Slide (Roads #1)

Slide by Garrett Leigh: Review by Lost in a Book

Slide (Roads, #1)

Blurb:

Don’t look back. Don’t you ever look back…

Shy tattoo artist Ash has a troubled past. Years of neglect, drug abuse, and life on the streets have taken their toll, and sometimes it seems the deep, unspoken bond with his lover is the only balm for wounds he doesn’t quite understand.

Chicago paramedic Pete is warmth, love, and strength—things Ash never knew he could have, and never even knew he wanted until Pete showed him. But fate is a cruel, cruel mistress, and when nightmares collide with the present, their tentatively built world comes crashing down.

Traumatic events in Pete’s work life distance him from home, and he doesn’t realize until it’s too late that Ash has slipped away. Betrayal, secrets, and lies unfold, and when a devastating coincidence takes hold, Pete must fight with all he has to save the love of his life.

color.jpg    color.jpg    color.jpg    color.jpg

4.25 Stars

Ok, I knew this book was going to hurt. With the dramatic cover, the blurb, and the fact that it’s Garrett Leigh, I knew I wasn’t in for a big ball of fluff. But, when we got this from Ash at 4%…

“Waking up was a crappy way to start the day.”

feels.gif

I had to start preparing for face leaking and some strong feels coming my way. Slide is riddled with trigger warnings as Ash deals with the fall out of past drug use, self-harm, PTSD, anxiety, and prior abuse. He’s trying to get his life together and finally has a job as a tattoo artist. His new roommate Pete has a soothing personality and kind brown eyes that provide a respite from the nightmares plaguing his daily life.

Pete’s a paramedic in Chicago and drawn to his new roommate who is more skittish than a cat. The men are tentative around each other and little by little they form a solid friendship that transforms into a intimate relationship. Pete’s warmth and kindness doesn’t give Ash the opportunity to build walls.

”He smiles, and for the first time in my life I believed that, for him, I could be more than I’d ever dreamed.”

Pete’s job is full of challenges and the stress of them doesn’t stay within his clocked in hours. The issues follow him home which affects Ash and their relationship in ways neither of them can predict until everything hits rock bottom. I love the balance between Pete and Ash. Pete is strong, kind, and completely human in his mistakes. They are both understanding and provide something that calls to the other man. Ash has the most to overcome and I love that Pete doesn’t fly onto the scene with his Mr. Perfect cape and magic penis to “fix” Ash. I just wanted to hug Ash. The hardships they have in their relationship weren’t glossed over and left me with zero choice but to feel what they were experiencing. Pete and Ash have mountains to climb, cliffs to scale, and stormy peaks to reach on the way to their eventual HEA.

Along the way there were some time lapses that left me a little confused. This story spans years and the jumps in time just popped up. I did listen the audio which might have made them more obvious. I also didn’t understand one of the story lines that was vaguely mentioned a couple of times and then BAM! surpriiiiiiiiiise at the end. What a coincidence. *gasp* It seemed unnecessary to the overall story IMO. *shrugs*

As I mentioned above, I listened to the audio which is narrated by Michael Lesley. I’m a huge fan of his ability to bring characters to life. The voices for Pete and Ash fit perfectly with their personalities. The emotional turmoil and also the peace their presence brought each other is conveyed through the narration.

I love Ash and Pete, I love the secondary characters and the support system they provide, and I love the kick in the gut Garrett Leigh provides that makes me beg for more with tears in my eyes and a smile on my face.
laughry.gif

Definitely recommended.

Riven

Riven by Roan Parrish: Review by Lost in a Book

Synopsis: Theo Decker might be the lead singer of Riven, but he hates being a rock star. The paparazzi, the endless tours, being recognized everywhere he goes—it all makes him squirm. The only thing he doesn’t hate is the music. Feeling an audience’s energy as they lose themselves in Riven’s music is a rush unlike anything else . . . until he meets Caleb Blake Whitman. Caleb is rough and damaged, yet his fingers on his guitar are pure poetry. And his hands on Theo? They’re all he can think about. But Caleb’s no groupie—and one night with him won’t be enough.

