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★★★★ The Unconditional Love series by Wade Kelly ★★★★

The Unconditional Love series

  • When Love Is Not Enough (Book #1) – this is a Bittersweet title. Books in this Dreamspinner Press series do not have a happy ending.
  • The Cost of Loving (Book #2)

❅❅❅❅❅❅❅

❅❅❅❅❅❅❅

When Love Is Not Enough (Unconditional Love, #1) (Bittersweet Dreams)When Love Is Not Enough (Unconditional Love, #1) by Wade Kelly

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The blurb…

A six-year downward spiral into a world of lies and deception leads to the end of one man’s life when self-discovery crosses the line between being the perfect son or following his heart.

Jimmy Miller never intended to lead a double life starting the day he fell in love with Darian, but his parents’ divorce, fighting in school, and constantly keeping secrets for his closeted best friend and protector, Matt, force his hand. Jimmy finds the demands too great to withstand and ends it all prematurely, leaving behind an angry best friend and a shattered lover.

Matt and Darian cling to one another in the aftermath of their loss, forging a new friendship immediately tested by the truths of their relationships with Jimmy that are hidden in the pages of Jimmy’s journals. Will Matt and Darian discover what truly happened to their friend? And will this tragedy birth something beautiful between them as they learn the balance between life, family, and friendship when love is simply not enough?

A Bittersweet Dreams title: It’s an unfortunate truth: love doesn’t always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.

So what did I think?

“Know that I loved you more than the stars have power to kiss the night sky.”

I put off reading this for such a long time. I was worried about the subject matter and the unhappiness of the story. Yes, it was sad. How could it not be when dealing with the suicide of a young man? But it wasn’t quite  the tearjerker I expected.

This was such a unique look at one man’s life and the people he left behind. Jamie left behind two men who mourned him – his best friend Matt and his fiance Darian – two very different men. They have never met (in fact Matt doesn’t even know of Darian) who come together in their grief.

Through reading Jamie’s journals, we come to understand some of what lead to him taking his life and a lot about his feelings for Matt and Darian, both men whom he loved.

Sometimes sweet, lots of times sad, this story is quite emotional. I also loved the way we see the different POV of Matt and Darian….

“I didn’t expect to fall in love in the aftermath of life-shattering sorrow, but I met Darien and my heart could not resist his warm lips and beautiful brown eyes.
Matt swept into my life like a hurricane on AMP, and suddenly I was freefalling…away from the paralyzing anguish of my loss and into the warm shelter of unexpected tenderness.”

There is no happy ending – this is a Bittersweet title – maybe the possibility of a tentative happy-in-the-future for Matt and Darian? Luckily book 2, The Costs of Living, is available to continue the story.

“The morning holds what comes next.”
“Will this all fade into nothing?”

❅❅❅❅❅❅❅

The Cost of Loving (Unconditional Love, #2)The Cost of Loving by Wade Kelly

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The blurb…

Matt Dixon, a young firefighter, is the golden child of his family, and he never dreamed that coming out would challenge more than the way his church sees him.

For years, Matt has led a double life hoping to avoid ridicule. When a self-righteous pastor’s statements provoke him to defend his recently deceased best friend’s honor and subsequently out himself, he suffers the brutal aftermath of his revelation. Everyone in his life, including his family and his new lover, Darian, must deal with the ramifications as Matt struggles to come to terms with guilt, shame, and his very belief in God.

Darian Weston lost his fiancé when Jamie took his life, and his feelings for Matt added guilt to his burden of grief. Confused and lonely, Darian clings to Matt despite his inner strife. But small-town realities keep intruding, and if Matt and Darian hope to make a life together, they must first take a stand for what they believe in, even if they fear the cost.

So what did I think?

The Cost of Loving is the follow up book to the Bittersweet title, When Love Is Not Enough. It was not the book I was expecting but was a wonderful emotional journey.

This is the continuation of Matt and Darian’s story which really focuses on the struggles they both face as they continue to deal with the aftermath of Jamie’s suicide and the evolution of their new relationship.

For Matt, it is a story of coming out and dealing with the resultant backlash from his family, his work colleagues and his church. While he struggles with the loss of his best friend and his job and comes to terms with the way his life is now, he also has to support Darian through his own struggles.

