygamist compound. They have been best friends their entire life, but there has always been feelings there, lingering between them. For Joshua, he's always wanted his best friend, C 5+ stars!!! I've read most of Sarina Bowen's books, and there hasn't been one I've read that I didn't enjoy. But I haven't loved one quite as much as Goodbye Paradise. The Understatement of the Year is a close second, so it's safe to say this author has quite the knack for M/M romance. Caleb and Joshua are from a polygamist compound. They have been best friends their entire life, but there has always been feelings there, lingering between them. For Joshua, he's always wanted his best friend, Caleb. Even if he knew it was something he could never have. Caleb has always loved Joshua and has done his best to protect him in this world they're from. But there comes a point when protecting him is impossible, and all he can do is try to save him. My whole life I’d wanted this impossible thing. And I didn’t know why it was happening now. But it was everything I’d ever wanted. Joshua and Caleb have quite a journey. Caleb and Josh are both so strong in different ways. I don't want to talk much about the story-line, I loved experiencing it completely blind. Honesty, I just skimmed the blurb and that is it. I adored both of these boys and loved watching them come into their own. Their love for each other is inspiring. “Caleb,” he whispered against my skin. “Just make me yours.” “You,” I said, kissing him on the forehead, “are already mine. You have always been mine.” Caleb and Josh's story had just enough angst to keep you hooked, but it wasn't overboard. Honestly, it didn't need all the extras. Their story itself was powerful all on it's own. Josh and Caleb were so different, but they complimented each other. I loved them together so much. This story brought ALL the feels. Josh and Caleb are two characters you'll root for. Their story was so dang beautiful. Heart-felt, emotional, sexy, and a gorgeous friends to lovers tale- this story is about two best friends who fall in love, learn how to survive, and learn it's okay to be their true selves. I can't recommend this book enough. The best M/M I've read in a while, and one of my top books so far this year! “I could never help loving you. It’s just the way I’m wired.”

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lana ❇✾DG Romance❇✾

    5 STARS Caleb," he whispered against my skin. "Just make me yours." "You," I said, kissing him on the forehead, "are already mine." When was the last time you read a romance that was so powerful and sweet that you felt it touch your very soul? For me, that was today and this romance was this book. THIS BOOK. My god. I sobbed my way through almost the entire thing. I couldn't help myself. It wrecked me and it owned me all at once. I don't have enough praise to describe everything that wa 5 STARS Caleb," he whispered against my skin. "Just make me yours." "You," I said, kissing him on the forehead, "are already mine." When was the last time you read a romance that was so powerful and sweet that you felt it touch your very soul? For me, that was today and this romance was this book. THIS BOOK. My god. I sobbed my way through almost the entire thing. I couldn't help myself. It wrecked me and it owned me all at once. I don't have enough praise to describe everything that was this story. All I know is that Caleb and Josh's story is one that will stay in my heart forever, and as a voracious romance reader, I don't make that statement lightly. It was just that good. Nothing had ever felt better than lying in Caleb's arms. Caleb and Josh have been best friends for as long as they can remember. And Caleb has been Josh's confidant and protector just as long. Growing up in a religious cult where a man's worth is measured by his strength and ability to withstand hard labor, brainy Josh has always been at the bottom of the food chain. Caleb has always looked out for him and protected him, and Josh has been secretly in love with Caleb just as long. When it becomes evident that Josh will soon be tossed out, Caleb makes a plan to escape. Having nothing to their name, no IDs, no money, they only have each other to lean on when they end up in a world that Josh had no idea existed and Caleb only had quick glimpses of. Caleb has always been the strong one, but Josh has always been his strength. Unbeknownst to Josh, Caleb has been in love with his best friend but much better at hiding it. Now that they're out, there's nothing holding them back from being together but each other. Maybe I'd craved him all my life, but I was his first, too. I felt powerful because of it. This was such a powerful story of an emotional journey of two boys growing into men with nothing to guide them through it but each other. There's no crazy drama, no silly angst. Absolutely nothing to take away from the incredibly poignant romance. The secondary characters only served to strengthen the story and add another touching layer to something that was already solid to begin with. I loved the friendships and bonds that these boys formed through their journey. Every secondary character drove the plot further and just connected me to the story that much more. I adored Caleb's strength, but what I loved even more was Josh's silent and unassuming strength. They balanced each other so well and their undying devotion to the other was nothing if not incredibly touching. Hi baby," he said under his breath. He leaned in and kissed me on the lips, right in front of God and everyone. This book is exactly why I'm such a huge fan of this author. It was romantic and powerful, sweet and emotional, it was touching and poignant and everything that I love about romance. It was one of the most unforgettable romances I've read in a long while and I simply can't recommend it enough. ARC courtesy of author in exchange for an honest review Find me on:

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Reads Ravenously

    5 stars! Okay. Shut the front door. What friggin rock have I been living under that I had never heard of this book before????? Goodbye Paradise was originally published under the title In Front of God and Everyone. Sarina Bowen is now republishing it with a new cover and title. Josh and Caleb live in a cult, the two are best friends. But Josh feels something more for Caleb, something forbidden. And when Josh gets dumped in the middle of nowhere by the cult, Caleb needs to find him. “It’s a sin. 5 stars! Okay. Shut the front door. What friggin rock have I been living under that I had never heard of this book before????? Goodbye Paradise was originally published under the title In Front of God and Everyone. Sarina Bowen is now republishing it with a new cover and title. Josh and Caleb live in a cult, the two are best friends. But Josh feels something more for Caleb, something forbidden. And when Josh gets dumped in the middle of nowhere by the cult, Caleb needs to find him. “It’s a sin.” “No,” he whispered, still stroking my face. “Hurting someone is a sin. Did I hurt you?” “No.” “Does this hurt someone else? Are you going to marry a woman, Josh? Am I keeping you from that?” “No.” I fell in love with this story. Caleb and Josh are my new book boyfriends, even if they love each other and not me. I’ll just be the fly on the wall of their relationship like the perve I am. I thought the cult aspect made the story very interesting, because an environment like that can bring so much hate into a person’s life, and it obviously affected these two men very greatly. This story was only a wee bit angsty, I wish it had been more. But I love my angst. Caleb also used the word baby, and while normally I don’t care for that, it felt so genuine and made my heart melt. You could feel his love and protectiveness he felt for Josh. Caleb was kind of like an alpha male, but without all the frustration. Both guys were amazing. Josh was a vulnerable man and I loved seeing him find his bravery and his strength. This book was seriously hot, emotional at times, and swoon worthy. Make this the next book you pick up! “My whole life I’d wished for things. But I’d never known how confusing it might be to see my wishes come true.” ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review Follow me on ♥ Facebook ♥ Blog ♥ Instagram ♥ Twitter ♥

