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REVIEW: Junk by Josephine Myles

Letting go is the first step to healing…or bringing it all crashing down.

 

When an avalanche of books cuts off access to his living room, university librarian Jasper Richardson can no longer ignore the truth. His ever-growing piles of books, magazines and newspapers can no longer be classified as a “collection”. It’s a hoard, and he needs professional help.

Professional clutter clearer and counselor Lewis Miller thinks he’s seen it all, but even he has to admit he’s shocked. Not so much by the state of Jasper’s house, but by the level of attraction he still feels for the sexy bookworm he remembers from school.

What a shame that Lewis’s ethical code forbids relationships with clients. As Jasper makes slow but steady progress, though, the magnetic pull between them is so strong even Lewis is having trouble convincing himself it’s a temporary emotional attachment arising from the therapeutic process.

Jasper longs to prove to Lewis that this is the real deal. But first he’ll have to lay bare the root of his hoarding problem…and reveal the dark secret hidden behind his walls of books.

Warning: Contains a level-headed counselor with a secret addiction, a bespectacled geek with a sweet tooth, a killer “to-be-read” pile, embarrassing parents, a van called Alice, and deliciously British slang.

 

Dear Josephine Myles:

I have read and liked your books before, but this one actually surprised me. It has significantly less sex scenes than the other novels. Do not get me wrong, for me it was a very pleasant surprise. You are one of the few writers who can sell me on the novel with a lot of sex scenes, but I will never complain if the book does not have as many for once. I thought considering the situation both main characters found themselves in, it made perfect sense for them to not jump in bed right away. I am just saying that if you are a reader who wants a lot of sex in the book, this one is probably not for you.

Junk by Josephine MylesThis book had me on the dedication. “For everybody who’s ever bought a book they know they’ll probably never get around to reading”. Don’t we all know that feeling? However as much as I was excited to read the book where one of the main characters is a book lover, I was also more than a little worried. The blurb indicates that same guy is a hoarder and I guess I was worried that his love for books would be equaled with hoarding; because of course I already felt a kinship with him before even starting the book. I was worried for nothing – hoarding and love for books never became the same thing in the story, hoarding was part of a deeper psychological issue he needed to work through and at the end of the story Jasper has his house clear and nice and his beloved books are now the collection, instead of being part of his hoard.

As the blurb indicates, Lewis is a professional clutter clearer and counselor who comes to help Jasper deal with his hoarding problem. I thought overall his recovery process was dealt with sensitivity and respect, but of course this is a romance so we have them being attracted to each other. And specifically we have the issue of counselor being attracted to his client and vice versa, which is one of the main sources of conflict in the story. I will admit, I am of two minds of how that was handled. Do not get me wrong, I think the writer did everything possible to soften the annoyance factor for me. Lewis had a crush on Jasper while they went to school together (they were not in the same year, but they spent several years in the same school), so it is not like they never knew each other before. Lewis struggles with his attraction *a lot*, and when he caves in, very soon they separate on his insistence to make sure Jasper can stand on his own two feet. But I guess I was still annoyed that he did cave in before they spent those months apart. What I was even more annoyed about is that all the friends Lewis was talking to about his attraction to his client advised him that he should just go for it. Thank goodness his father had the common sense to tell him that Jasper at that point needed a counselor, not a lover. But I could not believe that his sister, who is his partner in the counseling hoarders business, told him basically that he should just go for it. I am sorry, but what the heck? And her justification was that he was single for too long? Again, what the heck?

I told myself that the author devoted a lot of time to this issue and made Lewis commiserate on that and worry about that a lot. I told myself that I absolutely bought that Lewis was overall a decent, likeable, but flawed man. I told myself that surely I should not expect a perfection from the guy, especially since their interactions were so heartwarming and awesome. But I still could not completely let go of my annoyance on that issue. Wait till he is not your client anymore and then have sex with him, how about that? In fact, I was wondering whether Lewis was resisting for as long as he did due to his professional obligations or because he knew his own character flaw, which in his opinion made his own relationships destruct in the past. I mean, I was happy that he was self-aware about that and tried to work on that character flaw, but that made me also wonder whether counseling is the right line of work for him if he was so worried about that. I guess it is a good thing that his character seemed to be drawn in such depth to me and that I had to think about who Lewis was in my head for some time.

I was still very happy and very pleased that these two got their happy ending, they were that adorable together, but Lewis deserved couple of smacks as far as I was concerned. Grade B

~Sirius

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Sirius

Sirius started reading books when she was four and reading and discussing books is still her favorite hobby. One of her very favorite gay romances is Tamara Allen’s Whistling in the Dark. In fact, she loves every book written by Tamara Allen. Amongst her other favorite romance writers are Ginn Hale, Nicole Kimberling, Josephine Myles, Taylor V. Donovan and many others. Sirius’ other favorite genres are scifi, mystery and Russian classics. Sirius also loves travelling, watching movies and long slow walks.

