Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Gay Guy Straight Girl #bookreview - Between Ghosts by @Garrett_Leigh #MMRomance #GayRomance

Between Ghosts 
By Garrett Leigh
Available for Pre-Order at:
Riptide Publishing

Lisa's Rating - 3.5 Stars
OJ's Rating - 4 Stars

Gay Guy Straight Girl (GGSG) Reviews

~I’ll show you mine if you show me yours~

This isn’t a buddy read. Our co-reviews are done on a blind basis. We both choose the book we want to read, but from there on out we don’t discuss any of our thoughts before the review is live.  We think it’s more fun this way and we won’t influence each other.

Three Questions

We’ll form 3 questions for each other during our read to be answered in the comments below the review. Please feel free to join in our discussion, we’re always happy to know what you think.


I enjoyed the read, but it lacked the teeth I had expected. I was surprised to find this so…romantic. I know, I know, this is male-male romance, but the setting led me to believe there would be more impact, more grit. To be fair there are a few action scenes, but it was the sex and tender words that were the focus here.

And maybe I’ve been reading these things too long, but I saw “it” coming from the beginning.


I had seen this title come up on one of my fave publishers web site and had already gone ahead and ordered it as I’m a sucker for the alpha type/war story, so when Lisa mentioned that she was reading it for a review and if I might be interested in doing a GG/SG review on it, I was like does a cat love catnip? No brainer there as I had lain off the alpha type story for a while, change of pace and all that, and had started jonesing for a hot, hard, chewy action story. Here’s the result from the GG view point.



Connor Regan - Young reporter embedded with a British Special Forces team, SAS, during the second Iraq war. He’s as green as they come, but he holds his own with the team.

Nathan (Nat) Thompson - A tough, terse leader battling ghosts. Nat’s unflappable, ice-cool persona was legendary.

The rest of the SAS team are pretty well developed too, and I can see some of these guys needing their own stories. Definitely some good guys to discover here. I actually enjoyed them more than the main characters.


Connor Regan - 

Nat waited by the exercise yard for the hack to finish his lap. It was part of the job to scrutinise strangers, so he lit a smoke and studied the man. From a distance, with his strong shoulders, tanned skin, and a week of dark scruff on his face, he didn’t look much different to any other bloke on the base. As Nat got closer, he took in his close-cropped brown hair and keen dark eyes . . . dark eyes that were distracted enough for Nat to walk right up to the hack before he got a reaction.

“I’m Connor Regan, by the way, from the Guardian.” “I know.” Nat shook Regan’s proffered hand, though he hadn’t known his Christian name. Connor. Yeah, it suited him and his rakish half grin. Shame the bloke was a hack. He would’ve looked good with a Minimi and gun grease smeared up those strong forearms—

Nathan Thompson -

Nat’s slight cockney twang gave his voice a gruff bite that Connor had found even more exciting than the prospect of hitting the ground with the crew— Charlie-3— who he’d yet to meet.
Nat Thompson was bloody gorgeous— fair hair, steely blue eyes, scruffy jaw— but Connor wasn’t here to check out the scenery, and he could imagine the consequences if he got caught with a boner in the showers on his first day.



Nat is living his life day to day without outward feeling or emotion. He gets the job done, but has forgotten there is life outside the warzone. His persona is of a closed off, serious leader, but he’s suppressing grief and loss.
Nat hadn’t had a bloke turn his head in years, and now the hottest dude he’d ever seen was embedding with his crew for the foreseeable future? […] Life just wasn’t fair.
Embedded Connor is on two missions: One to “get the story”. And two to find out what happened to his brother who was lost in battle—no info is shared for SAS operators—and that leaves Connor unable to come to terms with his brother’s loss.  


The plot of this story is what hooked me in. Iraq, circa 2006, at the height of the whole sordid mess. Politicians that didn’t know what the heck they were doing, or the untenable situation they’d put our men and women in, and an all too real story of young man who lost his brother in a cruel war juxtaposed with the hardened, alpha type, military commander who has seen a tad too much and talked himself into a crusty shell to avoid any feelings. Yup, a solid story to sink my teeth into. The question? Would it be a nice, juicy rib eye steak or hard, chewy turkey jerky?