  6. 4 out of 5

    ~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~

    Thanks to all my peeps for putting this book on my radar. This is an incredibly sweet (maybe too sweet), sexy story of two young men leaving a cult and making a go at life together. I loved all the smexy. I loved the HEA. I loved Maggie and Dylan and baby Chloe. How could anyone not love all that? However, I expected more real-life angst and internal conflict. These boys were raised in an abusive, polygamist compound. They were both virgins and taught that homosexuality, any sex outside marriage Thanks to all my peeps for putting this book on my radar. This is an incredibly sweet (maybe too sweet), sexy story of two young men leaving a cult and making a go at life together. I loved all the smexy. I loved the HEA. I loved Maggie and Dylan and baby Chloe. How could anyone not love all that? However, I expected more real-life angst and internal conflict. These boys were raised in an abusive, polygamist compound. They were both virgins and taught that homosexuality, any sex outside marriage really, was a sin. While Josh is hesitant at first, Caleb (the more worldly one, as he was allowed to run errands outside the compound) is all in. Don't get me wrong; I'm not complaining. These boys burn up the sheets. I'm especially fond of the scene against the kitchen counter. But when I compare this book to Keira Andrews' A Forbidden Rumspringa, it falls short. There just wasn't the depth of feeling here, and I found myself rolling my eyes through Caleb's little martyr moment at the end. Everybody in this book is good, SO SO good: Washington, Maggie & family, the guys at the shop where Caleb works, Caleb's boss, Maggie's catering partner. I needed more conflict, fewer typos. I'm still going with 4 stars because I really liked how the story played out, even if it was too easy. I'm a sucker for friends-to-lovers stories, and Caleb & Josh were so hot together and so in love. Plus, Josh caring for baby Chloe melted me every single time.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Saswati

    “I love you.” I could say that without guilt. Because loving someone wasn’t a sin. Other things… sure. But love could never be a crime. Goodbye Paradise follows Josh and Caleb, two 20-year olds, as they escape from an extreme polygamous cult in the middle of nowhere, and try to find a better life for themselves. A tale of yearning, suffering, hope and new beginnings, this is one of those books that somehow makes its way into my heart and refuses to leave. Along with the story, I adored all the “I love you.” I could say that without guilt. Because loving someone wasn’t a sin. Other things… sure. But love could never be a crime. Goodbye Paradise follows Josh and Caleb, two 20-year olds, as they escape from an extreme polygamous cult in the middle of nowhere, and try to find a better life for themselves. A tale of yearning, suffering, hope and new beginnings, this is one of those books that somehow makes its way into my heart and refuses to leave. Along with the story, I adored all the characters in it, specially baby Chole 💖 With Josh's quiet strength and Caleb's fierce protectiveness, this book was sweet, hot and a bit different from the ones I usually read. I highly recommend it! “Caleb,” he whispered against my skin. “Just make me yours.” “You,” I said, kissing him on the forehead, “are already mine. You have always been mine.”

  8. 5 out of 5

    Elise ✘ a.k.a Ryder's Pet ✘

    Second re-read: 06.05.2021 Couldn't help the re-reading. Caleb and Josh are so cute together. I really like this story. My problem this time around was (view spoiler)[the change between Caleb and Josh when Miriam entered the picture. They kinda did a flip in personality between each other. While it was nice to see Josh taking charge of his life, it was frankly too fast of a flip. At least it felt like it (hide spoiler)] . That said, I enjoyed this re-read. Have anyone read book two in this ser Second re-read: 06.05.2021 Couldn't help the re-reading. Caleb and Josh are so cute together. I really like this story. My problem this time around was (view spoiler)[the change between Caleb and Josh when Miriam entered the picture. They kinda did a flip in personality between each other. While it was nice to see Josh taking charge of his life, it was frankly too fast of a flip. At least it felt like it (hide spoiler)] . That said, I enjoyed this re-read. Have anyone read book two in this series? Is it good? Even after all these years, I still haven't read it... Re-read: 13.09.2018 Caleb and Josh's story is so beautiful it actually makes me teary. It gorgeously written and I love seeing the grow. I'm still wishing we'd gotten more from these two, to see them as adults and all that. It not a perfect book, but it a story definitely worth reading and recommended. I hope to everything out there that Sarina Bowen will write more M/M, because her M/M books are awesome! Just another day in Paradise. ⋰⋱⋰⋱⋰⋱*Finding a home*⋰⋱⋰⋱⋰⋱ Strange as this book was, I actually liked it. I liked the beautiful friendship/relationship Joshua ‘Josh’ ‘Joshy’ Royce (19, becomes 20?) and Caleb Smith (20, becomes 21) had. I adored their clumsiness and getting to know each other outside of Paradise Compound. It was quite beautiful to read. I liked Caleb being a bit alpha male and always wanting to take care of - and love - Josh. I liked how adorable Josh was, with Chloe, with the cows, with Caleb. I adored watching them find themselves, getting to know who they are. Overall, the story was interesting, the couple was cute and adorable and the side characters were nice to get to know. Though I didn't love this book, I really did like it, and I want more of Josh and Caleb. “Just make me yours.” “You,” I said, kissing him on the forehead, “are already mine. You have always been mine.” Quick basic facts: Genre: - (NA) Contemporary Romance (M/M) Series: - Series (Standalone?), Book One Love triangle? - (view spoiler)[No. (hide spoiler)] Cheating? - (view spoiler)[No. (hide spoiler)] HEA? - (view spoiler)[Yes. (hide spoiler)] Favorite character? - Caleb Smith. Would I read more by this author/or of series? - Sure. Would I recommend this book/series? - Yes. Will I read this again in the future? - Who knows. Rating - 3.5 stars.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mirjana **DTR - Down to Read**

