Sawyer's conflicts and issues, if deeply ingrained and painful for him, were mostly homemade and thus not all that hard to overcome by a would-be swaiSawyer's conflicts and issues, if deeply ingrained and painful for him, were mostly homemade and thus not all that hard to overcome by a would-be swain with tons of attitude. At times, it read disturbingly close to some romanticized stalker story where the victim turns out an ultimately willing participant in the stalker's machinations. In regard to this, some of the things Jake said to Sawyer made me cringe with discomfort. Add to that the rather far-fetched and yet all-too transparent ACTUAL stalker-death-threat-subplot and this book just didn't quite do it for me, despite its fine writing and despite the otherwise very likable, well drawn characters. ...more
I loved the world created in here, witches and their familiars. And even though I spotted the conclusion right from the start (noAwesome imagination!
I loved the world created in here, witches and their familiars. And even though I spotted the conclusion right from the start (not the villains though, those came as kind of a surprise) I loved seeing Rook and Dominic get to that point. Add to that Jordan L. Hawks admirable writing, and I was very happy with this short story....more
I loved the first book in the series, Safe in his Arms, and so I jumped at the chance to read this one. Even more so since I really liked Paul’s attitI loved the first book in the series, Safe in his Arms, and so I jumped at the chance to read this one. Even more so since I really liked Paul’s attitude in the first book, that mixture of snark and levelheadedness. I’d call Safe in his Heart more of a spin-off of the first book, they overlap for a big part, and some of the first book’s cast make appearances here (YAY for more Lon and Casey!).
However, Paul’s story with Andrew left me somewhat disappointed. I’m usually a big fan of this author’s, and the writing was as good as ever. The book had a good deal of really touching moments, and the sex scenes ranged from beautiful to steaming hot. Also, I liked the way sparks flew between Andrew and Paul right from the start. It was easily comprehensible how they fell in lust and couldn’t get enough of each other, they had that kind of chemistry. Even their ensuing camaraderie and later, friendship, seemed almost inevitable, since their personalities complemented each other so well.
But that’s also where my problems began, because I just couldn’t make myself warm up to Andrew. He started out a hypocrite, a bigot and a coward and he never changed over the course of the story. He never acted on his own initiative but only ever reacted to people and/or circumstances once they looked to fit his convenience. I couldn’t quite fathom what Paul saw in him beyond the hot sex, why he was so dead-set on committing to Andrew who took and took and took from him, took him for granted and never gave anything back to him except more neediness. Helper’s syndrome, maybe? At any rate, this made Paul appear more like a pushover than the caring and desperately loving man he might’ve been supposed to be portrayed as, and I ended up not liking him all that much anymore either.
Then there was the religion thing. Don’t get me wrong, I knew going in that religion would play a big role in this book; it’s stated in the blurb, after all, and religious self-doubts and anguish can add delicious angst and conflict to a story like this. But there’s a thin line between religion as an edgy point of conflict and religion as a convenient excuse for shortcuts, and unfortunately, this story tipped over into the wrong direction for me. The real kicker was a do-gooder priest filling pages with a sermon about why it’s okay for Christians to be gay. This might be a personal thing for me, but I don’t like preaching of any kind, no matter the topic, and certainly not while I’m reading for entertainment. Other people’s mileage may vary on this, though, so—just saying.
Tied with all of the above was Andrew’s marriage and his wife, Kristy. Now she was one of the flattest, most unreal characters I’ve ever come across, more of a prop than a character really. Her seemingly unfounded personality changes threatened to give me whiplash; she turned into whatever the plot required at any given point, from caring mother to selfish dawdler to heartless quitter to homophobic zealot to enthusiastic supporter. On the other hand, their marriage in and of itself didn’t bother me much; they had a rather Victorian arrangement translated into modern times, and I wouldn’t even call what they did to each other cheating, rather acting on mutually agreed-on terms. It was rater the way how Andrew hid behind his marriage as much as he did behind his religion, everything to keep up appearances. I honestly don’t think he’d ever have owned up to what Paul was to him if Kristy hadn’t left him. This was actually the biggest beef I had with Andrew. I felt as if he ended up committing to Paul mostly by accident rather than actually choosing him or even putting forth the slightest effort to make him his.
