Book Reviews

Nachos & Hash (Mary's Boys 1) by Brandon Witt

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 20-May-2020

Book Blurb

Darwin Michaels is living his dreams in the Mile High City. While Denver offers the perfect job, scrumptious dining, and whirlwind dating options, Darwin is losing hope he’ll find love—until he sets eyes on Cody Russell.

Cody has just accomplished his life’s goal—get the hell out of Kansas. In one fell swoop, he lands a job at Hamburger Mary’s and gets a newfound family. All that’s missing is someone special. But when Darwin shows his interest, Cody is sure it’s too good to be true. After all, what can Darwin possibly see in the high school dropout serving him nachos?

As Darwin falls in love, Cody struggles to realize his worth. When his past threatens the fragile life he is building, Cody spirals into a moment of dark desperation. But Darwin is determined to show Cody that love and family and home are there for him… if Cody can accept what is offered.

First edition published by Dreamspinner Press, January 2017.

Book Review

Denver is the setting for this first novella in a new series around Hamburger Mary’s, a chain of GLBTQ+-friendly restaurants in the US. The main characters are very young – Cody is twenty-one and Darwin only twenty-four, but in a way this is a coming of age story for both of them. They share some aspects of their backgrounds (like being from small towns), and they both want to meet “a special guy”, but neither of them believes it is going to happen for them anytime soon. And while they hope this will change once they meet, it is hard for them to believe that what they feel is real. This is the story of how they learn to listen to their feelings and how they, sometimes painfully and in tiny steps, begin to build the relationship they are both looking for.

Darwin is secure in his job, loves living in Denver, and figures he has dated at least half the available gay men by now. He should be happy to continue exploring his options, it’s what all his friends tell him to do, but it isn’t what he wants. Then he meets Cody and he just knows there is the potential for more between them than with any other man Darwin as ever dated. But how is he supposed to be sure?

Cody has serious self-confidence issues, and after what he has been through in the tiny town he grew up in, that is totally understandable. His experience with sex is way ahead of his understanding of dating, intimacy, and emotions. Cody knows he wants a man to love, but he can’t see himself as “worthy” or even “interesting” enough to ping Darwin’s radar. He is awkward in his approach, but his innocence and curiosity shine through.

Cody and Darwin have far to go, but the road they travel together is moving and heartwarming. I was a little exasperated with both of them in turns, but they are so charming, separately and together, that I kept rooting for them. Then there are the secondary characters, some of whom, to my utter delight, are from ‘Under a Sky of Ash’, one of my all-time favorite Brandon Witt novels. ManDonna makes an appearance, and so do some others, and that made me very happy.

If you like stories about young adults just beginning to figure out what life and love are all about, if you want to see respect, trust, intimacy and love develop between them right before your eyes, and if you’re looking for a novella-length read that is so well plotted and has such depth that it feels more like reading a novel, then you will probably like ‘Nachos and Hash’ as much as I do. I loved it from beginning to end and am already looking forward to the next installment!





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Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novella, 128 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 19-May-2020
Price $1.99 ebook, $8.99 paperback
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