I really didn’t expect what I ultimate got. I got an incredible story from a viewpoint that I didn’t expect, told in a way that’s very impressive.



There’s a line – Nat’s touch had always had that effect on him…

They’d only been together a few weeks at this point. A lot of the timing just felt off to me. I also felt there were awkward emotional and sentimental transitions. Christ, he didn’t even know if Nat had a home. You know he can fuck, though…

I had a tough time “getting” Nat’s character. We’re told how tough he is, but I just didn’t ever feel it. However, the author does a great job with the rest of the team and I felt their connection and their personalities jump off the page. If the series continues I would love to know more about them.

Ultimately I was left underwhelmed. The lingering surprise didn’t surprise me. In fact, I made a note about one third of the way in saying that I hoped the author would shock me and take a different path. She didn’t.


Wow. Just wow. The writing took me by surprise. I honestly never have any expectations on the writing as I like to just let it flow through me, the way it’s supposed to, and carry me, immerse me in the story so that I’m there with our MCs and SCs, as a well written story is supposed to, otherwise the writing isn’t firing on all cylinders for me. Between Ghosts delivered it, and then some.

The tempo of this book is wonderful. The timing, build up, unveilings, and delivery are just right. We’re in a war zone, for Pete’s sake (just who is this Pete? Huh? Hmmm… curious), so let’s have an appropriate tempo and boy, do we ever. Fantastic. The writing wasn’t draggy and it wasn’t rushed, it was exactly right for a war zone (Goldilocks, where are you?), the way I would expect for life to flow in that situation.

The editing was very good, not an incorrect sentence structure, typos, misspellings. Truly enjoyable as I didn’t have to go back and re-read a passage in order to get what was being communicated, just as it should be, and the writing didn’t give away what was coming up.

Sometimes I can ‘see’ where the story is going. Not here. I was even not sure if this is an HEA or not, and I’m not going to tell you!

(See the answers in the comment section soon)

For OJ

1) Is there a secondary character you'd like to see more of?

2) There was a bit of a political agenda running here. I have no problem with that. You?

3) As someone who enjoys a good military fiction did this have enough technical slang for you? And how about those British euphemisms?

For LA

1) What is your methodology for ascertaining the MCs characters and how do you feel these MCs were?

2) How did you feel about the weaving of the story plot and the ultimate outcome?

3) Who was your favorite character and why?
BLURB - In 2003, journalist Connor Regan marched through London to add his voice to a million others, decrying the imminent invasion of Iraq. Eight months later, his brother, James, was killed in action in Mosul.
Three years on, Connor finds himself bound for Iraq to embed with an elite SAS team. He sets his boots on the ground looking for closure and solace-anything to ease the pain of his brother's death. Instead he finds Sergeant Nathan Thompson.
Nat Thompson is a veteran commander, hardened by years of combat and haunted by the loss of his best friend. Being lumbered with a civilian is a hassle Nat doesn't need, and he vows to do nothing more than keep the hapless hack from harm's way.
But Connor proves far from hapless, and too compelling to ignore for long. He walks straight through the steel wall Nat's built around his heart, and when their mission puts him in mortal danger, Nat must lay old ghosts to rest and fight to the death for the only man he's ever truly loved.


Garrett Leigh is a British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Black Jazz Press. Her protagonists will always always be tortured, crippled, broken, and deeply flawed. Throw in a tale of enduring true love, some stubbly facial hair, and a bunch of tattoos, and you’ve got yourself a Garrett special.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible. That, and dreaming up new ways to torture her characters. Garrett believes in happy endings; she just likes to make her boys work for it.

Garrett also works as a freelance cover artist for various publishing houses and independent authors. For cover art info, please visit 

Available for Pre-Order at:

eBook ISBN: 
eBook release: 
Mar 14, 2016
eBook Formats: 
pdf, mobi, html, epub
Print ISBN: 
Print release: 
Mar 14, 2016
Word count: 
Page count: 
Cover by: 

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We would like to thank Riptide Publishing for providing us with a review copy via Netgalley.com in exchange for my honest review.

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