Rented Heart by Garrett Leigh

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Rented Heart Book Cover Rented Heart
Garrett Leigh
Gay Romance
Riptide Publishing
September 10th 2016
e-book
228

Ex-surfer-turned-businessman Liam Mallaney moved back to Holkham, Norfolk, to mourn the loss of his husband. Grief and loneliness keep him a solitary figure, and he likes it that way. There’s no room in his broken heart for anything else.

Rentboy Zac Payne left London and most of his demons behind, but he still only knows one way to make a living. When he spots Liam in a club one night, it seems he’s found his mark. But Liam proves nicer—and their connection far deeper—than he’d bargained for.

Their arrangement quickly becomes too complicated for Zac, who has other things on his mind: namely his BFF and wayward flatmate, Jamie. Zac owes Jamie the world, and even as Jamie’s drug addiction destroys all they have, Zac won’t leave him behind.

Besides, Liam knows nothing of Zac’s home life, too caught up in his own head to think much beyond the crazy heat he and Zac share. But when trouble comes to Zac’s door, putting his life in danger, Liam must set his grief and anger aside to pick up the pieces of Zac’s shattered heart and his own.

This book didn’t stimulate any feelings of empathy in me or draw me in on any level. The writing was easy to follow but the story felt shallow and ordinary. Rich man Liam Mallaney was in mourning since his husband Cory passed away and he was lonely. After about a year of celibacy, Liam went out to a club. The man he met turned out to be a sex worker Zac Payne and after incredible sex, they found that they couldn’t stop thinking about each other.

There was baggage on both sides, but it was kind of dull Pretty Woman/man story.
Though more time was spent on Zac’s background, I didn’t find that the author really developed both characters that well. Given this author’s prior work, I was surprised with the slow pace of the story and the lack of emotional connection I felt.

*Special Thanks to Riptide Publishing via Netgalley for the e-book given in exchange for an honest review.

About Garrett Leigh

Garrett Leigh is a British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Black Jazz Press. Her protagonists will always always be tortured, crippled, broken, and deeply flawed. Throw in a tale of enduring true love, some stubbly facial hair, and a bunch of tattoos, and you’ve got yourself a Garrett special.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible. That, and dreaming up new ways to torture her characters. Garrett believes in happy endings; she just likes to make her boys work for it.

Garrett also works as a freelance cover artist for various publishing houses and independent authors. For cover art info, please visit blackjazzdesign.com

An Honorable Man by Sandrine Gasq-Dion

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

sgdAn Honorable Man: by Sandrine Gasq-Dion
Series: Men of Manhattan, #7
Release Date: September 29, 2016
Pages:147 • Format: eARC
Published By: Wilde City Press
Purchase Links:
AmazonWilde City Press

Officer Danny Finnegan loves his job. As one of the youngest faces on the police force, he has taken on the challenge of going undercover to catch a serial killer in Manhattan. Ten rent boys have been murdered, and Danny knows it won’t be long before another one turns up dead in an alley. He and his partner, Tiernan Callahan, gear up to hit the seedy side of the city that never sleeps. There’s only one problem. They need help to make Danny’s cover convincing.

Bobby Laughlin left the back streets of Manhattan behind when he came way too close to becoming another number in the rent boy killings. He spends most of his time on Fire Island working at a bar. He is trying to get his life back on track when officer Danny Finnegan walks back into his life. Bobby was attracted to Danny the first time he saw him — when the boyish-looking cop took Bobby’s statement after a client beat him brutally. Working with the the sexy cop could be dangerous. It would put him right back on the streets he’s been trying so hard to avoid.

Bobby reluctantly takes on the task of teaching Danny how to work the streets. As things heat up on the case and in their hearts, Bobby finds himself falling for Danny, and Danny has eyes only for Bobby.

But can they catch a killer before one of them ends up as the next headline?

three-half-stars

This was better then the last few books to me. I do miss the sugary sweet fluff of the first part of the series. I kinda wanted this series to just be more contemporary and romantic then the last few action/adventure we got. It’s reminding me alot of the Assassin/Shifter series, to many names and faces that I can’t recall or remember.I miss the first two or three books where I can re-read those forever. Nonetheless we do get some of the same cheesy goodness, but it’s split with finding a serial killer. I thought the killer was rather obvious myself. I did feel some of the story was rushed towards the ending.

