A Tiny Piece of Something Greater
Publisher: Interlude Press
Release Date (Print & Ebook): May 17, 2018
Subgenre: LGBT, Interracial/Multicultural, New Adult
Editor’s Note: Some readers may find some of the scenes in this book difficult to read. We have compiled a list of content warnings, which you can access at interludepress.com/content-warnings
Book Synopsis: Reid Watsford has a lot of secrets and a past he can’t quite escape. While staying at his grandmother’s condo in Key Largo, he signs up for introductory dive classes, where he meets Joaquim Oliveira, a Brazilian dive instructor with wanderlust. Driven by an instant, magnetic pull, what could have been just a hookup quickly deepens. As their relationship evolves, they must learn to navigate the challenges of Reid’s mental illness—on their own and with each other.
Interlude Press: store.interludepress.com
Note from Jude Sierra on A Tiny Piece of Something Greater: I want readers to walk away with a deeper appreciation and understanding of what it is like to thrive with mental illness—or strive toward it—and what it is like for two people to be and fall in love in these situations. I’d love for readers to come away knowing that love doesn’t cure mental illness, nor should it. Reid and Joaquim love each other as they are.
A Tiny Piece of Something Greater is an important book that I think everyone should read. While not a traditional romance in the sense of what we normally see in this genre, this book is a beautiful telling of two guys falling for each other while navigating some tough topics. It tells the story of Reid coping and living with a mental illness (cyclothymia), and Joaquim, the guy who falls for him and learns to navigate Reid’s illness and how to best love him.
First off, Reid is not his mental illness. He has cyclothymia, but that isn’t all there is to him. There is a big focus on that in this book but that’s because, within the pages, Reid is learning how to live as a new version of himself where the mental illness doesn’t define him. Second of all, this isn’t a “love cures all” story. I’m always wary of mental illness in romance books because it sometimes gets written in a way that suggests, once the MC finds love, the things he struggles with disappear. This isn’t that. Not by a long shot. Jude Sierra does an amazing job of telling a sweet, touching, immersive romance that includes tough topics while not being overwhelmed by them, and not minimizing any aspect of the characters. This book is #ownvoices, and it’s clear in the detail and emotion the author evokes.
Also, on a personal note, as someone diagnosed with dysthymia (roughly, dysthymia : clinical depression :: cyclothymia : bipolar disorder), I appreciated the inclusion of this particular mental illness to a greater degree than I would have bipolar, BPD, depression, etc. It’s these rarely diagnosed yet life-altering illnesses that don’t get discussed often and are very misunderstood. While I haven’t experienced what Reid and Sierra do, I can sympathize with a lot of the stigma and societal impressions surrounding it.
As I mentioned before, this book isn’t all about Reid’s recovery. This book is the sweet story of two early-20-somethings meeting at a scuba diving class, getting to know each other (and making mistakes along the way… super relatable mistakes… my 20-year-old self was cringing in sympathy with Reid at times!) and falling in love. They’re both in transition – Joaquim is finishing up an internship to earn a diving certification and Reid is housesitting for his grandmother while trying to figure some things out about his life – and trying to decide what comes next for them. But they know they want to be together. While it ends with a HFN, I feel pretty confident in these guys figuring it out. They both care so deeply for each other and compliment each other so well, I have no doubt they’ll get their HEA eventually.
An advance copy of this book was received for review on OMGReads.
“All right,” Reid says. “Close your eyes.”
“Oh, is it my turn now?”
“Yep. Please try not to fall; we’re aiming for romantic.” Reid guides him with one hand on his shoulder and the other at the small of his back, trusting Joaquim to keep his eyes closed. “Hand out,” Reid says. He takes Joaquim’s hand, puts it on the back of a chair, and lets Joaquim fumble into it. A whispered kiss to his lips, then two more to his eyelids and Reid’s soft command to open his eyes make him viscerally aware of love, as if Reid’s touch has become a living thing, something curled inside Joaquim, something he can cherish and hold and keep.
The table is set with candles Joaquim recognizes. There’s also a beautiful charcuterie plate, chocolate-dipped strawberries dewing from the humidity, and tall drinks garnished with lime wheels.
“I’m breaking some rules with these. I did some research online and thought I’d try to make something that might remind you of home,” Reid explains. He’s twisting his hands nervously. “Also, we’re eating on the pool deck, although no one really pays attention to that.”
“Reid.” Joaquim turns and presses his cheek against Reid’s belly, closes his eyes into Reid’s fingers ruffling through his hair.
“I had a plan for something else, but I fucked it up. Um, so the drinks don’t match but, yeah. Caipirinhas?” Reid tests the word out slowly, fumbling over the pronunciation.
“Hey, hey,” Joaquim says, catching Reid’s fingers and kissing them. “This is wonderful.” It also explains the cupcakes. “Thank you.”
Reid’s eyes are bright, and his smile is shy, sweet in a way Joaquim never could have expected when they first met. “You are so welcome.” His next kiss is somehow even sweeter. It lingers, it promises, though it’s not about the heat that so often sparks between them. It’s love, is all. It is simple and full.
“Let’s eat.” Reid pulls up a chair. “Tell me what you like.”
“I want to try it all.”
“Well, then, here.” Reid selects an olive, “These are my favorite.” Joaquim allows him to slip it between his lips. He holds Reid’s wrist carefully and nips at his fingers.
“Delicious.” Joaquim doesn’t let go. Reid cups his cheek briefly and smiles again.
They eat slowly, moving to the strawberries eventually. Night begins her sweet slide across the sky, slipping over the light.
About Jude Sierra: Jude Sierra is a Latinx poet, author, academic and mother working toward her PhD in Writing and Rhetoric, looking at the intersections of Queer, Feminist and Pop Culture Studies. She also works as an LGBTQAI+ book reviewer for From Top to Bottom Reviews. Her novels include Hush, What it Takes, and Idlewild, a contemporary LGBT romance set in Detroit’s renaissance, which was named a Best Book of 2016 by Kirkus Reviews.
Giveaway Prize of A TINY PIECE OF SOMETHING GREATER by Jude Sierra (5 eBooks + $25 IP Web Store credit Grand Prize):
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