Release Day Review by Kristie: The Long and Winding Road, by TJ Klune

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The Long and Winding Road, by TJ Klune
Series: Bear, Otter, and the Kid, Book 4
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: August 11, 2017

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Family is not always defined by blood. It’s defined by those who make us whole—those who make us who we are.

And here, at the end, Bear and Otter will be tested like they’ve never been before.

There’s a knock at the door from a little girl who has nowhere else to go.

There’s a phone ringing, bringing news they do not expect.

There’s a brother returning home after learning how to stand on his own.

As these moments converge, all of their lives will change forever.

Beginning in Bear, Otter, and the Kid and continuing in Who We Are and The Art of Breathing, TJ Klune has told a saga of family and brotherhood, of love and sacrifice. In this final chapter, the events of the past pave the long and winding road toward a future no one could have imagined.


M/M Pairing
Gay Characters
Pansexual Characters
Bisexual Characters
Bigender Character
Total and Complete Hilarity and Love

The Long and Winding Road – A Review


Where Kristie gushes and basically writes a love letter…

There are things about this book that gave me feels because it took me back to a comfortable place in my heart. That place where I just knew that the mention of Alice Thompson cooking would give me chills of horror because OMG, what did she make now? That place where the mention of Bear and a glass of wine gave me anticipation of verbal vomit from him in the best/worst way possible because it’s pure honesty. That moment when Creed, or anyone for that matter, says something very adult and you know… you just know JJ is going to ask something like, “What’s fornicating?”

There are moments when I was taken back to that place where I felt like I was sitting at their table, standing in their kitchen, hanging out in the rooms or back yard of the Green Monstrosity and I felt like I was home. But there were others… like when all joking and hilarity aside, Bear, Otter, Ty, either together or individually, sat down and dished out the truth of love. The truth of what it is to be a family. The truth that no matter how hard it can get, no matter what else gets dropped in their laps, this family will always be there for each other. They’ll always pull together and support and love and cherish the gift of family they have.

I also learned some things.  I learned what a sneeze ghost is. That’s not something I’m likely to forget ever in my life and I’ve since added it to my vernacular. I learned that despite the fact that everyone remains the same, there are situations when someone needs to make a change and be something, or someone, different for a while. Sometimes a member of the family needs to step up in a different way. I learned that priorities sometimes need to change and people may need to focus on themselves instead of someone else. And that’s okay. That’s what healthy relationships are survive on. Adaptability. I learned that some wounds, while they heal, they’re still in the background and you may never forget them and that’s okay too. You just get to remember that where you are now is better than before.

No matter what… everything I learned, everything I remembered, it all comes back to one thing. Love and family. This book brings it. This is everything I could have wanted in a series finale. I really appreciated the Past. That’s something I needed and had hoped for. The Past gave clarity to situations that I wondered over, and completed parts of a story we’d only been given one point of view for. I loved the Present. That’s something I’d longed for, just as much as Otter. I couldn’t wait to get to that section so I could rejoice in all the wonderful things this family was celebrating, but mostly, for me, it was all about Otter. I adored the Future. That’s something I still want more of, I always will, but I think it’s perfect where it ends. For me, The Long and Winding Road hit every single thing I’d wanted from it.

So, I’m wondering…when you know a series is coming to an end, one that you fell for quickly but it stayed with you over the years, what do you do? How do you feel? What kind of emotions run through you? For me, I think it depends on the series, but when it comes to Bear, Otter, and the Kid, the main emotion I feel, again, is love. So much love.

If I’m honest, I suppose I should also say that I was feeling anxious with a side of sadness. I fell for Bear. I fell for Otter. I fell for the Kid. But damn did I also fall for Creed, Mrs. P, God love her, and Anna. I fell for Dominic. I fell for the Thompsons. I fell for the Grants. I fell for this very loving, maniacal, amazing family that touched me in so many ways. I fell for them so hard because this is a family of people who loved and lost, they grew in ways I never figured they would. This family went through the ringer more times than any one family should. And through it all, they all remained the same. Strong, resilient, loving, caring, fierce and loyal.

So, at the end of this, The Long and Winding Road, I’m in tears, I’m loving, I’m smiling, I’m laughing, I’m celebrating, I’m grateful… so very grateful.

And I’m thankful.

So thank you TJ.  Thank you for introducing me to some of the best people I could ever know. Thank you for bringing the lives of these amazing people, this amazing family, to me. To all your readers. To the world. Bear, Otter, Ty, and the entire wacky family have my heart forever. I’ll never forget this gift. It’s a gift that lasts forever.

And to share a little bit from Mrs. Paquinn and her very wise words…

She would have said that family is all a person needs and it wouldn’t matter if they’re near or far. All that matters is the lesson we must heed: to know that this is us, that this is who we are.


When TJ Klune was eight, he picked up a pen and paper and began to write his first story (which turned out to be his own sweeping epic version of the video game Super Metroid—he didn’t think the game ended very well and wanted to offer his own take on it. He never heard back from the video game company, much to his chagrin). Now, over two decades later, the cast of characters in his head have only gotten louder. But that’s okay, because he’s recently become a full-time writer, and can give them the time they deserve.

Since being published, TJ has won the Lambda Literary Award for Best Gay Romance, fought off three lions that threatened to attack him and his village, and was chosen by Amazon as having written one of the best GLBT books of 2011.

And one of those things isn’t true.

(It’s the lion thing. The lion thing isn’t true.)

You can follow TJ here:

You can purchase The Long and Winding Road from:
Barnes & Noble

Or add it to Goodreads

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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.


To celebrate the release of The Long and Winding Road, one lucky winner will receive a $5 gift certificate from Dreamspinner Press!  To enter the contest, leave a comment below letting us know your favorite TJ Klune book (along with your email address). Entries close at Midnight (Eastern time) on Wednesday, August 16, 2017. Contest is open worldwide. Don’t forget to leave your email address, and good luck!

One thought on “Release Day Review by Kristie: The Long and Winding Road, by TJ Klune

  1. My favorite TJ Klune book is Tell Me It’s Real, but it’s followed closely by The Queen & The Homo Jock King and The Lightning-Struck Heart.


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