Tag Archives: addiction

Say it Right (All Saints #2) by A.M. Arthur

Say it RightSay it Right (All Saints #2) by AM Arthur

Released on September 12, 2016

Published by Carina Press

Page count: 352 pages

Categories: M/M, Contemporary, Romance

Blurb:

After his parents kicked him out for being gay, Marc Villegas lived on the streets before getting a second chance. Now he’s giving back by working at a shelter for LGBT teenagers—because helping fight their demons keeps his own at bay. Including his infatuation with the former best friend he’s sure is straight.

Anthony Romano hasn’t seen Marc since Marc left home eight years ago. In his confidant’s absence, Anthony turned to heroin. Now at rock bottom, he has an offer from Marc to help him get clean. Detox is hard and ugly, but not as hard as admitting the truth: he’s in love with Marc. Always has been.

Marc swore he’d never date an addict, but he never dreamed the one in question would be the man he’s always wanted to be with. As the two explore their feelings for each other, Marc faces a difficult choice. Say yes, and it could cost him his sobriety; say no, and it could cost him his heart.

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Our thoughts:

Anyone who’s read my reviews, knows I’m a big fan of AM Arthur. Her Perspectives and Belonging series’ have always resonated with me. I don’t think there’s a book in the bunch that didn’t receive a ‘BAD ASS BOOTS’ review from me. Reading Say It Right brought back all those warm and fuzzies, especially from the Belonging series, back. I love that this current series and the Belinging series intermingle, with Ezra and Donner being friends with Tate and Marc from the shelter. This tie-in brings me joy! Sometimes we don’t want to let go of the characters we like once their book ends. This way, we don’t have to because the cameos keep them alive and well on new pages, in new stories.

Marc works at the  All Saints shelter. He’s put his heart and soul into this endeavor with Tate and Dave. He’s had a rough life and knows what it’s like to be on that side of things. He can relate more than most with the homeless LGBT kids. He gives the shelter his full attention and wants to expand and offer more for the kids.

His little bubble is popped harshly when he comes home and finds a face he hasn’t seen in years. Madeline is Anthony’s sister and she needs Marc’s help. Anthony is missing and likely strung out on drugs again. See, Anthony and Marc were friends as kids. Growing up together and best of buds. Inseparable. When Marc came out, he was kicked out of his house. Left to the streets, he asks Anthony to come with him but he refuses. That was the last Anthony ever saw of Marc and it haunted him. Haunted him so much that he falls apart in an epic way and eventually gets into drugs.

Marc is successful in finding Anthony and he’s determined to get him clean again. What results are a lot of ultimatums, hard truths, and feelings renewed. Marc hasn’t had an easy life. Anthony hasn’t had it easy either. Now they have to trust in themselves and each other. Marc has to break down some of the walls he’s built and pull-up some of the deeply buried truths in order to completely allow Anthony in. Anthony needs to admit why he fell apart to begin with, accept who he is and move forward. Forward for him is being clean, getting a job and mending the hurt he’s caused.

There’s a lot of hard knocks truths in this story. The men aren’t perfect. Their pasts are dark and painful. The future is pretty bright though and if they can get through addiction, the streets, and more, they can get through anything–especially together.

RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!!

Cherry Pie (Mercury Rising #1) by Samantha Kane

Cherry Pie CoverRelease Date: September 16th 2014, 2nd Edition
Published by Samhain Publishing
Purchased Copy from Amazon

ABOUT THE BOOK:

John Ford packed up his life a year ago and moved from LA to small Mercury, North Carolina after the death of his long-term partner. He’s been living in a kind of suspended animation, fixing up the old house he bought there, reclusive and alone. Until the day Connor Meecham appears.

Conn Meecham has returned home, only to find it isn’t his anymore. Someone else owns his mother’s house now. But Conn needs that house to find the man he left behind more than eight years ago–before the drugs, before prison, before his life derailed. Lonely, desperate, lost, Conn finds in John a kindred soul.

Mercury is a dying town. But John sets out to change that when he learns what it means to Conn. Through home improvements, sex, old friends, sex, misunderstandings, sex, and homemade cherry pie, John and Conn may finally discover that where they are now can be heaven on earth if they want it to be

Publisher’s Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: male/male sexual practices.

