A MelanieM Review: Cherish the Land (Lang Downs #5) by Ariel Tachna

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Sequel to Conquer the Flames
Lang Downs: Book Five

Cherish the Land coverSeth Simms never wanted to be a cowboy, although to listen to his best friend, Jason Thompson, tell it, he isn’t one. He just happens to have lucked out in coming to live on Lang Downs with his brother ten years ago. He found enough stability to finish high school and go off to university, but he never really believed Lang Downs would be the same haven for him that it had become for so many others. He’s too messed up in the head. No one would accept someone with his issues.

All his life, Jason has had one goal: to come home to Lang Downs as resident veterinarian when they need his skills and jackaroo when they don’t. And it means he gets to spend time with Seth during his occasional visits, even though his dream of going from friends to lovers is hopeless since Seth is straight.

When Seth unexpectedly comes home to stay, Jason takes it as the boon it is. But juggling a relationship with another jackaroo and his friendship with Seth isn’t easy, and that’s before Jason realizes how deep Seth’s issues run and how dangerously Seth chooses to cope with them.

With Ariel Tachna’s Cherish The Land, another heartwarming series comes to a close and does so beautifully.  I have never been to Australia (a long held desire) but I have felt like I have been transported there by several authors and their incredible stories, including Ariel Tachna’s Lang Downs series.  My introduction to Lang Downs, a cattle station in the Northern Territory, came with Inherit the Sky (Lang Downs, #1).  With that story Ariel Tachna brought Lang Downs Station, the men that love and live on it, and the “close to nature” lifestyle inherent with living on land that is both beautiful and extreme.  By the end of that amazing story, I felt that not only did I know these men but that I had  spent actual time at Lang Downs, getting a feel for the land and the roll call of seasons that sweep over it.

Now through five stories, it  comes to an end, and it sort of breaks my heart to let  it and all these couples go.   But just as in nature, there is a natural cycle to things, so it happens here.  Tachna takes most of the loose plot stories and floating characters and brings them home, whether to Lang Downs or somewhere close by and does it in the manner that all the previous stories have been written-gentle, persuasive and loving.

There are no explosions here, just a narrative that moves with the unstoppable progression and a quietness that is so unflinching, so natural that the events seem as though they were written in the red dust of the land covers all that enters it. Lang Downs has always been a sanctuary…for gay men, for those in need of safety and acceptance.  Seth Simms accepted that haven once, with his brother, Chris Simms of Chase the Stars (Lang Downs #2) years ago.  But he left for heartbreaking reasons.  And those same reasons are now pulling him home.  Seth is a vulnerable character, his fears deep and his pain secret. Its affect on him has become one of shame and withdrawal.  I had forgotten over the course of the series how complicated Seth was and this story renews that believable characterization once more.

Jason Thompson was an original member of the first story along with his family.  He has grown tremendously (including his age as well as depth) as each book appeared and fully takes his place as a main character here.  I have always loved him and his family, never more so than in the events that occur here with Seth, who is such a damaged soul.

All the couples get pulled into the tragedy that occurs (all too commonplace in the removed outback), and the situation as it works itself out and resolves was one that I had hoped would lead to an all new series, not an end to this one.  Ah well….

What happens involves the adjacent station run by the rigid and homophobic brother of Jeremy Taylor who now lives at Lang Downs, along with his lover, manager Sam Emery of Outlast the Night (Lang Downs #3).  Also involved?  Thorne Lachlan and Ian Duncan of Conquer the Flames (Lang Downs #4).   Each has an important role  at Lang Downs and each has an important part to play as this final installment rolls out.  Did I say how much I will miss them all?  Yes indeed, and that includes all the various dogs, cats and horses that have appeared to become part of the family as well.

Did all the loose plot threads get resolved?  Did all the characters find their HEA?  No, realistically so. And while that lead to a small amount of frustration with this story, it also serves to keep hope alive that Ariel Tachna might revisit this series once more to update us on all the lives and goings on of the people of Lang Downs and beyond.  Hope is good, right?

Haven’t read this series yet?  Need a new contemporary saga to fall in love with?  I absolutely recommend Ariel Tachna’s  Lang  Downs series and Cherish the Land (Lang Downs #5).  The writing is evocative and seamless.  The images deeply moving and sometimes emotionally shattering.  And the love these men feel for each other and the land flows off the pages and into your hearts in stories you won’t easily forget in books its hard to put down.  Here’s hoping this won’t be the last time to journey to Lang Downs and men I adore.

Cover art by  Anne Cain is simply beautiful as it has been for each book in the series.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press  eBook & Paperback | All Romance (ARe) |  Amazon  | Buy It here

Book Details:

ebook, 220 pages
Published June 8th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press LLC
edition languageEnglish
seriesLang Downs #5

Books in the Lang Downs Series in the order they were written and should be read are:

  • Inherit the Sky (Lang Downs, #1)
  • Chase the Stars (Lang Downs, #2)
  • Outlast the Night (Lang Downs #3)
  • Conquer the Flames (Lang Downs #4)
  • Cherish the Land (Lang Downs #5) – series finale

A Sammy Review: Out in the Open (Browerton University #1) by A.J. Truman

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

When Ethan thought about it, though, when was the last time he had had real fun? College was supposed to be a party. For him, it’d been more of a dinner party.

Out in the Open coverEthan Follett is a good student. He’s passionate about law and has big dreams, and most of the time you can find him studying or hanging out with his small group of friends – never at a party. He spent his time in high school invisible, and that’s mostly how he’s spending it in college, too.

Greg Sanderson throws a wrench into that plan. Greg is disarmingly witty, always trying to sink further under Ethan’s skin, and it’s working. But when he pushes too far, they both get the shock of their life… something that leads to much more.

Things are changing for Ethan. Between public (sex)capades, new friends, and falling hard, he’s not sure how long he can be someone’s dirty little secret.

“Since when did you become so invincible?”

Since I met you.”

