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Scott Halleck and Julian Reeves are polar opposites in almost every way. Scott, a modern arts curator at a museum in Chicago, relishes the finer things in life. Julian is a strange photographer whose hair color changes as frequently as his mood. As far as Scott can see, Julian is an erratic know-it-all who lives his life one day to the next. To Julian, Scott is an uptight, Scott Halleck and Julian Reeves are polar opposites in almost every way. Scott, a modern arts curator at a museum in Chicago, relishes the finer things in life. Julian is a strange photographer whose hair color changes as frequently as his mood. As far as Scott can see, Julian is an erratic know-it-all who lives his life one day to the next. To Julian, Scott is an uptight, too-coiffed perfectionist. As the two men continue to run into each other, their dislike grows, but beneath that animosity, a fire is beginning to spark. Scott is baffled when he realizes he is falling for Julian, a man who burns hotter than a wildfire. Scott will have to decide, for the first time in his life, if he’ll let the flames take over.


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Scott Halleck and Julian Reeves are polar opposites in almost every way. Scott, a modern arts curator at a museum in Chicago, relishes the finer things in life. Julian is a strange photographer whose hair color changes as frequently as his mood. As far as Scott can see, Julian is an erratic know-it-all who lives his life one day to the next. To Julian, Scott is an uptight, Scott Halleck and Julian Reeves are polar opposites in almost every way. Scott, a modern arts curator at a museum in Chicago, relishes the finer things in life. Julian is a strange photographer whose hair color changes as frequently as his mood. As far as Scott can see, Julian is an erratic know-it-all who lives his life one day to the next. To Julian, Scott is an uptight, too-coiffed perfectionist. As the two men continue to run into each other, their dislike grows, but beneath that animosity, a fire is beginning to spark. Scott is baffled when he realizes he is falling for Julian, a man who burns hotter than a wildfire. Scott will have to decide, for the first time in his life, if he’ll let the flames take over.

30 review for Lovers & Fighters

  1. 4 out of 5

    ~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~

    ~4.5~ Summers' prose is evocative and raw; it's silk and butter and a lightning strike. Julian wasn't a flame, he was a forest fire, consuming everything in his path. He didn't know the meaning of the word flicker, or how to do anything but burn up everyone surrounding him. What happens when the man you desire seeks out hurt and despair? When he mocks you, reels you in, then pushes you until you snap? When he's so fucked up, such a mess, so very wrong, that he's the only one who's right? Scott ~4.5~ Summers' prose is evocative and raw; it's silk and butter and a lightning strike. Julian wasn't a flame, he was a forest fire, consuming everything in his path. He didn't know the meaning of the word flicker, or how to do anything but burn up everyone surrounding him. What happens when the man you desire seeks out hurt and despair? When he mocks you, reels you in, then pushes you until you snap? When he's so fucked up, such a mess, so very wrong, that he's the only one who's right? Scott is ordinary. He wears sensible, comfortable loafers; has a lovely boyfriend who makes tender love to him; visits his supportive parents; and makes polite conversation with colleagues. Scott knows what happens when you get licked up by flames. You burn. And you rage. Julian is angry and rebellious. He’s “not broken … just not complete.” Scott meets Julian by chance again and again, until he craves him and needs him ... and ignores him when it matters most. This book isn’t a romance. But it is a love story. And a tragedy. The MCs are not together in the story. They connect and tear apart. Julian doesn’t want to feel; he wants to be fucked and beaten into oblivion. Scott wants to be safe and returns to the calm and collected Ryan, even after Ryan realizes that he will never have Scott’s heart. I couldn’t even be upset with Ryan. He is sweet. And he is right. “I finally understand,” [Ryan] replied. “You’re having a hard time not loving him.” “I’m having a hard time not hating him.” “It’s the same thing, Scott.” I am angry with this story for making me cry, angry at Scott for being a coward and giving what he wants instead of what he can, angry at Julian for running and giving up. I'm angry at the bleakness of it all. I wanted a HEA, full of light and ordinary things being extraordinary. But there was spring and silence and the bright blue sky ... and hope, fragile but not shaken. So however Julian wanted my heart to beat, it would beat to his rhythm, and it would beat only for him.

  2. 4 out of 5

    wesley

    Nash Summers wows me again with her unique take on fated love. Scott and Julian continuously and coincidentally bump into each other, and in every occasion, they find reasons to hate each other more and more.Scott has lived a by-the-book life while Julian has lived his so precariously. Scott is vanilla while Julian is trouble waiting to happen. Although polar opposites of each other, they soon find out the one thing they have in common – they need each other to be finally complete.What I loved Nash Summers wows me again with her unique take on fated love. Scott and Julian continuously and coincidentally bump into each other, and in every occasion, they find reasons to hate each other more and more.Scott has lived a by-the-book life while Julian has lived his so precariously. Scott is vanilla while Julian is trouble waiting to happen. Although polar opposites of each other, they soon find out the one thing they have in common – they need each other to be finally complete.What I loved about this the most is how Nash Summers was able to weave the tale of two people destined for one another in the most un-clichéd manner. Instead of giving in to fate, Scott and Julian unintentionally widen the distance between them. Told in Scott’s perspective, Summers writes a slow yet measured story full of pain and inner struggle. "No love is a love you want if it's not worth fighting for." And as can be expected with any of her work, Nash Summers writes a poignant story with so much vividness and candor. Her talent in using the perfect symbolism and metaphor to describe a moment will leave you with goosebumps and make your heart ache with melancholy. When Scott described love like an all-consuming fire, I wanted to know what it would feel like to be burned by that same scorching inferno.Her characters as always, are so authentic. Consistent to his personality, Scott delivers the narrative in a way that made me believe he really was living a superficial life – settling with safe and faultless but all the while living unhappily and incomplete. The need to be perfect in front of everyone else, to map out his future with precision, the effort to consciously reflect on his behavior, up to his despicably bland nature – these are all Scott’s and his alone. But my entire life I'd felt like a shade of gray, something muted and dull, just waiting to experience my own personal Technicolor. It’s funny, when I think about it now, how Summers made Scott perfectly superficial yet I didn’t think his character was shallow. That is pure talent, right there.Although I would have appreciated a HEA than a HFN ending, this is a minor point that in no way affected how I relished this book until the last word.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Gigi

