Junkyard Heart by Garrett Leigh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
*~~*ARC kindly provided by the author to me in exchange for an honest review *~~*
A standalone contemporary novel in the Porthkennack universe
Tired of the London rat race and the heartbreak that comes with it, photographer Jas Manning returns to Porthkennack, the Cornish seaside town where he spent every childhood summer on his father’s farm. Resigned to year-round rain, wind, and homemade jam, he’s sorely unprepared for the impact that artsy carpenter Kim Penrose has on his heart.
Kim’s free-loving reputation precedes him, and he’s as generous with his inked-up body as he is with his time. The sex is hot, the easy friendship even better, and Jas’s time with him building his family’s new farmhouse canteen is everything Jas was missing in his empty city life.
But Kim’s carefree existence isn’t as simple as it appears. He’s worked hard to vanquish his demons and build his dreams, but the devil on his shoulder is ruthless, and when it comes to call, their happy bubble bursts like it was never there at all. The canteen opening looms, but Kim is gone in more ways than one, and it’s down to Jas to shore up Kim’s soul and convince him that he deserves his place in Jas’s heart.
Whenever I pick up a book by Garrett Leigh it is like wrapping a warm blanket around me, in which I can snuggle tightly. I instantly feel homey when I read her words, right from the start I am hooked. But the warm feeling doesn’t come from being sappy & cheesy, in fact it comes because the stories by Garret Leigh are so amazingly real and raw. Characters full of flaws, but it makes them so beautful, “beautifully human”, like one of the main characters, Kim, in this book actually says himself. 🙂
Kim and Jas are so awesome together and their relationship grows from a short hook up to a friendship and finally to trust and deep love. I really loved how Jas and Kim were displayed.
Kim is a character you instantly fell for. He is suffering from his addiction, he is constantly struggling and trying to keep clean, to not relapse. With blunt, not sugar coating words Garret Leigh is describing the pain, the addiction, the daily struggle, and also that’s okay to be “weak”, that’s okay to accept help and that the significant other or family member sometimes can’t do anything. But also forces the reader to think about it, to think about addictions, about what it means to live with them.
Garret Leigh lets Jas being confronted with it within the book, Kim is honest to him and it takes a time for Jas to get everything which is included to Kim, his addiction and what it means that he is this deeply connected to his female friend Lena, who Jas calls “Red”.
The characters are in every facette real, they have their problems, their burdens. We have deep connections, clearly people who are caring for each other but the reader sees also characters who are hiding things.
For example Jes, who is dealing with things from his past; he is moving from London to Porthkennack, leaves a broken relationship behind, which lead to broken trust and insecurity on his side. Jes isn’t totally over the break-up and with Kim he opens up after a long time, maybe for the first time ever.
The bonding between the both guys is instinctly, although Kim and Jes have people supporting them, it’s clear they complete each other on a different way.
The erotic scenes are sensual and sweet, but also hot and – as the whole book – real and honest. Every display of emotions is clearly visible, the reader is with the characters, mostly due to the POV, told from Jes’ perspective.
Coming to the POV: the decision in letting only Jes talking was for me a great and sensible one; it gives only insight to Jes and his emotions, we observe with him everything and everyone; Kim, his new life in Porthkennack, his family, the friend’s in Kim’s life. The insecurities are palpable and we have several times only one opinion, until the other characters act and the reader sees a different side. The unreliability in this way of writing is a strong point in the book and we never have a switch in the POVs. I really liked it a lot.
As the blurb says the book is a standalone book in a whole series or better: a universe, the connection is the place the books are set, Porthkennack. But this book also have a few reappearing character from another book by the author in the series, Calum and Brix, from House of Cards (book 4).
For me this book was the first read in the series, therefore I didn’t know any of the characters, but I had no problem in reading the book and getting the connection because the most important aspects were told or otherwise displayed.
The books by Garrett Leigh are all filled with realness and blunt, sometimes brutal honesty, but it’s what you love about her books, and this is no exception. As said in the preamble, the stories give me a homey, calming feeling, even if I’m devastated some parts on the way, on the awesome journey through the books. 5 out of 5 stars for this. Highly recommended.