I so enjoyed this. I literally destroyed it, in the sense that once I started to read I could not stop. Come hell or high water (or a 6AM wake up, whatever) I was going to consume this all tonight, and boy did I.

I so fell in love with the characters. I was worried at first that we wouldn’t get to see more of who Greg truly is, but then the author really delivered, especially when they included Sahil in everything. I would’ve liked to get to see even more of Greg’s world, especially with Ethan in it.

ANYWHO. I was surprised at how much fun I had with this. I was wary initially with the stereotypes that Ethan and his friends had towards fraternities/sororities (being a member myself), but with characters like Lorna, I was pleasantly surprised. She summed it up well in saying that some people suck, but not all. Well, her words were much more eloquent, but you get the point.

The cover art by James at GoOnWrite.com is nice and simple. It’s a good-looking guy, so I certainly appreciate that, but it doesn’t say anything special about that story, I’m afraid. Still nice to look at though.

So now that I’ve read this I can go to bed happy and hope for more of Ethan and Greg? Please? I’m quite looking forward to Behind Closed Doors.

Sales Links:  All Romance eBook  |  Amazon  |  Buy It Here

Book Details:

Published September 25th 2014 by Smashwords Edition
original titleOut in the Open
seriesBrowerton University #1

Southern College Boys in Love: University of Southern Georgia: Davy & Tony by Heath Greenfield (excerpt and contest)


University of Southern Georgia: Davy & Tony by Heath Greenfield
Series: University of Southern Georgia
Release Date: July 1, 2015

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Goodreads Link:
Publisher: Torquere Press
Cover Artist: BS Clay


Sales Links:   Torquere Books

STRW Author BookSynopsis

Love is a funny thing…it happens when and where you least expect it.

Tony has been having a rough couple of days. His dad caught him with a dirty magazine, which would have been embarrassing enough. But when his dad realized it was a gay magazine, he chased Tony down the street. Luckily, Uncle Alfonso and Aunt Luciana have taken him in. Now, he’s out to the world, going to school during the day, and working in the family restaurant at night.

Davy has become what he always dreamed of being: an Army Ranger. He loves everything about it. He’s assigned to Fort Benning and works as an analyst. He also happens to be gay, but even with the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, he’s careful not to let his personal life get in the way of his professional goals. His friends know, but he’s never introduced them to anyone he has dated…until he meets Tony, who changes everything.

Between their sexual chemistry and their deepening friendship, their love seems fated, but when Davy is about to be deployed, he finds out something that rocks him to his core and makes him doubt both Tony and himself. He’s left wondering if he’s strong enough to win this battle.

Pages or Words: 31,200

Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

Monday morning dawned with red in the sky.
Rolling himself out of bed, Davy dressed in shorts and a T-shirt and went for a run. The park, woken by the sun, stretched out in early morning beauty. The birds called revelry, and the squirrels their chattering. The park was large enough to encompass several trails, and it was made up of gentle, rolling hills. The trails were smooth and kept mulched to encourage walkers and joggers to use them. The trails intertwined liberally with the sidewalks and, with them, little stands where food carts met the needs of the morning rush. He thought it was an odd but comfortable intersection of those enjoying time away and those rushing to get somewhere.
Davy’s muscles uncoiled as he ran. His strides lengthened, and joy filled him as endorphins rushed throughout his body. He was master of his fate.
He passed a few early morning joggers, then saw a runner whose path was merging with his just ahead. Not jogging, but flat out running as though hellhounds were loosed upon him.
As their paths met, Davy realized that it was Tony…the elusive librarian/waiter. His face was plagued with sorrow, and his pace ate away at the ground. Tony pistoned around each curve chopping away at the distance. It looked like his body was an automaton separate from his mind.
“Hey,” Davy called out. “Tony, wait.”
At first, nothing happened, but then, as though the words had needed time to sink in, Tony turned his head toward him. Davy was shocked to see a black eye and jagged scrapes across Tony’s cheek.
Tony slowed and stopped. He looked so lost.
Davy’s heart ached at the pain in Tony’s face but he stayed quiet for the moment and nodded toward a coffee stand off to the side of the path where it joined up with the sidewalk. Tony hadn’t said a word…he just sort of floated to the sidewalk beside him.
He ordered two coffees and when Tony indicated, doctored up one with milk and sugar. Walking over to a grassy rise off to the side of the walkway, he waited for Tony to sit. Tony stretched out his long legs.
“Here.” He handed him the coffee, then sat down next to him.
They sat there silently for about ten minutes before he had the ability to speak.
“What happened?”
Tony laughed, a slightly high pitched noise that held no humor.
“My dad…he doesn’t approve of my…life choices.”
“Mm.” Davy grunted, but he kept still.
“He doesn’t want a faggot for a son.” Tony slid his gaze sideways as if to assess Davy’s reaction.
“That’s rough,” Davy said, but he bit back more.
“Sorry if I shocked you,” Tony said.
“Of all the things I am, I’m not shocked.”
“No? Then what are you?”
Davy gave him his own assessing glace. He smiled a little. “Glad.”

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

Sharing adventures, love, passion, and even sadness informs us as humans. That’s what motivates Heath Greenfield’s writing. Heath sits at the computer in Daytona Beach and wishes thoughts could just flow straight onto paper. Assisted by two cats, a schnauzer, a boxer, and the best mutt ever, the author gets to write novels…and considers it the best job ever!

Where to find the author:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008744179016
Twitter: https://twitter.com/heathgreenfield
Blog: http://heathgreenfield.blogspot.com/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/117892188593521718157/posts


Tour Dates & Stops:
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Its Love And Mystery with Model Citizen by Lissa Kasey (excerpt and giveaway)


Model Citizen by Lissa Kasey
Release Date: June 22, 2015

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Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Garrett Leigh


Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook | Dreamspinner Press Paperback


STRW Author BookSynopsis

Oliver “Ollie” Petroskovic’s life as an international supermodel was heading in the right direction. He worked part-time for his brother at his detective agency—Petroskovic Haven Investigations—and had just bought his dream house. But all that changed when he found his brother dead, a victim of PTSD-induced suicide.