    I was downright mesmerized by this book. It is my first Nash Summers book and after looking at the reviews for other Nash Summer's books including fawn, Maps and Carte Blanche, I realize just how slow on the uptake I am. She writes wonderful, magically vivid stories with exceptional characterization. Some examples from Lovers & Fighters: The front of the cafe had two giant glass windows so passersby could have a look into the small sandwich shop, and outside were a few small white plastic I was downright mesmerized by this book. It is my first Nash Summers book and after looking at the reviews for other Nash Summer's books including fawn, Maps and Carte Blanche, I realize just how slow on the uptake I am. She writes wonderful, magically vivid stories with exceptional characterization. Some examples from Lovers & Fighters: The front of the cafe had two giant glass windows so passersby could have a look into the small sandwich shop, and outside were a few small white plastic tables with matching faux wicker chairs. The name of the shop was stenciled onto the inside of the window with some clean typography in a matte white paint. The two of us approached the small children’s carnival that the park had set up for the time being. There were stands of pink and blue cotton candy, popcorn so buttered it looked like glass, and mini donuts whose smell filled the air around us with the scent of warm sugar. The museum felt like a home to me, all the pieces of artwork collected from around the world, from some of the best and most brilliant artists. When I was near those pieces of artwork, I felt like they were fallen stars from somewhere in the heavens that became fed up with the perpetual brightness of themselves and decided to drop down to earth. That is just a very small sampling. I book-marked 27 passages that moved me like the three passages above did. I could smell and see and feel everything I was reading and it really affected me in a way no other writer has been able to do. This is a simple story of two lost souls, sleepwalking through life. The sadness of characters Scott and Julian is all-consuming and I cried several times just at the thought of how removed from life these two are. They are as different as night and day, Scott, incredibly rigid, is always focused on his daily tasks to the point of obsession, just to numb himself of the realization that his life is empty. He sees himself as boring and plain with nothing to offer a potential partner. He clings to his boyfriend Ryan, tip-toeing around him so he doesn't make a mistake and drive him away. Julian, a wild-child with the word "trouble" tattooed on his back, feels he deserves to be punished for his misdeeds and seeks out men who beat and humiliate him. Scott and Julian find themselves constantly bumping in to each other, and their differences immediately rub each other the wrong way. The book is told entirely from Scott's POV, so we learn a LOT about Julian's motivations at the end of the book and it is spectacular. I would not label this a romance. It was more of a love story in my mind. There is some sex, but it is a very small part of what these two are to each other. The emotions are slow to progress and obsessive in nature, but I never found myself judging either of their characters. And while we don't get a classic M/M romance HEA, the ending was very much HFN with the certainty in my mind that, no matter how unhealthy these two are, they will grow and love and learn and lean on each other to make both of their lives mean something and finally feel something. I honestly can't recommend this book highly enough. It was so beautiful and unique and refreshing and sad and absolutely perfect. Now, if you will excuse me, I'm off to read more from Nash Summers. NOTE: Because I know people will ask, these is no cheating in this book. Advanced review copy of Lovers & Fighters provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange for an honest review. This review has been crossed posted to Jessewave

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ami

    “He was shattered glass on an otherwise pristine floor, a bloodcurdling shriek in a quiet library. He was everything I was not.” I have a major crush on Nash Summers’ writing – her words and the way she composes her story is a form of artistry. I fall in love with every single thing that she writes because reading her words make me feel thoughtful, like I want to dissect each part of her sentences slowly and carefully. There’s nothing in this world that can surpass that kind of reading “He was shattered glass on an otherwise pristine floor, a bloodcurdling shriek in a quiet library. He was everything I was not.” I have a major crush on Nash Summers’ writing – her words and the way she composes her story is a form of artistry. I fall in love with every single thing that she writes because reading her words make me feel thoughtful, like I want to dissect each part of her sentences slowly and carefully. There’s nothing in this world that can surpass that kind of reading experience. Lovers & Fighters is the story of Scott Halleck, a modern art curator, and Julian Reeves, the man whom Scott slowly finds himself falling for. They cannot be more different. Scott sees himself as plain and boring. He stays inside the line, making sure that his choices are the safe ones. Julian Reeves is not a safe option. He’s destructive, he’s damaged, and he has baggage. However, Scott also realizes that the opposite Julian makes him feel alive. As always, Summers’ storytelling pulled me in – it is resonant, raw, and profound, even when it’s describing the plain Scott. I couldn’t take my eyes of her words. I was dying to read how Scott would slowly unravel when he let the fire inside Julian consume him thoroughly. Although after halfway through, I thought Summers was emphasizing so hard on Scott and Julian’s different individuality traits that it became repetitive – as if I could forget about their characteristics. I mean, at that point, I, as a reader, already knew and understood what makes Scott, Scott, and I would have loved to know more about what makes Julian, Julian. I admit that I have a weakness towards complicated (almost to the point of codependent or slightly destructive) couples. Because they are the ones who work harder to keep their relationship, and I always feel it is more gratifying in the end. In the end, while I hesitate to call this a romance, considering that our heroes are not exactly together in almost the majority of the story, I would still call it a start of a relationship that is beautiful because of its imperfection. “There is a fine line between love and hate, my boy, if there is even a line at all” A Guest Review for The Blogger Girls The ARC is provided by the publisher for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Apeiron

