Review: ‘Jude’ by Garrett Leigh

44588388Published March 24th 2019

Isha has spent the last year watching his BFF get his happily-ever-after. He’s proud of Dom, but…it hurts to see him so free while Isha’s love life is still on lockdown. Only Isha’s ex-wife knows the secret that he’s kept caged for so long—that he’s queer too, and he’s lonely.

Jude’s too chained to his work to notice what he’s missing by being terminally single, but a new face in the village soon catches his attention. City boy Isha is gorgeous, and when he starts to haunt Jude’s reptile shop as well as the hook-up app on his phone, he’s a welcome distraction from Jude’s business problems.

For a control freak like Isha, letting Jude under his skin is an existential meltdown, but Jude’s not in the market to be anyone’s queer crisis, not when he’s facing troubles of his own. Unlocking their lives could push both men apart forever, but it might be a risk worth taking if sharing is the key to their happy future.

I was excited about this book before I even knew what it was. Garrett was asking teasing questions about what to name the Exotic Pet Shop in this story and I knew from that point onwards it was going to be at the top of my TBR pile. I am a massive animal lover, every shape and size, and all the reptiles (plus the parrot!) in this book were stunning. I could genuinely read a book about Jude’s day to day life working in his shop…

But really the animals were just a welcome bonus in an incredible romance between two beautifully flawed men. Don’t get me wrong, there were definitely moments I wanted to bang their heads together for trying to push each other away when they had such ridiculous chemistry, but that was all just part of the rollercoaster I’ve come to expect from every story Garrett Leigh writes.

I loved every facet of this book, I really struggled to put it down. There’s so much complexity and, of course, plenty of angst. Jude dealing with his epilepsy was eye-opener for me as it’s not something I’ve ever known about, and I liked how although it had its influences on Jude’s life, it didn’t define who he was. Isha’s convinced it’s his job that drives him too, but I could see through that. He can think of himself as a bad father all he wants, but he lives for his kids. And of course the kids were complete and utter scene-stealers! Absolute gems.

These two men…they fit. It didn’t seem like they should, but they did. It was never going to be simple for them, but they got the ending they both genuinely deserved, and I like to think they were finally starting to see just how good they are, as people and as a couple. Hands down my favourite book of the series. Garrett, you nailed it yet again!

5/5 stars

Review: ‘Cash’ by Garrett Leigh

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Published January 22nd 2019

Cash is a car mechanic with a secret. Head down, sleeves up, he hides from the past as much as his shattered heart, until a reluctant stumble into a Tottenham bar ends in the one night stand of his dreams.

Hunt saboteur Rae can’t believe his luck when he wakes up the next morning. Cash is gorgeous, and the hottest hook up he’s ever had. He doesn’t expect to see him again, until a twist of fate lands him on Cash’s doorstep a few months later.

United by a cause that’s broken Cash before, they are drawn together. They have more in common than they ever imagined, but with Cash haunted by the past, and Rae so tangled in the present, it’s not long before love isn’t enough to keep them alive.

The follow-up to Lucky takes a departure from England’s most beloved sport, and turns to it’s most controversial (and rightly so, it’s illegal for a reason!). It’s been a long time since fox hunting made the headlines here, and I think it’s easy to assume that after it was made illegal, it just stopped happening. Garrett Leigh throws us right into the thick of it and shows us how the brutal killing of animals for sport is far more prevalent than it ever has a right to be.

This is a book that has everything we know and love from Garrett Leigh, angst and grit and drama, but it’s fair to say that fox hunting and sabbing is what dominates the pages. Not necessarily the acts themselves, there isn’t any gratuitous detail but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to read, but sabbing really is a lifestyle that consumes those who participate so it has to play a leading role.

Rae is an involved as anyone can be, he’s there on the front lines, fighting for the animals that can’t fight for themselves. He’s strong and he’s passionate and he has the biggest heart. And he’s beyond committed to the cause, it’s his whole life. Cash has left that life behind after it hurt him in a way he didn’t think he could ever recover from. But the intense physical connection he makes with Rae runs far deeper than either of them realise.

