Tag Archives: loss

Imperfect Harmony by Jay Northcote

Imperfect Harmony CoverRelease Date: April 15, 2016
Published by Jaybird Press
Review Copy from Author

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Imperfect harmony can still be beautiful…

John Fletcher, a former musician, is stuck in limbo after losing his long-term partner two years ago. He’s shut himself off from everything that reminds him of what he’s lost. When his neighbour persuades him to join the local community choir, John rediscovers his love of music and finds a reason to start living again.

Rhys Callington, the talented and charismatic choir leader, captures John’s attention from the first moment they meet. He appears to be the polar opposite of John: young, vibrant, and full of life. But Rhys has darkness in his own past that is holding him back from following his dreams.

Despite the nineteen-year age gap, the two men grow close and a fragile relationship blossoms. Ghosts of the past and insecurities about the future threaten their newfound happiness. If they’re going to harmonise in life and love as they do in their music, they’ll need to start following the same score.

Goodreads Badge

PURCHASE A COPY FROM AMAZON 

Imperfect Harmony will be exclusive to Amazon for 90 days. After that it will be available at all retailers.

OUR THOUGHTS:

In her signature sweet, sexy style, Jay Northcote delivers a heartwarming story of second chances.  Readers can’t help but feel touched by the emotional elements of grief and hope in this May-December romance. Taking this emotional journey is exhilarating and terrifying as the characters must challenge themselves to find peace, accept change and take chances.

John Fletcher has spent the last two years stumbling through life, grieving for his long-term partner. The recent loss of his mother has reopened those wounds and now he’s returned to his childhood home to decide where to go from here.  A chance meeting at his neighbor’s weekly choir rehearsal brings him face-to-face with Rhys Callington, a younger, vibrant man also working to put a painful past behind him. The two strike it off,  their mutual love of music a common bond. Their obvious interest and chemistry stoke the fires of an unlikely attraction, forcing each to see past the boundaries of grief and age and opening up possibilities for happiness they thought abandoned forever.

While there’s an overall shadow of grief and longing to this story, Northcote infuses just enough of the excitement and optimism of new love to keep it balanced. Readers won’t find themselves hopelessly bereft but thoughtfully acknowledging the pain and suffering while urging Rhys and John to spread their wings and learn how to fly. If they do, there’s a tremendous chance together they’ll soar to new heights.

RATING: ONE BAD ASS BOOT, ONE STILETTO!

Blog Tour and Review: Patchwork Paradise by Indra Vaughn

PatchworkParadise_TourBanner

Patchwork Paradise by Indra Vaughn
Releases: March 28, 2016
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Word count: 73,300
Page count: 262
Type: Standalone
Cover by: Lou Harper

About Patchwork Paradise

Oliver and Samuel’s relationship is fairy-tale perfect. They share a gorgeous house in Antwerp, go out with their friends every weekend, and count down the days to their dream wedding. But their happy ending is shattered one late night, and just like that, Ollie is left bereft and alone.

The months that follow are long and dark, but slowly Ollie emerges from his grief. He even braves the waters of online dating, though deep down he doesn’t believe he can find that connection again. He doesn’t think to look for love right in front of him: his bisexual friend Thomas, the gentle giant with a kind heart and sad eyes who’s wanted him all along.

When Thomas suddenly discovers he has a son who needs him, he’s ill prepared. Ollie opens up his house—Sam’s house—and lets them in. Ollie doesn’t know what scares him more: the responsibility of caring for a baby, or the way Thomas is steadily winning his heart. It will take all the courage he has to discover whether or not fairy tales can happen for real.

PatchworkParadise_600x900

Goodreads Badge

Riptide Publishing   •  Amazon  •  All Romance eBooks

Our thoughts:

Indra Vaughn knows how to deliver grief. She ripped my soul in two as Ollie grieved over losing Samuel. Torn. To. Shreds. The intense guilt and grief were raw emotions that pulled tissue after tissue from the box next to me as I read. Intense. Real. Vulnerable. This is how Patchwork Paradise begins but it’s not all sadness and loss.

We endure Ollie’s grief over losing Samuel for a large part of the novel, but it’s important to Ollie’s story. During his time of sorrow and loss he has to relearn life as he knows it. He’s been with Samuel since they were kids. Friends, then lovers at age sixteen. They were to be married and would live happily ever after. That was cut short and now Ollie has to find a new normal.  Now, life is no more touches and enveloping hugs. Being alone becomes something he gets used to but the loneliness is suffocating.

