Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Faintest Spark (Roadmap to Your Heart #1.5) by Christina Lee: Review

Malachi O’Rourke spends his years as president of the Disciples of the Road cleaning up his father’s mess, grieving a broken heart, and protecting the men under his charge. Sawyer Malone hasn’t had it easy either since joining the Scorpions. While paying back a personal debt for his club seems gratifying on the surface, he ends up sacrificing way more than he bargained for.

When Mal recognizes that Sawyer is struggling, he offers him needed support. Something about the man’s quiet strength stirs deeply inside him. Sawyer knows he shouldn’t rely on the solace Mal provides, but he’s been the only ray of light in an otherwise bleak few months. So after a tender moment passes between the men, they simply chalk it up to their newfound friendship.

Besides, no one will ever measure up to Mal’s former old lady and Sawyer’s just been through his own tragic ordeal. But when they’re thrust together for a weekend event involving both of their clubs, they can no longer deny their attraction. Except time-honored loyalties and hard-fought tradition will not only force them to risk their standing—but also gamble with their hearts.

Click to Buy the Roadmap to Your Heart Series on Amazon:


About the Author:

Mother, wife, reader, dreamer. Christina lives in the Midwest with her husband and son--her two favorite guys.

She's addicted to lip gloss and salted caramel everything. She believes in true love and kissing, so writing romance novels has become a dream job.

NA Contemporary Romance ALL OF YOU, out now (Penguin/InterMix). BEFORE YOU BREAK in February and WHISPER TO ME in May, 2014. Repped by Sara Megibow.

Also the creator of Tags-n-Stones (dot com) jewelry.

Social Media Links:

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Review by Michelle:

Male/Male novels are always a bit of a forbidden story given the world that we live in. Unfortunately, while we seem to be making great strides all the time as a society, there are always going to be people out there that don't understand, that don't approve, or even worse, actively try to put a stop to same sex relationships. When you are talking about the most macho of men, the most unforgiving of circumstances, and a situation with the most to lose, The Faintest Spark is forbidden and then some. A book that reads like a novella as it is over long before you would like it to end, but feels like a full length book with all the conflict, emotion, and intensity of a much longer story.

Sometimes in a novella it is hard for an author to adequately convey the connection between the characters, yet from the very start I truly believed in Sawyer and Mal's connection; I felt their chemistry, their longing, and each of their internal struggles. Mal is the Prez of the Disciples with an entire club to lose if not accepted by his men. Sawyer, the newest member of the Scorpions who have formed a new, cooperative relationship with the Disciples that is still on some pretty tenuous footing, has his own club status, his job, and even his life at risk if his Prez doesn't accept the relationship between he and Mal or thinks that Sawyer and Mal may be hiding something from him. These two men and their story sucked me in from the first word, held me captive throughout, and won my heart in the end.

So how does what we think of as a heterosexual character go about getting into a relationship with another man? When it comes to the way Christina Lee goes about introducing a homosexual romance to Mal, a character we have previously thought of as straight, quite smoothly. I can't say I love when all of a sudden a supposedly straight character in any book out of nowhere decides to be with, or better yet, go after a character we have come to know as gay or bisexual. Why the sudden and unprovoked change of heart? Let's be honest, we aren't really that evolved as a society to be so openly accepting of sexual fluidity and a "man's man" would never even dream of entertaining such thoughts. Not to say there aren't plenty of men and women out there that are not interested in what someone looks like, dresses like, or even what gender they are and only care about the person that they are underneath it all, I'm just saying it's not all that realistic and frankly pretty hard to believe when actions are completely out of character. But when the "straight man" in question, Mal, feels a real attraction to another man for what seems like the first time only to realize that just maybe he has felt faint sparks with men and had fleeting thoughts about men before in his lifetime that he just never really seriously considered or had the opportunity to embrace makes it all much more understandable and realistic for me. Can a straight man have an epiphany? Sure. Is there a first time for everything? Definitely. Does a straight man in a rigidly masculine and often homophobic community quickly and easily decide to try out a same sex relationship without a second thought? I don't think so. Which is why I appreciate the struggle Mal goes through and the way in which Christina Lee addresses his not so new, completely understandable, and very relatable feelings in The Faintest Spark. Christina Lee deftly and successfully tackles this question where I feel few other authors have and I just loved every minute of it.

With two admirable and engaging characters, a short, sweet, and completely captivating story, and just the right edge of forbidden romance, The Faintest Spark has all the heart, passion, and steam we have come to love about the Roadmap to Your Heart series with a bit more sweetness, a tad more risk, and a healthy dose of alpha goodness. Mal and Sawyer have become one of my favorite Lee couples and their story my favorite book in the series. Don't underestimate the impact of this novella, you do not want to miss The Faintest Spark.

*complimentary copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 5 Stars

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