tear jerker

Empty Net (Scoring Chances Book 4) Avon Gale 4.5 Star Review!

Review:

Empty Net - Avon Gale

Spartanburg Spitfires’ goalie and captain, Isaac Drake, ended last season with an unexpected trip to the playoffs. He’s found a home and a family with his coach and mentor, Misha Samarin, and he’s looking forward to making a serious run for the Kelly Cup. But things take an interesting turn when Isaac’s archnemesis, Laurent St. Savoy, is traded to the Spitfires. After Laurent’s despicable behavior in the playoffs last year, Isaac wants nothing to do with him—no matter how gorgeous he is. But that changes when Isaac discovers the reason for Laurent’s attitude.

Laurent St. Savoy grew up the only son of a legendary NHL goalie in a household rife with abuse. He was constantly treated like a disappointment, on and off the ice. When a desperate attempt to escape his father’s tyranny sends him to the Spitfires, the last thing Laurent wants is to make friends. But there’s something about Isaac Drake that he can’t resist. Laurent has an opportunity to explore his sexuality for the first time, but he’s cracking under end-of-the-season pressures. When facing the playoffs and a rivalry turned personal vendetta, Isaac’s not sure he’s enough to hold on to Laurent—or their relationship.

 

Review

This is by far the darkest book of the series so far but this love story really shows off what an amazing storyteller Avon Gale is.

 

She takes the villain from the last book in the series Laurents and pairs him with the beloved scrappy Drake in an truely stellar enemies to lovers romance with a healing journey for all.

 

This book delves into the darkness of what happens when someone is exposed to systematic abuse and what it means to love someone enough to stand by as they heal.

Laurents is awful for a reason. However, he chooses to become aware and change and risk loving someone. He gets therapy. I can’t tell you how much I celebrate when a character gets professionial help in a book showing others the way. He works at his recovery from an eating disorder and self care from his abusive childhood and young adulthood.

 

His demisexuality is gently explored. He becomes his better self and a wonderful partner for Issac. I love the dating scenes.

 

Issac is so much a great emotionally brave character and sexy as hell (Lauren is broodingly hot). Issac just shines and finding romantic love and the love of an adopted father makes him even more compelling.

 

He falls in love but doesn’t try to solve Laurents problems. He is a partner.

 

I really adored their romance as always the hockey and the secondary characters and the pondering for friendship.

 

The books ends with a happily ever after that includes doing the right things for yourself as well as others.

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Who We Are (Bear, Otter, and the Kid #2) by T.J. Klune 4 Star Review

Who We Are (Bear, Otter, and the Kid Chronicles Book 2)  by T.J. Klune

Bear, Otter, and the Kid survived last summer with their hearts and souls intact. They’ve moved into the Green Monstrosity, and Bear is finally able to admit his love for the man who saved him from himself.

But that’s not the end of their story. How could it be?

The boys find that life doesn’t stop just because they got their happily ever after. There’s still the custody battle for the Kid. The return of Otter’s parents. A first trip to a gay bar. The Kid goes to therapy, and Mrs. Paquinn decides that Bigfoot is real. Anna and Creed do… well, whatever it is Anna and Creed do. There are newfound jealousies, the return of old enemies, bad poetry, and misanthropic seagulls. And through it all, Bear struggles to understand his mother’s abandonment of him and his brother, only to delve deeper into their shared past. What he finds there will alter their lives forever and help him realize what it’ll take to become who they’re supposed to be.

Family is not always defined by blood. It’s defined by those who make us whole—those who make us who we are.

Review

If you loved or even just liked the first book in the series, this one is a must read.

I think it is much better actually as you get all the charm, funny, and drama of the first with the wonderful characters without the lack of communication and freak outs.

There will be crying and Bear and Otter can’t seem to escape the awful coming but there is a lot of sweet and Bear is much more of a grown man here.

I think the secondary romance could have been way more developed and the mystery never was a mystery to me but all in all it is very good ride

The Truth As He Knows It (Perspectives #1) by A.M. Arthur Review

    The Truth As He Knows It: (Perspectives #1) by A.M. Arthur 3 Stars! 

Lies are the chains that keep you weighed down at rock bottom.

Officer Noel Carlson isn’t out to anyone in small-town Stratton, Pennsylvania, only to distant friends and family, so a relationship is out of the question. That doesn’t stop him from wanting one, though.

When a night-shift call brings him face to thonged butt with a hired stripper whose girl-party gig went terribly wrong, Noel takes pity on the guy and lets him go. But he can’t get the encounter out of his mind.

Shane has big-time debts to repay, especially to the brother who sacrificed nearly everything for him. His two jobs, in a deli and as a stripper, leave him no time for a social life. But a non-date of hot sex and takeout food with Noel? He can squeeze that in.

The bond they form is stronger than either expected or wanted. Especially since the step Shane’s about to take to put his brother—and his soul—back in the black isn’t quite legal. And he never calculated just how much his determination to make things right will cost him in the end.

Review

I am not a huge fan of this amount of awful in a story. It is a tear jerker for sure and the HEA part of the story doesn’t get stretched out enough for me to make up for the ugly cry.

I was clearly engaged (thus the crying). But I am not sure if that was over the issues themselves–medical debt, poverty, prison, abuse, death of a loved one as it was the story its self.

I liked everyone but needed a breather between all the awful

Chase in Shadow (Johnnies #1) by Amy Lane Review

Review:

Chase in Shadow  - Amy Lane

Chase Summers: Golden boy. Beautiful girlfriend, good friends, and a promising future. 

