Complementary Colors

Complementary Colors by Adrienne Wilder: Review by Lost in a Book

Complementary Colors

Blurb:

My sister Julia manipulated my life into a prison to keep me silent about our dirty family secret. Her greed made me a slave and circumstance left me with no way to escape.

Trapped, the only way I could silence the nightmares driving me to insanity was to wrap them in color, hold them with shadow, and stitch them to negative space with line.

But no matter how bright the pigments, no one could see my confession.

Except for Roy Callahan.

I thought he was just another nameless one-night stand in a long line of many.
But I was wrong. Roy could see past the façade of my life and through the veil color over the canvas. He could see what the world couldn’t.

And with him I’d find the courage to tell the truth about the boy.

The boy who kissed me.
The boy who loved me.
The boy whose name I couldn’t remember.

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4.5ish Stars

Ummm….. *snuggles with blanket* This one hurt. A lot. It’s angsty AF, dark, erotic, brutal and with trigger warnings for pretty much everything littering the pages. This wasn’t my first rodeo with Wilder so I was mentally preparing but some of it was realllllly hard to read.

Paris is a broken yet brilliant artist that disposes the horrors he has seen on canvas while covering them up and making millions. He has multiple mental diagnoses and an absolute vile sister that abuses him regularly to ensure her pockets are lined and secrets aren’t exposed. She can’t see the secrets on the canvas and the art collectors that purchase them can’t either. Roy does though.

Roy is a handyman that meets Paris in a dark room. Their relationship begins with sex and is *very* sexual throughout. Roy is perfect. Seriously freakin’ perfect. He isn’t a rich guy, but humble, hardworking, has made and learned from his mistakes. Roy loves Paris in a way that’s beautiful but also damaging to his sanity and quality of life.

Roy is the escape Paris needs and eventually the good, the bad, and the really ugly comes out to play. Roy offsets Paris’ severely jacked up world and during these moments of respite, they get to know each other. I love them together but I’m not convinced they are actually good for each other, moreso Paris not being good for Roy’s wellbeing. At times it’s hard to read with the abuse and the destructive nature of Paris trying to escape the monsters in his head and in his life. As mentioned above, Roy and Paris’ relationship is very sex heavy and not in a healthy way but that’s all Roy could give and all Paris would let himself take for the longest time. They get their HEA but there’s a trail of blood and a bottle of antacids needed before that happens.

Complementary Colors has many layers and there were times I was trying to piece parts together. Julia is definitely the character I despise most out of any book I’ve probably ever read. She is THAT bad and I had many not nice thoughts about her and ways she could be taken care of.

This book could use another round of edits. There are lots of psych things going on and I’m not an expert on whether creative license was used of if these are actually proper protocols on treatment. Still, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to fans of dark, erotic, and angsty romance.

Copy provided for honest review.

 

Kiss Me Again

Kiss Me Again by Garrett Leigh: Review by Lost in a Book

Kiss Me Again

Blurb:

Tree surgeon Aidan Drummond is content with his own company. He works alone, and lives alone, and it doesn’t occur to him to want anything else until a life-changing accident lands him in hospital. Then a glimpse of the beautiful boy in the opposite bed changes everything.

Ludo Giordano is trapped on the ward with a bunch of old men. His mind plays tricks on him, keeping him awake. Then late one night, a new face brings a welcome distraction. Their unlikely friendship is addictive. And, like most things in Ludo’s life, temporary.

Back in the real world, Aidan’s monochrome existence is no longer enough. He craves the colour Ludo brought him, and when a chance meeting brings them back together, before long, they’re inseparable again.

But bliss comes with complications. Aidan is on the road to recovery, but Ludo has been unwell his entire life, and that’s not going to change. Aidan can kiss him as much as he likes, but if he can’t help Ludo when he needs him most, they don’t stand a chance. 

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4 Stars

Once again, Garrett Leigh has brought on the angst, feels, and some very bogged down British men. As usual, I ate it up.

Ludo and Aidan meet in the hospital after Aidan is wheeled in from an accident. Ludo’s a frequent flyer in the hospital due to his mental illness diagnoses and sometimes his mind gets the best of him. Ludo’s a loner that works from home. His only interactions are with his community nurse and psychiatrist. He’s anxious and experiences manic and depression states throughout. Ludo’s anxiety and sometimes forgetfulness causes more problems when he forgets to take a dose of medication and then spirals from there. One thing is for sure though, Ludo is enamored with Aidan as soon as he’s brought in the room, unconscious and all. Really enamored.