    **1/17/18 - Listening to the audio book! Friends to lovers is my favoritest trope in all the land and I felt it was time to revisit one of my favorite books!! I absolutely ADORED this book when I read it a couple of years ago and can't wait to revisit Caleb and Josh!! ♥ ♥ Plus the audio book was on sale....and you know that's a sign from the book gods to haul ass and pick up the audio book! ** ------------------------------------------- ***2/8/17 UPDATE: Looks like we now have answers! Mind. Blow **1/17/18 - Listening to the audio book! Friends to lovers is my favoritest trope in all the land and I felt it was time to revisit one of my favorite books!! I absolutely ADORED this book when I read it a couple of years ago and can't wait to revisit Caleb and Josh!! ♥ ♥ Plus the audio book was on sale....and you know that's a sign from the book gods to haul ass and pick up the audio book! ** ------------------------------------------- ***2/8/17 UPDATE: Looks like we now have answers! Mind. Blown. These books were originally published by Sarina Bowen under the penname Nealy Wagner. Below is a link to her announcement. She'll be re-releasing both books in this series under her name and with new titles. https://sarina-bowen.squarespace.com/... Per her Facebook post, this book (which was originally titled In Front of God and Everyone but will be changed to Goodbye Paradise) will have barely any content changes. The second book will be more heavily revised. 7/8/16 UPDATE: Please see note at the bottom of review regarding trying to locate this book :( I'm so sad.*** -------------------------------------------- Please note my review is for the original version of this book published previously under Sarina Bowen's penname. My reference below to editing issues may have been addressed and corrected in the re-released book. -------------------------------------------- ***5 Stars*** Hear ye! HEAR YE!!! This book....plain and simple... I literally just finished the book and sit here in the midst of the happiest, most wonderful book high! The sweetness, the sexiness, the love, the touch of angst... I'm not gonna a lie...I was a little worried after reading the blurb. Was it gonna be all preachy and religous-y? Was I going to have to read pages and pages about brainwashed boys who are ashamed of who they are? And the simple answer to that... GAH!!!! Seriously...I'm bursting here. Caleb and Josh were just.... They balanced each other so well. Even though outwardly, and more obviously, Caleb took care of Josh, but what Josh possessed was a more quiet strength. With each passing day, just by being himself, he was a pillar of stability for those around him. Without second thought he righted the scales and helped balance the load. But don't be fooled, these two virgins (oh yes, you read that right) knew how to ignite the spark of passion, too. Every kiss, caress and touch came from a deep rooted yearning and longing to be together. And what you get here is both the perfect quantity and damn good quality!! Are there things that I could nitpick here? Yes (I'm looking at you editing errors). But will I? Why? Because the story, Caleb and Josh, the secondary characters...this book owned me with every word that I read. And that epilogue? That GLORIOUS epilogue?? What more can I say?? This book is going on my favorites shelf. Caleb and Josh are going on my favorite couples shelf. I want this in paperback. I will most definitely be re-reading this in the future. Still teetering on whether or not to read the book? Let me give you some advice to help you make good life choices... **So, it appears that this book and the author have disappeared! I got the books a couple of months ago, and now they're gone from every retailer's website. First off, I want to say that I hope everything is okay with the author. I've asked around and no one seems to know anything. Such an abrupt departure can mean anything, but I hope it's nothing bad. And second, this breaks my heart because I want everyone to read this book! I want to shout it from the mountaintops. I'm hoping that this disappearance is temporary and she'll return soon, because after just one book (and a debut to boot!) she's got a serious fan in me...I'd easily put Nealy Wagner on my autobuy list. I'll be staying on top of this and hopefully she'll come back to our reading world soon.**

  10. 5 out of 5

    *J* Too Many Books Too Little Time

    This Book. It had me smiling and swooning like a lunatic. I was hesitant to read this one because I thought it would be too religious-y. WRONG. I also thought it might too farm-y. WRONG again. Josh really grabbed a hold of me from the get-go. And Josh and Caleb together were just.... I honestly loved everything about this one. I smiled. I laughed. I definitely swooned. I was hot and bothered (don't let these two virgins fool you...talk about some heat between the sheets....and on the kitchen coun This Book. It had me smiling and swooning like a lunatic. I was hesitant to read this one because I thought it would be too religious-y. WRONG. I also thought it might too farm-y. WRONG again. Josh really grabbed a hold of me from the get-go. And Josh and Caleb together were just.... I honestly loved everything about this one. I smiled. I laughed. I definitely swooned. I was hot and bothered (don't let these two virgins fool you...talk about some heat between the sheets....and on the kitchen counter ;)). Hell I even cried. That ending. Loved this one.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sabrina

    NOW LIVE *Amazon*B&N*Kobo* Goodbye Paradise shocked me with how much I enjoyed it. In all honesty I was nervous that it would be too involved in religion being that it was about members of a cult. But I had nothing to worry about because that wasn't the case at all. The main focus was on Caleb and Josh, and the cult just happened to be where they came from. I was happy that it didn't have too much of an impact on the story. Though, it certainly had an affect on these characters but the author wrot NOW LIVE *Amazon*B&N*Kobo* Goodbye Paradise shocked me with how much I enjoyed it. In all honesty I was nervous that it would be too involved in religion being that it was about members of a cult. But I had nothing to worry about because that wasn't the case at all. The main focus was on Caleb and Josh, and the cult just happened to be where they came from. I was happy that it didn't have too much of an impact on the story. Though, it certainly had an affect on these characters but the author wrote them in such a way that the troubles they had adjusting to life out of the cult only added to the story. I really liked that we got to see how Josh and Caleb helped each other and trusted one another a great deal. Neither of them had a problem needing help and I loved that about them. Josh was the one that had a harder time getting used to life not led my the cult leaders. His struggles really made me like his characters because I loved seeing him push through and not give up. He was my favorite character out of the whole book and I just adored him. Bottom line, this is a must read for all M/M lovers and I think most people will love these two together as much as I did. Goodbye Paradise Playlist: All We Know - The Chainsmokers Roam - Theia Not Going Home - DVBBS Trouble - R3hab Faded On You Love - Griffin Stoller Love Gun - Tess ARC kindly provided in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Kyle