So yes, I realize most of my issues with this book had to do with my intense dislike of Andrew’s character and personality, which makes it difficult for me as a reviewer to voice an unbiased recommendation either way.
If you’re thinking about picking up this book, by all means, go for it and see for yourself; who knows, if your feelings about Andrew’s personality, about Christian verbiage and convenient excuses differ from mine, you might well end up loving this book to pieces....more
First of all, this book is part of a series and I think it should be read as such. Even though House Hunt gives some backstory, the overall plot is so First of all, this book is part of a series and I think it should be read as such. Even though House Hunt gives some backstory, the overall plot is so complex that in-depth knowledge of preliminary events is instrumental to full enjoyment.
The same applies to the characters—even more so, in my opinion—since I don’t think it possible to a) fully appreciate Jack’s character growth without knowing exactly where he came from, and to b) keep track of the many side characters without having met them previously.
Jack is the undisputed hero of this series, even though for part of the story his partner and lover Gareth takes on a bigger role than he did before. (which I appreciated, incidentally, since I’m a big Gareth fan)
As the blurb says, Jack goes undercover in this book, and the thriller part is as good as it was in book one, . Full of suspense and paced exactly right to keep me glued to the pages. Sure, this book had its oh-so-convenient coincidences and at more than one occasion it felt like some kind of fairy godfather or –mother waved their magic wand to even some seemingly impossible odds, but so what. It was a great tale.
But what really did it for me in this book is the romance part, since for the first time, both Jack and Gareth opened up to each other and thus for me, as the reader, about their real feelings and insecurities. Instead of turning this into an angst-fest, they went about it in the most beautiful way: with patience, love, understanding and honesty. I love it when that happens in a book, adult men being adults even in the face of the terrifying miracle that is love. Makes for breathtaking erotic tension even with the sex scenes mostly fade-to-black.
And to top it all, this book ended just like a good mid-serial should for me: with somewhat satisfying closure for the issues at hand and yet with enough loose threads floating around to pique my curiosity as to how the story is going to continue.
I can only highly recommend this book, along with the series as a whole. Eagerly awaiting the next part of Jack and Gareth’s story.
This was a sweet read. Garrett was larger than life in any respect, and Kai his perfect counterpart. How these two so self-centered, withdrawn personaThis was a sweet read. Garrett was larger than life in any respect, and Kai his perfect counterpart. How these two so self-centered, withdrawn personalities slowly, gradually formed a connection was lovely to watch. There's lots of sex in this book, albeit well-written scenes that drew me in right away. In fact, the writing as a whole was compelling, smoothly flowing and imaginative. I'm sure I'll reread this book sometime soon, and I can warmly recommend it. ...more
This is a great opening to a new series. A satisfactorily concluded criminal case that introduces two heroes who couldn't be more vintage Lanyon if thThis is a great opening to a new series. A satisfactorily concluded criminal case that introduces two heroes who couldn't be more vintage Lanyon if they tried... a big, bulky, enigmatic lawman, haunted by an as of yet unrevealed painful past, older and fair-haired, and a younger, slighter, bookish (or in this case, artsy) guy with a physical ailment trying to hamper him in various aspects of his life that he fights bravely to overcome. Both are somewhat drama-prone--Kennedy with his self-opiniated gruffness, Jason with his sensitivities and self-doubts-- both have flaws and weaknesses that make them more human, and both are able to rise above themselves, given the right incentive. How someone can write this true to formula without ever becoming formulaic is beyond me. Kudos for that.
