Author: Tara Lain
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 08/03/2015
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance
A Love in Laguna Novel
Jim Carney has a full time job—running from himself. Since he walked out on his wealthy family at sixteen because he’d wrecked his best friend’s life over some yaoi graphic novels, Jim has lived a macho, blue-collar existence of too much booze and too little responsibility. Then Billy Ballew, the man Jim most admires, gives Jim a chance to come through as his construction supervisor. For once, Jim is determined to make someone proud. Then Jim goes in for a physical for his new job, and his yaoi dream comes to life in the form of cardiologist Ken Tanaka. Jim discovers he has two heart problems—a wonky mitral valve and a serious attraction to his doctor. But Ken is a major player, and Jim might be just a notch on the doc’s stethoscope. To Ken, Jim is unforgettable—but the living embodiment of his traditional family’s worst nightmares. How come the minute Jim decides to be responsible, he finds himself taking care of his kid brother, getting a proposal from a wealthy woman, making a deal with the devil, and winding up in the hospital—when all he really wants is the Knave of Broken Hearts?
Knave of Broken Hearts lived up to its namesake. It contained two characters stuck in situations that totally broke my heart. Broke it into little emotional pieces until I wanted to grab them both out of the pages of the book and tell them they deserved better. To hug them tight and show them that the world is not all rich people’s warped politics or old world Japanese expectation or fucked up wanna be musician rapists. I wanted to hold them both tightly to protect them from the hurting and to cry right along with them. Knave of Broken Hearts was an emotional journey but it was so worth the ride.
Knave of Broken Hearts is the second book in the love in Laguna series and follows the same trend as book one of having a late in life sexual awakening of one of the main characters. However, this book was vastly different than the first. Knight of Ocean Avenue was very light hearted and fun while still being a great romance. Knave of Broken Hearts had a more serious tone and dealt with heavier issues. And because of that bit of darkness and stress, Knave of Broken Hearts was more robust from a characterization standpoint but still contained that wonderful romantic connection that Tara Lain is great at portraying.
I have to say the author did a great job with Jim as a character. She painted a picture of a man barely hanging on, barely holding it together. It was easy to feel his struggles. They were real and took over every aspect of his existence. I did think at times, the author went overboard and drug this on too long, but this was a minor issue for me. I connected with Jim instantly and was pulling for him to overcome the stressors in his life and find his happiest happy. Especially since his family was smarmy and the politics of the rich were brutal.
The author also painted a great picture of Ken, who was such a paradox. He came across as a confident and almost arrogant doctor and player yet he was so respectful and timid around his traditionally Japanese family. Navigating the line between being respectful and having his own life was hard and I am glad Ken finally snapped.
Surprisingly Ken and Jim complimented each other. They were both equals in the love department with both men being caught between a rock and a hard place and with both men having issues standing up for themsolves. However, I wish there would have been more page time with the men together. All of their interactions were fleeting or sexual in nature. I never felt they had any time to get to know one another so when “love” popped up, I was not convinced. I was happy they fell in love and happy with the ending, but I never felt the love between them until after the words were spoken. I think the author spent too much time on the men as individuals dealing with their internal struggles and not enough time on the men actually getting to know one another outside of their intense attraction.
Overall I really love this addition to the Love in Laguna series. Ken and Jim were fantastic men and the supporting cast was equally as grand. I am looking forward to the next book!
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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