“There You Stand” (Between Breaths #5) by Christina Lee – My Review

There You Stand Cover

Title: “There You Stand” (Between Breaths #5)

Author: Christina Lee

Genre: New Adult / M/M Romance

Release Date: 21st April, 2015.

Publisher: Penguin/InterMix

SYNOPSIS

From the author of All of You and Before You Break comes a new Between Breaths male/male standalone romance about the silent, inked up skateboarder and the tattoo artist who unravels him piece by piece…

Tattoo artist Cory Easton has worked long enough at Raw Ink to know, just by looking at a dude, what his body art reveals, what makes him tick, what even makes him scared. Until he meets the quiet and remote Jude York—so unreadable, so unreachable, and so unlike anyone else, he can’t help but arouse Cory’s curiosity.

As captivating and complex as his ink, Jude is a mystery—and Cory’s falling fast and hard under his spell. Against his better judgment to steer clear.

The rumors of Jude’s past overshadow him—whispers of prison and an unmentionable secret that’s kept him in the protective shadows of a local motorcycle club. As Cory probes deeper, he wonders how much he really wants to know. Especially since Jude has awakened something inside him that has been buried too long—and has him feeling completely alive for the first time in forever…

ADD TO GOODREADS

My Review

Complimentary copy received by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

I have not really ventured into m/m romance until now, but not for the lack of wanting to. I am a firm believer of ‘love is love’, no matter your gender or race, so please do not misunderstand me. But you know what it is like to remain in your comfort zone instead of trying new things – or, in this case, genres – and taking a leap of faith? Well, most people – including me – are creatures of habit, thus making it difficult to expand our horizon from time to time. This, of course, also manifests itself in the books we choose to read.

But I am thrilled and actually very excited about the fact that I will now be picking up more m/m romance novels because of “There You Stand” by Christina Lee.

Cory and Jude are both young men marked by their pasts, and while their issues stem from different tragic events, the question is if they really are that different from each other? Obviously, I will not ruin the plot for you – that would be cruel – but what I do feel is acceptable to say is that these two men, as well as their connection, are probably some of the most beautiful souls I have come across in a long time.

I adored getting to know Cory, the sexy tattoo artist, and the way he yearns for Jude, the British and secretive skateboarder, made me fall a little bit in love with him myself. I became invested in their story from the very first page, and I love when that happens! And Jude…oh, Jude: what a truly sweet, sensitive man. I wanted to reach into my Kindle, haul him out of it, and hug him so hard! I realise that these are fictional characters, of course, but while reading their story, they felt incredibly real to me.

The mystery surrounding Jude had me very intrigued, and there was never a moment when I felt that the story was unnecessarily drawn out – to put it bluntly: never was there a time when I got bored. Quite the contrary, in fact, because I have been thinking about this book a lot ever since I read The End. Yes, a book hangover set it, and it has not really left me even though it has been weeks since I finished it.

I have been a fan of Miss Lee’s for a while now, and I adore her storytelling skills; she writes with passion, heart, and compassion, and it is always clear to feel all the emotions her characters go through. She also writes some of the most sensual and steamy sex scenes I have ever come across, and I would be lying if I said that is not part of the reason why I pick up her books. 😉 Ultimately, though, the love stories she writes are why I call her one of my all-time favourite  authors, and I want to applaud her for stepping out of her own comfort zone: writing a m/m romance novel and make it realistic. That, to me, is talent.

To sum up my review: if you, like me, are new to m/m romance, I would say that this book is a great starting point. The characters are genuine, the pace of the story is perfect, and the hotness factor is off the charts! The secondary characters compliment the main story as well, there are some pretty laugh-out-loud moments involving a specific dog, and it just gives you that feel-good vibe we all want to experience when reading romance novels.

So why not take a leap of faith and try something new?

