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Living On Air

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  181 ratings  ·  46 reviews

Cary Stilwell has been existing since he was ten years old, and each year it gets harder to find meaning in his bleak life. The only exception - his work. As a top-billed aerialist in a popular travelling circus, he enjoys accolades and applause, but little else. When notable photographer, Rhys McIntyre, joins the circus to catalogue its inner workings,
Kindle Edition, 236 pages
Published February 21st 2018 by Boroughs Publishing Group (first published February 8th 2018)
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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Lyn❤Loves❤Listening #AUDIOBOOKADDICT
30% dnf

I so wanted to love this, but when I start feeling more annoyance than sympathy for the abused character, I know it's time for me to give up.

I can understand why Cary kept to himself and didn't trust easily, but I couldn't get with is nasty all the time attitude.

I was hoping this would be something like Complementary Colors by Adrienne Wilder, angsty and heart-breaking, but it didn't work out that way "for me".
Lorraine Lesar
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
We can live a certain amount of time without food and water, but how long can we survive without hope?
I survived- others could too if they wanted. What doesnt kill you strengthens you, right?. Cary Stilwell.

OMG, this stupid, stupid made me cry! But what a magnificent job the author did.
I now need a hug and Ill bet my last £ that the author did as well on finishing it. The writing was perfect. Cary and Rhys together were perfect, but with the serious and heavy topics that this author
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lgbtq, abuse
Living on Air had a very interesting set up, but basically that was it. Cari's character frustrated the hell out of me. I know we are the only ones who can slay our own demons. However, It doesn't mean we have to do it on our own. We deserve someone to lean on. With that in mind, here is where the story left me down.

The abuse Cari has been through left him so jaded, so damaged and closed up! And it was too much in my opinion. He resisted for too long, always pushing Rhys away, when all I wanted
Moony Eliver
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: m-m, dnf, 2018, lgbtqia
Time of death, 52%. This is what this book was to me.

The table setting was gorgeous; the ambiance was exciting. I mean, a circus with a sexy and mysterious aerial silks performer with a dark past and psychological struggles. A hot, confident, talented photographer to come into his life and shake up his defenses. For those keeping count at home, that just checked a dozen-thousand boxes for me.

But after the first couple of chapters, I started to struggle. Every interaction with Cary restated,
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mm-romance, dark, arc-r2r
NOTE: See authors notes for additional content warnings.

Living On Air is my first experience with the writing of Susan Mac Nicol and Ive got to say, Im hooked! Looking into this fascinating author just got me more intrigued and I cant wait to discover more. This book is a winner, with amazing characters and a captivating story which flows so perfectly that I couldnt put it down.

There are some tough subjects and intense emotions in Living On Air, though the overall mood is hopeful. As the main
*4.5 stars*


I enjoyed this. Please beware of the triggers because it's quite heavy. Cary's self infliction was hard to read about.

I loved the ambiance, the circus people. A bunch of talented people, a lot of them needed to run away from real life and still somehow they managed to become one family.


Cary has been with his circus family since he was ten years old. He turned to these people when something horrific happened in his childhood. He ran away from home and was found by Greta.
Cary shows no
Nat ReadingAllNite
Mar 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m-m, arc-read
Susan Mac Nicol has been a favorite of mine since my early days reading the genre. Her well-crafted stories often have a degree of angst with denizens of her books having mental or physical challenges to overcome. Living On Air is what Id consider her darkest theme to date, examining a troubling and difficult subject. Cary Stillwell has the personality of a cactus, prickly, stiff, and rarely blossoming except when hes dancing in the silks. Rhys is attracted to Cary right away, in spite of his ...more
Apr 26, 2018 rated it liked it
I liked this one ok, especially the setting of the circus. It was just kinda depressing with the trauma and self-harming done by MC Cary. He was such a dour guy it was hard to not feel like he was pushing me away along with all the other characters in the story, and honestly, his using the cilice was such a huge turnoff, I just couldnt like him very much. But the other MC Rhys was easily likeable, so that made it a bit easier to finish the book. I dont know that I completely bought him falling ...more
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There is a lot to process about this book. Cary has, bluntly, a horrific past and it has made him a surly, antisocial individual. The good news in that is that he survived, but he isn't really living, he just continues to survive. He has found a safe place, but that changes when a photographer enters the picture. Rhys is attracted to Cary and patiently works his way under the barbed wire Cary has placed around himself. Just when it looks like there might be a chance for hope, it all falls apart. ...more
Lisa The Novel Approach
Well, this novel was an emotional roller coaster from beginning to end. It was also excruciating to read, at times, due to the absolute mental and physical turmoil Cary endured. I will echo the authors own warnings and say to you that Living On Air is a minefield for those who suffer from any emotional flashbacks when it comes to sexual abuse, self-harm and childhood trauma. Carys life has been a nightmare but in the midst of his pain and despair there is hope, and that is what makes this story ...more
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Two words to perfectly describe this book would be "Tragically Beautiful."
Tragically because of everything Cary has gone through in his past and how he deals with the pain of the past.
Beautiful because of how the author deals with such atrocious issues. She deals with them in such a sensitive way but at the same time, doesn't hide the severity of such heinous acts and how the aftereffects are dealt with.
Cary is such a tortured soul, one which, when you find out ALL he's gone through, will have
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An anguished soul meets his redeemer in a brilliant five-star novel.

