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: ‘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