Miss Lee: thank you for a fantastic reading experience! I truly love this book, and I just hope it will be available in print someday so that I can put it on my favourite books shelf. ❤

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PREORDER LINKS

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

(from Goodreads Author Profile)

Mother, wife, reader, dreamer. Christina lives in the Midwest with her husband and son–her two favorite guys.  She’s addicted to lip gloss and salted caramel everything. She believes in true love and kissing, so writing romance novels has become a dream job.  Author of the Between Breaths series from Penguin. ALL OF YOU, BEFORE YOU BREAK and WHISPER TO ME available now, PROMISE ME THIS on October 7th, 2014.  Also Adult contemporary romance TWO OF HEARTS coming from Peguin/NAL on May 5th 2015.

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Book Blitz: The Fading Trilogy by E. K. Blair – Special Box Set Release!

Hello, gorgeous people!
I have loved The Fading Trilogy by E. K. Blair from the very beginning – all three books are on My Favourite Books Shelf – and I am thrilled to see that it is now released in a special box set!
The trilogy box set will release at a special promotional price of only $0.99 for a limited time only, and it includes 3 full-length novels along with 2 bonus short stories!
Below each book, you will find the link to My Review – and if you are new to this series: Read it! Now!
Also, be sure to enter the giveaway!
Enjoy!
Trilogy Blitz
Fading
SYNOPSIS

Can a guilty conscience keep wounds from healing?

Fine arts major, Candace Parker, grew up with a mother who thinks image is everything, and her daughter’s perfection will never be good enough. About to graduate college and pursue her dreams of becoming a professional ballerina, Candace decides it’s time to let go and have a little fun. But fun is short-lived when a brutal attack leaves her completely shattered. 

The memories that consume and torment Candace are starting to destroy her when she meets Ryan Campbell, a successful bar owner. He feels instantly connected and tries to show her that hope is worth fighting for. But is Ryan harboring his own demons? As walls slowly begin to chip away, the secrets that are held within start to become painful burdens. 

At what point do secrets become lies?

MY REVIEW

Fading by E.K. Blair book trailer from Novel Idea Inc. on Vimeo.

Freeing
SYNOPSIS
Knowing who you are and accepting who you are come at different prices. 

Jase Kinrick grew up in your typical, all-American household. But after the death of his sister, his parents shut down, forcing him to deal with everything life throws his way alone. Terrified of the person he’s discovering himself to be, Jase has his way with every willing girl to try and rid himself of what he fears he is—gay. 

Escaping California and moving to Seattle to attend the University of Washington, Jase frees himself to the reality that he likes men. Never staying with any guy long enough to get to know them, he doesn’t realize that he’s still hiding from who he is until he meets Mark. Scared of having real feelings for another guy stirs up the questions and fears he’s fought hard to bury. 

To strip away the barriers to the heart of what is real, and to be okay with what lies underneath, will be Jase’s moment of truth. But he’ll need Mark to lead him there.
 

MY REVIEW

FALLINGCoverFINAL
SYNOPSIS

Sometimes it takes someone else to show us what we are truly capable of becoming.

Suffering from years of violent abuse, Ryan Campbell has learned how to keep people from getting too close. But when you shut yourself off, people get hurt along the way. Never caring much about others, Ryan creates a world in which he doesn’t have to feel.

When Ryan meets Candace Parker, all of his walls slowly begin to crumble. Not sure of the truth of who she is, he feels his mind is playing tricks on him. Unable to force out the thoughts that consume him, Ryan is haunted by visions that torment him every time he looks at her. He finds himself swallowed by guilt and blame, but he’s unwilling to turn his back on the one person that could possibly save him.

 

You’ve heard Candace’s story in Fading, now hear Ryan’s. 

MY REVIEW

Falling by E.K. Blair book trailer from Novel Idea Inc. on Vimeo.

PURCHASE LINKS

iBooks (Still Pending. Check back soon.)

Find The Fading Trilogy on Goodreads

Freeing

Freeing (Fading, #2)

To celebrate the box set release, E. K. Blair is doing a giveaway of an AUTOGRAPHED Trilogy Paperback!

Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

GOOD LUCK!

“Freeing” by E. K. Blair

Freeing

Blurb

Knowing who you are and accepting who you are come at different prices.

Jase Kinrick grew up in your typical, all-American household. But after the death of his sister, his parents shut down, forcing him to deal with everything life throws his way alone. Terrified of the person he’s discovering himself to be, Jase has his way with every willing girl to try and rid himself of what he fears he is—gay.

