Learning to Love Again WHAT REMAINS-A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a fantastic contemporary M/M romance from Garret Leigh. WHAT REMAINS is a bittersweet story of loss and recovery–and it kept me up all night. There’s also a link to the tour-wide giveaway below.

What RemainsAbout the book:
Web designer Jodi Peters is a solitary creature. Lunch twice a week with his ex-girlfriend-turned-BFF and the occasional messy venture to a dodgy gay bar is all the company he needs, right?

Then one night he stumbles across newly divorced firefighter Rupert O’Neil. Rupert is lost and lonely, but just about the sweetest bloke Jodi has ever known. Add in the heady current between them, and Jodi can’t help falling hard in love. He offers Rupert a home within the walls of his cosy Tottenham flat—a sanctuary to nurture their own brand of family—and for four blissful years, life is never sweeter.

Until a cruel twist of fate snatches it all away. A moment of distraction leaves Jodi fighting for a life he can’t remember and shatters Rupert’s heart. Jodi doesn’t know him—or want to. With little left of the man he adores, Rupert must cling to what remains of his shaky faith and pray that Jodi can learn to love him again.

My Review:
Jodi is a solitary bisexual man, living in Tottingham, London. He’s a web designer and doesn’t go out much but one Boxing Day he meets Rupert, a fireman who’s also a bouncer at a club near his home. Rupert’s concerned about Jodi’s state–he’s a bit high–and walks him home. They share coffee and conversation. Rupert awkwardly confesses that he’s gay–newly out and never been with a man–and they share a kiss. It’s electric. But, it’s also too soon for more. Rupert wants to call Jodi, waits a few weeks, and they meet again. It’s all so new and frightening, but Jodi makes it seem so cool, that Rupert falls hard. So does Jodi. They move in within months and Jodi’s just as smitten with Rupert’s young daughter as he is with his sexy fireman.

Nearly five years pass in this idyllic domestic bliss. Then one day, Jodi’s hit by a vehicle while crossing the street, and he’s in a coma. When he wakes, months later, he doesn’t recognize Rupert. Worse yet, Jodi doesn’t remember any of their time together, and wants his ex-girlfriend, Sophie, back. He thinks.

This one was a true emotional roller coaster. I’ve read a few injury/amnesia books and they are always so compelling. The medical advice is often to “wait and see” what memories the patient will recover on his or her own–without too much prompting. It’s a frightening experience to be unable to recall what one did yesterday, a week ago, but to lose years of memories, relationships, experiences is often debilitating. When Jodi wakes up and doesn’t know Rupert, he freaks out–dead scared of the stranger in his hospital room. The physicians agree that Rupert should be patient, be a steady support, but not tell him all about their history. Rupert’s shattered, yet he agrees to assume a position as Jodi’s “flatmate” because he can’t bear to walk away from the man he loves. Also, he’s afraid telling Jodi will cause Jodi to reject him outright, and he’d rather be his friend than have no contact.

So, this is a hurt/comfort story in the extreme. I liked the flashbacks which allowed me to watch Rupert and Jodi fall in love the first time. There is so much tenderness! Most of the book takes place after the accident, and Jodi’s recovery is a mess, not just mentally. He’s got physical problems, and terrible headaches, and is mostly unable to care for himself for months. Rupert’s job as a fireman takes him away for long hours, and Jodi’s ex, Sophie spends lots of time as his carer. Jodi can’t understand why they didn’t work out, and he’s confused by his unwanted attraction to Rupert. Rupert’s daughter, who’s looked at Jodi as a step-father for years now, is being kept away–because Rupert can’t explain why Jodi doesn’t know her. That said, meeting her in an unexpected way brings Jodi back to his earlier self. He starts to recognize that Rupert isn’t his friend–that they had shared a life together, and he mourns his missing memories all the more.

