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review 2018-04-23 14:18
Rocky Mountain Refuge
Rocky Mountain Refuge - Nicky James

Once again Nicky James tackles a very serious mental condition and does so with such thoughtfulness, such care and with love.

 

Not everything in life is easy, you know. It’s the people who risk facing the hard stuff and the scary stuff every day who come out stronger in the end.

 

And while this is a quote from the book, this could certainly apply to the author as well.  She does not shy away from difficult stories.  From stories of loss, mental health and death.  She tackles these head on and with such love. And it is these stories which grab hold of your heart and soul and that ultimately become some of the most memorable reads for me.  

 

This is one of those stories.  The ability to get into the head of our sweet Huxley could not have been easy to write but my heavens...I felt it all.  Every fear, every doubt.  And to not only write about this character's condition but to develop an equally complex character in Aspen whose patience, love and understanding leads this character home could not have been easy.  And where they ultimately found home was just perfection.

 

This is quite a long book and one that builds quite beautifully.  Trust is not something that comes easily and therefore it takes time.  

 

Not all people are out to get you, Huxley. Some people just want to be nice. 

 

How do you build trust with someone who doubts your every move? Who reads things into statements differently and has fears you cannot begin to understand?  

 

That definitely takes patience and time.

 

This book is that exploration. It is that journey of trust which is told here.  And while your heart breaks, you understand the journey is not an easy one. Mental health is not easy.  You cannot simply take a pill and make things better.  Mental health affects the person and those around them in such a special way.  And living with this falls on both parties. 

 

Trust. Love. Understanding. Patience.

 

I cannot recommend this book and others by Nicky James enough.  Open your heart to some feels you will not soon forget.

 

 

 

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review 2018-04-13 16:23
The Beautiful Dead - Belinda Bauer

Eve Singer is desperate for the story to save her career. A presenter on the crime beat, she spends her days attending murder scenes. Aware of the competition, from other news channels and from younger presenters, she knows she may soon have to fight to keep her job. Spending her working days at crime scenes and evenings looking after a father hit with early dementia, Eve is running on empty. Little does she realise that a late night encounter will lead her to her biggest story, but one which may also see her loose something even more costly than her job. She may just loose her life.

 

I’ll admit it took me a little while to get into the story. This partly was due to me not being in the mood for reading, so was not a reflection on the book. Part of the reason was also because I wasn’t particularly taken with Eve. She seemed too selfish and distant, one of the macabre press who inappropriately stalk victims of crimes and their families. Slowly though I got used to her. She still had flashes of that selfishness that first appeared, but other facets of her character emerged to counteract this initial impression.

 

The killer plays an integral role in the novel. This may sound obvious but what I mean is that he is present from the opening pages. Belinda Bauer makes him a main character. He has his own chapters, narrating to provide an glimpse into the tormented psyche that has created the monster he has become. Driven by a desire to create true art, art that is only expressed through death, he sees himself as an artist, desperate for an audience. It is this which attracts him to Eve. Eve is his curator, framing his art perfectly through her camera lens, commentating to provide the true interpretation of his vision.

The other characters that emerge from the pages are all vivid and fit perfectly into the story. From Guy, the slimy journalist, to Duncan, Eve’s ill father, each add a dimension to the storyline and make the story what it is. The police in the case are not the driving force of the story, but Huw and Emily who appear later in the story are great characters, adding the necessary presence and skill that makes the story more realistic.

 

There are parts of the story that can be read as commentary on the nature of people’s engagement with each other and the social media age. There are scenes where people film and share gruesome images on social media, where they would rather take images than take steps to help another person and it’s unclear if that failure is due to fear, or the fear of missing out on a story to dine out on.

 

If you like your psychological thrillers with gruesome murders and a chilling psychopath then this story is for you. The mania that drives the killer is interesting and makes the story seem more real, for whilst not justifying the deaths, it makes them easier to understand. The story is well written, action packed and engaging, particularly the last hundred pages which I found myself racing through.

 

This is the story of a deadly artist and his muse. It is fast paced, inventive and highly entertaining. It may have been the first book of Belinda Bauer’s I have read, but it won’t be the last. Recommended.

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review 2018-04-11 20:19
No Regrets
No Regrets - Nicky James

“I’m not going to watch you die. I’m going to help you live. You’ve made a list and I plan to use every day you are capable to help you fulfill all those things on it. We will tick off as many as we can. I want to love you, and hold your hand, and kiss you, and make love to you. When we can’t do those things anymore, then I just want to hold you in my arms until you have to say goodbye. Every minute you have left on this Earth, I will love you. Let me love you.”

 

Absolutely beautiful book about love and having no regrets.  Every moment is precious and worth it.

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review 2018-03-24 01:14
The Beautiful Dead - Belinda Bauer

Started off super good but the ending felt rushed and lack-luster . Thought it was going to have more interactions of the main character with the killer since that was what was advertised on the tin, but sadly no. Glad got it out of the library and didn't buy because seriously  was underwhelmed for the last 100 pages or so.

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review 2018-03-18 15:00
Saving Sebastian
Saving Sebastian - Luna David

“You don’t have to prove yourself worthy of me. You are worthy of me, just as I’m worthy of you."

 

 

For me this was not simply about the acts of a BDSM relationship but was the complete development of a true D/s relationship and one that was done so with such depth, attention and patience.  The character development, including their doubts, hesitancy and questions revolving around their worth to their partner was beautifully captured.

