Reviewed by Nikyta
Title: But by the Grace of Dog
Author: A.F. Henley
Series: Four-Legged Friends #1
Heroes: Thom & Justin
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: 145 pages
Publisher: JMS Books
Release Date: November 27, 2019
Available at: JMS Books & Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Thom Baron has been struggling with social anxiety his entire life. He’s taken the medications, gone to the therapists, followed the programs, and concluded his best life is a solitary one. When he comes across a dog in obvious need at his local market, it rekindles the desire to have some company around. It may come with a dishevelled coat, a notched ear, and a refusal to respond to anything but its given name “Ugly,” but it could still be a friend.
However, Thom’s new fur buddy has no such need to keep to itself and immediately befriends the man Thom has secretly coveted since he moved in — Justin, Thom’s gorgeous, bright-eyed neighbour. No matter how Thom tries to evade the man, the dog keeps drawing them back into each other’s lives, and it doesn’t take Thom long to recognize it’s simply pursuing the demands of Thom’s own heart. With the dog giving him the courage to try, Thom reaches out to return the love being offered.
Until a stranger shows up insisting the dog is his and demanding its immediate return … a loss Thom knows will take all of his efforts and newfound confidence with it.
OMG, this was such a great story! I don’t read a lot of books that have to do with anxiety characters because I never really feel like the characters stay true to their ‘anxiety’ throughout the story or their ‘anxiety’ is nothing more than them just not wanting to do anything but when I read this blurb, I was really intrigued and add the fact A.F. Henley wrote it? I definitely had to give it a try and I absolutely loved it!
I loved that Thom had such a crippling fear and had lived his life working around that anxiety but what I really loved is that when he met Dog, he tried really hard to work through it because he knew he had to… for Dog. Sometimes he was able to and sometimes he wasn’t but he still tried to do what he could to give Dog what he needed. Add Justin in the mix and both Dog and Justin were able to help Thom when he wasn’t anxious AND when he was in the middle of a panic attack. I really loved that Thom’s issues weren’t glossed over or easily fixed but that he tried to work through them and it was a consistent issue, nothing something easily fixed as most other stories I’ve read seem to do.
With Justin, I loved his positive personality and how he wasn’t easily put off by Thom’s pension for avoiding him. I loved that he tried to help Thom as much as he could, although, he did forget sometimes that Thom had issues which endeared me even more to him because he saw passed Thom’s problems and saw Thom for who he was. He didn’t ignore Thom’s issues, though, he did what he could to ease Thom through situations and I really loved them together and enjoyed reading their story.
I really, really loved this book but I wished the editing had been cleaned up a bit more. There were a lot of little typos but also some missing words or misspelled words so I would trip over the sentence and have to reread it.
All in all, I loved this book and I couldn’t stop reading it once I started. I loved Thom and Justin as characters but I also really loved Dog and how he brought them together and helped Thom so much. I really enjoyed seeing how much Thom progressed and how Justin was a part of it all. I hope it’s not the last we see of them because I’d love to know where they go from here!
Overall Impression: I loved it!
*I received a copy of this book from the author in return for a fair and honest review.*