Who We Are 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.

Who We Are: by Nicola Haken
Release Date: March 9th, 2017
Pages: 271 • Format: eARC
Published By: Self-Published
Purchase Links:
Amazon

Since putting his life on hold ten years ago, Oliver Clayton doesn’t know who he is anymore. To his clients at the hair salon, he’s the sassy and confident stylist. To the crowds who come to watch his drag act at the club, he’s the fierce and fabulous Miss Tique. He’s popular. Talented. Out, proud, and self-assured.

He’s also a good actor.

Sebastian Day is content with life’s easy, if not a little monotonous, routine. After several failed relationships, he likes the simplicity of being alone in his truck at his job as a heavy goods driver, spending the weekends with his teenage son, and putting the world to rights with his cat, Marv. He’s not lonely. He isn’t hiding.

At least…he doesn’t think he is until he meets the mesmerising stranger with the red hair and purple lips.

Can Oliver and Sebastian help each other embrace who they are? Or will a cruel twist of fate end their journey before it’s even begun?

four-half-stars

 

 

I did not expect this amount of emotions

 

Nicola!!!! Goodness, warn us! Would you??

I was a wreck after reading this. No scratch that I was a hot ass mess while reading this, and up until I finish. I mean, it’s a HFN in the contents of a realistic fiction. This was my second Nicola Haken book, and I’m rethinking why I haven’t read anything else by her. I love British stories, the humor, love, tears and the feelings that I’m able to convey with these characters. Can I say I’m not an animal lover at all, but I loved Marvin Daye. Oh my goodness it left me in tears every interaction between Sebastian & Marvin. The humor was such a great aspect to this love story.

I like being able to relate to characters I read about. In any way, shape or form it’s nice to see some comparisons between fiction and real life. I think Nicola has the perfect antidote on writing realistic fiction. Her characters can be you, your family, spouse, and friends. Its the same reactions through all the tears, joys, love and laughs. I knew next to nothing about this book when I requested it. I saw the cover and a little of the blurb and wanted to read it. Did I expect the read it in one sitting? Absolutely not, but I did. I might not have the best words to describe the story, but I really thought it was a love story between two guys who were each hiding something about themselves to the world. Sebastian has seem to given up on love when we meet him. He’s sure of himself and being bi-sexual but none of the past partners or future to him were able to be okay with it. It has left him cynical and not really looking for love. Oliver hasn’t been himself in years, his love life sucks. His personal life doesn’t seem to be much better. Left custody of his younger brother at a young age himself hasn’t left Olli time to experiment with dating and love. Every little minute is left is dedicated to his brother Tyler who is at the age when he’s a little shit. Oliver’s only freedom is when he’s able to turn into Miss Tique, his drag persona who he evolves into, and lets all his inhibitions a loose while performing. A chance meeting between these two guys turns into something magical. The physical attraction is right their on the page and its not hard to see the love grow & blossom. I love both of these guys for all their faults & flaws. Both guys are hesitant to tell each other about the children in their lives. For different reasons they are scared to show each other their true selves.

I really didn’t expect this book to pack so many emotions. I couldn’t believe where it went with the plot, it was times in the story that I had to stop because the tears were following so heavy. I fell in love more and more with Olli & Seb. I think people will appreciate Haken’s canny sense of realism. I thought the pacing, the length and gradual increases of tone were perfect for the tone of the story. I think fans of the M/M Genre will be surprised by how great this is. I think you should give it a try, and great job Nicola. I so look forward to more of your work. A definite recommend from me!

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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 😉

Falling Down by Eli Easton

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.

falling-downFalling Down: by Eli Easton
Release Date: November 9th, 2016
Pages: • Format: eARC
Published By: Pinkerton Road
Purchase Links:
Amazon USAmazon UK

Josh finds himself homeless at eighteen, but he has a plan. He’ll head north on the bus to New England and spend October there for his mother’s sake. She always talked about going to see the fall leaves someday. And when the leaves are done and the harsh winter comes, Josh plans to find a place to curl up and let go. It will be a relief to finally stop fighting.

Mark spent his life trying to live up to the tough swagger of his older brothers until he pushed himself so far against his nature that he cracked. Now a former Marine, he rents a little cabin in the White Mountains of New Hampshire where he can lick his wounds and figure out what to do with the rest of his life. One thing was clear: Mark was nobody’s hero.

Fate intervenes when Josh sets up camp under a covered bridge near Mark’s cabin. Mark recognizes the dead look in the young stranger’s eyes, and he feels compelled to do something about it. When Mark offers Josh a job, he never expects that he’ll be the one to fall.