I thoroughly enjoyed this authors novel LIVING ON AIR, the raw and realistic story of a circus performer and a cameraman. The characters, all of them, are finely drawn. Circus Diva Greta and her husband Julien, along with white-face clown Marco, lead a splendid supporting cast. None are more believable and relatable than the tortured aerialist Cary and photographer Rhys, the man whom he first reviles and then comes to need even
Faye Kennedy
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: m-m
4.5 stars.🌟 This is a gorgeous story for Cary and Rhys. Their first meeting wasn't easy even though there was something buzzing between them. The story is well written and researched on circus life. I looked forward to reading this since it was a circus story which had special meaning for me.  I loved the ending of this for them both. Cary had me worried and concerned for him. This book was a hard read sometimes with certain scenes playing out with subject matters. Self-harm and suicide are ...more
This should come with serious warnings. Not only due to dealing with past childhood sexual abuse. But on page self harm... over and over. As well as secondary character suicide. Depression that quite frankly seemed glossed over by those magical little pills called antidepressants..

This is most definitely a dark story. Though one major legal thing being 100% overlooked... never mentioned at all during the culmination plus a slightly less but still very important legality also never being
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Not an easy reading, I had to stop at times but Im glad I read this book. I loved Cary I suffered for him, with him. I loved Rhys and all the other characters too . great story, well written. ...more
Nov 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Full review available at:

Living On Air is the first book that Ive read by Susan Mac Nicol. I liked the authors writing style, but at times there were too many clichés and comparatives. There are quite a few author warnings for this book. It delves into subjects some people may find disturbing. There are elements of the main characters past that include pedophilia, the dark side of religion, and the horrors of war. Aspects of the story include self-harm,
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm going to say right off the bat, I didn't find it listed, but there are some major trigger warnings for this book. Rape, abuse, murder, self-mutilation, possible PTSD from war zones, and those are the ones that first come to mind. I think this was an exceptional book but if any of this bothers any of you, please take care. Health comes first.

Now, this was a tough book to read because of the aforementioned traumas, but it was such a good book. In spite of all the.well, shit...happening in Cary
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance, hurt-comfort

4 stars.
Jenna ~JennaBSpoke~

This was great epically, right-in-the feels, great... until about 75%, at which point it went from a 4.5 to a 3 leaving me crabby and a little annoyed.

The rating has nothing to do with the content - which was dark, twisted, heavy angsty, and balls-to-the-wall painful... nope, its to do with the fact that suddenly it felt like it was time to put little bows on everything and get it all wrapped up... not too neatly now... but definitely with a heavy dose of over-cautious pc prose and Rhys
What in the hell did I just read? I thought I was reading a romance but it seemed I was reading a dark depressing story about past sexual abuse and current self harm. Extreme self harm, graphic self harm, constant self harm. This book had that grim feel without any light to bring it out of the deep dark. I kept waiting...and waiting. It seemed to try with some scenes but it just wasn't enough. And not that it mattered all that much when we were mired in all that sadness but there also wasn't any ...more
Independent reviewer for Archaeolibrarian, I was gifted my copy of this book.

There comes along, once in a rare while, a book that PUSHES you. It pushes you out of your comfort zone. It pushes your skill at writing a coherent review, but most of all, it PUSHES you to get into the mind of someone close you, that you hadn't been able to before.