It’s only after reading some other people’s reviews that I realised that this book could be seen as unbalanced, favouring the action and the politics over the romance, but I never saw it that way. When you’re as passionate about a cause as these men are, the cause will always come before anything else. They’re fighting for something much bigger than themselves, even when it pushes them away from each other. It’s raw and it’s real and it was so true to the people that they are. If more romance had been shoe-horned in there, it wouldn’t have been a true representation of what they stood for, what they were devoted to.

Their happily ever after doesn’t come easily, but it is so rewarding, for them and for the reader. Cash and Rae are bound together by more than love, and that’s what will make them last forever.

4.5/5 stars

Review: ‘Crossroads’ by Garrett Leigh

41822040Published November 20th 2018
109 pages

Angelo Giordano and Dylan Hart are more in love than ever, but their reality is far from ideal. With Dylan working in London, and Angelo recovering from chronic illness in Cornwall, they rarely spend more than few nights under the same sky.

Dylan is struggling. Being apart from Angelo is killing him, and he’s at the end of his rope. Angelo can’t live in London anymore, but can Dylan give up his whole life and move to a place that often feels like the end of the world?

As the end of a tough year approaches, they reach a crossroads. Dylan returns to Cornwall for Christmas and Angelo can’t imagine watching him leave again. Can the love that surrounds them on Whisper Farm show them the way home?

Did somebody say holiday romance? Written by Garrett Leigh?? Sold!

Garrett originally posted the chapters of this story as a serial on her Patreon, but I forced myself to hold off because I wanted to read the whole thing at once. I just don’t have the temperament for waiting a week between chapters, I’m a devour it whole kind of gal. And devour it whole, I did! This is a short and sweet little novella, but don’t go thinking it’s ooey gooey Christmas fluff. It may be set at Christmas, but it holds its own as a continuation of Dylan and Angelo’s story.

All the couples from the Skins series are present so we get a lovely glimpse of all of them, but the focus is very much on Dylan and Angelo. I don’t really think you could read this as a standalone, you’d at least have to read Dream to really understand what’s going on. How they’re dealing with Angelo’s illness and the distance between them, balancing their work lives with their relationship. Real life issues that they work through together. It’s so satisfying to see these two grow together, showing just how perfect they are for each other.

It’s got all my favourite things from Garrett, angst and heat and emotion, but it is definitely on the lighter side (not the heat part, that’s just as hot as ever!). There’s a big ol’ surprise thrown in there too, but thankfully not one of the heart-stopping kinds. It’s the fill-you-with-joy kind, and I won’t spoil it for you.

Even though it’s short in length, it brings everything to a warm and fuzzy close and ties it with a ribbon. Everything I could have wanted from this holiday-themed addition to the series. I could read about these boys forever…

5/5 stars

Release Blitz: ‘Roads’ Series by Garrett Leigh

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Slide and Rare were the first two books I ever read by Garrett Leigh, and it was the beginning of a wonderful love story between me and every word Garrett has ever written. These two incredible novels getting a makeover and re-release fills me with such joy and nostalgia for the infancy of my M/M romance-reading days. They were my first real taste of such extreme angst and grit and I was hooked straight away. If you’ve never read a Garrett Leigh book before, I highly recommend these as a starting point, and I hope your experience is as powerful as mine was. And now is the time to get your hands on Slide as it is currently FREE, and will be until Thursday 18th October. What are waiting for???

And if that isn’t enough for you, there is also a giveaway happening right now. So to win a free copy of the series, head on over to the Rafflecopter giveaway page!

Roads

Roads Series – Available Exclusive to Amazon and on Kindle Unlimited
Book #1 – Slide – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Rare – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – Circle – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Cover Design: Black Jazz Design

Slide

Shy tattoo artist Ash has a troubled past. Years of neglect, drug abuse, and life on the streets have taken their toll, and sometimes it seems the deep, unspoken bond with his lover is the only balm for wounds he doesn’t quite understand.

Chicago paramedic Pete is warmth, love, and strength—things Ash never knew he could have, and never even knew he wanted until Pete showed him. But fate is a cruel, cruel mistress, and when nightmares collide with the present, their tentatively built world comes crashing down.

