Review Round Up – Why series from Colette Davison

Why I Left YouWhy I Left You by Colette Davison

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Where to start with this one. It’s a powerful exploration of the pain of depression in a young man and it’s also a romance between two young men who’ve been in love since they were teenagers and who were separated by one desperate act and the consequences of it.

I don’t think I “enjoyed” it in the way I would usually enjoy a young adult romance, there’s too much pain and suffering I think to truly let go of the aspects of dealing with a mental illness.

There’s also, for me anyway, a definite feeling of realism over how neither man wants to deal with the serious conversations they’re owed from each other over what happened four years earlier.

And, also, the incident which caused Jamie’s initial breakdown – while perfectly possible and believable in its own right – didn’t work for me and I don’t have a logical explanation for why. I just read it and felt it was a bit “plot pointy” as there’d been nothing even remotely clued in throughout the rest of the narrative

Still, the writing is exemplary and care is taken to never diminish the effects of depression and how it alters people’s perceptions of themselves and others.

Why I Need YouWhy I Need You by Colette Davison

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I preferred this one over book one because, while it still dealt with serious issues and there was still a ginormous lack of communication, these two didn’t mask over things with sex.

Both Noah and Fin are dealing with grief and both have huge hang ups over what they think the other person is feeling or likely to do if they reveal the truth.

Their fears were completely believable and quite realistic, but I just got a bit fed up by the push/pull over each of them opening up about what was going on inside their heads.

The ending, with characters of just 24 and 21, also felt a little unlikely but then again, when you know you’ve met The One, why wait.

Why I Trust YouWhy I Trust You by Colette Davison

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Definitely my favourites in the series and the one with the least amount of angst and most focus on just the development of a loving relationship.

I liked that these guys talked to each other, there was no miscommunication or misunderstanding between Ryan and Martin. Their obstacles were practical and legal ones and it worked well.

Ryan’s fears over having to rely on someone else were perfectly understandable, as were Martin’s over people being with him for his money.

Together they were seriously sweet and a lot of fun to read, as well as being crazy sexy. Overall I’ve enjoyed this series from an author New to me and – as a Leeds born girl – it’s always great to see stories set in and around my part of the world.

#ARCs kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Release Day Blitz: Squared Away by Annabeth Albert

When a SEAL medic inherits three young children, he must battle to keep the family together and keep his long-held feelings for the man challenging him for custody at bay.

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Squared Away by Annabeth Albert

Series: Out of Uniform #5

Publisher: Carina Press 

Release Date (Print & Ebook): April 16. Print, ebook, and audio all available.

 Length (Print & Ebook): 80,000 words

 Subgenre: m/m military romance

Includes: military romance, insta-family, hurt/comfort, angst, interracial, heroes-with-kids, gay romance, demisexual/gray ace hero, first time, loss, reunion, forced proximity

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ptQhFHPaperback: http://amzn.to/2ptc00A

Audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Squared-Away-Audiobook/B07BGJ3FRF

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/squared-away/id1326105516?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/squared-away-1

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/squared-away-annabeth-albert/1127659238?ean=9781335980809

Carina Press: https://www.carinapress.com/shop/books/9781335980809_squared-away.html

Synopsis:

In the wake of tragedy, SEAL Mark Whitley rushed stateside to act as guardian to his sister’s three young children. But a conflicting will could give custody to someone else—someone Mark remembers as a too young, too hot, wild party boy. Even after six years, Mark can’t shake the memory of his close encounter with Isaiah James, or face up to what it says about his own sexuality.

Isaiah’s totally over the crush that made him proposition Mark all those years ago. In fact, he’s done with crushing on the wrong men altogether. For now, he’s throwing himself into proving he’s the best person to care for his cousin’s kids. But there’s no denying there’s something sexy about a big, tough military man with a baby in his arms.

As the legal details get sorted out, their long-buried attraction resurfaces, leading to intimate evenings after the kids are tucked in. A forever future is within reach for all of them, if only Mark can find the courage he needs to trust Isaiah with his secrets—and his heart.

What Annabeth Albert has to say about this book in her Out of Uniform series:

“I wanted to write a book about the nature of family and how loss and tragedy can shape family, mold it into something stronger, force growth and change. I’m enormously proud of SQUARED AWAY as a result because how I fell in love with this little family.”

“When Wizard first appeared in ON POINT as a secondary character, I was intrigued by him, but it wasn’t until I let myself get into his head that I really saw how complicated he was. I feel honored and privileged to have been able to tell his story.”

“No book gets written in a vacuum and this one is no different. I owe a huge debt on this book to my sensitivity readers who really encouraged me to dig deep.”

