Reading order recommendation #1

social skills

Social Skills by Sara Alva

AUTHOR’S BLURB: Music is the only form of communication Connor Owens controls. No matter how badly he wishes to fit in, friendly banter and casual conversations have never been his thing. College is yet another social universe he has no clue how to navigate—until he meets Jared, a football player with chestnut eyes and a cocky grin that holds the power to shatter his self-imposed prison.

Jared’s attention opens Connor up to a new realm of emotional and physical intimacy. But as Connor’s self-confidence grows, so does his fear that everything will fall apart. Because in this socially stratified world, how long can a relationship between an introverted violinist and a closeted football player really last?

MY REVIEW: They are sweet together. I like these boys. Men. Guys. It’s a light book but it’s got some flesh to it.

vivaldi in dark

Vivaldi in the Dark Box Set (Vivaldi in the Dark #1-3) by Matthew J. Metzger

AUTHOR’S BLURB: Contains the stories:

VIVALDI IN THE DARK: Jayden’s course changes when he falls for dry violinist Darren. But all is not what it seems, and Jayden is confronted with a dangerous depression that has brought Darren to the edge more than once, and undoubtedly will again. Darren’s talent is his own undoing – until a mugging takes the music forcibly away, and Jayden has the chance to change Darren’s life and, quite literally, his mind.

THE DEVIL’S TRILL SONATA: Jayden is going to university. Dream-chasing and distance have Jayden thinking a break-up with his boyfriend is inevitable – but they’ve weathered worse storms, right? Wrong. As their relationship fractures, Darren’s depression strengthens — until one night, a rejected call, and drastic action. Too late, Jayden learns where his heart truly lies. The dream is over — and the reality is far, far worse.

RHAPSODY ON A THEME: Their relationship has been repaired since Darren’s overdose, but Darren has not. When two attempts at medication fail badly, his partner Jayden fears that the end of this depression will only come with the end of Darren himself. Until Darren is asked to play at Ethan’s upcoming wedding. As Darren slowly returns to the music that never quite left him, the shadows finally begin to fade.

MY REVIEW: This series is a real love story. I wouldn’t dream of only reading one, just like you can’t picture one of these MCs without the other. They are exquisite together, beautifully flawed and human and that’s their biggest appeal, besides their love for one another.
The illness and treatment were both very well-written, rather expertly so. If you enjoy angst and pain in your reading, this will definitely work for you. But throughout the whole thing, there is love. This is a series I come back to because it’s so well-written and balanced.


Broken by Nicola Haken

AUTHOR’S BLURB: When Theodore Davenport decides to switch his mundane job for a career, he walks into Holden House Publishing with enthusiasm and determination to succeed. As he settles into his new role, makes new friends, and dreams of making it to the top, everything is going to plan.

Until he meets James Holden, CEO of Holden House.

James Holden hasn’t been able to stop thinking about his encounter with the timid man he met in a club bathroom last week, and when he discovers the one haunting his dreams is an employee, he can’t seem to stop himself from pursuing him.

Just a little fun – that’s what James tells himself. He can’t afford to care for someone who can never reciprocate, not once they find out who he really is. James believes nobody deserves the burden of being attached to him. He’s a complicated man. Damaged. Difficult. Demanding.


Is Theodore strong enough to confront James’ demons? More importantly, is James?

Please note: This book contains scenes of self-harm, mental illness and suicidal ideation which may be uncomfortable for some readers.

MY REVIEW: This is a dark, heavy book. But ultimately it is about love. It is beautifully well-written and I like to reread this because it is so good.





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