    Well, damn. Looks like my opinions about this book might have made me some enemies. My opinions can be real assholes. Sometimes even I don't wanna hang out with them. It's a funny story, actually, because after the first reading of this book I felt so uncomfortable with my ambivalence in the face of overwhelmingly adoring reviews that I had to re-read it to make sure I wasn't missing something that everyone else saw. If there's anything I hate more than being wrong, it's being possibly wrong. It Well, damn. Looks like my opinions about this book might have made me some enemies. My opinions can be real assholes. Sometimes even I don't wanna hang out with them. It's a funny story, actually, because after the first reading of this book I felt so uncomfortable with my ambivalence in the face of overwhelmingly adoring reviews that I had to re-read it to make sure I wasn't missing something that everyone else saw. If there's anything I hate more than being wrong, it's being possibly wrong. It makes me do stupid things like waste hours upon hours just to prove things to myself, as if I needed a body of evidence to believe my own self. So after the second read I can see that this book is much more solid than I initially thought. Some of what on first read seemed over the top and a cop-out, now made sense. But that's because I knew the ending. If the imagery of the prose hits you right in your aesthetic, the emotions can swallow you whole, give you a beating, bruise a rib, scrape a lip. Even I was affected a few times by the intensity of Scott's suppressed feelings. Repression is a fascinating thing and Nash Summers does it really well. But her aesthetic doesn't speak to me. I've seen this all before. So keep that in mind if you keep reading this review hoping to find out what my aesthetic is. Or to find an Apple Store coupon or whatever it is you're here for. This book was very pretty, but not very true. For me. Sometimes authenticity and truth were sacrificed for a romantic moment or an eloquent phrase. It was magical; but it's the kind of magic that reason and logic and I are immune to. It's the magic of craving someone you hate because he embodies an idea, and a long string of very aesthetically pleasing coincidences. And lives being ruined because ruin is so poetic. I can also see, on second read, that I was manipulated by my assumptions about Julian, much like Scott was. Except I figured out that I was reducing Julian to a Broken Bad Boy trope and projecting on him my prejudice and melodramatic notions garnered from road movies, bishounen mangas and indie rock ballads. (Partly because those notions were right here, repeated on the page.) I'm not sure Scott figured out that humans are more than romantic contradictions. I'm not sure Scott saw more in Julian than Lana del Rey lyrics projected on a painting of staggering beauty. He kept thinking about Julian in terms of beauty, brokenness, destruction. He kept thinking about fires and hurricanes and disasters and things that made Julian's very existence romantically tragic--instead of what made him human. And all the metaphors. Oh, man. We've talked about this. Human feelings are powerful and complicated and cause real damage. Give them some credit. Don't reduce them to fires, storms, universes and other images that turn them into a concept and put them, shrink-wrapped, behind a display window. That's how you make them harmless. On both reads, I felt like I was watching a music video. Instead of good ole' communication I got impressively polished one-liners. Instead of working through messy feelings, I got acknowledgement of juxtapositions and fixing an aporia with a metaphor. Instead of getting to know someone, I got loaded looks, dramatic gestures, assumptions and waiting out the problem until destiny fixes it. Maybe this story was deeper than I saw, blinded by the shimmering golden coat of imagery that I've seen before. My lack of appreciation was definitely a matter of taste and reading experience and the fact that I found it all very cliched. This book will give you powerful emotions if you let it. --- This was a buddy read with Pixie. --- Congratulations on scrolling down. There's no Apple Store coupon, but... This is my aesthetic: ‘Self Portrait With Kitties’ by kozyndan --- And I was really excited for the sample. I thought this would break my Nash Summers incompatibility. But I guess we aren't meant to be. (view spoiler)[ I've tried Summers' stories twice, and had zero luck with them. But the sample of this one sounds so good. So I guess what I'm saying is my judgement can't be trusted even by myself, because I'm gonna read this book, too. Officially making Nash Summers my most-read author. *waits for congratulatory pats on the back* *crickets* (hide spoiler)]

  6. 5 out of 5

    Justin

    5 oh-so-worthy stars! persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:9 (NIV) This is an amazing story. I think I highlighted about 25% of the book. There are so many wonderful passages and so many beautiful descriptions.....but you'll want to experience them in the context of the story so I won't put them all here. Lately I've been trying to avoid the angst-ridden stories because I just can't handle them anymore. Going in I feared this one was going to gut me. ★★★★★ 5 oh-so-worthy stars! persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:9 (NIV) This is an amazing story. I think I highlighted about 25% of the book. There are so many wonderful passages and so many beautiful descriptions.....but you'll want to experience them in the context of the story so I won't put them all here. Lately I've been trying to avoid the angst-ridden stories because I just can't handle them anymore. Going in I feared this one was going to gut me. This is not fluff by any means, but it's not soul crushing angst either. At least it wasn't for me. I never lost hope reading Julian & Scott's story. I felt all of the raw emotions that the characters themselves were feeling but I held out hope that it would get better. And it did! To me that's angst done right and it makes reading the heavy stuff bearable. There's a recurring theme in this story of how closely related love and hate truly are and Nash Summers blew me away with it. “There is a fine line between love and hate, my boy, if there is even a line at all.” “I wouldn’t have told you if I didn’t think you really needed to hear it,” he said. “But you sounded like you might need to. Julian has a way of drawing people to him, whether it’s because they love him or hate him." I knew he was awake, but I didn’t expect him to say anything to me. I wanted him to, though. I wanted him to tell me he’d never see that ex-boyfriend of his, that he’d never leave my bed if I didn’t want him to, that the way his skin felt like it burned my fingertips was closer to love than hate. I didn’t know if Julian would ever come to me, but I thought he was worth the wait. The fire he burned into me was so painful I couldn’t think of anything else. If this was love, or if this was hate, I’d take it either way, because at least around Julian, I felt something. There's a song, "Losing", by Tenth Avenue North that came to mind again and again as I read "Lovers & Fighters". I can't believe what she said I can't believe what he did Oh, don't they know it's wrong? Don't they know it's wrong? Well maybe there's something I missed But how could they treat me like this It's wearing out my heart The way they disregard This is love This is hate. We all have a choice to make I'm so happy Scott and Julian worked it out and eventually chose love over hate. I have one tiny gripe. I wanted an Epilogue. Specifically I wanted Julian to meet Scott's parents. The following scene seemed so significant when I read it. If there had been an Epilogue, with Julian meeting Scott's parents, then the book would have been 100% perfection for me. “Can your mother and I meet him?” “Can you what?” I shrieked. “It’s obvious this person means something to you, and I think it’s only fair that we can meet him. It doesn’t have to be soon, just a promise that you’ll bring him by one day for dinner.” “Dad, it’s really not like that.” “It’s not now, but it will be.” “How can you be so sure? Trying to grab ahold of Julian is like trying to cup mercury in your hands.” “You’re a smart man, Scotty, and you’ve never backed down from something you put your heart into. Of this I am sure. If you see a hurdle, you’ll jump over it, or climb over it, or thrash at it kicking and screaming until it falls down. I know my son, and I just want to meet the man who he’s given his heart to.” *sigh* I guess I'll just be content with the 99% perfection that I got. Unless... UNLESS!!!!....Nash writes that dinner scene..... maybe in a holiday short?! Pretty please!! With tequila on top!!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ele

