Tag Archives: AM Arthur

Best Reads of 2014

It’s that time of year when we look back on all the books we’ve read in 2014. Some books are barely memorable and others we cannot forget. Those that stuck with us, for whatever reason,  we’d like to share with you in hopes that you will find them as memorable as we did. Here’s to a year of wonderful books, creative writers, beautiful covers and profound stories. We can’t wait to see what 2015 holds for us!

Kristy’s List:

Every year I fail miserably at narrowing my list down to ten books. I will do my best but I seriously doubt I will be successful this year as there were so many books I loved this year. I’m happy to say that a few were not only ‘new to me’ authors, but also debut authors! Always take a chance, one never knows if a gem of a book is just waiting to be discovered. Here’s my favorites from 2014 (not necessarily published in 2014, just read in 2014).

Phoenix by Melanie Tushmore: A rockin’ kind of love!
For A Reason by Jessie G: A protective kind of love!
Grif’s Toy by Joseph Lance Tonlet: An unusual kinkster finds a partner.
Tales from the Edge Series by LM Somerton: BDSM heaven!
Sinners Series by Rhys Ford: Irish men, what’s not to love??
Guarded by Cat Grant and L.A. Witt: The rocker, the bodyguard and some kink.
Spencer by JP Barnaby: BROKEN BOY Aaron’s love, enough said.
Training Season by Leta Blake: Holy hot dominance…and skates.
Bonds of Denial by Lynda Aicher: Leaving the business for love.
Maybe This Time by AM Arthur: Taming the party boy.
Summer Symphony by Brandon Shire: Moving past grief.
Fear: A Copper Horse by KA Merikan: Dystopian horse fetish at its finest.

Janette’s List:

2014 was a great year for me book wise – I’ve had the privilege to read so many amazing books! As Kristy said, there are just so many I loved, so it’s always tough to put together this list. I could’ve included so many, but I forced myself to narrow it down to just 10. Many of them are written by writers I discovered in 2014, and others are new books by old favorites.  The one thing these books seem to have in common is that each surprised me. I didn’t really expect to love them the way that I did which just goes to show that preconceived notions can be misleading. I hope you’ll take the time to check them out if you haven’t had a chance already, and if you have, let me know what you thought. Here’s to finding more great reads in 2015!

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1.  A Forbidden Rumspringa by Keira Andrews
2. Complementary Colors by Adrienne Wilder
3. In the Raw by Eileen Griffin & Nikka Michaels
4. Strain by Amelia C. Gormley
5. After Christmas Eve by Michael Rupured
6. The Immortal Crown by Richelle Mead
7. Blackbird Knitting in a Bunny’s Lair by Amy Lane
8. The Trouble with Honor by Julia London
9. Public Display of Everything by Cara Dee
10. The Rebel Pirate by Donna Thorland

Pam’s List:

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Black Dog (Hellhound Chronicles #1) by Caitlin Kittredge
Immortal Crown (Age of X #2) by Richelle Mead
Love, in English (Love in English #1) by Karina Halle
Love, in Spanish (Love in English #2) by Karina Halle
Tangled (Tangled #1) by Emma Chase
Visions (Cainsville #2) by Kelley Armstrong
Seventh Grave and No Body (Charley Davidson #7) by Darynda Jones
The Professional (Gamemaker #1) by Kresley Cole
The King (Black Dagger Brotherhood #12) JR Ward
The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3) by Deborah Harkness

Foundation of Trust (Cost of Repairs #5) by AM Arthur

Foundation of TrustPublished 21 October 2014

Published by Samhain Publishing

Copy obtained from publisher for review.

Synopsis:

Not everyone gets a second chance with their first love.

Cost of Repairs, Book 5

David Weller thought he had it all—a loving partner who gave him a ring, a steady job he didn’t hate, and so much hope for the future. But in the wake of a devastating diagnosis, everything he thought was solid and real lay in pieces at his feet.

Four years later, he’s still sifting through the rubble of his life. His catering partnership occupies his days, while his nights are filled with dangerous sexual hookups and very bad decisions. Then the last person he ever expected to see again walks back into his life.

Owen Hart’s single biggest regret is the way he was forced to leave David behind—no explanations, no chance to make it right. Until now. Finally free of eight years of lies, Owen’s back for the only man he’s ever loved.

An incendiary encounter in a club proves that time hasn’t weakened their physical connection, but David’s wounds run deeper than Owen’s deception. And if David can’t first forgive, Owen doesn’t have a second chance in hell.

Warning: This book contains an Australian transplant with a head full of secrets, a party planner with enough baggage to sink a battleship, and a surly teenager who just wants them both to get over themselves.

