Title: On Higher Ground
Author: Melissa Collins
Release: 18th May 2016
Publisher: Melissa Collins
Genre: M/M (contemporary)
When there’s no peace after war…
When there’s no solace after death…
When there’s only pain and suffering…
Anxiety and loss…
All you can hope to find is something more…
Something that makes you whole and complete
Something that puts you
On Higher Ground
Lisa’s and Mark’s Review
Lisa: On Higher Ground by Melissa Collins is the continuation of Jacob “Dax” Daxton and Beckett Ridge’s (a.k.a. Beck) love story, two beloved characters that we met in On Solid Ground (book one). I have a confession to make. Ready, Mark? I usually HATE when authors decide to continue a story about the same characters in a second book, particularly when the said characters have already gotten their happy ending. So, why in the heck would I decide to dive right into this book you may ask? Well…. It’s really simple, actually. Melissa Collins. That’s it. This author can honestly write the phone book and I would read it. And, I am so glad that I did not say no to reading this one. Catching up with Dax, Beck and Violet was everything! Seeing the two men continue to move forward from their traumatic pasts simply solidified just how much I love these two characters that have etched themselves right onto my heart. What were your initial thoughts, Mark?
Mark: HAHA – I’m with you all the way on the phone book, Lisa! And I know where you’re coming from with continuing a second book when we already had a happy ending in the first. But for me personally I always think that once our MCs have gone skipping off into the sunset with their HEA and we’re all left with rainbows, unicorns and the fuzzies in our hearts, I’m always a little curious as to know how things develop from here. As we all know, when the honeymoon phase is over and real life kicks in, that’s when the hard work starts! The trial and tribulations of mastering everyday life with a relationship, a marriage, family and kids, how do we cope with these things? And it’s exactly because of all these reasons I couldn’t wait to get stuck into this book. After the “happy ever after” is reached this is when life’s true adventures really begins. Melissa does a WONDERFUL job in showing us all that although you have found your soulmate and partner for life the work doesn’t stop there. You have to constantly work at it. It’s all about understanding, patience, forgiveness, support, a healthy amount of jealousy, having a tantrum and letting off steam, but despite all this knowing that the love and respect for your partner will always be there. So even though there is no heavy angst in this book, as you know Dax and Becks are inseparable, all the above elements will still be found in spades. Let the adventure begin!
Lisa: This story picks up approximately one and a half years after we leave both men in On Solid Ground. Dax and Beck are engaged and have been for a while; however, no date for the wedding has been set. They are somewhat stuck in this awkward limbo, happy to be in a relationship with one another but not moving forward either. Dax, our honourable soldier who has lived through so much, continues to struggle with his PTSD and is experiencing a lot of nightmares. Beck is his rock, his support, but even with his partner right by his side, Dax has no idea if he will ever be able to overcome his demons and fully heal. He loves Beck and Violet with all of his heart and soul. He just doesn’t know if he deserves them. Here is a man who has served his country and he is still lost, trying so hard to deal with the after effects of his time in the Army as well as attempting to cope with PTSD. Beck and Dax met at a time in their life when everything was chaotic and muddled for both of them. They found a beauty they never dreamed possible in their messy circumstances. Can Beck prove to Dax just how much he sees him as a strong and protective man and that their little family is enough? Can they even get past this latest hurdle and truly take the remaining steps towards a future that includes forever?
Mark: I hear you on Dax’s issues Lisa and they made my heart ache, really. But I’m going to look at things from Becks’ view point. What do you do when the man you love and want to spend the rest of your life with just doesn’t want to make that final commitment? Yes, Becks is Dax’s rock, his solid ground, but he wants to get married. No little thing either when you consider his background too, but he has no illusions that this is right. I could feel his frustration and exasperation with Dax at times and totally understand it. You’ve just got engaged and at some point the plan is to get married. I don’t think Becks’ idea was to stay engaged for the rest of his life. So as much as I understood Dax and his issues I found his attitude on this a little self-centred or self-absorbed too. I could also totally relate to Becks to the extent where I just wanted to give Dax a slap for being such a pussy. I just wanted to shake him and say, “For goodness sake just do it already! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain you honk!” So yes, as understanding and supportive as anyone likes to be, but like Becks would you also be prepared to spend the rest of your life engaged? Big sigh of relief though from me when Dax pulls through, gets his act together and makes an honest man out of Becks – lol! I sat there with my Kindle, let out a big breath I was holding back while uttering the words, “Thank goodness. About damn time!”
Lisa: I think this book honestly made me fall in love with Dax, Beck and little Violet all over again. I simply LOVED how Beck, the rough and gritty tattoo artist with a harsh upbringing, was so supportive of Dax. You can feel his love for Dax (and, frankly, the love both men had for each other) transcend the pages. This story honestly reminded me that any strong and stable relationship is going to take work. Lot’s of it. If you truly love someone, you will fight for them, stand by them and be their anchor when they need you the most. When things get hard, you do not walk away. I loved the raw honesty between both men, how they were so open and vulnerable with one another. That took great courage. Anything real and worth it is always going to be messy and Dax and Beck certainly exemplify this as they muddle their way through the “tough stuff”.
This story is very much a journey. It showed us just how far Dax and Beck have come but it also revealed just how much healing still needed to take place, especially with Dax himself. I simply adored how this book was so much more than the continuation of a love story for our two protagonists. It’s also a tale about family. Seeing Dax and Beck be the best parents they could be for little Violet, who is still going through a lot herself, simply melted my heart. Gah! Their little family definitely had a lot of obstacles in their path, but they definitely had each other and that never faltered.
Mark: Exactly Lisa! A tale about family, in all its facets. I would like to pick up on the parenting role illustrated perfectly in this book. Even today I very often hear the statement that a child needs the classic roles of a mother and a father to be well adjusted. This statement always makes me a little angry as it just negates many things and puts the parents first and not the child. What a child needs above all is love, support, stability, routines, encouragement and attention. This Victoria gets from Dax and Becks in spades. She is the centre of their universe and rules it – lol! These two big guys are reduced to putty in her hands and they would both lay down their lives for their little girl. They have the same hopes and fears of any parent. Constantly asking themselves if they’re doing right by her all the time, second guessing themselves on whether what they’re doing is OK. Coping with the routines of getting her to school in the mornings, getting meals on the table, driving her to dancing classes, various clubs and friends while trying to fit in work and jobs too. The normal things that any parent will understand. But it’s in this constant questioning of whether you are doing the right thing that gives Victoria all the love and attention she needs and drives Dax and Becks on to be the best parents they can be. Victoria gets lots of “girl time” on her own too with Becks’ friend Chloe and Dax’s boss Heather, so there is also no lack of positive female role models in her life either. Another thing that Dax and Becks make happen. And what is the result? A well adjusted, adorable little girl, who happens to have two dads with all the love and attention she could ever wish for. And we all know secretly how most fathers are complete saps when it comes to daughters or “their little princess” and here Victoria has two. Wouldn't like to think what a future boyfriend will have to go through to prove himself worthy to Dax and Becks that he’s good enough for their little girl – lol!
Lisa: All in all I absolutely loved On Higher Ground from beginning to end. It is an emotional and beautiful tale about fighting for love and family. When I finished the book I had a huge smile on my face. That is the sign of a wonderful romance, a book that leaves me happily sighing. Even though this book left me in romance la la land, it was so much more than a simple romance. It’s about pure, unadulterated love. The kind that you bleed for and cry for. It’s the kind that takes a hold of you and never lets go. It is also the kind that you build a family on.
Mark: ……. and Amen to that Lisa!
Meet Melissa Collins
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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