Book List 2018, Contributor: Luke Black

Review: Accepting the Fall by Meg Harding

accepting the fallAccepting the Fall by Meg Harding

Publisher: Oceanside Press

Length (Print & Ebook): 62k 

Subgenre: Contemporary Romance

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Summary:

Confronting the past is never easy.

Cole Whitaker is happy. He has the job and boyfriend he always wanted. His heart’s in no danger of being broken, and he can’t ask for more from life. As a kindergarten teacher, he sees it all; however, one troublesome student has him reaching out to the parent, wanting to help. There’s something about Savanah that tugs at his heartstrings.

He never expected her father.

Zander Brooks hasn’t had an easy life, and he’s made some mistakes. Freshly retired from the military and working as a firefighter, Zander thought he’d left Cole in the rearview mirror. He’s not expecting him to appear in St. Petersburg, Florida, of all places, teaching his daughter’s kindergarten class. Suddenly, his biggest mistake is being shoved in his face.
This is Zander’s chance to close a door he’d never fully shut, but time with his former flame might change his mind.

Author Meg Harding’s take on Accepting the Fall: “Not everything is perfect, and it’s not always going to go right the first time around. It’s not any less special because it was flawed.”

Praise for Accepting the Fall: “A character driven, second-chance romance. Recommended for anyone craving a low-angst, tender, contemporary story stuffed to the brim with feels and sweetness.” – Piper Vaughn

Teaser:

“I’ll handle this,” he said. He fished around in the backpack he’d brought along and withdrew a small pill bottle. “Ibuprofen. Take one.” He held it out.

Zander glared. There was a drop of sweat beading at Cole’s temple and his hair—what could be seen of it poking from the hat—was curling. Zander simultaneously wanted to see Cole looking similarly hot and flushed while underneath him and to tell his upbeat ass to fuck right off with his ibuprofen and sunny attitude.

Cole shook it, his lips twitching. “On second thought, take two or three. Your eye’s started to twitch.” Whatever restraint Cole had been using must have escaped him, and he let a smug smirk takeover his stupidly handsome face.

Before common sense was able to get a word in, Zander stepped forward. The animal instinct part of him had one goal in mind: kiss the smirk till it went away. Their past didn’t matter in the present. Cole was here and everything about him tugged on parts of Zander he didn’t know what to do with. Only Cole had ever made Zander’s brain go blank with need. Cole turned Zander into the kind of person Zander didn’t know how to be, and much like in the past, it was irresistible.

And terrifying.

Unlike his seventeen-year-old self, the adult Zander did now—deep down—possess the tiniest inkling of self-control. It was this iron will that enabled his common sense to kick in right as the tips of his shoes brushed the tips of Cole’s. Cole’s hand, bottle covered by his curled fingers, pressed against Zander’s diaphragm. Zander could feel the jut of Cole’s knuckles through the thin fabric of his shirt. Cole’s eyes were wide saucers, the blue almost entirely swallowed by the expanding black of his pupils.

It was the same look he’d given Zander on the bus.

Zander sucked in a shaky breath and on legs that felt wooden, took several steps back. He held his palm out and Cole let the bottle fall, landing dead center. “Thanks,” said Zander, far too huskily.

About Meg Harding:  Meg Harding is a sucker for things on four legs and works as a pet meg hardingsitter when she’s not writing. She’s an editor and a lover of fanfiction. She enjoys the theatre, concerts, and lazing about in front of the TV. Meg Harding is a graduate of UCF and Anglia Ruskin, with a bachelors in Psych and a masters in publishing. For as long as she can remember, writing has always been her passion, but she had an inability to ever actually finish anything. She’s immensely happy that her inability has fled and looks forward to where her mind will take her next. She’s a sucker for happy endings, the beach, and superheroes. In her dream life she owns a wildlife conservation and is surrounded by puppies. She’s a film buff, voracious reader, and a massive geek.