Escaping California and moving to Seattle to attend the University of Washington, Jase frees himself to the reality that he likes men. Never staying with any guy long enough to get to know them, he doesn’t realize that he’s still hiding from who he is until he meets Mark. Scared of having real feelings for another guy stirs up the questions and fears he’s fought hard to bury.

To strip away the barriers to the heart of what is real, and to be okay with what lies underneath, will be Jase’s moment of truth. But he’ll need Mark to lead him there.

**This is a companion novel to the USA Today Bestseller, FADING.**

ADD TO GOODREADS

My Review

This is so much more than a M/M romance. It is a story about acceptance from the people around you, about not hiding yourself and about how you can meet this special someone who will own your heart completely at a time you least expect it.
I suppose you CAN read this book as a standalone novel, but I really do not recommend it – I want you to read “Fading” first, because I feel you will be missing out on a lot otherwise. Jase’s story begins before Candace’s attack and ends less than a year later.

Meet Jase, Candace’s best friend: he is, by his own definition, a bit of a man-whore. He hooks up with lots of guys, never getting close to anyone, and even though he, in a way, has owned up to the fact that he is gay, he is so conflicted about it. And who would not feel that way, what with his upbringing being the way it was: he has very religious parents and was taught early on that being gay is a sin. We learn that he had a sister and that his parents completely shut down when her and her boyfriend were killed in a car accident when they were only 18 years old. I cannot imagine the horror of losing a child, but to forget your other child, removing yourself from him/her will be something I will NEVER be able to comprehend.

Jase was so scared of his feelings towards other guys when he was in high school that he slept with every girl who was willing. But he changed his pattern when he went to college. Now, you would think that this means that he has accepted his sexuality, but that is not true. The fact of the matter is that he will never be completely free before he comes out to his parents.

When Jase meets Mark, his world is tipped on its axis. Here is a man who is not afraid of being who he is, and who is very upfront about it. From the beginning, Mark tells Jase that he knows of his reputation and that he does not do casual sex. He would like to see where a real relationship with Jase will go, and Jase cannot help himself: he desperately wants to find the courage to free himself, to be able to be who he really is, and he is drawn to Mark in a way he has never been drawn to another man before. However, Jase really messes up his chance for something real in the beginning of their relationship because he cannot let go of his fears.

From page one, you will feel all Jase’s emotions: self-loathing, confusion and, finally, happiness. I absolutely adore Jase and the way this author portrays him; I really found the whole story believable – the way Jase struggles with his sexuality, the lack of parental support and the loss of his sister are all factors as to why he has chosen to not get close to others, except for Candace, that is.

“I can feel the thudding of his heart through his chest, and I know I am with exactly who I should be. No doubts. No questions. He’s freed me in a way I didn’t think possible. He’s it.” (Jase)

Mark is just…well, he has a beautiful soul, and he tries so hard do whatever he can to make Jase feel comfortable in their relationship. He is patient, kind and – equally important – an amazing support to Jase when Candace is attacked. Yes, he is more open about being gay than Jase is, but he admits to be struggling himself from time to time.

“I’ve been fighting. Fighting to be free. But now I realize, it isn’t about the fighting. It’s letting go of the fight to see that what I’ve been searching for is within him. Mark is my freeing.” (Jase)

Jase and Mark compliment each other and their journey together was beautiful to read. If you have yet to read a M/M romance, I will definitely recommend that you start with this one. In the past, I have been rather apprehensive about this genre, but not anymore. I think I have said something similar before, but I will say it again: reading is about broadening one’s horizon and although I am quite certain there are other genres I will never read, M/M romance is not one of them.

I know that this review is rather short but I am so afraid I will reveal too much if I write more. I will read anything Miss Blair writes in the future – as with “Fading”, her writing style in “Freeing” is so beautiful, so passionate and flawless. She has a way with words that hooks you in and you feel sad once you have reached the last page of the book. So, Miss Blair, thank you for telling us Jase’s story. You have a lifelong fan in this bookaholic!

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