New Release Book Review: Tough Guy by Rachel Reid

Tough Guy (Game Changers, #3)Tough Guy is book #3 in the Game Changers series, MM romances set in the world of hockey. I really enjoyed book #1 Game Changers and book #2 Heated Rivalry, so I was straight onto it when I saw book #3 was out.

This novel focuses on Ryan Price a hockey enforcer whose job it seems is to fight the other team’s players who try to start trouble with his team members during the game (not knowing a thing about hockey, this is what I interpreted it to mean). It is a brutal role to play in the team and other than his size, it’s not one that Ryan is suited for.

When he is picked up by a new team, he moves to Toronto and bumps into an old friend, Fabian, a musician, who he used to have a major crush on years before. It turns out Fabian felt the same way, but back then they were both dealing with teenage drama as well as learning about their sexuality.

I felt for Ryan and Fabian, both having issues about their self worth, brought on by different things. For Fabian, it was awful parents and for Ryan it came about due to his self-hatred about his job of fighting and hurting people and the way he was bounced from team to team, never fitting in anywhere.

These two guys are very different, but I enjoyed the dynamics between them and how they pushed each other out of their comfort zone and made them think about what they wanted in life and in their future.

Another enjoyable read in this series, I do hope there will be more.

Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Carina Press for a digital copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

My top reads of 2019 plus my blog birthday giveaway

This week marks the 1st birthday of my blog and I want to say thank you to everyone who has supported and followed me throughout the last 12 months, I hope to bring you plenty more reviews next year. To say thanks I am doing a giveaway which I’ll write more about after I let you know what my top reads were for this year, It was a tough choice and I changed my mind about the books and the amount of books I was going to list quite a few times. But here are my final choices in no order whatsoever. As with my books of the decade, they had to be books that have stayed with me all year and that required no prompting for remembering.

TThe True Story of Maddie Brighthe True Story of Maddie Bright by Mary-Rose MacColl was a book that evoked many emotions at the time of reading.

My review

 

 

 

IMG_20190514_200721The Lost Boy by Rachael Wright was another book that packed an emotional punch.

My review

 

 

img_20190121_065430Sunshine by Kim Kelly, this is a novel I have read twice this year as well as listening to the audio book.

My Review

 

 

 

img_20190127_200000Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry was yet another emotional read (I’m beginning to sense a theme here as I start putting these onto the page)

My Review

 

 

IMG_20191024_203440Invisible Boys by Holden Sheppard was a very emotional read that everyone should read.

My Review

 

 

 

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A Lifetime of Impossible Days by Tabitha Bird is probably the most emotional book I have read this year, this one had me crying for a third of the book, but it was an incredible story.

My review

 

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Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop by Rebecca Raisin was a book that had me looking at my dreams for my life.

My review

 

 

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Daughter of the Sky by Michelle Diener was the first book I read in 2019 and a great historical romance in an unusual setting.

My review

 

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Ridgeview Station by Michael Trant was one of a handful of books I read by male authors this year and was a fabulous read.

My review

 

 

 

IMG_20190309_154143In a Great Southern Land by Mary-Anne O’Connor was another emotional read.

My review

 

 

 

IMG_20190508_003954Under the Midnight Sky by Anna Romer was a book I enjoyed so much I bought it for my mum for her birthday.

My review

 

 

 

IMG_20190309_073822The Scream Behind Her Smile by Athena Daniels was brilliant.

My review

 

 

 

 

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Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee was a confronting look at sexual assalt and our legal system.

My review

 

 

 

Lastly, I’ve listened to a lot of audiobooks this year due to a lot of driving and some of these have been great, some just good and some not so good. The narrator makes all the difference to how well a book comes across. I’ve listened to several novels that friends have loved, but as an audiobook, they just haven’t had that impact for me. Here are a couple that stood out for me this year, if you enjoy your audiobooks you may want to check them out.

This Red Earth by Kim Kelly – My Review

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult – My review

The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein – My review

The Locksmith’s Daughter by Karen Brooks

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed some of these (or not) or are inspired to pick one of them up.

