A MelanieM Review: Dead Things by Meredith Russell

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Devin never thought he could find hope or love among the ruins of a broken world. Not until he found Noah.

Dead-Things-ebookDevin Reed is one of the last survivors of a virus that has turned the earth’s population into living corpses…zombies.  Devin lives and conducts daily hunts from high security penitentiary in Kansas State that provides his group of survivors with shelter and security.   Devin returned from his last tour in Afghanistan to find the world gone mad.  He lost everyone he loved to the plague, including his long term partner and love.  Broken hearted and enraged by the circumstances he finds himself in, he risks his life daily to leave to hunt for supplies and any other survivors he can find.

One fateful scavenger trip changes everything when Devin and his partner check out what looks to be an abandoned farm house and find Noah Webber, the last of his family and the only person to survive a zombie attack.  Each man has lost so much, and their attraction to each other is bound up in each other’s survivor guilt and fear.  Together Devin and Noah unite to fight the monsters around them.  But it will take more than determination and firepower to win, it  might take finding the courage  to risk all for love and the hope of a future.

Just when I think I’ve about had my fill of all things zombie, along comes a story to remind me why this genre is so pupular.  Dead Things by Meredith Russell manages to combines  the heartbreak of loss, suspense, a post apocalyptic world, zombies and, of course, romance and has us sitting on the edge of our seats while doing it.

I especially liked her character, Devin Reed.  He is the epitome of a survivor, complete with a lost love, a sense of futility about the present and yet he endures and perseveres.  He’s also a warrior, hot, and gay.  Devin feels real,  he is shut down emotionally, allowing only the pain of loss or anger to penetrate the barriers he has erected again any further vulnerability.  There are other characters around that also seem authentic to the direness of the circumstances they find themselves in but Devin comes across as the most believable.

Noah Webber took longer for me to invest in.  His attitude seems at odds with his history and background.  And although we got a good explanation for his actions and outlook, it ended up irritating not only Devin but the reader as well.  Luckily for the story, that faded away under the onslaught of zombies and the events that occur.

Russell adds in high suspense, to go along with the anxiety of survival and the prickling of hope for the future.  The author solidly builds her story and keeps us guessing as we head into the climax and story resolution.  It’s fun, heartbreaking, white knuckle ride all the way to the end.  If you are a lover of zombies and post apocalyptic worlds to go along with your M/M romance, then add this to your TBR list.  It delivers what it promises. And that makes it one of Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words recommended reads.

Like most fiction of this trope, a small group of survivors has banded together in the most secure place they could find, a high security penitentiary.  This place has become their world, complete with a dictator who makes the rules and expects everyone to follow them.

Cover art by Meredith Russell.  Love the cover, it works perfectly for the character and gives a dark tone to the overall look.

Sales Links:  All Romance (ARe)       Amazon        Dead Things

Book Details:

book, Second edition
Published August 29th 2014 (first published August 2012)

In the Author Spotlight: Jamie Lynn Miller and her release, Out of the Shadows (contest)

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spotlight on books

In Our Author Spotlight:  Jamie Lynn Miller

and Out of the Shadows!Out of the Shadows cover

How my real-life law enforcement experiences inspired a romance story by Jamie Lynn Miller

Thanks so much, Melanie, for having me here today. I’m Jamie Lynn Miller and I’d like to talk about my book Out of the Shadows and my inspiration for writing it.

My tagline says it all: “Men in uniform…and out”. Give me a cop, a fireman or a paramedic and I’ll write a story about them.

I’ve been interested in law enforcement since I was a kid and had aspirations of joining the FBI after college. But that’s another story for another time. Instead, over the past many years I’ve taken six different citizen police and fire academy classes, spanning over 72 weeks in total.

I’ve gone on ride-a-longs with the police department and fire department. I’ve been inside a live burn tower. I received the marksman award on the firing range. I worked with the SWAT team. I sketched a crime scene and collected fingerprints and other evidence. I learned how to find my way blind in the dark in a smoke filled room wearing an oxygen tank and mask and full turnout gear. I learned self-defense moves the police use to subdue suspects. I used the Jaws of Life to pry a door off a car and used an axe to break out a windshield.

