When All the World Sleeps – Lisa Henry & J. A. Rock

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“Bel didn’t even know what the hell he meant by trying to help Whitlock, what he planned to do, or whether it would work. He just knew he had to try.”

 

In a word: Read the thing! But oh holy hell be careful because this one is dark (still totally loved it though). This is definitely a romance story, but there is so much more going on here. The whole situation, and a lot of the characters, are really screwed up. It makes for some intense reading. I got sucked into the story and just could not bring myself to put this book down for anything. It’s close to 400 pages long and I got through it in one day, I just had to keep reading to see what would happen next. Daniel and Bel’s relationship is the farthest thing from easy considering all the shit they have to deal with, both from the people around them and each other. Daniel is hated by pretty much everyone in town, including his family, for things he doesn’t have any control over. He appears to be close to reaching the end of his rope at the beginning of the story; and he probably would have had it not been for Bel. The great part about Bel’s effect on Daniel is that Bel doesn’t technically ‘save’ him. Daniel at the end of the book is leagues better than Daniel at the beginning, but his problems are still very present and very real. Bel’s love doesn’t cure anything, but it does help Daniel to realize that he’s worth something as a person and that he doesn’t deserve to be constantly drowning in guilt. Bel also goes through his own development, because he can’t love Daniel and be the same person he was before he really got to know him. Their relationship is sometimes beautiful and sometimes heartbreaking (and sometimes cheesy), and it’s quite the read to see them from point A to point B. This might be a difficult book for some people to get through, because the dark stuff is pretty dark and all of Daniel and Bel’s successes are hard won, but I like to think that the ending is all worth it.

 

[available for purchase at Riptide Publishing, Amazon.ca, Book Depository, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble]

 

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The Boy Who Belonged (The Boy #2) – Lisa Henry & J. A. Rock

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“He had Derek, and Derek loved him, and Lane believed that.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. This book picks up a few months after where The Good Boy left off, continuing Lane and Derek’s relationship and adding in even more drama with Lane’s family situation. Lane seems to be in a much better place now, but that’s not saying too much since he was in such an awful place for most of the last book. Lane has quite a few issues, and those issues aren’t going to go away just because Lane now has someone to love who loves him back. Lane is still on the road to recovery and, even with his mother interfering and throwing in roadblocks, he’s slowly getting to a place where he can feel comfortable with who he is as a person, and that it’s okay to just be Lane. Derek can’t do this for him, but he is a great help. A lot of this book deals with heavy subject matter, as Lane and Derek’s relationship definitely isn’t an easy one. Luckily, all the heavy angst is broken up by humorous scenes featuring a colourful cast of side characters to lighten things a bit. A colourful cast which includes everyone’s (but Derek) favourite foul-mouth macaw Mr. Zimmerman.

 

[available for purchase at Loose Id, Amazon.ca, and Book Depository]

 

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The Good Boy (The Boy #1) – Lisa Henry & J.A. Rock

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“Yeah. I plan to wake up one day to find out my mother has been arrested, my father has left the country, their bank accounts are frozen, and the feds are kicking me out of my house.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. Though a lot of it is pretty dark, so watch out with that. After I read Adulting 101 I decided that I was probably gonna end up reading all of Lisa Henry’s books, The Good Boy ended up being the one I decided on getting next. The Good Boy (co-written with J. A. Rock) is completely different from Adulting 101, like, total opposite. Here be angst. Lane is the first character we’re introduced to and he is just pitiful. He’s just lost just about everything and is about to lose his final lifeline. Not even the introduction of Derek, the second main character and love interest, makes anything better. In fact, Derek hates Lane at first. Aside from some humorous bits in Derek’s sections, the beginning of the story is pretty bleak. Even when it starts to get a bit lighter, there’s still a sinister undercurrent under everything. Lane’s been deeply affected by what he’s gone through, and that doesn’t go away overnight, even with love and affection. A lot of this story is pretty heavy, with a lot of angst and hurt/comfort, so if that’s your thing (it certainly is mine), than you’ll enjoy this one. I loved Lane and Derek’s relationship (both the romantic/sexual/BDSM aspect and the hurt/comfort aspect), I loved that there was no ‘third act breakup’, the side characters were entertaining and frustrating in turn and only added to the story (Mr. Zimmerman is my favourite), and I was totally engrossed in the events unfolding. I have pretty much no complaints about this book and if dark stories with happy endings are your thing I would definitely have to recommend this one. (Also there is a sequel that continues Lane and Derek’s story and I have a mighty need.)

 

[available for purchase at Loose Id, Amazon.ca, and Book Depository]

 

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