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OUR THOUGHTS:

Connor Meacham is making a soul-searching return to his roots in the hopes of regaining some semblance of the man he used to be. Is Mercury the magical solution to restoring his former glory and, more importantly, his confidence? It seems that battling all those inner demons would take its toll after a while.

This story is on emotional overload. There’s so much to sort out with Connor’s feelings about returning home, Connor’s feelings about John, John’s feelings about his past and how to deal with Connor and moving forward. I have a love/hate relationship with the emotional tension Samantha Kane develops between John and Connor. Readers will have no trouble understanding it – neither of these guys has had a simple life – but sometimes it becomes the elephant in the room. It’s a huge obstacle preventing them from going after what they really want, that is if they can be honest enough to admit what that is.

If you’re looking for a sexy romance complete with complex characters, complicated situations, and angsty tension, Cherry Pie is for you. At just under 200 pages it’s a quick, entertaining read, certainly well worth the time for this satisfying story.

RATING: ONE BADASS BOOT, ONE STILETTO

Vespertine by Leta Blake and Indra Vaughn

VespertineReleased 10 September 2015

Published by Ledra

Cover design by Dar Albert at Wicked Smart Designs

Genres: Contemporary, M/M, Romance

Length: 401 pages, 132,657 words

Sales links: Amazon

Blurb:

Can a priest and a rock star obey love’s call?

Seventeen years ago, Jasper Hendricks and Nicholas Blumfeld’s childhood friendship turned into a secret, blissful love affair. They spent several idyllic months together until Jasper’s calling to the Catholic priesthood became impossible to ignore. Left floundering, Nicky followed his own trajectory into rock stardom, but he never stopped looking back.

Today, Jasper pushes boundaries as an out, gay priest, working hard to help vulnerable LGBTQ youth. He’s determined to bring change to the church and the world. Respected, admired, and settled in his skin, Jasper has long ignored his loneliness.

As Nico Blue, guitarist and songwriter for the band Vespertine, Nicky owns the hearts of millions. He and his bandmates have toured the world, lighting their fans on fire with their music. Numbed by drugs and fueled by simmering anger, Nicky feels completely alone. When Vespertine is forced to get sober, Nicky returns home to where it all started.

Jasper and Nicky’s careers have ruled their lives since they parted as teens. When they come face to face again, they must choose between the past’s lingering ghosts or the promise of a new future.

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Our thoughts:

I will be honest. I was nervous going into this novel due to the religious content I expected. I mean, how can one of the main protagonists be a Catholic priest and not have religious tones! I didn’t fear it to be preachy, just uncomfortable. Within a few pages I knew my fear was unwarranted.

Blake and Vaughn weave a story of love, loss, bad decisions, rash decisions, trials, hurt, pain, and redemption. One of a rock star scorn and still spinning out of control after the loss. One of a man who became a priest when he feared what he should do and now lives with the weight of expectation every day.

Nicholas Blumfeld, or Nico Blue and his fans know him, is in a deep downward spiral toward hell. He’s severely addicted to drugs and is a shell of himself. It’s been so long since he’s been clean or sober enough to feel anything. When he does feel, it’s still pain from his lover, Jasper, leaving him to join the priesthood. At the height of their love, Jasper just drops the bomb on Nicky that he’s leaving to be a priest. All the years following are Nicky leaving home, joining a band and writing his pain and hatred for Jasper in the lyrics of Vespertine’s songs. But now that’s even gone as his drug addled brain struggles to even write any music of worth.

The band, Vespertine, is crippled from addiction and when three of its members are sent to dry out and detox, Nicky decides to go home to get better.

Going home means not only his parents, but also Jazz. Can Nicky really be in the same town, the same space with the one man who sent him on the drug addicted path he’s on? Nicky gets his moment to give the riot act to Jasper but it’s more infuriating than therapeutic.

Jasper is the epitome of poise and calm. He wears that priest collar tight and with the full entirety of its weight of expectation. His belief has helped him get through leaving Nicky and eventually presiding over his congregational flock and Blue Oasis (a children’s home for abandoned LGBT youth). Jasper helps others because he cannot help himself, or Nicky.

When their worlds collide again it’s not without sparks and hurt. There’s a lot of pain to heal from. There’s also the fact that the hurt and hate from what happened is just a bandage on an open wound. A wound that will never heal because they both still care so deeply for each other.

