Woot. the first review I've cut and paste from Goodreads. May it be the first of many!
Took me a while to write this as this book left me a little haggard. I wanted to curb the flailing and be objective. I think I've managed it. The book is far from perfect, but it worked for me.
And this is why...
Okay, I loved this book. I'm gonna put it out there before I tear it to shreds. It ticked every box, pulled on every heartstring, and left me a weeping mess. Check my updates if you don't believe me.
It's true. Grouchy ole Isaac cried.
The prologue is amazing. It pulled me in with the imagery and depth of feeling, which, I gotta say, surprised me. Usually, for me to enjoy a sex scene, I have to have established feelz for the characters. I didn't here, because it was the first I'd seen of them, but somehow, the established warmth between the two MC's grabbed me from the start.
And then Ash came along and put a spell on me, and I think it was this that held the key to me liking this book so much. Angst can be a tricky subject. If a reader can't connect with the characters, heavy angst and drama is simply annoying, but if an author finds that spark that connects to a reader, be it just one or many, then that book becomes magical.
For me, Ash was that spark. The kid is just every angst lover's dream of a tortured soul. His backstory is revealed bit by bit, and every nugget broke my heart. His innocence, cruelly laced with the sense of a young man who's endured too much was nicely balanced. By the end of the book, I just wanted to wrap him in a blanket and put in my cabinet with my best china.
(I don't have any china, but you get my point…)
Then there was Pete. I enjoyed Pete for the most part. He was warm, caring, and just what Ash needed most of the time.
There were some moments when his reaction to Ash annoyed me, but actually, I found that made him very human. Ash's battle with his mental health was brutal, and though I felt some of it could have been avoided if Pete had kept his temper and stopped to think, I almost came away feeling like what happened in the latter half of the book needed to happen for Pete to realize just how ill Ash was.
Almost. Because, let's face it; no one wants to witness what Ash went through. I thought the mental health issues Ash had were handled very well, and I particularly appreciated that they were told from both sides; from Ash in the beginning, and then from Pete's perspective when things spiraled out of control. Watching a loved one descend into the depths of a mental health condition is horrendous. I know, because I've done it, and I felt Pete's panic when he was trying to talk Ash down from the peak of his crisis. That kind of thing by its very nature isn't easy to articulate, and I think the author did a good job of it.
Pete…he frustrated me, but it was written well, so I forgave him for the most part, especially when his inner monologue kicked in and he began to see the damage his pigheadedness had caused. I think that perhaps he is as flawed as Ash in his own way. Perhaps even more so, as he seems better at hiding it. Either way, I came away with a lot of love for Pete and the way he cared for Ash, but also with the desire to flick his ear. I do enjoy characters that make me yell at my kindle, but Pete did push the boundaries of my tolerance.
Hmm, what else, what else…
The secondary characters: some were awesome, others seemed a little superfluous. I loved Maggie, and her bond with Ash was lovely to read. Ellie, I found slightly irritating, but I think that maybe because she reminded me of the girl who lives below me with her loud, er, love life.
Joe, I didn't get. I figured him a villain at the start, but then he became a sort of hero. I enjoyed his role in taking care of Ash at the end, but I didn't quite understand how it happened that way. I think that relationship could've been explored better on the page.
The sex: the sex scenes in this book are very good. They are emotive, rather than graphic (though they are certainly not purple prose) and each one seemed to serve a purpose. The desire between the two MC's is well described, and despite the bucket load of angst laced within each one, pretty damn hot. I particularly enjoyed the ones right at the beginning, and at the end. They seemed to sandwich the book nicely and show me the purpose of the story.
Overall, this book is an excellent read…if you like that kind of thing. And I do, very much.
Angst, tattoos, sex, hurt, comfort. Great.
However, it's not for the fainthearted, and I think it's the kind of book folk will either love or hate. I loved it, but even as I read it, I could sense parts that I knew would infuriate some people. For me, the characterization of Ash blew me away, but I think Pete's action, or rather, lack of, will frustrate some. I also think some of the wording needed a stronger edit. The dialogue is excellent, but the paragraph construction was…not weak, but just not quite right in places.
BUT, these are minor quibbles (love that word). As a whole, this was a beautiful book and I can highly recommend it to anyone who loves a good roll in the hay with the angst. Ash was wonderful character, and his tale is heartbreaking. His bond to Pete is deep and true, and the depth of that bond kept me hooked from start to finish.
Great book. 4.75 stars.