A Mika Review: Crossed Hearts (Hearts and Scars #1) by K. Vale

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5:

 One heart’s been broken. The other is secondhand.

Young manKory Vansant doesn’t deserve to be alive.

As time sucks him dry of energy, sapping the final ounces of strength from his congenitally enlarged heart, he’s forced to end his career as Kory Kent, porn star. Staring down death, he questions his life choices and prays for a miracle. For another chance at life, he vows to change who he is at his core.

His prayers are answered. A perfect heart now beats in his chest, but it comes at a heavy price. The donor is an innocent young man cut down far too prematurely.

Kory’s blemished history and his donor’s spotless past are far from ideal matches.
As his debts skyrocket, Kory can’t help but think his resolve to walk the high road is being tested. After he meets the adorable Will Squire at the gravesite they both visit, he’s doubly damned because there’s no way he can keep up his end of the bargain. What happens when a man breaks a deal with a higher power?

Will often prefers the company of the dead to that of the living. Following a bad breakup, he pours himself into his two jobs—funeral director at his uncle’s mortuary and part-time paramedic. He’s drawn ever closer to Kory, as if fate sticks her fickle hand in and pushes them together like two unlikely puzzle pieces. But sometimes history can’t be buried, and maybe divine intervention isn’t always right. Will discovers everyone is imperfect, no matter how pretty the outer package, and opening one’s heart is never easy, but can be oh, so worth the pain.

I’m disappointed in this book. The blurb painted different picture to me. For the first half of the book it was all morose. The two mc’s in my opinion were better off as friends the way the first half went. I was tired of reading about death. I understand what both mc’s went through but, at least for me, there are only so many times that I want to read gloom and doom in my stories. There were too many of these moments in the story for my liking. I felt the entire first half of the story was lacking life or light.

However, I did like how Will and Kory started off doing small things for each other. Will became assertive with Kory, and I think that showed us that his confidence was growing.  Kory finally got over living a certain way because of the transplant and decided to live his life more fully. I liked Will’s ability to support Kory’s effort in whatever he wanted to do. He didn’t put him down, and was very patient with him.

But I think Kory needed a kick in the butt big time. He is rewarded with a second chance at life and it’s like he was waiting on something to happen for him instead of going out and getting what you wanted. As usual boy meets boy, boy doesn’t mention the “big lie”, and boy finds out, boy leaves, boys get back together.

Nothing spectacular about the story at all, but I did like certain areas. I got tired of Will’s self esteem issues. Will needed to own up to his role in that relationship. I don’t believe that Will had never seen that side of Darryl before. He’s almost homophobic, but remains in the closet, continuing to ruin other people’s life. I’m happy Will was able to walk away with the least possible scars. I’m happy he did find someone who appreciated him and loved him enough to be Out.

Kory did better as well. I don’t know if I think they should be together. Honestly I skimmed over the smexy scenes because they were predictable. *Sighs* I just wish I could have saw the chemistry in the beginning then maybe I’d believe it by the end, it kind of looks like they forced themselves to be together out of loneliness!

Cover Art by Kimber Vale. It’s a little crowded. I would have preferred just the two guys on the cover. It’s nice at the top, but then we look down and the rainbow umbrella with the cemetery just looks out of place.

Sales Links:                  Amazon          Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: April 27th 2015 by Kimber Vale (first published 2015)
original titleCrossed Hearts
edition languageEnglish
seriesHearts and Scars #1

In the Spotlight: Crossed Hearts (Hearts and Scars #1) by K. Vale (guest post and contest)

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STRW In The Spotlight Header

Book Name: Crossed Hearts (Hearts and Scars #1) by K. Vale

Young man

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Kimber Vale
Cover Artist: Dana Priebe
Release Date: April 27, 2015

