From the Universe to Me by Scott E. Garrison - Review, Excerpt and Giveaway

College is supposed to be about new beginnings. What happens though when the newness breaks you instead? When it sends you into a place so dark that only a single text keeps you here instead? Lori C read From the Universe to Me and shared their review.

From the blurb:

Eighteen-year-old Tobias Gavin is struggling to come to terms with his sexuality. For many years, the what-ifs of coming out have swirled around his head, so he has chosen to live a lie to keep from disrupting the “normal” life he has created with his family and friends. That is until he meets Gareth David the day he enrolls for his first semester as a college student. He feels an immediate connection with Gareth…a connection that pushes Tobias to question the way he has been living his life. When Gareth coincidentally becomes, Tobias’s History professor, Tobias is forced to confront his feelings and confront the universe. Tobias must come to terms with his depression, anxiety, heartbreak, and his sexuality before he can even begin to heal his wounds. He believes that everything happens for a reason, but he learns that some experiences are meant to teach even if they cause heartbreak. Once he comes to terms with himself, he might find his knight in shining armor. 

Tobias must learn to trust himself and those around him if he wants to find happiness.

Lori C's Review:

Tobi has struggled for so long with his secrets. It has brought him depression, anxiety, anger, and shame to name a few emotions. College is supposed to be about building his future instead for a short while, it becomes about breaking the chains that have held him down for so long. The ones labeled gay. The ones that scare him and make him feel unloved. When what he thought he knew and who he thought he loved turned out to be wrong, life turns upside down and inside out for Tobi. With the help and support of his friends, Matt and Cydney, Tobi is able to turn it all around and put himself on firm footing again. Will he ever be able to trust his heart with someone else though? 

Powerful, meaningful, and heartbreaking. I spent the first part of From the Universe to Me thinking this is so cute and then feeling dread curl up my spine. I knew something was wrong even though the words being spoken were sweet. When the shoe dropped, I felt as if I should have known better the entire time. The author, Scott E. Garrison, wrote this story so well that I was as seduced as Tobi was. I felt so much sadness reading the agony Tobi endured every time he thought about whether or not he was gay. I felt at times like my heart would come out of my chest knowing that kids feel that much pain and fear over something they have no control over. My heart jumped for joy at all the good moments and no I’m not telling you what they are. In the about the author segment, it’s mentioned that this is Mr. Garrison’s debut novel. I think it is amazing and (my favorite words) I’m looking forward to seeing more from him in the future!!

Rating: 5 Stars

From the Universe to Me is available to buy in ebook and paperback formats.

Title:  From the Universe to Me

Author: Scott E. Garrison

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: 04/11/2023

Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 59500

Genre: Contemporary, age gap, coming of age, college, friends to lovers, in the closet, mental illness, teaching, family drama, new adult

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From the Universe to Me
Scott E. Garrison © 2023
All Rights Reserved

I only graduated high school two months ago, and I’m already excited to start Ashelford University as a history major.

I’m a huge nerd and love to learn, so college has been a goal of mine and of my parents since I could form sentences. When my parents and I sat down to discuss which university would be the best fit for me, I knew that the hometown university would be a no-brainer due to funds and the proximity.

I’ve spent countless hours on campus exploring every building and classroom, including the school’s black-box theater where I performed as a chorus member in the production of Once on This Island. I pretend I’m an explorer on a new adventure every time I visit. I like to think I’m a stealthy spy, looking for a secret passage that will lead to an exciting new discovery, which I’m sure makes me seem even more nerdy, but the cherry on top of my nerdiness sundae has to be the fact I showed up for my enrollment meeting with my advisor, Dr. Helena Richards, for my freshman year a few hours early.

With my adventures for the day complete, I make my way toward the Liberal Arts Building, which towers over me like a giant about to devour its prey. As I stand on the sidewalk, my eyes climb the red-bricked exterior that seems to grow infinitely the more I stare. I feel small in its shadow. I straighten my back and confidently make my way up the front entry stairs.

My mission—should I choose to accept it—is to put together a list of classes I want to take prior to my meeting, which rests clenched in my sweaty right hand. I’ve heard so many great things about Dr. Richards, but I’m still extremely nervous to meet her in person. We have emailed since I got accepted into the university, but I still worry she might not like me because I’m an immature freshman.

