Monday, January 27, 2020

Sky Full of Mysteries by Rick R. Reed






Blurb

What if your first love was abducted and presumed dead—but then returned twenty years later?

That’s the dilemma Cole Weston faces. Now happily married to Tommy D’Amico, he’s suddenly thrown into a surreal world when his first love, Rory Schneidmiller, unexpectedly reappears.

Rory has no memory of those years. For him, it’s as though only a day or two has passed. He still loves Cole with the passion unique to young first love.

But Cole has so many questions: where has Rory been and what happened to him two decades ago when he disappeared without a trace? He has never forgotten Rory, but Tommy has been his rock, by his side since Rory disappeared.

Cole is forced to choose between an idealized and passionate first love and the comfort of a long-term marriage. How does one make a decision like that? The answers might lie among the stars…

Review 
My Rating - 5+ Stars!

I don't really know how to describe Rick Reed's Sky Full of Mysteries. It's an extremely powerful tale, painfully heart-breaking, and absolutely riveting.  

It's a story of first love and the strength behind that first love. The anguish of mysterious disappearances. The fear of moving on. The continuation of holding onto hope. And pain. So much pain. 

The author expertly tells this amazing tale in two parts. The first half of the book focuses on Rory, his disappearance, and the aftermath for Cole. I was hanging onto every single word.

T
hen Rory returns! The second half is twenty years later, with Cole now married to Tommy, and Rory suddenly reappearing.

It's a thought-provoking novel, full of mystery, faith, and love. It's gloomy and depressing, yet also lovely, full of impressive discoveries about love.

One quote that I love and everyone can relate to is "That's the thing about life, though; we were never given the courtesy of a warning when something bad was about to strike."

I can't stop wondering who had it worse. The man who can't stop loving the man from his past? The man who is suddenly back with everything being completely upended? Every character suffers as a result of this one event. The author delves into Rory's parents and Tommy, both before he was with Cole and after. There is no way of avoiding the pain and suffering, it's only a matter of handling it.

I am blown away by this story. The emotions jump off the page throughout, fully ripping the readers heart out. It's a completely no-win situation, full of absolute agony. Yet, somehow, the author beautiful manages to tie things up in an impressively satisfactory manner. The book hangover is real with this one though. I can't stop thinking about it. I am torn between loving the ending, and hating it. 

Sky Full of Mystery is wonderfully written, spectacularly engrossing, and will leave the reader wanting to talk about it. Rick Reed has penned a story that will leave you struggling throughout, never really understanding how you want things to end up. It's masterful in it's strength to completely engross the reader throughout, as well as for days afterwards.





Halfway to Someday by Layla Dorine







Blurb

Rocker Jesse Winters just wants to be left alone. If he could melt into oblivion, he would and bid farewell to the wild child of rock n’ roll so many had dubbed him in recent months. Truth is there was never anything reckless, wild, or even deliberate about most of the things that had happened on Wild Child’s last tour, but had anyone cared to listen? No! Which was precisely why he was sitting in a cabin high up in the Colorado mountains, hoping the incoming blizzard would bury him forever.

Ryker Jorgensen left the VA hospital with a bunch of prescriptions and pamphlets on how to deal with reentering the civilian world, not that he’s in any hurry to do so. His nightmares still keep him up at night, and every new limitation he discovers gives him more reason to believe that he’s hopelessly useless now. Better to drive up to his cousin’s cabin and lick his wounds. Come spring, maybe, he’d look into being around people, if only for long enough to make the kind of money he’d need to buy his own secluded place.

The last thing Ryker ever expected to see was the man whose face had been plastered in his footlocker and his dreams for the better part of the past six years, but Jesse Winters is nothing like he imagined. When trying to leave Ryker out in the storm doesn’t work, Jesse resorts to ignoring him. But two wounded souls trapped in a snowed in cabin have little choice but to reach out for one another when emotions get frayed. His only hope is that Jesse will trust him enough to let him drag him back from the edge before he’s just another burned out star in the legacy that is rock n’ roll.


Review 
My Rating - 5 Stars!

Wow, Layla Dorine's Halfway to Someday is a riveting and heavy book.

Jesse and Ryker are two men who are both broken; two men who find themselves escaping and hiding out in a cabin they have to share. They're well developed, blowing me away with their complexity. 


