House of Cards (Porthkennack #4) by Garrett Leigh

Calum Hardy’s life has unravelled. Reeling from the betrayal of a man he once loved, he boards a train heading south, with no real idea where he’s going except a world away from London.
Brix Lusmoore can hardly believe his eyes when he spots one of his oldest friends outside Truro station. He hasn’t seen Calum since he fled the capital himself four years ago, harbouring a life-changing secret. But despite the years of silence, their old bond remains, warm and true—and layered with simmering heat they’ve never forgotten.
Calum takes refuge with Brix and a job at his Porthkennack tattoo shop. Bit by bit, he rebuilds his life, but both men carry the ghosts of the past, and it will take more than a rekindled friendship and the magic of the Cornish coast to chase them away.

I’ve mentioned before that Garrett Leigh has a talent for taken broken characters and putting them back together – but not before tearing them apart at least one more time. House of Cards, wasn’t quite that bad this time, but she did manage to break my heart regardless.

House of Cards began with Calum escaping a bad relationship with nothing but the clothes on his back. He had no idea where he was headed, but anywhere had to be better than London. Luckily he ended up in the perfect spot… for both him and Brix.

I loved these two together. Brix may have come to Calum’s rescue and offered him a chance to both rekindle an old friendship and a chance to start over, but Calum basically offered him the same. They gave each other exactly what they needed.

For a lot of reasons, this is hands down my favorite book in this series so far. From the main characters to the supporting characters, I fell in love with them all. This group of Porthkennack residents gave readers a whole different view of life there. Which brings up the fact that you don’t have to read all the books in the series to enjoy each one individually. I’m still not recommending skipping any of them… even though I’ve skipped the historical books in the series, for now at least. That’s just another do as I say, not as I do moment and since I haven’t used that excuse for a while, I feel totally justified. 😉

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Broke Deep (Porthkennack #3) by Charlie Cochrane

Morgan Capell’s life is falling apart by small degrees—his father’s dead, his boyfriend dumped him, and his mother’s in the grip of dementia. His state of mind isn’t helped by his all-too-real recurring nightmare of the wreck of the Troilus, a two hundred year old ship he’s been dreaming about since his teenage years.
The story of the Troilus is interwoven with the Capell family history. When amateur historian Dominic Watson inveigles himself into seeing the ship’s timbers which make up part of Morgan’s home, they form a tentative but prickly friendship that keeps threatening to spark into something more romantic.
Unexpectedly, Dominic discovers that one of the Troilus’s midshipman was rescued but subsequently might have been murdered, and persuades Morgan to help him establish the truth. But the more they dig, the more vivid Morgan’s nightmares become, until he’s convinced he’s showing the first signs of dementia. It takes as much patience as Dominic possesses—and a fortuitous discovery in a loft—to bring light out of the darkness.

I’ve read the first book (Wake Up Call), Broke Deep and the fourth book (House of Cards) in the Porthkennack series. I skipped the second book because it’s historical. I don’t hate historical, but the genre isn’t one of my favorites, so I skipped A Gathering Storm. I may go back to the historical offerings in the series later, we’ll see…

I almost grudgingly have to admit that out of the three books in this series I’ve read so far, Broke Deep is my least favorite. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t like Broke Deep, because I did. I also really like Charlie Cochrane’s writing. I guess it had to do more with the fact that I didn’t relate to Morgan and Dominic as easy as I did with the rest of the characters that have been introduced in the other books. Just a personal thing, so don’t let that deter you. To be honest, it may have just been the fact that I wanted more to their story. It felt like there was still a little bit of mystery left at the end – both for the characters and the actual ‘mystery.’ *sigh*

Even though Morgan and Dominic weren’t my favorite Porthkennack couple, I still enjoyed my time spent with them. Even though they hadn’t known each other long, there was an easiness about them when they were together. I also enjoyed the silly banter that masked a nervousness on both sides. That nervousness came from Dominic’s willingness to be there for Morgan and Morgan’s unwillingness to allow Dominic to go through the pain of losing him bit by bit, like he did with his mother.

Each book in this series adds another layer to the community of Porthkennack, yet none of them are really connected by anything other than the actual location. There’s also a hint of ‘magic’ centered around the town. Nothing blatant or even really alluded to other than the feeling that’s created by a place bathed in local lure and kept alive by the generations of locals who’ve lived there for centuries. Given Morgan’s vivid dreams of a historic shipwreck, I was kind of hoping for some ‘real’ ghosts in Broke Deep, but they only seemed to inhabit his dreams. Again, just me… I’m a sucker for a good ghost story. 😉

House of Cards by Garrett Leigh is next in the Porthkennack series and I’ll be reviewing it shortly, so stay tuned! 

Wake Up Call (Porthkennack #1) by J.L. Merrow

South London mechanic Devan Thompson has gone to Porthkennack to track down someone he’s been waiting all his life to know. But Dev’s distracted from his quest by Kyle, a broodingly handsome local of only a few months, who’s already got a reputation as an alcoholic because of his strange behaviour—including a habit of collapsing in the street.
Kyle Anthony fled to Porthkennack to escape from the ruins of his life. Still raging against his diagnosis of narcolepsy—a condition that’s cost him his job as a barrister, his lover, and all chance of normality—the last thing he wants is another relationship that’s doomed to fail. But Dev’s easy-going acceptance and adaptability, not to mention his good looks, have Kyle breaking all his self-imposed rules.
When disaster strikes Dev’s adored little sister, Kyle steps up to the plate, and Dev sees a side of his lover he wasn’t prepared for: competent, professional—and way out of Dev’s league. With one man determined that they don’t have a future, and the other fearing it, life after Porthkennack is starting to look bleak for both of them.
 

Oh, the ‘British’ is strong with this one. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s worth mentioning, mainly because the dialect takes a little getting used to – at least it did for me.

I like learning about new locations, even if they’re totally fictional. I also like getting to know characters dealing with things that I know little or nothing about. Of course I’d heard of narcolepsy, but I’ve never met or read about a character who dealt with it. Kyle was dealing with his diagnosis the only way he knew how, by shutting himself off from everyone. Not exactly healthy, but in his mind he had lost everything important to him. His former partner didn’t do anything to sway that opinion.

I have to admit, that Devan was my favorite between the two characters. Kyle eventually grew on me, but I liked Devan from the very beginning. The supporting characters were pretty great too, once readers got to know them better. Porthkennack may have been a tourist town, but some local residents weren’t exactly welcoming.

As much as I liked the story and the characters, except for the ones that I didn’t like at all (there were quite a few that were really easy to dislike) there were a few things about Wake Up Call that drove me nuts. One, maybe even two, misunderstanding are acceptable. Between Kyle and Devan though, it seemed like every other situation put them in another moment of doubt. There were times that I wanted to drag back the one (because both of them were guilty) that ran off in a huff and make them really listen to the other. This happened from the time they met and even though I understood, it was still a little annoying.

This is the first book in a series that promises to be interesting. It includes both contemporary and historical books, which is a unique approach. Each book is also written by a different author, so readers will be provided with a variety of perspectives. The next book in the Porthkennack series is A Gathering Storm by Joanna Chambers, which is historical. I haven’t decided if I’m going to pick that one up or not, but the next contemporary, Broke Deep by Charlie Cochrane is already on my TBR list. 😉