April Round Up

Monthly Mini Review

shirtless hot Black man with tattoos, one hand in his jeans front pocket, one to the side/back of his neckAdonis Line by Dakota Gray – B- I adored Perv when it first came out and have the other two books in the Filth series on my TBR but haven’t managed to read them yet. Filth, the second book, is a retelling of Perv from the heroine’s POV so I know I didn’t miss anything truly important there, but I’m not sure how much of an impact having read Hardcore, the third book, before Adonis Line would have had on me. I think the books stand alone fairly well?

Tarek Hunter is the last in the trio of friends to find his HEA. He’s a personal training and hiking enthusiast who takes folks out for wilderness treks on the side. Nina Williams wants to pursue a photography career but her preparation hasn’t yet met luck. She wants to change that and plans to enter a photography competition, the prize for which is $20,000 – enough to fund rental on a photography studio and get her up and running. The only problem is that the photographs are of California wilderness at various waypoints. She’s a city girl and needs a guide. Enter Tarek.

Nina has a history of domestic abuse and violence and is understandably wary of putting herself in the control of a strange man for two weeks and so does her research before even asking Tarek to help her. While I thought the DV aspect of the story was sensitively handled it may be triggering for some readers and caution is therefore advised.

Driftwood by Harper Fox, narrated by Chris Clog

A sleeping or unconscious man lies on the sand, only his head (face in profile) and right shoulder/arm are in view. He appears to be under shallow clear water.Why I read it:  After listening to Priddy’s Tale recently I went and bought a few more of Harper Fox’s audiobooks.I was especially keen to listen to more of Chris Clog.

Content warning: Description of sexual violence and abuse.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  What the tide washes in, the past can sweep away.

All Dr. Tom Penrose wants is his old life back. He’s home in Cornwall after a hellish tour of duty in Afghanistan, but while the village is the same, he isn’t. His grip on his control is fragile, and it slips dangerously when Flynn Summers explodes into his life. The vision in tight neoprene nearly wipes them both out in a surfing mishaps and shatters Tom’s lonely peace.

Flynn is a crash-and-burn in progress, one of only two survivors of a devastating rescue helicopter crash that killed his crew. His carefree charm is merely a cover for the messed-up soul within. The sparks between him and Tom are the first light he’s seen in a long, dark tunnel of self-recrimination, which includes living in sexual thrall to fellow crash survivor and former co-pilot, Robert.

As their attraction burns through spring and into summer, Tom must confront not only his own shadows, but Flynn’s before the past rises up to swallow his lover whole.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I’m generally not a fan of cheating in romance. Even if the person being cheated on is a jerk. Which just goes to show that there are exceptions to every rule because I really didn’t have a problem with it here. Perhaps that was because it became apparent that the relationship Flynn and Robert have is not based on consent. Robert is far worse than just a jerk. The author deftly and cleverly shows the unhealthy nature of the relationship while also showing why Flynn stays so long. It’s complicated. There is no judgement in it. It’s sad and scary and it felt realistic, even in the somewhat heightened melodrama of the plot.

Tom Penrose is the village doctor in a small Cornish town. He’s coping with his own demons after returning from the war in Afghanistan and lives a fairly reclusive life with only his Irish wolfhound dog, Belle, for company. He meets Flynn on the beach one morning after Flynn is wiped out by a big wave when surfing. Tom, being the caretaker he is, goes into the water to help. There is a clear connection between the two men (Belle immediately loves Flynn which is, of course, a SIGN) but nothing more really happens. Tom is called away to assist one of his patients who is suicidal after his own war experience and their moment is lost.

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