Darian faces the dark depths of depression with far reaching ramifications. He is haunted by Jamie and turns to drugs, self harm and tremendous amounts of sex to help him forget his pain.

I found this story at times very dark but at times so hopeful. It is a story dealing with passion, guilt, depression, loss, bigotry, sacrifice and love. Perfect for when you need a good emotional read.

❅❅❅❅❅❅❅

 To find out more about Wade Kelly and her books visit her website.

Buy the books from Amazon.

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Love Has No Boundaries – Fabulous and FREE stories – Part IV

LHNB

What Is Love Has No Boundaries?

The Goodreads M/M Romance group have run a number of events where we are lucky enough to get to read a collection of free m/m short stories, novellas and novels written by the group’s authors. Previous collections include Don’t Read In The Closet, Hot Summer Days (2011) and Love is Always Write (2012). This year’s collection is Love Has No Boundaries.

Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice. Authors of the group selected a photo and prompt that spoke to them and wrote a short story.

Stories covered in this review are:

  1. Repair My Heart by Zeoanne
  2. Guarding Lucas by Mitchell E. Sanford
  3. Ass over Teacup by Jackie Nacht

Repair My HeartRepair My Heart by Zeoanne

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Chad is a mechanic, a lonely man forced to hide his sexuality from the intolerant people in his town. Takoda is a satellite repairman still troubled by a past abusive relationship. When Chad called to get his satellite fixed, he never expected someone as beautiful as Takoda to show up. Can Chad fix Takoda’s broken heart? Can Takoda repair more than just Chad’s satellite?

So what did I think?

This was a super short but nice story.

Although it was a short story, it felt a little rushed, trying to get too much into a short space. The issues were only touched on and the story just skimmed the surface of the relationship. However the characters were really likable and I was so pleased to see them get their happy ending.

The ending did feel a little like the neat summary from a children’s fairy tale (view spoiler)

So 3 stars for this quick and sweet read and well done to Zeoanne for her first published story!

3 Stars

Guarding LucasGuarding Lucas by Mitchell E. Sanford

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The photo prompt…

When I see this picture, I think of somebody wanting to be loved more than anything. He’s never received the love he seeks, not truly. Other than the angel that guides him. This angel has been there his entire life, watching and guarding against the things that will harm his destiny. When the day finally comes that he loses his ability to hide from his charge, he is given the chance to love.

So what did I think?

This is such a hard story to review. It’s a story that has a very emotional feel but those emotions aren’t necessarily pleasant. There are so many sad elements to this story – illness, neglect, rejection, suicide and self harm – that I found myself feeling quite down. And with all this sadness, it was almost uncomfortable to see the sexual elements play out.

I think the author did a wonderful job in creating a story that conveys sorrow and pain. However, although the ending touches on Lucas being in a better place, about to start his ‘true life’, I still felt quite unsettled at the ending – there’s a sense that happiness will come but it didn’t translate to the story ending on a positive note in terms of my own emotions. But sometimes that can be a good thing and it certainly had me pondering a number of issues.

So my advise for readers…it’s only a short story but be prepared for some serious issues to be raised. This is not your traditional romance so don’t expect hearts and flowers.

3 Stars

Ass Over TeacupAss Over Teacup by Jackie Nacht

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The photo prompt…

My friend Ulysses has always been a bit of a klutz but he seemed to be getting his act together better recently. Burdened by that name, he’s always allowed himself to be bullied and take a back seat to everyone else. Added to that, he trips over his own feet or stutters when he meets a hot guy. This spectacular fall is just one more thing to make the poor guy think he’s doomed. He was getting ready to go on a blind date tonight and now I just had to call the paramedics instead. What’s a guy to do when he just can’t stay grounded?

So what did I think?

This was really sweet story and a nice way to spend my lunch hour today!

Ulysses is clumsy and always seems to attract bad luck “Add stepping into the pothole filled with muddy water, and Ulysses wished he could chalk it up to a bad day. However, this was pretty damn typical for him.”. He also has feelings for his room mate Luke.

As the story starts, Ulysses has a really bad day at work. Starting with a broken down car, his day goes from bad to worse. He also comes to the conclusion that he should stop pining over Luke and go on a blind date.

However, later that night his clumsiness acts as the trigger that brings him and Luke together.

Short and sweet. 3.5 stars

3 Stars

 

View all my reviews