Just when Caleb is accepting his new life as a loner, Theo Decker slinks into it and turns his world upside-down. Theo’s sexy and brilliant and addictively vulnerable, and all Caleb wants is another hit. And another. That’s how he knows Theo’s trouble. Caleb can’t even handle performing these days. How the hell is he going to survive an affair with a tabloid superstar? But after Caleb sees the man behind the rock star, he begins to wonder if Theo might be his chance at a future he thought he’d lost forever.

color.jpg    color.jpg    color.jpg    color.jpg

 

4.25 Stars

*Stage Whispers*

This was my first time reading Roan Parrish.

gasp.gif

Initially the cover caught my attention but my interest transformed into enjoyment with Roan’s unique story telling about a terrified addict afraid to fully live and a reluctantly famous rock star that just wants to do what he loves- making music.

Theo Decker is lead singer and song writer for the band, Riven. He’s lonely without ever being alone while craving acceptance from those around him. To have a tether in his world that saw him and not his fame. He’s a mercurial introvert that struggles with everything that comes with being in a band and being famous. He has insecurities stemming from his childhood that creep up and desperately wants to be wanted. To be enough. For Theo, music makes his world go round and gives him the ability to lose himself.

”I could lose myself in a way I’d never known, and by losing myself I found pieces I could live with.”

While walking on a quiet night, the sound of music brought Theo to a hole in the wall bar to find the creator of such a beautifully broken song.

Lost in his music,  Caleb Whitman hunched over his guitar while shutting the world out. He’s a recovering addict after his latest stint in rehab. Caleb has cut all ties to his former life as a musician and seeks solace in the country. He’s terrified to trust his decisions, instincts, and actions in fear of heading back down the same drug filled road he came from. Then he meets Theo.

Caleb and Theo initially bond over their passion for music. After meeting in the bar, they spend the night talking about music and then getting lost in each other until the morning light… until Theo wakes up alone.

Their connection is instant and tangible on that first night which terrified Caleb and left them both craving the other for weeks after. Luckily, their story doesn’t end there. We are treated to an angsty ride as Caleb tries to piece back together a clean life that’s worth living and not merely existing. ”This was no natural circle of life, but a desperate resurrection. I had to put one self to death before it could kill the one I hoped to create.” He has to navigate triggers and landmines surrounding each decision he makes which causes heavy angst and relational rollercoasters for him and Theo.

Theo and Caleb have a lot of turmoil to wade through with potential landmines at every corner. I love them, their connection, their passion about music and each other, their struggles and the authentic way they are portrayed and fleshed out. This is an angsty read that lacks sugar coating but is woven together with a thread of hope for second chances, redemption, love, and their HEA.

They have some smokin’ hot chemistry. There was an element of slow burn after their initial night but once the seal was broken, DAYUMMMM. Delicious stuff was happening on those pages… until I started skimming the sex scenes. *Gasp again* About 2/3 of the way through, things started to drag for me a bit and I was over-sexed. That feeling didn’t last too long and once my Kindle cooled down, I was able to reconnect with Theo and Caleb.

I absolutely adore the secondary characters of Huey and Rhys. They have major love for Caleb and provide a pillar of strength when he can’t hold himself up any longer. I was a tad confused about Rhys and his husband Matt. IMO, they were written as if I should have already known them from a previous book but I couldn’t find them in her (author) backlog. *If you know which book they hail from (if they are previous characters), please let me know and I’ll read that one, too.*

Warning: There should be a trigger warning for past drug/alcohol use as well as the struggles Caleb faces each day to stay clean. There are also separation periods in this book which I know can be a deal breaker for some. They were well written and helped add authenticity to the MC circumstances but I felt it’s worth noting.

I enjoyed and appreciated this unique take on rock star romance. Instead of the typical antics rock stars get into, this book highlights men where music forms the essence of who they are, men that are far from perfect, and men that struggle to become better versions of themselves while loving each other deeply. Definitely recommended and will not be my last read from this author.

