Title: Junkyard Heart (A Porthkennack Novel
Author: Garrett Leigh
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Length: 195 Pages
At a Glance: Maybe it’s the fact that I loved House of Cards so much, but this one fell a bit short for me. In general, I think that the story had some holes and needed to cover a few more issues before it ended.
Reviewed By: Ky
Blurb: Tired of the London rat race and the heartbreak that comes with it, photographer Jas Manning returns to Porthkennack, the Cornish seaside town where he spent every childhood summer on his father’s farm. Resigned to year-round rain, wind, and homemade jam, he’s sorely unprepared for the impact that artsy carpenter Kim Penrose has on his heart.
Kim’s free-loving reputation precedes him, and he’s as generous with his inked-up body as he is with his time. The sex is hot, the easy friendship even better, and Jas’s time with him building his family’s new farmhouse canteen is everything Jas was missing in his empty city life.
But Kim’s carefree existence isn’t as simple as it appears. He’s worked hard to vanquish his demons and build his dreams, but the devil on his shoulder is ruthless, and when it comes to call, their happy bubble bursts like it was never there at all. The canteen opening looms, but Kim is gone in more ways than one, and it’s down to Jas to shore up Kim’s soul and convince him that he deserves his place in Jas’s heart.
Review: I read Junkyard Heart a few days after I finished House of Cards and even though I was very, very glad that I didn’t have to wait months in order to get Kim’s story, who intrigued me from the start, this back-to-back unavoidably led me to make comparisons between the two stories.
First let me talk about the good things.
Kim: I liked him from the start, and the more I learned about him, the more I liked him.
Blackbeard’s Junkyard: I so want to see pictures of that place!
Jas and his photos: I liked the descriptions of the subjects Jas photographed, the things that intrigued him and captured his interest. I liked how he almost never left home without his camera, and how a part of his mind was always looking for a picture worth taking.
Jas’s Porthkennack family: They were loving and open people. They had a happy life, made their choices and stuck by them no matter what anyone thought about it.
Brix and Calum: We see them again! Even though they don’t have a very big part in this story, it was still nice to see that they are happy and going strong.
The things that I wasn’t thrilled about:
First of all, as we had met Kim in the previous book, I assumed that this one was going to be from his point of view. Nope! We get this story from Jas and even though I liked him, I missed Kim’s perspective, and I never felt like I understood Kim completely. Up until the end, I had the feeling that he had more things to say, more pieces to add to his past.
Also, where the first book is a slow-burn with the MCs becoming friends first and only getting together near the end of the story, here the exact opposite happens, which isn’t something that bothers me in most stories, but here it didn’t work. Kim and Jas go from a hook-up, to friends-with-benefits, to friends, to lovers in an effort to find which relationship works best for them. There was a lot of indecision at the beginning, and, to be honest, it was a little tiring. For a big part of the story I didn’t see a connection between the characters. Fortunately that changed after the 60% mark. Their relationship seemed to progress and started to mean something. They were finally getting to know each other and talking about the important things in depth instead of just mentioning them.
The timeline confused me a bit at times, maybe because I had made some assumptions while reading the previous book and they turned out to be wrong. I’m talking about Kim and Lena’s relationship. If you haven’t read House of Cards yet you may want to skip this paragraph, but the rest of the review won’t spoil anything for you. In House of Cards Lena said at some point that Kim had met someone else and he seemed excited about it, so her leaving wasn’t going to be a problem. When I learned that Kim would be an MC in a future book, I assumed that that person was the other half of the main couple and that some parts of the two books were taking place at the same time. Again, nope! If I’m not mistaken, this story takes place about a year after House of Cards, so I was disappointed because I had been all excited about seeing Kim navigate that period in his life and trying to balance the end of a relationship at the same time he was starting a new one, especially with the way his relationship with Lena worked. Of course, that’s all on me, totally subjective and has nothing to do with the story itself.
Another thing that confused me was Lena’s part in this story. I really didn’t get her involvement in the degree it happened, and I don’t think her presence here was so necessary. The context in which she appeared frustrated me, and I didn’t like it at all. Jas’s feelings for her were all over the place, and he and Kim never really talked about it. It was a side plot that never went anywhere, or at least wasn’t as explored as it could have been. As it was, it only managed to confuse and frustrate me.
The last chapter works like a sort of epilogue where we see them six months in the future and everything points towards a HEA, but some things were kind of left up in the air. In general, I think that the story had some holes and needed to cover a few more issues before it ended.
Maybe it’s the fact that I loved House of Cards so much, but this one fell a bit short for me.
You can buy Junkyard Heart here: