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Search tags: break-my-heart-and-put-it-back-together
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review 2015-11-18 00:00
Rise: A Gay Fairy Tale
Rise: A Gay Fairy Tale - Keira Andrews,Leta Blake

4.5 fairy-tale-stars

Huh, I did so not expect it, but I loved this book!

It's a very unique twist on Jack and the Beanstalk, one I enjoyed very much. It starts out with a lonely young man, Jack, shunned by his village, treated horrendously by his family, and on top of it all, losing the only real friend he ever had. Which, btw, made me cry and ache like I was right there with him.

With nothing left to loose, Jack decides to climb the beanstalk, find the treasure hidden there and leave his home forever. What he gets though, is not gold and diamonds, but Rion. An euqally lonely, tortured "giant", who lives his life trapped by his own promises and history.

This is an excellent example for an enemies-to-lovers story, full of conflict and guilt, emotional encounters, some soul searching and - surprise - pretty hot smut. It's dirty, it's gritty, it's absolutely wonderful. All of this gets perfected with a little action/suspense-cherry on top.

Absolutely wonderful, and a memorable new fairy tale. Definitely recommended if you like romance, magical stories and raunchy smexy times - what a combination.

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review 2015-11-10 00:00
Nor Iron Bars a Cage
Nor Iron Bars a Cage - Kaje Harper

5 fantastic fantastical stars!

Oh dear, this was GOOOD. Color me amazed!

Let me explain why I'm so surprised and blown away by this story, and why I was very hestitant to pick it up. First of all, I am not a huge fan of the cover. I know, I know! Don't judge a book by it's cover. I really don't. But I can't help it, I do tend to pick up a book sooner if I really like the cover. Ergo, when I'm really not happy with a book cover, the blurb has to make up for it or else I'll probably have it sitting on my TBR shelf for a long time. Not proud of it, but that's what it is. Thank god, the blurb here was very good! A former sorcerer, trapped in his self-imposed isolation is forced to face his past, and conquer his future after being summoned by the King.

Which brings me to my second "issue". I like the fantasy genre a lot, but I'm always a little... cautious when I pick up a story written by an author I'm not familiar with in this particular genre. Because fantasy is not easy to write, and I tend to be a little nit-picky. The art of creating a new world, building it in a believable and comprehensible way, AND adding an intriguing plot with three-dimensional characters to the mix, is something that not every author is good at. Especially when they only have a month and a half to do it.

And then there came Kaje Harper. Boy, did she pull it off and pull it off good. This story was absolutely amazing on many different levels. Harper's writing has been a favorite of mine for a long time now. She's just really, really good at what she does, and it always shows. She gets the tone and pace right, every story has its' own style, but you always recognize her hand in it. Her characters are three-dimensional, with flaws and strenghts and weaknesses. So loveable, all of them! What really knocked me over here though, was her ability to create an alternative world that made sense and that I understood, without adding a very lenghty description of every little detail. It all just fell into place as the story wore on and I loved it!

Lyon's story, while absolutely heart-breaking, was very emotional but hopeful at the same time. There are some dark themes included here, but the overall tone of the story was not dark or depressing. On the contrary, the slow and careful development of a relationship and Lyon's hard fight out of his own personal hell were timed perfectly, carefully crafted and so believeable. Tobin, too, was a gem. So patient, sweet and understanding. Full of love, strenght, respect and commitment. I adored him, and I loved him and Lyon together.

I don't want to talk about the story more then I already have, because there are some big surprises here and an unbelievably good Bang! at the end. It's such a pleasure to read the action scenes, because Kaje Harper has them down pat. I can only say: READ IT! Seriously, if you like hurt/comfort, a wonderfully wholesome fantasy world, and the sweetest love between two complex men, PICK. THIS. UP. I promise, you won't be disappointed!

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review 2015-11-02 00:00
Taming Ryder
Taming Ryder - Nicola Haken

Man, where to begin with this one?

One important thing first: Heed the trigger warning, folks! Of course, I completely overlooked it before I began reading. I wouldn't go as far as saying that it was a mistake, because I got through the scenes intact and still liked the book. But I do think that the description and picturing of self-harm in all its' complexities and backrounds is done very realisticly. They are intense and real. This was not done by an author who had no idea what she was talking about and it showed in a way that might not be as "harmless" to other readers as it was to me. So, again, please heed the warnings.

What else? Yes, Ryder! Ryder breaks your heart - probably more than once. He is so many contradictory things at the same time, it made my head spin and still allowed me to understand him completely. He was so strong, yet felt so weak at times, it was almost impossible for him to bear. He seems so confident, but really has no feelings of self-worth, sometimes not even self-preservation. Hence, the abuse of alcohol and other substances.

And then we have Mason. My problem probably was, that as connected as I felt to Ryder, I didn't quite get the same grasp on Mason. At least not in the beginning, all the more though during the end.

I enjoyed the flow of the story very much. Their battles, their struggles, their communication and their communication problems drew me in and held me captive. And let's be honest, the sexual side of this relationship was pretty damn hot. And that's something I don't say too often in the "porn star" trope, mainly because I don't like "my" sex too porny, which annoyed to me quite often when reading "porn star" books. But it was well done here, so no complaints on that front. Parts of the dialogue and descriptions of feelings might have been a little bit too over the top if you ask me, but not overly so.

