Categories
adult - 18+

Where Love Grows by Jay Northcote Narrated by Hamish Long

audiobookreview

https://www.audible.com/pd/Where-Love-Grows-Audiobook/B08FNHCYYJ?qid=1598094909&sr=1-1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=QJM4STCKDHFSPQ5A34ZW

Blurb
When two broken men look to each other for help, an unexpected romance blooms.
Stephen’s home, deep in the heart of the Welsh valleys, suits his reclusive nature. However, as he recovers from illness, he’s struggling to manage alone. As nature reclaims the land he’s poured his heart into cultivating, he becomes increasingly unhappy. His only outlet is his blog, where he documents the decline of the garden that had been his pride and joy.
He was a high-flyer, living and working in London, until addiction sent him into free fall. Now on the road to recovery, he still wants to make some changes, but he’s unsure where to find the purpose and fulfilment he craves.
A mutual acquaintance suggests Luke visits Stephen to help him out for a while, and a seed of hope is planted. From prickly beginnings, shoots of friendship emerge, blossoming into a deeper connection when they act on their mutual attraction.
This was only ever supposed to be a temporary arrangement, and soon Stephen will be able to manage on his own again. But both men need each other in ways they’re afraid to admit. If their love is going to last for more than one season, they’ll need to find the courage to be honest.
Review
Story: I think this might very well be the best book Jay Northcote has written so far. There’s just so much emotion in this story. And the writing… it’s simply incredible. Such a pleasure to listen to, especially the almost poetic, evocative descriptions of nature and some of the MC’s internal musings. A book to be savored and enjoyed, never rushed.
Luke and Stephen get off to a rough start, but I very much enjoyed the slow but sure way their friendship developed. Stephen is a tough nut to crack. His heart, health, pride and self-esteem have suffered countless blows. He’s lost so much: his parents, his health, a job he loved, … and he finds it nearly impossible to believe he can have happiness again. He’s super prickly and antagonistic as a result, but so vulnerable underneath his hard exterior. Luke, on the other hand, is very open about how he feels and tries his hardest to form a connection with Stephen. He’s such a sweetheart and has his own cross to bear, unfortunately. Luke and Stephen both tugged on my heartstrings something fierce.
This book has an almost magical “Secret Garden” feel to it, with a prominent role going to Nature, with all its beauty and promise of growth and resilience. The garden slowly blossoming under Luke’s care wonderfully mirrors the progress both Luke and Stephen make as well.

Narration: Hamish Long is the perfect choice for this audiobook. His honeyed voice and wonderful ability to capture every emotion, however small or subtle, make this into a mesmerizing listen. I love the voices he does for both Stephen and Luke, though Stephen’s slight accent is especially enjoyable to listen to.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 6


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Spotless: a box set by Bailey Bradford

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/series/125914

 

Blurbs

1 – Hide When you think you’ll never fit it, never be whole, love can show you a truth you’ve never seen.
2 – Hunt Steven was on a mission he knew could cost him his life, but instead he might find himself truly living for the first time.
3 – Home Solomon wanted nothing more than to stay at home and raise his siblings, until he’s kidnapped and everything in his world changes.
4 – Heart Rolly has waited ten years to claim his mate. Now the wait is over, and he’s coming home.
What happens when shifters are born of two different breeds? Nothing good as far as the pumapards can see. With a parent who is a leopard, and another who is a puma, they have a hard life and are scorned by either of the full-blooded breeds.
But there’s more to their existence than they know. Why were they even allowed to be born? Why did their parents breed in the first place, when no one wanted the offspring?
And how do they survive when one man in particular—their father—wants them to suffer as much as possible?

Review

This is a box set of 4 stories that continue events set in motion in the Leopard’s Spots series. I love shifter romances and I think the author did a great job with the world-building and fated mates trope in this series. There’s enough crossing over of the characters from other books to keep everything linked, while never upstaging the main couple.

Hide is the story of Adal, a character we first got to meet in Isaiah, book 4 in the Leopard’s Spots series. Adal and his brother Steven are “aberrations”, mixed breed shifters that were never supposed to exist and have been abused and poisoned by their psychopath father. Adal never thought he could have a mate, and his world is turned upside down when he finds Dorso. Dorso is a bit rough around the edges, and more than a little surprised by the reality of shifters and fated mates, but his rapidly growing devotion to Adal, and vice versa, makes for a captivating read.