And during all this, I took notes. Lots and lots of notes. Notebooks full. Because I knew someday I was going to write a story. Or four. 🙂

Then two things came together that gave me the inspiration for Out of the Shadows – I spent time working with two separate K-9 units and I attended a lecture on domestic violence. Being a pet lover I was instantly drawn to the K-9 teams and I was fascinated with how they worked and how they trained and the bond between human officer and canine officer. Part of the lecture on domestic violence and how the police handle such cases was the fact that men are abused, too, but it’s hardly ever reported. That just really stuck with me and I began to wonder how to write a story about a man who found himself in an abusive relationship and how he would find the strength and courage to leave. Then suddenly a handsome K-9 officer worked his way in and Out of the Shadows was born.

So here it is, the story of Shane and Tyler and how they found their Hollywood happy ending. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Out of the Shadows coverOut of the Shadows Blurb:

For K-9 Officer Shane Walker, transferring from the Tulsa police department to the elite L.A.P.D. was a dream come true. He nearly forgets he’s in Hollywood until he responds to a 911 call that brings him to the home of actor Tyler Donovan.

It appears that Tyler has it all – a career that’s on fire and a loving, long-term relationship with his partner, Alex. But then Shane uncovers the truth that Tyler had been trying to hide, and the illusion comes crashing down.

Can Shane help Tyler break free of a life he’s convinced he deserves before it’s too late, and in the process help them both find love?

Out of the Shadows Excerpt:

Shane arrived at Tyler’s house hours later, after being reamed out by Nick, still no less furious with the other man. He could’ve called, like Tyler asked, but what he had to say needed to be said face-to-face.

Tyler must’ve heard his truck pull up, for he was standing with the front door open as Shane walked up the steps. He brushed by Tyler and stood in the living room, hands on his hips.
“Shane – ”

“What were you thinking?!” Shane yelled, cutting Tyler off.

“I wasn’t!” Tyler yelled back, fire in his blue eyes. “I just reacted! You needed help!”

“That’s why I’ve got Chase!”

“He’s not a human, Shane!” Tyler countered. “You needed another pair of hands! I couldn’t just sit there and watch you wrestle with him!”

Shane took a step toward Tyler, his body vibrating with anger and suppressed fear. “He had a gun, Tyler! What if he’d have had it on him and turned around and started shooting? What if he would’ve shot you? I can’t -” his voice broke and he felt himself start to shake. “I can’t lose you!” He swallowed thickly around the lump in his throat, taking another step toward Tyler as the other man did the same. They met halfway and Shane crushed his mouth to Tyler’s, pouring out his fear and love in the demanding kiss.

Things started escalating in the blink of an eye. Tyler’s arms wound around Shane, holding tightly, hands gripping Shane’s t-shirt, trying to get their bodies even closer together. One of Shane’s hands cupped the back of Tyler’s head while the other went around his waist. Shane was still shaking, the fear being replaced by desire and anticipation now, like everything was about to change.

Tyler must’ve felt it too, his mouth demanding against Shane’s, his tongue sliding hard against Shane’s own. This was by far the most aggressive, passionate kiss they’d ever shared, Shane’s head dizzy with it as their mouths crashed together again and again.