    *4.5 stars* This kind of romance would consume us both. We were creatures of habit, self-destructive and toxic in ways that neither of us even knew. Nash Summers is a relatively new author to me, meaning that after reading her story for this year's DRitC event, I went back to check her other work and ended up reading everything within two days. I loved it all and this book is no exception. If you liked fawn, you are going to love Lovers & Fighters. This book is unique. For the most part of *4.5 stars* This kind of romance would consume us both. We were creatures of habit, self-destructive and toxic in ways that neither of us even knew. Nash Summers is a relatively new author to me, meaning that after reading her story for this year's DRitC event, I went back to check her other work and ended up reading everything within two days. I loved it all and this book is no exception. If you liked fawn, you are going to love Lovers & Fighters. This book is unique. For the most part of it the MCs try not to be together. In fact, Scott has a boyfriend who is a pretty nice guy (don't worry, no cheating involved). DO NOT let this deter you. “I HATE your shoes.” “Excuse me?” I replied, trying my best not to choke on my own saliva. “I said I hate your shoes. They’re hideous, like some useless loafer-moccasin hybrid that turned out to be the runt of an ugly litter.” Yes, as far as first impressions go, this couldn't get any worse. This is the first of a series of chance meetings. Call it fate, call it coincidence, Scott and Julian keep bumping into each other until they can't ignore it anymore. Encounters that are, sometimes funny, sometimes a little tragic. The two of them are polar opposites. Julian is wild , covered in tattoos and piercings. He changes his name and hair colour every few days. He punishes himself by letting other men beat him and use him. No excuses, no childhood drama, no abuse. Julian made bad choices, he messed up and carries that guilt. Scott is always buttoned up, too rigid, too perfect. He wants everything around him to be perfect, including his boyfriend, because otherwise he will get hurt. He knows the things that make him feel alive are those that hurt him, so he choses to not really live. So, yes, polar opposites. Or maybe not. “When you look at me, what do you see?” Julian asked...[...] “I’m just framework. I’m an empty shell, walking around, laughing and pretending to be real. And do you know what I see when I look at you, Loafers?” I glanced at him out of the corner of my eye. Julian smiled and leaned toward me to whisper in my ear. “I see the same thing.” Not so different after all. Under the animosity and the fighting there is a strong attraction, not only sexual but emotional too. Because no matter how much they dislike each other, they can't ignore the fact that the only times they feel alive, are those they spend together. And when push comes to shove, Scott will have to decide if he 's going to "step out of line and reach for the stars" or choose his safe but boring life. His lips almost touched my ear when he whispered, “If you want me, Scott, then give me you. Give me the air in your lungs and the heart in your chest, but don’t you dare give me a picture of the moon and tell me that it’s mine.” There isn't too much steam but Nash Summers can get away with no steam at all. All the moments they shared, steamy or not, felt precious. The ending left me wanting more. But that is because I'm greedy. It is a tentative HFN, more like a sense of finally letting go or a feeling of coming home. Nash Summers can get away with that too. Read this story, I highly recommend it. *Review cross-posted on Reviews by Jessewave. ARC provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest review.*

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    "Have you ever seen anyting more beautiful than a carousel? They're made of magic, and here we are, lucky enough to not only be witness to it, but allowed to come along for the ride," Julian said. Nash Summers creates the most magical worlds, even though they are all contemporary. She manages - and I've no idea how, I'm in awe - to bring a fairytale quality to a modern day tale, and Lovers and Fighters was no exception. The magic in this story comes in the form of Julian. Julian who changes his "Have you ever seen anyting more beautiful than a carousel? They're made of magic, and here we are, lucky enough to not only be witness to it, but allowed to come along for the ride," Julian said. Nash Summers creates the most magical worlds, even though they are all contemporary. She manages - and I've no idea how, I'm in awe - to bring a fairytale quality to a modern day tale, and Lovers and Fighters was no exception. The magic in this story comes in the form of Julian. Julian who changes his name as often as his hair colour. Julian who is troubled and dealing with the past yet is the spark of life Scott doesn't know he needs. Scott is enthralled by Julian since the first time they met - the first time Julian insulted him. He just doesn't realise it. He's convinced he hates the annoying, rude, slightly crazy other man...but you know what they say; it's a fine line between love and hate. There were so many highlights of this story for me - but I don't want to spoil it. The dog walking. All dog walkers should take dogs out like that. The memory of the image now makes me grin madly - how does she come up with these ideas? I would like to live in Nash Summers' head for a little while. And that sounded waaaaay more creepy than I intended it too! Nash Summers creates sentences and analogies I just love; These photos demanded attention like the fall demands the frozen chill of winter to create a clean white slate to blanket over its mistakes. I would say to anyone who is yet to try this author, what are you waiting for? I can't promise you won't want to cry at times in some of her stories, Nash's characters are complicated and never boring, and many have a lot of pain to deal with, I can guarantee though that you will be transported to a magical world within a world that will keep you engaged from beginning to end.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nash Summers

