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Search tags: all-the-feels
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review 2017-03-13 20:39
Consent
Consent - A.J. Rose

To say that I have pushed my limit on this book is putting it mild.  While the other two books in this series deal with victims of rape and physical abuse, this one does so from the eyes of a beloved character and it was painful.  This one is not to be taken lightly and while I knew briefly what was coming, I was not all together prepared for some of these scenes and the horrific terror our character endured.

 

 

This most definitely was the darkest of the three books so far in this series and if it was not for the love between Ben and Gavin, I am not sure Elsbeth and I would have made it through this book.  But forge ahead we did and what an outcome it was. 

 

This really was quite remarkable and I am so happy to have made this journey.

 

I was stronger with Ben. Always had been. There would always be people who didn’t understand it, either the idea of two men together, or the power exchange we subscribed to. I didn’t care what anyone else thought. The plain truth was I was a better person with him by my side. I could endure more, had more to give back, and had more confidence in myself than ever before.

“I love you,” I said, mouthing the edge of his jaw. “You’re my anchor. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

 “I love you, too. And you don’t have to find out. Because I’ve got your back, Gavin. Always.”

 

So many characters I want to see explored further with more stories to be told and I can only hope one day we will get them.  Until then, I will love on these a little longer.

 

 

Thank you Elsbeth, for being ahead of me on this and holding my hand.  

 

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review 2017-02-15 20:17
Death's Ink-Black Shadow
Death's Ink-Black Shadow - John Wiltshire

It has been nearly a week since I finished this one and to say that I may have had a meltdown during the first 30% of this book would be putting things rather mild.

 

 

I was destroyed.  And not so much about what did or did not happen but what it did to these men. I am tearing up just writing this...even now a week later.

 

The love between these two men is so strong and yet they fail to realize at times that they physically cannot live without the other.  So damage and destruction they attempt and when they fall apart...I fall apart.

 

...it was this last confession that undid him. As the words eased out on the exquisite delight of Nikolas once more pulling out and then opening him up and entering again, Ben’s throat seized up, a deep sob emerged, and before he could stop himself, he flung his arms across his face for privacy, and the pleasure was buried under a desolate confusion at who he was.

Nikolas faltered. Ben felt him withdraw, but then he took him in another way. Nikolas’s arms came around him, dragging him into a tight spoon, just holding him as the humiliating sobs wracked his body. He didn’t even know what he was crying for. Once he’d started, he was distraught for that—for the fact that he was so unlike himself, so unmanned by everything in his life that he didn’t know who he had become any more.

It was only when he heard an agonised whisper, “Please don’t, Ben, you’re killing me,” that he turned, forcing himself to calmness, to find Nikolas’s stressed and worn face creased with anguish.

 

***

 

Nikolas turned his gaze back from the darkness in the courtyard, which he’d been studying with such intense concentration, and Ben saw the tracks of tears on his cheeks.

It wasn’t the first time he’d seen Nikolas cry. But in over ten years, he could count the number of times on the fingers of one hand. He rose swiftly and embraced him, wrapping his arms around Nikolas’s battered head tightly, pressing it to his shirt. He pushed his own face into the greying blond hair, and with the familiar smell of vanilla and coconut, he came home.

 

Fucking hell.  Just kill me now.

 

 

Now having said all that, I will say this is likely one of my favorite in the series so far. Nik continues to puzzle me at times and it is hard to totally put your hands on what all makes up this man and ultimately I have decided that this is the point.  Because at times even Ben is puzzled as well.  And even with that said, no matter what...you love him.  Ben loves him and will continue to do whatever has to be done for his Nik.

 

“You are not alone, Nikolas. Never. I’m right here with you, if this is how it has to be. I will kill the whole fucking world for you, if that is what you need.” Ben shook him. “Do you understand me?”

 

And yes, I am officially in tears wrting this review.  

 

Life wasn’t sunlit uplands and glass houses, vast wealth and running around with your pretty boyfriend in the expensive toys he bought you.

Life was wearing armour too heavy to bear and carrying weapons too eager to be used.

Life was learning to swim hard and fast and keep your head above the shit.

Life was having someone alongside you in every single manoeuvre, every fall, every painful rise again, and knowing that, win or lose, the war was never fought alone.

 

Damn.

 

I guess being destroyed means I love this book and this couple. I eagerly await more.

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review 2017-02-13 15:12
The Bruise-Black Sky
The Bruise-Black Sky - John Wiltshire

I hate when I don’t write a review immediately, so bear with me on this one as I try to distinguish this book from the others.

 

Overall, this one included some brilliant scenes.  From the introduction of Miles Toogood (who could be my favorite kid ever) to the fat but witty Peyton Garic, this one continued with some fantastic humor involving the lovely Nik.  I adore him in these scenes.

 

“You’re a historical figure now. A superhero. You need a name.”

Miles looked down, blushing furiously. “I don’t much like the names that get made up for me. Miles Too…other things.”

“That’s because they aren’t seeing your secret identity. Hmm, let me think…Chainsaw.”

“Chainsaw.”

“Hush. It’s a secret identity.”

“I wish you didn’t have to go.”

“Not many people have ever said that to me.”

“Or me.”

Nor me. You should say nor me.”

“No, you shouldn’t! You only use nor when it’s combined with neither! Everyone knows that! Otherwise it’s or. I think I’d better lend you my Golden Treasury of English Grammar. But you will return it, won’t you? I don’t really like lending my books.”

 

I love this kid.  And I hope we get much more of him in the future.

 

But one of my favorite scenes and one I would desperately want to see played out on film was the introduction of the bodyguard.  I never suspected this at all and how this unfolds is all together perfect.

