Friday, May 20, 2016

The Heart As He Hears It + High Contrast

The Heart As He Hears It by A.M. Arthur

Review by Lauren

source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryWhile most of his friends have moved on to “real” careers, Jon Buchanan is content skating through life as a part-time waiter and gay porn star. Firmly single thanks to a previous relationship disaster, he focuses his spare time on Henry, a dear friend dying of cancer.And with Henry’s happiness paramount, Jon is on a mission to help Henry meet his recently discovered grandson.Isaac Gregory hasn’t set foot outside for the past year. He has everything he needs delivered, and his remaining family knows better than to visit. When a complete stranger shows up claiming to be his grandfather—with a distractingly handsome younger man in tow—his carefully structured routines are shaken.Despite his instant attraction, Jon senses Isaac is too fragile for a relationship. Yet tentative friendship grows into genuine companionship. And when Henry’s health begins to fail, they realize Fate brought them together for a reason.Warning: Product contains a neurotic porn star with body image issues, a virgin hero with severe agoraphobia, and a fluffy ball of gray cuteness you’ll want to take home and cuddle.Also contains references to past abuse some readers might find disturbing.

Review: Jon is in the porn industry, which he loves. It means having sex in a safe environment, because the person who runs it is a good guy. After Jon's last relationship, he'd much rather do porn than find a long-lasting boyfriend. Not until he meets Isaac, who is the previously unknown grandson of Jon's friend, Henry. Both Isaac and Jon are immediately attracted to one other, but Jon doesn't want to ruin anything for Henry by making a move, plus Isaac has been afraid to leave his house for the past year, ever since his grandmother passed away. As for Isaac, not only is he afraid to leave the house, but he never really grew up with much company outside his family (which included an abusive father) so he's never dated or ever really thought about his sexuality.

Putting Jon and Isaac together doesn't seem like it would work, but it does.

I loved that these guys help each other. It's not just about Jon helping Isaac face the world. Isaac also helps Jon, which makes it a great friendship, and eventual relationship. I loved that things moved slowly between these two. It wouldn't have been realistic at all to have Jon and Isaac become in any way physical too quick.

There is another aspect of this book beyond the relationship that adds some mystery and suspense. That's all I'll say because I don't want to give anything anyway. It's doe well, and it's interesting, though it's not a needed aspect of the story. It would have been find to focus just on Jon, Isaac, and Henry's relationships and lives.

High Contrast by Tess Bowery

Review by Lauren

source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryJacob Shain is your average member of Generation Screwed. He has a boring internship, no cash flow, and a tiny NYC apartment he has to share with Ethan, his much-cooler, tattoo artist twin brother. Not to mention his love life is DOA. At least, until his brother’s shop hires on a new piercer, and Jacob’s humdrum life takes a turn for the weird.Cody Turner is gorgeous, funny and kind—everything Jacob wants in a boyfriend.Except for the way he refuses to talk about his past, or where he lives, or anything about his personal life.When Ethan is arrested while on a mission of mercy, the reason Cody is so tight lipped comes to light. And while Jacob and Cody fight to understand the depth of their feelings for one another, the police dogs catch their scent. So does the local mob.Now Jacob has to make the hardest choice of his life: stay safe like a good boy, or dive headfirst into a world he barely understands…and hope Cody is there to break his fall.

Review: I loved High Contrast, and I'm so curious to see what the next book in this series will be about (or rather who the book will be about, as I assume it will deal with another couple). For this one, the story revolved around Jacob Shain and Cody Turner. Jacob has an office job, but he feels like he's boring compared to his brother who co-owns a tattoo studio. New employee Cody Turner definitely catches Jacob's attention, and it takes a bit to finally realize that Cody is just as interested in Jacob. They don't start going out right away though...Cody tries to put the brakes on that, for reasons that aren't completely revealed until the end. Regardless, Bowery gives you enough information about these characters so that you aren't annoyed by instead of being curious and wanting to know more.

I loved the everyday, regular guy nature of Jacob. He definitely puts himself out there more in the book because while the relationship between him and Cody is unfolding, a lot of slightly unbelievable moments occur. I don't mean unbelievable in a bad way though - it's just not your everyday love story. I also don't want to give too much away. Let's just say that Cody is carrying secrets from his past, a life that he wants to get away from. It catches up to him though, as these things do, and it takes more than Jacob and Cody to fix things. I loved how the whole tattoo shop, plus Jacob's best friend and his twin Ethan's girlfriend, Andi. It's a true family there and it was great getting to know all of them. Plus, their relationships - especially between Jacob and twin Ethan - felt very real, and helps ground the crazy that surrounds them.


Lisa Mandina said...

These sound like some good books, romance, but also more of a story than just a romance. The first one sounds more sentimental. The second one maybe a little more of a suspenseful story. Great reviews!

Lola said...

These sound good. I like the sound of how in the first book both characters help each other and things eventually grow into a relationship. And there's a cat on the cover, so cute!
I am glad to hear you enjoyed these!

Jennifer @ Bad Bird Reads said...

They both sounds good to time. The first one interests me the most.

Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity said...

The Heart As He Hears It sounds really quite lovely. I like it when relationships don't move too quickly - especially when characters have things they need to deal with and overcome. So I'm glad that this book didn't push the relationship between Jon and Isaac. It's a shame that there was an aspect in the story that didn't feel fully needed, though.

High Contrast looks pretty interesting! Realistic relationships are always so wonderful to read about, especially when they're grounded in a high stakes kind of storyline - which sounds like this book. I always want to know everything about a character, so I think the secret aspect of this book would definitely keep me reading. I hope you like the sequel!

Lovely reviews, Lauren :)