Nobody knows the real Chase.

Chase Summers has a razor blade to his wrist and the smell of his lover’s goodbye clinging to his skin. He has a door in his heart so frightening he’d rather die than open it, and the lies he’s used to block it shut are thinning with every forbidden touch. Chase has spent his entire life unraveling, and his decision to set his sexuality free in secret has only torn his mind apart faster. 

Chase has one chance for true love and salvation. He may have met Tommy Halloran in the world of gay-for-pay—where the number of lovers doesn’t matter as long as the come-shot’s good—but if he wants the healing that Tommy’s love has to offer, he’ll need the courage to leave the shadows for the sunlight. That may be too much to ask from a man who’s spent his entire life hiding his true self. Chase knows all too well that the only things thriving in a heart’s darkness are the bitter personal demons that love to watch us bleed.

Review

 

Well. This book is a trigger fest (suicide, depression, eating disorder, PTSD, childhood trauma, and abuse) and we get buried pretty deep in Chase’s mind (and for much of the book he is not okay).

 

So much happens in this book. I can’t talk about much of it without spoilers It is a pretty crazy ride.. My favorite is Chase gets therapy. Tommy does too and I would have liked to see more of that.

 

How this couple gets together is rough but the after they are together parts are the best bits in the book to me and I wish that had happened earlier.

 

I like this couple. I read this book because of meeting Tommy in Freckles. They earn a happily ever after I can believe in (even though there is a twist at the end that is hard to take lol)

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The Shameless Hour (The Ivy Years, #4) by Sarina Bowen 5 Star Review

5 Stars!!

She’s not looking for a hero. He’s not looking for a hookup.

For Bella, the sweet-talking, free-loving, hip-checking student manager of the Harkness men’s hockey team, sex is a second language. She’s used to being fluent where others stutter, and the things people say behind her back don’t (often) bother her. So she can’t understand why her smoking hot downstairs neighbor has so much trouble staying friends after their spontaneous night together. She knows better than to worry about it, but there’s something in those espresso eyes that makes her second guess herself.

Rafe is appalled with himself for losing his virginity in a drunken hookup. His strict Catholic upbringing always emphasized loving thy neighbor—but not with a bottle of wine and a box of condoms. The result is an Ivy League bout of awkwardness. But when Bella is leveled by a little bad luck and a downright nasty fraternity stunt, it’s Rafe who is there to pick up the pieces.

Bella doesn’t want Rafe’s help, and she’s through with men. Too bad the undeniable spark that crackles between the two of them just can’t be extinguished.

Review

The writing here is taut, the pacing spot on, the characterization wonderful, and the romance everything you will want.

The heroine has been around in early books of the series as a likable sexually confident woman. At te start of this book, she is hurting, Her crush loves someone else and a guy she was seeing has participated in a Frat tradition most foul.

The hero is hurting as well from a unexpected break up. He is kind, shy, and confident.

They have lots of heat and stumbles between them.

The characters are so finely drawn and the issues they face so real especially race and gender issues that I cried and laughed and really hoped they would find their way together and each of themselves.

So good. And sexy too.

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler Review

5 Stars!

Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned to save him. Dana is drawn back repeatedly through time to the slave quarters, and each time the stay grows longer, more arduous, and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not Dana’s life will end, long before it has a chance to begin.

Review

This is the kind of book that haunts you. It seeps into the nooks and crannies of your life and you see events and moments though a new lens.

It looks steadily into the legacy of slavery and doesn’t flinch. We flinch, cringe, and weep as we should.

Bulter, in this time travel love story, tells the tale of humanity when humanity has been denied to others and what that genetic, generational, and cultural memory means to all of the participants.

This book’s heart is individuals and love, weakness, and hate and love again. The romance is more compelling that most any you will read and the history something we should never forget.

The Shadows (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 13) by J.R. Ward Review

4.5 Stars!

Sold by his parents to the Queen of the s’Hisbe as a child, Trez escaped the Territory and has been a pimp and an enforcer for years. On the run from a destiny of sexual servitude, he’s never been able to rely on anyone…except for his brother, iAm.

iAm’s sole goal has always been to keep his brother from self-destructing—and he knows he’s failed. It’s not until the Chosen Selena enters Trez’s life that the male begins to turn things around…but by then, it’s too late. The pledge to mate the Queen’s daughter comes due, and there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and no negotiating.

Now Trez must decide whether to endanger himself and others—or abandon the female he loves. When tragedy strikes and changes everything, iAm, in the name of brotherly love, is faced with making the ultimate sacrifice….

Review

Here is the thing, if you love this series you can’t not read this book.

People hate it because there are two love stories running neck and neck in this book (three if you count the love between the brothers) and only one of them gets an Happily Ever After.

Turns out, because there are two romances, I am okay with that. This is weird because I hate angst in romance and really get angry at cliffhangers and Happy for Nows, and not happys.

Here is another thing, there is a happily ever after for the couple that doesn’t seem to get one but you have to believe in the world Ward has created to be okay with it.

I am not gonna lie this book is a tearjerker.

Both romances as well as the love between the siblings are well done. I love IAm’s heroine and all the twists and turns this plot takes in terms of the series. I love IAm.

I hate being in the villain’s head and I don’t have to be in this book.

Ward does a great job managing all the plot lines and characters.

I am rarely going to five Ward a five star though because you can’t read this book as a stand alone have it matter to you.

This book kicked off a reread of the whole series for me. I loved just being in this world.