• Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back by Joe Cosentino Release Day Review

Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back by Joe Cosentino Release Day Review

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Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back by Joe Cosentino Release Day Review

Book Info

Book Series
Cozzi Cove #1
About the Author
Bestselling author Joe Cosentino won Divine Magazine’s awards for best mystery novel, best humorous novel, and best contemporary novel of 2015. He is the author of the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, and China Doll (The Wild Rose Press); the Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Queen, Drama Muscle, and the upcoming Drama Cruise (Lethe Press); the Cozzi Cove beach series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back and Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward (NineStar Press); and the romance novellas: In My Heart anthology (An Infatuation & A Shooting Star), A Home for the Holidays, and The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press). As an actor, he has appeared in principal roles in film, television, and theatre opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. 
Publication Date
March 21, 2016
Content Warning
Themes that may be triggers – cancer, child abuse, suicide, death,
As Lance rested in bed and Cal was putting on jeans, sandals, and a canary polo shirt, they heard Connor enter the living room and call out to Cal. After giving Lance a kiss on the cheek, Cal begrudgingly left his lover, shut the front bedroom door after himself, and then met up with Connor, who was standing next to the living room sofa.

Connor said, “It’s good to be back at work.”

“How were your grades at college this year?”

Connor shrugged his muscular shoulders. “Pretty average.”

Cal thought, If average is getting Cs and Ds. “I’m guessing you were quite involved with extracurricular activities.”

“One or two.” He giggled. “Maybe three.”

Cal had a soft spot for the kid. “You did a nice job preparing the bungalows yesterday.”

“I aim to please.”

Cal thought the nineteen-year-old looked like an American flag in cutoff blue jeans that matched his eyes, a T-shirt and sneakers that matched his red hair, and pale skin with freckles.

“How can I be of service to you today, boss?”

Cal ignored Connor’s obvious double meaning.

“Just the usual routine.” Cal wasn’t immune to Connor’s charm, but Connor was a kid, and Cal was a one-man man. “Carry their luggage into the bungalows when the guests arrive. Turn down beds at four p.m.” He attempted to look sternly at the boy. “… Without you in them.”

Me come on to a guest?” Connor feigned surprise.

“Yes, you, Connor. This is a vacation resort, not the baths.” Cal moved behind his desk. “After today, make up the rooms late mornings and early afternoons. Leave the sheets and towels in front of the garage for the laundry pickup. And don’t forget to sweep out the parking area.”

Connor saluted. “Aye, aye, Capitán .”

The y heard a knock at the front door. Cal shouted, “It’s open.”

“Is this the office?”

“We’re informal here,” Cal explained. He typed into his computer, and then motioned for the young man to join him.

“I’m Mario Ginnetti.” He placed a piece of luggage at his feet. “Is it okay to park in the lot?”

Connor seemed to nearly salivate at Mario’s arms in his violet short-sleeved shirt. “You can park anywhere you like.”

Ignoring Connor, Cal said, “Yes, that’s the lot for the bungalows.” Cal handed Mario a key. “You’re in Bungalow One. I’ve got your credit card, so you’re all set.” He took a map from the topmost desk drawer. “The ocean beach is open to the public and is only minutes away. You can swim, surf, snorkel, or go on a glass-bottom boat there.” He pointed to various black dots on the map. “You’ll want to get some groceries here. Tommy Malone’s is a good bar, and Carla’s is my favorite seafood restaurant. This place has killer ice cream, which you can work off here at the gym.”

Connor interjected with, “If you need help finding anything, just ask me. I’m a native.”

“Or you can come into the office and ask me.” Cal handed Mario the map and then pointed outside. “The cove is private property. You can sit out there all you like. The bay water is calm and warm. As you can see, the view is amazing.”

Connor added with a grin, “Nude sunbathing is permitted.”

Mario was visibly trying to take it all in.

“Any questions?” asked Cal.

Mario’s dimples appeared. “Will the weather always be this nice?”

“From your lips to the sea gods’ ears.” Cal smiled. “The weather report calls for rain, so that means it’s going to be sunny all week. Connor will take you to your bungalow.”

Connor looked like the wolf meeting Little Red Riding Hood as he took Mario’s luggage. “Follow me, Mario.”

On Cozzi Cove at the New Jersey shore, handsome Cal Cozzi’s seven bungalows are open for summer and love.

Mario and Harold are brothers and college students who happen to look alike, but couldn’t be more different: Mario is searching for love, and Harold is searching for lust. Josh and Greg, a wealthy older couple, are matchmakers for their son, Christopher.

When it comes to Connor, the maid, packed with muscles and a roving sponge, anything can happen. Opposites attract as wild Tim with the secret past meets shy Mark, and porn star Chuck Caliber connects with Sean, a virgin romance novelist.

And what will happen when computer-game designer Arthur has a midnight sea rendezvous with a merman? Even married Cal faces an emotional upheaval when a gay bashing turns into something quite unexpected.

What secrets and passions lie in magical Cozzi Cove?

Editor review

1 review
Give. Me. More!
Movie Potential – ★★★★★
Ease of reading – very easy to read
Would I read it again – Yes!


Themes that may be triggers – cancer, child abuse, suicide, death, homophobia


“Cozzi Cove must be a magical place where opposites attract, people fall in love, and last wishes are granted.”


Cozzi Cove is that fantasy place where everything is kind of perfect, without being unbelievable. But, behind the scenes of his perfect location lie dark secrets, dark pasts and heavy burdens. The story is about how a group of eight men deal with the darker aspects of their lives finally being confronted.

