War Paint (Kristin’s Review)

Title: War Paint (States of Love Series)
Author: Sarah Black
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: May 25, 2018
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 88
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5


There’s an art to love.

Mural artist Ben has come from Tel Aviv to Atlanta to work on a commission. A successful artist, he’s still lonely and isolated after his family’s rejection. Ben is charmed and surprised when local soldier Eli mistakes him for homeless, and brings him a cup of coffee and a biscuit. This gesture opens the door. Eli is lost, trying to make sense of a future without the Army after a combat injury ends his career.

Art gives them a new language and a path forward. But lost men can reach out, desperate to hang on to anyone close. Is what they find together real, and the kind of love that will last?

This is a short story, and the blurb summarizes the book fairly succinctly, so I won’t rehash.

Eli is a Veteran, recovering from a debilitating injury caused by a bomb. He doesn’t know who he’s supposed to be next. He’s young, in an uncertain place, and then he meets Ben and David. I thought Eli’s vulnerability, uncertainty, and personal growth were well portrayed in such a few short pages. I would even go so far to say, this is Eli’s story.

Ben is a world renown mural artist. He comfortable in his own skin, good at his art, and well-known in the mural-art community. But he’s a bit adrift in his own way after his family rejected him. Coming from a culture where family is all encompassing, he looking for something to ground him.

I loved the conversation and emotional connection surrounding the War Paint concept – how it gave hope and purpose to both men. I admit, I’m curious if any one has done a project like that because it would be pretty darn cool.

I also loved how Eli mentally re-named people, David was adorable, and I liked the tidbits dropped in about Atlanta’s history. Finally, the chapter headings were amongst the more creative I’ve seen – well done!

I dropped a star because I thought this was too short and could have benefited from a few more aspects being fleshed out. Such as, Eli talked about being a soldier, but we find out in passing that he was a journalist. If he’s a journalist, I found it odd that he would have had such a hard time putting pen to paper to write something for the counselor. Ben has been in Atlanta for a bit, has friends there, but doesn’t seek them out until after he’s meet Eli and then awkwardness all around.

To sum up, this hit all my happy buttons with the exception of length. I can see myself re-reading this when I need a short feel-good read.

State of Love series

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Galley copy of War Paint provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest review.


I have been a voracious reader from the time I learned how to read. My Motto: "Never leave home without a book (or two or three)." Though once I learned how to knit that became "Never leave home without a book (or two or three) AND a knitting project." A long-time fan of science fiction, I've since discovered mystery/suspense/thrillers and m/m romance. I love stories that span the universe, paranormal, urban fantasy, mystery, comedy; stories with veterinarian's (yay! animals!) or a men in uniform, a splash of BDSM or a threesome can be fun, and of course, happy ever afters. IF that's not a run-on sentence, I don't know what is... I'm not a fan of historical, horror, sports, plots with children, and New Adult/Young Adult. Thanks for reading my reviews! No two persons ever read the same book Edmund Wilson