Wednesday, May 23, 2018

ARC Review: Junkyard Hearts by Garrett Leigh

From The Blurb:
Tired of the London rat race and the heartbreak that comes with it, photographer Jas Manning returns to Porthkennack, the Cornish seaside town where he spent every childhood summer on his father’s farm. Resigned to year-round rain, wind, and homemade jam, he’s sorely unprepared for the impact that artsy carpenter Kim Penrose has on his heart. 
Kim’s free-loving reputation precedes him, and he’s as generous with his inked-up body as he is with his time. The sex is hot, the easy friendship even better, and Jas’s time with him building his family’s new farmhouse canteen is everything Jas was missing in his empty city life. 
But Kim’s carefree existence isn’t as simple as it appears. He’s worked hard to vanquish his demons and build his dreams, but the devil on his shoulder is ruthless, and when it comes to call, their happy bubble bursts like it was never there at all. The canteen opening looms, but Kim is gone in more ways than one, and it’s down to Jas to shore up Kim’s soul and convince him that he deserves his place in Jas’s heart.

Karen's rating:

"They say there's someone for everyone in Porthkennack"...

‘Junkyard Hearts’ is the 7th book in the multi-authored series, ‘Porthkanneck’ and the second one by Garrett Leigh that I have read and loved. While my readings in this series have been very hit and miss I have to say the fact that each story is able to be read as a standalone is one of the things that I really love about this series.

‘Junkyard Hearts’ is about two men finding a second chance, starting over and in the end receiving faith, hope and love as they learn to forgive not just others but themselves.

Jasper (Jas) Manning has left the London rat race in an effort to regroup after having his heart broken by the man that he believed he’d be spending forever with. His life takes an unexpected turn for the better when he meets Kim Penrose at a local craft fair.

Kim and Jas are drawn to each other instantly…no, it’s not love at first sight…but the lust is strong…need I say more?  However, both Kim and Jas come with their own personal set of luggage.

‘Junkyard Hearts’ is about starting over, second chances, finding love, acceptance and hope and while there may be angst no one knows how to do it right like this author. I was all in on this one. It was emotionally gripping and tugged at my heart from start to finish but the icing on the cake with this one is how beautifully written Jas and Kim’s story was touching and I loved how well paced it was. Things moved along steadily and from the very start I was engaged and my attention was held firmly in the story’s grip.

While ‘Junkyard Hearts’ is a standalone story those who have read ‘House of Cards’ will recognize a few of the secondary characters from that story, especially Brix and Callum (House of Cards MCs) and the story where we first met Kim.

Individually these men were both a bit broken and dealing with issues. Jas is fresh out of a bad relationship and has spend most of his time buried in his photography or swimming around in the bottom of a bottle. Ironically, Kim has spent the past couple of years fighting his way out of that bottle and dealing with a sense of self esteem that’s sorely lacking.

While neither man can truly see his own self worth, they are more than able and willing to see the good in one another so easily. The sex may have come easily (no pun intended) for Jas and Kim but the relationship took a lot more work and I loved how it developed there were times of one step forward and two steps back, the insecurity of wondering if you’re really reading the other person right or seeing what you want or hope to see. It was flawed and felt so real and natural.

Both Sam and Jas struggled with substance abuse and I liked that for both of them it was portrayed as a part of who they were but not the entirety of who they were these were two talented men who were multi-faceted in both their strengths and weaknesses.

In general, I love Garrett Leigh’s writing and her character portrayal is wonderful. While there may be angst in her stories given how much angst we can find in our own lives for me this only adds to the realism of the story and when it’s done right it gives emphasis to moments that can be crucial or pivotal to a story but never really goes over the top.

On a separate and maybe a bit more objective note than that of how much I loved and connected with this story emotionally is my appreciation for how the author dealt with the subject of bisexuality. Both Kim and Jas are bisexual and for me it was important that just because they were both men or the fact that Jas’s ex was male, and Kim’s was female didn’t change this…it felt like the author got it, she understood that bisexuality is a thing and it doesn’t change or go away because of the gender of your partner. In the scheme of things this may seem to be a small or even incidental issue but to me it’s also an excellent example of how details can help to refine and define a story and/or the characters it involves when they’re woven into the story and become a part of it without overwhelming the whole.

“Junkyard Hearts” is my 7th read by this author and while I still have a few to go in her backlist I can also honestly say that I am excited and looking forward to finding out stories Ms Leigh will present us with in the future…I do know I’ll be right there and read to read them whatever they might be.


A copy of ‘Junkyard Hearts’ was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.,13978067

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Reading gives us someplace to go, when we have to stay where we are.  (Mason Cooley)

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