Sunday, December 1, 2013

Review: "Blowhole Boys Series" by Tabatha Vargo .....Reviews all by Showdog

Playing Patience (Blow Hole Boys, #1)


Sometimes all you need is Patience.

Life’s been hard for Zeke. Being a punching bag for his alcoholic father has turned him into stone. Not even the dodgy trailer park he lives in can scare him. Fighting is his release and sex, drugs, and his guitar bring him peace, but deep down Zeke isn’t quite as hard as he makes himself out to be. When he meets Patience, she finds all his broken pieces and puts him back together, but she’s a ray of light in his shadowed life and the last thing he wants to do is bring her into his dark world. Playing careless is easy, playing the bad guy can be fun, but playing Patience is impossible, especially when she can see right through him.

Zeke isn’t the only one who’s broken, and for the first time, in a long time, Patience feels alive. Her black and white world gets a shot of color when she meets Zeke. He’s unlike anyone she’s ever met with his tattoos, piercings, and blunt honesty. She wants nothing more than to let go and ride the wild side with him, but some wounds never heal and the broken pieces of Patience aren’t so easy to find.

***Warning: this book contains graphic language, sex, and violence. Mature readers only. Not intended for young adult readers***

Review by Showdog:

Wow...this book blew me away.

"She was the sense of peace I’d been searching for in all the wrong places."

As soon as I read that it was about a tortured and tatted man-whore, and would be rock star from the wrong side of town I knew this would be for me. Yes I know there are lots of books out there with this kind of theme, and many of them are samey but this was one of the better versions I have read. I could not put it down, I devoured it in two sittings.

What really works well is the chemistry between Zeke and Patience (love that name). It isn't instalove, but rather they are drawn to one another because they are both suffering terrible abuse at home, but both of them are forced to keep it hidden from everyone else around them.

"Our lives weren’t so different. Abuse was abuse no matter its form. One wasn’t easier than the other; either way it hurt."

"Zeke and I were both broken parts of a whole person and no matter what piece you put where, it would fit, because we fit."

The abuse scenes were incredibly well written; they felt gritty, realistic and were a gut wrenching read. I'm not a great fan of very angsty reads because I like to escape and live a story, but unusually, I really enjoyed this in spite of the angst. What helped I think was the alternating pov, getting you into the character's head and allowing you to understand why they were behaving in that way. Early on, I wasn't sure if the alternating pov was going to work for me because the same events were told first through one character and then repeated in the next chapter through the other character, but as the story went on, I don't know whether I just got used to it, or whether it became less repetitive, but I found that grew on me and I started to look forward to hearing the other pov on that scene.

The sex scenes were really, hot, but even kisses were so well written and actually really sweet and tender that I got tingles. That's pretty rare in an angsty book.

"I’d been thinking about kissing her since the moment the last kiss ended."

The only reason this is a 4 and not a 5 star read for me was the pacing at the end. It seemed like as much happened in the last 50 pages as in the entire book yet it was summarised and flashed through - I don't understand why, I would love for it to have been written out in the same way as the rest of the book, but instead it all seemed a little rushed to me.

Highly recommended.


Sometimes happy endings are just the beginning of an even harder road.

Although her aunt and sister believe she should get help to deal with her past demons, Patience believes the only thing she needs is Zeke. When he comes back into her world, her life couldn’t be more perfect. Except old demons pick the worst time to surface, and once again their happiness is threatened. Help was never a necessity, but Patience finds out that love isn’t always all you need.

Zeke’s dealt with a lot in his life, but nothing could prepare him for watching the person he loves fall apart. Patience is different, she’s not the girl he came to love. He's willing to do whatever it takes to get her back, but a budding music career and his own demons seem to keep getting in the way. How can you help someone else when you can barely help yourself? Once again Zeke is faced with deciding between his future and the future of Patience.

