Friday, April 24, 2015

Unwrapping a Review of HARD TO BE GOOD, a Hard Ink novella by Laura Kaye

If you’ve been reading the Hard Ink series by Laura Kaye then you are familiar with the tattoo covered tattoo artist and adorable little brother to Nick Rixey, Jeremy. You also know Charlie Merritt, Becca’s brother, and son of the deceased Col. Merritt. Well, HARD TO BE GOOD is Jeremy and Charlie’s story…yes…you read that right…this novella is an M/M romance. Stay with me because I think it will surprise you, just as it did me.

***purchased this book for my own personal reading and am sharing my honest and unscripted review.

Blurb for HARD TO BE GOOD:

Hard Ink Tattoo owner Jeremy Rixey has taken on his brother’s stateside fight against the forces that nearly killed Nick and his Special Forces team a year before. Now, Jeremy’s whole world has been turned upside down—not the least of which by a brilliant, quiet blond man who tempts Jeremy to settle down for the first time ever.

Recent kidnapping victim Charlie Merritt has always been better with computers than people, so when he’s drawn into the SF team’s investigation of his army colonel father’s corruption, he’s surprised to find acceptance and friendship—especially since his father never accepted who Charlie was. Even more surprising is the heated tension Charlie feels with sexy, tattooed Jeremy, Charlie’s opposite in almost every way.

With tragedy and chaos all around them, temptation flashes hot, and Jeremy and Charlie can’t help but wonder why they’re trying so hard to be good...

~*~                 ~*~                 ~*~                  ~*~

The warehouse where the team and ever-growing family have been living and where Jeremy Rixey has his tattoo business was attacked and half nearly destroyed in the last installment of the Hard Ink series – HARD TO COME BY. The Raven Riders Motorcycle Club is helping the team fight Seneka, the defense contractor behind their dishonorable discharges and the deaths of Col. Merritt and the other members of their unit. When two of the Ravens members are killed, Jeremy blames himself for getting in the way and not being man enough. It doesn’t take long for the others to recognize his guilt and set him straight. One member of the group, Charlie, comforts him the most explaining that without him and his brother’s team, Charlie might not even be there alive and well despite missing fingers on one hand, amputated by his kidnappers.

Charlie has always felt less than deserving of others because his father so objected to his being gay and denigrated him at every chance insisting that his way of life would be his downfall. Being with Jeremy, and the others at Hard Ink, he’s discovering that not everyone is as unaccepting as his father was and slowly, with Jeremy’s help, Charlie is coming to life in a way he’d never been before. He’s discovering friendship, family, and love.

Laura Kaye has created such a wonderful cast of characters in the Hard Ink series that it would not be complete without Jeremy and Charlie having their shot at love and a happily-ever-after as well. Charlie is gay and Jeremy, bisexual, so as the series progressed it was nearly impossible to miss the growing attraction and affection these two men were developing for each other. At first, I wasn’t sure I wanted to read this novella even though I knew I might miss something if I didn’t, but M/M romance is not necessarily my cup of tea. Suspecting Laura would not disappoint her readers and the fans of this series, I bought myself a copy as soon as it released instead of reading a galley. I felt that if I didn’t like it and had paid for the privilege of doing so, I would be justified in not reviewing.

However…I loved it! I was right. This series would not be complete without Jeremy and Charlie’s story in HARD TO BE GOOD, a Hard Ink novella. Laura approached this sensitive subject matter with grace, sensitivity, a sense of humor, and much joy. Jeremy and Charlie are so great together that you can’t help but smile while you’re reading their flirtations, their first kiss, and even a moment of temporary hurt on Jeremy’s part when Charlie fears being found out and ridiculed. Jeremy is so understanding and sensitive to Charlie’s hesitations that you can’t help but say, yep, he’s a Rixey.

Their story is short, fast paced, and perhaps their love may seem to some to have happened a bit fast, but then didn’t it happen fast for the others too? They’re all on the edge of the precipice between life and death. While reading it, the first part of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116 came to mind…

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;

Love is not about seeing the faults in those we love and wanting to change them, but accepting them and understanding them as part of our loved ones as a whole. Jeremy and Charlie accept each other in every way and even as they recognize and acknowledge each other’s weaknesses, together they are stronger and can face anything because they believe in each other. We can say the same about each of the other couples, but I think it’s even stronger with Jeremy and Charlie because they have to face more than the physical roadblocks to having true love, they have to face the unseen opinions, and objections of those less tolerant…but fortunately, not at Hard Ink.

I love the addition of yet another pet…a one-eyed cat named Cyclops – Cy for short. I love that when you put Charlie and Jeremy’s names in order like this…they begin and end as Cy. Whether Laura meant that intentionally or not, I don’t know. I just like it.

I highly recommend reading HARD TO BE GOOD by Laura Kaye. If you’ve been reading the Hard Ink series, you don’t want to miss a moment, especially with only one full-length story left but also, because you know you already love Jeremy and Charlie. If you haven’t read this series, yet...DO! It’s amazing, fun, action-packed, character-driven like none other, and as creatively unique as Jeremy’s tattoos.

Happy Reading Everyone!

HARD TO BE GOOD, a Hard Ink novella by Laura Kaye, Avon Impulse, available now in print and ebook formats at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobobooks.

***click on links above or cover below for purchasing information, remember even pennies per sale using my links help keep this blog alive. Thank You. 



Tasty Book Tours said...

Great Review! I too am not a huge reader of Same-Sex Romances, but if Laura feels the need to write another, I'll be all over it! I am quite excited for not only Beckett's book but for the Ravens MC books too!

Amy Valentini said...

I'm right with you, Lisa! xox

Elizabeth H. said...

Love the review!!