For my blog’s birthday I’m giving two people the opportuntiy to win a kindle copy of their choice from my top reads this year (open internationally). Or a paperback copy of Sunshine by Kim Kelly (open internationally) or a paperback copy of Ridgeview Station by Michale Trant (Australia only). To be in for a chance to win please leave a comment on this blog or my Facebook page. You need to be following my blog of to have liked my FB page to enter (or both).

Happy reading.

 

Book Bingo Round 22: Prize winning novel

 

I am so glad I left this square until the end else I would have possibly missed out on featuring this fabulous novel in Book Bingo, thought I could have use it for two squares this week, Author under 35 would have worked but I chose Prize Winning Novel as it definitely deserves its prize unlike some prize winning novels I have read. 

Invisible Boys by Holden Sheppard was an absolutely fabulous read. it left me feeling very emotional.

I think this is an important novel that everyone should read, gay or straight, old or young. I’m glad Holden Sheppard survived his journey to write this novel, I hope it helps give a voice to those who feel like they don’t have one – the Invisible ones.

This is a coming of age story, a coming-out story, a story of discovering who you are, or at least the start of discovering who you are.

It brings with it so many emotions, good and bad. It made me angry and disappointed at the adults who should have known better, especially the parents who should have supported their children regardless of their sexuality. It made me mad at the kids who were so cruel to Charlie, especially his so-called two best friends and bandmates. It made me hopeful when some of the kids stood up for and by Charlie. It made me sad that one or more of the characters couldn’t accept who he was. But it ended with hope.

Please check out my full review here.

New Release Book Review: Invisible Boys by Holden Sheppard

IMG_20191024_203440I’m feeling extremely emotional as I’m writing this review, I’ve just finished Invisible Boys and what an incredible novel it was. From the beginning Charlie, Zeke and Hammer grabbed hold of my heart and wouldn’t let go. I read 70% of this novel in one sitting; I was up until 1.30am and the only reason I put it down was because I literally couldn’t keep my eyes open. I picked it straight up again 5 hours later and was mightily upset that I had to go to work without finishing it. It stayed in my mind all day, I couldn’t wait to get home to finish the journey these 3 guys had taken me on.

I think this is an important novel that everyone should read, gay or straight, old or young. I’m glad Holden Sheppard survived his journey to write this novel, I hope it helps give a voice to those who feel like they don’t have one – the Invisible ones.

This is a coming of age story, a coming-out story, a story of discovering who you are, or at least the start of discovering who you are.

It brings with it so many emotions, good and bad. It made me angry and disappointed at the adults who should have known better, especially the parents who should have supported their children regardless of their sexuality. It made me mad at the kids who were so cruel to Charlie, especially his so-called two best friends and bandmates. It made me hopeful when some of the kids stood up for and by Charlie. It made me sad that one or more of the characters couldn’t accept who he was. But it ended with hope.

I really felt for Charlie who is ‘outed’ by an unhappy and vicious woman, but his outing is the catalyst for everything that happens to Zeke and Hammer and Matt. Whilst Charlie, Zeke, and Hammer held me hostage to their story, it was Matt, in the end, that made me cry.

The parents, school staff and the people in this small town didn’t deserve these young men. They were small-minded, ignorant and bigoted, not all, but most and I will never understand this mentality. I consider myself lucky in that when I was growing up, being gay was never an issue. I don’t remember hearing any derogatory remarks about homosexuality and in this way, I formed no biases in my thinking. I’ve never thought that there was anything wrong or strange in any way about people who are gay and for this I’m thankful as I have some wonderful friends who I may have missed out on and my life would be lacking because of it.

I’ve gone off tangent slightly, but this novel really brings it home how awful and ignorant people can be and how we really need to be open to accepting people for who they are. We also need to  educate those who are in need of educating.

A wonderful novel that I recommend to everyone, I can see why this won the Hungerford Award.

 

Amazon AU        Amazon US       Amazon UK        Fremantle Press        Facebook

Book Review: The Lost Boy by Rachael Wright

Wow, what an emotional journey I’ve just been on, especially during the second half of the novel. There were many times throughout I had tears threaten, but also moments of joy.

IMG_20190514_200721The story starts with a tragedy and a secret uncovered, both which completely throw Jack’s emotions into chaos. What a journey of growth and learning Jack and myself were taken on, from the moment Jack runs away from home.