And OMG this book PUSHED me! So if my review goes awry, it's because I can't get the right words out, okay??

Cary has his own coping methods to deal with a
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Review by Gloria Lakritz Review Chair for the Paranormal Romance Guild


Book: Living on Air
Author: Susan Mac Nicol
Publisher: Borroughs Publishing Group
Date Release: February 21, 2018
Pages: 281
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Rated: Mature See Authors Warning

I am a reviewer. I read books continuously. Reading this newest from Susan Mac Nicol the end of February it is now I can sit down to write this review. First let me say this story is love, pain, hurt, salvation, It Is Exquisite!

Mari  Cardenas
First of all, if you're going to read this book, please read the warnings posted by the author. They are there for a reason, which is that some scenes might be triggering for certain readers.

That said, this was a hard book to read at times. Susan Mac Nicol didn't shy away from showing us the depth of Cary's pain and how he dealt with it. It was difficult seeing what he did to himself, but she did it in a matter-of-fact way, which helped a bit. She didn't go overboard or brought on more angst
Anna Sorensen
Jul 24, 2019 rated it liked it
This book has a lot of complex topics that can be hard to write about and read about sometimes. One of the main character Cary is a cutter and has a lot of mental health issues that stem from the abuse that he suffered when he was a young child. There were some times when it might feel like his cutting is romanticised but I think that comes from Cary's own views and not bad writing. I really liked Cary's story and the way he was portrayed because a lot of the time, people who have lived through ...more
Louisa Mae
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: m-m
Wow, where do you start to write a review when youve read something as good as this?

The storyline is not one for the feint hearted, but the very difficult subjects it covers were handled sympathetically, and with understanding as always by this author which takes real skill when you are dealing with these matters. Then throw in the way the characters were formed was amazing, as with all Susans men, she makes them feel so very real, almost like you could sit down and have a coffee with them. This
Christina Wade - BFD Book Blog
Mar 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is not an easy read, nor a light one. Carys story is not a happy one. The premise of the book was a new one for me. Although the story is a little predictable, I was glad to see there were no magic fixes here. Rhys and Cary moved slowly. Carys recovery is slow and his healing is only just starting by the end of the book. I would consider this more of a HFN instead of an HEA but the story is complete and leads you down a path where you can see the HEA.

Carys story is just awful and hes still
Dec 20, 2018 rated it did not like it
DNF at around 25%.

I'll let this one rest in the purgatory of the unfinished books. Skimming through it after I've wasted a couple of hours reading it, it only jumps from worse to ridiculous.
I would've understood the fact Cary might be an unreliable narrator, but Rhys' POV wasn't any better.
The writing had a lot of flourishes which attempted to turn this book into something which it's not. Things could've been expressed in a lighter, more concise manner. The pretentious writing style with the
Merissa (Archaeolibrarian)
Living on Air is a beautiful yet dark story. It tells of Cary, who went through something so horrific it still affects him to this day. And then we have Rhys, who has lived in war zones and seen the darker side of life for himself. When these two meet, there is an implosion that will affect both of their lives.

This was my first book by Susan Mac Nicol, and it definitely won't be my last. The story was woven with intricate details - enough so you can feel sympathy for the characters, or live
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Living on Air by Susan Mac Nicol.
This m/m romance is a story about Cary who lives/travels with a small traveling carnival as a silk aerialist or "air dancer" with a sad horrific past and Rhys who works as a professional photographer joining the caravan to document the lives of the circus performers in pictures.
I love a good angst story and this one had lots of angst. Cary is a closed off/introverted performer who does self harm as a way of coping with a childhood past that continues to haunt
Nese's reads
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book has broken me,
my heart was bleeding all throughout this story.
Yet, suffering so deeply has been explained with so much sympathy.
l felt everything Cary was feeling, as he was trying to escape his pain.
The darkness a gift from his traumatic past,
the feelings of worthlessness and abandonment all consuming.
Something had to give, and my god it did, so badly...

There were shades of light in places too,
Rhys, the handsome photographer, there to follow the circus.
Documenting the lives of
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The official stuff

Susan writes steamy, sexy and fun contemporary romance stories, some suspenseful, some gritty and dark and hopefully always entertaining. Shes also Editor in Chief at Divine Magazine, an online LGBTQ e-zine, and a member of The Society of Authors, the Writers Guild of Great Britain, and the Authors Guild in the US.

Susan is also an

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