Monday, March 26, 2018

Review: Safe and Sound by Lucy Lennox & Sloane Kennedy

Safe and Sound (Twist of Fate, #2) by Lucy Lennox & Sloane Kennedy
Self Published
Novel: 362pgs

3 Pants Off (could have been a 4 but that ending...)

Blurb: I've been drowning for a long time. I never thought I'd find someone who knows what that's like...
Self-proclaimed playboy, Aiden Vale, has it all - good looks, successful career, plenty of cash in the bank and an endless supply of men who know the score... that one night is just that. So the last thing he wants, or needs, is to forge a connection that might mean revealing more of himself than he's ready to. But when fate intervenes, putting Aiden in the path of someone who threatens to knock down his carefully constructed walls, he's quick to realize the young man he's become infatuated with is hiding a painful secret.

I finally have a shot at freedom. I'll never let anyone take that from me ever again...
Ash Valentine is just looking for a way out, and the last thing he wants or needs is another man controlling every aspect of his life. Desperate for the cash that will help him flee his abusive boyfriend, Ash accepts what is supposed to be a temporary job at a local coffee shop. But nothing prepares him for the gorgeous and enigmatic Aiden Vale, and the small acts of kindness the charming coffee shop regular bestows on him or the new friends he begins to make along the way. 

Terrified of once again becoming too reliant on someone else to take care of him, Ash refuses Aiden's repeated offers of help in any form. But when it becomes clear that there's something more behind Aiden's need to save him, Ash begins to wonder if he's found someone who needs saving just as badly.

I know he wants to save me, but what if he's the one who needs saving...
As their tentative friendship turns into something more, long buried secrets begin to surface. When Aiden's need to protect Ash clashes with the younger man's desire for independence, memories of the one he couldn't save begin to tear at the fragile cords of Aiden's soul, and he's forced to face a truth he's been hiding from for a long time. 

Threatened with losing what they've only just found, will Aiden and Ash find a way to accept their pasts or will they let the pain drag them below the surface for good?

No cliffhangers and can be read as a stand-alone.

*** TRIGGER WARNING - includes scenes of domestic violence. *** 


I’m having a hard time rating this one but I’ll keep it in the 3 Pants off range because as much as I enjoyed the story I still had some issues with it. This review might even head in a rant mode because Ms Kennedy and Sloane really effed up what could have been a very good ending and not even their authors note made it any better. 

We first met Aiden Vale in the first book Lost and Found, and honestly I wasn’t really excited or interested in his story but I went ahead and read it anyway and I am both happy and disappointed at the same time. Aiden comes across a journal at his favourite coffee shop that touches him something deep. He knows the right thing to do would be to find it’s owner but the words on the pages have him longing to know the person behind such haunting words. When the coffee shop gets a new employee Aiden is drawn to the timid man something fierce and all his protective instincts kick in. He can tell the man was hurt, is still hurting and Aiden wants to be the one who rescues him. Plagued by guilt of his losing his little brother, Aiden just wants something or someone to believe in again and if Ash is that guy then he will fight for him. 

Ash Valentine is dealing with something that no one should ever have to deal with . Stuck in a violent domestic relationship he’s drowning and needs a way out. Tired of being a punching bag both physically and emotionally, Ash decides it time to leave and with his abusive boyfriend away he sets a plan into motion. He’ll work at the coffee shop where his boss Emily was kind enough to hire him, save money and leave his abusive home for good. Easier said than done, because the coffee shop has Aiden Vale and he is distracting as hell. Ash should be thinking of a way out and not lusting for a new man but Aiden makes it hard because he’s kind and someone is finally seeing him for the first time. 

Aiden and Ash then move forward into a tentative friendship but it is a friendship that I really enjoyed. Ash still lives in fear of his abusive boyfriend making an appearance and to be expected birch face Billy makes an appearance and shatter all of Ash’s hard work. What happens is quite unsettling to read and it made me so angry and I just wanted to punch a bitch out. Yet, Ash is very resilient and he knows how to play to make sure he survives and how to finally get away. 

What was a friendship soon blossoms into something more and our boys begin the journey in saving each other. Once two men were drowning and now they’re safely floating and get all the air. 

All right, I was enjoying this story to a point and by a point I meant close to the ending. It was going so great until the shocker of all shockers that epically surprised me (my face almost fell off) and then the bullshit ending came along and just freaked my freak. I enjoyed the boys friendship, it was sweet and through everything you could tell they really cared for each other. Aiden had first world problems, it didn’t take away from his character he was just a product of his environment. Ash, even through all the bullshit life dealt him he was still able to smile, still able to care. 

The fuck shit that happened I found very problematic!! I know what you’re thinking “Darien, this book is fiction” but domestic abuse is a real-life thing to many people. The way the authors went about handling a very serious situation really pissed me off and is my WTF for the month of March. 
First- Aiden knows how dangerous Ash’s ex is but just drop everything because of a restraining order and because Ash while under duress says some dumb shit. That hesitation in real circumstances could have resulted in death or permanent damage.  

Second- Ash was beaten, like hella beaten and the fact that a very violent person gets to walk even in a book is problematic. It was presented as a woman speaking up makes it viable where as Ash suffering is looked over and implies “he’s a dude he should suck it the fuck up”. His abuse is not addressed and I felt like it was just brushed under the rug. It really fucking pissed me off.  

The kick in the teeth is the little note at the end book discussing domestic abuse towards LGBTQ 🏳️‍🌈 relationships and yet don’t even deliver it in a victorious way in their own book is just…and I know authors write how the story comes to them but I’m not on board for that ending it sends a bad message. 

Overall, this could have been a better read but the seriousness of the topic was diluted by dramatics and some flaky behaviours. Safe and Sound in some parts turned out to be soundly stupid and I am disappointed. Ash deserved better and bitch face Billy deserved to be roasted over a bonfire.  


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