    Some lovely person added this for me! What a delight you are, __________! Also, this is available for pre-order here: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/sto... Lovers & Fighters is a novella around 120 pages. It's high in angst, low in drawn out HEAs. ;) Enjoy!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jewel

    I really think this is a case of "it's not you, book, it's me". All my friends whose tastes tend to align with mine, really loved this one. I, though, had such a hard time connecting with the characters and I didn't really like them, either. So, while the writing was impeccable, I just didn't much like the story. We win some, we lose some.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    This was a difficult book to read, and it's just as difficult to write up a review for it. Nash Summers' words are evocative. Her books are usually like a whirlpool of emotions, and they suck me right in. This book was no different. It's heavy. Full of angst and pain, the physical and the emotional kind. And still, it didn't resonate with me like her other books have. I'm not entirely sure why, but this book just didn't work as well, for me, as the others I've read by her. Scott Halleck is an art This was a difficult book to read, and it's just as difficult to write up a review for it. Nash Summers' words are evocative. Her books are usually like a whirlpool of emotions, and they suck me right in. This book was no different. It's heavy. Full of angst and pain, the physical and the emotional kind. And still, it didn't resonate with me like her other books have. I'm not entirely sure why, but this book just didn't work as well, for me, as the others I've read by her. Scott Halleck is an art curator at a museum in Chicago. He lives a bland life, from his clothing choices to his choice in boyfriend. Don't get me wrong, Ryan is a really nice guy, but he's oh so wrong for Scott. He can't be what Scott needs, what Scott has denied himself, and eventually he knows it too. I couldn't find fault with Ryan at all - he was sweet and kind and caring, and he deserved so much better than what he got. I didn't like Scott, and as his whole book is told from his POV, I didn't connect with the narrator on a level that could take me to a place where I understood him. I could understand his fascination with Julian completely - he was like a moth drawn to a flame - but I didn't understand what motivated him to deny himself time and again. I didn't understand why he feared getting involved with Julian. Well, that's not entirely true. I understood that his first encounter with someone who burned so brightly left him singed and hurt, but it was portrayed almost as a character flaw to want someone like that, instead of something that youth and inexperience propelled Scott to pursue, only to crash and burn with unrequited love. I wasn't quite sure that Scott was afraid of unrequited love in the option with Julian. He's an unreliable narrator, and we never really see, until we're told, what motivates Julian. Julian, the love interest, is struggling. Not only with familial issues, but also with addiction, with the results of addiction, and he feels that he deserves the rough kind of sex he seeks, the resulting beatings and the bruises. I could understand his motives better, though the underlying reason to me seemed just slightly far-fetched. The writing is gorgeous as usual, no mistake about that, but the characters in this book didn't do it for me. That may also be because this isn't really a romance, even though it's a love/hate story. And it's a thin line indeed between love and hate, both a brightly burning fire that can consume you completely. Just because this didn't work for me, don't let that stop you from picking this up, though. Read Dani's review here to get a different picture. The author's immense writing talent is still there, in all of this book, and it's one reason I couldn't put this down until I finished, even though I struggled with the story overall. ** I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tess

    4 stars Whoa, I think it's going to take a while to put together my thoughts on this one. The one thing I can say right now is that Ms. Summer's writing was exquisite, as usual.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Renée

    Beautiful and ugly. Exactly as Summers intended, I'm sure. Not my cuppa though. Way too toxic with very little happy at the end.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Vallie

    I fell totally in love with this book. I need to seriously fan-girl over this, big time. The writing? How can I possibly rave enough about the prose, the way everything flows, how damn poetic it all is? Nash Summers, you just became one of my favourite authors. So let’s talk about this book. As I said, damn poetry, is what it is. The moment I began reading, I could tell that this book was not going to be like a run-of-the-mill story. There are layers and layers to both Scott and Julian which are I fell totally in love with this book. I need to seriously fan-girl over this, big time. The writing? How can I possibly rave enough about the prose, the way everything flows, how damn poetic it all is? Nash Summers, you just became one of my favourite authors. So let’s talk about this book. As I said, damn poetry, is what it is. The moment I began reading, I could tell that this book was not going to be like a run-of-the-mill story. There are layers and layers to both Scott and Julian which are slowly revealed at the right time. No telling. All showing. Scott first appears to be a completely boring, by the book, museum curator who is a bit of a snob and uptight. Julian looks like a freak show and doesn’t give a monkey’s ass about it. Through some weird set of circumstances, they meet, they have a one-night stand, and then they keep bumping into each other. And this is where the story won me over, 100%. I am a total sucker for co-dependent, addictive relationships. I love reading about them. Scott develops a very unhealthy fascination and an almost stalkery addiction to Julian. He starts thinking about him non-stop. His work is affected. His sleep is affected. He gives up on a very promising relationship with Ryan who is so very understanding of it all and I really hope he gets something good for himself in a later book. Scott starts following Julian around, trying to meet him and talk to him. Scott’s character starts unfolding deliciously slowly, revealing a dark side that has been suppressed pretty much all his life. He had to be the good, stable person. But Julian woke up inside him the adrenaline junkie who will stop at nothing if it means being with the person he loves. Julian remains a mystery throughout the book. It becomes very clear that his psychological issues go very deep and the way he tries to cope is very unhealthy. Julian is self-destructive in all the ways that count, leaving a flustered Scott trying to pick up the pieces. Let’s clarify here that Scott and Julian never actually form a relationship. They don’t really become a couple. Scott is chasing the elusive Julian around and Julian sometimes gives in and sometimes doesn’t. Julian doesn’t trust anyone but he starts having feelings for Scott and lets him get closer than anyone else. There is very little steam but honestly, there are so many feelings that I didn't miss it. The moments we do get are carefully chosen and necessary. No gratuitous sex here, even though it wouldn't have been unwelcome. These guys have some ridiculously serious chemistry going on. This is a dark book that is mostly sad and heart-breaking but don’t let this deter you folks. There is a HEA, or maybe HFN? It’s all a little vague but it worked for me. I want MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE!!!! This is one of the best mm books I have ever read and it’s going to my not-enough-stars-to-rate-this shelf, where only a few other books live. I am still shaken but how masterfully the author laid this story out and I am sooooooo going after anything and everything Nash Summers has ever written. Highly recommend. ARC of Lovers & Fighters provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. This review has been cross-posted at Gay Book Reviews.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    It's pretty much a no-brainer that I'm going to want to read every word Nash Summers writes. Can't wait for this one!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Anke