Connect with Meg Harding: Author Site | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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Contributor: Luke Black

Guest Blogger Review: The Martian

MartianReview

Title: The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
Genre: Science Fiction
Summary: Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.

Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.

But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

Stars: ★★★★★

Review:

What an amazing book! I will admit, I heard about the movie first, but I decided to read the book before I saw the movie. Yes, yes, I know both are several years old at this point. What can I say, I’m slow.

Anyway, I loved the book! Talk about edge of your seat action. Mark Watney was a nerdy, quippy guy, and yeah, I saw a review that complained about everybody trying to write like Joss Whedon with witty one-liners, but I mean, I think Andy Weir pulled it off pretty damn well. I snorted aloud several times. I didn’t even get the Whedonesque vibe.

I’ve heard the science in this novel is pretty sound. I’m no scientist, so I can’t comment on that but wow, this book really has you rooting for Watney.

I also like the format that it was written. It swapped between telling the story through Watney in first person log entries to third person exposition of things back on Earth. Plus some third person scenes of Watney on Mars. It was different but I really liked it.

I would recommend this book to anyone who had even the slightest bit of interest in space travel to Mars or science or even space in general. Great, great read.

Contributor: Luke Black

Guest Blogger Review: The Preacher’s Son by Lisa Henry and J.A Rock

PinehurstOkay, so it’s been AGES since Ashley so kindly introduced me as a guest poster on her blog, and I dropped the ball on posting. Today, I bring to you my first review! (Big thanks to Ashley for letting me post on her blog. Love you, babe.)

I did participate in an instagram tour, and you can find my post here. (It’s my personal account, yes.)

Title: The Preacher’s Son
Authors: Lisa Henry & J.A. Rock
Genre: LGBTQ+ romance
Summary: Jason Banning is a wreck. His leg’s been blown to hell in Afghanistan, his boyfriend just left him and took the dog, and now he’s back in his hometown of Pinehurst, Washington, a place that holds nothing but wretched memories…and Nathan Tull. Nathan Tull, whose life Jason ruined. Nathan Tull, who will never believe Jason did what he did for a greater good. Nathan Tull, whose reverend father runs a gay conversion therapy camp that Jason once sought to bring down—at any cost.

Nathan Tull is trying to live a quiet life. Four years ago, when Nate was a prospective student visiting UW Tacoma, his world collapsed when senior Jason Bannon slept with him, filmed it, and put the footage online. A painful public outing and a crisis of faith later, Nate has finally begun to heal. Cured of the “phantoms” that plagued him for years, he now has a girlfriend, a counselor job at his dad’s camp, and the constant, loving support of his father.

But when he learns Jason is back in town, his carefully constructed identity begins to crumble. As desperate to reconcile his love for God with his attraction to men as Jason is to make sense of the damage he’s done, Nate finds himself walking a dangerous line. On one side lies the righteous life he committed himself to in the wake of his public humiliation. On the other is the sin he committed with Jason Banning, and the phantoms that won’t let him be. But is there a path that can bridge those two worlds—where his faith and his identity as a gay man aren’t mutually exclusive?

And can he walk that path with the man who betrayed him?

Review:
I knew ahead of time from reading the summary that one of the themes of the book was gay conversion therapy camps. What I did not anticipate was how much it would affect me in a negative, impactful way. I’ve been against these types of camps since I first heard of them, but even more so now. It made me deeply uncomfortable and outright angry.

But that’s not the purpose of this review, I’m just putting that out there. The book had promise. I did emphasize with Nathan. I’ve never been overly religious but I have had that self-doubt of wondering if what I am is wrong.

I wanted to smack Reverand Tull several times. I did root for Nathan to overcome his struggle with his inner conflict of reconciling his religion with his sexuality. I couldn’t decide whether I really liked that Nathan gave Jason a second chance but Jason did at least regret what he’d done.

I did emphasize with Jason on some of his beliefs and convictions. I think he could’ve just gone a different way about them.

I was given an ARC in exchange for an honest review.