Reviewed by Roberta
TITLE: Open Hearts
SERIES: Heartland Book 3
AUTHOR: Logan Meredith
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 206 Pages
Release Date: November 25, 2016
Heartland: Book Three
Firefighter Asim Bishara knows it’s time to start living again. For years he’s avoided dealing with his estrangement from his Muslim family and the loss of his first love in the 9/11 attack. Through therapy, Asim begins to heal and combat his own self-loathing. He’s ready to leave his loneliness and isolation behind and find love again.
Moving on is proving more difficult for Ángel Stanford. When Ángel’s husband Zach died, Ángel’s dreams of a home and family perished along with him. He always wanted to be a stay-at-home husband and father, but he never imagined he’d be raising Gracie alone. The closer he gets to the handsome firefighter—and the more Asim becomes a part of his and Gracie’s life—the more Ángel feels like he’s betraying Zach. Ángel has to give himself permission to be happy and realize that while nothing will ever replace the life he had before, the future for him and his daughter can be full of happiness… if he’s willing to reach out and take it.
I have to say that this story was so emotion-filled that there were times that there were tears in my eyes. These guys captured my heart in ways I wasn’t really expecting. I knew that there would be some emotions involved in this story…I mean, you’ve read the blurb…so, I couldn’t even say that I was surprised. But the way this story comes together…glorious.
Asim…now this guy has some issues that he’s got to work through. He’s dealing with the loss of his first love on September 11th. He’s also dealing with the fact that he doesn’t have his family with him. That he’s so far in the closet…it’s not even pretty. Asim is still carrying around the loss of his first love, Steven and the fact that he lost his family when he came out as his parents are strict practicing Muslims. When Asim meets the man who helps facilitate the change in his life…it’s so wonderful and yet, it’s so heartbreaking. Asim goes through so much and he realizes he’s stronger than he thought possible. . Asim goes through so much growth in this book. It was in turns beautiful and heartbreaking to read. I have to say that in this story…I really connected to Asim. I connected to his hurt and his fear. I felt his hurt and his uncertainness. I wanted so much for this character and to see his growth…it was heartwarming.
Now Angel…this man has so much going on in his life. His partner, his husband, Zach, has recently passed away and now he’s the single father of an adorable 5 year old. He’s working to keep himself busy when his daughter visits her grandparents. Angel is still grieving the loss of his husband and the fact that his husband died alone. Angel doesn’t do emotions well, at least talking about his own. Angel is a really good father to Gracie. Gracie is the reason that he’s been able to get up every morning and keep moving. I love that Angel had to do some learning and growing himself in this book. The grief and the pain of losing someone never goes away, however, it does diminish in time. Angel has to grow and understand that you can love again without it diminishing the love of your departed spouse. Especially as there is a child involved.
Asim and Angel’s relationship had their bumps and some of them were doozies, however, they both had to grow as first for themselves before they could truly become the couple that they were destined to be. I like that their romance took time and that they really had to work for it. These two men had so much pain and grief that overshadowed their lives that those issues needed to be dealt with before they could come together.
The secondary characters in this story were just what was needed to help these men through their journeys. As I’ve not read the first two books, some of these characters were already introduced, however, I can say that having not read those books, I didn’t feel lost in the least regarding these characters, as their backstory was briefly mentioned, but then…full steam ahead. I really liked Asim’s sister, Ali. It was nice to meet a character that was young and independent who was wanting to change the world her way. That she is modern enough to buck the traditions of her parents to forge her own path in this world. I liked Zach’s parents, Lynn and Mark as well. They were such wonderful and loving parents. They missed their son, but they had this granddaughter and son that still needed them as much as they needed them.
There were some pretty hot and sweaty sexy times in this book, however, I have to say that those times didn’t overwhelm the story. Yes, it showed the heat and passion that these two men held for each other and it also showed that their relationship was changing as well.
Overall, this book had me is such feels that I didn’t give myself the normal day after to write the review. Give the story a chance to marinate in my head and heart before I write my review. All the feels had to come out and let you know…just how much I really enjoyed this story.