 

We continue as well with some wonderful moments with Emilia and Ulyana as Nik continues to build a family around him.  Squeezy also gets a bit more page time in this and his relationship with Nik as well is another interesting dynamic I want more of.

 

And then, of course, the relationship between our Nik and Ben.  This continues to be unbelievably written and strong. Their relationship showing their continued need for each other, in order to sustain life.

 

Ben was biting his own lip. When he could taste blood, he bent down and kissed Nikolas, murmuring, “Take my blood and own me.” He felt Nikolas’s tongue licking along the little wound then pulled his mouth down to his nipple. Nikolas bit him, as Ben knew he would. It was painful and exquisite and was just between them, marking them, joining them. They didn’t do this very often, but it was entirely understood between them—they were each other’s sustenance and life. Nikolas lapped at the bleeding bite mark he’d inflicted. They were both so aroused it was painful to remain in clothes.

 

So why not five stars here?  This one unfortunately fell just below the others for me.  The story of Oliver seemed quick to end and honestly I was left confused many times by what was happening.  The underlying meaning for me was hard to follow.  Was he murdered?  Honestly I have no idea.  And there are several other things which (as the books continue to unfold become clearer) but at the time I was losing grasp of what Nik was actually up to.  Perhaps this was entirely on purpose but it almost drove me a little crazy.  Ultimately I have determined that the mysterious Nik will do whatever he has to do to protect Ben and so nothing is off limits or out of the realm of possibility. 

 

 

Many surprises continue to unfold here and it will be interesting to see how these actions begin to affect the dynamic of these two men.  I eagerly await more.

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review 2017-01-30 00:23
This Other Country
This Other Country - John Wiltshire

So how do you pick a quote or quotes to include when your entire copy is highlighted?  Yeah...you don't. I cannot possibly choose. Whether it's one of the absolutely hilarious moments (yes I said hilarious...and they involve Nik!!!) to one of the most beautifully written descriptions of love and devotion expressed between two characters..there's just no way. 

 

 

These two men are without a doubt one of my favorite couples of all times. I continue to be amazed by the words that are unbelievably crafted to truly envelope everything that is Nik and Ben.  It's breathtaking. 

 

And seeing how their love stands up to what unfolds here is quite magical. There truly is no one more perfect for the other than these two. 

 

 

He had no intention of telling Ben the rest of his thought—he needed to learn how to admit Ben was his captor and that, therefore, Ben held all the power.

 

 

Yeah, I found a quote. ;)

 

Special thinks to Teri for the BR, Marco again for convincing me to give this series another try and CinnaMen on FB for her beautiful collection of images. 

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review 2017-01-16 14:47
Violated
Violated - Jamie Fessenden

Derek Sawyer thinks he has it all—a high-salaried position, a boyfriend, a dog, even a new cabin on the lake—until a business trip with his manager and best friend, Victor, shatters his world. One night of drunken horsing around in their hotel room leads to the most intensely personal violation Derek has ever endured.  - Blurb excerpt from “Violated”

 

Needless to say, this is not a book I would have sought out at all.  Rape for me is very difficult to read and so typically I avoid books with this theme. The violation of another person in that way is just more than my heart can take. So reading this was a personal feat and I am so glad I took this on.  This was breathtaking.

 

“You… destroyed… me.”

 

 

Derek is not only raped but raped by someone he knows…someone he trusted…someone he has called his best friend for over 20 years.  How can he trust again?  Trust a man again?

 

This was undeniably difficult to endure but Jamie Fessenden deserves all the accolades on this one. Jamie beautifully brings you into the mind of Derek. Feeling every emotion, every fear, every internal struggle, flinch, panic attack and self-accusation.  Not to mention feeling how vulnerable a victim of rape becomes and more specifically how a gay man feels. The sensory acuity expressed here is exceptionally captured. From the smell of Victor's cologne to his voice you feel every emotional impact this has.

 

Derek had his own demons from his childhood that certainly did not help his situation at all but learning to live with this incident was a huge part of his journey.  And it was Russ who ultimately became a part of that journey. 

 

Russ…

 

Russ…

 

Russ…

 

I want to tackle you in a hug and cuddle you forever. I just love you.

 

 

This is one of the most caring and loving men I have ever read about.  Patient and protective, he is exactly who Derek needs.  And while Russ has his own POV is it not until nearly 60% that the relationship begins.  And getting their stories before their relationship was a huge part of understanding who each of these men are and what they need.  But no one was more perfect for Derek than him. 

 

Whenever Derek caught his eye, the warmth he found there amazed him. No man had ever looked at him quite like that.

 

 

Even though he knew Russ wouldn’t want him to feel that way, Derek felt foolish and self-indulgent. He reached across the table and rested his right hand over Russ’s left. For a few seconds he did nothing more than rest it there, until he concluded that he liked the feel of Russ’s skin under his fingers. He stroked it lightly with his fingertips and glanced up to see Russ watching him closely.

 

 

The rape and the journey consume nearly every page of this book.  This is not a remote incident but is a part of Derek that has ultimately changed him forever.  How this couple learns to handle each other is quite remarkable. The relationship has some of the most touching and heartwarming moments I have read in a while.

 

Susan had warned Russ that Derek would never be “over” what Victor had done to him. He would never forget it. It would never go away. It would always influence his feelings about sex, about men, about friends…. But he and Derek could still build a life together. They could still love each other. Russ just needed to let Derek heal in his own way, over the rest of his life.

 

 

No doubt that this book will stay with me for some time and undoubtedly it will land at the top of my best of 2017 list this year. 

 

**Highly Recommended**

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