Aidan’s also a loner like Ludo but is a major grump too. He hides behind his fortress walls that I’m sure are littered with “beware of dog” type signs. He’s in obvious pain during the hospital (after falling from a tree) stay but after a bit, he craves Ludo’s presence until one day Ludo just isn’t there. After leaving hospital. Aidan can’t stop thinking of Ludo, his comforting presence and calming touches. He begins to wonder if he imagined the man until they happen to bump into each other.

Ludo and Aidan start very slow and build a foundation of friendship and an eventual relationship that works for them. They don’t sugar coat issues, there’s not a magic bipolar eraser, and they aren’t trying to fix and/or change the other person. They are supportive, understanding, loyal, patient, and loving. Aidan and Ludo build intimacy without a lot of sexual interactions. There are lots of feels without lots of feels. The lack of sex definitely works with this story and is tastefully done. Both men learn how to lean on one another as they get their sweet HEA.

After finishing, I couldn’t help feeling like I wanted more of them together. Not in the oh my gosh, I could read their story for the rest of my life and hope the author writes an entire series about them way. It was more that I felt like their story finally came together and they were just getting started when the book ended. *sad face*

There’s a character that is mentioned a few times in this story that was a MC in SKINS. I haven’t read that series but had no problem reading this as a stand alone.

Kiss Me Again is a heavy read that gives some insight into the daily struggles of mental illness. I’m not a psychologist/psychiatrist so I am unable to speak on the technical aspects of mental illness and whether this portrayal is how each diagnosis could present itself. But I’m also not a stranger to anxiety and bipolar disorder with very close family members experiencing it. My biggest takeaway is that I appreciate there wasn’t a cure-all and that even on the best days, when there are smiles and laughter, they’re still a struggle too.  Recommended.

Warning: Triggers for mental illness and the very real struggles that go along with it. Self harm is also mentioned, hallucinations, anxiety, etc…

Copy provided for honest review.

 

The Reluctant Husband

The Reluctant Husband (Goddess-Blessed, #2) by Eliot Grayson:
Review by Lost in a Book

The Reluctant Husband

Blurb:

Disowned, disgraced, and with nowhere to turn, Tom Drake is willing to barter anything — even himself — for a reprieve from starvation and despair. Years spent lying to protect his secrets have left him longing for someone to value him, even if it’s only for his body and the blessing of his patron goddess.

Mal Leighton’s cousin and heir is dying. Only a miracle can save him — and if a miracle doesn’t appear, Mal’s damn well going to create one. Marrying Tom for his blessing is his last desperate hope to preserve his family. And if Tom happens to be as irresistibly seductive as he is untrustworthy? Well, Mal can focus on more than one goal at a time.

Tom doesn’t fall in love, and Mal knows better than to believe he’s the exception. But when Tom’s blessing doesn’t provide the quick cure they’d hoped, it’s clear that the goddess expects them to have a marriage in more than name. To save Mal’s family and find their own happiness, they will both need to sacrifice their pride and risk their hearts.

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4.25 Stars

How the hell was my heart breaking for Tom??? Tom?? The poor, kicked out on his conniving ass VILLAN in the last book of this series, The Replacement Husband

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Somehow Tom ends up Goddess-blessed AND redeemed and now I’m converted to his side while waving my Team Tom t-shirt. Color me impressed, Eliot Grayson. Random note but as any voracious reader, I used to stay up all hours of the night to read *before* having a kid. Work the next day was tiring but I could hack it. Now, I try not to lose sleep over reading unless the book has it’s hooks in because ultimately my daughter is going to wake up at the ass crack of dawn if I stay up. BUT… I gave up sleep for this book. *gasp*

The premise for this Goddess-Blessed series is intriguing and I’m here for it. The Reluctant Husband is a historical fantasy where it’s completely acceptable for men to love men when they’re blessed by a goddess. The first book did a great job of laying down the foundation for this world while this one adds depth. It’s captivating from the very beginning when Tom and growly Mal have their initial interactions. As mentioned, Tom is blessed and Mal needs to marry someone that’s blessed for important reasons. Unfortunately, both men are stubborn and have their own hangups from the past that affect their relationship. They have a very bumpy road full of dysfunction while trying to form a complete bond that meets the goddess’ requirements.

Tom and Mal are hawt together once they can stomach being near for more than a few minutes. Slowly, Tom reveals his true self and Mal can’t help but draw near even though he’s an ass and I wanted strangle him for how he talked to and treated my oft misunderstood Tom. (Oh how far we’ve come that I’m calling him mine!!) I wanted to throw my Kindle a couple times throughout though. Tom stands his ground for a bit but gives in wayyyyyyyyy too fast for my liking at the end. They get their HEA but I wanted Mal to grovel and show his remorse. *sigh*

Anywho, Grayson’s writing and storytelling has always been enjoyable but both have come a long way since the debut novel. I will absolutely continue to devour any other books in this series. Recommended.

Copy provided for honest review.