 

While I have read several BDSM books, I have not always been comfortable reading about these types of relationships.  Perhaps it has been more about the acts before, or what I feel can be overly aggressive Dominates and quite weak submissives.  And that is awful to say and certainly is not meant in any way as demeaning but it was just not always something I understood.  There have been a few books however that explain better the power that the submissive holds…that they ultimately hold all the power with one simple word.  And out of all the books I have read involving BDSM, it is this one that I feel has captured the true nature of these relationships best.

 

This is not a quick read.  This is not a read in which involves only the acts, as the majority of the book is not about scenes but about the interactions, the trust building, and the dynamics and ultimate ability to know your partner, their needs and their desires. 

 

I also honestly never before got the level of worshipping that a Dom can have toward their sub.  But this aspect made all the difference for me.  Gideon, while Dominate, is so enthralled by His Boy, so utterly devoted to him, that it was seeing his sheer love expressed in a look, in a gesture or in his thoughts and actions that made me all the more captivated by him.  And it was these moments which made their dynamic stronger for me as partners.

 

“You keep getting on your knees for me.” He sighed and glanced back down at the box. “It feels wrong.”

“Why? Because you’re convinced that as my sub you should always be below me?”

Sebastian shrugged. “Yeah. I mean, I’m serving you, not the other way around.”

“You don’t think I do the same for you?”

 Sebastian tilted his head in confusion and shook his head. “You should never serve me.”

Gideon chuckled at that and said, “Of course I should. We’re serving each other. We just do it in different ways. You’re offering your service to me as my submissive. But I’m also offering my service to you as your Dominant. We’re equals in this, Sebastian.”

“You really believe that?”

“Fuck yes! I absolutely do. I can do nothing with you, to you, unless you have given your express permission. That power is in your hands. You know this.”

Sebastian nodded. “Yeah. I mean, I guess. I just never thought of it that way. That doesn’t seem right.”

“I’m giving you what you need, just as you are doing for me. If that isn’t service, I don’t know what is.”

 

While this book is long, it is not without reason.  Every scene in some way has a point, shows the true character of our main MCs and therefore nothing ever seemed pointless.  Even the scene with Boone and Connell had value and was so damn perfect at capturing the nurturing aspect of Gideon.    

 

 

 

The rope scenes for me were so intricate in their descriptions that I longed to have the imagery from Khaleo’s camera…not only in scene but in aftercare as well.  The images of the marks and indentions left in the skin, just beautiful crafted.

 

“Look at the lines on your body caused by the ropes. They’re beautiful. You’re beautiful."

 

Luna David, I have to say, not only impressed me with her in depth exploration into BDSM but into the health conditions that our sweet Sebastian lives with.  I felt this part of the story to be well researched and thoughtful.  While I am not a physician, it all felt quite accurate and ultimately personal. 

 

 

The story telling aspect of this also worked well for me.  While much of the story is a back and forth POV, there are several key scenes which are told from both POV and it was those that became the most touching of the story.  The New Year’s Eve scene being the most heartbreaking of them all.  I also enjoyed that while at times, it seemed certain scenes were skipped, we later got these told in memories, which I loved.  I am not sure this book would have worked had only one POV been described.  This was a couple and therefore their thoughts, actions and love for the other were of utmost importance in making this successful.

 

Now, I did not read the first 2 books in this series…honestly after hearing the praises surrounding this book and in seeing the cover, there was just no way I could wait.  And while a standalone, part of me does wish I had read the others first.  I was a little confused during the first hospital scene, feeling as though I walked into a family dinner not knowing who was there or what their relationships entailed.  I also feel like I may have gotten some inkling into what Sebastian looked like, having perhaps gotten other's perspectives on this man in previous books.  So again, while it really didn’t matter as this couple goes, it kinda mattered to me.  I will go back and read the others if for no other reason than to see sweet Braden’s story.  He was such a loving spirit and friend and I need more of him.

 

I do hope we eventually get Killian’s story.  He popped on page only briefly but there is no doubt a story behind this intriguing man.  And while I am no longer a big reader of M/F, I would read Finn and Zoe’s story.  How this doctor came to embrace this lifestyle to be what he needed for the woman he loves. I am on board.

 

There are so many aspects of this story that I have failed to even acknowledge, from their backgrounds, to their families, to the tattoos and Sebastian's love of art, and pets, every aspect was so beautifully and amazingly crafted.  I guess I will just have to reread this at some point and expand on those elements as well.  Until then, I cannot recommend this journey enough.

 

 

Spoilerish Bonus Quote…read at own risk…but it is absolutely beautiful.

 

Gideon leaned down and kissed his head, over and over, everywhere he could reach, paying particular attention to the raised, bumpy edges of his scar. His boy’s sobs were wracking his whole body at that point and Gideon’s heart was breaking.

“You’re so good, baby. So strong. Let it out. I’m so fucking proud of you. So proud. You’re the bravest man I know.”

Gideon touched and stroked Sebastian’s face, his head, his shoulders, and his neck, telling him how beautiful he was, how he’d never been more attracted to anyone in his life, how proud he was to be with him, and finally how lucky he knew he was that Sebastian had chosen him.

 

***

Even better the second time around. ❤️❤️❤️

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