Buy links: Samhain Amazon All Romance eBooks

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Our thoughts:

Book five in the Cost of Repairs series ends my week-long visit with the AM Arthur series. I’d have to say this story was very different from the others. David and Owen actually knew each other and had a strong connection in the past. Owen left David at the worst time imaginable. David had just found out he has Huntington’s Disease. Prior they had committed to each other with rings. Owen had a son, Michael, and they were working on being a family. Everything was great and then one day, it just wasn’t. Owen and Michael were gone and David was crushed.

Owen spiraled into destructive behavior. Drinking, depression then he almost gives in to the desperation and hopelessness and is going to let it all go. Afterall, who would want him once they know he has Huntington’s? Owen didn’t want him, why would anyone else. Thankfully Lindy, his best friends and several other besties help move him away from that dark place. Unfortunately, some destructive patterns emerged and that’s when David became reckless with his sexual partners and started dabbling in some intense play.

I wouldn’t say he went full BDSM because a real BDSM partner would have knows when to stop, to know the limit. No, David found sadistic people who were more than happy to beat him, leaving him black, blue and in pain. I’m surprised he never suffered more severe injuries from his play. This is what happened because David wanted to feel. Sad.

Fast forward a few years and everything’s going well. David is partnering with Rey. Business is increasing. He’s still seeking danger play but life’s going. That’s when he spots Owen. At a catering gig. At first he thinks he’s losing his mind, but a face-to-face meeting with Owen and he knows that Owen is back and he’s not sure what to do. He loves him… loved him? Geez, he’s so confused. No, he’s never gotten over Owen. He’s missed him, he still loves him. He definitely wants him in his life but to have all that would be to forgive him for what he did. Can he forgive that?

Owen is determined to tell Owen everything. Every detail of his past life and why he had to abruptly leave him at the worst time possible. To Owen no time was good but his hands were tied, he had no choice. Michael hates him. David hates him. His past choices ruined his future. Now he wants David back in his life and he will bare his soul to have him.

The reason Owen left is a total shocker! So is who the real Owen is. Through most of the book he seems amenable and a bit beaten down. After everything comes out, it’s like a different Owen emerges, the one that’s a mix of the Owen of the past and who he is now. He’s a bit intense!

I won’t go into what happened to Owen and Michael, that would be a total spoiler, but I will say it’s the stuff movies are made of! We also get a suspenseful episode involving David and a crazy person. Sometimes it takes a little drama to help these guys make a decision. David kept running hot and cold toward Owen but he finally stops being such a jerk toward Owen. David finally lets Owen in again, exposes his heart and just hopes he won’t be left longing again.

RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!

Weight of Silence (Cost of Repairs #3) by AM Arthur

Weight of SilencePublished 6 August 2013

Published by Samhain Publishing

Copy purchased by reviewer.

Synopsis:

The wrong secret can poison everything–even if it’s kept with the best of intentions.

Gavin Perez knows he’s a living cliché. He works a dead-end job, shares a trailer with his waitress mom, has an abusive, absentee sperm donor, and he’s poor. So color him shocked when middle-class, white-bread Jace Ramsey agrees to hang out with him.

Granted, Gavin is trying to make up for dumping a bowl of cranberry sauce on Jace at Thanksgiving. And boy, is Gavin forgiven, over and over again…until Jace goes back to college for finals and stops returning Gavin’s calls.

Back home from the semester from hell, Jace doesn’t want to do anything but sleep through the holidays. It’s easier than coming out to his family—or facing Gavin’s hurt. But Gavin’s ready forgiveness draws them back together, and Jace won’t be able to stay in the closet much longer.

Nor will he be able to keep hiding his pain. He trusts Gavin with his body, maybe even with his heart. But can he trust that a devastating secret that’s eating him up inside won’t destroy everything—and everyone—he loves?

Warning: This book contains one slightly hyperactive hero from the wrong side of town, a frustrated college student looking for a little life experience, and an unexpected romance amid dark secrets that just won’t stay buried. Also contains references to physical abuse some readers may find disturbing.

Our thoughts:

Continuing on with the reviews of the Cost of Repairs series, today is Weight of Silence. With Weight of Silence I felt it was a very different book from the beginning. First, both Jace and Gavin are younger than the men in the prior stories, at 19 and 22 respectively. Secondly, the time this book covers is very short, from Thanksgiving Day to mid January. Thirdly, there was pain. A lot of pain and it was obvious that once the secret came to the forefront, it was going to be devastating.

Jace and Gavin. Two young men just recently discovering who they are. Still trying to figure out what they want from life. Where their place is in the world and what they want to contribute.