“pieces were shuffling into place: in my head, in my gut, in my chest—all of it forming me into a different man. A man who had been ruined and remade so many times he should have been dust, but instead was luminescence.”

Copy provided from publisher via NetGalley for honest review.

 

Masc (Femme #2)

Masc (Femme #2) by Marshall Thornton: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Masc

Blurb:

Lionel and Dog are back in this follow-up to the Lambda finalist, Femme. Almost six months have passed and, after taking an online quiz, Lionel believes their relationship is doomed because they have nothing in common. To save their future together, the pair joins a gay bowling league and discovers that Lionel is an excellent, if somewhat eccentric, bowler.

Meanwhile, Dog gets profiled in a work newsletter. He’s excited that he’s out at work, but doesn’t immediately realize that by fawning over Dog’s masculine nature the writer was also putting down all femme guys. Lionel takes it personally, which leads the to a crisis in their relationship. Attempting to make it up to Lionel, Dog makes a grand gesture—which backfires spectacularly.

Will the two manage to put things right? And will a night in jail, a morning of drag bingo, an afternoon of day drinking, and a month of moping make things better or worse?

color.jpg    color.jpg    color.jpg    color.jpg

3.5 Stars

Masc is a solid follow up to the Dog and Lionel show. It had many of the same ingredients that were present in the first:

Sassy Lionel? Check
Clueless yet introspective Dog? Yep
Dog’s crazy family? uh huh
Over analysis of how a relationship should look? In spades.
OTT moments? Is the sky blue?

Masc deals a lot with the growing pains of a new relationship and the questions that creep up after the honeymoon phase; Questions about purpose, direction, and the longevity of Lionel and Dog’s future. Lionel and Dog also have a lot of personal obstacles they have to battle before they can fully appreciate each other and the relationship they’re building. Things get shaken up when Lionel takes a relationship quiz that shows having nothing in common pretty much equates to a doomed relationship.

dis.gif

Unfortunately for their supposed doomed relationship, shit hits the fan even more when Dog is profiled at work. That article shines the light on biases/stereotypes/gender role issues that plague the MCs, their family, and co-workers. I’m not sure I’m all the way on board with the way Dog had to work through his issues, but I will say that I was raging for a bit during the read.

Dog and Lionel are so silly but stay true to themselves. I enjoyed it for the most part but at times I felt like I was hitting my threshold for dramatics. I was hoping that there would be more growth to the relationship but much of this book was dysfunction with a big helping of OTT. They got their HEA but the cohesiveness took a lonnnnnnnng while to obtain.

I’m not going to lie, I was a tad nervous in the beginning with Graham’s sister being on page so soon. Dog’s family drove me crazy in book one but his sister was the icing on the cray-cray cake. It’s enjoyable to *see* the growth she makes and how far his dad has come since the first book. They all grew on me and become a nice support system for Lionel and Dog.

Dramatics and OTT-ness are pretty much the M.O. for Lionel and Dog’s relationship in Femme so expect the same for this one. There are some serious issues taking place in this book with a trigger warning for sexual harassment and insinuation of past child abuse. It was nice to spend more time with Lionel and Dog. Recommended.

Copy provided for honest review.

https://boymeetsboyreviews.blogspot.com

Level Up

Level Up by Annabeth Albert: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Level Up

Blurb:

Landon can’t believe he’s let himself get roped into participating in a charity calendar, let alone one that features tastefully photographed nudes. The genius physicist is hardly model material and he’s dreading the nude part of the photoshoot. Amid his reluctance, the one bright spot is his emails back and forth with the photographer.

However, Bailey ends up being not quite what Landon expects, and their first meeting is decidedly awkward. Bailey’s persistent though, and gradually Landon warms to the burly photographer, and they discover they have a shared love of gamer culture.

A tentative friendship is born, but the road from friends to lovers isn’t easy. Landon’s battling past trauma and must decide how much of a risk he’s willing to take. A sexy connection may not be enough to keep them together unless both are willing to put their hearts on the line.

