Author: Garrett Leigh
Book: Roads Series
Series: Slide (Book #1), Rare (Book #2)
Page/Word Count: Add if you know
Categories: Gay Romance, Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 17, 2018
Cover Artist: Black Jazz Designs
Shy tattoo artist Ash has a troubled past. Years of neglect, drug abuse, and life on the streets have taken their toll, and sometimes it seems the deep, unspoken bond with his lover is the only balm for wounds he doesn’t quite understand.
Chicago paramedic Pete is warmth, love, and strength—things Ash never knew he could have, and never even knew he wanted until Pete showed him. But fate is a cruel, cruel mistress, and when nightmares collide with the present, their tentatively built world comes crashing down.
Traumatic events in Pete’s work life distance him from home, and he doesn’t realize until it’s too late that Ash has slipped away. Betrayal, secrets, and lies unfold, and when a devastating coincidence takes hold, Pete must fight with all he has to save the love of his life.
4✨s – I don’t know where to start with this book. I love the writing and the characters. This book is heavy. It’s full of emotion, even though there are times where it doesn’t come across on page, you can still feel it. Slide is the type of book where you really have to be into a deeper read. It’s subtle, the characters don’t come out and say what they want to say.
Pete and Ash are both broken and I can’t say they help heal each other, but they do help the other realize they need help. Even if it takes them a long time. I was frustrated when they talked to themselves more than they talked to each other. They weren’t really good about opening up and being vulnerable. Even though Pete had relationships before Ash he was still closed off. It bugged me because one reason I read M/M is for the vulnerability the men open themselves up to when they find their person. I knew they loved each other, they just had their own unique way of showing it I guess. To me it seemed like this book was the setup for another one. It’s heavy in some places, though it doesn’t show anything, mostly you have to inturpret what the characters don’t say. Garrett Leigh tackles some hard topics, and she does them well enough that I want to read on and see what happenes next.
4✨s – I’ve read so many of her books but I’m ashamed to say Garret Leigh’s Roads series languished on my TBR until this new edition released. Honed in her subsequent novels, Garrett’s skill was evident here, taking readers on deep dives into despair yet buoying them up again with hope, love and family of the heart. Ash is a troubled and enigmatic figure when Pete takes him on as a roommate. The attraction begins more on Pete’s part but the care and concern he shows Ash eventually leads to a relationship. It’s a difficult relationship, at times they’re far too detached from each other. Ash can’t always control his fugue states, but Pete gets too wrapped up in his EMT job. It’s not always his fault but I didn’t care for the angry and almost mean attitude he was given sometimes or his blindness to Ash’s condition. This becomes the worst non-communication outcome ever but not without good reason. Ash has more issues than he’s even aware of and Pete thinks he can just lock his own troubles away in his mind. It leads to a truly devastating break-up scene and Pete’s character never did completely came back from that for me.
I really appreciated the shifting perspectives from Ash and Pete to understand their characters and stay invested in them. This is angst-filled and tough to read sometimes but a genuinely captivating narrative. Many other characters bring lighter moments to the story; Ellie as Ash’s savior and BFF, Mitch, Pete’s long-time mentor and work partner, and Joe who steps in to become a greater friend than expected. Maggie, Pete’s ditzy, lovable mom was great. The whole story tore at my heartstrings and tugged at emotions. Sex scenes in the story are pretty hot but have a stronger underlying purpose than is seen in most romance stories. If I’d read this when it first came out, not knowing of the sequel, I might not have found the epilogue completely satisfying as an HFN but with their story continuing, it provides needed positivity and hope. An included extra scene that was published separately adds to Joe and Ash’s connection and there is also a glimpse into Rare. I did truly enjoy this, even when it became a little dark. I’m looking forward to reading more of their life together.
Paramedic Pete Adams lived through the year from hell watching his lover, Ash, fall apart, and the precarious balance between work and home is becoming more strained. His heart is always home, with Ash, but the dark side to his job is weighing him down.
Tattoo artist Ash Fagin is recovering from a nervous breakdown triggered by revelations about his traumatic childhood. His battle with mental illness is far from over, but with Pete by his side, he’s feeling good again, so good he doesn’t notice something missing until it walks right into his living room.
Ash believes he’s had enough coincidence in his life, but when a voice from the past comes looking for him, it takes the devastating injuries of the one he loves most to convince him to let a ghost become the family he never knew he wanted.
3.5✨s – I felt like Rare did more telling than showing. Pete and Ash talked more to themselves than they do to each other and it didn’t feel complete. Again, this book takes on heavy subject matter, but the characters cope in semi-unhealthy ways. There’s talk of therapy and progress, but as I reader I didn’t feel it. With this series, you have to read between the lines and see what the characters don’t say, because everything else is just a mask and you can see they struggle more than they say. The tables get turned and it’s now Pete who’s having a hard time coping. You’d think after everything he went through with Ash he would have recognized the signs of needing help sooner, but he doesn’t and it turns into an endless cycle of unhealthy relationships. I liked these characters. I liked the writing, I just wish there was something more concrete and the heavy, mental health issues were dealt with a little more front and center and had a better resolve. All in all this book is good as a companion to Slide, but it wasn’t the second part I was looking for.
4✨s – OMG Garrett Leigh, didn’t these guys go through enough already?! What a great story though, with lots of unexpected twists and more than one drama unfolding. Dual perspective is utilized once again to communicate the matters driving the plot in this volume but tilted towards Ash’s POV this time. Ellie meddles in Ash’s life a little with good intentions but subsequent results nearly backfire when Ash struggles with accepting new knowledge about a past he never knew and doesn’t remember. Pete is his support once again and it’s a good thing that when Pete is the one who needs help, Ash has more than a few people to depend on. I felt the same as in book one, that in spite of the fact Pete is not entirely at fault, his reactions at one point did not work for me, didn’t feel like they fit, although the reasons behind it made sense afterwards. I guess I wanted too much from Pete! I certainly never wanted to stop reading to see how it resolved. Darn your grasp of emotional realism Garrett!
This was of the gloomy feeling as Slide had, although I’m sorry Pete wasn’t given the same help Ash was getting with his mental state. There was more positive in all though, as Ash is now stronger than he thinks and keeps moving forward. Opening himself to new people and developing strong ties to those we’ve met before like Joe and Maggie, made for a happier read. Still, Pete’s situation was rough and there were many emotional moments for both men. It’s a fantastic complement to Slide and a moving tale of overcoming struggle. The epilogue is fabulous and sexy, since sex scenes are mostly shown as milestones that Ash and Pete reach in their still growing and shifting union. I think I’m sort of afraid to read Circle, since it doesn’t appear to be smooth sailing for our couple in the future either. Even though I utterly adored the ending for this book, I hope for even more progress and happiness in Pete and Ash’s future in the next book.
About Garrett Leigh:
Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer, cover artist, and book designer. Her debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards, and was again a finalist in 2017 with Rented Heart.
In 2017, she won the EPIC award in contemporary romance with her military novel, Between Ghosts, and the contemporary romance category in the Bisexual Book Awards with her novel What Remains.
When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.
Where to find Garrett Leigh:
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