Almost a year later, Ollie is trying to keep his brother’s business afloat, but can’t get his PI license. Then his brother’s best friend, Kade Alme, shows up, fresh from the battlefield after a close brush with death. Kade is looking for a new life, in more ways than one, and with PI license in hand, he’s exactly what Ollie needs to keep PHI running.

When one of Ollie’s childhood friends gets in trouble, Ollie feels he has to help. Kade insists on investigating if only to keep Ollie safe. Neither realizes the danger they’re in as someone tries to tear them apart before they can find solid ground together.

Pages or Words: 82,000 words

Categories: Contemporary, M/M Romance, Mystery

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

I wasn’t surprised when Will got in the car with me, though I hadn’t seen him arrive. He looked as tired as I felt. He had a pair of sweats and a T-shirt in hand. “I need your clothes as evidence, Ollie.”

Did he want me to change right here? I blinked at him for a few seconds, and he blinked back, then set the clothes on the seat beside me. I pulled off my shirt and dropped it into the bag he held out, and pulled on the tee before shimmying out of the shorts and into the sweats, which were obviously Britney’s since they were pink and said “princess” on the ass. I sighed as he motioned to my shoes, then stripped out of them to hand them to him.

Will got out of the car without asking me any questions or saying another word. My heart flipped over in my chest. I’d finally done it, hadn’t I? I’d made him so angry he wanted nothing more to do with me. I fought back tears and suddenly felt so cold I curled up on the seat and just shivered. My heart rate was starting to come down and my mind was trying to keep up. Someone had shot at me. In fact, if I’d been standing in front of the door, I’d be dead right now, a hole the size of a sewer cover through my gut.

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

Lissa Kasey lives in St. Paul, MN, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing, and collects Asian Ball Joint Dolls who look like her characters. She has three cats who enjoy waking her up an hour before her alarm every morning and sitting on her lap to help her write. She can often be found at Anime Conventions masquerading as random characters when she’s not writing about boy romance.

Where to find the author:

Twitter: @parisbvamp
Website: https://www.lissakasey.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lissa.kasey

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Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: $15 DSP Gift Card.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

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Tour Dates & Stops: June 22 – July 3, 2015
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A MelanieM Review: Bulldust by D.J. Brumb

Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

Bulldust coverRomance is lost and found in the dusty emptiness of the Australian outback, where love and friendship prove stronger than the harsh environment.

During a violent storm at sea on an immigrant ship bound for Australia, young British student, Paul Canfield, meets and falls in love with Mike Armstrong, an adventurous American on his way to Port Hedland in the far north to work at his father’s mining concerns.

Due to a disastrous event, Mike is injured and lost in the vast and hostile desert. He is found by a roving tribe of aborigines and nurtured back to almost complete health.

Paul is determined to trace the tracks of his lost lover and undergoes many varied and perilous adventures on his quest to bring Mike back.

Bulldust by D.J. Brumb starts off with a Prologue in the year 2012.  Paul and Mike are living in South Beach, CA and Mike has an accident and is transported to the hospital where Paul waits to see what happened to him.  Chapter 1 flashes back to 1956.  Paul and his family are on board the passenger ship MV Georgic.  His parents are emigrating from Liverpool to Australia and this ship is taking them to their new home.   The voyage has become turbulent and Paul is saved from falling overboard by American Mike Armstrong.  Mike is also headed to Australia to work  in one of his father’s mining concerns.  From moment, the two young men become inseparable during the voyage, discovering not only that both are gay but that they are seriously attracted  to one another.

Brumb is quick to authenticate the era the boys meet in.  Mike is reading Nevil Shute’s A Town Like Alice (a favorite of mine) which was published in 1950.  The ship is detailed down to the chairs bolted on the deck and the passage it takes from England to Australia is well documents as it sails through the Straits of Gibraltar, the Mediterranean toward Malta and on to Port Said and the Suez Canal.  The author is meticulous in their research and it shows.  However instead of an exciting  journey, the voyage felt more like a stuffy travelogue, an unfortunate side effect of a narrative that felt more like a “as told to”  then one we are in the middle of experiencing.  Which is a shame because this cruise and the places it passes by offer untold promise and excitement that is never fulfilled.

Mike and Paul become close on the trip and sexually intimate to the point that saying goodbye at the end is heartbreaking for both.  Perhaps not the reader but the main characters certainly.  For me, I never could get invested in their relationship.  It felt lacking any charisma or sex appeal or life for that matter.  The dry tone of the travelogue carried  over into every part of this story, including the new relationship between Mike and Paul.

It doesn’t get any better when Mike rents a car to travel by himself up to  the mining town, a perilous journey he  takes blithely. When the boys separate so does the narrative and the story starts jumping back and forth between Mike and Paul’s point of view.  Sometimes, in other books, this format is successful in allowing the reader to become intimate with the interior thoughts and feelings of each individual.  And sometimes it just muddies the flow of the  plot.  In Bulldust, it was definitely a case of the latter.

As you can guess from the blurb, Mike is injured and lost.  So lost that he and us lose all sight of what little we had learned about who he was and what he was doing there.  Mike becomes someone else and that takes us away from our connection to him and his relationship with Paul, what little of it is left at this point.  Plus there was the factor that this segment of the story contains one of the best possibilities for bringing us into the native aboriginal culture of Australia and fails utterly to make it fascinating and believable.  Not that the author didn’t do the research…Brumb did.  But it never comes alive or allows us to feel as though we are part of the story and Mike’s situation.

Meanwhile back at the city or wherever Paul finds himself,  time passes in multiple ways until Paul decides to look for Mike. Dusty travels ensue, via railroad and other methods of transportation and so does the lifeless tone of the novel.

I so wished I liked this story more.  That darn blurb hooked me in with all the sort of details that trigger my interest.  But that blurb turned out to be the most exciting thing about this story.  Loved the research, but barely made it through the narrative.  Plus that Prologue and Epilogue which pulls us back  to 2012 adds little to the story other than to put it in a modern context and act as its own spoiler because the men are together in the present day.  So much for the suspense of if Paul will find Mike.