As usual, I like the way the guys find common ground with one another. Danny & Bobby have been walking around each other for months now. When it gives Danny the chance to go undercover, not just for his job but in order to get to know Bobby better. I liked the guys, but I didn’t find anything particular spectacular about his coupledom either. Sandrine is a comfort read author of mind so I find myself reading my favorites over and over then wanting to try something new and get disappointed. Again this wasn’t bad as the last one for me. I just wish she can get back the magic of book 1 & 2 of this series. Can’t wait for more from her.

About Sandrine Gasq-Dion

I have been blessed in this life to not only have parents that support me, but kids that do as well. I grew up in a loving but “Old School” French household. My parents worked for the airlines (TWA) so I was able to see a lot of Europe as a kid. I moved to Seattle Washington at the age of 22 and stayed there for twelve years before moving to Alaska for a little over two. Fairbanks, AK was one hell of an experience and I wouldn’t hesitate to go back! I spent a little over a year in South Carolina before moving back to Arizona. I then left for Kansas for five years and now reside in Arizona. I’ve been connected to the military in one way or another for over half my life and wouldn’t change a thing about it. Writing has become my full time job and I’ve never been so happy doing a job I love and being able to do it in my jammies. I plan on writing until I dry up and die. Hopefully, that won’t happen soon!

Rented Heart by Garret Leigh

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title:Rented Heart by Author: Garrett Leigh
Release Date:Sept 12, 2016
Pages: 228 • Format: eARC
Published By:Riptide
Purchase Links:
Riptide

Ex-surfer-turned-businessman Liam Mallaney moved back to Holkham, Norfolk, to mourn the loss of his husband. Grief and loneliness keep him a solitary figure, and he likes it that way. There’s no room in his broken heart for anything else.

Rentboy Zac Payne left London and most of his demons behind, but he still only knows one way to make a living. When he spots Liam in a club one night, it seems he’s found his mark. But Liam proves nicer—and their connection far deeper—than he’d bargained for.

Their arrangement quickly becomes too complicated for Zac, who has other things on his mind: namely his BFF and wayward flatmate, Jamie. Zac owes Jamie the world, and even as Jamie’s drug addiction destroys all they have, Zac won’t leave him behind.

Besides, Liam knows nothing of Zac’s home life, too caught up in his own head to think much beyond the crazy heat he and Zac share. But when trouble comes to Zac’s door, putting his life in danger, Liam must set his grief and anger aside to pick up the pieces of Zac’s shattered heart and his own.

four-stars

 

This was a really good solid story from Garrett Leigh. I enjoyed it alot, and I thought it was the right amount of angst, love, redemption and acceptance.

I requested this book off the author’s writing ability and this beautiful cover. I adore the story. Rented Heart is the story of two lonely guys who aren’t looking for love, but happen to fall in love. Liam is dealing with the death of his husband. He’s lonely and doing everything in his power to stay to himself. He’s grieving and decides to relieve himself of some stress and loneliness and meets Zac. Rentboy Zac who is just trying to survive another day and not think about the past of his old life in London.

Leigh’s writing is truly magical, and the one thing that I’ve noticed in this book that we don’t see in a lot of gay romance is Kindness. They were both nice to each other. It wasn’t the same ole be mean to the rent boy, or the rent boy doesn’t need saving. Liam didn’t try to save Zac not one iota. He wanted a friend, who happens to need help. I appreciated the generosity that Liam had, and I appreciate the way Zac was with them. It was almost timid like in manner, but them being nice was a breath of fresh air. I liked that Liam saw Zac, not as a whore but as a person.

“..there’s not much I wouldn’t pay for the privilege of spending a few hours with you.”

