Review: New Beginnings: Abel’s Journey (No Regrets #2) by Nicky James

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Author: Nicky James
Publication Date: May 14, 2017
Format: E-Book
Page Length: 368 pages
My Rating: 5 / 5 stars

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Please note: Because the rest of the blurb spoils the book if you haven’t read book one, I’m placing the rest of the blurb and review under the cut.

BLURB

**TRIGGER WARNING** (self-harm, depression, anxiety, substance abuse)

Life is beyond our control. It can bring joy, laughter, and happiness, then turn around and rip your heart out of your chest without warning.

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Review: No Regrets (No Regrets #1) by Nicky James

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Author: Nicky James
Publication Date: March 13, 2017
Format: E-Book
Page Length: 408 pages
My Rating: 5 / 5 stars

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Life makes no promises, and sometimes, you draw the short straw.

Landon Johnston’s life came to a grinding halt seven months ago, when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. With the encouragement of his grandmother, Landon works his way out of his slump and tries to live life while he still can. Deciding he doesn’t want to drag anyone else down his morbid path, Landon gives up all friendships and denies himself love. It’s better this way, because all he has to offer is eventual heartache and sadness.

While traveling the world, Landon meets Abel Matheson, a free-spirited, unedited, and nerve-grating man who was supposed to only be a one-night-stand. Despite Landon’s insistence that he can’t form a relationship with his current diagnoses, Abel is persistent and will not be ignored. Fighting against all his ingrained urges to run, Landon finds himself drawn down the road he swore he’d never take.

Intimacy grows and bonds form…

Only… Abel doesn’t know Landon is sick. How can anyone love a man with no future? Telling him might cause him to run, but staying silent means living a lie. A lie which will only reveal itself in time.

My hope was that someday, I would train myself not to fear death. Because, as it stood, I was terrified.

GUYS. THIS BOOK IS SAD. I’m writing this review after reading book two, and this series will make you cry. But it’s more in the anticipation of the sad thing that’s going to happen that destroyed me, not the actual events itself. There’s no hiding what’s going to happen in this book. It’s in the blurb. You know starting out where this story is going to go. It’s a HFN, certainly, and the ending is absolutely amazing, but the feels. I actually started reading this book after I read the blurb for book two, but even then, the author’s note starts out letting you know where the book is heading.

Here’s the author’s note at the beginning of the book:

So, my readers, I promise you this…No one will die in this book. You will not journey with Landon to his end. Instead, you will walk besides him and watch him live.

It’s an important story, and one I would highly recommend, but just be ready with a box of tissues, or two, or three for this series. So, know that this story is about a terminal cancer patient, and the book does not hide the pain of both the patient or the pain suffered by the loved ones around him.

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ARC Review: Heels Over Head by Elyse Springer

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Author: Elyse Springer
Publication Date: May 29, 2017
Format: ARC
Page Length: 366 pages
My Rating: 5 / 5 stars

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Jeremy Reeve is one of the best divers in the world, and he’s worked hard to get where he is. He intends to keep pushing himself with one very clear goal in mind: winning gold at the summer Olympics in two years. That medal might be the only way to earn his father’s respect as an athlete.

Brandon Evans is everything Jeremy isn’t: carefree, outgoing, and openly gay. With his bright-blue eyes and dramatic tattoos, he’s a temptation that Jeremy refuses to acknowledge. But Jeremy can’t ignore how talented Brandon is—or that Brandon has no interest in using his diving skills to compete.

They’re opposites who are forced to work together as teammates, but Jeremy’s fear of his own sexuality and Brandon’s disinterest in anything “not fun” may end their partnership before it begins. Until a single moment changes everything, and they help each other discover that “team” can also mean family and love.

This book is so cute. Also, a little bit angsty when I really wasn’t expecting it. And I’m so excited that this is a book about Olympic diving! I mean, I like sports books and all, but really, the few times I get way more into sports than I normally do is during the Olympics. It’s actually unreal how many hours of the Olympics I watch when they roll around, and that’s not including during the regular seasons when I just watch their other championships for fun (somehow, I’ve winded up watching swimming, snowboarding, curling, and figure skating during the non-Olympic years, so a book about diving is still totally my jam). Diving is intense. I usually like watching it on delay, because it scares me to watch divers jump off 10m platforms (or even the 3m springboard). Basically, diving takes more courage than what I can muster up, so I loved reading this book and getting a chance to see characters going about their daily lives training for competitions.

This book is about two precious cinnamon rolls – Jeremy Reeve and Brandon Evans. I think this book certainly feels very realistic, even if I don’t know all the details about  competitive diving. Jeremy has been training since he was a young kid to be the best – a gold medalist at the Olympics. Diving is a sport his family has never approved of, but it’s definitely what he excels at. He puts a lot of pressure on himself to be the best. He has routine regimes that he follows, whether it’s his schedule or what he eats everyday. His determination brought his current coach, Andrey, out of retirement to train him, but pretty soon Jeremy realizes he’s not the only student who will be training with Andrey.

