Friday, July 11, 2014

Blog Tour + Review + Giveaway: Let Love Live (The Love Series #5) by Melissa Collins

Who would you become if you lost the only person who ever mattered?

For twenty-six year old Dylan Hopkins, the answer is easy. He’s become no one. Memories of the happier times are all he has left as he finds himself meandering numbly through his now dull life. Though he cares about his work and family dearly, he’s yet to let himself find love again. Afraid of letting go of what he once had, Dylan chooses to keep his heart buried, where it belongs, having died a long time ago. 

Conner Michelson is about to change everything Dylan knows. He’s every bit the bad boy persona - tatted up, ex-MMA fighter, but after an injury leaves him unable to fight, he has to rethink his goals. Having just opened his own gym, Conner can cross his first major life accomplishment off his very short list. Next up: find a man he can settle down with and build a family. Seems simple enough - a dream most people have, but when he meets Dylan, his carefree, easy-going life is thrown into a tailspin. 

Determined to keep Dylan in his life, Conner vows to resurrect Dylan's long ago buried heart and let love live once more.

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(4.5 Bars)

What can I say, this story completely speaks for itself.  I've not had the privilege of reading any of Melissa Collins other novels in this series but I am definitely going to have to pick them up. Her writing style and the way she builds characters is soul shattering and beautiful.  So why the 4.5 Bar rating if I'd completely re-read this novel and want to devour her past and future reads?  Well here is why.

Let Love Live is told in two parts.  The Before and the After.  Before brings us to senior year in High School.  Dylan and Shane are best friends, who have grown up around one another.  Shane has always thought there was something a little different about his best friend but then there is something different about him so he's not one to judge or ask the obvious question, "Are you gay?"  To do so would be to out himself essentially and there is no way Shane will ever go there.  Dylan has a happy life, great parents who love and support him and have never and would never think of beating him or demeaning him no matter who he is or who he loves. Shane unfortunately doesn't grow up with that happy go lucky kind of life.  He grows up in pretty much the worst possible family environment and calling it a family is more of an oxymoron than anything.  He loves his brother and his mother but his father is one sick twisted son of a bitch and devotes his life to making Shane and younger brother Reid, feel like they are both utterly useless, complete failures and will never really be good enough to be called his sons.

Dylan has been in love with Shane his whole life.  Somehow he always knew something was different about himself but he'd never dare tell Shane how he feels.  One night though all is revealed and nothing happens as it should in the toe curling world of romance.  Hold on to hope though because all is well once again as they head into the end of Baseball season and their senior year.  When feelings are revealed and chances are taken, the sparks fly and the libido kicks into full gear.  You'll need to open a window for the emotions and passion between these two young men once their inhibitions are let loose.  There are twists and turns and a fight of epic proportions and in the end Dylan blames himself for the things that happen to Shane. 

He's never let himself move on from his first love and he's never allowed himself to fall in love again, for fear that he'll destroy anyone who gets too close.  Reid and Dylan remain friends throughout their lives and start careers to help Straight and Gay Teens who are bullied by their peers.  They seek to make the world a better place to try and repair the hole inside them for the one person they both loved that they couldn't save.

In walks Conner, a rough and tumble, ex-MMA Fighter who rides a motorcycle, is covered in tattoos whom is trying to find his place in the world now that his budding career has been cut short due to a tragic head injury.  Focused on the future he opens an MMA gym in Elmira, NY.  Dylan and Reid take a look and after some misconceptions up front a membership is had and Dylan gets to know Conner on a much more personal level.  As their budding relationship progresses Dylan is forced to confront demons he hasn't addressed in eight years and isn't entirely ready to even now, but for Conner, he might finally be willing to reach out and grab his first real shot at happiness before it's his last.

Maybe having read all of that you still don't understand the 4.5 ... so here it is.  I wept for Shane and Dylan.  Their relationship was first love personified.  It was beautiful, raw and wonderfully romantic and powerful.  When the Before ends, I was in tears, an absolute emotional wreck that had my husband wondering what was wrong with me.  But in the After portion with Conner, I just didn't feel the connection to their story.  Their journey didn't seem as powerful to me.  The last 45% of the book seemed like it needed something a little more to hook me and make me beg for more.  I'd read a whole other book about Conner and Dylan if Melissa chooses to write one or even a Novella about their life after the Epilogue.  Make no mistake though, 4.5 or not, this read was incredible and I am now and will remain a fan of Melissa Collins.



Read Prologue over at Melissa's Blog (CLICK HERE)




Melissa Collins has always been a book worm. Studying Literature in college ensured that her nose was always stuck in a book. She followed her passion for reading to the most logical career choice: English teacher. Her hope was to share her passion for reading and the escapism of books to her students. Having spent more than a decade in front of a classroom, she can easily say that it’s been a dream. 

Her passion for writing didn’t start until more recently. When she was home on maternity leave in early 2012, she read her first romance novel and her head filled with the passion, angst and laughter of the characters who she read about it. It wasn’t long before characters of her own took shape in her mind. Their lives took over Melissa’s brain and The Love Series was born.

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