This quote damn near did me in. Liam might have been lonely, but he wasn’t bitter. He was focused now that he got a burst of freshness being around Zac. I don’t even think it was the sex. I think it was having someone around for him to be himself, and to be there for someone else. This story being told about rent boy redemption was uplifting and about self-worth. Liam kept reminding Zac that he wasn’t a whore. I think for Zac he was really worried if Liam’s feelings for him can be true or be because of him being lonely. This is why I’m super proud of the age-gap. I think Liam was mature enough to teach Zac certain things, and be a friend then try to change him. I am gushing over Liam that’s all. I damn near fell in love with him all over.

Zac also has his fair sure of issues. He is enabling his best friend. They’ve been in this lifestyle so long that boundaries get crossed and friendships get blurred. I wouldn’t change a thing between Zac and Jamie. They are who they are for a reason, and if all of this had to occur just for them to get an ounce of happiness then I’m game.

This is a must read for people. I liked it alot, and always seem to get a get read from this author. It was the right about of angst, and love for me. I even was able to not cry! I know, me who cried at everything she writes. I recommend this to everyone!

“Don’t rent your heart out for nothing when I reckon you’ve both been through enough to deserve a hell of a lot more.”

About Garrett Leigh

Garrett Leigh is a British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Black Jazz Press. Her protagonists will always always be tortured, crippled, broken, and deeply flawed. Throw in a tale of enduring true love, some stubbly facial hair, and a bunch of tattoos, and you’ve got yourself a Garrett special.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible. That, and dreaming up new ways to torture her characters. Garrett believes in happy endings; she just likes to make her boys work for it.

Garrett also works as a freelance cover artist for various publishing houses and independent authors. For cover art info, please visit blackjazzdesign.com

Starting New by S.C. Wynne

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

StartingNew_600x900Starting New by S.C. Wynne 
Release Date: August 8, 2016
Pages: 196• Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide Publishing
Purchase Link:
Riptide

Life hasn’t been good to Francis Murphy. He’s survived twenty-one years of homelessness by hooking and taking handouts where he can find them. When the local shelter is vandalized, he’s forced to seek food at the Grace and Light Church, where he runs into the pastor’s son, Randy.

Randy Wright believes the best in others. He’s immediately drawn to Francis, even though Francis is hardened and wary. When Francis is attacked by one of his johns, Randy and his family take him in and offer him temporary work. Randy always thought he was straight, but something about Francis has him yearning for more than just friendship, and realizing he might be bisexual.

Francis is attracted to Randy too, and Randy and his parents say they’ve always believed in gay rights. But talk is cheap. What are the odds that these Christian parents will remain open-minded when it’s their own son in a relationship with another man?

two-stars

BORED

I literally felt like this the entire story. I honestly want to take away my rentboy redemption tag!!! He wasn’t even an authentic rentboy. Listen, I expect my rentboys to really bring the pain, and emotions when I read their stories. I’m sorry, Francis was no where believable for me to be as a rentboy. I didn’t like Randy. Maybe if he was older and not the same age as Francis I could have liked him, but every time he opened his mouth I literally wanted to gag. The religion aspect of the story was okay. It wasn’t pushing the religion onto Francis. I did like the acceptance of that, but it’s all I liked in the story.

The biggest problem was that the connection both guys had with each other seemed force or of convenience. It wasn’t a real thing. It didn’t feel real. Randy almost none existent feelings towards guys just poofed into existence once Francis started living with them. I’m all for exploring new things, but I’m not okay with Randy actions. Call it inexperience, or just being young but to insult someone constantly, then offer money to them for services rendered seems so counter-productive to me.

I’d like to have seen some of Francis’s back story. I mean if hooking is just what he wanted to do, then i’m all for it. He seemed so lacksidical the entire time. Most rentboy stories, they are all emo and morose. Where as Francis treated it as another day on the job. Well okay then.

All in all, I was left feeling incomplete and bored by their story. I’m not sold on either character. This is didn’t gel with me, and hopefully one of Wynne’s books in the future can redeem this one.

About S.C. Wynne

“I never know what to say about myself,” S.C. Wynne says, “So writing an ‘About Me’ section is challenging. I love red wine and I’m obsessed with coffee. I haven’t won any awards for writing although I did win one for reading once. I’m not a world traveler…yet. The books I write are light and romantic with a healthy dollop of humor and just a dash of angst.”

