Sunday, December 4, 2016

ARC Review: Hanging The Stars (Half Moon Bay, #2) by Rhys Ford

Angel Daniels grew up hard, one step ahead of the law and always looking over his shoulder. A grifter’s son, he’d learned every con and trick in the book but ached for a normal life. Once out on his own, Angel returns to Half Moon Bay where he once found…and then lost…love.

Now, Angel’s life is a frantic mess of schedules and chaos. Between running his bakery and raising his troubled eleven-year-old half-brother, Roman, Angel has a hectic but happy life. Then West Harris returns to Half Moon Bay and threatens to break Angel all over again by taking away the only home he and Rome ever had.

When they were young, Angel taught West how to love and laugh but when Angel moved on, West locked his heart up and threw away the key. Older and hardened, West returns to Half Moon and finds himself face-to-face with the man he’d lost. Now, West is torn between killing Angel or holding him tight.

But rekindling their passionate relationship is jeopardized as someone wants one or both of them dead, and as the terrifying danger mounts, neither man knows if the menace will bring them together or forever tear them apart.

Jewel's rating:

Hanging the Stars is book 2 in Rhys Ford's Half Moon Bay series. It can easily be read as a stand alone, though, so if you haven't read book one, Fish Stick Fridays, feel free to start with this one. That said, I liked Fish Stick Fridays, better. While I liked Hanging the Stars, I didn't really love it. Still, it was interesting and certainly action packed!

Angel Daniels spent a summer in Half Moon Bay when he was a teenager and trying to get away from his abusive, con-artist father. He got a job with a carnival for its stay in Half Moon Bay, and it was there that he met West Harris. That summer changed so much for both of them and even though things didn't end in a great way, neither of them ever forgot the other. And now, Angel has been back in Half Moon Bay for a few years trying to make an honest living and raise his little brother Roman with as much stability as he can manage.

We first met West Harris in Fish Stick Fridays. He's Lang's snobby twin brother. West has spent the bulk of his life being emotionally unavailable and mostly concerned with his next business deal. He's got plenty of money, but his life is pretty empty, so his business is all he has. His grandmother died a few years ago and left Angel the bakery and parking lot along with an iron-clad contract to manage the motel across the lot for as long as he wishes. West wants to put up condos there, but Angel won't budge.

And this is where things get a little shaky for me. West never made any kind of effort to seek out Angel and talk to him, preferring to use a go-between (nothing personal..). But then as soon as they are in the same room, for the first time since they were teenagers, they can't keep their hands off one another. I would have been happier if they would have fought or argued first. But it was all too easy. And while there is plenty of conflict in the book (too much, really), none of it is really between West and Angel.

I did like West and Angel together, though. Angel and Roman humanize West and make him a lot more accessible. Roman, who is 11 years old, pretty much teaches West how to be a big brother. And since West and Lang were never close, in spite of them being twins, it's something that West treasures.

Of course, mixed up in all that is the fact that someone (or maybe more than one someone?) seems to be out to kill West and Angel. And this is the other thing that severely stretched my ability to suspend my disbelief. There was just too much! The guys could barely take a breath without having to dodge bullets or fire or getting beat up. There were 7 major violent events in Hanging the Stars. And when the big reveal happened, I didn't buy it, at all.

What I did like, though were the good guys -- West, Angel, Roman, Lang, Deacon, Zig. These characters are people I liked. I just hope their insurance is up to date because...well, lets just say that between these first two books, there is a lot of fire and a lot of bullets.

All in all, I'd give Hanging the Stars 3 stars. And for some reason, I am craving the oddest sounding cupcakes.


ARC of Hanging the Stars was generously provided by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

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