A Mika Review: The Bridge of Silver Wings (More Heat Than the Sun #3) by John Wiltshire

Image

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

The Bridge of Silver Wings coverNikolas and Ben discover that bonds aren’t forged with blood or scars but in the hearts of men strong enough to love. 

Ben discovers the truth of the adage, ‘be careful what you wish for’. Nikolas has exorcised his demons, but when they end up stranded in Russia, the monster inside needs to be let loose. Siberia in winter isn’t a place for good men. There is nothing Nikolas won’t do to keep Ben alive. 

Home again, Nikolas then faces an enemy he can’t defeat: Ben Rider himself. Discovering a new family, Ben realizes he’s been living too long in the shadows cast by Nikolas’s all-consuming love. For the first time, life apart from Nikolas is possible. Is Nikolas strong enough to let Ben go?

Talk about unexpected events. I could never in a billion freaking years imagine going through the things that Sir Nikolas and Ben went through. I know for sure I wouldn’t have the sanity, resilience or even strength to see the light at the end or put my faith in one person so much. We pick up book three right after the events of Conscious Decisions of the Heart, and the couple are,  literally, off on an adventure in this book. Terrified would be might one word description of the first half of the book. Who goes through things like this? It’s been a good month since reading this, and I wondering what the other people’s family thinks happened, I mean I guess the plane could make sense but where is all the freaking PTSD from that situation. I didn’t see a way for them to survive, and in all this darkness Nikolas persevered and became the dark angel with the brightest shining I’ve ever seen. Certain circumstances, he literally put his life on the line. He is such an amazing character who is so intense, and closed off but has this way about him that just draws you in. I love John Wiltshire for that, I’m all about the damaged hero and he just made my top ten list.

Wiltshire puts them in situations where they are confronted with the possibility that a tomorrow isn’t a promise to me, and in situations like these; these two guys always do something that turn my insides to mush. It might not be the healthiest or sanest ways but it’s why I love them. It was a scene in this book where Nik basically had to put his foot down and didn’t really care about Ben’s feelings. That was one of my favorite quotes ever in this entire book.

“I love you enough to hit you until you get on that thing. Do not make me do it, because this is hurting me more than you.- Nikolas”

Wiltshire takes his readers on a vivid journey and reading it is like watching it unfold right in front of you. These emotions that he seems to bring out of you are gut-wrenching, I cried off and on during the last 45%. He’s able to have two strong men with sordid past and have them fall so deeply in love with each other that no amount of distance or strife will keep them away. This book definitely became my favorite out the series so far. Second half had me not really liking Ben, but as usual he comes out victorious. I wasn’t mad for the reason most people would be, I was mad because I understand him needing to feel like he can stand on his two feet and needing the space to do it. I was mad at the circumstances surrounding certain situations, but it’s my fault really because I doubted Ben and it’s not something we made need to do. While as Nikolas is this dark angel with a vengeful way about himself; Ben is the total opposite. He’s this bright shining beacon who has the most endearing conscience around. I mean he cares for everyone’s well being. His heart is one of the reasons why many adore him, and only Nikolas has him.

Cover Art by Deana Jamoz. This cover is everything that happened in the book. Being in the darkness but fighting your way out until you reach the light. I love it.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 290 pages
Published August 22nd 2014 by MLR Press (first published August 21st 2014)
ISBN13MLR1020140285
edition languageEnglish
seriesMore Heat Than the Sun #3

More Heat Than The Sun Series (should be read in order to understand the relationships and events)

  • Love is a Stranger (More Heat Than the Sun #1)
  • Conscious Decisions of the Heart (More Heat Than the Sun, #2)
  • The Bridge of Silver Wings (More Heat Than the Sun, #3)
  • This Other Country (More Heat Than the Sun, #4)
  • The Bruise-Black Sky (More Heat Than the Sun, #5)

A Stella Review: To Every Thing There Is a Season by Fil Preis

Standard

Rating:  4 stars out of 5

To Every Thing There Is A Season coverFor most of his life, Terry Geirhart worked beside his best friend and lover on their farm nestled in rural southwestern Ontario. With Karlstadt being a small town, their true relationship remained a secret. Seth’s death in a tragic accident leaves Terry beside himself. After two years of mourning, Terry wants to learn to live again. Unfortunately, he has no idea how.

While not ready to date, Terry does need a new hired hand. A close friend suggests her relative from the city who’s looking for a new start. Damien Manicuso, stylish and openly gay, has never stepped out of the city, but after flunking out of university and being kicked out by his family, Terry’s job couldn’t be more welcome. The two have nothing in common except a mutual attraction, but working a farm brings people close. Both afraid to admit their feelings, they must find the courage or lose everything all over again.