    More like 1.5 stars So, finished - and that was it? This final page was what I got after working through this dark and angsty story? About two guys who had nothing for me to like them? Nothing to understand what each of them saw in the other? I didn't like any of them, I don't like couples that affect each other negatively. This whole thing left me sitting here, looking at my kindle and asking myself - what's my mood now after reading this? Honestly? Disappointed, angry and irritated. Now - off to More like 1.5 stars So, finished - and that was it? This final page was what I got after working through this dark and angsty story? About two guys who had nothing for me to like them? Nothing to understand what each of them saw in the other? I didn't like any of them, I don't like couples that affect each other negatively. This whole thing left me sitting here, looking at my kindle and asking myself - what's my mood now after reading this? Honestly? Disappointed, angry and irritated. Now - off to a book that hopefully brings back my good mood.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Pixie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Hearts are stupid & Cupid is an asshole. For the first 30% of this book I just didn’t get it. The main character, Scott is boring and predictable. He’s so structured, from how he dresses, to what he eats, to who he dates that I didn’t think I was going to get through this book. He’s one of those people who is wildly caught up with having “that life” with the perfect job, the perfect man, the known future. He doesn’t particularly connect with anyone or anything, it’s like “have 2.5 kids and Hearts are stupid & Cupid is an asshole. For the first 30% of this book I just didn’t get it. The main character, Scott is boring and predictable. He’s so structured, from how he dresses, to what he eats, to who he dates that I didn’t think I was going to get through this book. He’s one of those people who is wildly caught up with having “that life” with the perfect job, the perfect man, the known future. He doesn’t particularly connect with anyone or anything, it’s like “have 2.5 kids and move to the suburbs” check. There is a point in this book where he thinking about how Ryan (his boyfriend) at the time is going to make a great father and he can see their future together….but Scott doesn’t actually want kids….but he’ll have them, cause you know “perfection”. Scott is…beige. Then he meets Julian… Julian, the only way to describe him would be beautifully self-destructive. Scott, though he tries to fight it finds himself loving Julian. That obsessive, all-encompassing love. Scotts a smart guy thought and Julian is not a smart decision. Trying to stay on the “right path” and have that “perfect life” becomes damn near impossible once Scott and Julian meet. Try as he might, by avoiding Julian, denying his feelings, Scott cannot for the life of him move past wanting Julian. The book is mostly about Scotts struggle to accept that Julian with all his flaws is everything to Scott. I adored this book for a couple of reasons, the first being like Julian I have always been a bit, not self-destructive, but…. a ridiculously bad choice. There are some people in the world who cannot be fixed, merely because nothing is particularly wrong. That’s what I liked about Scott in the end, he knew Julian was not perfect, but he loved him anyway, just as he was. Scott and his love was not going to be Julian’s salvation. There also was no “HEA” or even really a “HFN”. You got the sense that there would be very little “happy”, sometimes that’s how it works. Julian, I’m going to go back and reread this because having gotten to the end there is a point where you realize Julian has loved Scott all along. He’s actually been telling Scott this in his own little way and Scott has been missing it. I missed it too, the events as they were laid out had no significance to Scott so they had no significance to me as a reader. In the end my feeling was Julian’s love saved Scott. Scott was dying, wasting life by going through the motions. There was something someone sent me when I was talking about this story that I think summed it up perfectly. “Maybe life isn’t about avoiding the bruises. Maybe it’s about collecting the scars to prove we showed up for it”.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Pjm12

    I am having difficulty processing my thoughts about this one. Most of the way through, I was on board with Scott and his finicky ways. I kept expecting there to be a reason, an event which led to his issues, and although Tommy did provide some of the angst, Scott was clearly living in his bubble even before that. (view spoiler)[So, he's just the way he is, right? Hmm, and so he doesn't want to love Julian because he will what? burn too brightly?? I just didn't see enough as to WHY he thought that I am having difficulty processing my thoughts about this one. Most of the way through, I was on board with Scott and his finicky ways. I kept expecting there to be a reason, an event which led to his issues, and although Tommy did provide some of the angst, Scott was clearly living in his bubble even before that. (view spoiler)[So, he's just the way he is, right? Hmm, and so he doesn't want to love Julian because he will what? burn too brightly?? I just didn't see enough as to WHY he thought that (hide spoiler)] Julien is a mixture of damage and wicked and victim and strength and grief and gosh! I liked his characterisation. But the other thing that made me scratch my head was (view spoiler)[ the number of times they got together then broke up, especially towards the end. I know they both needed time to sort themselves out, but yeah, I wanted some more moments of light, among all the dark (hide spoiler)] . Anyway, I really did feel the despair, the heart-ache and the sacrifice. A really different, unexpected read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cari Z.

