Masc by Marshall Thornton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
It took me a lot longer to get into this one than I did the original Femme, but Lionel and Dog are still crazy fun together and still trying to navigate their way through life.
Lionel is panicking that him and Doug have nothing in common, Doug is trying to avoid the attentions of a creepy hospital colleague and the rest of the gang are alternatively chasing their happy ending or getting caught up in the muddle of already finding one.
I didn’t find this one as funny as Femme, although it still has its moments, but it does carry the same great message about being true to yourself and being the best person you can be.
It ends on an open note once again so I don’t know if more is yet to come for Lionel and Dog but they are very definitely starting a long term HEA.
#ARC kindly provided by the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.
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Who We Are by Nicola Haken
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Nicola Haken does it again with this perfectly crafted story of two men whose lives randomly collide and who then go on to build a future together.
On the way there are trials, and please read this without spoilering yourselves because it truly does need to he discovered piece by piece.
Oliver and Seb are wonderfully expressed characters, so different from each other but with an abiding sense of rightness as a pair. Life hasn’t been easy for either of them but in the fairly low level way of how things can just sometimes be tough.
Their romance is gentle, it creeps slowly with an overwhelming feeling of love and support and it’s needed and tested to a degree most people thankfully will never have to endure.
The setting is fabulously British, Manchester’s Canal Street is somewhere I know quite well and the language is Northern English vernacular, hilarious and harsh, bred from an industrial heritage and a sense of pride of place.
The research, as always with this author, is impeccable, and it’s hard to read at times but oh so very worth it. This is a book about flirting, about family, about love, hope and joy, but also about fear and pain, hopelessness and worry.
Ultimately though, it’s about life and all the unique experiences it brings if people are willing to open their eyes and their hearts.
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