    3.75 - 4 Stars

  13. 4 out of 5

    Astrid - The Bookish Sweet Tooth

    4.5 STARS ☆~☆~☆~☆~☆~☆~☆~☆~☆~☆ Review @ Vanilla & Spice Books ☆~☆~☆~☆~☆~☆~☆~☆~☆~☆ If you have read Sarina Bowen's True North series a lot will sound familiar. This MM romance is set in this world and there are people mentioned we have met. It gives me a fuzzy, warm feeling being back in this setting. Short summary Caleb and Joshua grew up as best friends. There hasn't been a day in their lives that they didn't spend time. The place they grew up at is called Paradise and it is everything but. In fact i 4.5 STARS ☆~☆~☆~☆~☆~☆~☆~☆~☆~☆ Review @ Vanilla & Spice Books ☆~☆~☆~☆~☆~☆~☆~☆~☆~☆ If you have read Sarina Bowen's True North series a lot will sound familiar. This MM romance is set in this world and there are people mentioned we have met. It gives me a fuzzy, warm feeling being back in this setting. Short summary Caleb and Joshua grew up as best friends. There hasn't been a day in their lives that they didn't spend time. The place they grew up at is called Paradise and it is everything but. In fact it's a polygamist cult with a strict hierarchy and rules. And if you don't follow them you're getting kicked out like garbage. What this means to a person who has never set foot into the outside world is unfathomable. But I'm rambling... Josh is at the lower end of the food chain, his future at the compound looks bleak. Being bullied is a daily occurrence. The one person who lifts his spirits everyday is Caleb. He has secretly loved and been in love with his best friend forever but loving a man is a sin and will result in being thrown to the curb. However, it is not Josh's feelings for Caleb that gets him kicked from the compound but a missing gun and since he was the last doing inventory he is being blamed. Thankfully his loyal best friend prepares him and tells him to meet him at a bus station in Casper. Caleb is at the top of the food chain and has benefits the other members of the cult don't have, like spending time outside of the compound. When he runs away from the cult he has already a plan: make your way to Massachusetts, where another runaway is located who is only waiting to give people from the compound a leg up. On their way they meet sleazy people, giving them a healthy dose of reality but also well meaning ones, giving them hope. As they get more alone time with one another they open up to each other's feelings...but Josh struggles getting 20+ years of brainwash out of his mind. “I never want you to feel bad. We get to be honest with each other now. I’ve been dying, Josh. Wanting you. Wanting to tell you. I’m sorry if I scared you just now.” Ooops, that summary has become kind of long and I'm not even scratching the surface. Both Josh and Caleb are deeply loyal. Josh is the sweet, shy and innocent - almost naive - one. He loves Caleb unconditionally and selflessly and trusts his friend to always do right by him. “Caleb,” I whispered softly. “Mmm?” “What’s going to happen to us?” “Dunno,” he mumbled. “’ Cept we’re going to stay together while we figure it out. No matter what.” “Okay,” I breathed. As time passes Josh gains more self esteem. It was beautiful to see how he stood up to Caleb when the situation asked for it. I was cheering him on for being brave because he didn't let people run over him. Caleb is the one in charge, taking responsibility and control even if it's misguided. He feels guilt for those he left behind at the cult and responsible to take care of Josh. He is the more adventurous of the two and the one with the self assurance. Caleb reciprocates Joshua's feelings absolutely but has always been good at hiding it. Finally he can act on them. These two are incredibly sweet and adorable together. You can feel their love for one another in every interaction and word. Caleb’s voice dropped low, and he said only one, soft word. “Okay?” There it was. That one sweet moment of concern. The one that told me that no matter how bossy he was when we got naked, I was always safe with him. That he would always take care of me if I needed him to. Josh struggles with their new relationship, especially the sexual part of it. He is brainwashed and still considers being in love with a man a sin. Slowly with the help of modern civilization and Caleb he comes to accept that it's OK to love a man. What made me take off half a star was a situation towards the end when Caleb acted a little bit out of character. It wasn't like him to be closed off and to shut out his best friend. I felt that was used a little bit for drama's sake. Eventually Caleb groveled and redeemed himself though. “Josh, never meant to hurt you.” My blood pressure was still off the charts. I could feel it throbbing in my neck. But somehow my voice was still steady. “You said that already. But it didn’t mean shit. So pardon me if I don’t need to hear it again. Now pick up your clothes and get out.” “Josh,” he swallowed and his throat worked. “I can’t think straight. Ever since last night, when I heard her tell Maggie…” “OUT!” I screamed. The relationship building between them worked very well, however, and I think the reason lies in them being so very different and complimenting and completing each other. They just worked. Steam, wit, hilarious and heart-wrenching moments, and a heart full of love for the main and side characters - it is what you will get when you read "Goodbye Paradise". I enjoyed myself immensely and I can't wait to get my hands on the next one in this series. Sarina Bowen's landscape and situation description is one of a kind and her writing style has become a favorite of mine.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Susan's Reviews

    Such an epic, heartwarming read! This was one of the first m/m novels I'd ever read. I have always been interested in stories about communes and this one sounded particularly interesting. Josh and Caleb, two inexperienced young men who have lived their entire lives on a secluded ranch in Wyoming, are expelled from the commune and hitch hike across the country in order to reach friends and sanctuary on the east coast. Such a beautiful love story. These two lifelong friends at last find acceptance Such an epic, heartwarming read! This was one of the first m/m novels I'd ever read. I have always been interested in stories about communes and this one sounded particularly interesting. Josh and Caleb, two inexperienced young men who have lived their entire lives on a secluded ranch in Wyoming, are expelled from the commune and hitch hike across the country in order to reach friends and sanctuary on the east coast. Such a beautiful love story. These two lifelong friends at last find acceptance and love outside the stifling confines of their commune, which was the only home they had ever known. I reread this book every few years, and it never disappoints! Highly recommended!

  15. 4 out of 5

    TheCrazyWorldOfABookLover

    In Front of God and Everyone tells the story of Josh and Caleb. They have spent majority of their lives living on a polygamist compound. When Josh is kicked out, Caleb also escapes and together they build a life on the outside, all the while trying to cope with this ‘new’ world they need to adjust to and dealing with their feelings for one another after being told most of their lives being gay is a sin. Overall, this was an extremely sweet friends to lover romance and hopeful story with two ver In Front of God and Everyone tells the story of Josh and Caleb. They have spent majority of their lives living on a polygamist compound. When Josh is kicked out, Caleb also escapes and together they build a life on the outside, all the while trying to cope with this ‘new’ world they need to adjust to and dealing with their feelings for one another after being told most of their lives being gay is a sin. Overall, this was an extremely sweet friends to lover romance and hopeful story with two very lovable characters. So why not a higher rating? I was kind of looking forward to getting more detail about the cult they grew up in and would have liked more time spent on that aspect. Only maybe 2 chapters cover their life in the cult, and even in those chapters and the rest of the time it is brought up only very minor detail is given. Any real detail or serious topics- like their life leading up to them leaving, their transition after they leave, the inner turmoil they must have felt having grown up in a cult that taught them being gay was wrong, the lead up to admitting their love for one another and dealing with the feelings of falling for their best friend, life for others in the cult - were just skirted over. I would have preferred a little more drama, a little more angst, and little more something to bring this to the next level. I just felt like there was so much untapped potential locked within this story and the author didn’t do much to let it out. And lastly, There were also some things that didn’t really make sense to me. (view spoiler)[One example - Josh has obviously been very sheltered living in the cult for most of his life. So he doesn't know what a Coke is, but he knows all about blowjobs? How is that believable? This happened a few times. Where their knowledge or actions just didn't seem plausible considering where they grew up. I also felt the drama created towards the end was very contrived. Caleb is head over heels in love with Josh and was willing to get caught escaping to be with Josh and take care of him. So his idea to break up and marry Maggie just didn’t make sense to me. It wasn’t on par with his feelings and actions throughout the book. (hide spoiler)] It was romantic and enjoyable as I mentioned above, but to ME, the blurb reads like this was going to be a more serious, emotional and angsty read, which I didn’t find it to be. If you’re looking for something on the lighter side with an M/M romance, I would say this book is for you. Find Me On: Instagram ❤ FB Page ❤ FB Blog ❤ Blog ❤ Twitter

  16. 4 out of 5

    P

    "Strong arms snaked around my waist and Caleb pulled me closer" Goodbye Paradise was such a beautiful book to read! Caleb and Josh are friends for all of thier lives. When they run away together, they've never expected that they'd be welcomed by anybody. But surely they were, Maggie take them in and help them settle down. The book's absolutely full of romantic moments making me swoon. These boys melted my heart and made me alive after the sad news about Chester Bennington this past week. Ther "Strong arms snaked around my waist and Caleb pulled me closer" Goodbye Paradise was such a beautiful book to read! Caleb and Josh are friends for all of thier lives. When they run away together, they've never expected that they'd be welcomed by anybody. But surely they were, Maggie take them in and help them settle down. The book's absolutely full of romantic moments making me swoon. These boys melted my heart and made me alive after the sad news about Chester Bennington this past week. There were so many good songs in my head while I was reading this book. Of course, it's all Linkin Park's and I'd not pretend that somewhere between the pages, it literally broke my heart into pieces for Chester and these boys. They love. They fight. They survive. That's all that matters. Goodbye Paradise is a slice-of-life story. Two boys find each other in their desperate moment. I can't even find words to describe how exquisite they are. I enjoyed watching them grow up and figure out what to do with their lives. They're yound and have a lot to be done. So the ending is something from heaven. I didn't see it coming and when it did come, I was so happy that I almost burst into tears. My playlist : Linkin Park - Heavy Linkin Park - In the end Linkin Park - Leave out all the rest Linkin Park - One more light Linkin Park - Numb Linkin Park - Waiting for the end Linkin Park - Battle Symphony Coldplay - Fix You Coldplay - The scientist