What Bulldust has in factual information and length, it missing its equal in vitality and connection.  This story felt as dry as the outback without ever making us feel as though we had been there.  So much promise lost, so much potential in the plot wasted.   I certainly hope that the next story I read by this  author contains the research as well as the ability to lose us in whatever story Brumb wants to tell and makes us believe it with all our hearts.  I want to be transported in feeling instead of being told I was on a journey.

Art work by Christine Griffin.  I sort of liked the “oldtimey” feel to the cover.  Could have been one of those adventure novels of the 50’s.  But it didn’t take that far enough, and finally falls flat.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press |  All Romance (ARe) |  Amazon  |  Buy It Here

Book Details:

book, 150 pages
Published June 10th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
edition languageEnglish





Cover Art by

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Book Details:

ebook, 150 pages
Published June 10th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
edition languageEnglish

It’s Release Day for Annabelle Jacobs’ A Casual Thing! Check out Our Excerpt & Giveaway

A Casual Thing V2

A Casual Thing by Annabelle Jacobs
Release Date: July 1, 2015


Goodreads Link
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anna Sikorska

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press  |  Amazon

-A Casual Thing Blurb-

Patrick Mason travels to Bristol to spend the summer with his brother, Ben. He’s cat sitting for the first two weeks while Ben goes on holiday. But Ben neglected to tell him he wouldn’t be doing it alone. Will Adams—Ben’s mate and Patrick’s long-time crush—is staying in Ben’s guest room while he waits to move into his new house after a breakup.

Against his better judgment, Patrick convinces Will that a little no-strings fun is just what they need. Patrick doesn’t want to get involved with a guy on the rebound, and Will isn’t interested in starting something serious with a student. But Patrick’s never been good at separating sex from feelings, and this time is no exception. As their weeks together draw to a close, they need to decide if they have something worth pursuing or if it’s really just a casual thing.

Pages or Words: 138 pages

Categories: Contemporary, Humor, M/M Romance, Romance

Excerpt from A Casual Thing

Ben raised an eyebrow. “I see living with Sean all these years has done some good after all.”

“Ugh,” Patrick groaned. He wasn’t that bad. “He’s my roommate, not my mum. He doesn’t make me do chores you know.” Sean was also his best friend, and three years of living together at university had made Patrick more self-sufficient, but he wasn’t about to admit it. “Anyway,” he said, walking down the hall as he spoke. “I’m assuming you’ve cleared out all your shit from the spare room?” Patrick looked back over his shoulder as he opened the door. Ben usually shoved anything he didn’t use in there until he either gave it to charity or took it down to the rubbish tip.

“Yeah, um… about that….” Ben let the sentence hang there as Patrick opened the door to the spare room and stopped in his tracks.

Okay, so it wasn’t full of Ben’s stuff, but it wasn’t empty either. The bed looked recently slept in, the quilt pulled up sort of straight but the pillows at odd angles, as though it had been made in a hurry. A couple of shirts hung on the wardrobe door, and the desk had a laptop on it and some toiletries that definitely belonged to a guy.

Ben appeared behind him, scratching at the back of his neck, but not looking particularly bothered. Patrick waved a hand around the room and raised his eyebrow. “I guess I’m not staying in here, then?”

“Sorry, it only happened a couple of weeks ago, and I forgot all about it. But he’s only here for another two weeks, so you can sleep in my room while I’m away.” Ben gestured to the door opposite and picked up Patrick’s bags again. “I’m off in the morning, so you only have to sleep on the sofa for one night.”

Patrick followed him, trying not to feel disappointed at not having the place to himself. He collapsed on Ben’s bed, making sure to hang his shoes over the edge. “So, who is it, then? Do I know him?” He narrowed his eyes, watching as Ben dropped both bags in front of the wardrobe and turned to face him. “It better not be someone old and boring who’s going to judge everything I do.

Christ.” He threw his arm over his face and let out a put-upon sigh. “I might as well have stayed at home.”

“He’s not old. He’s a year older than me.”

“You’re old.”

“Shut the fuck up, or I will send you back home.” The bed dipped as Ben sat down. “And yes, you know him. He’s a good guy—I wouldn’t leave my little brother alone for two weeks with someone I didn’t trust completely.”

Patrick sat up and leaned on his elbows, taking in the slightly shifty expression on his brother’s face. Nothing normally fazed Ben, and he’d said that Patrick knew the guy and that Ben trusted him, so Patrick didn’t see what the problem could be. He liked to think he was pretty easy to get along with. He maybe had a lot of energy, which irritated some people, but he tried to tone it down with anyone other than close friends or family. Ben’s mates all knew him pretty well anyway—Patrick usually came down to Bristol for at least a few days every time he had a break from uni.

“Well, I’m assuming it’s one of your friends, and honestly, Ben, they’re a great bunch of lads, so I don’t get why you’re being weird.”

“I’m not being weird.”

Patrick gave him his best “yeah right” look and sat up a bit. “Seriously, I won’t have a problem sharing with any of them,” he said, nudging Ben with his shoulder. “Well, except Will maybe, but that’s only because—”

Patrick stopped, the words dying on his tongue as he noticed Ben wince.

“No.” He jumped off the bed, fisting his hands in his hair. “No fucking way. Ben, please tell me you’re not leaving me alone for two weeks with the guy I have a huge unrequited, and frankly, embarrassing, crush on?”

Ben shrugged. “He needed somewhere to stay. I’d sort of forgotten you had the hots for him.”



About Annabelle Jacobs:

Annabelle Jacobs lives in the South West of England with her husband, three rowdy children, and two cats.

An avid reader of fantasy herself for many years, Annabelle now spends her days writing her own stories. They’re usually either fantasy or paranormal fiction, because she loves building worlds filled with magical creatures, and creating stories full of action and adventure. Her characters may have a tough time of it—fighting enemies and adversity—but they always find love in the end.