Traumatic events in Pete’s work life distance him from home, and he doesn’t realize until it’s too late that Ash has slipped away. Betrayal, secrets, and lies unfold, and when a devastating coincidence takes hold, Pete must fight with all he has to save the love of his life.

Rare

Paramedic Pete Adams lived through the year from hell watching his lover, Ash, fall apart, and the precarious balance between work and home is becoming more strained. His heart is always home, with Ash, but the dark side to his job is weighing him down.

Tattoo artist Ash Fagin is recovering from a nervous breakdown triggered by revelations about his traumatic childhood. His battle with mental illness is far from over, but with Pete by his side, he’s feeling good again, so good he doesn’t notice something missing until it walks right into his living room.

Ash believes he’s had enough coincidence in his life, but when a voice from the past comes looking for him, it takes the devastating injuries of the one he loves most to convince him to let a ghost become the family he never knew he wanted.

Review: ‘Lucky’ by Garrett Leigh

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Published September 18th 2018

Dominic Ramos is a Premiership football player with a secret. There are no trophies for being gay in his game. Locked into his rep as the meanest defender on the pitch, keeping his secret is soul-crushing, but love has no place in his sport, even if his soft heart craves it.

Lucky Coleman is on his knees when he meets a man with more money than sense. It’s a Grindr hook-up for cash, not a love match, but dreaming of his desperate, kind eyes earns a place amongst his numerous bad habits.

Meeting once was risky, twice pushes Dom’s courage to the limit. Losing Lucky seems inevitable, but his tight grip on his image counts for nothing when Lucky starts to fall.

Catching him could cost Dom everything, but if he can set his heart free, getting Lucky long term might be a risk worth taking.

Welcome to another review where I blether on about the exceptionally talented Garrett Leigh and her beautiful beautiful words. I’ve never not loved a book she’s written, and this one is right up there with my absolute favourites from her.

I am a huge fan of sports romances, and this one had enough sportiness to tick all my boxes whilst still being perfectly accessible to people who aren’t into football or sport in general. It had a bucketload of everything Garrett is best at, the angst and turmoil and broken souls finding healing in each other. There is no one better when it comes to that.

I can’t even put my finger on exactly why this one ranked so highly with me, it just spoke to me. The chemistry between Dom and Lucky is tangible, setting the pages alight, and I was so desperate for them to find a way to make it work. They are from such completely different worlds, and yet they’re drawn together time and time again.

This book addresses so many issues. So many. And yet it never felt like too much, nothing ever went too far. There’s addiction, there’s homelessness, there’s homophobia in sport, it hits hard at every turn. It really pushes you to think, whilst never letting go of the romance at the very heart of the story.

It’s deep, it’s raw, it’s another Garrett Leigh masterpiece.

5/5 stars

Review: ‘Believe’ by Garrett Leigh

40531547Published June 26th 2018
229 pages

Flight paramedic Rhys Foster is hooked on adrenaline. By day it’s blood and guts, by night it’s the thrill of the club. With a different face in his bed most nights, he doesn’t have time to be lonely…right?

Entertainer Jevon Campbell is a play therapist like no other—dancer, magician, acrobat, he brings it all to his global mission to help children in need laugh again. He’s on a rare home visit when he encounters enigmatic Rhys in a London bar.

Their connection is instant, but Rhys fast realises Jevon’s easy confidence doesn’t stretch as far as the bedroom. He has no idea how mesmerising he is—how beautiful—and Rhys resolves to show him.

They grow closer, but time isn’t on their side. Rhys seems unable to articulate how he feels, and with Jevon’s imminent departure from the UK hanging over them, their separate commitments could tear them apart forever.

As the days slip by, Rhys must learn to believe he’s worth the happiness Jevon is offering.

I cannot tell you how excited I was for this book. I mean, I’m always excited for anything by Garrett Leigh, but I fell in love with Rhys in ‘Dream’ and I couldn’t wait for his story. It wasn’t necessarily what I was expecting, but good lord I loved it.

