An Ali Review : Jude (Lucky #3) by Garrett Leigh

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Isha has spent the last year watching his BFF get his happily-ever-after. He’s proud of Dom, but…it hurts to see him so free while Isha’s love life is still on lockdown. Only Isha’s ex-wife knows the secret that he’s kept caged for so long—that he’s queer too, and he’s lonely.

Jude’s too chained to his work to notice what he’s missing by being terminally single, but a new face in the village soon catches his attention. City boy Isha is gorgeous, and when he starts to haunt Jude’s reptile shop as well as the hook-up app on his phone, he’s a welcome distraction from Jude’s business problems.

For a control freak like Isha, letting Jude under his skin is an existential meltdown, but Jude’s not in the market to be anyone’s queer crisis, not when he’s facing troubles of his own. Unlocking their lives could push both men apart forever, but it might be a risk worth taking if sharing is the key to their happy future.

I was excited about this book but a bit hesitant.  In this Jude owns a reptile business and I also have owned a reptile business. I was super excited this was his career as I have never read that in a romance story before but I was hesitant because I thought the author may mess up story in regards to reptiles (I’ve read some really wrong stuff over the years).  As it turned out she did a great job with this aspect.  Jude’s passion for his animals jumped off of the pages and made me instantly love his character.  The information about animal care was vague enough to not get things wrong but detailed enough to show the author did her research (or owns reptiles herself).  I loved everything about this aspect of the story.
The relationship part I wasn’t as smitten with.  I loved Jude from the minute he came on page but I struggled with Isha throughout.  I just couldn’t understand him.  The fact that he was no longer in the spotlight and his four best friends were queer made me not understand why he was so afraid of coming out.  His ex-wife already knew and was accepting so I just couldn’t see what was holding him back.  His hot and cold behavior got on my nerves and I felt he was mean to Jude in his treatment of him.  He only comes around after a huge issue.  I got to the end of  book kind of feeling Jude could do better.
Despite my misgivings about Isha there were a lot of things to like about this book.  It was super steamy and those parts were great.  There are quite a few scenes with the two couples from the previous books which I was happy to see.  Isha’s ex-wife was lovely and it was nice to see a female ex not portrayed in a bad light.  I also thought Isha’s kids were done well.  Not precocious or over the top in any way.  Just two every day kids.
I liked way more about this book than I disliked so it is a definite recommend from me.

Cover by Black Jazz Designs:  This cover was done by the author.  I think it is fine.  The model on the cover is attractive but there is nothing about the cover that really stands out from others in this genre.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Buy Link

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 220 pages
Published March 24th 2019 by Fox Love Press
Original Title Jude
ASIN B07Q18JBBG
Edition Language English
Series Lucky :

Lucky

Cash

Jude

A Free Dreamer Review: Misfits (Urban Soul #1) by Garrett Leigh

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

misfits-by-garrett-leighRestaurant owner Tom Fearnes has loved his partner Cass for as long as he can remember, but their work often keeps them apart. When he meets a striking young man named Jake on the vibrant streets of Camden Town, their heady first encounter takes an unexpected turn.

Jake Thompson can hardly believe his luck when he wakes up in Tom’s bed. Tom is gorgeous, kind, and . . . taken. Tom’s explanation of his open relationship leaves Jake cold, but Tom is too tempting, and when hard times force Jake to accept Tom’s helping hand, he finds himself between two men who’ve lost their way.

Cass Pearson is a troubled soul. He loves Tom with all he has, but some days it feels like he hasn’t much to give. Jake seems like the perfect solution. Cass risks everything to push Jake and Tom together, but Jake resists, wary, until the darkness of Cass’s past comes to call. Then Jake finds himself the last man standing, and it’s time to dig deep and shine a light for the men he’s grown to love.

“Misfits” was my second book by this author. I read “Slide” ages ago and quite liked it. But “Misfits” was simply brilliant.

I was hooked from the very beginning. Something about the writing sucked me in, so I just couldn’t put it down. Luckily, RL didn’t interfere too much and I got to stay up really late and then stay in bed till afternoon the following day. Just so I could finish this book.

I liked how differently Tom and Cass deal with Jake’s TS (Tourette’s). Tom politely ignores it, while Cass openly talks about it with Jake. My knowledge of TS is rather limited, so I’m not sure how accurate the descriptions in this book were. But for what it’s worth, it felt authentic.

“Misfits” is hardly the first M/M book that deals with some sort of illness/disability, but unlike most, the TS isn’t the focus point of the story. It plays a big part, of course, but it’s not what the whole story is about. I really liked that it was very much just a part of Jake’s character.

I totally have a thing for ménages and I really liked the set-up for this one. Jake wasn’t immediately a-okay with Tom and Cass’ open relationship. I liked how pissed he got when he found out that Tom already had a boyfriend. The build-up to the eventual three-way relationship took a good long while.

I loved all three protagonists, and how different they are. Cass is a bit rough and prickly, but not overly so, while Tom is more refined and definitely posher. And Jake somehow fits perfectly in the middle of those two. They worked great together.

One thing I absolutely loved about this book was the feel of the setting. It had a very strong sense of place. I lived in a small town close to London for a while, so it all felt very familiar to me.

All in all, “Misfits” was simply brilliant. It’s highly addicting, with a very strong sense of place and incredibly funny at times. And it’s smoking hot, of course. Read it, you’ll love it!

The cover by G.D. Leigh is a bit generic, tbh. It’s nice to look at, but nothing special.

Buy Links: Riptide | Amazon US | Amazon UK | KOBO | B&N | Smashwords

Book details:

ebook, 277 pages

Published March 16th 2015 by Riptide Publishing

 

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Heated Beat Bundle (Heated Beat #1-2) by Garrett Leigh

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

heated-beat-bundleBOOK ONE: My Mate Jack by Garrett Leigh

Teen best friends Will and Jake have shared everything together for as long as they can remember, and Will has loved Jack from the moment he realized he was attracted to men. But not only is Jack straight, he’s not staying in the area after they graduate high school. Jack is taking his love of music on the road, having secured a DJ job in Ibiza, while Will is heading to university to get the degree he needs for his design career. 

Just before he leaves though, Will and Jack go further than either of them ever intended, and though Will wants to confess his love for his friend, he lets Jack get away without that conversation but regrets it from the day he goes. 

Texts, emails, and one visit to Ibiza accompanied by Will’s female roomies and his boyfriend du jour lead to a further divide between the men and misunderstandings can’t be resolved with the distance they maintain.  More texts, and Will thinks there might be a chance for them to get together over the holidays, but Jack doesn’t stay at his parents’ house long enough to fit in a visit to Will, and they’re divided again. 