I also liked the development around the little "mystery/crime" part, even though it problably wasn't the most believable plot line. But that's when I actually connected fully to Mason.

About Ryder's mother thoough (his father is not worth even that much): Uhm, no. I didn't get her, I didn't believe her and I certainly couldn't forgive her. At all. Her regret didn't faze or touch me. Too little, too late.

All in all a solid read for me, at times a little too much, at times unebelievably intense, but still really good.

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review 2015-10-21 00:00
Carte Blanche
Carte Blanche - Nash Summers

4 stars for 50 pages warming my heart

Jude, suffering from social anxiety and OCD, is severely limited in his everyday life. Cleaning with bleach is his life line, not having unnecessary contact with the world outside his apartment his crutch. Enter Devin, the new guy next door dead set on getting to know recluse Jude.

There is so much sweetness and heart-warming happening in this story, it broke my heart and put it back together in only 50 pages. Was the road a little too easy? Maybe. And in a way Devin's motives were not really clear. I mean, yes, he liked Jude. But in order to develop deep feelings for a guy you can't even have a regular conversation with, you might need a little more? Maybe? But I guess, that's where the magic of the story actually lies. I loved it despite my little niggles - so who cares? 4 stars and definitely a recommendation for all romantics out there.

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review 2015-10-21 00:00
Complementary Colors
Complementary Colors - Adrienne Wilder

And another intense, beautiful read by Adrienne Wilder

"I stared at all the broken fragments of color that where once me, lying scattered around my feet."

Alright, folks, this is one intense read. On the one hand you get Roy. Simple, relaxed, calm, maybe a little mysterious himself in the beginning. He has his own demons, his own skeletons and his very own closet, albeit one with wide open doors.

Then there is Paris.

And Paris is what makes this book so colorful, but painful at the same time. He is beautiful, talented in a twisted way, caged and abused, and even though I don't like the expression much, he is the Victim with a capital "V" here. What he lived/lives through, how he suffers, is a main part of his art, of his story, of his personality. And it hurts to read it all.

Because one thing is for sure: When Adrienne Wilder writes villains, she writes them EVIL. Pure, unredeemable, ruthless, heartless Evil. Which is not something I fall for usually, but somehow she just makes it work. At least I don't feel like I'm in the middle of a Disney-inspired bad cartoon. I'm saying that just to warn potential readers. The bad guys here aren't just bad, they're despicable, disgusting, and they'll rip your heart out with a bright fake smile on their faces. You've got to have the stomach for this ind of thing if you want to read this book. Even I struggled with some of the scenes. Partly because of some violence and cruelty that was just that side of painful to read, but also partly because of a somewhat (overbearing) sense of dread I was carrying around while reading this.

Another thing I would warn potential readers about is the pace. Even though the very first scene is hot and steamy, the actual development of intimacy and love takes time. Quite some time, actually. Paris has issues. Not the (dare I say usual?) problems and baggage of a young man, but very, very serious mental health problems. And there is no magic cock here, no "love is all you need", no fast solution for everything. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of love, devotion, help and happily ever after in here. But it isn't instant, or easy. It's a gut-wrenching, desperate journey, so you should go in prepared.

And don't ecpect change to happen over night, because as in real life, the fight against abuse, self-hate and mental illness takes time and, in most cases, never really ends. I saw some readers getting frustrated with this, with Paris and his inner struggles. Which goes to show that some people not only have no idea about mental illnesses, but that for some readers, this is just the wrong topic. Because fact of the matter is, mental problems, like borderline disorder, depression or OCD, never leave you completely. They're not "curable" or of one's own making. If you feel like all of these things are weaknesses, that people struggling with this are not strong enough, not determined enough to be well, just plain not good enough to life a "healthy" life like you, than please put this book aside and never touch it again. You are absolutely not going to like this book, I guarantee it! Because - hate me all you want for that comment - you are not made for it and you won't be able to appreciate it. It takes a (special?) kind of patience, empathy and compassion to appreciate the hard path Paris takes, and how far he comes until the end of the book. Obviously, it's not for everyone.

Also, if you can't stomach a lot of angst, cruelty or violence, you might want to pass this up. It's really not for highly sensitive readers. But for everyone else: Read it! It's absolutely worth it.

I had one issue, though. The sex. While I don't have a problem with frequent sex scenes, some of them felt kind of wrong here. Mainly because of the timing. Having a nice, hard fuck while your homicidal monster of a sister is looking for you? While you have to fear for your own life and the life of your partner? How about NO? I couldn't enjoy this particular scenes at all. I was too anxious, too tense to even appreciate the love shared between the two MCs, because all I could think was: "What the fuck are you doing?! You. Are. In. Mortal. Danger. Get your freakking bags and get the fuck out of there! She'll be there in no time at all!"

Of course they didn't, and She fucking did. I knew it, so this part frustrated me. It didn't only make me angry, but it also "provoked" and forced an ending that wasn't strictly necessary and somewhat over the top, IMHO.

Like I said, hot sex is fine and dandy, but even I need a little more "good timing" for it to not feel too forced or uncomfortable.

All in all, I enjoyed this book. I struggled with some scenes, I would definitely issue a trigger warning, and parts of the ending were a little too forced for my taste, but I'd still recommend it, just not necessarily for everyone.

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