During this time of struggle,  it’s pure torture to read Patchwork Paradise!  Almost every memory, whether good or bad, would provoke tears. Ollie’s emotions are so profound that they impacted me with every word. Boxes of tissues. Seriously, boxes.

Over time, Ollie realizes that missing Samuel doesn’t hurt as much and that his coping and moving on isn’t the end of the world. What he never expected was to discover that Thomas, his dear friend, had always desired him. Knowing that fact propels Ollie to really think of Thomas in a new light. To consider a potential relationship with the man he’s called a friend for so long. Just when Ollie thinks it’s possible and within reach, Thomas pulls away.

Thomas pulling away becomes a common theme from then on. He’s so badly in love with Ollie that he can’t stand the thought of losing him in any way. Nothing just might be preferable to living and losing. This is infuriating to Ollie. He’s been there. Loved deeply and lost tragically. How could Thomas be so callous?!

There’s so much that goes on in this novel. From Oliver losing Samuel to the whole friendship dynamic between Oliver, Cleo, Imran and Thomas. Samuel’s parents applying unnecessary pressures on Oliver. Lastly, a baby is added to the mix. I honestly don’t know how Oliver kept it together so well. Once he grieved, he picked himself up and started taking small steps forward. WhenThomas entered the scene as a potential love interest, things became so complicated. It was worth it though because Oliver’s life would take a turn that it never would have with Samuel. He was lucky to fall in love and be loved twice in a lifetime and each one of those loves was unique and fulfilling.

Patchwork Paradise is definitely not a lighthearted story. It’s deeply emotional. Your heart will ache from Ollie’s pain. Your eyes will swell with tears, but it all worth it in the end!

RATING: STILETTOS!!

About Indra Vaughn

After living in Michigan, USA for seven wonderful years, Indra Vaughn returned back to her Belgian roots. There she will continue to consume herbal tea, do yoga wherever the mat fits, and devour books while single parenting a little boy and working as a nurse.

The stories of boys and their unrequited love will no doubt keep finding their way onto the page—and hopefully into readers hands—even if it takes a little more time.

And if she gleefully posts pictures of snow-free streets in winter, you’ll have to forgive her. Those Michigan blizzards won’t be forgotten in a hurry.

Connect with Indra:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/indra.vaughn.7

Twitter https://twitter.com/VaughnIndra

Giveaway

To celebrate, Indra is giving away an ebook from her backlist at EVERY BLOG STOP! She’ll also be giving out a grand prize of $25 in Riptide credit. Leave a comment to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 2, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Penalty Play (Power Play #3) by Lynda Aicher

Penalty Play

Penalty Play by Lynda Aicher

Series: Power Play book 3

Released 10 August 2015

Published by Carina Press

Blurb:

Minnesota Glaciers’ starting defenseman Henrik Grenick is good at two things: hockey and sex. He’s got it all—the career, the biceps, the babes. But the steady parade of women through his bedroom just leaves him wanting more, hunting for the next distraction. Until he meets Jacqui, who awakens a hunger he never knew he craved.

Fiercely independent Jacqui Polson has no time for the seductive hockey player demanding her attention. More band geek than bimbo, she’s in an entirely different league, and growing up with four hockey-crazed brothers left her with no interest in that world. But damn, Henrik’s hot. And when it comes to sex, Jacqui knows exactly what she wants.

As their relationship moves beyond games, Henrik needs more—not just of Jacqui’s touch, but of her. Jacqui discovers there’s more to Henrik than just the gruff facade. But after a lifetime of fighting their own battles, neither has ever let anyone get so close. As they soon find out, needing someone isn’t a weakness, it’s the only thing that matters…

Sales links: Amazon • Carina Press • All Romance eBooks

Goodreads Badge

Our thoughts:

Penalty Play is the third installment in the Power Play series. A spin-off of Aicher’s prior series, Wicked Play. Personally, I love this world! The last series focused on the BDSM club (which was awesome) but a love of hockey really makes this new series fun and rich with options.

Henrik Grenick is a defender for the Glaciers. A great player on ice, not in real life. His string of girlfriends all leave him after a short time. They take and get to play the rich and famous game for a while. He buys them nice things and then they leave. Is he heartbroken over it? Not really. It’s not like any of these women have ever really known him. He’s never given them his heart either.

Grenick is hiding behind hockey to ease the pain in his life from a loss and also loneliness. The love he doesn’t get from his family, he tries to make up for with his hockey family. But does this made family really know him?