Gavin has had to grow up fast. His abusive father left Gavin and his mother when he was just a kid. The hurt and pain he caused them will never be forgiven. The fact he’s gone is little comfort because he’s always threatened he will come back and he has before. Top that with Gavin’s ADHD, and you have one high-strung guy with a big heart and a fun-loving attitude toward life.

Jace is younger less experienced and in the early stages of self discovery. Thanksgiving break brought him together with Gavin just as he was accepting he was definitely gay.  Leaving Jace wanting to act on his urges and the attraction he feels toward Gavin. They meet up and have a few shared moments. Gavin rocks Jace’s world and then…radio silence.

Jace’s return home from college for Christmas break was completely different. Emotionally Jace was a wreck. He was harboring some secrets that were tearing him up inside and impacting him in a negative way. Jace has to decide if he’s going to trust in Gavin and the peace he feels with him. The ability to feel safe, secure and cherished within his arms. Is it enough to speak out and tell his family he’s gay. Will Garvin’s support be enough if they turn their backs?

There’s so much more to Jace’s story and his secrets don’t stop at his sexuality. He’s so broken. He’s been torn to shreds and is in so much pain. Jace literally broke my heart but he had a saving grace. He had Gavin and with him calming peace and love. Within Gavin’s arms Jace can share his burden and confront his demon.

I know I’ve said it already but it’s worth saying again, Weight of Silence with haunt you with its intensity, melt you with its loving embrace and leave you happy with its message of hope.

RATING: BAD ASS (ARTISTIC) BOOTS!!

Color of Grace (Cost of Repairs #2) AM Arthur

Color of GracePublished 1 January 2013

Published by Samhain Publishing

Copy purchased by reviewer.

Synopsis:

Looking to the future begins with forgiving the past.

Cost of Repairs, Book 2

Barrett McCall once lived like there was no tomorrow. Now the reformed party animal savors each day as a gift. His short order cook job at Dixie’s Cup pays the rent, and he’s content with his sober—if solitary—life.

When a fire leaves him homeless, Dixie’s offer to let him move into her basement apartment puts him on a collision course with her nephew, art teacher Schuyler Rhodes. The heat between them crackles, but in Schuyler’s eyes Barrett recognizes the same demons he exorcised long ago.

Dixie’s kind-hearted offer couldn’t come at a worse time for Schuyler. It’s the anniversary of his teenage cousin Matty’s drowning. Everyone believes it was an accident, but Schuyler knows the truth—and so does the culprit. For fifteen years that truth has burned a hole in his soul…and now it keeps Barrett at arm’s length.

One lingering kiss melts away the barriers between them, but when the other witness to Matty’s death shows up in town, Schuyler is forced into a confrontation that could cost him Barrett’s love—and possibly his own life.

Product Warnings
Contains a hot man-on-man romance between a slightly uptight art teacher and a free-spirited tattoo-artist-turned-line-cook, a bucket of guilt sprinkled on top of past regrets, and the improper use of bamboo kabob skewers.

Our thoughts:

Wow! Blown away but this installment in the Cost of Repairs series. Color of Grace is just as emotional and moody as the first book but with much more sadness. What? Yes more sadness, even with Samuel’s anguish over losing Ben. I think it felt morose because all the bad wasn’t just focused in on one guy.

Schuyler has never been the same after his cousin’s drowning death in high school. Schuyler was there, he knows what happened and it has weighed heavily on him his whole life.That moment was so out of Schuyler’s control that he lives his current life in total order. Scheduled. Planned. What doesn’t fit into the plan, the arrival of Barrett.

Barnett has his own demons to wrestle and they are numerous, intense and rival the pain Schuyler is fighting. Both men are fighting battles from the past, they’re just coping differently. Schuyler stayed close to home and what is left of his family. Barrett chose to move away and find something new and worth living for.

An underlying theme in this series so far has been the vulnerabilities of the people in the stories. In each book, there has been tragedy and some suspense regarding issues with people from the past. What really brings them together and makes them so relatable, their lower to middle class status. All these families and men trying to find their way are hardworking blue-collar guys. They live paycheck to paycheck. None of them are rich and ‘slumming’ it. One financial set back is devastating and magnifies their struggles. Their pains are real and relatable and I love that. Money makes things easier. When you don’t have it, things are tougher, period.

I always appreciate the level of  realness AM Arthur adds in all her books, so I just had to address that in this series. Street Feed in the Belonging series and now this. Sometimes escapism isn’t reading about jet-setters, but reading about two men finding the strength to trust and put their fears aside. It’s opening up and showing their whole self to one another and coming out the other side knowing they have an advocate, someone to share the burden with, without judgement. It’s the emotional journey to love, respect and sharing.

RATING: BAD ASS (THRIFT STORE) BOOTS!!