The snow is coming soon. Can Mark convince Josh that the two of them can build a life together before the flurries begin?

four-stars

This book goes down in the history of ugly cries for me. It probably should top the list seeing as I still can’t hear out my right ear. So I was reading this and got to a really emotional scene and starting crying my eyes out. You know that cry when you cry so much that your nose stops up. Well, I went to blow my nose through the tears, and it felt like my ear was trying to blow itself as well. After all that relief of crying, my ear clogged up. It’s now Tuesday and since Saturday night it hasn’t unclogged. I’m deeply disturbed by my amount of tears that I was able to produce from this story. It was gut-wrenching hard for me at times. I feel bare to my bones. I don’t know the last time I have felt like this in regards to a book. It was sad to see somebody like Josh who was so innocent in so many ways, become so broken.

I really like Josh. Josh is 18, and living on his own. He’s searching for a place to just die. Not suicide in the normal sense, more of the just fading away. His idea of just fading away is going to New England to see the beautiful fall weather and just sit in peace with his mom’s ashes and gradually end his life. I can’t put in words on how I feel for him. He has nobody in his entire life to care about him. Hell 2% in had my eyes watering up. I felt like this lump was in my throat most of the time. Easton does an amazing job when it comes to Josh, being in his head felt so real at times, and I think the writing was so spot on that at times you can close your eyes and picture everything that is going on.

Mark is struggling with his own issues as well. He trying to re-coup to civilian life. The Marines didn’t work out for him, and he’s not in the right head space to be around people. Add on the fact that he hasn’t come out to his parents yet, and he’s desperately lonely. He doesn’t realize it at the beginning of it, but finding Josh and trying to do some good in the world makes his notice it. Mark faces some of his own dark history. He comes to the realization about why he joined the marines, and alot of his issues were self-sabotaging. I think Eli did a good job with Mark.

“That’s the way I want you. Like I would crawl over hot coals to get to you. Like nothing would ever stop me from being with you–not if you wanted it too.”

This is a slow-burn in the romance department, but I really liked that. I love that Mark had to be the adult about things and make Josh see that he didn’t want anything from Josh because of him owning to him. It has its dark moments when both guys are done for the day, and sitting on the porch talking. They both are hurting and that one thing they don’t have is friends. I’d like to think of them as friends first. Sure the romance happens, but the friendship builds up their trust towards each other. The most heartbreaking scene comes at the end, and boy is it ugly cry material. Sure miscommunication is at fault, and love comes into play but it was still so painful to read. As much as I cried, I loved reading it. At the moment, I felt everyone’s pain. I truly love Eli’s writing. Her stories, and characters just work for me. I love the realistic feeling I get when reading her books. I can’t wait for her next release. This one is highly recommended with a box of Kleenex on the side.

About Eli Easton

Having been, at various times, and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, the author of metaphysical thrillers, an organic farmer and a profound sleeper, Eli is happily embarking on yet another incarnation as a m/m romance author.

As an avid reader of such, she is tinkled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, three bulldogs, three cows and six chickens. All of them (except for the husband) are female, hence explaining the naked men that have taken up residence in her latest writing.

Patchwork Paradise by Indra Vaughn

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.

PatchworkParadise_600x900Patchwork Paradise by Indra Vaughn
Release Date: March 28, 2016
Pages: 275 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide Publishing
Purchase Links:
Riptide • Amazon • ARe

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.

four-half-stars

I cannot believe I enjoyed this as much as I did when it had so much ANGST. I’m against anything angsty. I loathe it if it’s too much, and I always end up mad. What happened? I do not know, all I know is I started reading it at midnight and by 3 a.m. I was drunk on angst, tears, and happiness. I had a serious conniption. It was so heartbreaking, but so freaking good by the end of it. I was able to get over my grief of Samuel. My grief was really Ollie’s grief, it was so cloying and thick. I could never imagine going through what he did, but he was such a champion for me. He never gave up or gave him. I loved that he wasn’t sticking to anyone’s time table on when to move on, or when to stop grieving. It’s no realistic time table at that. I’m a sucker for a friends to lover story, and Indra Vaughn knocked this book out of the part. This was respectfully done and beautifully written.

I am so swoony over Thomas. I mean everything he did left me star eyed. I like that his friendship with Ollie was very important. I also enjoyed the fact that he didn’t pressure Ollie to be in a relationship so early. I like how Thomas was able to put aside his feelings for Ollie, and he traveled to give Ollie some space. Thomas traveling and finding someone special left me so confused, but as usual the author wrote at such a realistic pace that everything worked out. Thomas finding out he was a father was a realistic reaction to me. I mean, I would be terrified and questioning if I could do this. I love how quickly Oliver decided on his feelings and what he wanted. I liked that Thomas having a baby wasn’t a deterrent for him, and he realized this is everything he always wanted. But once everything clicked into place with this group of people. I would have love to see a bit more of the physical romance, I mean it’s little to no sex in the book. I’m okay with it because the emotional connection shined so brightly that I didn’t notice the lack of sex until the very end. All in all, this was such a good book, and I’m happy that I picked to read it. I am so looking forward to more from this author.