  17. 5 out of 5

    Optimist ♰King's Wench♰

    It's official. I don't think Sarina Bowen can write a book that doesn't give me a case of The Feels. I didn't lahhhahuuvvv Goodbye Paradise like I have with other books of hers, but I did really like it. Regardless of whether or not I lahhahuuvvv or like her books I always have an emotional response. I find her books cozy and homey which is what keeps me coming back for more. She does friends to lovers and family dynamics, whether it be through blood ties or choice, really well, and I tend to gr It's official. I don't think Sarina Bowen can write a book that doesn't give me a case of The Feels. I didn't lahhhahuuvvv Goodbye Paradise like I have with other books of hers, but I did really like it. Regardless of whether or not I lahhahuuvvv or like her books I always have an emotional response. I find her books cozy and homey which is what keeps me coming back for more. She does friends to lovers and family dynamics, whether it be through blood ties or choice, really well, and I tend to gravitate to the latter. Just to give a bit of background, Caleb and Josh have escaped from the same religious cult that Zach from her True North (which is MF) series did. They make their way to a farm in Massachusetts instead of Vermont which has been established by Maggie, another runaway from the Compound in Wyoming, and her husband, Daniel. Along the way they get picked up by an OTR truck river named Washington who turns into their first real friend outside of each other and a great secondary character. Caleb and Josh have been best friends since they were kids. Josh never really fit in on the Compound and they have a vile habit of culling the herd, so to speak. Good thing Caleb's been planning for this day and has a semblance of a plan. Josh has been gagaover his BFF since forever but failed to realize Caleb feels the same and his cluelessness was pretty adorable. Once that little tidbit is revealed these two can't get enough of each other, so there's not a lot of tension building. Both virgins, both filled with pent up need and both crazy about each other, but both have lived their entire lives in a highly repressed environment which I think Bowen handled well. They don't hop out of the closet ready to hit a Pride parade in full on rainbow regalia, though Caleb definitely handles the transition with greater ease than Josh. Josh carries a lot of shame and fear of rejection from those he's come to care about which makes him more cautious and wary of coming out. His reasons are justified and what made me really invest in them as a couple was the fact that Caleb didn't push. Their relationship strengthens and intensifies as their narrative unfolds. The world quieted down when I was in Caleb's arms. Calesh (shipped!) are totes adorbs. I liked both of them as individuals and as a couple. They yin and yang perfectly. They have very little drama. They have chemistry out the wazoo. They're hard not to like. I have to say I was surprised and maybe a little shocked at how bossy Caleb is during the sexy times and that he has such a potty mouth, but I ain't mad at it. He hit Google hard and made proper use of his time, it seems. Bossy in the bedroom is a hallmark of Bowen's and Josh likes to be bossed. A lot. However, what I liked best about Goodbye Paradise, as I have with many of Bowen's works is how these two are accepted into this little community. Not just by Daniel and Maggie but Caleb's and Maggies co-workers, Washington and his wife and Miriam. They create their own little family and both of them begin to really figure out who they are, how to live freely and independently and what they want out of life rather than have it mandated by some religious fanatic with an ulterior motive. Also, the HEA was very sweet and maybe caused an acute onset of allergies. Maybe. There were a couple of editing issues that are uncharacteristic of Bowen's work but nothing too egregious. If you're looking for a comfort read, look no further. A review copy was provided.

  18. 4 out of 5

    * A Reader Obsessed *

    4 Stars! You know, my only beef with this story is that Sarina Bowen hasn’t written more. This was very reminiscent of Keira Andrews’s Amish series, so if you loved those books like I did, then I’m positive you’ll love this. Once again, Bowen creates lovely, likeable, genuine MC’s, who have real struggles, and their love for each other is their strength. Caleb and Josh have lived their entire lives under the thumb of a polygamist religious cult, which is often cruel and always restrictive. Express 4 Stars! You know, my only beef with this story is that Sarina Bowen hasn’t written more. This was very reminiscent of Keira Andrews’s Amish series, so if you loved those books like I did, then I’m positive you’ll love this. Once again, Bowen creates lovely, likeable, genuine MC’s, who have real struggles, and their love for each other is their strength. Caleb and Josh have lived their entire lives under the thumb of a polygamist religious cult, which is often cruel and always restrictive. Expressing their true feelings for each other is absolutely not an option. When their luck runs out, they grab their chance to escape, and what a culture shock it is. Luckily, there’s outside help, and though it’s tough going, they slowly get their bearings while slowly exploring each other. Oh yeah… Seriously, this was so sweet, endearing, and scorching hot. As a warning, this did have some relationship angst, as well as some fretful situations and reveals. However, in books like these, love is intense and vital and necessary, it conquers, and it was beautiful.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Shile

    Im going to give this book 5 amazing He leaned in and kissed me on the lips, right in front of God and everyone stars... just coz it made me so happy. Josh and Caleb melted my heart... this book had a potential of being an angst book but it was not .. it was just full of rainbows, unicorns and butterflies. Josh taking care of baby Chloe .. awww so cute . Caleb taking care of Josh .. well swoon. “Hi baby,” he said under his breath. He leaned in and kissed me on the lips, right in front of God and Im going to give this book 5 amazing He leaned in and kissed me on the lips, right in front of God and everyone stars... just coz it made me so happy. Josh and Caleb melted my heart... this book had a potential of being an angst book but it was not .. it was just full of rainbows, unicorns and butterflies. Josh taking care of baby Chloe .. awww so cute . Caleb taking care of Josh .. well swoon. “Hi baby,” he said under his breath. He leaned in and kissed me on the lips, right in front of God and everyone. Well, we were alone out here. But it wasn’t something that I would have let him do a week ago.”

  20. 4 out of 5

    Barbara➰

    This was so, so sweet. My heart broke for these two boys and I wanted so badly for them to get their happy ending. They had led a hard life. It was nice seeing them learn new things together. I wanted to strangle Caleb that one time. But he finally gets over himself and realizes his mistake. You just know these two were meant for each other.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Heather K (dentist in my spare time)

    I absolutely love Sarina Bowen, so when I found out that a book I've owned for ages was actually written by an earlier pen name of Sarina, I knew I had to dig it out of my Kindle to read it. But then I saw that Teddy Hamilton narrated the audiobook, and I knew I had to have it. Honestly, I knew before I even started Goodbye Paradise that I would love it. It's just my kind of story, and Sarina Bowen writing M/M is pretty much a sure thing for me. And I did really love it, even with an uneven nar I absolutely love Sarina Bowen, so when I found out that a book I've owned for ages was actually written by an earlier pen name of Sarina, I knew I had to dig it out of my Kindle to read it. But then I saw that Teddy Hamilton narrated the audiobook, and I knew I had to have it. Honestly, I knew before I even started Goodbye Paradise that I would love it. It's just my kind of story, and Sarina Bowen writing M/M is pretty much a sure thing for me. And I did really love it, even with an uneven narration that ended up being distracting for me. Teddy Hamilton really slayed the narration, like I knew he would. I wish he narrated both parts, or I wish an equally skilled narrator was his partner because Teddy carried that story. Dake Bliss was very choppy and lacked emotion, and I really disliked his parts. Sure, I've listened to worse, but going from Teddy to Dake was jarring and certainly affected my enjoyment of the story. Still, Sarina delivered with an emotional, lovely story with two men who went through hell to find their HEA. I loved their romance and the supporting characters, and it only made me more excited for Sarina's newer stuff. goodreads|instagram|twitter|blog

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jewel

    4.5 Stars I love it when a book takes me by surprise. In Front of God and Everyone was a Bookbub special a few weeks ago, and the reviews were good, so even though I wasn't familiar with the author, I said, 'why not'. And it kind of sat on my Kindle for a bit and the cover taunted me some. So, finally, I gave in at the book's insistence that I read it. And, yeah, I was a bit surprised. Not that it was good, though. The reviews from trusted sources told me that, but that I would find it to be such 4.5 Stars I love it when a book takes me by surprise. In Front of God and Everyone was a Bookbub special a few weeks ago, and the reviews were good, so even though I wasn't familiar with the author, I said, 'why not'. And it kind of sat on my Kindle for a bit and the cover taunted me some. So, finally, I gave in at the book's insistence that I read it. And, yeah, I was a bit surprised. Not that it was good, though. The reviews from trusted sources told me that, but that I would find it to be such an uplifting book. You see, this story had the potential for some serious angst in the 'I hate myself' variety. And the 'you are sinful and evil and filled with Satan' variety. But that isn't what I got. What I got was an uplifting story about two young men finding their way in the real world after leaving the only way of life they had known. For much of the book, I watched Josh be so careful so that no one else would catch on to his relationship with Caleb. He was scared he would lose the only good things in life he has ever had. So, yeah, I was surprised when his fears were unfounded and I was happy that he and Caleb were able to find their happy. That's not to say there isn't any angst, though. There is, but again, it isn't really what I expected (didn't keep me from wanting to smack one of the MC's for being such a bonehead, though). And a special shout out to Washington, the older gentleman who rescued Josh and Caleb from a truck stop when they were trying to find a ride to Massachusetts. He was awesome, and it helps my wavering faith in humanity to see that not everyone is out to take advantage of those in need. He's a hero in this book. But not the only one. Needless to say, but I will say it anyway, I recommend In Front of God and Everyone, even to the religion wary. There's not a lot of hate found in these pages. But there is an abundance of love and acceptance.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jacqueline's Reads

    5 Sugary Sweet Stars Goodbye Paradise was originally published in 2015 under a different title (In Front of God & Everyone) and is (to my excitement) re-released under a different title and cover. YAY! This is a MM book and I have to tell you, I’m starting to like (love) MM books. The romance is hot and I find reading about the same sex issues (things they have to deal with, especially towards society), really fascinating to read. This isn’t a cult book, but the Heroes of the book escape from a cu 5 Sugary Sweet Stars Goodbye Paradise was originally published in 2015 under a different title (In Front of God & Everyone) and is (to my excitement) re-released under a different title and cover. YAY! This is a MM book and I have to tell you, I’m starting to like (love) MM books. The romance is hot and I find reading about the same sex issues (things they have to deal with, especially towards society), really fascinating to read. This isn’t a cult book, but the Heroes of the book escape from a cult, which sets an interesting setting for the story. Caleb is the hard worker. In the cult he has a good standing and will soon have plenty of wives. Joshua isn’t that strong as a worker and everyday he struggles to maintain his worth in the cult. The thing about the Compound they are from, the weak men are tossed aside. Caleb and Josh soon find themselves on their own. They have some experience in the outside world so it’s not a completely shock to them, but the feelings they feel. Well that’s different. The thing that really worked for me in this book was that they two main characters were from a cult so their mindset was different and they were both gay. It was interesting to read how scared Josh was to reveal anything about himself to anyone. I also loved that they two Heroes are best friends and truly cared for each other. I loved all the characters Caleb and Josh come across and it added a little something to the story. Overall, the read was really sweet and intriguing. I liked the way the book was broken into parts and each part was from either Caleb or Josh’s POV. AN ARC was provided

  24. 4 out of 5

    Fabi

    Oh my goodness! This one was really special. I can't help but round it up to five stars. It was sad and sweet and the happy parts were all that much more poignant because of the sadness they'd overcome. A beautiful new adult romance about two people who overcame incredible odds to find their HEA. If you want mushy insides, read this one. ;-) An Audible Romance Package selection. Oh my goodness! This one was really special. I can't help but round it up to five stars. It was sad and sweet and the happy parts were all that much more poignant because of the sadness they'd overcome. A beautiful new adult romance about two people who overcame incredible odds to find their HEA. If you want mushy insides, read this one. ;-) An Audible Romance Package selection.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Wendys Wycked Words

    Wow this book was so sweet, but without being corny or sugary. It was also really hot, which I did not expect at all....so big plus !! Caleb and Josh have been living their whole 20 years in a cult. They have always been best friends and were Caleb is respected...Josh is not. This is a bigamist cult where the grown men have up to 5 wives. Ofcourse this means that there are too many men and not enough women to go around. No all the men are excpected to get married. Caleb is, but Josh not so mu Wow this book was so sweet, but without being corny or sugary. It was also really hot, which I did not expect at all....so big plus !! Caleb and Josh have been living their whole 20 years in a cult. They have always been best friends and were Caleb is respected...Josh is not. This is a bigamist cult where the grown men have up to 5 wives. Ofcourse this means that there are too many men and not enough women to go around. No all the men are excpected to get married. Caleb is, but Josh not so much....and he knows this. Josh also knows that the unwanted men, like himself, disappear and when he get's accused of stealing, he knows something is up. So does his best friend Caleb. He warns Josh to put on his best clothes and to meet him at the busstation, when the time comes for him to get kicked out. Josh is a bit confused by this. He has always had sinful thoughts about his best friend, but Caleb, he is in love with Miriam (their other friend) and he's supposed to marry her, she alredy asked him once. He can have a good life in the cult. Why would he want to leave that behind, to be with Josh.... Josh does get kicked out and Caleb does meet him at the busstation. They find an amazing truckdriver, who takes them crosscountry to Miriams sister, who's escaped the cult years ago. She and her husband want to take these boys in and share their home with them. On this roadtrip, Josh finds out exactly why Caleb wanted to go with them. Seems their love was quite mutual....and it was amazing to read !! They make theirselves home at their new house with Maggie and Dylan (awesome sidecharacters) and try to make the best of things. Caleb starts looking for a job, while Josh focuses on the cown and the new baby in the house....he was awesome with Chloe !! They want a place of their own however....how else can they have noisy sex ? Talking about sex....the steam in this one was awesome. These boys were very hot together but in such a freaking sweet way !! Eventhough there wasn't a lot of angst in this one after they left the cult, I wasn't bored at all. The story just pulled me in and I wanted to know everything about these two amazing guys. Caleb does pull a douche-move towards the end, but Josh kicked his ass for it ;) 5 stars from me and a big "Thank you" to Susan for the rec !! ;)