Where to find the author:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ajacobsfiction
Facebook Author Page
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJacobs_fiction


Tour Dates & Stops: July 1, 2015
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A MelanieM Review: Lessons for Idle Tongues (Cambridge Fellows #11) by Charlie Cochrane

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Cambridge, 1910

LessonsForIdleTongues_600x900Amateur detectives Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith seem to have nothing more taxing on their plate than locating a missing wooden cat and solving the dilemma of seating thirteen for dinner. But one of the guests brings a conundrum: a young woman has been found dead, and her boyfriend is convinced she was murdered. The trouble is, nobody else agrees.

Investigation reveals that several young people in the local area have died in strange circumstances, and rumours abound of poisonings at the hands of Lord Toothill, a local mysterious recluse. Toothill’s angry, gun-toting gamekeeper isn’t doing anything to quell suspicions, either.

But even with a gun to his head, Jonty can tell there’s more going on in this surprisingly treacherous village than meets the eye. And even Orlando’s vaunted logic is stymied by the baffling inconsistencies they uncover. Together, the Cambridge Fellows must pick their way through gossip and misdirection to discover the truth.

When I first fell in love  with Orlando Coppersmith and Jonty Stewart in Charley Cochrane’s first Cambridge Fellows Mysteries, Lessons in Love (Cambridge Fellows, #1), I had no idea I was letting myself into a long time love affair with these characters and this amazing author.  Yes, the  attention to time period minutiae was perfection, as was the way the author folded it into the story.  Yes, even the conversations were spiced up and made relevant to the era and social strata by the appropriate language and verbiage the author employed to great impact in her narrative. So much so I often had to resort to some research of my own to figure out what certain terms and slang meant to a modern-age American.  Some of the elements of the story were steeped in English history and others simply in the English culture but whatever my temporary source of bafflement, my interest in this unique and fascinating couple never wavered…not once.

Orlando and Jonty were so very different in those early days.  They had the struggle to adjust to each other’s presence, and then to each other’s attraction and then the unalterable fact they were falling into love…all during a time when this mean jail and often death.  And it was carried out in the somewhat cloistered halls of St. Bride’s College, a place of high learning, occasional high spirits and hijinks until murder finds its way there.  And then the sleuths were off on a perilous investigation that included self discovery and more than a little affection.

I have laughed and bawled my eyes out along the way as Jonty and Orlando moved through the years and the vagaries of their changing culture and historical events.  And with each book, mystery, and time frame, I fell completely under their spell and forever in love.  And that’s due to the superb talent and depth of characterization that Charley Cochrane employs.

Like punting along a waterway (as Jonty and Orlando are fond of doing), all can seem serene in one of  the Cambridge Fellow Mysteries but it’s what lurks underneath that gives these characters and their stories such dimension and sometimes shocking humanity…and you would never suspect that its there, at least not at first.  Because the civility and tone of the story and language lulls you into a state similar to a promenade or arm in arm stroll in the gardens. It’s a lovely feeling, carefree and delightful. Until murder strikes or some horrific fact pops up to let you know that the deep waters were there all the time and you were merely treading water.

Here in the 11th story, that is never more apparent.  A simple mystery leads to the deeper, more complex one, and then the smoke and shadows of multiple lies or omissions lead Orlando and Jonty into a maze of betrayals, murder, and complicity.  And even as Cochrane is leading us and our Cambridge Fellows on a deep and convoluted trail, she manages to allude to some of this series most horrific elements and facts with a deft turn of  phrase or haunted look.  I will tell you that Orlando can suffer from deep depression (a fact that figures greatly into the earlier stories).  And that something extremely damaging happened to Jonty in his early days at boarding school.  And nothing more.  For those momentous discoveries, I will send you back to the beginning story and ask that you wind your own way through the various stages of their relationship and personal disclosures.  It’s a journey not to be missed and one you will take again and again.  And that knowledge will enhance your enjoyment here in Lessons for Idle Tongues (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries #11).

I didn’t figure out all the intelligent clues and facts strewn about the story.  How I adore that!  There are wonderful literary allusions, more terminology to investigate (Bertillon measurement, anyone), and that magnificent Stewart family as a whole to enjoy and revel in.  I laughed, frowned in puzzlement, and throughly enjoyed myself at every page.  And then started the story all over again.  Lessons in Idle Tongues is amazing, Charley Cochrane’s writing is deftly accomplished, the pace sprightly for a complicated mystery, and the whole story comes together just as it should and will leave you still wanting more.  Thank goodness, we are going to get it.

Can you read this as a stand alone story?  Probably (I say with great reluctance).  There is enough context here that you don’t need to have read the other stories to get great pleasure from Lessons for Idle Tongues.  But that statement comes with a caveat…the same cannot be said for the earlier stories.  This especially holds true for the books All Lessons Learned and Lessons for Survivors (#8 and #9).  Remember as the men are moving into their relationship, the years are changing as is history.  Those have to be the two most memorable books Cochrane has yet written for Orlando and Jonty.  But their power and impact is built upon the foundation stones of the previous stories.  Why not grab up all of them together and binge read? Riptide and Samhain Publishing are working together so that’s possible.  Two new books and a complete set of stories…I love it!  Charlie Cochrane’s Cambridge Fellows Mysteries remains one of my most highly recommended series.  Lessons for Idle Tongues  is a marvelous new addition to that amazing group of novels.

I have listed them all for you at the bottom.  Use it as a checklist or TBR list, whatever works best for you.  Don’t let this story or any of those books pass you by!

Cover art by Lou Harper does the couple and series justice.  I love it!

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing |  All Romance (ARe)  |  Amazon  |  Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 241 pages

Published June 29th 2015 by Riptide Publishing
edition language,English
url http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/lessons-for-idle-tongues
series Cambridge Fellows #1

Cambridge Fellows Mysteries in the order they were written and should be read (imo):

Get 30% off books 1-8 of the Cambridge Fellows Mysteries, exclusively in a bundle from Samhain!