In Hunt we finally get to discover what happened to Steven, Adal’s protective brother, who is on a suicide mission to rid the world of their horrible father. Steven is a tough cookie, he’s had to be in order to survive, and it takes two very special men to help and love him. Two mates? It is unheard of apparently but it works beautifully. Cole and Shaun have grown up loving each other, but were never able to be honest about the true depth of their feelings, waiting for a mating bond that didn’t materialize…until they find Steven. The three men are explosive together, so much angst and passion. I like that it’s not that instantly easy, there’s tension and disbelief amidst the butterflies, an edge that makes it all the sweeter once they are finally together, the three of them.

Home takes place a couple of years after Hunt, aligning with events in the third box set in the Leopard Spots series. Solomon, one of the newly-discovered siblings of Steven and Adal, has been a father for his younger brothers and sisters, raising them within Bobby’s wolf pack, though not truly daring to become a part of it. Solomon is kidnapped and finds love with one of his kidnappers, though this is not a forced proximity story. Azil, the mate in question, has been put down his entire life and treated like he’s worthless. In a way, he is as much a prisoner as Solomon. Azil has trouble standing up for himself and shaking of years of indoctrination, but is a genuine sweetheart. Azil’s pack brings a new threat to Solomon’s doorstep, scarier and more powerful than anything he and the other shifters have ever faced before.

Heart is perhaps the most heartwarming of the four stories, as the MC’s face a different type of challenge when learning about themselves and their mate bond. Edie, formerly Erdwin, is one of Solomon’s sisters, and transgender, which is not easy under the best of circumstances, but even less so when you are shifter and have the self-healing powers that come with that. Rolly, a powerful shaman, is completely in love with his mate and accepts her for who she is. The only thing that I thought a little strange is that he appears to be adamant about being gay while his one true mate is a woman, though stuck in a male body. Certainly their story shows the importance of love and acceptance. There’s no room for stereotypes or toxic masculinity when it comes to Rolly and Edie. We get to see more of Edie’s younger siblings too, most especially Rhea, and I can’t wait to see how her path will go, as it doesn’t promise to be very easy either.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 4.5

Reviewer Name: Karen M.

Provided by publisher.

4.5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Blind Faith (Blind Faith series #1) by N.R. Walker

audiobookreview

Audible
https://www.audible.com/pd/Blind-Faith-Audiobook/B07RLSSXB3?ref=a_lib_c4_libItem_B07RLSSXB3&pf_rd_p=ae76b2bb-e63d-4a67-b357-dab3dee05ca1&pf_rd_r=BMF5SGWABJ4AFRJPG1YP

Blurb
Starting a new job in a new town, veterinarian Carter Reece makes a house call to a very special client.
Arrogant, moody and totally gorgeous, Isaac Brannigan has been blind since he was eight. After the death of his guide dog and best friend, Rosie, his partnership with his new guide dog, Brady, isn’t going well.
Carter tries to help both man and canine through this initiation phase, but just who is leading who?

Review

Story:

This is an incredibly sweet slow-burn romance with a couple of surprisingly intense emotional moments thrown in as well. A classic N.R. Walker book, beautifully written and with complex but lovely, three-dimensional characters.
Isaac has known a lot of loss in his life and as a result has an understandably hard time letting people, or an utterly lovable and smart dog, into his heart. He’s never been in a relationship and doesn’t seem to have much of a social circle outside his work and family. When he meets Carter, there’s an almost instant connection between the two men and it was quite endearing to see them slowly circle each other and get closer step by prudent step.
However, there are some bumps along the way that they need to overcome and learn how to deal with as a couple. Isaac has a temper and a tendency to lash out rather than show his vulnerability or talk something out calmly. The moments when he does open up about how he feels though, are wonderfully written and deeply moving.

Narration:
Michael Pauley’s narration of this book was all I could have wished for. I love how he performs the more emotional scenes and brings such feeling, nuance and depth to every word. I really enjoyed listening to his take on Carter’s and Isaac’s story. He seems to always have such a good understanding of the MC’s and excels at bringing them to life for the listener.

Number of stars out of 5: 4.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review