Praise for the series:

“Mark and Isaiah’s budding relationship happens with sensitivity and steamy moments…” RT Book Reviews on SQUARED AWAY

“Annabeth Albert’s Out of Uniform series is a unique look at SEALs’ lives, showing us the insides of their hearts and homes and the love that drives them.” ~Layla Reyne, author of the Agents Irish and Whisky series.   

Excerpt:

To his surprise, Mark didn’t laugh. Instead, he looked thoughtful. “What if I asked you to?” he said softly.

“To put out?” Isaiah’s throat had never seemed drier.

“We’re sitting here. Talking. Like adults. Just a couple of guys. And I can’t quit thinking about your lips, and I don’t know why.” Mark’s voice had a sleepy, dreamlike quality to it, and Isaiah was fully prepared to wake up any second because he’d been dreaming about Mark saying shit like this for years.

“I do.” Moving slowly as to not bang heads or—more likely—spook Mark, Isaiah moved so that their faces were level, inches apart. “You want to kiss me.”

Annabeth Albert

About Annabeth Albert:

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.  The #OutOfUniform series joins her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ  romance #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat and #PerfectHarmony series.

To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website: www.annabethalbert.com or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter.  In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two active children.

Connect with Annabeth:

Twitter | Facebook  | Facebook Group | Newsletter | Instagram | Website

Giveaway

Win 1 of 2 e-copies of any back catalog book by Annabeth Albert:

Rafflecopter: a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Direct Giveaway Link

Another pitch perfect addition to the Out of Uniform series

37544729Squared Away by Annabeth Albert

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There’s a few authors who I know, when it comes to a military setting, that I’m going to get a book that not only gets that aspect right, but also perfectly pitches the romance that goes with it.

Annabeth Albert is one of those and in her latest Out of Uniform offering, she gives the reader something different. This book still has all the military elements down pat, even with the narrative including a rush job home at the end of a deep ops mission.

But it also has great depth, especially when it comes to dealing with, and processing, the emotional, financial and legal aspects of sudden death.

There is grief here, but also anger, there is mistrust and fear, but also hope and expectations things will just work out with enough effort.

And, ultimately, there is a gorgeous romance and a relationship which relies on more than just a sexual connection to build up the tensions in the plotting.

Now that’s not to say that this book isn’t without sex, as always Annabeth has a light touch which puts on paper some incredibly powerful and moving experiences between Unca Ike and Unca Mark.
Mark’s awareness of his demisexual, possibly grey ace, status is handled with sensitivity.

He doesn’t suddenly want sex just because Ike is his person, sometimes the act of kissing is even more sensual and a bigger turn on than a full on sex scene.

There is a lot of hurt/comfort in this, but also a lot of situations which become hurtful to one or the other character and it’s refreshing to see this handled through conversation and not just magic dick-ed away.

The kids are also believable, there’s a good set of secondary characters and we get a chance to catch up with some of the guys from the series. Now, can we get as HEA for Bacon next please 😉

#ARC kindly received from the author NetGalley in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Point of Contact will leave you hurting but it’s worth the pain

37763495Point of Contact by Melanie Hansen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5*

So, so, so many times this book made me tear up but I never full on ugly cried like I have with previous Melanie Hansen books and I think, for me, the reason for that was Carl.

I felt for Carl. It felt like Carl was there only to be discarded so that the “real” romance between Trevor and Jesse could begin and I felt like Carl was really badly done to.

Irrational perhaps because, don’t get me wrong, the romance between Trevor and Jesse was absolutely perfect, but it felt like that should have been the only one and Carl could have just been a really good friend instead.

I know he needed to be there for plot reasons at the party so Jesse could behave as he did, but it just still took the edge of the rest of the romance for me personally.

But, as for the rest, this book will rip your heart out at the sorrow and pain the characters experience. War hurts, no matter whether the cause is “righteous” or not. People die, families are devastated, friends are left to deal with the survivor guilt.

This book, like all of Melanie’s I’ve read, has meticulously researched elements which make it feel absolutely real. But there was one hiccup in this which surprised me. At one point Riley is trying to persuade Jesse to join the Army’s Special Forces and – instead of using the Hooah battle cry, he yells Oorah instead.

It’s a small detail but that’s the cry of the Marines, an entirely separate branch of the Military and one usually affiliated with the Navy (while being independant), so it threw me out a bit. If they were going to join the Army’s Special Forces, it’d have been the Rangers, Delta Force or Special Forces Regiment (amongst others).
Now I’m not saying they couldn’t have switched branches to the Marines, but it just didn’t seem likely and I was surprised at the error.