Back to the Past with Lessons for Idle Tongues from Charlie Cochrane -A Special Interview with Orlando & Jonty (giveaway)


Lessons for Idle Tongues (Cambridge Fellows #11)
by Charlie Cochrane
Riptide Publishing


Cover art by Lou Harper

Sales Links: Riptide Publishing

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Charlie Cochrane and her Cambridge Fellows Mysteries, featuring Jonty and Orlando.  It is one of my highly recommended series, and the terrific story, Lessons for Idle Tongues is being published by Riptide Publishing.  And to celebrate, author Charlie Cochrane is here and interviewing those incorrigible and loving duo, Jonty and Orlando.


Interview with Jonty and Orlando

While reading her favourite mystery, Death at the President’s Lodging, Charlie Cochrane was struck by some particularly “slashy” scenes and wondered why there were no Classic Era mysteries featuring a pair of gay detectives. There were gay men at the time, so couldn’t they have taken up their magnifying glasses and got sleuthing? Frustrated at finding no answer to her conundrum, she set out to write her own stories. Here she interviews her two sleuths.

CC:  Can you tell the readers where you live?

Orlando Coppersmith: Cambridge.
Jonty Stewart: Cambridge in England. There’s another one in America, you know, Orlando.
Orlando: Really? How astonishing.
Jonty: We live here because we’re both based at St. Bride’s College, trying to knock some sense into our students. I teach them about Tudor Literature.
Orlando: And I lecture in Mathematics.
Jonty: Orlando’s worryingly bright.

CC: Did the events of your early life influence you in solving mysteries?

Orlando: Yes. Well. Hm.
Jonty: What Orlando means is that neither of us had that easy a start in life. His family were…not exactly loving. Would that be fair?
Orlando: It would. I’m not as lucky as Jonty, who has an extraordinary family with whom I get on very well.
Jonty: He means I have a very loud mother who’s madly in love with him and a terrifyingly clever father who likes to solves cryptograms with him. He wins all round.
Orlando: Meeting Jonty showed me that all sorts of things in life were possible. Love, friendship, going out and using my brains for something other than mathematics. He changed my life.
Jonty: Daft beggar. Meeting Orlando gave me hope at a time when I was a bit low. I had a rough time of things at school and it came back to haunt me at times. He changed my life, too.

CC:  Do you see yourselves as policemen?

Jonty: Oh I say, Orlando. Steady there. (He whacks his back.) I’m afraid that the police wouldn’t exactly approve of our relationship. Up before the beak and two years hard labour if they knew what we got up to in private.
Orlando: We’re amateur detectives, although we do work alongside the police when need be. That’s how we got started, acting as the eyes and ears for Inspector Wilson of the local force when there was a series of murders in St. Bride’s. (Lessons in Love)
Jonty: We get commissions, too. People ask us to solve crimes, particularly old ones.
Orlando: Sometimes hundreds of years old.
Jonty: Nearly as ancient as you, Orlando.
Orlando: Very funny.

CC: Do people contact you like they contacted Sherlock Holmes?

Jonty: You said the ‘S’ word. Orlando won’t approve. I like Holmes – and Watson, he’s a marvellous bloke – but old grumpy guts here thinks Sherlock’s a bit of a smarty pants.
Orlando: I refuse to comment. And don’t call me “grumpy guts” in public.

CC: What’s been the most outrageous thing you’ve done in the cause of investigation?

Jonty: What about the time you had to pose as a gigolo?
Orlando: I was not a gigolo. I was a professional dancing partner. Next question, please, before my “friend” finds anything else to make fun of me about.

CC: In the course of your investigations, have you encountered important historical figures?

Jonty: Figures from the past, yes. When we solved the Woodville Ward mystery we ran across Richard III, Henry VII and Elizabeth Woodville. Orlando’s almost old enough to remember being dandled at their knees.
Orlando: Don’t forget, I’ve worked out at least three foolproof ways of murdering you without the risk of being caught. Actually, he’s hiding his light under a bushel, again. He’s the one who got dandled at royalty’s knee. The Stewarts are all very pally with the royal family.
Jonty: That’s what got us involved in the gigolo – sorry, dancing partner – case. The king’s old mistress died under mysterious circumstances and they needed someone of discretion and good sense to put into the hotel where it happened. Nobody like that was available, so they asked Orlando.
Orlando: Excuse me while I resort to method number one.

CC:  Presumably you are somewhat familiar with our early 21st century, after conversations with your author. What would you most like to take back to Edwardian times?

Jonty: The freedom to hold Orlando’s hand in public – at least in Brighton. Not that he’d let me, probably, being a shy old stick, but the opportunity would be nice.
Orlando: I’d welcome the chance of entering into a Civil Partnership with Jonty. An official declaration of how much we mean to each other.
Jonty: I’d like to fly in one of your modern aeroplanes. How wonderful to cover the length of the British isles in little more than an hour. And going to Jersey without resorting to a ship would be good, wouldn’t it, Orlando? He gets sick as a dog when we sail.
Orlando: Hm. In his case it might be an Uncivil Partnership.

CC:  I’m sure you’d never murder anyone, but is there someone, whom you’d like to murder if you could?

Orlando: Owens, from “the college next door”.
Jonty: He’s St. Bride’s arch-enemy and any decent college man would strangle him with his own bicycle clips.
Orlando: I’ve devised two other foolproof and undetectable methods of murder, just for Owens.
Jonty: I said he was frighteningly clever, didn’t I? If he ever took to a life of crime, we’d all be doomed.


About Lessons for Idle Tongues (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries #11)
Cambridge, 1910

Amateur detectives Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith seem to have nothing more taxing on their plate than locating a missing wooden cat and solving the dilemma of seating thirteen for dinner. But one of the guests brings a conundrum: a young woman has been found dead, and her boyfriend is convinced she was murdered. The trouble is, nobody else agrees.