“Ty…” Shane whined into the kiss, pleading. “Need you…”

~~~~~
CONTEST: To win a $10.00 Amazon gift card, leave a comment here with the answer to the following question: “Who is Shane’s ‘non-human’ partner?” Contest ends Monday, October 6th. Winner will be randomly selected on October 7th.

BUY LINKS:

Jamie photo smallAuthor Bio:

Jamie Lynn Miller has been writing fiction since childhood and decided to take the plunge and go pro in 2008, finding to her amazement that people truly enjoyed her love stories. She’s a romantic at heart, and her tales reflect the desire we all have to find “the one,” persevering through trials and heartache for that happy ending.

Jamie has a degree in fine arts and has spent the last twenty years working as a graphic designer, though she’d much rather be writing. She was born in Chicago and still lives there today with her husband and their two furry, four-footed children, er… cats.

If she’s not brainstorming story ideas, you can find Jamie at a sci-fi convention, in front of a furnace doing glass blowing, or on a mat twisted into a yoga pose.

CONTACT INFO:  Jamie Lynn Miller

Email: jamielynnmiller@live.com
Website:  http://www.jamielynnm.wordpress.com
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/jamielynn.miller.3

Book Blast: Beany Sparks “Aiden’s Shepherd” (Book tour and contest)

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Check out Beany Spark’s release, Aiden’s Shepherd (Paws and Magic #1).  We have all the details, blurbs, and excerpt for you below.  And don’t forget to enter to win your own copy.  Details provided at the end of the post.

Book Name: Aiden’s Shepherd
Author Name: Beany Sparks

Author Bio:

Beany lives in Western Australia. She first started reading romance novels in 2008, but it wasn’t until January 2010 when her Kindle got delivered that the world of erotic romance opened its doors to her, and she hasn’t looked back.

With suggestions and support from friends, her muse—“affectionately” known as PITA—was finally able to break free, and in January 2014 her first story was written. Since she can’t put PITA back in his box, Beany has decided to give in and team up with him. Together they’ve made plans to write both MF and MM stories.

Author Contacts:

  • She can be reached at beany.sparks@gmail.com
    Or visit her at her website
    Or on Twitter:

Aiden's Shepherd - FinalTitle: Aiden’s Shepherd by Beany Sparks
Publisher: eXtasy Books

Sales Link:  eXtasy Books

Aiden’s Shepherd Blurb:

A man who never knew magic and shifters existed gets a crash course when he saves an injured dog.

Aiden Grey is packed and ready to move and start a new phase of his life away from the family that kicked him out when he was eighteen. The night before he leaves he sees something fall out of the back of a van. Upon closer inspection, he is shocked to find that it’s not the bag he suspected, it’s a dog!

Deciding to take the dog with him, the two set off the next morning to Aiden’s new home. Everything is going well for Aiden and the German Shepherd he named Lex. That is, until said German Shepherd shifts into a man who claims Aiden is his mate.

Lex can’t believe he’s finally found his mate. But as happy as he is to have him, he still worries about his brother and pack, and where they have ended up.

With the revelation that shifters exist, secrets about Aiden’s past come to light. Secrets he didn’t even know existed. Suddenly, Aiden has to deal with not only the reality of shifters, but also ghosts and magic.  But with Lex by his side he can handle anything—even his surprise guest.

Aiden’s Shepherd Excerpt:

He stood near the table, breathing heavily, stopping himself from opening any of the curtains to peek outside to see if the van was still there. Aiden had no idea what he was thinking with this stunt, but something was telling him to protect the dog. He just had to figure out how to clean the canine up without getting attacked, bitten or turning the light on and revealing to anyone who might be outside that he was awake and moving around.

Aiden took a deep breath to try and calm down, then gathered his courage. He took a few steps toward the entrance of the kitchen to see if he could make out anything through the glass panels on the front door, trying to stay hidden from view. He couldn’t see anything at first, but as he kept looking he suddenly spotted the shadow of a man through the glass. He couldn’t turn around and put his back against the wall fast enough, breathing hard once again.

Fuck! I hope whoever that is didn’t see me!

“What the hell are you doing?” A male voice came from outside his door. The man tried to remain quiet, but he was just loud enough for Aiden to hear him.
“I’m looking for that mutt, what do you think I’m doing? Picking daisies?” replied a second male voice in the same hushed tone.

“What makes you think he made it all the way here? It’s not like there’s a blood trail leading to the front door!” the first man said, sounding angry.

“This is the closest house so I’m going to check,” the second man said, then tried to turn the handle of the door.

Aiden felt his breath catch in his throat. He knew he’d locked the door, but if they forced their way in and looked around, what would he do?

“Knock it off, you moron. That mutt was barely breathing when we put him in the van, and you think he not only got up and made his way to this house, but that he somehow got inside it, too? How stupid are you?” the first man said.

“I’m telling you, man. There’s something about the mutt that doesn’t sit right with me.”

“You’re just pissed because he managed to bite you. Now come on, let’s get out of here before someone notices us or the van. We’ll come back later in the morning and have a look around. If the mutt managed to find someone to feel sorry for him, they’ll probably take him to see a vet, then we’ll get our hands back on the beast.”

“Yeah, I guess. Alright, let’s go.”

Aiden listened to their steps as they walked off his porch and presumably made their way to their van. He breathed a sigh of relief when he realized they’d left.

There goes my plan to get the dog to a vet close by. Hopefully there’s nothing seriously wrong and he’ll be able to hold off until I can get us to the cabin in the morning.

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Tour Dates: 10/3/14

Tour Stops: Parker Williams, Amanda C. Stone, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Fallen Angel Reviews, Because Two Men Are Better Than One, Nic Starr, Jade Crystal, MM Good Book Reviews, My Fiction Nook, Prism Book Alliance, Cate Ashwood, Wake Up Your Wild Side, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Havan Fellows, Carly’s Book Reviews, Iyana Jenna, Kimi-Chan, Up All Night, Read All Day, Velvet Panic

Contest: Rafflecopter Prize: e-book copy of ‘Aiden’s Shepherd’. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Use the Rafflecopter link below for the entry form and for all additional contest details.

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