  26. 4 out of 5

    Carmen Rae

    So obviously, Sarina Bowen could write a tampon ad and I would have to read it. And since she is one of very few authors who the leading characters gender makes very little difference even though the m/m genre isn't one I actively search out. And yet every single one of her books has been such a massive hit for me. I hadn't heard of the original version of this book so when I got the opportunity to read this one I just read the blurb and dove right on in. I was expecting a lot of angst and heartb So obviously, Sarina Bowen could write a tampon ad and I would have to read it. And since she is one of very few authors who the leading characters gender makes very little difference even though the m/m genre isn't one I actively search out. And yet every single one of her books has been such a massive hit for me. I hadn't heard of the original version of this book so when I got the opportunity to read this one I just read the blurb and dove right on in. I was expecting a lot of angst and heartbreak. I am incredibly happy to say there wasn't a lot of either and instead I got an absolutely beautiful love story. But in true Sarina Bowen form it did also include some smoking hot sex scenes. The book is told in large sections of alternate point of views continuing on from each other. But it also includes a lot of background information and the details on the cult and their lives within it were so detailed I felt like I was there with them. I love the fact that having read the true north series I already knew a little bit about paradise from Leah and Isaac. And although it had no impact on the story and wouldn't matter if you hadn't read them it just added a little something to the story for me. The secondary characters in this were as beautiful as the main men and despite the fact I did shed a few tears this was just an all round sweet story. Caleb and Josh were the perfect heroes and watching them enter and adapt to a whole new world had me up to 3am because there was no way I could put the book down. This is one of those rare reads where everything worked so perfectly that I want there to be another ten books in their story just so I can stay with them. Honestly even if m/m isn't your thing you need to read this book. Pre order it here http://amzn.to/2mGTDks Check out my reviews here

  27. 4 out of 5

    Talia (Red Hot Ink)

    ARC kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review I was immediately intrigued by the originality of the premise. I'd never read anything set, even partially, in a religious community/cult. Even just this thing alone set Goodbye Paradise apart from every other MM romance, and book in general, I've ever read. Because, you see, their harsh religious upbringing had such a huge influence on the romance itself. But I'll get to that later. Now, let's talk about the reason this book deser ARC kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review I was immediately intrigued by the originality of the premise. I'd never read anything set, even partially, in a religious community/cult. Even just this thing alone set Goodbye Paradise apart from every other MM romance, and book in general, I've ever read. Because, you see, their harsh religious upbringing had such a huge influence on the romance itself. But I'll get to that later. Now, let's talk about the reason this book deserves all the stars. Josh and Caleb. Josh is the gentle soul of the two. Not being born in the elite of the community, he grew up thinking he'd never be as good as the others in manual work, and that therefore he'd be "tossed away" from the community. From the very beginning, we know of his feelings for his best friend, Caleb. Feelings he tries with all his might to quench and to deny. Almost resigned to his fate, he doesn't know that Caleb has a plan. When his worst fears become a reality, also his wildest dreams do. So the two boys find themselves alone, out in the real world, and finally give in to their passions and feelings. They manage to find a home at a friend's relative house, where they try to build their new lives, but decades of ingrained beliefs, guilt and other obstacles will test our heroes' strength and love. Now, before this brief "trying-not-to-be-too-spoiler-ish" summarization, let me tell you what I absolutely adored. The characters. All of them. They were so fantastically human. At first I was afraid Josh would be the weak-link of the duo, being so insecure and seemingly emotionally frail, instead he flourished at the farm with Maggie, little Chloe (Maggie's newborn daugher), his cows and just taking care of those he loves. He's just so innocent, kind and endearing. Caleb instead is the more assertive one. He's good with engines and at making decisions. He knows what he wants, but is also conflicted. He's abandoned more than just an oppressing community and his past will catch up with him. It was almost a relief for me to read about Josh being the strong one when it came to fighting for their relationship. At first, he was the more troubled one about being in love with another dude, while Caleb had embraced who he was without many reservations. But when hard times really hit, it was Josh who saved the day (view spoiler)[I simply squealed with joy (I know it sounds weird) when he threw Caleb's stuff outside of the window and put him in front of what he'd accidentally done: discarded him. It showed how deeply in love Josh was with him, and also how unfair Caleb was being. It was simply perfect. He made the perfect point of the situation with just a few sentences. Nothing would have convinced Caleb to change is mind if not reversing the roles in the situation. And Josh did just that. (hide spoiler)] . Also, seeing him interact with newborn Chloe was priceless. It melted my heart. The two of them together oozed meant-to-be from their every pore. They were so different, yet they never question their love for each other. They were so great together, so in tune that it didn't bother me at all how soon the ILUs were exchanged. It made perfect sense to me that two people who'd been best friends since forever would finally claim their love for each other short after being free from their cult's thumb. Also, the hot parts of this book were definitely meaningful. The perceived forbidden quality of their love added spice and a bit of desperation, especially at the beginning, while deepening their feelings throughout the narration. The supporting characters were equally as amazing. Daniel, Maggie's husband with his acceptance but also frustration at seeing Josh taking such good care of his daughter, Maggie, so bright and alive, but also suffering from something many readers will be able to relate to. And then Washington, the truck driver who was the guys' true saving grace. There weren't many plot twists or much angst in general, and I loved it. It gave the characters time to develop and to get used to being with the other, especially Caleb and Josh given how, prior to escaping, they'd hardly been allowed to look or speak at each other freely. All in all, Goodbye Paradise was a unique book, truly heart-felt and sweet, but not sugarcoated or make-believe. It was sometimes raw, overall human. I certainly know the ending will be loved by many, me included. Now I cannot wait to see how the story will go on in Hello Paradise.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dia

