Thursday, January 30, 2014

Book Tour for Worth Keeping by Susan Mac Nicol (Review & GIVEAWAY)

As a fan of the m/m genre I'm always on the lookout for new-to-me authors and was immediately drawn to the emotionally intense storyline of Worth Keeping by Susan MacNicol.  Keep reading to get a taste of this book, along with my impressions of it, and leave a comment about why you enjoy reading the m/m genre for the chance to win two of Ms. MacNicol's previous backlist titles!

Nick Mathers pulls Owen Butler from the freezing waters off the Norfolk coast, but Owen’s love can carry Nick back from the edge of oblivion.


Nick cursed the daylight and the truths it brought with it. He finally moved to get up, deciding a morning woody was worth the embarrassment as opposed to this thorough inspection of his body.
Owen grasped his shoulder, holding him back. Nick stilled at the expression on Owen’s face, a mixture of compassion and something else—sheer tenderness. He lost his breath at that look. Nick was torn between badly wanting this man to touch him and fleeing. 
He stayed. Owen’s long, warm fingers started to explore his past. Owen’s fingers moved lightly over Nick’s chest, touching the scars, finding the long, jagged one underneath his right arm that trailed down to his ribs.
Nick’s own morning hard-on got steelier by the minute at the other man’s gentle touch. Owen drew a deep, shuddering breath. “Jesus, Nick, someone really did a number on you.” His voice was uncertain. “Unless you did that to yourself?”
Nick laughed shortly. “No, I can’t take the credit for these ones. Not my work.”
Owen shook his head in incredulity. “Who the fuck could do this to someone? Nick, what the hell happened to you?”
Nick shook his head. “I don’t want to talk about it,” he whispered. He shivered as Owen’s fingertips slowly circled the burns. Then Owen did something totally unexpected. He leaned forward and kissed one of them. It was a soft, fleeting caress by a pair of warm lips that felt incredibly good against Nick’s skin. Nick pulled back defensively, sitting up, but Owen’s hand moved gently, pushing him back. The duvet fell to Nick’s hips and he closed his eyes in mortification at the tenting of it around his groin.



As a fan of the m/m genre, and books that put you through the emotional wringer, I was immediately drawn to this story and its compelling characters.  Upon turning the final page I found much to recommend it, as well as one or two quibbles, but will definitely read more from this author as she had a way of vividly depicting the small town world these characters inhabit which helped draw me in.

Nick had a terrible childhood of sexual abuse and betrayal by the one who should've protected him.  It's left him scarred both inside and out, with nightmares that visit him often, and unrelenting self-hatred and grief that have him constantly contemplating suicide.  One night has him finding a kindred soul washed up on the beach that changes his life completely and gives him the strength to fight for his soul.  When the story starts Nick is a broken man living in seclusion from a psychotic ex-lover who used his past to control him.  Being with a man who truly listens and cares for him has him slowly coming back to life.  He starts seeing the good things in life, learns the value of trust, and becomes a stronger more confident man who can save himself when the past comes back to haunt him.

Owen too has been struggling with his past when he decides to end it all.  Fate has different plans though when he's rescued by Nick who ends up rescuing him right back by giving him a reason to move forward.  Owen's grief never felt as deep as Nick's as he hid behind a facade of humor and snarkiness.  He accepted Nick unconditionally and never rushed him to do more or be more than he could handle.  He ingratiated himself into Nick's life being the supportive lover but I didn't see as compelling of an evolution as I saw in Nick.  His past didn't make him who he is, it was more a brief visit to the dark side.

From start to finish this was an intensely sexual read where sexual healing occurred through the many hot and heavy sexual encounters between Nick and Owen.  The scenes took on a more erotic and playful feel the more Nick worked through his past.  Along with a complicated yet appealing main couple came a cast of secondary characters, among them another gay couple Nick's adoptive father Don and a cute Capuchin monkey, that overwhelmed the story at times and made for a bit of a lag in the middle of the story.  Another disappointing part of the story was the reappearance of Nick's abusive ex Brad who was truly psycho and blazed a path of vile destruction throughout the book and whose comeuppance wasn't near satisfying enough.  Ultimately I wish this story had stayed focused on Nick and Owen and their mutual recovery and the shared happiness they found in each other's arms.  Their story was gut-wrenching and heartbreaking, but ultimately uplifting and leaves me wanting to read more from this author.

My rating for this is a B.

*I bought this book for my personal library using my own money.


Susan Mac Nicol was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, in the United Kingdom. At the age of eight, her family moved to Johannesburg, South Africa where she stayed for nearly thirty years before arriving back in the UK in December 2000. She has written nine novels, two novellas and a screenplay since February 2012 and clearly believes in keeping herself busy. She has found herself wanting to stay in the genre that is M/M Romance so more can definitely be expected.
Sue is a member of Romance Writers of America and Romantic Novelists Association in the UK. She is also a member of a rather unique writing group, called the Talliston Writer’s Circle, which in itself has a story all of its own to tell and lives in the rural village of Bocking, in Essex, with her family. Her plan is to keep writing as long as her muse sits upon her shoulder. Her dream is to one day make enough money to give up the day job and get that big old house in the English countryside overlooking a river, where she can write all day and continue to indulge her passion for telling stories.



Susan will be awarding one randomly drawn commenter a digital copy of SAVING ALEXANDER and STRIPPED BARE.

-To be entered, LEAVE A COMMENT TELLING US WHY YOU ENJOY READING M/M BOOKS, along with your email addy (no email=no entry).
-Winners will be chosen randomly from all comments made throughout the tour, so the more you comment the greater your chances of winning.  A list of all participating blogs can be found here.
-Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM CST on 2/7!


  1. I find m/m books to have very emotional story lines and love reading these stories.

  2. There is something very sexy about two guys falling in love. I have heard great things about Susan's books. Would love a chance at winning. Thanks for the review and giveaway.

  3. I enjoy reading M/M books books because 1.I love romance 2. Reading it from a manon man prespective is very sexy to me. 3. Gives me a better undersranding to men who like W/W.
    Brown_angel123 at yahoo(dot)com

  4. I enjoy reading M/M books because it offers a chance to see men in roles that het books do not allow. I enjoy the diversity M/M gives me and the only thing better than one man/male in my opinion is more than one ;)


  5. Hello all, thanks so much for stopping by and the kind words. I wish you all the luck in the giveaway :)