Investigation reveals that several young people in the local area have died in strange circumstances, and rumours abound of poisonings at the hands of Lord Toothill, a local mysterious recluse. Toothill’s angry, gun-toting gamekeeper isn’t doing anything to quell suspicions, either.

But even with a gun to his head, Jonty can tell there’s more going on in this surprisingly treacherous village than meets the eye. And even Orlando’s vaunted logic is stymied by the baffling inconsistencies they uncover. Together, the Cambridge Fellows must pick their way through gossip and misdirection to discover the truth.

About Author Charlie Cochrane:

As Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes, with titles published by Carina, Samhain, Bold Strokes, MLR and Cheyenne.

Charlie’s Cambridge Fellows Series of Edwardian romantic mysteries was instrumental in her being named Author of the Year 2009 by the review site Speak Its Name. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, International Thriller Writers Inc and is on the organising team for UK Meet for readers/writers of GLBT fiction. She regularly appears with The Deadly Dames.

Connect with Charlie:

Blog: charliecochrane.livejournal.com/
Twitter: @charliecochrane
Facebook profile page: facebook.com/charlie.cochrane.18
Goodreads: goodreads.com/goodreadscomcharlie_cochrane
Riptide Publishing’s Author Page


Lessons for Idle Tongues Giveaway:

Cambridge Mysteries bundle

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a title from Charlie Cochrane’s backlist (excluding Lessons for Idle Tongues.) Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 4. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Don’t forget to add your email so we can contact you if you win!  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Prizes provided by the author and Riptide Publishing.

Cambridge Fellows Mysteries Bundle Sale!

Get 30% off books 1-8 of the Cambridge Fellows Mysteries, exclusively in a bundle from Samhain!

Cambridge Fellows Mysteries






If the men of St. Bride’s College knew what Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith got up to behind closed doors, the scandal would rock early-20th-century Cambridge to its core. But the truth is, when they’re not busy teaching literature and mathematics, the most daring thing about them isn’t their love for each other—it’s their hobby of amateur sleuthing.

Because wherever Jonty and Orlando go, trouble seems to find them. Sunny, genial Jonty and prickly, taciturn Orlando may seem like opposites. But their balance serves them well as they sift through clues to crimes, and sort through their own emotions to grow closer. But at the end of the day, they always find the truth . . . and their way home together.

,[STRW Note: I highly recommend reading them in the order they were written in order to understand the relationship as it builds, the men, and the times.  This is especially true for books starting with Lessons in Trust, All Lessons Learned and Lessons for Survivors which hold huge spoilers and surprises for the previous books]

Publisher Note:Cambridge Fellows mysteries may be read in any order but for those who wish to read in release order, they are:

Lessons in Love (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries #1)
Lessons in Desire (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries #2)
Lessons in Discovery (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries #3)
Lessons in Power (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries #4)
Lessons in Temptation (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries #5)
Lessons in Seduction (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries #6)
Lessons in Trust (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries #7)
All Lessons Learned (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries #8)
Lessons for Survivors (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries #9)
Lessons for Suspicious Minds (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries #10)
Lessons for Idle Tongues (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries #11)
Lessons for Sleeping Dogs
The first eight books in the series are with Samhain Publishing. You can purchase them wherever ebooks are sold.

– See more at Riptide Publishing’s Cambridge Fellows Mysteries page.

Love Gets Its Kink On with Make Me Soar (Collars & Cuffs #6) by K.C. Wells (excerpt and giveaway)


Make Me Soar (Collars & Cuffs #6) by K.C. Wells
Release Date: June 22, 2015

STRW In The Spotlight Header

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Cover by Paul Richmond, Picture by Terry Cyr



Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press

STRW Author BookSynopsis

Anyone who frequents Collars & Cuffs knows Dorian Forrester is built for pain, including Dorian himself. But everyone has it wrong. For six years, Dorian’s chased a feeling that remains tantalizingly out of his reach. Unteachable, Dorian can take anything and everything a Dom can throw at him. Still, it’s not enough. Dorian needs… something more. Something he won’t find at Collars & Cuffs.

Dorian’s search takes him out of the safe environment he’s known for years, out of his depth, and into a realm of deep, dark trouble.

Alan Marchant has been watching Dorian with interest for a while and knows there’s more to Dorian than his label of “pain slut” suggests. When Dorian disappears, Alan and his friend Leo set out to find him. But the disoriented young man discovered cowering in a hotel room is not the Dorian they know and love. That Dorian is shattered. It’s up to Alan to pick up the pieces and show Dorian there are better ways to fly.

They may be off on a new journey together, but their destination will rock them both to the core.

  • Pages or Words: 290 pages (print book). 100,000 words (approximately)
  • Categories: BDSM, Erotica, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Hurt/Comfort

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

Make Me Soar Exclusive Excerpt:

He recalled a conversation with Leo before Christmas, when Alan had been asking about Dorian. He’d hinted at the possibility of doing a scene with him and had wondered what Dorian might want.

Leo had gazed thoughtfully at him. “I used to think I knew what Dorian wanted, but after seeing his scene with Andrew, maybe you should try talking with him.”

There was one more piece of the puzzle left, and it was a vital one.

“So what happened with Andrew Barrett?”

Dorian froze. He stared at Alan, face white. “Fuck,” he said softly. He turned away, his forehead pressed once more against the windowpane.

Alan rose from his seat on the couch and crossed the room to stand beside Dorian. “I have to ask,” he explained quietly. “I watched you in that Shibari scene, and it was evident that something momentous happened. That scene got me to see you with new eyes. You intrigued me, Dorian.”

Dorian slowly turned to face him. “Me?”

Alan could almost hear the thought. Why would I intrigue you? He nodded. “You, lad. I wanted to know more about you. I’ve been asking around, trying to get to the bottom of the Dorian enigma.” He laughed at the look of sheer disbelief on Dorian’s face. Slowly, Alan reached out and cupped Dorian’s stubbled cheek, ignoring the way he stiffened initially. “You fascinate me.”