    This was my first Nash Summers experience. Is the writing as gorgeous as I was led to believe? Yes, it absolutely is. Are the characters people I actually enjoy reading about? No, not really. They're both erratic and frustrating in very different ways, and I'm unfortunately not the sort of reader who enjoys this particular torment. Is their relationship something that intrigues and compels me? Yeah, for what it is, but what it is certainly isn't a romance. It's hard and complicated and largely This was my first Nash Summers experience. Is the writing as gorgeous as I was led to believe? Yes, it absolutely is. Are the characters people I actually enjoy reading about? No, not really. They're both erratic and frustrating in very different ways, and I'm unfortunately not the sort of reader who enjoys this particular torment. Is their relationship something that intrigues and compels me? Yeah, for what it is, but what it is certainly isn't a romance. It's hard and complicated and largely unsatisfactory. Did I walk away from this book glad I'd read it? Yes...but I won't be reading it again. I will, however, look for more from Nash Summers, because holy turn of phrase, Batman, some of it was absolutely beautiful.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tamika♥RBF MOOD♥

    I’m becoming to enjoy Nash’s take on real life mm romance. I think I read something on the same basis on the plot before, but taken entirely route with the characters. I’m apologizing in the beginning for this review; it’s going to be all over the place because that’s how my thoughts were after reading. I don’t think I expected the animosity to be so straight forward like it was. Scott was a lackluster character in the beginning. He did minimum things for fun, outside of work. Reading this and I’m becoming to enjoy Nash’s take on real life mm romance. I think I read something on the same basis on the plot before, but taken entirely route with the characters. I’m apologizing in the beginning for this review; it’s going to be all over the place because that’s how my thoughts were after reading. I don’t think I expected the animosity to be so straight forward like it was. Scott was a lackluster character in the beginning. He did minimum things for fun, outside of work. Reading this and learning about Scott he surprised me by his choices in the people he loves. He didn’t have many friends, and his relationship was lukewarm on his side at best. I was trying to put myself in Scott’s shoes on how I would act if I was him, and I would proceed with being with someone who I know is bad for me, but I can’t help who I love. Julian’s character was very complex. Julian was rude, mean and angry to the point of combative. I mean he’s a sandwich maker who makes the complete opposite of what people order. I was angry for the customers. It’s hard to see why sensible Scott fell in love with rebellious Julian. I enjoyed him, but I kind of wanted more about him. It’s not a tradition romance at all, it’s a love story and like most love stories, it takes a long time before you actually know that it is happening. It’s a unique spin on a damaged soul and the good guy who’ll do anything to protect him. Another realistic approach with how addiction works, and the road it takes a person on. I’m proud of Julian for getting help, but when one addiction leaves, another takes it’s place. Domestic Violence is a tag for this story, I liked how Nash went about writing it into the story. It was beautifully introduced and Scott showed us a different sign. For the life of me I can’t figure out why Scott wants Julian, but I understand it. I’ll leave you with this quote from Scott, it makes perfect sense. “I was nothing like Julian. We were from opposite sides of the solar system. He was a star that flickered, and seared, and burned too brightly to look at. I was the dark, dim, wholeness of space—unmoving in stasis.” I think it’s a beautiful quote that describes them to the fullest.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Molli B.

    4.75 stars Yesterday was rainy and cool, and I stayed in bed all morning, reading this. It was kind of the perfect start to a lazy, gray Saturday. Nash's writing is what I'd call literary, rather than genre, and her romances aren't your typical romances, either. She always has a character (or two--really, two) who's slightly off the norm, quirky, odd. I think Julian and Scott both fit that bill here, in different ways. Julian puts it best: "I'm just framework. I'm an empty shell, walking around, 4.75 stars Yesterday was rainy and cool, and I stayed in bed all morning, reading this. It was kind of the perfect start to a lazy, gray Saturday. Nash's writing is what I'd call literary, rather than genre, and her romances aren't your typical romances, either. She always has a character (or two--really, two) who's slightly off the norm, quirky, odd. I think Julian and Scott both fit that bill here, in different ways. Julian puts it best: "I'm just framework. I'm an empty shell, walking around, laughing and pretending to be real. And do you know what I see when I look at you, Loafers? I see the same thing." And he's right, sadly—for different reasons, Scott and Julian are empty, faking it, pretending to be something they're not (pretending to be what they believe is expected of them, at least in Scott's case). They were both pretty heartbreaking :( And every time they hurt each other, I felt it, too. Hmph. Despite the artsy (that's a compliment :) way Nash writes, I was sucked into this story immediately. It's kind of hard not to be when the story opens with a green-haired waiter insulting the MC's ugly shoes. Haha. Great scene. And I stayed enthralled right through the whole book, despite it's fairly quiet atmosphere. There was only one thing I didn't care for, and that was (view spoiler)[the scene with Julian's sister, Lori, when Scott goes to talk to her near the end. It felt weirdly fake/false. I'm willing to bet it was a scene that gave the author trouble when she wrote and edited it (hide spoiler)] . But beyond that, I thought the whole thing was pretty great. A definite thumbs up and recommendation if you're looking for a not-so-typical romance.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    No love is a love you want if it’s not worth fighting for. This was so fucking good. Damn you Summers and your raw realness to romance. Damn you and your angst to the moon and back. This book made me feel so much, much more than I wanted and yet I need more. Hate your lovers... yup, you do. You can. It's possible to love and hate them. That ultra thin line between the two, at times, is almost non-existent. I loved Scott; his morning routines, his running, his Icarus complex and wanting to be No love is a love you want if it’s not worth fighting for. This was so fucking good. Damn you Summers and your raw realness to romance. Damn you and your angst to the moon and back. This book made me feel so much, much more than I wanted and yet I need more. Hate your lovers... yup, you do. You can. It's possible to love and hate them. That ultra thin line between the two, at times, is almost non-existent. I loved Scott; his morning routines, his running, his Icarus complex and wanting to be burned and I loved Scott for taking a chance to FEEL! I adored Julian; his not complete self and his hate of ugly shoes and his ever changing hair and his revolving name tags and JUST JULIAN! JHFC. I loved him so much and I need him to make me a sammich. I have a soft spot for Scott's parents and boy oh boy did his dad nail what marriage means to me. So much and he was just so awesome with the way he got his son. One last small but not small to me detail... Dear Scott, I too have wept seeing Guernica. How could I not? Yours, Another Redheaded Sara