I can’t think of a reason to give this book less than 4 stars. To Every Thing There Is A Season by Fil Preis is a quick and sweet read, something simple and light, just what I was in the mood of, as I start reading it. It was the perfect story for a cold day, snuggled on the sofa.

Terry has spent the last two years mourning the death of his best friend and partner Seth. Living in a small, old farming village is becoming really hard to Terry, all alone in a big farmhouse. When Damien, the city boy who has been kicked out of the university and just lost his parents’ financial support,  comes to Karlstadt to work for Terry, he will change forever their lives. They both will be able to start again, but will they do it together?

There’s one beautiful thing I loved in this story: the optimism and hope I could feel since at the beginning. Of course, both characters have their own hard time in the past. Damien was lucky to escape from a relationship with a scaring controlling partner. Terry had a great loss but it’s clear that he’s ready to move on. When they were together, Terry and Seth made a brave promise to each other:

If anything ever happened to me, Terry had said, I’d want you to move on.[…]Not because I don’t love you, or don’t care if you were with someone else, but because I feel that it’s not fair to ask you to live the rest of your life alone, if something ever happened to me. Farming’s a dangerous business. I just got a reminder of that, the hard way.

Okay, Seth had said, […]Same for me, you know. If anything ever happened to me, I’d want you to learn to love again.

I found this book so positive it was a joy to read it. “No bad feelings allowed” should be added as a note at the start of it. And I forgot to say I’m talking about just 50 pages, so I think it wasn’t simple to put so much in a so small space.

I’m so ready to read more stories by this new-to-me author.

Cover art by Anna Sikorska. I love a cover that fit the story, the title and the characters of the book I’m reading and this one has all of these. I like the choice of the colors, each one representing a season and I can totally see Terry in the man on the cover.

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

Book Details:

Published February 18th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press LLC
ebook, 50 pages
ISBN13 9781632165459
Edition language English

SALE LINKS

ARE

AMAZON http://www.amazon.com/Every-Thing-There-Season-ebook/dp/B00TM7U5U2/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1425156037&sr=8-2&keywords=To+Every+Thing+There+Is+a+Season

DSP

A MelanieM Review: In Darkest Peru by Louise Lyons

Standard

Rating: 2.75 stars out of 5

In Darkest Peru coverRhys White’s life has take a sharp tumble.  His boyfriend of 5 years has dumped him and his employer just told him that her services are no longer needed. And although Rhys is sure that he can find another job as a computer programmer all his interviews to date have gotten him nothing.

Oddly enough it’s a stuffed animal given to Rhys as a gift that prompts Rhys to do something extraordinary and out of character for him. He buys a plane ticket to Peru.

Rhys’ adventure in Peru starts out well enough, but then disaster strikes. All of his belongings are stolen. Everything is gone—passport, wallet, phone, clothing, the lot.

Stranded in Cuzco, not too far from the famous Machu Picchu, Rhys tries to find someone to help him. He’s about to give up, when a sexy Brazilian named Rafael, comes to his rescue

I was excited to read In Darkest Peru by Louise Lyons for several reasons. One –  Lyons is a new author to me and I always enjoy finding new writers.  And secondly, the location, Peru, specifically Cuzco and the Inca Trail which is also a huge hook for me.  Unfortunately this book fell far short of my expectations.

The opening pages revealed that the author started off her story on a creative and endearing platform of an idea.  Are you familiar with Paddington Bear?  That wondrous bear of the enormous red hat and blue coat?  No?  Well, his story, a favorite childhood book for many (A Bear Called Paddington) starts out with a small bear who was a stowaway, traveling from “Darkest Peru” to the United Kingdom.  It seems that Rhys’ boyfriend had gifted him with a stuffed Paddington Bear whose gaze prompts Rhys to go off on an adventure of his own after being dumped.  And much like Paddington, Rhys might have just as well had a sign around his neck that reads “Please look after this boy.  Thank you,”  to borrow Paddington’s line.

See?  Right there, Lyons had me.  Rhys was a sympathetic believable human being and I wanted to know more about his story.  So far so good.  But then Rhys landed in Peru, that magical, inspiring land of the Incas and Rhys’s journey and story start to head off course.