Approximately 40,000 words. Previously released as part of the EXPOSED anthology, and loosely linked to the #Gaymers universe, this friends-to-lovers, hurt/comfort story stands alone with a guaranteed happy ending. Contains a brief mention of a prior assault, but no on-screen violence or flashbacks.

color.jpg    color.jpg    color.jpg    color.jpg

3 Stars

This is another one of those, I like the premise but the execution fell a bit short IMO. I was hooked on photographer and genius physicist are supposed to meet up for a charity gig but prior to the event, they communicate online for a couple of weeks allowing things go from professional to flirty. Unfortunately my excitement didn’t extend throughout and this became an okay level of enjoyment.

As the blurb mentions, Landon is voluntold to help with a nude charity calendar. He begins email communication with the photographer (Bailey) about logistics and then as multiple emails are exchanged, they find themselves in flirty territory where each “man” is looking forward to meeting with an almost giddy anticipation.

Their first meet is awkward and isn’t the slam dunk each was hoping for. They decide to be friends and over their love of video games, a tentative romantic relationship forms. Landon has serious issues from the past he must navigate to make it work and Bailey is so patient. He handles him with understanding and care while moving towards a HEA.

My hang-ups with this book deal mostly with the lack of depth and fleshing out of the characters. We jump right in when Bailey and Landon are about to meet and miss out on the communication or build up prior. The interactions that take place are awkward and never quite cohesive. There’s a lot of sex, sex talk, “cyber,” etc., when some of that page time could have been spent developing their connection. I like sex but I like well rounded characters with chemistry AND connection even more.

This book can definitely use another round of edits prior to release and please heed the Trigger Warning for mentions of past sexual-assault. I’m not sure if these men were mentioned in the #gaymers books since it’s “loosely linked” and maybe that would provide more depth to the characters? But if you’re a fan of that series, this may work better for you.

Copy provided for honest review.

Speakeasy (True North #5)

Speakeasy (True North #5) by Sarina Bowen: Review by Cupcake

Speakeasy (True North, #5)

Blurb:

Sometimes you fall for Mr. Right. And sometimes for Mr. Right Now…
May

Did you hear the one about the girl who walks into a bar and catches her live-in lover kissing someone else? No? You’re the only one in town who missed it.
Luckily Alec is there to wrap me up in strong arms and carry me out the door before things get too ugly. And that’s not all Alec is good at. Our unexpected chemistry makes him the perfect rebound guy.
Alec
I should know better than to hook up with my rival’s little sister, but the fiery look in May’s eyes really turns my crank. She needs cheering up, and I’m just the guy for the job.
It’s not like I’ll fall in love. Not even after a string of scorching hot trysts, and the realization that we’re good at the same things: wild nights and familial disappointment. I don’t do love, never have, never will. So this is the perfect arrangement, for both of us.
Nobody would approve, but nobody has to know…

color.jpg    color.jpg    color.jpg    color.jpg

ALL THE STARS!!!!!!!!!!

True story. When I discovered that this one wasn’t going to feature Roderick and Kieran I had a sad, because something is up with those two! But I soldiered on and guess what happened?

I fell in love with this book! I might even like this better than Bittersweet! Bold statement I know, but this book filled up my love tank to bursting.

And now I’m going to squee. A lot. So brace yourselves.

This series always feels like coming home. I love the atmosphere in this sleepy little Vermont town called Tuxbury that SB has created. I love the Shipleys and look forward to catching up with them every time a new book comes out. Tuxbury is really more of an extended family than made up of merely neighbors. They love their craft beers, baked goods, whatever Audrey cooks up in the Shipley kitchen for Thursday dinner, organic farming and the sense of community that pervades the True North series are what make it special for me.