A trip to a music store to find a distraction from the quiet of his home brings Henrik and Jacqui together. She’s passionate about music and Henrik wishes he could have the musical outlet he once held so dear to his heart. One thing he does know, he finds this carefree woman refreshing. Unfortunately, he’s always been awkward with the dating games. They usually come to him, he doesn’t usually have to pursue.

Jacqui is strong, carefree and passionate. She sees a genuinely nice guy in Henrik. He’s polite and refined, but reserved. He’s willing to give his heart to Jacqui, something he’s never done before. She’s too wrapped up in her past illness to really see that all Henrik needs is to be loved in return. He’s never had that and doesn’t even know he deserves it until it’s within his grasp and taken away.

Penalty Play is not as emotional as I expected with the loss and illness. It’s not about broken people finding each other. It’s more about finding the strength within to find what you need and deserve. To seek it, grab it, and hold onto it for dear life.

The passion between Jacqui and Henrik is intoxicating. They sizzle and quake but they’re also gentle and loving when it’s needed. No inhibitions on either side. Henrik is a big studly teddy bear. Mix in a big Irish Catholic family, music and the roughness of hockey and we have another winning goal of a story from Lynda Aicher.

RATING: BAD ASS HOCKEY SKATES (BAD ASS BOOTS)!!

Return to Me by James Oliver French

Return to MeReleased 23 November 2014

Published by Kaituhi Press

Copy obtained from author for review.

Blurb:

What would you do if the man you loved vanished without a trace?

Kyle and Todd meet at a party in their freshman year at college. They fall in lust at first sight, then deep in love. In spite of Kyle’s melancholy past, their future together looks bright. Then Kyle disappears, leaving Todd heartbroken and alone, and their dreams in ruins. Fifteen years later, Todd is a successful but lonely psychiatrist. He still hasn’t come to terms with the loss of his first love. When a dangerous amnesiac arrives at the hospital, Todd is forced to confront the past, and is driven to find answers to the questions that have haunted him all these years.

Sales links:  Amazon •  Smashwords  • All Romance eBooks

Goodreads Button

Our thoughts:

Do not read this book without a well-stocked tissue box. Even my love for emotional book that leave my mind in a state of melancholy was tested with Return To Me.

Everything starts off quiet perfect and happy. Two young college men meet at a house party and hit it off. They have many wonderful dates following that first meet-up. Kyle the accounting major, Todd the psychology major. Opposites attract! Kyle and Todd quickly become boyfriends and begin their journey toward a lasting, loving relationship. They are each other’s first real boyfriends and intimate lovers.

Todd takes Kyle home to meet his family over a Christmas holiday. Everyone loves him! Todd comforts Kyle when his parents fail to love and support him for who he is. They are just happy in love and it’s a fast easy start to the book. As they learn about each other and nurture their relationship, we get to know their characters at the same time.

Then everything begins to unravel. Kyle loses his little brother and is kept away by his father. He isn’t given the chance to be part of his family and grieve. It sends him into a bit of a funk, but Todd is supportive and there for him. Studying for finals creates some distance followed by a wrestling tournament for Kyle. That’s when everything takes a devastating turn.

Kyle is gone.

Devastating. Like how does Todd even continue. Crushed. Hurt. Scared. Worried. Confused. Heartbroken. I could use a thesaurus and add twenty more adjectives to describe the sheer pain of the last half of this book. Shattered. Todd’s world is shattered and splintered and he’s forever adrift.

After 15 years, Todd is a successful therapist but he is lonely. Not knowing what happened to Kyle is always at the back of his mind. No men he meets ever reaches the high pedestal that Kyle perched upon. When the love of your life vanishes and leaves a huge hole in your heart, it’s hard not to hold out hope that they will some day return. It’s that hope that when or if it happens, they will be the person you loved and remembered but what if they weren’t? What if they left intentionally? What if they were taken from you in a brutal way? What if they moved on without a second thought? Sometimes the knowing can be as destroying as not knowing. Todd lives that reality.

Kudos to French for writing a book that totally didn’t fit in the box. He decimated the box!Taking two pure characters, building a deep, loving and committed relationship and then tuning it on its end. Ripping apart what was built and never bringing it back into reach. That’s risky. People want romance but we know, love isn’t perfect or without problem and flaws. Some problems we create and others are thrust upon us to deal with as best we can. This story is a reflection of surviving the unknown perils of loving someone with all your heart.

RATING: BAD ASS (SOBBING WITH A BROKEN HEART) BOOTS!