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

About the author and where to find her:

Born and raised in the north-west of England, K.C. WELLS always loved writing. Words were important. Full stop. However, when childhood gave way to adulthood, the writing ceased, as life got in the way. K.C. discovered erotic fiction in 2009, when the purchase of a ménage storyline led to the startling discovery that reading about men in love was damn hot. In 2012, arriving at a really low point in life led to the desperate need to do something creative. An even bigger discovery waited in the wings—writing about men in love was even hotter….

K.C. now writes full-time and is loving every minute of her new career. The laptop still has no idea of what hit it… it only knows that it wants a rest, please. And it now has to get used to the idea that where K.C goes, it goes.

And as for those men in love that she writes about? The list of stories just waiting to be written is getting longer… and longer….

K.C. loves to hear from readers.
E-mail: k.c.wells@btinternet.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KCWellsWorld
Twitter: @K_C_Wells
Website: http://www.kcwellsworld.com

STRW Spotlight Contest Header

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: All six books of the Collars & Cuffs series, or three books from KC’s backlist.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.
Rafflecopter Code:
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Rainbow Gold Reviews
Amanda C. Stone

Decadent Delights
Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My

Christy Loves 2 Read
Havan Fellows

Parker Williams

Love Bytes
Because Two Men Are Better Than One
Cathy Brockman Romances

Dawn’s Reading Nook
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MM Good Book Reviews
Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

3 Chicks After Dark
Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings
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A MelanieM Review: Velocity (Flight HA1710 #2) by Sara York

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Velocity coverThe crash of Flight HA1710 brings life into focus for Phil Stewart. Before meeting Davin Tierney, love seemed only a myth to Phil, but one night in New York City changed everything, giving him something he didn’t even know existed. But Phil wasn’t comfortable saying I love you. During the crash, Davin suffers a brain injury, leaving him in a coma. Phil wonders how love can be so cruel to give him Davin and then take him away so suddenly.

Davin never intended to give Phil a second look, but Phil broke through barriers and made amazing overtures before stalling on the word love. The crash changes everything, and he’s no longer willing to play it safe, but can Phil actually change from the playboy Davin first met?

Velocity by Sara York is the second in the airline disaster series HA1710 from a group of writers.  Six authors are telling the stories of six couples deeply impacted by this tragedy because they were on the plane when it went down or because they were closely connected to it.  The idea behind this series is a moving and emotional one.  Book one, Retrograde by RJ Scott, kicked off the series with a terrific installment from the surviving pilot’s POV.  Now comes Sara York’s Velocity and we’re caught up in the aftermath from the perspective of a couple that were passengers on the flight who survived the crash…just.

The couple, Phil Stewart and Davin Tierney, are flying to Chicago from their home in Ireland in order for Davin to meet Phil’s mother, who’s health has left her unable to travel.  Phil is taking their 6-month  relationship to the next level and this indicates just how serious he is about David and their future together.  Then the plane crashes shortly after takeoff.

The story opens a day after the crash.  Phil is hospitalized with his injuries and desperate to find out what happened to Davin.  Its one frantic, pain filled scene after another and its Phil’s  anguish and uncertainty that pulls us into their story.  We understand his panic and frustration with the hospital personnel, and the lack of information available since the crash is still so fresh.  I thought this was actually the best section of the story.  Its impact is immediate and  deeply felt.

Interspersed with scenes from the present day activities and Phil’s attempts to find Davin, we get flashbacks to the night when player Phil first encounters Davin leaving a club in Chicago.  Their first connection is electric and it changes their lives in an instant.  That is especially true for Phil, who is a “love them and leave them” sort of individual.  These scenes worked too.  I believed in Phil and Davin’s bond and Phil’s surprise at the strength of his own feelings.

For the majority of Velocity, I found the story and the couple realistic and believable.  Their  plight was moving,  and the situation around them had the authentic feel of the aftermath of a catastrophe.  But then something almost indefinable  occurs and the story and their relationship (or perhaps more realistically my interest in their relationship) started to wain.  The narrative becomes a bit jumbled as the men try to pick up their lives again.

York only partially addresses the mental and emotional state of those who have just survived a tragedy of  such enormous measure, the impact upon them felt fleeting and unbelievable.   There is one scene that appears with an emotional explosion that lifts the ennui that has settled over the plot, which would be fine (and authentic) except the author has laid no foundation for it previously in her story.  It comes out of nowhere and disappears just as quickly.  And the fact that this element was a fascinating turn of events (one of the better ones), left this reader feeling frustrated at its promise and loss.

Velocity is a sweet story that had the potential of a terrific one, the promise of which dribbles away as the story moves to its conclusion.  Still, I’m happy  to  have made Phil and Davin’s acquaintance and look forward to the next story in the series, Flashbulb by Clare London.  We meet up with Rory Kendrick from RJ Scott’s story, Retrograde, in a moving scene at the hospital and I hope that’s an element we will have in each story as the investigation of the crash and the impact on peoples lives moves forward.   I really like this series and can’t wait to see where the stories and characters go next.

If you love reading  sweet M/M romance with a hint of angst, this story is for you.

Cover art by Meredith Russell is amazing.  I love the way the artist has branded the series and yet still keep each cover individual in design.  Great job.

Sales Links:    All Romance (ARe)  |  Amazon  |  Buy It Here

Book Details:

Published June 19th 2015 by Smashwords Edition
seriesFlight HA1710 #2

Series Promo banner

Flight HA1710 series

6 authors, 6 primary works

When Flight HA1710 crashes killing seven people the after effects are too many to think on. But how does the crash change people’s lives? From the pilot to the guy who missed the plane we chart the stories of those whose lives were impacted by the crash.

  • Retrograde (Flight HA1710 #1) by R.J. Scott
  • Velocity (Flight HA1710 #2) by Sara York
  • Flashbulb (Flight HA1710 #3) by Clare London
  • Fallout (Flight HA1710 #4) by Meredith Russell
  • Aviophobia (Flight HA1710, #5) by Serena Yates
  • Fracture (Flight HA1710 #6) by Amber Kell

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