Roads Series Review round-up from Garrett Leigh

Slide (Roads, #1)Slide by Garrett Leigh

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Righty! This was one of Garrett’s earliest books but, imho, you can’t tell. It’s intricately plotted and paced, it’s angsty, oh lordy is it angsty, but it never turns into too much depressing prose.

Ash has issues, rightly so given his life experiences, and he’s learnt how to just get on. But he’s not really living and Garrett does such a brilliant job with the narrative to show the reader – first by writing from Ash’s POV and then later by how Pete sees him – just how much he is struggling.

Pete, on the other hand, appears on the surface to be all put together, only the occasional bad job in his work as a paramedic making him less than his usual laid back and easy going self. I have to admit, I was surprised by Pete’s later reactions as the plot developed because I’d got so used to him being chill with his life.

The two of them together are gorgeous. The slow build up of trust is given time to develop before they become intimate, there’s no insta-love, insta-sex here.

Now, it’s no secret I am a huge Garrett Leigh fangirl and, for me, it’s because – no matter how bleak her character’s lives may become, or how much trauma they may have experienced in the past – she always shines a light of hope which resonates with me that everyone deserves to love and be loved no matter how dark their existence may have been.

I love her words, I love how she takes broken people and doesn’t make them whole again, no magic dick here, but gives them a support structure they can rely on to move forward.

This book is beautifully painful to read and I loved it. It isn’t a five star read for me simply because – at one point – I wanted to punch Pete so hard it took the edge off. But, then again, it’s realistic, life isn’t all sunshine and flowers and sometimes humans faulter!


Rare (Roads, #2)Rare by Garrett Leigh

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I need a breather after this one. Lordy but Garrett knows how to put her characters through the mill.

This book, it’s all about Pete and what he goes through, and it’s not easy reading but the narrative is perfection.

There’s a certain skill in writing about trauma, about tragedy, about mental trials and, for me anyway, Garrett Leigh does it with a finesse which is hard to beat. There’s no drama porn in her work, the tribulations the characters go through are firmly rooted in reality and the ways they deal with them mirror the same.

Throughout this book though, Ash, glorious Ash, is the shining light leading you through the story as he demonstrates what Pete has always known – that he is the strong one.

I loved every bit of this book and I can’t wait to now round off my Ash and Pete experience with Circle.

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

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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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Rick gets his redemption arc in the latest Perspectives romance

hisfaithHis Faith As He Finds It by A.M. Arthur

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Why does there always have to be so much angst?!

Okay, this one isn’t actually that bad and a lot of it we already know about from Jon and Isaac’s book, but there is still quite a bit in the back stories of both MCs.

However, having said that, Rick is perfectly redeemed from his role as Jon’s unintentionally abusive boyfriend and becomes a truly interesting and complicated character in this book.

Vinson was a bit harder to warm up to, on paper he was caring, kind, open and sweet, but he also had his demons and a habit of being judgemental and forming opinions from only half a tale.

Together, though, they absolutely brought out the best in each other and helped each other move on from some serious dramady and past angsting.

#ARC kindly provided by the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Emotionally demanding and beautiful second chance love story

His Truth CoverHis Truth by Riley Hart

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh lordy this book. I think it’s possibly the most emotionally demanding second chance romance I’ve read. It takes your heart and squeezes it so tight you think you’ll never feel a beat again.

The trauma Roman locked away so he could move on with his life while just a teenager is as heavy as a load of bricks landing on your shoulders. That he managed to move beyond his father and brother’s actions and be a successful businessman is testament to his inner strength.

I fell for Roman so hard, but there wouldn’t have been a Roman to love so much if there hadn’t first been a Leo. Someone that could just be the rock standing strong against the wind, the safe harbour against the tide, the shelter Roman needed to break through the walls of his bubble.

My heart broke for the 16 year-olds, but it rejoiced for their 28 year-old selves when they reconnected and found a way past the poison which had infected their earlier love.

This is a gorgeous narrative, it’s sexy too, emotional and driven with passion and a need for the story to reach its happy ending, and it’s treated with respect. There’s no magic dick cure here, Roman doesn’t admit he’s gay without any cost to his psyche.

But Leo is there to walk beside him and its as gorgeous as the image on the cover.