If an author is going to use any exotic or foreign location as a setting for their story, then they need to make that place come alive…people, places, culture.  Make us believe that their characters are actually walking the land, and listening to the language and eating the local food.  But here?  Take away the names and the fact that the story states that Rhys flies to Peru, takes various transport here and there, you could relocate this story to Manchester or Liverpool or Kansas and it would give us as much local flavor.  Rhys visits a museum in Cuzco that he said he always wanted to see but other than the name we never find out why.  He flies over the famous  Nazca Lines in a plane and notes he’s disappointed it was over so fast.  Well, so are we because there’s no description of the Nazca Lines or what he sees or is feeling high above them.   That lack.. of physical descriptions, emotions, feelings and thoughts…its everywhere here. What descriptions to be had here are slight in length, shallow in layers, and altogether lacking in any believable content and authenticity. Rhys continually “tells” us where he is going and that maybe he is sweaty but not much else.  A few sentences that felt like plodding paragraphs and the famed Inca trail is done with.   What a wasted opportunity for Rhys and the reader to make Rhys feel a part of the ancient and mystical trail and great adventure it represents.

Basically, its all forgotten when Rhys gets robbed and rescued by another hiker, a man from Brazil who wants to be a guide.  But do we get any indication why (his name is already escapes me) wants to be a guide?  Does he bring any emotion or knowledge really of the trail and conditions they hike?  Nope, not to be found here either.  Let’s just say that much sex ensues and leave it at that.  Really the only reason it feels that Peru and the Inca Trail were used as settings as all was to enable Lyons to use that great idea at the beginning with the stuffed bear.

Now some will say “well, how about the romance?”  What romance?  There is no HEA or  HFN.  No, this is a vacation hookup story, albeit one that gives the main character a little bit more of a backbone that when he started.  The best thing about this story? That bit about the stuffed bear and Paddington’s connection to Peru. I only wish this story had lived up to that inventive and wonderful concept.

So if you are expecting love or romance, this story will leave you absolutely irritated at the lack thereof.  If you are expecting vivid descriptions and a feel for the country and ancient history, you won’t get that either.  If you want a book that makes Peru and its history and people come alive, pick up Ariel Tachna’s The Path.  It’s exemplary and you will feel you are walking those ancient arduous trails to a shining conclusion with its characters.  And if you want an endearing tale of adventure, look no further than A Bear Called Paddington.  Now’s there’s an adventure for you!

Not so here so I definitely recommend that you give this story a pass.  I will try another story from this author and see what promise I may find there.

 

Cover art by Jay’s Covers by Design.  Beautiful cover, one of my favorites this month.  I only wish the book had lived up to it.

Sales Links:  Wayward Ink Publishing     All Romance (ARe)    Amazon      Buy It Here

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 51 pages
Published February 13th 2015 by Wayward Ink Publishing
ASINB00SSCKT58
edition languageEnglish

A MelanieM Review: Shawn’s Law by Renae Kaye

Standard

Rating:5 stars out of 5

Shawn's Law coverAt the age of  twenty-nine, Shawn O’Hara’s life is full, although not quite in the way he had always imagined it.  Shawn had to quit his job to become the full-time caregiver of his Alzheimer’s-stricken mother.  And if that isn’t enough, Shawn’s life has been a string of unfortunate accidents.  What some people call Murphy’s Law (A rule that states, “If something can go wrong, it will, and usually at the worst time.”), is in Shawn’s case, Murphy’s Law doubled and known by friends and family as Shawn’s Law.

In what little spare time Shawn has, he spends it painting nude men and spying on the guy who walks his dogs along the street every day at four o’clock, someone he has affectionately dubbed Hippy-Hotpants. When Shawn takes a spectacular fall on his front steps, who is there to witness it other than the man of his dreams?

Harley (aka Hippy Hotpants) doesn’t believe in Shawn’s Law.  But spending time with Shawn brings about a change in mind. Shawn is it for Harley and he is determined to make Shawn see it as well.   The two men make it through a memorable first date, full of Shawn’s Law surprises, and still look forward to more.  But when Harley is accidentally injured, Shawn is determined to save Harley’s life the only way he knows how—by breaking up with him. Not once, but twice. Throw in a serial killer ex-boyfriend, several deadly Australian animals, two dogs called Bennie, a mother who forgets to wear clothes, an unforgiving Town Council, and a strawberry-flavored condom dolly, and Shawn’s Law is one for the booksmind.

Ever had a book that made you laugh out loud?  Not just a few giggles (although that happened), or episodes of gentle laughter (ditto).   No, I’m talking about out and out guffaws, side stitching no holds barred cackles!  For me, that is Shawn’s Law by Renae Kaye in a nutshell.  Even now, just thinking about certain scenes and dialog  makes me stop and laugh until I cry.