If you like a friends-to-lovers story that is overflowing with angst and miscommunication, this may be the perfect story for you. I enjoyed the characters created by the very talented Garrett Leigh, but I must admit I was a bit lost with the music references, a fact I attribute to my age and lack of interest in music trends. I also get pretty wound up in anxiety when a couple perpetuates misunderstanding by failure to communicate, so this is not one of my favorites from this author, but it was good, nonetheless.  I’d give it 3 stars on its own.

~~~~~~~~~

BOOK TWO: Lucky Man by Garrett Leigh

Over ten years have gone by since Will and Jack got together in the first book, and they’re still not living together full time.  I found this a bit odd, but the author explains it as the nature of their relationship, so odd or not, it works for them. Jack’s got a place in Nottingham that he shares with Finn McGovern, musician, rock star, and a man who is mentally unstable when his disorder acts up.  But that’s not evident when he first meets Danny Jones. 

Danny is a vice squad detective, currently leading the investigation into the disappearance, and then murder, of prostitutes. Feeling little more than helpless and hopeless some days, he works extremely long hours, so when his boss forces him to take a day off, he decides to catch some music at a pub he infrequently visits.  And there he sees Finn McGovern, not in the persona of the lead singer of the rock band, The Lamps, instead, taking the spotlight with his guitar, playing and singing a variety of songs from multiple decades and multiple genres.  When Finn catches his eye across the room, Danny is hooked.

Their relationship is tumultuous from then on, not because of any outright hostility, but because Danny can’t commit the time and energy Finn needs from him to feel safe and loved.  Danny knows it, but with his case occupying all his time and more than half of his attention, he starts to wonder if he should commit to Finn. And then Finn shares his secret—his medical disorder—one that can lead him to destroy their relationship and himself if left untreated.  That’s not an issue right now as he does get his treatment regularly, but Danny’s reaction is not what Finn hoped for and Finn storms off in a snit.

I enjoyed this story immensely. The author delved deeply into Finn’s personality and his illness and gave good insight to the effect one’s state of mental health can have on every aspect of life. Danny was a difficult character to like, though he wasn’t one I’d outright dislike, he simply was, and because he was so reserved and deadpan, and we spent so much time with him in his professional life, it was difficult to know what was underlying his veneer.  Unless, or until, he was with Jack, because that’s when his eyes sparkled, and the smile couldn’t help coming out. 

It was a tough story, both on the surface where the murder investigation was going on, and below the surface, where Finn was struggling with his disease, and he and Danny were struggling to cement their fledgling relationship.

We did get to enjoy quite a bit of Jack and his partner, Will, throughout the story, and the balance of the cast of characters was quite diverse and well-developed. If I was planning to rate both stories individually, this one would be at least 4.5 stars. 

Getting these two books in a bundle is a treat that should not be missed. Garrett Leigh is an excellent author, and although I didn’t enjoy the first story quite as much as the second, I can definitely recommend this Heated Beat bundle to lovers of MM romance, especially those who enjoy a UK romantic action adventure. 

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Cover art by Garrett Leigh is a split photo of two young men. The one of the left can be any of three MCs: Jack, Finn, or Will and the one on the right is definitely Danny. 

Sales Links

140b7-dreamspinner2blogo

Bundle/Book Details:

ebook, 240 pages
Published December 5th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781635331042
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesHeated Beat #1-2

A Mika Review: My Mate Jack (A Heated Beat Story #1) by Garrett Leigh

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

My Mate JackWill Barter’s has loved his best mate Jack for as long as he can remember. They’ve shared everything: love, life, laughs, even Will’s first kiss. But Jack’s straight, and Will’s long-buried infatuation means nothing until their last summer together draws to a close.

Then one night, everything changes, but with Will bound for university in Leeds, and Jack for his dream DJ job in Ibiza, there’s no time to explore their blurred lines. Before long, all that’s left are secrets, lies, and misunderstandings.

 In the months that follow, anger and hurt overshadow fifteen years of friendship, and Will must dig deep to remember Jack is his mate… his best mate, and nothing matters more than that, right?