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Review: Touch the Sky (Free Fall #1) by Christina Lee and Nyrae Dawn

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Author(s): Christina Lee and Nyrae Dawn
Publication Date: March 28, 2016
Format: E-Book
Page Length: 226 pages
My Rating: 4 / 5 stars

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SUMMARY

Lucas Barnett and Gabriel Stewart didn’t have it easy as kids. They were only trying to deal with bad situations at home when they became lifelines for each other. Their pipe dream was to someday meet in LA, where Lucas would design skyscrapers, and Gabriel would learn to fly. But then Gabriel disappeared without so much as a goodbye, and Lucas got himself in trouble with the law.

Five years later, both men are at a loss when they run into each other at a Hollywood bar. Lucas is still angry, but it’s not as if Gabriel could control how his mind and body had betrayed him. Being found on the ledge of that bridge had changed everything.

The attraction is immediate, but it’s more than their inability to keep their hands off each other. Neither man expects the fierce connection pulling them together. Unfortunately, ignoring their problems doesn’t make them disappear. Gabriel’s internal struggles are serious…dangerous. And no matter how much Lucas wants it to be true, saving Gabriel won’t make up for not being able to save his mom. If they don’t find the strength to face their own demons before the darkness takes hold, they risk more than just losing each other forever.

Both of these authors are new-to-me authors and I’m interested in reading the books in the rest of this series. The story is about Lucas and Gabriel. Lucas and Gabriel know each from an online chat room back during the darkest period of their teenage years. They became close online, even if nothing about their real life scenarios would ever indicate the two boys would have been friends in real life. But, when they reveal their thoughts and their feelings online, they realize they have a lot of shared feelings and they provide each other a figurative shoulder to lean on during their dark days. They both dreamed of a future where they included each other, and one day meeting up in real life once they became of age and left their families. However, things didn’t go as planned when Gabriel all of a sudden dropped communication with Lucas and left him wondering whatever happened to his one and only friend.

We’ve got this.

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Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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Author: Erin Morgenstern
Narrator: Jim Dale
Publication Date: September 13, 2011
Format: Audiobook
Audiobook Length: 13 hours and 39 minutes
My Rating: 1 / 5 stars

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SUMMARY

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love – a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

I’m so sorry, you guys. This is going to be a super unpopular opinion review. I’ve put off writing this review forever, because I didn’t really know what to say. I really, honest-to-God tried to read this book a lot of times before I caved and checked out an audiobook in the hopes of actually finishing the story. My biggest obstacle is that I’m not used to reading books written in third-person present. Especially in fantasy novels. I’m not used to it, but I managed a little better listening to the audiobook. Jim Dale narrates The Night Circus, and he also narrated the Harry Potter series, so that was a definitely win for me. So, narration-wise, this is a five-star audiobook. His voices are great, and I liked the audiobook production. The story, however, not so much.

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Review: Where We Left Off (Middle of Somewhere #3) by Roan Parrish

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Author: Roan Parrish
Publication Date: September 26, 2016
Format: E-Book
Page Length: 260 pages
My Rating: 4 / 5 stars

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SUMMARY

Leo Ware may be young, but he knows what he wants. And what he wants is Will Highland. Snarky, sophisticated, fiercely opinionated Will Highland, who burst into Leo’s unremarkable life like a supernova… and then was gone just as quickly.

For the past miserable year, Leo hasn’t been able to stop thinking about the powerful connection he and Will shared. So, when Leo moves to New York for college, he sweeps back into Will’s life, hopeful that they can pick up where they left off. What begins as a unique friendship soon burns with chemistry they can’t deny… though Will certainly tries.

But Leo longs for more than friendship and hot sex. A romantic to his core, Leo wants passion, love, commitment—everything Will isn’t interested in giving. Will thinks romance is a cheesy fairytale and love is overrated. He likes his space and he’s happy with things just the way they are, thank you very much. Or is he? Because as he and Leo get more and more tangled up in each other’s lives, Will begins to act like maybe love is something he could feel after all.

This book is…different. Not bad different, but I feel like this book is just different from the previous two books. Where We Left Off takes place in a completely new setting and with characters we last saw in the book one, Leo and Will. This takes place in NYC. Will, Rex’s ex-boyfriend, already lives in the city as a cover artist for books. Leo, is moving into the city to study at NYU by moving from his small town Holiday, Michigan and going to the big city by himself. After their initial meeting and kiss in the first book, Leo is completely infatuated with Will, someone who’s older than his 19-year-old self. Not to say Leo only moved to NYU to be with Will, because he does want to study at a college, but he kind of did pick a school in New York to be close to Will. So, this story is a mixed bag for me.

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Review: Something Permanent (Middle of Somewhere #2.1) by Roan Parrish

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Author: Roan Parrish
Publication Date: February 14, 2017
Format: E-Book
Page Length: 44 pages
My Rating: 5 / 5 stars

Free from author’s website

SUMMARY

A Middle of Somewhere Valentine’s Day Story.

This is basically just a really cute story with the main characters from the first two books. The entire story is told from Colin’s perspective and tells the story of how clueless the Mulligan brothers are about Valentine’s Day gifts for their boyfriends. Colin and Daniel both are at a loss at what to give Rafe and Rex, respectively.

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