Kiss Me Again – Garrett Leigh
Tree surgeon Aidan Drummond is content with his own company. He works alone, and lives alone, and it doesn’t occur to him to want anything else until a life-changing accident lands him in hospital. Then a glimpse of the beautiful boy in the opposite bed changes everything.
Ludo Giordano is trapped on the ward with a bunch of old men. His mind plays tricks on him, keeping him awake. Then late one night, a new face brings a welcome distraction. Their unlikely friendship is addictive. And, like most things in Ludo’s life, temporary.
Back in the real world, Aidan’s monochrome existence is no longer enough. He craves the colour Ludo brought him, and when a chance meeting brings them back together, before long, they’re inseparable again.
But bliss comes with complications. Aidan is on the road to recovery, but Ludo has been unwell his entire life, and that’s not going to change. Aidan can kiss him as much as he likes, but if he can’t help Ludo when he needs him most, they don’t stand a chance.
Garrett Leigh is not a new to me author. I’ve seen her around and I’ve featured her books here on the New Release Blitz. Kiss Me Again is my first official book from her. I’m so happy I finally took the plunge!
This is a story of two people who made each other’s life just a little bit more extraordinary. Ludo and Aidan were both complex characters fighting their own battles. I loved how they lend each other their strengths. They were drawn towards each other the first time they met in the hospital. They were never the same since.
The author was able to bring the two men to life in a way that completely captivated me. I loved how their connection was established and how it blossomed into something selfless and unconditional. I was rooting for Ludo and Aidan all the way and not just their romance.
The story takes the reader through a gamut of emotions. There were the beautifully written hospital scenes where I was so sure things were going to go well only for it all to disappear. There was the painful separation and the fateful reunion that seemed almost unreal. That’s only the first parts.
This is a highly emotional book without any unnecessary drama. We spent a lot of time in Ludo’s and Aiden’s head. There were a lot of angst, doubts and pain but there was never a moment when it became melodramatic. Every emotion was played just right. I greatly appreciated that there were no petty misunderstandings used as a plot device.
I was also super impress with how Ludo’s mental condition, bipolar disorder, was portrayed in the story. It’s a struggle that hits close to home. I know that one’s experience with the condition is different from another’s but all in all, Leigh was able to write about it with accuracy and respect. I especially liked how the story emphasized that Ludo is so much more than his bipolar disorder.
Narrator Dan Calley is a new to me narrator. At first I was confused with his voices for Ludo and Aiden because they sounded very similar so I didn’t know who was talking. Later on, I grew used to his style, plus the story was really outstanding, that I didn’t mind the similarity too much. More importantly, he hit the right notes when it comes to the emotions of the characters. I also enjoyed the accents.
Kiss Me Again definitely sets the bar high to my Garrett Leigh experience. If this is how good her books are, I really, really need to get my hands on more.
Recommended if you like intense, angsty stories about grumpy tree surgeons with big hearts and battled-scarred survivors with beautiful souls.
Thank you to Signal Boost Promotions and Audible UK for giving a me copy of the audiobook in exchange for an honest review.
4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away
Broken – Nicola Haken
“For anyone who’s ever felt a little broken. Keep going – one breath at a time. You are important”
When Theodore Davenport decides to switch his mundane job for a career, he walks into Holden House Publishing with enthusiasm and determination to succeed. As he settles into his new role, makes new friends, and dreams of making it to the top, everything is going to plan.
Until he meets James Holden, CEO of Holden House.
James Holden hasn’t been able to stop thinking about his encounter with the timid man he met in a club bathroom last week, and when he discovers the one haunting his dreams is an employee, he can’t seem to stop himself from pursuing him.
Just a little fun – that’s what James tells himself. He can’t afford to care for someone who can never reciprocate, not once they find out who he really is. James believes nobody deserves the burden of being attached to him. He’s a complicated man. Damaged. Difficult. Demanding.
Is Theodore strong enough to confront James’ demons? More importantly, is James?
Please note:This book contains scenes of self harm, mental illness and suicidal ideation which may be uncomfortable for some readers.
Audiobooks are what I am into nowadays because my eyesight is getting worse (devastating news for a book blogger). It’s quite a game changer, enhancing my literary experience through voices, accents and acting and motivating me to finish what I would have otherwise DNF’ed after a couple of chapters. Basically if the narrator sounds good and there are some fancy schmancy accents, there is a higher probability I’ll see things through to the end no matter how shitty the story.
Broken is one such book. If I just read the blurb, I wouldn’t have bothered since contemporaries are mostly a miss with me but when I heard the opening chapter, I was greeted with Mancunian. So I decided to give it a go.
And what a beautiful, emotionally satisfying book it turned out to be, resonating strongly due to some personal experiences. It took a while for me to get into it, mainly because James came across as an annoying, arrogant bastard at first and I was ready to drop the book but the witty banter between Theo and Tess won me over. James gradually turned out to be not such an asshole Theo made him out to be and there were some sweet and fun times that slowly ease its way into darker times as James finally gave in to his inner demons.
James has type 2 bipolar disorder which is a very difficult illness to deal and live with. Nicola Haken wrote very accurate scenarios of how it is for both the patient and the people who love them. I marvelled at Theo’s strength and unconditional love. He never gave up on James and that is something a bipolar patient needs, someone who never gives up on you even if you already have.
“When your boat is drifting from the shore, it’s okay to use an anchor for support. We all need an anchor. Without people to love us, we’d just drift further and further away.”
Broken tackles complex themes but it’s not a heavy book. Haken managed to balance the darker notes with lighter moments of humor and romance. It shares a hopeful message that yes, we might not get cured but we will be okay.
4.5 – perfection is only half a step away