A new Garrett Leigh series, sure I’ll take it. Garrett Leigh is dubbed Queen of Angst in my mind palace. She produces the angst like no other. I was on pins and needles throughout Will and Jack’s separation the entire time. I was angry at both of them for not being angry themselves at the long bouts of time between communications. Why couldn’t Will get a better bloody phone? G.L. had me fussing using proper English words. I think I called my husband a wanker four or five times while reading this. You men don’t get it, someone step up and say something; now back to the story at hand, lol.

Will and Jack have been best mates since they were seven years old. Things changed the summer year before graduating high school. We can all guess since it’s a friend to lover’s thing. I automatically thought when things changed we’ll see them at college doing what all new couple do, try to maintain their relationship. Well no, that didn’t happen. Will went to uni, and Jack went to Ibiza to d.j. I didn’t think it would be so hard for two guys who spent most of their lives together to have communication issues once they leave home.  Lots and lots of communication issues. I was livid, I wanted one of these guys to grow up and throw out the first line, but of course we got the run around. In between them we had family issues, resolved issues, jealous boyfriends,and much, much more. Not in those orders but they could have the catalyst for an entire different ending. I was happy with the ending, I don’t know if Will & Jack were but I am. Maybe they are happy but not happy with their journey to romance. I hope we find out.

I would recommend this to fans of Garrett Leigh it’s her typical angst filled novels. I would recommend to new readers who are interested in realistic fiction, and or new to angst, and enjoy friends to lovers themes. I enjoyed reading it, I wish it was more, but I’m okay because it’s book 1 in a series. I look forward to reading about the Will & Jack next time.

Book Cover: G.D. Leigh.  I thought it was just alright.

Sales:      Dreamspinner Press eBook                                              All Romance (ARe)         amazon            buy it here

Book Details:

ebook, 104 pages
Expected publication: December 10th 2014 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781632164988
edition languageEnglish

Book Blast: On Tour with Garrett Leigh and Slide! (contest & Interview)

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SlideBanner300x250

Welcome, Garrett Leigh, to ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords and for agreeing to sit in our interview chair.  Garrett has brought along an excerpt from Slide (Roads,Book1) and a contest to win an ebook copy.  See the Rafflecopter link and details at the end of the post.

ScatteredThoughts Garrett Leigh Interview

STRW•  This sounds like an established lovers who need to reconnect, a favorite trope of mine.  Why chose this option?

Garrett Leigh: Slide is told a little out of sequence. The prologue opens with Ash and Pete as established lovers, but chapter one takes you back to when they first met. The prologue was the first scene that came to me, so it felt right to have it open the book.

With the trope of established lovers, though, I find it as fascinating to dissect a partnership as it is to bring them together.

STRW.  Your main characters are a tattoo artist and a paramedic.  Those seem to be favorite professions of m/m authors.  How do you make your characters stand out  from the crowd?

Garrett Leigh:  For Ash, his tattooing…his art, meant something. There isn’t a drawing or sketch in the whole series that doesn’t tell you something about him. For Ash, drawing is how he communicates. In Slide in particular, he struggles to express himself verbally.

Pete’s paramedic role suited his personality. He’s a natural caregiver, and I think his work helped develop his character on the page.

STRW.  Your setting is Chicago, a fantastic city (and the site of GRL this year).  Why choose Chicago?

Garrett Leigh:  Chicago is a beautiful city and one I’d love to visit, so researching it was a lot of fun.

STRW.  This book is the first in a series titled Roads.  Is a journey the overall theme?

Garrett Leigh:  For sure, though I reckon every book is a journey, especially in romance.

STRW. What came first?  The idea for this story or the series?

Garrett Leigh:  Slide came first, but the story didn’t feel over until I’d written Freed.

STRW.  Do you have this series planned out through the last story or will the series grow along with the characters?

Garrett Leigh:  The series is done, finished and published. Slide is out on tour again to celebrate the release of the series in audiobook. But to answer the question as best I can, the characters dictated the series, rather than the plot. Most of my work is character driven.

STRW.  That’s your cover design for Slide and its very emotional.  Is it easier for the artist to be the author as well?  Does  that help plan out the design for the cover because you know the story and what you want the cover to portray?

Garrett Leigh:  In some sense it’s much easier. Like you say, I know exactly what I want and I have to tools to produce it. On the other hand, it can be really hard to get the cover right when I’m so emotionally invested in a book/the characters.

