Sunday, April 23, 2017

Pre-Release Day Reviews: From War to Forever by Andria Large

Title: From War to Forever
Author: Andria Large
Release Date: April 24, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 330
The love of my life is dead. Is there a reason to live anymore?
I’m a veteran Marine. Terrorists took not only my foot, but also my wife. Recurrent nightmares, a dead-end job, and a painful limp are all I have left. My best friend, Tucker, and my sister, Lizette, keep me afloat. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Tucker… literally. And then, out of nowhere, there are these feelings. The kind I haven’t felt in years. The kind I’m not sure I can handle, or even want to. But they’ve started wrapping around my broken heart, trying to mend it. Only they are not for a woman, but for the man suddenly sharing my bed. I’m not so sure I’m ready to give love another go.
The war took my hearing, but I’m alive. Many of my friends are not. I am building a life with my best friend, Dennis. We have become practically inseparable. And now, we are more than friends. I’ve never had feelings like these for a man. My parents, my brother, my buddy, Duke—will they understand how I feel about Dennis? Can I risk losing my family?
First Edition published as At War by KDP Select, 2015.

4 Stars

Dennis and Tucker meet in rehab after they are both injured in separate incidents overseas. Denny loses not only the lower part of his leg, but insurgents also kidnap and murder the love of his life, his wife, Zara. Tucker loses his hearing in an explosion, as well as his friend and team member. Denny and Tucker have been roommates for quite some time, as well as becoming best friends and an emotional support system for one another when needed. Both men suffer from PTSD, and they understand what the other is going through like no one else can, because they've experienced such similar tragedies.

I really loved this storyline and I absolutely adored these characters. They shared an amazing chemistry and love. Though neither has been attracted to a man before, I really love that they didn't question it all that much. It didn't freak them out, they just accepted how they felt for one another, how their feelings changed from friends to more and they explored that attraction and let it happen. The connection they shared was so raw and beautiful and you could feel the love coming off the pages at you.

As much as I loved this book, it was entirely too long. The author/editor could have cut at least 1/3 of this book and still tell a beautiful and complete love story. There were a lot of unnecessary fillers in the story. Now let's talk about the sex, I love sex in books, and as much as it was beyond hot every time Denny and Tucker fell into one another's arms, it was too much sex. It got to a point that it was just sex for the sake of sex, and a little of that in a story is okay, but here, it went overboard.

All in all, this was a wonderful love story, filled with friendship, family, heartache, healing and love. Highly recommendable!!

*Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn’t a requirement.*

4 Stars! 

I remember reading this trilogy a while back and enjoying it quite a bit. We get a double dose of GFY plus friends to lovers and it's full of all kinds of angst.

I fell in love with Dennis right from the beginning and my heart truly went out to him because of what he has gone through and what he lives with day in and day out. The guilt of not being able to save his wife, his amputation and the PTSD and depression that plague him years after returning home from the war. Dennis's friendship and bond with Tucker is truly one of the only things keeping him alive at this point so it felt natural for their friendship to slowly evolve into something more intimate.

Tucker, too, is carrying around what happened to him in Iraq. Losing his hearing after an explosion took out his teammate has him with plagued by survivor's guilt. It's caused him to deny getting his hearing fixed so he can pay the penance for his brother in arms sacrificing himself to save Tucker. While he seems much more adjusted to life as a civilian in the beginning of the book we learn quickly that Tucker also deals with horrifying nightmares. I found it sweet how Dennis would climb into bed with him just to comfort him so he wasn't alone. Of course, this is how they seem to come together (no pun intended) and find that they are more than just buddies.

Their relationship seems very natural even though neither man previously identified as gay or bisexual. They are such good friends that they work well as a couple and the chemistry between both of them is great. The sex is pretty hot too (and there is a lot of it).

However, just when it seems both Dennis and Tucker are paving a path to a life together they are thrown a series of curveballs. I cannot even begin to say how upset I was at what was going on between Tucker and Dennis and I found myself cursing them a bit. I hated it and just wanted them to go back to how things were in the beginning. I wanted to hug Dennis and punch Tucker and then I wanted to shake Dennis. It was quite a lot of ups and downs for me (sorry I'm trying not to give spoilers).

I was extremely happy with the end and I loved the Epilogue. It made things all worth it. These two men definitely deserved to be happy and they were wonderful together. It was nice to get to see them in the future and how far they've come, especially since this story felt so long. 

*Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by Dreamspinner Press for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.*

4 Stars 

A decent tale, but too filler-y. Could have chopped 1/3 of the length off and still come up with a decent tale.

This is a tale of two military guys who meet in hospital/rehab and then become roommates, before things suddenly take a turn with them and they become friends-with-benefits, before their feelings deepen. Both had until then been entirely straight, but refreshingly, they didn't feel the need to talk things to death, to define themselves with labels - they were simply friends, felt an attraction to each other that was based more on feelings than anything else, and they explored it with hope but not with any huge expectations or plans.

It's done with heart, but there was a lot of filler in it, some of which sounds like it was there to introduce a future MF tale in the series, with the BFF of one guy being the lead in it. There was also a lot of family stuff that was and kind-of-wasn't necessary, though the dementia element was nicely, if rather sadly, done. There was some angst in it, but not all was necessary. If I'm entirely honest, it felt as if the editor on this book hadn't been paying much attention as a lot could have been cut out without affecting the tale. I won't go into detail, as I don't want to spoil the tale, and all ends well, several years into the leads' future, with a future I'm sure they hadn't seen coming for them when they started off. It ended with warmth and happiness.

ARC courtesy of Dreamspinner Press and Bayou Book Junkie, for my reading pleasure.

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