K. Vale on Contemporary Villains (and their Fantasy Counterparts)

Guest post by Kimber Vale
Sometimes I feel like plotting a sci-fi/paranormal/fantasy book is a bit easier than a contemporary when it comes to the special effects and bad guy department. What do we contemporary authors have to work with? Real life. Blah. Real bad guys who can often come across as caricatures if you bend them too hard. We don’t get to use super villains whose only motivation is to possess the one ring to rule them all. We don’t get to have our MCs sprout wings and spit fire just when they’re about to become mincemeat because some ancient prophecy foretold they would save the world (and their love interest).
In short (who am I kidding? I don’t do short), we have to work hard to balance the good vs. bad like tightrope walkers. It has to be believable bad and believable heroics. After all, it’s real life (okay, the fiction version, but still).
Don’t get me wrong, fantastical villains still need to have good reason for being the way they are. Sometimes their reasons are the same as those of the contemporary villains: daddy never tossed the ball with them, money, power, unrequited love, a sex tape leaked that ruined their high-school career, they have a thorn festering somewhere they can’t reach, etc.
But fantasy authors get the opportunity to branch out in the villainous causation realm in ways contemporary authors don’t.
Here are some samples of fantasy villains and their reasons for being bad boys and girls so you can see how such ambition clearly wouldn’t work in a contemporary story:
Jean Grey (The Dark Phoenix of X-Men): Corrupted by her immense telekinetic power—enough so she kills the man she loves, and then some.
Alexis Machine (Thad Beaumont’s dark half in Stephen King’s The Dark Half): A fictional reincarnation of Thad’s absorbed twin who served as Thad’s pen name for years, writing racy, gory schlock that sold like hotcakes. When Thad decided to “kill him off” to write more serious literature, the pen name came to life and starting slicing and dicing.
Lord Farquaad (Shrek): He hates fantasy beings. That’s his reason. Also, he’s short.
The White Witch (The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe): She wanted to continue to rule Narnia, and ensure it remained winter always, minus Christmas.
The Kurgan (Highlander): This movie never made sense to me. There can be only one? Says who? There are a number of (inexplicably) immortal dudes running around throughout the film. What? The world isn’t big enough to share? Update: My husband says the “one” becomes an all-knowing mind reader. Okay, then.
Lord Voldemort (Harry Potter): Voldemort is lucky he wasn’t set with the Kurgan. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named basically wanted to live forever. Yes, he wanted to be large and in charge, too, but that was secondary to eternal life.
So you see, contemporary bad guys have to play within the constraints of real world rules. My villain in Crossed Hearts is mostly incensed by jealousy. Possibly horniness. That’s it. I suppose he’s a natural born dickhead as well, but then again, so was Voldemort. 😉
Thanks so much for hosting me!

STRW Author BookSynopsis

One heart’s been broken. The other is secondhand.

Kory Vansant doesn’t deserve to be alive.

As time sucks him dry of energy, sapping the final ounces of strength from his congenitally enlarged heart, he’s forced to end his career as Kory Kent, porn star. Staring down death, he questions his life choices and prays for a miracle. For another chance at life, he vows to change who he is at his core.

His prayers are answered. A perfect heart now beats in his chest, but it comes at a heavy price. The donor is an innocent young man cut down far too prematurely.

Kory’s blemished history and his donor’s spotless past are far from ideal matches.

As his debts skyrocket, Kory can’t help but think his resolve to walk the high road is being tested. After he meets the adorable Will Squire at the gravesite they both visit, he’s doubly damned because there’s no way he can keep up his end of the bargain.

What happens when a man breaks a deal with a higher power?

Will often prefers the company of the dead to that of the living. Following a bad breakup, he pours himself into his two jobs—funeral director at his uncle’s mortuary and part-time paramedic. He’s drawn ever closer to Kory, as if fate sticks her fickle hand in and pushes them together like two unlikely puzzle pieces. But sometimes history can’t be buried, and maybe divine intervention isn’t always right. Will discovers everyone is imperfect, no matter how pretty the outer package, and opening one’s heart is never easy, but can be oh, so worth the pain.

Pages or Words: 70,000 words

Sales Links:

Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

The man scratched the scrub on his chin. “Heart recipient,” he said finally. “I’m Kory—umm…Kory Vansant.” Holding out his hand, he took another step. Will’s fingers were swallowed in warm skin and bone.

“Will Squire.” Again, he couldn’t tear his gaze from the tease of scar tissue jutting from the crotch of Kory’s shirt collar. The urge to reach out and trace a finger over the pink relief of healed tissue was strong. Just like I touched Brandon’s incision. The stark difference between the two—one wound marking the end of a life and the other a salvation—was surreal. Will was nothing but an outsider looking in on a miracle, but somehow he felt he’d come around full circle.

“Want me to get naked so you can see the whole thing?”

Will closed his eyes for a moment and then looked up, his face flaming with a mix of embarrassment and immediate, fierce arousal. “I’m sorry. Totally rude.”

Kory smiled good-naturedly. “No worries. It’s a way to reclaim who I am, or was. Or some crap. I’m not just my medical status, like they keep saying at my support group.”

“No. Of course you’re not.”

He laughed loud and deep, and the warmth in Will’s face drifted down his body. “I’ve adopted it as my little icebreaker whenever people stare,” Kory said.

“Well, ice broken.” Will gulped. Hell, ice melted into a rolling boil.

KVRC

 

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

K. Vale writes erotic romance of all stripes, from hot hetero to mouthwatering manlove. Find her MF work published under Kimber Vale. Come for the sex. Stay for the story. Stalk Kimber on Facebook and Twitter @KimberVale, and check her site for updates, new releases, and freebies at http://www.authorkimbervale.com.

Where to find the author:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kimber.vale
Facebook Author Page 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KimberVale
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/kimbervale/

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Contest:  Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: $20 Amazon Gift Card. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.
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Tour Dates & Stops: April 27 – May 8, 2015

27-Apr

Prism Book Alliance

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28-Apr

Bike Book Reviews

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29-Apr

Decadent Delights

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30-Apr

Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

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1-May

Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

Molly Lolly

4-May

Bayou Book Junkie

5-May

Cate Ashwood

6-May

TTC Books and More

Love Bytes

7-May

MM Good Book Reviews

BFD Book Blog

8-May

My Fiction Nook

Sinfully Addicted to All Male Romance