STRW. Favorite medium to work in as an artist?

Garrett Leigh: Gritty thrillers.

STRW. Favorite genre to write in as an author?

Garrett Leigh:  For now…MM contemporary angst. Watch this space.

STRW. One last question.  What do you find sexy? And which character embodies that the best?

Garrett Leigh: Sonny Valentine from the Blue Boy series. He’s my little pocket rocket. Compact and sexy, he knows what he wants, and he’s not afraid to say it.

I’m a little in love with Jed from Only Love too, though. He has a quiet confidence I really enjoy.

STRW:  Thanks, Garrett, for stopping by and delivering such an insightful interview.  Please come back when your other books are ready to be released!  Now take a close look at Garrett Leigh and Slide below, complete with blurb and excerpt!

Book Name: Slide (Roads, Book 1)
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18487180-slide
Author Name: Garrett Leigh
Author Bio:

Garrett Leigh is a British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id 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 under the pseudonym G.D. Leigh.

  • For cover art info, please visit blackjazzpress.com
    Author Contact:
    Social media:
Website,  Twitter , 
Facebook
    Cover art enquiries: blackjazzdesign@gmail.com

SLIDEORIGTitle:  Slide (Roads, Book 1) by Garrett Leigh

Sales Links:             Dreamspinner Press         Amazon

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: G.D. Leigh
Categories: Gay Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, M/M Romance, Fiction

 Slide Blurb:
Don’t look back. Don’t you ever look back…

Shy tattoo artist Ash has a troubled past. Years of neglect, drug abuse, and life on the streets have taken their toll, and sometimes it seems the deep, unspoken bond with his lover is the only balm for wounds he doesn’t quite understand.

Chicago paramedic Pete is warmth, love, and strength—things Ash never knew he could have, and never even knew he wanted until Pete showed him. But fate is a cruel, cruel mistress, and when nightmares collide with the present, their tentatively built world comes crashing down.

Traumatic events in Pete’s work life distance him from home, and he doesn’t realize until it’s too late that Ash has slipped away. Betrayal, secrets, and lies unfold, and when a devastating coincidence takes hold, Pete must fight with all he has to save the love of his life.

Excerpt from Slide by Garrett Leigh:

Ash was Texan by birth, but his southern roots only laced his speech when he was too tired to repress them… too tired to block out all the horrible shit that kept an invisible barrier between us.

He was just seventeen when his friend Ellie found him drawing on the streets of Philadelphia. He was homeless and drew comic book characters on the sidewalk for money. The way she told it, he was one of the best street artists in the city, but he said he just did it to survive. Ellie was in college at the time, and she spent the next three years trying to get him to go to a shelter. Eventually, she got her way, and when she moved back to Chicago a few months later, she asked him to come with her. It took him a year of procrastination and pulling his shit together, but after finishing his tattoo apprenticeship in Philly, he did just that.

Living together was a huge adjustment for both of us. Some days I thought we’d cracked it, but others….

I draped the comforter over us and tucked it around his shoulders. He settled against me with his arm stretched out across my torso. I ran my hand absently along his bicep and enjoyed the rare moment. Though he could be tactile when his mood was right, he rarely cuddled up to me so freely. Most times, he preferred our positions reversed—him on his back with his arms around me.

Curious, I pressed a kiss to the top of his sweat-dampened head. “You okay?”

“Yeah, I just missed you.”

I smiled into the darkness. “I missed you too.”

A light hum was his only answer, so I held him a bit tighter and made the most of having him curled against me. After a while, I felt him shift. I opened my eyes and quirked an eyebrow, too mellow to speak. He just stared at me, but his blazing eyes told me what I knew he found so hard to articulate.

I put my hand to his head and nudged it back down with a sad smile.

SlideBadgeTour Dates/Stops:
9/12: Rainbow Gold Reviews, Nephylim, Iyana Jenna
9/19: Parker Williams, Velvet Panic, Jade Crystal
9/26: MM Good Book Reviews, Smoocher’s Voice, Cate Ashwood
10/3: EE Montgomery, Inked Rainbow Reads, Regular Guys, Hot Romance
10/10: My Fiction Nook, Book Reviews and More by Kathy, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
10/17: Emotion in Motion, Queer Town Abbey, Foxylutely Book Reviews
10/24: Fallen Angel Reviews, The Blogger Girls, Love Bytes
10/31: Amanda C. Stone, Prism Book Alliance, The Novel Approach

 

Contest: Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-Book copy of Slide.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter, Use the Rafflecopter link provided for the entry form and for all additional contest details.
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