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 1,5 stars This one was tough to rate. I am right between 1 star for didn't like it and 2 for it was OK. I will go with 1,5 rounded up, because I enjoyed parts of it. It started pretty well actually. I have read some stories with religious cults, but this one was the most boring of them all. Maybe it's all my fault for diving in with big expectations. There are SO many 4 and 5 stars reviews, so I had such big hopes. Ugh, I never learn!! I expected much more here. For some reasons I didn't think the 1,5 stars This one was tough to rate. I am right between 1 star for didn't like it and 2 for it was OK. I will go with 1,5 rounded up, because I enjoyed parts of it. It started pretty well actually. I have read some stories with religious cults, but this one was the most boring of them all. Maybe it's all my fault for diving in with big expectations. There are SO many 4 and 5 stars reviews, so I had such big hopes. Ugh, I never learn!! I expected much more here. For some reasons I didn't think the main characters would leave the compound so fast. And after they were free they didn't really face any challenges. They were fortunate enough to meet Washington, then they got to Maggie and Daniel's house and everything kind of fell into place. Then nothing really happens! Caleb works. Josh takes care of Maggie's baby girl. Months pass, they hide their relationship. There are some hot scenes, but I think it all happened a little too fast and wasn't credible at all.  When Miriam came into their lives I had no idea what would happen. I didn't see it coming, Caleb wanting to marry her and for what.. some sort of duty and misplaced anger?! How was he responsible for what happened to her?? He didn't abandon her there, she chose to stay. And yes, what happened to her was horrible, but to want to marry her and be a father to her child is NOT OK!!! Especially when he said he loved Josh and Maggie and Daniel already knew about their relationship. I rolled my eyes big time and finished the book only because I was buddy reading it with my best friend, but it was a struggle... I found this story simple, bland and nothing really happened... Their wedding was sweet, but that's just it. Yes, they get their HEA and Washington being there for the big moment was endearing, but I just wished they would have taken down the compound, saved the other young girls, inform the authorities, I don't know... SOMETHING! ANYTHING! Ugh!!! I'm sure I will forget this in a few days. Nothing made me enjoy the story, nothing worth remembering anyway. Or maybe I will remember that Caleb was determined to marry a woman, even if he was gay, and said he loved Josh... still he was determined to make such a big mistake! He hurt Josh, and was about to condemn himself to a miserable life with a woman who deserved to find someone who loved her!!! What was he thinking?!? It was beyond childish and stupid!!! So I am disappointed and I don't think I will read the second book in the series. I reached my limit.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Angela (Reading Frenzy Book Blog)

    Sometimes the hardest book reviews for me to write are for the books I enjoy the most. I fell truly, madly, deeply in love with Goodbye Paradise by Sarina Bowen, and even though I’ve spent a day trying to find something insightful to say, basically all I’ve got is that you should read this book. I have a confession to make. Sarina Bowen never steers me wrong, but I put off reading this book. Cults are freaky. The last romance novel I read that took place in a religious cult setting was so utterl Sometimes the hardest book reviews for me to write are for the books I enjoy the most. I fell truly, madly, deeply in love with Goodbye Paradise by Sarina Bowen, and even though I’ve spent a day trying to find something insightful to say, basically all I’ve got is that you should read this book. I have a confession to make. Sarina Bowen never steers me wrong, but I put off reading this book. Cults are freaky. The last romance novel I read that took place in a religious cult setting was so utterly depressing I felt emotionally drained reading it. I had to double-check that it was, in fact, classified as a romance. So yeah, I was hesitant, but I swear I hadn’t even finished the first chapter and I was hooked. I devoured this book in a day and I wanted to go back for seconds. The effects of growing up in a repressive religious commune as a deeply closeted gay man are long lasting for Joshua. He is such a gentle soul, but others see him as weak and disposable. Fortunately, his best friend, Caleb, is strong and wise and has always had his back. Unfortunately, Josh has secretly been in love with Caleb for ages. The way Josh and Caleb re-build their lives post-cult is so touching. I adored every tense, sweet, vulnerable, and joyous minute of their phenomenal journey. The friends they make along the way are easy to love. Profoundly moving, I believe this is some of Sarina’s best work. And she definitively proves that she’s no lightweight in the sultry department. Caleb and Josh’s chemistry is of the nuclear variety. If you’re a fan of M/M romance, you should read this book. If you believe in love being a beacon in the darkest of moments, give this book a try. If you just want to escape and feel encouraged for a few hours, I highly recommend Goodbye Paradise. Recommended for fans of: M/M romance Starting over Mannies **ARC received in exchange for an honest review.**

  30. 5 out of 5

    Corina

    Interesting enough I read two M/M novels back to back. That usually does not happen but in this case I didn't mind at all!! I can't say it often enough but Sarina Bowen is one of my favorite go-to authors for M/M. She has a certain way of evoking feelings in me that I would never have thought I would fell reading a male/male romance. Goodbye Paradise was the best example. I ADORED this book. From the very first page I was hooked, engaged and invested. Josh and Caleb's story was raw, different and ma Interesting enough I read two M/M novels back to back. That usually does not happen but in this case I didn't mind at all!! I can't say it often enough but Sarina Bowen is one of my favorite go-to authors for M/M. She has a certain way of evoking feelings in me that I would never have thought I would fell reading a male/male romance. Goodbye Paradise was the best example. I ADORED this book. From the very first page I was hooked, engaged and invested. Josh and Caleb's story was raw, different and made my heart ache. For me what stood out the most was where Josh and Caleb came from. Josh would have been killed for his feelings if he would have acted on it. And Caleb would have been asked to marry a women and would have lived his life a lie. That alone was incredibly heart breaking. At the end (or maybe better at the beginning) Josh was cast out by the community members. Caleb had an inkling about what was coming and prepared him the best he could, but OMG I wasn't sure if everything would work out. Right there, I was biting my nails and hoping for the best. Caleb, knew that as soon as Josh was cast out, his time had come. He couldn't stay one day without Josh being near, so he escaped. Meeting up was only one hurdle they had to overcome. Stranded with NOTHING - no car, food, money, job opportunities - their situation was dire at best. They finally made their way to Massachusetts to stay with another outcast, Maggie. She took them in with wide open arms, a big heart, and a need for keeping her people close by. It wasn't easy for either Josh or Caleb to live outside their strict religious community. Not being able to participate in earning money was one of the things that bothered them the most, AND how to tell Maggie and her husband Daniel that they were a couple. Honestly, there was nothing I didn't adore about Josh and Caleb. They were so in sync with each other. Working side by side for so many years, forged a relationship that was rooted in deep affection, love and attraction. It was palpable. Their love for each other jumped off the pages. Caleb took care of Josh, and in return Josh took care of everyone else. Not only did I adore Caleb and Josh, I LOVED Maggie. She was incredible. I almost cried when she mentioned that the extra bedroom in their house was not for guests, it was for whoever came from their religious community in search for help. She would always have a bed available. I believe I mentioned the word ADORED a couple times, but that's what I felt about this book. It warmed my heart, and made me feel all gooey on the inside. It was not sexy or steamy or hot - even so Caleb and Josh had some really hot scenes together - this books was not about that it was about so much MORE!!! Goodbye Paradise had HEART!!!! 4.5 stars ARC generously provided in exchange for an honest review. ___________________________________ Find more reviews and book recommendations on my blog. Find me on Bookstagram.

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