Jesse, with his history of self harm, is struggling with something secret.
His issues are emotional to the point of tears, as he's full of fear and pain, lacking in self esteem. This quote sums him up well. "I just wanted someone to love me!"

Ryker, meanwhile, is drowning in pain and suffering. He's blocked by his past, unable to move forward. His PTSD is written in a powerful manner, complete with the pain of nightmares and flashbacks. 

I seriously love these two and their amazing character growth, as these two men help to free one another from their pain and fear. They are full of longing and misery, both of which clearly jump off the pages.

The author entwines the aftermath of abuse with the aftermath of losing one's friends in a military tragedy. It's impressive and effective as she excels with important issues such as PTSD and self harm. 

This is a story that mixes forced proximity, a stalker, and danger. It's a combination of serious mental issues, danger, and attraction. It's multi-layered and complex, deep and accomplished. And if you enjoy stories about trust issues, this one has it in spades. 

Halfway to Someday is so much more than I could have ever anticipated. Layla Dorine impresses in this tale of moving on from one's demons and embracing a better future. It's raw, real, and emotional, leaving me unable to put down this emotionally driven story. 





Take note, if self harm, PTSD, or panic attacks are a trigger to you, avoid this one. 


BOOK BLITZ - Thirst Trap by Zachary Ryan

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Never Too Late by Quinn Ward






Blurb

Dax would have died on the side of the road...if not for the stranger who saved him.

Living in the town where his life changed, Dax can't help but wonder if he's passed the man who brought him back to life.

He doesn't know what that incident cost the med student who stopped to help a dying man.

Now, it's Dax's turn to repay the favor, even if neither of them realize it.

Never Too Late was previously published under the pen name Sloan Johnson, the alter ego of Quinn Ward.



Review 
My Rating - 5 Stars!

I am thrilled to have gotten a chance to read Quinn Ward's Never Too Late. 
This is the impressive story of two men who save one another. One is saved years ago, the other now. These two men who come into one another's lives at the right time and it's beautiful.

Michael lost his wife and is struggling to raise his son, Jagger, alone. He's let his pain and struggles drag him under. But with Dax re-entering his life, he's about to live again. 

What follows is a wonderful story of struggling with opening one's heart. It's full of heightened emotions, some spice, and a whole lot of tenderness. This is a gay for you relationship, leading to some great first times. 

Jagger is adorable and adds so many sweet moments to the story. He's so impulsive and precocious, I just love him.

The writing is great, with well rounded characters, a complex storyline, and plenty of romance. Told in alternating 1st person pov, the reader is fully brought into the story, both actions and emotions. And there are plenty of emotions including pain, grief, fear, and resentment.

Never Too Late is a story with a lot of heart. Quinn Ward takes the reader on an emotional journey which is all about the character growth and learning to believe in yourself and love. I absolutely loved this book, staying up late into the night to finish it. 






If Wishes Were Horses by Silvia Violet






Blurb

A cop and a rancher who never meant to fall in love.

Andy’s last undercover assignment nearly broke him. He’s got another chance to capture his target, but the gorgeous rancher he’s investigating makes him long for things he can’t have.

Ken gave up his society life to run a ranch, and he’ll do anything to protect what’s his. When he starts to suspect his new employee is hiding something, he knows he should send the man away. But Andy is as gorgeous as he is infuriating, and he‘s pulling Ken to him like a magnet. Both men long for control, yet neither knows how to surrender.

A clash of wills is inevitable, but neither man expects the tenderness that grows every time they touch. With secrets between them and outside forces threatening the ranch, each man will need to decide how far he’s willing to go to protect the other.

This 73k western MM romance was previously published. It's been re-edited and an epilogue has been added.

Review 
My Rating - 4 Stars!

Silvia Violet's If Wishes Were Horses is a decent suspenseful/action romance.

From the start, I became intrigued by Ken's decision to leave his company and family behind. This quick glimpse into his personality makes him immediately likable. Fast forward and he owns a ranch, having left his old life firmly in the past.