  23. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    Not a HEA and only just a HFN. I just found there was too much left unresolved in this tale, which in turn left me feeling dissatisfied and ambivalent about this book and the main characters. For me everything about Julien and Scott felt superficial to the point that I didn't really care if they ended up together or not. When I forget the name of one of the main characters within a few minutes of finishing a book it might be time to admit this one was not for me. Gave it 3 stars for effort, and Not a HEA and only just a HFN. I just found there was too much left unresolved in this tale, which in turn left me feeling dissatisfied and ambivalent about this book and the main characters. For me everything about Julien and Scott felt superficial to the point that I didn't really care if they ended up together or not. When I forget the name of one of the main characters within a few minutes of finishing a book it might be time to admit this one was not for me. Gave it 3 stars for effort, and for dogs wearing balloons.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jules Lovestoread

    Nash Summers is a multi-faceted talent. She has brought us the quirky and hilarious Maps, as well as the hauntingly beautiful fawn. Her new release, Lovers & Fighters, is equally mesmerizing and gorgeously written, though extremely heavy and dark. It is definitely not your typical M/M romance…which is one of the things I loved about it. See my full review at: http://thenovelapproachreviews.com/20...

  25. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    Realized I forgot to add that I read this. But I did. A while ago. Sometime in the past. I liked it. It was good. =D ...but I'm too tired to elaborate. Er... But yeah. I liked.

  26. 5 out of 5

    UnderCoverBookAddict

    If I have to say something about this book is that for me it felt just like the paintings it describes...abstract, metaphorical and subject to interpretation...that being said...it's a book that like it's title implies... inspired love and hate from me...it made me think and analyze...and that in it self makes the author successful...I couldn't help to pin point what feeling prevailed in the end but over all was dislike...because the MC's spent all their time running from each other...and I If I have to say something about this book is that for me it felt just like the paintings it describes...abstract, metaphorical and subject to interpretation...that being said...it's a book that like it's title implies... inspired love and hate from me...it made me think and analyze...and that in it self makes the author successful...I couldn't help to pin point what feeling prevailed in the end but over all was dislike...because the MC's spent all their time running from each other...and I don't seem to grasp how two people that barely know each other can feel the depth of love, passion or hate that this story speaks about...and then it ends...it was a tumult of angst, low self steem and all in all sadness that overwhelms you and you never get to breathe from it...beacause with the same feeling that starts it ends...saying a lot but being inconclusive at the same time...I didn't felt closure...I felt like a bomb went off and all the pieces were left where they fell...overall I didn't feel that the MC's where going to have a HEA or have the reassurance that they could overcome the very rocky road that lay ahead of them...and for me that's a must...may be if there were a sequel were it leaves the red that feels blue and the gray of the sky behind...where it truly touches the significant topics that were put there but otherwise not touched...for instance the addiction that Julian suffered from...being friends or family with an addict it is hard work and I just can't imagine how constructing a relationship with one must be...but I sure can tell is not as easy as riding in the sunset and that's is just for starters.

  27. 5 out of 5

    La*La

    3.5 stars. As much as I love this author's stories and as much as I wanted to love this book, I just can't rate it higher. At some points it was 5-stars good, but the heroes frustrated me out of my mind a couple times too many...I never liked them, I didn't get them or their feelings for each other...although I love reading 'unhealthy' and 'co-dependent' romance stories, this one didn't feel as a romance, but there was plenty of unhealthy obsession flying around. I think I'm gonna re-read Maps...I 3.5 stars. As much as I love this author's stories and as much as I wanted to love this book, I just can't rate it higher. At some points it was 5-stars good, but the heroes frustrated me out of my mind a couple times too many...I never liked them, I didn't get them or their feelings for each other...although I love reading 'unhealthy' and 'co-dependent' romance stories, this one didn't feel as a romance, but there was plenty of unhealthy obsession flying around. I think I'm gonna re-read Maps...I need some non-complicated good feelz now.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book almost had a dream like quality Don't really know how to express that but I've never read a story with an MC like Scott He was so complex Sometimes I felt sorry for him and sometimes he frustrated me It's hard to put my finger on it but sometimes I just didn't "get" him. Julian is just as mixed up as Scott They're drawn together like magnets It was a wild ride following their journey Lots of self reflection on Scott's part He's interesting Really good writing Their attraction was drawn out so This book almost had a dream like quality Don't really know how to express that but I've never read a story with an MC like Scott He was so complex Sometimes I felt sorry for him and sometimes he frustrated me It's hard to put my finger on it but sometimes I just didn't "get" him. Julian is just as mixed up as Scott They're drawn together like magnets It was a wild ride following their journey Lots of self reflection on Scott's part He's interesting Really good writing Their attraction was drawn out so slowly but it was beautiful So happy these two IMO make it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Daniela Green

    Didn't like it. So Scott is attracted to Julian because he's attracted to chaos. Ok And Julian is attracted to Scott because... just because. That's all folks. This story is pretty inconsistent, and I don't think that an attempt to write some lyrical sentences can make me forget the fact that the substance here is missing.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sasha (seetheworldwithbooks)

    Oh damn wow, this book kinda depressing. I thought it would be funny and light, turned out it wasn't. But it's not so bad afterall

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