Pit Stop by Ellis Mae

Pit Stop is an opposites attract hurt comfort story dealing with real life struggles.

From the blurb:  

When Isamu Miura returns home on medical discharge from the military, he finds his childhood best friend busy with a new relationship, and his father packing up to return to Japan. With only Inu, his trusted service dog, left at his side, he plans to outfit a camper van to travel across the country.   

There’s just one problem. The only guy in town who can help wants nothing to do with him, his dog, or his dreams.  

Unlike Isamu, John Love doesn't consider himself a dreamer. A car accident took his mother way too soon, and he has all but lost his father to alcoholism. All he wants is to work his mechanic job to pay for school and leave everything else behind. Adding more work by helping out Isamu is the last thing he wants.

When a friend convinces John to take the job, will he find something, or someone, worth dreaming for?

Only if Isamu can prove that John is more than just a pit stop on everyone else’s path.

Molly Otto's Review:

Beautiful story of two men moving on from their past demons to a hopeful future. Isamu has returned home one limb less and a new companion to help calm him and able him to move forward with his life. John is transgender man who is having issues letting his past pain go and believe people are here to stay and support him. They don't have an easy relationship, but they have a real one with real struggles. Together, they must overcome their pasts and believe it can work even with Isamu wanting to see the world and John staying back to complete school. I would call this a hopeful HFN.

Angel's Review:

Ellis Mae is a new-to-me author, I've never read anything by them before, and after reading this book I'm definitely going to be keeping an eye out for more books by them.

John and Isamu's story is so beautiful,and raw. John has had a rough life, as a child he lost his mom, along with losing his dad to addiction. His dad might have physically been there, but that was the extent of it. John had to grow up learning things about the world, and himself, on his own. Now that he's older, and his dad's sober, he's trying to reconcile the man his dad was before, and the man he is now.

John's character was difficult for me to connect with at the beginning, he was a bit brash, and came off as rude. As the story went on though, we got to know his character a bit better, and got to understand why he is the way he is. His friendship with Aaliyah was a joy to read about, when he was around her you got to learn more about who he really is, instead of how he portrays himself to others.

Isamu's character was a delight to read about. I liked his character instantaneously, he's struggling with the loss of his leg, PTSD, and no longer being a member of his squad. But his character is bubbly (most of the time) , and tries to make others laugh, along with showing how much he cares through his food. Whenever dialogue occured between him and Gonzales, it never failed to make me laugh. Those two are hilarious when together, and you can tell not only how close they are, but how much they care about each other as well.

John and Isamu's relationship developed slowly, both men were hesitant to do anything with their feelings because they were both unsure about where the other stood. I liked how this was a slow burn, how the characters got to spend time together and really got to know each other first, before anything else happened. I thought their relationship was absolutely beautiful, I enjoyed how John eventually warmed up to Inu, he couldn't resist her cuteness forever.

The pacing as mentioned above was great, the characters were fleshed out, and each had their own individual personalities and backstories. The dialogue throughout the whole book was really good and kept me interested throughout the whole story. This was a really beautiful book that I absolutely adored! I LOVED the picture at the end of the book, it was so amazing to see what the characters were describing.

Miki J's review:

Oh wow.... this certainly isn't a cutesy light romance type of book. I found it to be a raw and honest story .... it does get confronting as you read along with what they are feeling and what they survived and with what they are struggling to confront. Yes, there are sweet moments and those polaroids, they tell a story just by themselves .... I couldn't help but grin as I saw the last few...... This story grabbed from the first chapter and I just couldn't put it down. I needed to know John would be okay and that Isamu would be as well....and, c'mon....Inu....bahahahahaha Loved the layers to the story, beautifully crafted - I'm glad they are everything but a Pit Stop.

Pit Stop is currently available as an e-book and paperback and can be read as part of your Kindle Unlimited Subscription