Tag Archives: MF

Cute short story for Halloween

666ThingstodowithaDemon_978-1-83943-548-5_500x800666 Things to Do with a Demon by Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cute Halloween themed short story about a witch who thinks she’s spelled up a demon lover but actually finds herself falling for an infernal prince.

I liked this one, it’s angst free, a bit humorous and over the top flowery 😁

One thing though, it wouldn’t have taken five minutes to colour match the horns and the sash on the cover to the ones mentioned inside the book (which should be blue and gold not red and white respectively).

Still a minor quibble and an enjoyable quick read.

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

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Hugo and Helen’s journey touched my soul

58914491._SY475_Bring Me Home by Nicola Haken

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nicola Haken has a small catalogue of books but every one of them has touched me deep in my soul.

Bring Me Home is no exception, in fact it’s one of the rawest in terms of how mental illness can distort your world view and make you feel like you’re worthless even when you’re a mega famous rock star.

Hugo broke my heart, his autism adds another dimension to his mental health issues but it’s never made to be a defining issue.

His autism isn’t what causes Hugo’s life to start collapsing around him, it’s the depression he’s never really found a way to handle – not since he left his best friend Helen behind eight years ago that is.

Helen is one of life’s rocks. She’s grounded, although she’s not without issues herself, and she’s tried to put the past behind her. After losing her mother, she’s facing life truly on her own and forging ahead with a determination that is inspiring. She’s strong, but ultimately flawed like all of us.

This book tells a story which takes the reader on a journey through forgiveness, through understanding and reconnecting. It walks the path of two best friends who have always been everything to each other and perhaps more.

It pulls no punches when it deals with the insidious way that depression and mental health issues can distort your world view until there seems to be no way forward.

But it is also filled with joy, with hope, with understanding and with people who will provide the foundations on which a new path can be built. There is no cure for depression or autism or mental health dysfunctionality.

There is, however, structured methods for how to deal with it, there’s support networks, medication which can help to provide an even keel. There’s love, so much love, more than Hugo realised he was surrounded by.

Phoebe, Hugo’s superb therapist, describes his brain as a computer with a virus and herself and his IT gal, there to help him reboot his neurons and put them back in the right place. I thought this absolutely nailed it perfectly.

It helps Hugo understand that he has done nothing wrong. It’s not a choice he made, it’s a hand he’s been dealt and she’s there to provide him with all the support to find the right way to play it.

I loved her almost as much as I loved Helen. Ezra, Hugo’s bodyguard, is also a fabulous person, he’s there in the background, a sort of older brother/father figure. Drew, his manager, while a flawed character capable of making mistakes, is also doing everything he does from a place of love. Their relationship is turbulent but ultimately supportive.

And Chrissie, someone who starts as a sort of throwaway figure, who Helen isn’t sure she’s even really friends with, provides not only some levity to the narrative but support for Helen and is, without any doubt, a best friend, someone she can turn to at the darkest times.

I think what I loved the most about this book is that the falling in love bit was so natural. Hugo and Helen are each other’s forever and it’s been clear from the time they met, aged just four. The things which separated them on the way, only served to make them stronger.

Be aware of the warnings. This book covers heavy subjects, there are triggers for depression, for drug use (prescription not illegal), for desperate measures when all seems lost, for inpatient treatment at a clinic.

Ultimately, though, it’s a beautiful story about love, about soulmates, about walking a path together in the best way you can. It’s an authentic journey, told with real voices and I loved it.

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

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I fell in love with April French just as hard as Dennis does!

FTLOAFcover221509-mediumFor the Love of April French by Penny Aimes

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I requested this ARC but what I got was something good.

This is, as odd as that might seem, quite a fluffy and sweet BDSM kink book which focuses on an element of the fetish world I’ve not really read much about yet, and I really enjoyed it.

There is no way I could ever claim to understand the unique pressures life as a trans woman or a black man in modern day America can bring, but I feel that this book gave me a unique insight into a part of those fears – and joys.

April French is a wonderfully complex character. I adored her, her vulnerability, her strength, her determination to move on and live an authentic life, even with the scars she carries.

Dennis Martin is a gem of a man too. He’s made mistakes in his first kink relationship and he’s still not really dealt with that when he bumps into Mama April on his first venture to Frankies, a local queer and kink friendly bar his best friend Jason has recommended.

And, at this point, can I just say I hope this is going to be a series and Jason’s up next!

What follows is an, at times painful to read, at others a simply stunning, expression of self, romance which develops from the initial one night stand into a haltingly beautiful relationship.

I read it all in one go, I couldn’t put it down because I just needed to know if they would make it. Of course, this being a Carina Adores line, I really knew they would, but I wanted to see how they managed the journey to reach happiness.

I only haven’t given it 5* because I felt I needed more of them once they had resolved the difficulties and were together. The final few chapters felt a bit condensed and we only got off page mentions in the Epilogue to their HEA a year or so later.

I also felt the kink elements themselves didn’t always get a full expression on page, there’s a bit of steam and then it mostly ends up as fade to black or off page mentions of what they’ve been getting up to.

While I can understand the difficulties of walking the line between fetishising their experiences, I think it would have helped more for someone who doesn’t know much about either being a trans woman or a kink participant, to have seen more of that side of things on page.

But, as it’s a Carina Adores line, I was also expecting it, they tend to be more on the low to medium steam level and I was just really pleased to read this book at all!

#ARC kindly received from the publishers Carina Press via NetGalley in return for an honest and unbiased review

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