My Rating: 3 stars
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Category: Adult
Type of romance: MM
Frankie and Tommy once dreamed of traveling the world together. But when seventeen-year-old Frank kissed Tom, their plans ended with a punch to the jaw and Frank leaving town without looking back. Thirty years later, Frank’s successful career as a journalist is interrupted by his uncle’s death and the question of his inheritance—the family resort where his childhood dreams were built. When he returns to the Pocono Mountains, however, he finds a dilapidated lodge and Tommy, the boy he never forgot.
Tom’s been keeping the resort together with spit and glue while caring for Frank’s uncle, Robert—a man he considered father, mentor, and friend—and his aged mother, who he refuses to leave behind. Now Robert is gone, taking Tom’s job with him. And Frank is on the doorstep, wanting to know why Tom is still there and why the old lodge is falling apart.
But before they can rebuild the resort, they’ll have to rebuild their friendship. Only then can they renew the forever they planned all those years ago.
I received a free copy of this book from the author and voluntarily reviewed it.
I was in this weird reading mood where I couldn’t quite figure out what to read next and decided to pick up this one as I loved book 1 and had hoped it would bring me out of my weird reading mood, instead it felt like it became another victim of my weird reading mood instead.
Renewing Forever is a good book, but for some reason it just didn’t quite work for me. I really enjoy this author’s writing style, I liked the set-up and I liked Frank. But on the other hand I felt this book was a bit too sad at times, I didn’t like Tom and couldn’t fully feel the romance.
Renewing Forever follows the story of Frank and Tom. They used to be best friends growing up, until the day before Frank left for college and he kissed Tom, after which Tom hit him and broke his nose. Frank didn’t return for more than short visits for the next 30 year. Until his uncle Robert who owned the lodge dies. When Frank returns Tom is still there and they reconnect and start building their plans for the future.
Renewing Forever is a sweet second chance romance, with a bit of heat later on in the book. It’s a story about two friends who didn’t see other for years and now reconnect again. I liked how they both have changed, but also are still the same in parts as their younger selves. The story is told from dual point of views of both Frank and Tom. There are also some flashbacks to their younger years, which I really enjoyed as I felt like it make me understand better how they became friends and how they acted when they were younger.
This book felt sad somehow. Not the kind of sad where you cry your eyes out, but the kind of nostalgic melancholic sadness about things that have changed. Things that are broken and not as they used to be anywhere. Of loss and broken possibilities. Of a lodge that is so neglected no one stays there anymore, of friends who were so close and then didn’t see each other for 30 years, of two guys forever waiting for the love they once had and lost and of a boy who dreamed big and then stayed in the small town he grew up to. It just felt sad. That’s not to say it’s a sad book, it actually isn’t. There were moments of laughter and happiness, of reconnecting, of recapturing a friendship and new beginnings. But there is this feeling of sadness in the background, a vibe throughout the book that just was sad to me, especially the first half, the later half had a more optimistic tone and the epilogue is very happy.
I really liked Frank. Strangely enough he was the one I liked best from the two men in this book. In book 1 I wasn’t sure whether I liked Frank at first and eventually grew to like him as the book progressed. In this book I started out liking him from the start. I liked how he had chased his dreams, but also was missing something. How he made good money, but actually found himself going in a direction with his career he wasn’t sure he wanted to go. I liked how he re-evaluated what he wanted in live. I also liked his personality and how he handled things.
Sadly I never fully warmed up to Tom. I liked how he was into photography and I thought it was admirable how he cared for his old and sick mother, but I just couldn’t fully like him. I kept wondering why he hit Frank as a kid as it was obvious he still had feelings for Frank. And when we finally find out the reason toward the end of the book it almost felt anticlimactic. I also didn’t like how he avoided his problems instead of dealing with them. I get that he had a hard life and had struggles, but I still would’ve liked he handled things differently.
As a result from me not liking Tom as much I found it hard to full feel the romance. Nevertheless I did like parts of it. There was a great scene when they visited the fair that I really enjoyed and at that point I really felt their connection and friendship. And it was clear these two really cared for each other and I liked how it was obvious they were great friends. But something about the romance made me not fully feel it. I also didn’t like how Tom hid the truth about where he was staying and what he was dealing with from Frank. I get that he didn’t want to admit he wasn’t doing so well, but it felt like he didn’t trust Frank enough to confess. I do think the epilogue was well done and they did seem like a great couple in all ways, I just didn’t feel their romance for some reason.
This book can work well as a standalone if you haven’t read book 1 yet. Although if you plan to read all the books I do recommend you start with book 1 as there is a spoiler in this one about something that happens later in book 1, which might spoil that reveal. I really enjoyed the scenes with Simon and Charlie and even Brian. I think those scenes are extra fun because I was seeing characters I knew again, but I don’t think you’ll really feel like you miss something if you haven’t read book 1. It was fun to see Simon and Frank’s friendship now from Frank’s point of view. And Brian is slowly growing on me and I am actually quite curious about his book, which will be next!
I liked how the themes of architecture and houses continues in this book as well. In the first book Simon is the architect and Charlie lives in a beautiful house they end of renovating a bit. In this book it’s the lodge that’s falling apart and which they might want to renovate. It was fun to see how that theme carries throughout the series. On the topic of the lodge I had actually hoped to see it being renovated and people returning there and it felt realistic how that took longer, but I had hoped to see more of the renovation and the lodge being restored to it’s glory.
To summarize: Renewing Forever is a great second chance romance. I really liked the set-up with the lodge that is slowly falling apart and how Frank return to the lodge and reconnect with his childhood friend Tom. I liked the flashbacks and how they gave more insight in Tom and Frank’s past. Sadly this book didn’t fully worked for me. I think it’s partly my weird reading mood. And this book just felt sad somehow, especially the first half, with how bad the state of the lodge was and how these two friends didn’t see each other for 30 years. I really liked Frank as a character and how he acted and handled things, but I never fully warmed up to Tom. That also made it hard for me to fully feel the romance, but nevertheless it is a good romance and I liked seeing these two reconnect and grow closer again. The fair scene was great and the epilogue was very sweet too. It was fun to see recurring characters from book 1 make an appearance in this book as well. And the theme or architecture and houses plays a role in both books in this series so far. All in all it was a great read and I liked the writing style, but something didn’t fully work for me. I am really looking forward to book 3.