I felt that the medical issues Jodi faced were realistic. Many of the symptoms and effects could hold for brain injury sufferers or those with dementia, to some degree. That helplessness and fury were so potent, while Jodi himself felt impotent. Little by little life realigns, however, and Jodi isn’t willing to accept a half-life any longer. Memories may be gone forever, but new ones can be made, and he wants these to be bigger and better than those he’d lost–and also, with Rupert by his side. So, expect a lot of hurt, a lot of comfort, some sweet lovin’ and some sassy quips on the way to an HEA. I seriously read this book in one sleep-deprived night, unable to set it down.

Interested? You can find WHAT REMAINS on Goodreads, Riptide Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and AllRomance. I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

****GIVEAWAY****

Comment (with your contact info) on any of the tour posts (alas, not mine, just thought I’d share!!) for WHAT REMAINS to enter to win $25 in credit at Riptide Publishing. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 9, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Garrett Leigh is a British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, 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. Otherwise you can find her on her website, twitter or Facebook.

SIA is Unforgettable–Review and Giveaway!

SIA banner copy

Hi there and welcome to my stop on the SIA Blog Tour sponsored by YA Bound Book Tours. For other stops on the tour click here. Today’s book on review is a YA romance by debut author Josh Greyson and it’s a good one!

sia coverSummary from Goodreads:
When seventeen-year-old Sia wakes up on a park bench, she has no idea who or where she is. Yet after a week of being homeless, she’s reunited with her family. At school, she’s powerful and popular. At home, she’s wealthy beyond her dreams. But she quickly realizes her perfect life is a lie. Her family is falling apart and her friends are snobby, cruel and plastic. Worse yet, she discovers she was the cruelest one. Mortified by her past, she embarks on a journey of redemption and falls for Kyle, the “geek” she once tormented. Yet all the time she wonders if, when her memories return, she’ll become the bully she was before…and if she’ll lose Kyle.

My Review:
This YA adventure is fast-paced and captivating. Sia comes to awareness in a park wearing nothing but a hot-pink bra top and running shorts and her gym shoes. She has an iPod, no ID, no money, and no idea who (or where) she is. For the next eight days her life is all about survival. After being propositioned by many and nearly kidnapped by a pimp, Sia is cared for by Carol, a homeless woman who helps as best she can.

Through her friendship with Carol, Sia learns the skills she needs to survive on the streets. They sleep under bridges and make the rounds of soup kitchens, aiming to find day work to make a little cash. One morning, a boy from her high school sees Sia in line at the soup kitchen and accuses her of pranking everyone. Scared, Sia flees the shelter and is hit by a car. When she wakes in the hospital, the doctors recognize Sia’s condition–dissociative fugue–a rare type of temporary amnesia that has wiped out all of Sia’s memories.

Her parents come to claim her and she’s unsettled and mystified, but she’s apparently very wealthy. Resuming her old life, Sia learns she was the high school mean girl: beautiful and nasty wrapped in a designer label. The new Sia can’t reconcile the way she now feels with the person she used to be. Her friends and boyfriend are stunned by her new sensitivity, and really don’t want to accept this tidal wave of social change, so Sia helps them out. By moving on. She tries to strike up new friendships, with mixed success, and is certain that there’s something about Kyle that she really likes. He’s the boy from the shelter. The one who smells like his parents’ bakery. The one who volunteers his time helping the homeless and recent earthquake victims.

For the new Sia, this world where a thin veneer of “perfection” overlays her father’s dismal financial state and her mother’s alcoholism, is something she can strive to overcome. A world she can make better. This is Sia’s “Do Over” and she makes the most of it. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and read it in one sitting. It’s YA, but will appeal to upper MG grade readers and adults who love a good YA redemption tale.

Interested? You can find SIA at Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo.  