That aside, the rest of this book is impeccable as it shows the impact of Private First Class Riley Estes’ death in combat on his friends and his father. There is lots of pain, but also lots of comfort in this book as Trevor comes to rely on Jesse firstly for the connection to his dead son, but then for Jesse himself.

There is a tender romance at the heart of this and the writing style – of using time jumps to highlight key areas of the narrative – worked really well for me. The Epilogue is wonderful, carries some real hope and is beautifully bookended with the Prologue which opens the book.

The cover is tasteful, as befits the subject matter, and works perfectly. A book I won’t forget for a while.

#ARC kindly provided by the publishers through NetGalley in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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SPOILER ALERT: THE HERO DIES: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Other Four-Letter Words

ausiello-coverI’ve been a fan of Michael Ausiello since I started watching American TV series Glee and started following him to check for spoilers and other snippets about that show so it was difficult to read his announcement that his beloved partner Kit had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

They married in time for Kit’s first chemo appointment – another of the issues facing a same sex couple is having legal responsibilities in the event of illness

This autobiography goes into that painful time but it also gives some insight into a career which is as filled with humour and happiness as it is with sadness and pain.

The blurb for this book sums it up perfectly, you will howl with laughter, you will sob at the tragedy of losing the love of your life over such a short space of time and – ultimately – you will be thankful for the chance to come along for the ride as Ausiello shows the reader all the ups and downs of a life worth living.

Michael Ausiello’s SPOILER ALERT: THE HERO DIES: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Other Four-Letter Words (Atria Books; September 12, 2017; $26.00) chronicles a fourteen-year love affair that culminated in a final year of illness, resilience, and, tragically, death.

ausielloAbout the Author:

Michael Ausiello is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of TVLine.com, a television entertainment website owned by Penske Media that launched in 2010. Ausiello began his publishing career in 1997 as a senior news editor at Soaps in Depth magazine before moving over to TV Guide in 2000. During his eight-year tenure there, he wrote for both the magazine and its website.

Ausiello’s columns at TV Guide included “The Ausiello Report” – a weekly print column that expanded into a regularly updated blog online – and “Ask Ausiello,” an exclusively online weekly Q&A that he also conducted after moving over to Entertainment Weekly in 2008. Ausiello has also contributed commentary to media outlets such as Today, Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, Inside Edition, Extra, and Access Hollywood. He lives in New York City.

SPOILER ALERT:  THE HERO DIES

By Michael Ausiello

Atria Books Hardcover | On-sale: September 12, 2017 |ISBN: 9781501134968, $26.00

eBook: 9781501134982, $13.99

This book just hit all my buttons and almost made me cry

RegretRegret by Christina Lee

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book needs a tissue warning! I didn’t full out blub but I was so close and definitely had very leaky eyes at the ending.

Sometimes a book just resonates with you as a reader and this was one of those for me. I could feel every ounce of Nick’s guilt and grief and all I wanted to do was reach into the book and wrap him in the world’s biggest hug.

Brin, on the other hand, for a lot of the book I wanted to sit down and just talk to, get inside his hurt and ask him to think logically about why Nick might have done what he did. His hurt was perfectly valid and I totally understood why he’d cut him off but as soon as they reconnected, it became really clear there had been something seriously wrong at the heart of Nick’s behaviour.

There’s nothing more delicious to me than a true enemies to lovers or second chance romance and this book turns both up in spades. Christina Lee is a writer who has such an authentic way of connecting her readers to the characters she’s writing. They are honest and real and flawed but also beautiful and hopeful and loving.

The sadness at the centre of this book is also wholly believable, it never once feels like a plot point thrown in just to create the drama. It was heart-breaking and something you know sadly happens more than we’d like to think and which leaves people living half lives.

The characters which surround Nick and Brin are also fully drawn out, inhabiting their own slice of the story perfectly and bringing the necessary depth to anchor their relationship reconnection on.

I’m really hoping this is the start of a new series Christina because I want to know more about Tristan and the mysterious Mr V’s boyfriend!

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Oh my word the angsty in this one is unending!

The Truth As He Knows It: (Perspectives #1)The Truth As He Knows It: by A.M. Arthur

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There’s an awful lot of angsty in this one, it just racks up and up until you reach a point where you wonder how much more one guy can take. . . and then another tonne is dropped.

However, in spite of all the angsty, this book isn’t an uncomfortable read, it has lots of sweet romance at the heart of it alongside some smoking smexy times and it has a lovely ending which feels like a genuine start of something pure and true.

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