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BOOK REVIEW: Headstrong (Vino & Veritas #3) by Eden Finley

BOOK REVIEW: Headstrong (Vino & Veritas #3) by Eden FinleyHeadstrong (Vino & Veritas #3)
by Eden Finley
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

A straight guy gives gay hookup tips to a virgin. What could go wrong?

When I first met Whit, I couldn’t get away from him fast enough. He’s a hockey player, and I hate everything to do with the sport that once broke my heart.

But I can’t help feeling sorry for the guy. He’s newly out and desperate to meet someone, but his eagerness seems to scare potential hook-ups away.

Agreeing to be his wingman should’ve been simple. Watching him flirt with other guys made things complicated.

Whit challenges me in every aspect of my life, from my hatred of hockey to the new questions I’m asking myself. Like why a straight man suddenly can’t stop thinking about kissing another guy.

I think the answer lies somewhere on Whit’s lips...

Review

I’m going to let you in on something that I think is hilarious, lol. I am lucky enough to be part of Sarina Bowen’s ARC team and as such, was super lucky enough to snag a few of these World of True North books early. When I was going through this series, I saw the phrase “hockey player” and was like DAMN I need this. Then, as I was reading Heartscape I got to wondering, “Hmmm I wonder if any of these books will feature Rainn…I know he said he was straight when we first met him bartending in Roommate but I guess you never know.” LOL what do you know! The straight guy in the tagline for this book in in fact, Rainn.

Along with Rainn, his book features Whit, a hockey player at Moo U who has recently come out but has yet to have any sort of relationship/hookup with anyone. In attempts to remedy that, he decides to spend some time at the local bar that is popular and welcoming to the queer community and bumps into Rainn, quite literally. Basically they two are off to a shitty start, lol. Whit is the type of person who constantly has word vomit and can’t ever stop and Rainn is….the complete opposite lol. The two wind up striking up an unlikely friendship because Rainn feels for Whit after seeing him strike out a few times at the bar and Whit is convinced he’s going to make Rainn fall in love with hockey again.

Two things you have to know: #1 Rainn had been a great hockey player from Moo U with a bright future until a career ending injury snatched away his dreams. #2 Whit has a huge crush on Rainn.

Even though there were times that Whit’s personality kind of annoyed me?? Like some of the flippant word vomit I talked about earlier just made me think that he’s the type of person people either love or hate, lol. Overall I did love their relationship. The fact that Rainn just slowly started to realize that he couldn’t deny this chemistry the two of them shared. They just grew into a friendship that morphed into so much more and I loved that.

While there is a small bit of “drama” between the two towards the end, it’s completely realistic stuff. Especially with the type of emotional baggage Rainn has been carrying around since his injury. The way they both took the time to work on their own stuff for a short second to come back together stronger and more sure than ever made my heart happy. Another win for The World of True North!

Huge thanks to Heart Eyes Press for allowing me to read an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest review!♥

BOOK REVIEW: Heartscape (Vino & Veritas #2) by Garrett Leigh

BOOK REVIEW: Heartscape (Vino & Veritas #2) by Garrett LeighHeartscape (Vino & Veritas #2)
by Garrett Leigh
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

From award-winning author Garrett Leigh comes a gorgeous new romance in the True North world! Think: great food, burly men and good times. Beards are optional but encouraged.

I’m not the obvious choice to run Burlington’s coolest wine bar—quiet, brooding, clueless about tannin content, and always one wrong turn away from another downward spiral.

But no one seems to mind that I'm a wreck. Besides me. I just focus on getting through each shift until the night a beautiful stranger appears, looking as lost and damaged as I feel.

When a mutual friend calls in a favor, the sexy newcomer winds up crashing on my couch. I don't know if it's his melodic Cornish accent, or his ocean blue eyes, or the rock-hard body with the mysterious scars, but I get the feeling whatever happened to him runs far deeper than those wounds.

Having Jax in my home makes my chest warm. Makes me shiver. Makes me want more. But I've got a pile of baggage and I don't want to be a burden on anyone let alone a man who seems to have enough demons of his own.

Our chemistry is off the charts. His arms feel like home. The last thing I want is to screw this up. Is it wrong to hope we can heal each other? Or will one of us die trying?

HEARTSCAPE is a heartfelt MM friends-to-lovers romance in the True North world, with a brooding bartender, a rugged outdoorsman, sweet angst and lots of Shipley cider. Triggers: contains mentions of depression, suicidal ideation and PTSD recovery.

Review

My favorite thing in immersing myself into this World of True North project so far has been that every book is so uniquely different. So many new authors, new writing, new characters–all wrapped up in a world I already know and love. Sometimes when you find yourself reading romance after romance, they start to blend together. I forget which names belong to which books and the tropes begin to loose that freshness they once had.

Something about this book was different. I don’t know if it was because I haven’t read a romance more on the angsty side in a while but Heartscape resonated deep within my bones. Tanner, manager of Vino and Veritas, and Jax, Cornish wildlife photographer both have their fair share of inner demons. Both have had terrible things happen to them at different points in their lives and bear those invisible scars the best they can. When a mutual friend and freak accident find them crossing paths, the two are immediately drawn to one another.

Leigh did an excellent job with drawing out both of their histories so that we only got little snippets here and there as Tanner and Jax became more and more comfortable around one another; more willing to open up. She also does an amazing job depicting all of VERY raw internal thoughts and feelings of both men. The different aspects of both of their mental heath issues are NOT taken lightly and I know I personally could tell she did her research.

Overall, while there weren’t many parts of this book that were “easy,” I felt that the way in which Tanner and Jax fell into a relationship was. It was quite obviously they were made for each other and even now, just thinking about how obvious their love for each other was just makes my heart so happy *cries* lol. Such a great book.

It’s Jax. It’s me. It’s the heartscape we’ll leave behind when we’re gone.

Huge thanks to Heart Eyes Press for allowing me to read an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest review!♥

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