What others think about SIA…
“A compelling read full of intrigue, romance, and lots of surprises. I couldn’t wait to see what happened next!” – Jennifer Read Hawthorne, #1 New York Times bestselling author 

“There have been very few books that made me think they made to someday become a movie (i.e. Warm Bodies, The Host). And I guess Sia can join the club, because this book, I say, is perfect for it. I felt like I was reading a script for a movie, the plot is fantastic and the characters are great, there’s a little of humor as well as tragic situations.” -Bookish Randomness—I agree!  The book read like a screenplay–V

“Well I finished this book amazingly fast. This whole book will leave you amused, intrigued, in awe, and most importantly in love with the whole story line until the very last word. I’ll have to go with 5 stars for this book.”  – Lovely Reads

“Beautifully written…this one will have you reflecting on your current and past actions. Although a fiction, Sia inspires.” –A Starry-eyed Heart Review 

Josh Author PicAbout the Author
Josh Grayson was born in Mexico, raised in Massachusetts, and now lives in Martinsville, Virginia. It was his move to the South that stirred his imagination and gave him the courage to start writing. During his free time, Josh enjoys reading, jogging, swimming, and watching YouTube videos.

Josh currently works as a medical driver, shuttling people all over Virginia and North Carolina. He has also worked as a machinist, film sales rep, administrative assistant, and telemarketer (he apologizes if he called you). You can catch up with Josh on his website, Goodreads, Facebook, and twitter.

Sia is his debut YA novel.

***GIVEAWAY***

Click the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win:

5 print copies of SIA (US only)

5 ebooks copies of SIA (INT)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Best of luck and, as always, keep reading my friends!

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Love is…WHAT ENDURES

What Endures
Release Date: August 1st, 2013
Contemporary New Adult
Summary from Goodreads:
Jason Kincaid is young, hot and successful.
An All-Star outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, he finally had everything he ever wanted, including a second chance with his high school sweetheart, Megan Williams.
But their hopes for a ‘happily-ever-after’ are dashed by tragedy.
A horrific car accident wipes out most of Jason’s memories. Unable to recall anything from the last fifteen years of his life, Jason is suddenly adrift, his once charmed life now in ruins.
 Megan finds herself in the untenable position of having to deal with the fact that the man she’s helping to rebuild his life may look, and even act, like her beloved fiancé, but in reality, isn’t any longer.
Trying to protect herself, as well as Jason, Megan fights the attraction between them. . .to no avail. As their potent connection inevitably draws them closer, Megan wonders,

With the memories of their relationship gone, can love endure?
Excerpt:
“So is the interview over?” she asked lightly.
           He grinned and she caught the mischievous twinkle in his eye which should have warned her that he had something up his sleeve. “Not quite. I do have one other question.”
           The warning bells finally sounded in her head. “What question?”
           His grin widened, as he leaned forward on the table. “When did you get that tattoo on your hip?”
           She stared at him as her mind raced, trying to process what he had just said. He met her gaze calmly, as if waiting for her to put the pieces together.
           “How’d you know. . .” Was he remembering she wondered? Something about his expression, however, told her that this particular bit of knowledge was not the result of a recollection but something sneakier.
           “Home movies.”
           “Home mov-” she started and stopped suddenly as the answer came to her. She looked at him with wide, questioning eyes and he nodded slowly in confirmation.

            Suddenly, a mental image of the beach house popped into her mind and she realized much too late that the house was brimming with personal things of her. . of him. . . of them. And then she started to panic, doing a mental inventory of the collection of home movies that she and Jason had and how each one had been made. Which one of those had revealed her tattoo to him? For one brief, horrifying instant, she actually wondered if they had ever made one of those home movies. A part of her wanted to rush right out to the beach house that instant and start gathering up those DVDs.
***
About the Author
Katie Lee has had a lifelong love affair with books. She fell in love with her first book in the second grade and hasn’t looked back since. She first took up writing as a hobby, wanting to craft her own magical adventures, and through the love and encouragement of family and friends, decided to get serious about writing and share her stories with the world.

She currently resides in Maryland in the United States. She works for the government during the day, and her spare time is devoted to writing. She gains inspiration from all sorts of things, but mostly from the fun and adventurous trips she takes when she can.  She loves hearing from her readers so drop her a note!

Author Links:

  

***GIVEAWAY***

2 e-book copies of What Endures (INT)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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