Nicky is so broken. His tough start in life, his early entry into music and his addictions. Guys coming and going and nothing of meaning. For all he’s endured and overcome, he’s surprisingly the stronger one when it comes down to it. He knows what he wants and needs. He doesn’t kid himself. He’s an addict, will always be an addict, but he knows he doesn’t want to live that way ever again. He has inner strength and with a support system he just might make it out of this whole situation better off than the rest of them.

Jasper exudes strength but he’s really just a crumbled mess within a stone shell. He’s managed to gird himself enough to put up the front everyone from the diocese, parish, center, family and friends expect from him, Father Hendricks. For once instead of taking the high road and praying through his doubts or troubles, he let’s himself feel. To be touched, to be loved, this is what he’s missed and needed and it just might be Nicky that wins out over all else in the end. If Jasper would let go of expectation and let his heart guide him through.

Vespertine was a phenomenal story. Some stories just have the power to move me from page to page and Vespertine is one of those stories. So much emotion, pain and love. It’s not easy and perfect, just like life. These two men must suffer a bit but it’s just part of the journey and makes the final moments that much more sweeter.

RATING: STILETTOS!!

Sloe Ride (Sinners #4) by Rhys Ford

Sloe RideReleased 4 September 2015

Published by Dreamspinner Press

Cover Art by Reece Notley

Blurb:

It isn’t easy being a Morgan. Especially when dead bodies start piling up and there’s not a damned thing you can do about it.

Quinn Morgan never quite fit into the family mold. He dreamed of a life with books instead of badges and knowledge instead of law—and a life with Rafe Andrade, his older brothers’ bad boy friend and the man who broke his very young heart.

Rafe Andrade returned home to lick his wounds following his ejection from the band he helped form. A recovering drug addict, Rafe spends his time wallowing in guilt, until he finds himself faced with his original addiction, Quinn Morgan—the reason he fled the city in the first place.

When Rafe hears the Sinners are looking for a bassist, it’s a chance to redeem himself, but as a crazed murderer draws closer to Quinn, Rafe’s willing to sacrifice everything—including himself—to keep his quixotic Morgan safe and sound.

Sales links: Dreamspinner Press  •  Amazon  •  All Romance eBooks

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Our thoughts:

Rhys Ford has done it again. She’s written one of the best Sinners books since the series started. Wait. I think I say that every time!

Truth though, Quinn and Rafe are nearly perfection. A long attraction that never amounted to much for either of them. Just causing them to go in different directions out of necessity, that necessity…. Quinn’ s age!

Rafe has fallen hard and fast from his band and its stardom. Now, he’s just trying to live and stay in control after being out of control for so long. Back home and trying to avoid his adopted family, the Morgans. Mama Morgan will have none of that. Neither will Con, Kane or Quinn. Of course they all have their own reasons and agenda. Only Quinn wants Rafe to clear the noise in his head, to hold the man he’s always dreamed of holding. Will Rafe want him?

Quinn is so full of static and knowledge it’s overwhelming for himself, let alone the people around him. Except Rafe. Rafe has always known how to calm Quinn. To let him talk and feed into the frenzy instead of blowing him off and asking if he’s taken his meds. Poor lamb has always felt trapped, prodded, sheltered and he’s sick of the condescension.

Out of Quinn’s need and Rafe’s understanding, a need grows that can’t be ignored. I love these two together. Seriously sensual and blazing. Creating vivid, bright colors together. Hues of a true and deep love. Rafe is just the man to take on Quinn and his quirks. Someone to listen, not judge and definitely adore and stimulate. They’re beyond compare.

I enjoyed yet another book that sheds light on a person struggling with being different. Different as in, hard-wired differently in the head. I know a person like this. A member of my immediate family and seeing Quinn’s struggle and hardship to put into words his feelings and needs hits so close to home. Loved Quinn. Loved that he had a soul mate in Rafe.

I liked where the Sinners stories have gone. The suspense really brings all the brothers in blue together and keeps readers on their toes. Also, we see a few brothers that were a bit more quiet in the first couple books: Brae and Ian. Between the new faces and a new band, I’m excited to see where Sinners will go from here!

Rhys Ford is a master writer and we are all at her mercy, screaming and pacing for the next book to grace our devices.

RATING: STILETTOS!!