11 Comments

  1. cleo
    Aug 27, 2013 @ 09:55:23

    Glad to see this review. I like Josephine Myles, although so far I’ve liked her shorter works better than her full length novels. I’ve been eying this one cautiously – I like the author but it has two possible deal breakers for me – the sleeping with a client thing and the portrayal of mental illness. I’m always simultaneously curious and cautious about romances with MCs with mental health issues – I think they’re hard to get right and do well.

    I know just enough about hoarding (my dad gave everyone the book Stuff; Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things for Christmas one year) that I’m not sure that I could believe an hea, although I do know that there are hoarders and HOARDERS. I always thought my great-uncle getting trapped in his garage by his crap (twice) was bad, but after reading Stuff, I realized that he was pretty low-level and pretty functional. And he had a long marriage. So maybe I could buy an hea with a hoarder. Still not sure about the counselor sleeping with his client.

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  2. Carolyne
    Aug 27, 2013 @ 16:46:01

    I’ve known two HOARDER hoarders, including one person who did unfortunately fall into the stereotypical “cat lady” category. I know my own leanings are more of the “I need to work up the energy to get down to Ikea and buy bookshelves” variety than a more serious condition, but it does give a person sympathy for those who go far beyond that. I’m very intrigued to see how the author handles it, and I’m already rooting for the hero to come through the end stronger (in a realistic way).

    Now I have 2 Josephine Myles eBooks in my TBR list! (Handle With Care is the other.) I like that she writes on these subjects, and I very much hope I’ll like her writing.

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  3. Sirius
    Aug 27, 2013 @ 20:03:34

    @cleo: Hmmm, you probably know more than I do – does it sound believable to you that there was a specific reason he started hoarding and when he worked through it, he got better, or usually desire to hoard never goes away? Or does it really depend on the person? As I said, I bought into it, it seemed well done to me, but I do not know if it will be believable to you. I hope it will.

    Also, if sleeping with client is an absolute deal breaker for you, I will suggest passing on the book. As you see, I was annoyed myself, but mitigating circumstances still made me love the book.

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  4. Sirius
    Aug 27, 2013 @ 20:30:53

    @Carolyne: LOL I hear you about bookshelves (sorry, bookcases, I have two, but I think third one started calling to me lately lol). I hope you will like the book, please consider coming back and letting me know whether it worked for you.

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  5. Nemo
    Aug 27, 2013 @ 22:21:22

    I am so glad someone else feels the same way about the “can’t you just wait until it’s not morally ambiguous” plot. I always wonder there’s something wrong with me that I don’t understand why Captain Hornypants can’t bang a few out while waiting for TrueLover to get over their issues.

    Still, I’ve been wondering if I’m turning into a bibliophile of the dark kind with all my trips to the used book store. It’s just – all the knowledge! All those voices sent out into the world and some day they’ll be mulch if I don’t buy them. I might check it out just to see how Jasper handles it. The plot sounds interesting. Thanks for the review!

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  6. Kaetrin
    Aug 27, 2013 @ 23:15:03

    I’m looking forward to reading this one. I don’t love the idea of a counselor sleeping with the client but it sounds like I can get past it for this one. I like the author’s voice very much so I’m usually happy to read what she writes, or give it a go at least. Thx for the review :)

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  7. Willaful
    Aug 28, 2013 @ 15:18:21

    I thought the hoarding issue was handled very believably. I have problems with book hoarding and have worked through some of it much the way Jasper did.

    If I recall correctly from Stuff, it can be set off by a particular event. I think there was a person who was triggered by a home invasion/rape.

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  8. cleo
    Aug 28, 2013 @ 15:41:55

    @Willaful: Thanks, that’s helpful. It’s been awhile since I read Stuff and I don’t remember many (any?) details, just kind of an overall surprise at how difficult a diagnosis it seemed to be to treat. There are hoarder tendencies on my dad’s side of my family (and in me), although not to the extremes described in Stuff, and that made it a little hard for me to read (plus, you know, I had a bit of an adolescent snit over my Dad giving me assigned reading – always attractive in a 40 something y.o.)

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  9. Willaful
    Aug 28, 2013 @ 16:03:34

    @cleo: I started clearing out my entire house while reading Junk so I hear you. ;-)

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  10. Kaetrin
    Aug 28, 2013 @ 19:00:55

    @Willaful: I read another book recently which had a hoarder character in it (the name of which currently escapes me) – it was the mother of one of the heroes and in the book, it was presented as a reaction to the death of her husband – it made sense in the book. It wasn’t a book about her receiving treatment as such so I don’t know if it would have been possible for her to curb it (and she had been this way for a very long time) and, of course, it was fiction, but I didn’t find it difficult to accept that hoarding could be a response to a tragic life event.

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  11. Sirius
    Aug 28, 2013 @ 19:11:29

    Nemo, very true – I did wonder about that, although I still liked the book.

    Willaful and Kaetrin thanks so much for confirming that hoarding can be triggered by a single traumatic event. I am pleased that the writer did her research well.

    ReplyReply

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