About Indra Vaughn

Indra Vaughn moved from Belgium to Michigan in 2008, leaving everything behind that wouldn’t fit in a single suitcase. She now lives in the suburbs of Detroit with a dog who thinks he’s a toddler and a toddler who resembles Bam Bam in more ways than one.

Indra’s professional background is in nursing and Chinese medicine, but she prefers to spend time making up stories about mysterious men and their unrequited love.

If you ever meet her, ask her about that teenage angst-infused poetry collection. That’ll break the ice for sure.

Out of Nowhere (In the Middle of Somewhere #2) by Roan Parrish

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.

OutOfNowhereLGOut of Nowhere by Roan Parrish
Series: In the Middle of Somewhere
Release Date: February 24, 2016
Pages: 274 • Format: eARC
Published By:  Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazonARe

The only thing in Colin Mulligan’s life that makes sense is taking cars apart and putting them back together. In the auto shop where he works with his father and brothers, he tries to get through the day without having a panic attack or flying into a rage. Drinking helps. So do running and lifting weights until he can hardly stand. But none of it can change the fact that he’s gay, a secret he has kept from everyone.

Rafael Guerrera has found ways to live with the past he’s ashamed of. He’s dedicated his life to social justice work and to helping youth who, like him, had very little growing up. He has no time for love. Hell, he barely has time for himself. Somehow, everything about miserable, self-destructive Colin cries out to him. But down that path lie the troubles Rafe has worked so hard to leave behind. And as their relationship intensifies, Rafe and Colin are forced to dredge up secrets that both men would prefer stay buried.

four-half-stars

“You,” he says, “are lying to yourself if you think you’re living in the world. You’re barely making it through. You know what you want but you’re too scared to go after it. You think being gay is what makes you weak?” He shakes his head, and there’s no pity in his face. “Living a lie when you don’t have to. Acting like you’re the only one affected by your decisions. Those are the things that make you weak. It’s just fear.”

Brace yourself, this book was so amazing. Roan Parrish is definitely a force to be reckoned with. Her words and her emotions are so visceral. I damn it felt gutted by the end of reading this book. I didn’t think after book one that I could have those emotions, but this book was 10 times worst on my heart. I love her writing so much. It’s so gritty, authentic and just reads beautifully. I get so much of what she was dictated that I read this in one sitting, and decided to read it again the next day just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. She did write Colin’s story to real and it left my emotions eviscerated. Let’s be clear, I didn’t think no matter what Colin’s reasons were that I would be okay for his treatment of his brother. I’m so big on family, and as the oldest sibling, I couldn’t see myself treating either of my sisters like that. Colin had so much self hatred going on in his life it was look walking through fog when he decided to live his truth. Jeez, Roan writes the love interest so well. Rafe is another amazing character trying to work out his second chance life. I live for stories like this because it’s easily relate able to know someone like Colin & Rafe. They can be your brothers, friends, co-workers, spouses. It’s so easy for people to judge and spew their hate that they don’t have a clue what it’s like to put themselves out there.

That vulnerable look that says, This is how you hurt me. Go ahead, it’s easy. And I want to punish him for being so weak. So easy to hurt. For being such easy prey that he turns me into a predator by default.

The imperfection of Colin & Rafe makes this book so great. Rafe is trying to turn his life around. He’s trying for his sobriety, his livelihood, and his relationship to Colin. Colin is such a ball of contridiction. When he’s first introduced in book one, he was just mean. I didn’t like him at all. I never thought that I’d be rooting for him by the end. Him as a person was so broken, devastated and destroyed. He yearn to live up to this character of being the perfect son. I don’t actually think he realized that his father wasn’t looking for that. Reading this was heartbreaking because Colin was trying to be the best possible him, but constantly living in fear, and all this hate about himself. The first initial meeting of Rafe & Colin was Colin being a douche. Colin hating Daniel for living in his truth, for Daniel just doing what he wanted without the ramifications that Colin assumed there would be. It’s hard too say what I want without spoiling it, but I hated his father. Okay that’s not fair, but I hated how his children felt like they needed to be in order to be loved. I noticed the same thing with Daniel, Colin was so use to being by himself outside his family. I don’t think he knew how to love, or why people fall in love. I loved the patient side of Rafe. I loved everything about Rafe. His social justice ideals, and give back to the community. I loved the center with the kids. This book taught about the prison system and decarceration. I never really thought of that before, but she definitely opened my eyes on the subject. I could go on and on with how much I love this, but I feel like when you finish this book you’ll be in love the same way I am. Thank you Roan for giving me these characters.

I think sometimes the people we get angriest with are the ones who have the things we want the most.”

About Roan Parrish

ROAN PARRISH is currently wandering between Philadelphia and New Orleans. When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique.