Hello, all, and welcome to another month of some pretty awesome reading! I have so many great books to share for March, so I'm going to keep things short, sweet, and to the point. Some are hysterical, some are historical,some made me ugly-cry, some warmed my heart, and some pushed the strictest definitions of what we think of as romance. So, here they are, a few books I thought went above and beyond simply being good.
The first on the list is Melanie Tushmore's The Green Eyed Monster, the first book in her Crucifox series that follows the rise of a young British rock band back in the days when the hair was almost as big as the egos, and sex, drugs, and music pretty much explained the true meaning of life.
The story centers on Sky St. Clair, the band's guitarist, and the newcomer to the group, Brandon Fox, the group's Scottish, flamboyant, bisexual singer, and all the sour notes these boys hit before they decide that they want each other more than they want anyone else.
If you dare to dive into this one, be prepared to laugh, growl, and generally get a little bit honked off at some of the antics that Melanie gets these boys up to, but most of all, just prepare to have fun, maybe fall a little in love with these guys, and really, all you need to do is rock & roll with it.
Next on the list is A.F. Henley's Honour, a story of pride and of the way in which that single word becomes an agent of indignity and betrayal. It's the story of ship-rat, Emmett Fielde, and of the way he catches the attention of the royal family, specifically of Prince Andrewe, the epitome of everything that defines both the good and the bad of monarchical rule.
This is the story of how Emmett comes to be in service to Prince Andrewe, and eventually, of how he becomes a traitor to his love for his prince. It's a story of regret and duty and respect and betrayal and redemption, and questions the definition of the word honour. The writing is lush and lyrical, erotic and romantic, rife with emotion and conflict between two men who must fight for every moment of unity while, at times, they seem bent upon tearing themselves apart. I loved this story for exactly what it was: a grim fairytale with as happy an ending as was realistic for the prince and the man he refused to live without.
If you decide to read Alex Kidwell's After the End, all I'm saying is make sure you have a box of tissues handy, because Quinn O'Malley may very well make you ugly-cry. He knows a little bit about grief, you see, because Aaron Paterson taught him everything about what it means to love someone with everything that you are... And then Aaron died and tore Quinn's life apart. For two years, Quinn's been going through the motions of living but hasn't really been practicing what it means to truly be alive. Until, that is, a force comes into his life, a whirlwind by the name of Brady Banner swoops in and turns Quinn's life upside down and teaches him that moving on doesn't mean forgetting; it simply means healing.
Alex Kidwell brings friendships and family together to tell an utterly romantic story filled with universal truths and emotions, and does so with words that I didn’t read so much as feel; this is a story that washed over and through me, and I was reaching for the tissues before I even made it out of chapter one. This is a book that exemplifies the difference between reading a book and living a story, and is the difference between words written on a page and a portrait being painted with words, in all their contrasting colors, from the blacks and grays of sorrow to the rich and vibrant and sometimes violent tones of happiness and love and guilt and anger and hope and fear and redemption. It is a story that introduces this profound truth: when life’s music inevitably changes, so must the steps we use to dance our way through it.
This is the story of Patrick's recovery and of the doctor, Damien Abner, who helps him find his way back to reality, though it's not a simple process.
Iyana Jenna has written a beautiful and heartwarming story of betrayal and tragedy and, ultimately, of hope and of recovery from the unforgiving grasp of mental illness. It’s a story that’s written in the language of compassion and emotion, and illuminates the power of faith and persistence. It’s the story of Damien seeing a lost man and becoming his compass, never giving up on the belief that he could help Patrick find his way home again. If you’re in the mood for something just a little different, perhaps even unexpected, I can’t recommend this short story enough. I loved it, wish it’d been much longer, which is a compliment to how well it resonated with me.
This is the fate of Jayden and Kareem, who begin as Jesse and Saul more than a thousand years before the common era, to die and be reborn some two thousand years later as Imad and Christophe, only to die again and to be resurrected once more in the modern era as the vampire and the avenging angel whose destiny it is to slay his lover infinitely, and act as the shield between the vampire and the humans he wants nothing more than to enslave. It's a story that isn't what you'd define as strictly romantic, and there's no HEA to this story, but what it is, is a gorgeous story of contrast.
I thought this story was practically perfect in every single way, atmospheric and simmering with the sexual tension between the sinner and the saint, who was not in any way infallible or immune to the temptation of the darkness in spite of the side of the balance he fights for. I loved the loyalty and faithfulness to duty and the sacrifices each man made to honor their roles in the script of their existence, and that they themselves fought for the balance between them, the balance between their love for each other and the loathing for what each was sworn to uphold.
And that's it for this month. Until next time, happy reading!