I was a teeny bit apprehensive about this book when I realised it was the one that Garrett had described in her Facebook group back when she first started writing it as a paramedic falling in love with a virgin clown. Because clowns are my biggest phobia. I cannot deal with them at all. So I was scared that this would be the first book by Garrett I wouldn’t be able to read. Thankfully, Jevon isn’t *that* kind of clown!

Back in ‘Dream’, Rhys was this happy-go-lucky life-of-the-party kind of guy. He seemed confident and self-assured, this rock for Dylan and Angelo as they navigated their relationship. But in ‘Believe’, he’s not in the best place. He seems lost, isolating himself and not reaching out to anybody. I ached for him, I so desperately wanted him to find happiness. He deserved to be content and comfortable and loved. And then he meets Jevon.

Now, I went into this book being all about Rhys, but by the end it was Jevon that I’d fallen for. That man. I need one. I wasn’t sure I was going to like him given the whole clown thing, but it turns out he’s an angel. An absolute ray of sunshine. He’s kind and generous, so understanding. He’s a stunning soul. Honestly, I could go on about him for hours. He’s everything Rhys needs and deserves and the universe brings them together and it fills me with such joy.

And these boys have serious chemistry. Jevon may not have a lot of experience, but what he and Rhys have is perfect. I don’t know how Garrett does it, every single time, but she creates two people that are so completely made for each other, without ever falling into stereotypes and cliches. They’re always real people with raw passion, honest connections and good hearts.

Rhys and Jevon were so beautifully fulfilled by the end, coming out of the other side of the drama and trauma Garrett always likes to throw at them strong and steady, supporting each other in a wonderful partnership. This was my favourite book of the series and I cannot wait to see more of all the Skins boys in the future.

5/5 stars

Review: ‘Whisper’ by Garrett Leigh

38482523Published May 1st 2018
258 pages

Lonely physiotherapist Harry Foster has the world at his feet. A full client list, a six figure Instagram following, and a publishing deal for a book he doesn’t have time to write until his agent offers him a break—a retreat to the wild south west coast.

Cornish horseman Joe Carter is lonely too. Rescuing horses and managing Whisper Farm takes up most of his days, and by night he plays chicken with the farm’s perilous bank accounts.

At his sister’s unwelcome suggestion, he rents his only bedroom to a bloke from the city, and when Harry arrives, he’s everything Joe isn’t—calm, patient, and gorgeous enough to be exactly the kind of distraction Joe doesn’t need.

Harry doesn’t have time for distractions either—even shirtless farmers riding bareback past his bedroom window—but his moody host proves impossible to ignore.

On paper, they have nothing in common, but Joe is beautiful…glorious, and when an accident puts his life in Harry’s healing hands, the whisper of true love is inevitable. If the trouble that put the farm on its knees in the first place doesn’t get in the way.

Goddammit, Garrett Leigh. Is there anything this woman can’t do? She kills me every single time. Whisper was packed with everything I’ve come to adore from Garrett, tortured souls finding healing when they discover that person who they were meant to be with. Plenty of angst and darkness, but always remedied with peace and strength and love.

I am a sucker for a story where rescuing animals involved, so this being set on a horse sanctuary is a huge bonus for me. Characters working with animals gets me weak in the knees, and it gave me a real connection to Joe. The strength of that man is unbelievable. He’s battling so many forces working against him and he doesn’t even realise how selflessly he deals with it all. Everything he does is for the farm and for his family. He’s no golden boy, he hasn’t always made the best decisions, but he’s a truly good man. Even if not everybody can see it.

It was Harry that I completely fell for. The kind of man who looks like he could take down an army but he actually wouldn’t hurt a fly. He appears polished and put together, but underneath all of that he carries so many anxieties and insecurities. But he’s this pillar of safety, I just wanted to seek shelter in his arms. No, on the surface he may not seem to have a lot in common with Joe, but they are both inherently good. They love hard, care endlessly, and always put others before themselves. They needed each other, and the universe found a way to bring them together.

This is the kind of book that helps you heal along with the characters. My heart felt so full by the end. It didn’t hurt seeing Dex from Heart, knowing he and Seb are still going strong all these years later. Knowing his horses are still going. There was so much joy to be found in this story, I can’t wait to read it again and again.

5/5 stars