The criminal case was well-wrought and really fascinating to follow. The romance part was weaker; their intimacy, especially the first time, came a bit ot of the blue for me, and seemed almost forced. However, since this is the first book of a series, there's lots of the necessary room to grow for the relationship, so I'll be happy to wait and see where this goes. ...more
This slice-of-life type novella follows three men–Jeff, Jimmy and Filip–through a few months of their lives as wartime Spitfire pilots in 1940. I woulThis slice-of-life type novella follows three men–Jeff, Jimmy and Filip–through a few months of their lives as wartime Spitfire pilots in 1940. I wouldn’t call it a romance, exactly, more a war story with a strong erotic-romantic subplot. Jeff and Jimmy alternate as 3rd person POV narrators, but Filip had just as much presence as they had. All three men come with just enough of a backstory to make them interesting personalities; they really grew on me over the short course of the story, and I’d love to read more about each of them individually as well as the three of them together.
The amount of research that must’ve gone into this short piece amazes me. The setting was incredibly vivid, the aerial combat scene detailed and action-filled, all this accomplished without any info-dump and in a straightforward narrative that perfectly matched time and place of the story.
Speaking of which, I found the story in its entirety somehow a parable of the time and place it is set in. The beginning is abrupt, the end even more so, too open to be even called a tentative HFN. Everything that happens in this story happens right now, in the present, and that’s the way these men live: as if any given day could be their last on earth, because it could very well be. But there are even more thoughtful little details that lend this story depth and meaning far beyond the obvious. The layers and hints tickled my nerdy mind and made this story a joy to read.
Out of Nowhere is the sequel to , and while both books could be read as standalones, they work much better if read as two parts of a whole since theiOut of Nowhere is the sequel to , and while both books could be read as standalones, they work much better if read as two parts of a whole since their timelines overlap almost completely. Actually, something that bothered me in the first book suddenly made perfect sense after I’d read the second one, so I’d strongly advise reading them back-to-back for optimal enjoyment.
While the first book was all about Daniel, the youngest of the four Mulligan brothers, this one followed Colin, the second eldest brother, a car mechanic utterly dedicated to his work. And let me tell you, I’ve rarely come across a fictional character I l loved to hate as much as I did Colin. Wow, that guy’s quite a mess. His picture belongs in a dictionary next to “self-centeredness” and “his own worst enemy”. The image he shows the world, even the image he has of himself is an asshole of the highest order, so full of fear, self-hatred and denial that he lashes out at everyone and everything, including himself. Except for his father, whom he idolizes, for whom he works himself to the ground with rarely a word of appreciation, let alone thanks. Talk about daddy issues.
Enter gentle giant, Khal-Drogo-lookalike Rafael – aka Rafe – the first person ever to bother to look past Colin’s steel-wire armored ramparts, to look for the decent guy Colin might be underneath all his bullshit. To call Colin on his asshole-ness, to slowly, gradually help him climb out of the hole he dug himself. At first, I couldn’t fathom what Rafe ever saw in Colin, and I more than once despaired along with him, but as it seems, Rafe really is a sucker for lost causes. It’s not as if Rafe was simply a goody-two-shoes, he has issues of his own and at times quite a bit of attitude. In a way, he was just as broken as Colin, but at least a bit ahead of him on the road to healing so he could show Colin the way – or at least point him into the right direction. It was almost painful to see how much these two men needed each other, but fascinating too, how Rafe chipped away at Colin’s walls one brick at a time and how Colin, who thought he had nothing, could give Rafe so much.
To be perfectly honest, I liked this book even more than In the Middle of Somewhere, precisely because of the huge amounts of angst, pain and heartbreak. If you’re looking for a light, fluffy read, if you want perfect, likable heroes and full redemption, stay away from this one. Colin’s character growth is amazing, but far from completed; I don’t think it ever will be, and Rafe’s just the same. However, that makes them all the more human, and that’s what I look for in my reading—real people who keep trying even though they keep failing, because perfection is impossible but sometimes daring to reach for your dreams is enough.
A few technicalities: this book is in 1st person present tense, which I’m normally not a big fan of, but the writing is so fabulous it didn’t bother me at all. This book contains hints at D/s elements.