May is the oldest Shipley daughter. She calls herself a hot mess for many reasons; she’s an alcoholic, made mistakes aplenty and she generally feels like she’s always fucking something up. In short, no one is harder on May than May. She’s bisexual and been in love with her best friend Lark for years, but Lark does not reciprocate her feels. She actually went and fell for the nicest of nice guys Zach in Keepsake. That probably sent May into a bad “rebound” relationship with Daniela. Who is a bitch. A controlling, abusive and awful bitch.

Coming home from work one night May spots Daniela’s car at The Gin Mill and in an effort to be a nice girlfriend goes in and finds her putting on a show in a booth. With her ex. Who is also awful. Alec, The Gin Mill’s proprietor, intervenes before blood is shed. Good thing since I’m guessing the Vermont Bar Association would frown upon one of its members being charged with assault.

Alec Rossi is the boy your momma always told you to stay away from. He’s made a lifestyle out of partying. He’s the fun guy that found a way to hold a kegger in high school. Every weekend. He’s allergic to relationships and commitment, an allergy which has earned him a rep as a sex wizard. The ladies are never in short supply. Oozing charisma with an aura of laid back that borders on zen makes him VERY popular. He’s also a Rossi. There’s been bad blood between the Shipleys and Rossis since forever, so there’s a certain Romeo and Juliet vibe about Speakeasy that’s extremely appealing. There’s something sexy about sneaking around, isn’t there? Adds to the excitement or something.

Naturally both of these characters have more depth than they believe themselves to have. Both are well constructed and infinitely likable. The banter between them put a smile on my face and kept it there for the majority of the book.

They have sizzling chemistry and embark on a friends with bennies relationship which of course segues into deeper feelings. They both have baggage but that baggage felt genuine, honest. I never felt that mountains were being made out of molehills or that their angst was contrived. As I watched them fall in love I could see how well they compliment one another which is guaranteed to make me swoon.

May’s addiction is still very much a part of her life and isn’t downplayed. I wouldn’t say that I enjoy reading about addiction but if it’s going to be integral to the character then I applaud when it’s portrayed authentically and SB not only did that for May but she again addressed the opioid epidemic that’s plagued the northeast for several years now and is now spreading like wildfire through the rest of the country.

May’s bisexuality wasn’t sidestepped either. She truly believed that her future lay with another woman but once she realizes that she’s fallen for Alec she doesn’t hold back. She fully commits to him and the possibilities of a future with him, but it’s made clear that doing so doesn’t make her any less bisexual.

The fact that Alec isn’t intimidated by her bisexuality and is prone to “perving” on her lesbian fantasies made me adore him. Well, that and that he’s not afraid to show emotion. He wears his heart on his sleeve and is honest with both himself and May where his feelings are concerned. He’s a refreshingly honest male character who is alpha in many ways without being an alpha-hole. As much as he likes to believe he’s the antithesis of Griff, I noticed a lot of similarities between them. Alec’s just not as grumpy.

 

Making her happy makes me happy.

The backdrop of their love story is The Gin Mill and its future. It’s Alec’s baby and he has designs on expanding, just not the capital to do it. The way this storyline evolved put May and Alec’s connection front and center. It also showcased what makes me love the Shipleys and this little town so much. It made me a little verklempt a couple times to see it unfold. Maybe it was a little “too easy” but I do not even care. Not. One. Care. It was perfect to me in every single way and I can’t wait to reread it.

I have nothing else to say on this long and rambling road other than I LOVE GRANDPA SHIPLEY AND HIS OLD SCHOOL WORDS! Can’t wait to catch up with everyone in the next installment *side mouths* which I’m rully hoping is about Kieran and Roderick. Please don’t make me beg, SB.

An ARC was provided.

Studly Period

Studly Period (The Ivy Years, 3.5) by Sarina Bowen: Review by Lost in a Book

Studly Period (The Ivy Years, #3.5)

Blurb:

A serialized story from Sarina Bowen.
Get it here only. 