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

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Just took the spot as my favourite Garrett Leigh book

Soul to Keep (Rented Heart, #2)Soul to Keep by Garrett Leigh

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think this is my favourite Garrett Leigh book. I don’t know what, exactly, about the book makes me say that, but I just know that as I was reading it, my heart felt full and my head was quiet and calm as it absorbed the growing love between Jamie and Marc.

And oh did they need each other. As with any book from this supremely talented author, there is such a driving need for finding peace with what life has thrown at you. Both Jamie and Marc had such scars, not only the visible ones crossing their bodies, but the mental ones which are the hardest to come to terms with.

One of my friends has said she feels wrung out and sad after reading a Garrett Leigh book, but for me, I have the exact opposite result. Yes, the subject matter is always brutally real, but I am always left with an overwhelming sense of hope.

Her men are always left in a better place, even if they still have demons to live with, than they were at journey’s start. Her men always manage to find the one person in the world who understands them, who can bring them a sense of peace and of belonging. They learn how to live with their troubles, even knowing they will never be fixed or free of them.

You can’t cure an addict, no matter what they’re addicted to, but you can give them the tools to learn to live with it to their best ability and in Soul to Keep, we see Jamie slowly come to terms with the knowledge that he doesn’t have to spend his life as if spiders are crawling all over his skin all the time.

The relationship between Jamie and Marc is very much slow burn, and it has to be, both of them have pasts which have irrevocably changed them and trust is something which takes time to build but let me say, when they finally do break through the barriers of what’s going on in their heads, the resulting sex scene might be one of the most emotionally powerful (and volcanically hot) I’ve read in a book from Garrett.

I adored every single bit of this book and there’s a little piece of my heart that fervently hopes that Jamie and Marc really do exist in their little bit of Derbyshire and they’re happily getting along with their lives in Chesterfield General’s A&E department and the food project kitchen 🙂

Oh, secondary characters – yes, another wonderfully drawn collection, one of whom is utterly real even though he only ever is described off page and I seriously hope Garrett is going to give us Nat and Connor’s story even though they’re together in this one. I’d love to know how the SAS CO and the journalist got together.

And, a final thought, big props to Garrett for the research into the special forces which is hinted and obliquely referenced here. As someone with an uncle who was once based in Hereford, all aspects of that side of this story felt very real.

#ARC kindly provided by the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

All the gushing and fangirling, as with all my favourite authors, is done completely off my own bat 😉

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Latest Herc’s Mercs nearly made me cry!

No Pain No Gain (Herc's Mercs, #7)No Pain No Gain by Ari McKay

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This one near made me cry, definitely my favourite one of the series and the one which had the most depth to the romance.

This isn’t a bodyguard falls for the client or mercs on a job getting it together, this deals with the very real trauma of PTSD. It’s done respectfully and with careful consideration.

It’s also the hottest of all the series for me, Hunter and Payne burn up the pages when they let go outside of a therapy session. I thought the idea of using BDSM to help Hunter process his trauma worked well and it never felt like it was just being given lip service.

Great story and romance and a more emotionally connected addition to the series. I hope there’s more to come.

#ARC kindly provided by the authors in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Stunning debut novel from Robert Winter

September (Pride and Joy #1)September by Robert Winter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yes I know, I’m late to the party!) but I have the ARC of Book Two so…

I don’t know quite where to start with this one. The fact I stayed up until 2.30am to finish reading it all in one go or the clever way the Prologue and Epilogue felt like the theatre directions for a play about to unfold, or the simply beautiful writing.

Each one on their own would have been a delight to find in a debut novel but to get all three really was a pleasure.

This book also has one of my favourite tropes – a May to December romance – or, as David’s friends put it, more of a May to September one. The 22 year age gap didn’t bother me in the slightest, I loved the connection that David and Brandon had.

There’s drama and there’s angst, but it never sways into what I like to call dramady, where it feels like something which happens as a plot tick box only rather than a natural progression of the narrative.

There’s so many parts of this book I want to rave about but I think it works best when uncovered during reading. I’m glad I wasn’t spoiled for the unexpected incident which occurs, the fall out from which is handled beautifully in the writing.

And also big props for not making David’s dead lover into some mythical perfect being. The scenes where David is “talking” to Kyle in his head were some of my favourites.

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