***Warning: this book contains graphic language, sex, and violence. Mature readers only. Not intended for young adult readers.***
Review by Showdog:
This continues the story of Zeke and Patience (still love that name) picking up immediately after the end of Playing Patience but - and this confused me - before the epilogue. At least having read the epilogue, I knew where it was ending up eventually, but it either presents a major spoiler or necessary reassurance for anyone embarking on this.

You need to read book 1 first or this book would make little sense to you.

***This review contains major spoilers for bk1***

This was every bit as well written, gripping and compelling as Playing Patience, focusing on Patience trying to overcome the immediate aftermath of the horrendous sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her father, his death and the death of her mum. She really had a lot going on, which led to her suffering from acute anxiety attacks. So far, so gripping. But this was where I had a problem with this story. She chose to keep the crutch she used to fight the anxiety secret from Zeke, supposedly because she was ashamed. That didn't ring true for me; I found myself rolling my eyes and grinding my teeth with frustration a few times. I simply don't believe she would prefer for Zeke to think that she was cheating on him over confessing her real coping mechanism. For me, that marred this story. My other issue with it was that so much of the story was angst and misery; again, it was well written, but I prefer a little lightness and sweetness to balance the angst and there wasn't enough of that in this story for me as there was in Playing Patience.
Still worth a read if you enjoyed Playing Patience, I just didn't enjoy it as much.

A little FAITH can get you through…

One night. That’s all Finn had with the only girl he ever loved. Years later, all he has left of that night is a silver cross, a broken give a damn, and the unrelenting desire to drink her memory away. As the lead singer of Blow Hole, Finn has his pick of women, but none are able to squash the need he still carries around for Faith. To hate her offers some relief, but when Finn sees her again after so many years, it’s hard to despise her. Especially when every reason he had to hate her, turn out to be lies.

As the daughter of a strict Baptist preacher, Faith Warren lived sheltered from all things sinful. When she met Jimmy Finn, the epitome of all seven deadly sins, she found out exactly what she was missing. After being forced to choose between her soul and the only person in the world who made her feel alive, Faith walked away from Finn and dove head first into her father’s preferred life. But now Finn’s back and he’s getting payback by wreaking havoc on her emotions. Except sometimes bad things feel good, and Faith has to decide once again if she wants to stay in her gilded cage or fly free with the dark angel of lust himself.
Review by Showdog:
This is book 2 in the Blow Hole series, this time telling the story of Faith and the band's front man, Finn. You probably could read it as a standalone, but it makes much more sense if you read the other books first. The characters from Playing and Finding Patience reappear in this.

I really, really enjoyed this.

The story was in 2 parts, the first 70% related events from four years ago and the remainder brings the story up to date.

As with the Patience books, both Faith and Finn have troubled - and in Faith's case, abusive - home lives. Faith is the daughter of a devout preacher, virginal (I know, again, although it was actually plausible in this book for once), innocent and beautiful. Finn is the rough but misunderstood guy who has been sent to do his community service at Faith's father's church. The chemistry between them is amazing in this, it gave me warm and happy tingles. It wasn't all sweetness and light though as Faith's actions drew the attention of her abusive father. The abuse scenes were gripping and felt real, so real they were hard to read at times.

At around 70% everything is going well, too well and I actually contemplated putting this down and stepping away because I knew the inevitable thing that was going to happen to pull the characters apart would be even harder to read than usual because I was so invested in the characters and because I know this author writes angst really, really well.

I'm so glad I persevered though; sure enough, it was hard to read in places, but unusually for an angst wimp like me, I actually enjoyed the second part of this story even more than the first part. Four years on, Faith has won her independence from her father and she's struggling to support herself. Meanwhile Finn is now a singer in a successful rock band, embittered and cynical towards all women, using them and discarding them. Faith ends up cleaning the band's home so we get to enjoy the experience of them falling for one another all over again, but this time with the added zing of the painful 'break-up' getting between them too.

It was hot, it was sweet and tender and in places it was dark. An excellent read.

I'd really recommend this series to anyone who enjoys bad boy rock stars or darker reads.
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