There are 1016 people in the freshman class at Harkness College. I can’t be the only socially awkward nerd girl virgin among them. Right?
It’s time I learn to talk to guys without blushing and stammering. So I take a confidence-building job at the student tutoring center. Twelve bucks an hour, plus human interaction. What could go wrong?
A fun-loving French Canadian hockey hunk, that’s what.
When Pepe Gerault sits down at my tutoring table, my brain shuts off and my mouth goes right into hyperdrive. Even the sound of my name on his lips—Josephine—gives me a mini orgasm.
I want to hand him my V-card. But all I manage to hand him is…my thesaurus. And my dignity. All seems lost, until I hatch a plan to get him alone…

color.jpg    color.jpg    color.jpg    color.jpg

4 Stars

This was a refreshing little pick-me-up each week. The best part is that I could be lazy and have it be served directly to my email. For Free. Add in a nerdy girl still carrying her V-card and a hot ass french hockey player named Pepe and I was one verra verra happy Lost.

Pepe is this big bear of a hockey player with a fluffy teddy bear demeanor. English isn’t his native language and he heads to the tutoring center for help on his papers. This is where he meets the shy, Josephine. There’s lots of tutoring going on between these two. For real just tutoring… until there’s more and the build-up was fabulous.

I wish it was longer, the beginning and lead up was on point and once they got together it was sort of rushed and then tada here’s the epilogue. Still totally enjoyed it, it was freeeeeee, hit a bunch of my preference boxes and made me want a Pepe all to my self.

I was excited each time it hit my email inbox. Definitely Recommended.

Femme

Femme by Marshall Thornton: Review by Lost in a Book

Synopsis:

Queeny cocktail waiter, Lionel, wakes up to find himself in bed with Dog, a straight-acting softball player and the two embark on a rocky road to romance. A journey that requires coming out of the closet, going into the closet, a pair of red high heels, many pairs of red high heels, a failed intervention, a couple of aborted dates, and homemade pom-poms. Mostly, Lionel and Dog learn what it means to be a man.

 

color.jpg    color.jpg    color.jpg    color.jpg

 

4 Stars

I want to be BFF with Lionel. He has a brand of snark that I’m completely on board for. He’s unapologetic about who he is and can rock short shorts and heels way better than I can.

a1ea39a81f45c4ae29dd2a8e11a298ac.jpg

He’s sweet, sassy, and busting his ass each day to finally be safe and secure.

Dog is conflicted between what he wants and want he thinks he should/shouldn’t want. It’s clear that he wants Lionel but he just can’t seem to get himself together and make smart choices. He’s very introspective and eventually accountable for his behavior which I can appreciate… even if I wanted to strangle him a few times for his antics.

“I’m not always that quick. I mean, I kinda didn’t get what the big deal was, and if I was going to apologize for it the right way I needed time to figure it out.”

See? So sweet.

When Lionel and Dog were together, they were hot and adorable all rolled into one. Now, Dog’s family on the other hand #exasperated. I *somewhat* liked his sister in the beginning but by the end I wanted to buy stock in duct tape to permanently keep her mouth shut. His dad. *face palm* at least there’s growth all around. *shrug* Lionel’s friend Carlos is fanfuckingtastic though. He has a lot of quotable material that I thoroughly enjoyed.

“Straight people always think someone’s straight until you tell them. You could have a dick in your mouth and a butt plug up your ass, and a straight person would say, ‘Do you have a girlfriend?’”

*snort*
*cackle*

Definitely recommended and I’m looking forward to checking out Lionel and Dog’s upcoming shenanigans since another book is being released.

Copy provided for honest review.

Release Blitz + Giveaway: Whisper (A Skins Novel #2) by Garrett Leigh

 

 
Cover Design: Black Jazz Design
 
Length: 260 pages
 
Skins Series
 
Dream (Book #1) – Universal Buy Link
 
Blurb
 

Standalone second book in the Skins series.

Lonely physiotherapist Harry Foster has the world at his feet. A full client list, a six figure Instagram following, and a publishing deal for a book he doesn’t have time to write until his agent offers him a break—a retreat to the wild south west coast.

Cornish horseman Joe Carter is lonely too. Rescuing horses and managing Whisper Farm takes up most of his days, and by night he plays chicken with the farm’s perilous bank accounts.