Andy's an undercover cop who's working on Ken's farm while trying to make a drug bust. The two get off to a good start, full of banter and snark. And lots of flirting. They are full of quick wit and some hot tension. But, as much as they liked one another instantly, it took me a lot longer to feel their connection. Why? Because it's all angry sex and push and pull. The lack of trust they have for each other, and the secrets between them firmly keep them at a distance emotionally.


Both men are well developed individually. The reader fully understands their emotions and their backstory, both of which drives this plot. Their story is full of danger and suspense, as well as hot sex and domination. I love their physical connection, but the emotional connection took a while to be established.

As for the action, I liked it, but it also seems a little forced. Secrets and trust issues greatly affect the way they act. I enjoy the depth of their emotions, but I still felt like things didn't always work together. I found myself confused at times, and wishing the reader knew a little more of what was going on.

I enjoy the author's writing. It's always fluid with interesting characters. In this one, she mixes a semi complex storyline with some BDSM to keep the sparks flying.

Overall, If Wishes Were Horses is a decent read. Silvia Violet manages to fully draw the reader into the pain, fear, and doubts. There's plenty of action and emotion to keep one intrigued.







Daiquiris and Dreams (Hearts of Snow Lake Book 7) by Ashton Cade




Amazon Link - Available in KU






Blurb

Taylor:

Pretty much everyone in my life has teased me about my crush on the boss at this point. I figured Noah knew and was just saving me some embarrassment by playing dumb. Hard to believe an astute guy like him could be so clueless, but I’ve heard crazier things, I guess.

Since the accident, he's just in shock. He’s always been a man of few words, which I've chalked up to him being ex-military, but this is on another level. This is a man shutting down, and I’m trying my best to keep him from slipping under the surface. It’s not like I have any comforting words to offer⁠—there’s not much of a bright side here. No silver lining to losing your brother and sister-in-law in a horrific bus accident. His little niece Bailey’s alive, but babies are so fragile, so unpredictable.

Who's going to take care of her? And who's going to take care of Noah? I guess I'll step up. But ... who's going to take care of me?

Noah:

After a long day tending bar, it’s really nice to come home to a friendly face. Nicer than I really want to admit. And it’s not just any friendly face, it’s Taylor. The guy that’s way too young for me. Way too sweet for me too.

Ever since the accident, he's been more amazing than I could ever dream. Even though I don't know what I would do without him, I have to think of his welfare. I just know it’s better for him if I keep my distance, don’t get involved. I’m a cranky old son of a bitch with too much baggage for someone with an uncomplicated life like his. I’ve never had anyone other than my brother, and to be honest, I wasn’t always great at being there for him. First chance I got I joined the Army to get away from the bullshit of our life, leaving him to figure out his own way.

I don’t deserve to even be having thoughts about a guy like Taylor, a guy with such a big heart. The kind of guy that sees a curmudgeon like me and thinks there’s something worth saving.

Review 
My Rating - 5 Stars!



Ashton Cade's Daiquiris and Dreams, the seventh book in the Hearts of Snow Lake is an emotionally riveting story.


Noah's haunted by his past, drowning in grief as well as pain from his PTSD. Taylor, who's long crushed on his boss Noah, suddenly finds himself hired to be his manny. I love the way their story starts. It's emotional, full of pain and grief, yet firmly sets the stage for this wonderful boss/employee romance. Taylor is super sweet and sensitive, and I love the ways in which Taylor helps to bring Noah back to life. 

As for Bailey, well, if you like babies, you will love her. She is the cutest and I absolutely adore her.

This is a story of surviving one's grief, fears, and doubts. It's a story of finding love through pain and loss.

The outside forces that cause angst is probably a little forced for some people. For me, I enjoyed it a lot and just went with it. It's definitely emotional, both scary and creepy.

I enjoy the sooth writing, the intriguing characters, and the well developed storyline. There is fantastic character growth for both men and a whole lot of romance. It's written in first person, present tense, which I usually hate, but I didn't even notice it until well into the book. 

Overall, Daiquiris and Dreams is a splendid romance. The entire Hearts of Snow Lake series is captivating. If you love small towns, these books are a must read. 


Hearts of Snow Lake series - 

Book 5.5 - Gratitude and Gravy



Sky Full of Mysteries by Rick R. Reed

Amazon Link Goodreads Link Blurb What if your first love was abducted and presumed dead—but then retu...