Think the ultimate holiday romance, that doesn't have to end when the week is over. Though it might normally seem extreme to think that two men
could fall in love with each other after only a week, the setting, description and chemistry between all couples really works in this story. Not one relationship seems ridiculous or rushed.

Potential couples are:

Cal and Lance – Cal, as the manager for Cozzi Cove, is pretty much the man who makes it all happen for everyone else. Cozzi Cove is his dream, with his husband Lance, until things begin to crumble as the story progresses. When new kid Michael comes into the picture, things begin to make sense again.

Tim and Mark – Tim is one of those tortured souls, who lives life to the full but keeps his past well guarded. Mark, on the other hand, is this beautiful, gentle soul, who has come to Cozzi Cove to make peace with his life. The two together are sweetness personified, despite their outlooks on life.

Sean and Chuck – Sean and Chuck are wildly different personalities. Sean, a writer stuck in a fantasy world, and Chuck a porn star looking to retire and settle down. Due to recognising each other for who they really are, the two hit it off and come to some uncomfortable conclusions about their own lives and futures.

Connor and Harold – Connor is the 'houseboy' employee of Cozzi Cove. Kind of a slut, he's happy to lay his hat wherever it might land. ;) Harold, as
Mario's twin brother, is only too happy to take advantage of that, while causing a little havoc of his own.

Christopher and Mario – Christopher is the son of Greg and Josh, while Mario is at Cozzi Cove to spend more time with his brother, Harold, to mend
old wounds. From their first awkward meeting, nothing goes right for these two and it borders between hilarious moments of weirdness and really uncomfortable misunderstandings.

Arthur and the Merman – Arthur is a lone-soul, with porphyria, who writes video game software and likes to be by himself. When he meets the
mysterious “merman” at the cove, he suddenly realises that his life is more empty than he thought. And the same can be said for his merman.

Greg and Josh – These are the only established couple at Cozzi Cove. Already married, their bubbly attitudes are matched by their elitist personalities and they become a fun interlude for all the dark stuff that goes on behind the scenes. As an established couple, however, they don't really have a big slot in the story. That's for their son, Christopher.

To go into any more detail than that would ruin the story for you and I really don't want to do that. This is such a poignant tale that you really have to read it for yourself, to get the feeling of Cozzi Cove and the magic that it creates for its visitors.

For a story that is all about love and magic, it covers some very dark topics, as mentioned in my warning above. It also covers twin betrayal, inter-racial romance, may-december romance, outdoor sex, exhibitionism and a lot of pain. But, it's through that pain that the members of Cozzi Cove find their strength and, often, each other.

The only clear things I'll say about the plot are this:
I loved flirty, slutty Connor from the start. Cal was the sweet, tortured soul. Mark and Tim broke my heart. Michael was a ray of light. Harold is a shit-stirrer and revels in making Mario's life a misery. The scene between Michael and Cal, after they met in the alley, was beautiful and poignant. I loved that Greg and Josh freaked the hell out at the thought of their son, Christopher, possibly being straight. Though, I'm disappointed to see that poor Julie was completely ignored for most of the story.

The only negatives are that the formatting issues were minimal until the 5% mark, then they got messy for a while and again later in the book. This is an un-edited, un-formatted ARC so I absolutely don't mind or care about that, but I always mention it, just because it's in my copy. The only real problems were a few missing quotation marks and sentences being copped in half between two lines/paragraphs. Nothing really.

Oh, one other thing I didn't really like, that isn't formatting/grammar related. The sex. Sadly, for me, the sex wasn't really necessary, but it kept cropping up for each couple. It felt generic and second-rate to the fantastic writing of the rest of the story. I would have been happy to have it all behind closed doors, but it wasn't, so that is my issue. Most of the characters never talk about sex, all make presumptions on who is doing what to the point of putting in the position and actually getting on with it, before making sure it's okay. It just seems to happen, flawlessly, despite some characters being total virgins and there being no indication that sex was going to happen until it's actually happening.


Overall, this whole story was poignant and full of beautiful imagery. It's one crazy mix of characters, all weird and wonderful in their own way, but also carrying around these heavy burdens that they don't share until they meet someone at Cozzi Cove, who can coax them out of their hiding places.

Despite my misgivings about the sex, it's really such a minor part of the story that I couldn't penalise my rating because of it. It's a solid 5 stars for me. It made me laugh out loud, cry and want to snuggle up with someone I loved.

I couldn't have asked for more.


Favourite Quote:

““I never cared what you were. You'll always be in my heart.””

“Mark coughed some more. “Tim, I'm afraid.”
“Me too.” Tears rolled down Tim's cheeks.”
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A brilliant, heartwarming story.
(Updated: April 20, 2016)
Cozzi Cove : Bouncing Back is an absolute gem of a book about a week in the lives of Cal, the owner of a group of seven bungalows set around a beautiful cove, and his guests. Since Cal has advertised the bungalows as a gay friendly place to stay, a delightfully varied group of gay men gather at the cove to rest, rejuvenate and possibly even find romance. 

There are beginnings and endings in this magical place, lessons learned, worlds turned upside down and unlikely friendships and connections made. Joe Cosentino has a gift for writing very real men in all their gorgeous variety. The stories within stories are all touching in some way, and he makes you fall in love with these very human characters, flaws and all. There's not a false note in this book. It will draw you in from page one, and keep you riveted until it's highly satisfying conclusion. 

I highly recommend this brilliant five star read!
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