Monday, December 19, 2016

Review Tour ~ Heated Beat Collection by Garrett Leigh ~ (Reviews + Giveaway)

Review Tour ~ Heated Beat Collection by Garrett Leigh ~ (Reviews + Giveaway)

Author: Garrett Leigh

Length: My Mate Jack 31,600 words, Lucky Man 43,854 words

Cover Design: Black Jazz Design

Heated Beat Collection Paperback

My Mate Jack

Will Barter’s been in love with his best mate Jack for as long as he can remember. They’ve shared everything: love, life, laughs, even Will’s first kiss. But Jack’s straight, and Will’s long-buried infatuation means nothing until their last summer together draws to a close.

Then one night, everything changes, but with Will bound for university in Leeds, and Jack for his dream DJ job in Ibiza, there’s no time to explore their blurred lines. Before long all that’s left are secrets, lies, and misunderstandings.

In the months that follow, anger and hurt overshadow fifteen years of friendship, and Will must dig deep to remember Jack is his mate… his best mate, and nothing matters more than that, right?

My Mate Jack 

*4.5 Stars*

My Mate Jack is told from Will’s POV, except the epilogue where we get Jack’s. Will’s been in love with his best mate, Jack, for almost as long as he’s known him. He’s out, at least to his father and Jack, since in the little town they come from being out and proud is unheard of.

Jack is straight, but he offers Will the chance to practice kissing with him when they’re fifteen or so. The kiss rocks both their worlds, but they don’t let it affect their friendship and just let it go, at least until they are older and Will’s about to go to Leeds to University and Jack to Ibiza to take on a DJ job, and Jack asks Will to have sex with him, so he wouldn’t be going to Spain still being a virgin. After that, a series of misunderstandings and their hectic schedules converge to reducing a lifelong relationship to a few e-mails here and there. Will they ever be able to recapture both their friendship and their chance at a HEA?

Jack and Will were both very likable characters and despite wanting to scream at them a few times to see what they had in front of them, I just couldn't help wanting them together. They were just so perfect for one another and it was obvious from the start. 

The whole story was like going two steps forward, two steps back, but even if it was kind of annoying at times that Jack and Will couldn’t get to the point where everything was resolved and move on, without something else happening, it was nice to see that their friendship was at the forefront for both of them, no matter what. 

Overall, this was such a lovely read, fast-paced, sweet and angsty. Very recommendable!

***Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by the author/publisher for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.***

4.5 Stars!
This is the story of Will and Jack, who've been friends since they were kids. Will is openly gay whereas Jack is straight but when the time comes, Will's first kiss is with Jack, for practice, of course. Then later on, Jack's first time is actually Will. However, soon after sleeping together, the boys go their separate ways, Will to Leeds for school and Jack to Ibiza for work. Still friends they spend the next few years of their life speaking through email, on the phone and through various visits to one another. Things aren't as simple as when they were kids though and the guys find themselves on a rollercoaster of emotions surrounding their relationship as friends and as possibly more. If only Jack wasn't straight, things might be different.

I really enjoyed this book and thought it was well thought out and executed. Both the characters of Jack and Will were lovable and they had incredible chemistry. While it was easy as a reader to get a tad irritated about the high level of angst and miscommunication (I wanted to scream at how oblivious the guys were to their feelings) it was still a highly enjoyable read.

This is my first book by this author but I will definitely be reading more. I highly recommend My Mate Jack!

***Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by the author/publisher for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.***

Lucky Man

As a diehard music fan, a dirty, smoky gig is Vice Squad Detective Danny Jones’s idea of heaven. While watching one of the most popular bands in Northern England, the sight of gorgeous rock star Finn McGovern changes his life forever.

Beneath the tattoos and leather jacket, Finn is kind and sweet, but when he confesses a dark secret to Danny, it tests their fledgling bond. Danny digs deep to accept Finn, but before long, a terrifying trail of death threatens to tear them apart before they’ve even got started.

A monster is killing prostitutes on Danny’s patch, and when a dead girl turns up too close to home, Danny discovers a heartbreaking link between the girl and his bright new life with Finn, a life he’ll do anything to protect.

Lucky Man 

3.5 Stars!

While this was not my favorite, it was definitely well written and worth a read. I, unfortunately though, will have to say that I liked My Mate Jack quite a bit more.

Danny and Finn meet at a club where Finn has just finished a performance with his band. While the rest of his bandmates take off to party with the fans, Finn hangs back to talk to Danny who had caught his eye before the show. The two men instantly hit it off and after talking and a drink Danny ends up going home with Finn where they spend an incredible weekend together. Not wanting to pass up on something special, Finn decides to call Danny up and ask him to dinner.

Again Finn and Danny seem like they could be something special, but Finn has to tell Danny his secret that could end things before they even begin. Finn is used to people running away screaming so he won't be surprised if Danny does as well. He just hopes that for once someone might see past this and love him anyway.

This story was a lot different than the first book. First, the MC's in My Mate Jack had been friends forever, they had an established bond that tethered them together. Here, Danny and Finn were getting to know one another, they didn't have a history that helped tie them together. This made their relationship feel almost rushed to me when they were dealing with Finn's illness as well as Danny's job. This isn't light and carefree relationship trials and tribulations. And I just didn't feel that connection between them that I wanted and, in many ways, expected.

***Possible Spoiler Alert below*** 

I also have to admit, and this is totally a personal opinion and I know everyone has their own thoughts and feelings about this, but it was a bit of an uncomfortable subject matter for me. I generally have no problem reading about mental illness, after all I suffer from PTSD. But I've never read a book where an MC is dealing with Schizophrenia. I realized I had a lot of preconceived ideas about it and I think it may have colored my connection to Finn a bit which disappointed me a little. I'll definitely have to read more about Schizophrenia now. 

***Spoiler over***

As for Danny, I just felt as if he wasn't as invested in Finn as Finn was him. Sometimes their relationship just didn't feel natural on Danny's part. I almost felt like he was just there. Some of that may have to do with the fact that I don't feel like I ever got to really know the characters, especially Danny.

Overall, while I think the book was well written, I personally found myself somewhat removed from the story and the characters. I wanted so much to fall in love with this story as I did with My Mate Jack but that just didn't happen. However, I will definitely be reading more by this author in the future.

*Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by the author/publisher for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.*

Finn is the singer for one of Northern England's most popular bands and Danny is a vice detective who happens to love music. It's attraction at first sight for both of them, even if Danny is surprised that a gorgeous man like Finn would even notice him. They get along great, though, and Danny discovers Finn is kind and sweet and nothing like the idea of a rockstar that he has. However, Finn has a secret and revealing it to Danny might put a damper to any kind of relationship between them. 

While I loved My Mate Jack, unfortunately I can't quite say the same about Lucky Man. I liked Finn and I felt bad for him because of all he had to go through with his mental illness. I would've liked to read more about it, and less about the case Danny was working in, by the way. I can't say I liked Danny much. I just didn't feel his connection to Finn and I didn't think he was as invested in their relationship as Finn was. 

All in all while the book didn't quite hit the mark with me, it was definitely well-written and the case was intriguing, even if as I said before, I would've liked to know more of Finn's illness and how it impacted their relationship. Still, it's worth a read.

Rating: 3.5 Stars! 

***Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by the author/publisher for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.***

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Author Bio

Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Fox Love Press. 

Garrett's debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits is a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.

Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at and co-owns the specialist stock photography company M O O N Stock Photography.

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