Along Jack’s journey to find out who he is and where he fits in in his life, he meets some fabulous supporting characters. Each one has a story to tell and a part to play in helping Jack discover what he is searching for. This is a truly Australian story from the outback countryside to the straight talking characters. This story has a realness, an honesty and a harshness that match the bush, but also a beauty that is sometimes hidden.

This novel covers so many important issues, suicide, bullying, sexuality, alcohol, mental illness, responsibility and more, and to cover these in one novel and to do it so well is impressive.

I completely wasn’t expecting one of the relationships that formed between Jack and one of the characters, but wow it was beautiful in so many ways.

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This is a story that will stay with me for a long time. It is one that I think I will want to pick up and read again.

 

 

Thanks to Rachael Wright for providing me with a digital copy for me to read and review honestly.

Amazon AU

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Goodreads

Monthly challenge update – April 2019

Oh wow and I thought I’d slowed down this month, how wrong was I!!

April reads 2019

With a total of 26 books read or listened to this month, I think I have outdone myself.

In my AWW Challange, I may have completely blown that goal out of the water with a total of 56 books read this year so far by Australian Women Writers.

My Goodreads Challenge is now 95/200 which means at only 4 months in, I’m 48% complete and currently 30 books ahead of my goal, which allows me plenty of leeway if I get into a slump (a real one, not an imagined one lol).

In The Aussie Author Challenge which I admit to not updating on their website yet, I have now read all of the books in the challenge. I will list them next time.

My latest Book Bingo post will show you how I am going with that.

I have read some great books this month so I advise you to check some of them out. If I had to choose a favourite I think it would be Victoria Purman’s The Land Girls. But I am also loving Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changlings series. I have plenty more great books to read and plenty of reviews coming up this month.

Happy reading until next time.

 

 

Book Review: Arctic Sun by Annabeth Albert

I always enjoy Annabeth Albert’s books and her new book Arctic Sun is no exception, the first in the Frozen Hearts series, this was a journey of discovery for our two main characters.

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Griffen, a pilot in his family business, has been dealing with grief and is a recovering alcoholic who struggles to be around people and has the belief that he doesn’t deserve to be happy and isn’t worthy of being loved. River is an ex-supermodel, who has dealt with an eating disorder for most of his life, leading to hospitalisation. He has used travel as a way to heal, and also a way to run away from anything real. When these two damaged men are thrown together on a photography trip in Alaska, sparks will fly.

The descriptions of Alaska on this trip alone made me want to save up and go there ASAP, also, if there are more mountain men like Griffen, I’d be there even quicker. I loved the journey these two had to traverse, both the physical and the emotional journey. Though it was the emotional journey which took its toll on these two guys who are both dealing with so many issues. I was invested in their romance from the start and as I got to know the characters and what they had been through, and what they were dealing with still, my heart ached with hope that they would make the journey and end up together.

This story explored the physical and emotional relationship between the guys and it was a really great exploration. There was humour in their initial hookups and I loved the way River was able to make Griffen lower his walls and have a bit of fun, River was certainly not willing to give up on this happening while they were on the trip. The sexual tension was hard to ignore for both parties.

Hearing River’s story about his eating disorder was sad, I have a friend with an eating disorder and know how badly it can affect someone. Watching him struggle through each day, worried about what he was eating, feeling sick at the thought of eating, was really sad, hearing him explain to Griffen how he couldn’t see himself the ways others, especially Griffen saw him was also really sad. This is such a sad disease that definitely needs more attention, as does the way the fashion industry and magazines etc, portray the idea of perfection. It’s also great to have a male portrayed with this issue, as it is mainly women we think about when we hear ‘eating disorder’.

Griffen’s issues were subtler but no less damaging to his life and his future. Dealing with his avoidance of group situations, especially ones where people may be drinking was hard for him to navigate. As was his belief he wasn’t worthy of good things happening to him. In this River and Griffen had so much in common and were able to connect through this.

A great read, with two guys who deserved more than they had and needed each other to open up and start healing.

 

Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin – Carina Press for a digital copy in return for an honest review.