At his sister’s unwelcome suggestion, he rents his only bedroom to a bloke from the city, and when Harry arrives, he’s everything Joe isn’t—calm, patient, and gorgeous enough to be exactly the kind of distraction Joe doesn’t need.

Harry doesn’t have time for distractions either—even shirtless farmers riding bareback past his bedroom window—but his moody host proves impossible to ignore.

On paper, they have nothing in common, but Joe is beautiful…glorious, and when an accident puts his life in Harry’s healing hands, the whisper of true love is inevitable. If the trouble that put the farm on its knees in the first place doesn’t get in the way.

Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Fox Love Press.

Garrett’s debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.

Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at blackjazzdesign.com, and co-owns the specialist stock site moonstockphotography.com with photographer Dan Burgess.

Website: http://www.garrettleigh.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/garrettleighauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Garrett_Leigh

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hosted By Signal Boost Promotions

 

Soul to Keep (Rented Heart, #2)

Soul to Keep (Rented Heart, #2) by Garrett Leigh: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Synopsis:

Recovering addict Jamie Yorke has returned to England from California. With no home or family to speak of, he sticks a pin in a map and finds a small town in the Derbyshire Peak District. Matlock Bath is a quiet place—he just needs to get there, keep his head down, and stay clean. Simple, right? Until a chance meeting on the flight home alters the course of his so-called life forever.

Ex-Army medic Marc Ramsey is recovering from life-changing combat injuries while pulling nights as a trauma specialist at the local hospital. Keeping busy is a habit he can’t quit, but when Jamie—so wild and beautiful—bursts into his life, working himself into the ground isn’t as compelling as it used to be.

Marc falls hard, but chaos lurks behind Jamie’s fragile facade. He’s winning his battle against addiction, but another old foe is slowly consuming him. Both men have weathered many storms, but the path to the peace they deserve might prove the roughest ride yet.

color.jpg    color.jpg    color.jpg    color.jpg

Tag Team with Adam

4 Stars

Gah!!!! This book was difficult for me to rate. Not much happened beyond the day to day struggles with Jamie and Marc navigating addictions, physical limitations, their relationship, and how to cope with their new realities. Ok, that sounds like a lot. It was, kinda sorta…emotionally speaking and not really in a way that made me bite my nails with anticipation for what would happen next. This was like driving down a slow country road where your biggest distraction is an animal crossing the road. If this was a standalone, I’d probably rate it lower but my heart broke for Jamie in book 1 and the journey to self acceptance in this one gave me lots of feels.

Jamie- an addict that hit rock bottom, went to rehab in California, and wants to relocate back to England. He chooses a place on the map and moves there to start over. He’s terrified of flying and while on the plane sits next to a man that saves him from his crippling fear.

Marc- airplane hero, wounded Veteran with a prosthetic leg, and doctor. He’s miserable, lonely, and just existing.

As mentioned, the men meet on a plane, end up living in the same town, practically neighbors, and develop a friendship as they begin spending more time together. I like the patience they have with each other, the unconditional acceptance, and the sanctuary each provides without anything physically intimate. They offer comfort and a soothing balm to all the physical and emotional wounds that they carry around like armor. Jamie is his own worst critic and Marc provides another voice without judgement. Their relationship follows a natural progression when taking into account where they are starting and how they got there. I enjoyed each step they make towards healing their hearts, managing addiction, and eventually HEA love.

The book starts off slow for me. It seems Marc’s character has appeared in another book. Based on what I found, I *think* he was a secondary character in Between Ghosts. I haven’t read that story so Marc’s POV in the beginning chapters left me confused and feeling as if I should know all the people he mentioned without providing context.

Another bit of disappointment was the lack of backstory for Jamie. He hit rock bottom in Rented Heart and then he’s California living with a foot out the door back to England. What happened in between? He was a much more gritty character before and we are only left with the aftermath of him after a year of being clean.

