Perfect for Me by D.H. Starr

PerfectforMe_draftTitle: Perfect for Me

Author: D.H. Starr

Genre: Contemporary

Length: Novel (265pgs)

Publisher: ManLoveRomance (22th February 2013)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥4Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: Sean Sullivan is a principal and a happy person, but he has one major complication. HIV. Frustrated with constant rejection, Sean decides to stop dating negative men. When a student experiences a crisis and Sean meets Emery Benton, the case worker assigned from Child Protective Services, his decision is challenged.

Sparks fly the moment they meet, but Emery is negative and Sean doesn’t want the pain of another disappointment. As he struggles with his feelings for Emery, a war between the fear in his head and the fire in his heart force him to answer one simple question. Is this the perfect man for me?

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Review: Sean has a lot going for him, he has a great job, he has a great apartment and he is handsome.  But, finding a man is difficult, because the moment he reveals his secret they turn tail and run. When one of his student’s lands in hospital it brings Sean into contact with Emery, a caseworker for Child Protective Services, a man who refuses to run. Emery isn’t one to back down from a challenge and when his work brings him in to contact with a middle school principal he is in for one hell of a challenge, helping a young man find the support he needs and convincing Sean that he wants to be around for the long haul.

This is a really good story about the conflicts and doubts that someone with HIV can face… even when that conflict is from within. Sean has faced rejection because of his illness many times. He has just decided to only date other Positive men when Emery walks into his life.  Emery who he feels instant attraction to, but who he fears to date. Emery wants to get to know the sexy principal better and they seem to hit it off.  When he learns that Sean has HIV he doesn’t bat an eyelid, but Sean is throwing obstacles in the way and Emery finds it hard to fight Sean’s fears.

The characters in this story are brilliant; Sean is a loving and caring man who is HIV positive and is constantly being rejected by men because of it.  When he does find someone who accepts him, he finds excuses and reasons to sabotage the relationship because of his own fears. Emery is bubbly and has a great personality; he is stubborn and he will try to do the best for all the children that come to his attention, and he will also do his best to beat down Sean’s walls. Lamar is a thirteen-year old student who is going through a hard time because of his parents.  He just wants to go back home to help his mom, not really realizing the danger he could be placed in. Sonya is a foster-mother who takes care of her boys like a mother tiger, she also mothers Emery to some extent, and she is totally wonderful throughout the book.

I have to admit that at times Sean got on my nerves… he has a man who meshes with him perfectly and he kept pushing him away saying they were too different because Emery was Negative.  He was doing to Emery what other men had done to him… rejecting someone for their HIV status. I mean, yeah, you can see where he is coming from and that his fears are valid, but damn he was irritating at times. Emery is fantastic and you root for him to break down Sean’s walls.  But, the best moment in the book for me was when Sean was sat on his bed collecting his courage to make that phone call and he has an epiphany about what he truly wants and needs. The relationship between both men was wonderfully written and the fears are very real, but sometimes you have to take a chance and Sean nearly loses Emery before he can take his wholeheartedly.

I have to recommend this to those who love overcoming obstacles, breaking down walls, accepting love, protecting children, great characters and the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

Caregiver by Rick R. Reed

Title: Caregiver

Author: Rick R. Reed

Genre: Contemporary

Length: Novel (210pgs)

Publisher: Dreamspinner (24th October 2011)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: It’s 1991, and Dan Calzolaio has just moved to Florida with his lover, Mark, having fled Chicago and Mark’s addictions to begin a new life on the Gulf Coast. Volunteering for the Tampa AIDS Alliance is just one part of that new beginning, and that’s how Dan meets his new buddy, Adam.

Adam Schmidt is not at all what Dan expected. The guy is an original—witty, wry, and sarcastic with a fondness for a smart black dress, Barbra Streisand, and a good mai tai. Adam doesn’t let his imminent death get him down, even through a downward spiral that sees him thrown in jail.

Each step of Adam’s journey teaches Dan new lessons about strength and resilience, but it’s Adam’s lover, Sullivan, to whom Dan feels an almost irresistible pull. Dan knows the attraction isn’t right, even after he dumps his cheating, drug-abusing boyfriend. But then Adam passes away, and it leaves Sullivan and Dan both alone to see if they can turn their love for Adam into something whole and real for each other.

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Review: Rick R. Reed, you do not get to do this to me.  You do not get to write a book that is caring, beautiful, touching and wonderful.  You do not get to write a book that even now has me trying to stifle the tears as I write this review… You’re supposed to write horror stories and if you change style it should be rubbish not this incredible piece of writing.

Dan Shoemaker is a writer who has written a story ‘Caregiver’. After it is rejected by his agent he rereads it and finally admits that maybe it is a bit of a memoir, ’Caregiver’ is about Dan Calzolaio who volunteers with the Tampa AIDS Alliance.  He meets Adam and through him, Adam’s lover, Sullivan, Dan’s having problems with his lover Mark and it’s with Adam’s help that he faces the reality of his relationship. Adam touched my heart and it made me incredibly sad to see what he was going through and how it affected him.  I got to admit if it was me I’d do my damndest to go out with a bang. Sullivan I felt for, I really did, and he loves Adam so much he will forgive him anything, but he’s too scared to physically love Adam.  so Adam ends up looking elsewhere for it, a never-ending cycle of love, hurt, guilt, betrayal and forgiveness. Dan has to find the courage within himself to stop hiding from his problems with Mark and Mark has to face up to his addictions and what it’s doing to him.

Watching the progression of this story was brilliant, following these men’s relationships as they progress and change as they lose a loved one and make changes was incredible. Rick R. Reed has written a story that any author would be proud of. These characters touch you, they make you feel for them and they make you wish that they would all get a happy ever after but you know it can’t happen that way. You know Dan’s choice towards the end is heart breaking for him and it breaks your heart as well.

This story gives you a range of emotions to experience, love, betrayal, sadness, happiness, guilt and hope, the love-making is wonderful, this is a true love story that is not to be missed so I recommend this to everyone and I hope you love it as much as I did.