“If he’s fighting for me, I owe it to him to do he same. I hope…I hope one day I’ll want to fight for me, too.”- Riley, Focus on Me
Synopsis via Goodreads: Colin Hartman can now add college to his list of failures. On the coast-to-coast trek home from California, Colin stops at a gas station in the Nevada desert, and can’t help noticing the guy in tight jeans looking like he just stepped off a catwalk. When he realizes Catwalk is stranded, Colin offers a ride.
Riley only intended to take a short ride in Colin’s Jeep to the Grand Canyon. But one detour leads to another until they finally find themselves tumbling into bed together. However there are shadows in Riley’s eyes that hide a troubled past. And when those shadows threaten to bury the man whom Colin has fallen in love with, he vows to get Riley the help he needs. For once in his life, quitting isn’t an option…
Focus on Me is the second installment in the In Focus series and follows Colin Hartman, a recent college dropout who is driving cross-country for one last time as he heads back home to North Carolina. On the way, he meets a guy who is in need of a ride to the Grandy Canyon and being the Southern gentleman he is, Colin is willing to help him out. He doesn’t know much about Riley Sorenson, but as these two drive from the state to state, Colin finds himself taken with the mystery man and sparks fly between the two. But Riley’s hiding something and when the truth comes to light, it may be too late to save him.
I think it may be too soon to call it, but I have a strong feeling that the In Focus series may be one of my new favorite series. I recently learned that the plots for each book in this series all revolve around some king of trip. Like the first installment, Focus on Me involves a road trip AND I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT! I love the whole concept of taking a journey, like a road trip, in books because in a sense, it’s a metaphor. A metaphor for finding oneself. While on this cross-country journey exploring new places, you’re also finding out who you are as a person and both of our characters learned more about themselves while on this trip. Colin is usually quick to give things up and I related to that so much because I too am pretty quick to throw in the towel when things get rough. But this time, when things become difficult between him and Riley, he decides to put in the effort because he doesn’t want to lose him. I think Colin is capable of more than he gives himself credit for and I enjoyed seeing him finally come to terms with the fact that some things are not meant to be and some things are and the things that are meant to be are the things we fight for. Riley goes through a great amount of change. He had nothing but self-hate for himself, but by the end of this book he starts to learn how to love himself. Riley is so precious, I wanted to give him the biggest hug ever.
I absolutely loved the romance in this book, especially since this installment is not a ‘light’ as the first. Mental illness is a major theme throughout this book as Riley is battling a few disorders and I liked that these two didn’t immediately jump into a relationship. I ALSO LOVED THE FACT THAT THE RELATIONSHIP WAS NOT USED AS A WAY TO CURE RILEY OF HIS DISORDERS. I’m so sick of romances where a relationship is used to save a character with mental illnesses. Characters are capable of saving themselves from themselves, and it was important that Riley wanted to get help for him and not just so he could save his relationship with Colin. I definitely felt the connection between these two and they both cared so deeply for each other. I think these two may be my favorite couple throughout this series. Side note, I loved how Erickson weaved in the couple from the previous book into this book. I very much enjoyed seeing Justin and Landry again and the friendship that developed between these two couple by the end of the book.
Focus on Me was a beautiful and heartfelt M/M romance that had me in tears by the end. I hope I get to see more of Colin and Riley in the next book to see how things are going for two, but I’m excited to meet our new couple. The next trip is on a cruise and I am SO HERE FOR THAT! All aboard the ship, a new romance awaits!