I have read and loved other books by this author (The Blinding Light, The Shearing Gun, Safe in His Arms) but nothing prepared me for Harley, Shawn, and their fabulous if accident prone path to love.  The humor is searing, but its overlaid by some of life’s worst events, a mother in the last throes of Alzheimer’s, lost jobs, a stressed out sister and a  solitary love life, all of which are realistically portrayed.  Shawn is unexpectedly wonderful in almost every way.  His outlook is positive (because the alternative would be depressingly scary).  His physique?  Well, let’s hear it from Harley how he sees Shawn:

And Shawn is definitely a man. He has short black hair and a strong jaw that needs to be shaved twice a day to keep the shadow off. He wears endearing black-framed glasses that look cute and geeky at the same time. He hates his glasses and is always threatening to buy something hip and cool, but he never gets around to it. Too many other things happen in his life. But there’s no getting around the fact that he’s short and has curves—his legs are curvy, his butt sticks out and his chest is rounded. He would never be called svelte or willowy, and that’s more than okay with me.

Yep, that Shawn, Short, “curvy”, kind hearted Shawn.  He doesn’t even cuss because he accidentally taught his youngest niece the F word, so now everything is fudge, or sugar or any other sweet term you can think of (as in “Sugar creme puffs, Mum’s loose and naked again”) and from Shawn’s mouth it feels natural and unaffected.   Shawn comes across as a human being you would love to get to know (albeit from the relative safety of 10 feet away).  He’s friends with all the nurses and doctors at the local hospital through his many visits.  All the local car towing company, animal wildlife rangers, plumbers,, etc are all of first name basis with Shawn due to Shawn’s Law in action.   Man,  this guy endearing and real.  I love Shawn and he quickly became one of my favorite characters.

Harley is another finely drawn portrait of a activist at home in his own skin and looking for love in one of the most unlikely pairings around.  Harley likes to let it all, I mean all as in his equipment, hang loose.  No binding underwear for him and his dress or sometimes lack of it earns him the nickname Hippy-Hotpants.  Maybe its his long hair too.  Anyway, he cuts quite the figure through these pages and in Shawn’s life.  Harley is far from perfect and Shawn brings about some serious reflection on how he views  his life, Shawn, and the events that happen.  I love that about this character and the storyline.  The characters all show measurable growth. It unfolds realistically and sometimes painfully, although the humor is retained at various levels of intensity.  But nothing is easy.  Relationships take work, people have insecurities about their bodies, and sometimes people do the wrong thing by trying to do what’ they think is right and will create the least amount of havoc for someone they love.  So yeah, their steps towards love are sometimes plodding, full of pratfalls and stumbles and a fair share of misunderstandings.  But that only makes this story and their romance that much sweeter because it feels so real and right.

All the other characters are just as perfectly realized as Shawn and Harley.  Whether its, Lisa (Shawn’s sister) or Shawn’s mum whose lucidity comes and goes (mostly goes), or any of the other myriad people that pop up, you will remember them all with great fondness and wish to see more of them as often as possible.  I could have lived in this story and with these characters for a long, long time.

Renae Kaye’s writing flows so smoothly here.  Told from both Shawn and Harley’s point of view the events unfold quickly and believably.  And this short excerpt gives you a window into how it all starts.  Here Shawn has just realized that his mother has slipped out of the house…again.  And he follows a trail of clothing outside just as he was waiting to catch a glimpse of “Hippy-Hotpants”:

“Mum?”

Then disaster struck. Not apocalypse proportions, but just your everyday oh-man-that-just-ruined-everything disaster. My foot slid on something and flew out from under me. I was racing too hard to find my balance, and ended up falling on my butt, coming down on the edge of a step with a yelp of pain. I slithered down a few more steps before coming to a halt on my back, staring up in shock at the blue sky.

“Oh, holy fuu… udge bars.”

It was a small thing, but I made it a habit not to use the “F-word” ever since I’d accidently taught it to my niece when she was only two. The “Sh-word” was also out, so I now used words like fudge and sugar and darn for expletives. It wasn’t easy. My days usually need a lot of expletives. I turned my head slightly, thanked God that my neck still worked, and caught sight of something white in my peripheral vision. My head was resting on something and I yanked it from beneath me and tried to focus.

Ugh. Bras, briefs, panties, and lingerie. I’d skidded on the latest Target underwear catalog. Perfect.

“Are you okay?”

 

Want a story to keep you smiling and engaged?  Shawn’s Law is one for the top shelf, you know the one where you keep your favorite stories!  It’s a story you will want to pick up again when you want a laugh or when you want to renew your acquaintance with some of the most endearing, wonderful characters around.  Oh, and that last chapter?  The one that consists of 3 short sentences?  Priceless, just priceless.   But don’t take my word for it….go, right now and grab this up!  It’s one of my most highly recommended reads!

Cover artist:  Paul Richmond.  The artist does this story and its characters justice.  It’s perfect in attitude and humor, and I loved it.  And yes, that’s a part of this story.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Expected publication: March 6th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
original titleShawn’s Law
ISBN139781632167347
edition languageEnglish