Soul to Keep kept me interested and invested in Marc and Jamie’s transformation. I appreciate the details regarding their struggles and how life doesn’t miraculously become all cotton candy and rainbows when you meet “the one.” It can suck and take effort to find the good parts. They learn you have to work for the little bits of happy and that it’s ok to just focus on taking one itty bitty baby step forward when taking a full one isn’t possible. Recommended.

Trigger warnings: past drug use, recovering addict, mention of attempted child abuse, character with OCD and anxiety.

Copy provided for honest review.

https://boymeetsboyreviews.blogspot.com

Urban Soul Series

Misfits (Urban Soul #1) & Strays (Urban Soul #2) by Garrett Leigh:
Incoherent gushing by Lost in a Book

Synopsis:

Restaurant owner Tom Fearnes has loved his partner Cass for as long as he can remember, but their work often keeps them apart. When he meets a striking young man named Jake on the vibrant streets of Camden Town, their heady first encounter takes an unexpected turn.

Jake Thompson can hardly believe his luck when he wakes up in Tom’s bed. Tom is gorgeous, kind, and . . . taken. Tom’s explanation of his open relationship leaves Jake cold, but Tom is too tempting, and when hard times force Jake to accept Tom’s helping hand, he finds himself between two men who’ve lost their way.

Cass Pearson is a troubled soul. He loves Tom with all he has, but some days it feels like he hasn’t much to give. Jake seems like the perfect solution. Cass risks everything to push Jake and Tom together, but Jake resists, wary, until the darkness of Cass’s past comes to call. Then Jake finds himself the last man standing, and it’s time to dig deep and shine a light for the men he’s grown to love.

Synopsis:

Work, sleep, work, repeat. Nero’s lonely life suits him just fine until his best friend, Cass, asks him to take on a new apprentice—a beautiful young man who’s never set foot in a professional kitchen. Despite his irritation and his lifelong ability to shut the world out, Nero is mesmerised by the vibrant stray, especially when he learns what drove him to seek sanctuary on Nero’s battered old couch.

Lenny Mitchell is living under a cloud of fear. Pursued by a stalker, he has nowhere left to run until Nero offers him a port in a storm—a job at the hottest restaurant in Shepherd’s Bush. Kitchen life proves heady and addictive, and it’s not long before he finds himself falling hard and fast for the man who has taken him in.

Fast-forward a month and a neither man can imagine life without the other, but one thing stands in their way: a lifetime of horrors Nero can’t bring himself to share with Lenny. Or can he? For the first time ever, happiness is there for the taking, and Nero must learn to embrace it before fate steps in and rips it away.

color.jpg    color.jpg    color.jpg    color.jpg

Review Rambling thoughts: I don’t typically post a book that doesn’t have a semi-decent review and/or description. However, I binged on the Urban Soul series this weekend and still haven’t been able to get the characters out of my mind. So, here is just some quick thoughts on both books available in the series.

Misfits (Urban Soul #1)

5 Stars

Holy Hell, I have a serious love obsession for Jake, Tom, and Cass now. I didn’t want this to end but I couldn’t slow down to savor because… Well, Jake, Tom, and Cass are worth the insane lack of sleep and lack of productivity over the last 24 hours. I’m sad AF they don’t have a million more stories about them because I would read the shit out of them.

pic.jpg

Garrett Leigh just got herself a Stage-10 Clinger after this read. *shrug* I will be moving on have already moved to the next book in this series just to help with my book hangover.

*kicks self in the ass for waiting so long to read this divine book*

Strays (Urban Soul #2)

4 Stars

Well, those two books went down fast and smooth as fine wine. I really enjoyed this book but it didn’t take up as much of my heart Misfits did. Nero and Lenny had to climb mountains and I was hooked each step of the way. We are also treated to multiple appearances by Cass, Tom, and Jake. *Happy face* Definitely recommended and can’t wait for more in this series.

This is my 3rd Garrett Leigh book in a couple weeks… which means it all hurts so good and now I need to dive into a big huge ball of fluff.