First Line Fridays” is by Hoarding Books and is all about the first line of a current/upcoming read. Friday 56 is a meme hosted by Freda’s Voice, where you turn to page 56 (or 56%) in what you’re reading a find a snippet that jumps out at you. The idea to combine the two came from Kat @ Here There Be Dragons“
I found this meme on The Writerly Way. And I’m doing this on a Thursday just to be difficult.
Heaven and Hell Club: Broken – Colette Davison
Rule #1: Keep running.
Jag’s rules have kept him safe and free since he escaped conversion therapy, but that was before he walked into Heaven and Hell. A no-strings fling with the club owner, Michael, turns into so much more as Jag finds himself breaking one rule after another.
Michael hasn’t been able to commit to anyone since his partner died, until Jag walks into his club. Falling in lust with the elfin young dancer is easy, and his heart is quick to follow.
Michael gives Jag a reason to stay, but fear rules Jag’s heart more than love. Despite his deepening feelings for Michael, Jag knows he can’t stay. Can he?
**Contains adult themes, content, and language.**
My introduction to Colette Davison‘s Heaven and Hell Club was its delightful prequel, Unbreakable, starring Michael’s bestfriend, Mac and Mac’s partner, Russel. Michael was still with his boyfriend, Edward, and they were saving up money to buy the club.
Fast forward almost 6 or so years after, the club is now a thriving pole dancing club in the evenings and an exercise venue at daytime, Michael is still feeling the emptiness left by Edward’s death
I was more or less expecting the same humorous, angsty vibe but Broken had much more angst, less humor. I wasn’t as riveted to it as I would have liked. Once I stopped reading, I didn’t feel an urgent need to pick it up again. Not that I wanted to drop it totally. I wanted to see Jag have his closure. It’s just that, it felt a little flat for me.
Jag came in out of the nowhere, asked for a job, did one heck of an audition and earned a spot on stage as an angel. He does not talk much about himself. As the story progress, we gradually learn that he was a victim of conversion therapy a.k.a abuse. He ran away when he was able.
Jag is a survivor. He believes he’s broken. He was a bit naive about his rights and the legalities of such therapy. Running is the only life he knows. He has rules that helped him survive. Rules that he broke one by one as he and Michael grew closer.
Michael took a chance on a mysterious young man who wouldn’t even reveal his real name. Well, he was a really good dancer. The attraction between them was almost instant. The romance was OK. I wasn’t as enthusiastic about Michael and Jag as with Mac and Russel, but I know both MCs were what each other needs.
I’m not a fan of age gap but here, it made sense that Michael was older. He was able to offer the kind security and knowledge of practical world matters that come with age. This was especially crucial when they set about solving Jag’s issues.
I really liked how Jag acknowledged Edward’s part in Michael’s life, instead of feeling threatened.
All the Heaven and Hell boys are all perfectly likable (Mac is my favorite so far). I wished they have more page time. The story was very couple-centric, most of it just Michael and Jag. We are told that Jag feels more and more at home in the club as time goes by. And that he’s becoming friends with the others. I wanted to see his interactions with other dancers instead of just being told about it.
Broken is a hurt comfort story about a second chance at love and finding a place to belong to. It’s also about healing, trust, new beginnings and meeting the right person that makes you break all the rules. Even if I wasn’t entirely wowed, it’s still an enjoyable read overall.
3 Stars – not exactly setting my world on fire but I liked it
I rarely post reviews of books lower than 3-stars because usually I can’t be arsed to finish them. Also, I’m such a mood reader that sometimes, no matter how good a book is I still couldn’t finish it if I’m not feeling right.
So here are more books I lost motivation for or not feeling right now…
Broken by Colette Davison
Rule #1: Keep running.
I loved the prequel, Unbreakable, and I was expecting more of that fluffy, humorous feel. Broken is angstier which is fine but I wasn’t feeling the chemistry even though I’m midway through already. I liked the Heaven and Hell boys so I would probably get back to this when the mood strikes.
Bitter Legacy – Dal Maclean
Detective Sergeant James Henderson of London’s Metropolitan Police Murder Investigation Team is no ordinary police officer.
I really felt bad about DNFing this. This was beautifully written, I love the British book feels, the mystery was engaging but gad why does it have to have CHEATING? And not just once but multiple times. I could deal with poly but a blatant disregard for a partner’s feelings who was obviously not okay with an open relationship? I’m definitely walking away.
The Bodyguard by X. Aratare
Sean’s attraction to the vulnerable Dane gives him new purpose, but his past is not escaped so easily, and his sixth sense tells him that there is more to the Ydrath than even Dane knows.
Written in typical X. Aratare style which I loved but unfortunately wasn’t working that well here. It’s so romance-centric that it felt more like nothing was happening, just two guys sending UST vibes to each other. Normally, I would be all over that sort of thing but I was just bored this time. I will get back to this someday because the backbones of the series is interesting enough for me.
A serial killer stalks the streets of Flint, Ohio. The victims are always found in pairs, one human and one vampire.
This one was a plain bore. The characters were flat, the dialogues were blah. Even the great Michael Ferraiuolo couldn’t save it.
(Part 1 here)
How do you feel about DNFing a book? Are you a mood reader too?
The New Year is almost here and it’s time for the End of the Year book tag. I found it @MyBookWorld24.
He extended his right hand to Noah, not even trying to hide the fact that his fingers were trembling. He couldn’t lose Noah. Mel’s death had destroyed his life, but Noah had given him balance and laughter again. He lifted him out of the abyss and made him feel alive. He had to find a way to meet Noah…at least part of the way. After years of loyalty, patience, and unwavering love, Noah deserved at least that.
But he was afraid. Was it too late? They were both so damn broken in their own way.
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
[spotify id=”spotify%3Atrack%3A6SXy02aTZU3ysoGUixYCz0&view=coverart” width=”540″ height=”620″ /]