The author goes on to say “I’m not curing cancer, but I do think reading stories that make us happy can’t help but improve our lives. I fall in love with every character I write and hopefully my readers will too.”

Counting Daisies by Nicola Haken

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Counting daisiesCounting Daisies by Nicola Haken 
Series: The Counting Series, Book One
Release Date: July 24, 2016
Pages: • Format: eARC
Published By:
Purchase Link:
Amazon

Dylan Roberts and Cameron O’Neil were good kids. Growing up together, they shared everything. By the age of fourteen they were more than best friends – they were in love. They dreamt of their future, of success, marriage…happiness. They were going to grow old by each other’s side.

But… “Kids are stupid.”

When tragic circumstances forced them apart, Dylan discovered that life wasn’t the fairytale he dreamed of; it was dark, difficult, saturated with pain and shame. Life wasn’t meant to be enjoyed, merely survived, but even that became a challenge.

Damaged, worthless, and disgusting, he saw no point to his pitiful existence…

Until he came face to face with the boy he used to love.

Successful, honourable, and happy, Cameron had achieved the future they planned. He was good, positive, popular…everything Dylan would never be. What would happen if Dylan let him back into his world? Would he destroy Cameron too? Would his poison push him away like everyone else?

“Everybody leaves.”

“They leave or they die.”

But what if…what if Cameron didn’t?

Counting Daisies is book one in The Counting Series, but can be read as a standalone novel.

four-stars


So this was my first read by this author. I have Broken and started it, but put it down because I got sidetracked. I love the realistic portrayal of someone who is a drug addict. I’ve read a few books, but this one was hands down the most authentic. Counting Daisies resonated in my heart, because I’m someone who knows what Cameron feels like. Only it was a parent and not a lover. I can hands down 100% tell you, I’d never be with a drug addict. I don’t have the strength or the resolve to do it. The romance fades in the background to me. I didn’t connect with them on that level. Some part of me wishes that they relationship didn’t work. I would love to see them go their separate ways as far as being in love. Anyone who knows anything about addiction knows it isn’t wise to be in relationship for the first year of recovery.

My heart went out to Cameron, because he had this idea of his first love, and what he got in return was a junkie. Dylan’s voice in the story was eerily familiar in my years of growing up with an addict of a mother. He talks about Heroin as if it’s his life force. Nothing is more important then the drug. No one will ever be able to give him the same euphoria as Heroin. I’d like to think this story as a second chance at life for Dylan. I think Haken wrote with such sincerity that at moments I found myself crying. It’s a scene where Cameron asks Dylan, “Why wasn’t he enough?”. At that moment, I had an emotional break down. It was like being 9 years old again, at a therapy session and me asking my mom that. Dylan’s answer was so spot on.

Cameron did the basic thing when you love an addict. You believe that you can fix them. You believe that you can help them on your own. In his mind Dylan’s love for him was so bigger, that at any day he would recognize that Heroin wasn’t important. Well being letdown is probably the top most feeling that you get when you love an addict. He was right to have his anger, sadness, and despair. This is the life of an addict. I don’t believe in ever being sober. I think most addicts live day to day with hope that they are stronger for the next. Recovery is a daily thing. I liked Paul. Oh my goodness he was so realistically spoken. Very blunt and honest, as well as Derek. I think the author did a good job with the subject. The romance side didn’t really work. The relationship seemed one-sided, and how will I ever know if Dylan actually loved Cameron.

I look forward to more from this author. This was a really good story, with addiction being the forefront of it all, and the people it takes down with you. Looking forward to reading more from this author.

About Nicola Haken

I live in not-so-sunny Rochdale, England (true northern girl!), and when I’m not playing with my imaginary friends I can usually be found being a slave to my four adorable (sometimes!) children (five if you include the dog, six if you include the hubby!) or binge watching Netflix.

All in all I’m just an ordinary gal with an addiction to reading about hot book guys, writing about hot book guys, tattoos, and Pepsi Max! Oh, and if my kids ever ask… I moonlight as the Pink Power Ranger 😉