As I enter the main lobby, everything looks as I remember. Everything seems to have a purpose; a reason for being placed in its seemingly permanent location. I take a deep, calming breath. This is where I will learn new, exciting life lessons that will leave me a more educated student ready for graduate school; one step closer to becoming a professor.

I’m ready to make my dreams a reality, something my parents have always encouraged.

They have such high hopes for me. My parents have always told me I could never disappoint them, but there is still that hesitation I’m sure every child has when faced with big life decisions. In the back of my mind, I wonder where those limits end. I know deep down my mother and my father are my biggest fans, but my anxiety makes me overthink every decision before acting.

Over the years, I’ve struggled to be myself around my parents, never revealing too much of myself, hiding behind masks I’ve created. I know I’m attracted to men, but I do my best to convince myself that I’m straight. I fear being different and being rejected by the people in my life. These fears feed the energy-sucking parasite formerly known as my depression. I’ve had many opportunities to reveal myself to my loved ones, but as I have done many times before, I remain silent because my fears always win.

I walk up to the front desk in the history wing where a tired-looking girl with blonde hair, wearing a white and green Ashelford University T-shirt and a black skirt, sits staring at the computer. I might think she was dead if I didn’t hear the clicking noise made by the mouse in her hand.

She has a name tag that reads Anna Pasley pinned to her shirt. She doesn’t look up at me as I approach.

“Can I help you?” she says, forcing the words out with all her strength. She looks like she hasn’t slept in weeks. God, I know college is difficult, but do they force all students to stay up for hours studying and testing their academic prowess? Like the Hunger Games but centered on academia.

“Excuse me. My name is Tobias Gavin. I have an appointment with Dr. Richards to discuss my schedule for my first semester.” Anna flinches in her chair when she hears me speak.

Anna looks at me with bloodshot eyes. She looks like she has accomplished the horrifying skill of sleeping with her eyes open. She has tons of books open in front of her, but I can see the game of Solitaire open on the computer screen, which explains the mouse clicking away as I walked up to the desk.

“Do you have an appointment with Dr. Richards?” she asks.

“Um, yes, I have an appointment. She asked me to be here at 2:00 PM to discuss my schedule for my first semester.” I am baffled by her inability to register my previous statement.

“You realize it’s 1:15, right?” Her questioning expression makes me feel like I’m a small, insignificant freshman starting high school all over again.

I chuckle and sport a half-assed grin, so she doesn’t realize I’m embarrassed for arriving forty-five minutes early. This isn’t how cool college kids behave. They arrive fashionably late, acting like they have zero cares in the world. This isn’t me, so I blush in response.

I’m annoyingly early to everything. My family and friends hate and love me for this quality. My friends like the fact I will always arrive early to help set up parties but hate when I’m adamant about getting to the movies an hour early to find the best seats, which you select when you buy the tickets. I’m smart, but my anxiety runs my life more than my common sense.

I glance at the screen. “You can move the Queen of Hearts to the King of Clubs to free up another space.” Who knows, maybe we will become good friends?

“She is with another student so you will have to wait,” she responds, ignoring my tip. “She won’t finish with this student for another forty-five minutes. You can wait over there on those couches.” She says turning her attention to the Solitaire game. She waves her hand with a small amount of effort in a random direction. Her lack of acknowledgement of my statement assures this is where our relationship ends and dies.

I notice red couches in the room’s corner, so I shuffle over to them and sit down. I glance around the room, wondering how many people have sat on this same couch. Where are they now? Did they attain their goals or fail miserably?

Failure isn’t an option for me. I have too many dreams I want to accomplish. I want to become a history professor. Personally, I don’t care what college I end up teaching at as long as I can fill the minds of my students with illustrious, educational information about our world’s history.

I would never admit this in public, but I have secretly aspired to be like some of the teachers that have encouraged my goals of becoming a professor.


NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Scott E. Garrison is a debut author, who wants to share new, queer stories with the world. He currently lives in the Oklahoma City, OK area. 

Alongside writing, he has a Masters in Library and Information Studies and works as a Librarian Manager for an Oklahoma-based library system. He spends his free time reading, baking, watching movies and TV shows with his husband, and cuddling with his dogs, Jarvis and F.R.I.D.A.Y.



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