Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: Light from the Dark by Mercy Celeste


Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Light from the Dark coverI really like Mercy’s Celeste’s work so it’s not unusual for me to expect a good story from her, but this one is the best I’ve ever read! My first thoughts upon completion: awesome, complex, convoluted plot, extremely damaged yet loveable MCs, an intriguing mystery, amazing sex, and a story that will remain with me for quite a while.

The blurb doesn’t do justice to the full scope of this story, but in a nutshell—former US Marshal Micah Beasley, tired of living with the guilt and negative thoughts of the disaster his last job took, decides to accept a job offer as bodyguard for what he assumes is a spoiled rich kid who can’t (or won’t) leave his house. Thinking it will be a cakewalk, when asked what salary he’d like, he asks for a million dollars. Imagine his shock when he gets it!

Christopher (Kit) Auberon is all that’s left of the very wealthy and powerful Auberon family. Unable to speak, scarred from spending two years in prison for the attempted murder of his uncle, white-haired from that same imprisonment, he’s also a brilliant computer gamer. Loner doesn’t begin to describe his isolated existence, however.

Unfortunately, recent break-ins at his supposedly secure estate, coupled by escalating memories of a time when he was kidnapped as a child after seeing his parents killed, are sending Kit into a place in his mind from which he may never return.

The scope of the story is so huge that I need to break it down a bit to do justice to a review. Starting with the MCs—first, Micah Beasley, blond, muscular, with a scar that slices his face on one side, former US Marine, former US Marshal, not out to his family, burdened by guilt connected to his last case when his work partner, Heath, was killed along with the child they were protecting. Heath was also his lover, and Micah feels that if they hadn’t taken fifteen minutes for a quickie before picking up the little girl, she wouldn’t have been killed, Heath wouldn’t have died, and Micah might have some semblance of a career left. Instead, his affair with his married co-worker comes out in the investigation, and Micah is relieved of duty, retired quietly, and sent on his way. Stewing over all of this for over six months, he’s shocked when his name is suggested for the bodyguard position but realizes it might be just what he needs to join the living again.

Kit Auberon was only eight years old when he was kidnapped from the scene where both his parents were murdered and their home burned to the ground. When he later wanders into a convenience store, covered in blood, he’s unable to speak and has no memory of what happened or where he’s been. And if that isn’t bad enough, we learn that he has psychotic episodes in which he shuts down completely after exhibiting violent behavior. During one of these when he was only a young teen, he attacked his uncle with scissors and nearly killed him. His uncle refused to back off and Kit was sent to a horrible mental institution for two years during which he was physically and mentally abused. When he was finally released to the custody of his grandfather’s chosen guardians, his hair had turned completely white, he had scars all over his body, and he faced a long road back to recovery. The experiences this young man went through in the past and goes through in the present in this story, are heartbreaking and tragic. This reviewer came to love him, his strength of character, his will to continue to fight his demons, his brilliance in putting his intellect to work by creating computer games and tweaking artificial voice controls in order for him to communicate with those around him. He alternates between sign language and the computerized voice, and I found myself wishing I could be there to help him in some way.

Over the course of the first week that Micah is with Kit, Micah discovers that Kit is highly intelligent, sweet and innocent in regards to relationships, definitely a virgin, impotent, and someone with whom Micah could easily fall in love. In fact, he’s one of the only people Kit trusts in his inner circle, outside of the few household staff who have been with him most of his life, and Kit begins to have feelings for Micah as well. Kit’s nickname for Micah is Beastly, not because of the scar which slashes across his face, but because of his lion-hearted strength and his rough blond good looks and hairy body. The two develop a rapport that runs much deeper than either expected, and it’s Micah who is finally able to help Kit fight his darkness and find his way back to stability when their safe environment goes to hell in a handbasket.

The mystery surrounding the childhood kidnapping is eventually revealed in all its complex twists and turns, as is the time Kit spent in the psychiatric facility, and the details of Micah’s own past with the complex situation which led to his dismissal from the department. I swear I was going to get out my spreadsheet and plot a few graphs to help me get through the cast of characters and their relationships to each other, to Kit, and to the mystery itself. At the heart of the last few chapters of the story is the deep and abiding love that Micah has developed for “Chris”, and the mutual understanding and reliance upon each other as they battle their demons and ghosts, both past and present.

I can’t begin to express how very much I enjoyed this story. It’s much more than a simple M/M romance. It’s a journey of two men’s struggles to come out of the depths of despair and fight for stability and happiness in a situation which seems virtually hopeless. I highly recommend this one to lovers of M/M romance, mystery and intrigue, and those who want to have an opportunity to stretch their imaginations to new lengths. Don’t miss this one!

Cover Art by Reece Notley is a photo of a gruff-looking man in a suit as he holds the jacket closed, showing tension in every line of his body. This is a good representation of MC Micah Beasley and the tension under which he has been living.

Sales Links:       Amazon      Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 246 pages
Published March 6th 2015 by MJC PRess (first published March 5th 2015)
original titleLight from the Dark
edition languageEnglish

A Mika Review: Carry the Ocean (The Roosevelt #1) by Heidi Cullinan


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Normal is just a setting on the dryer. 

carry the ocean coverHigh school graduate Jeremey Samson is looking forward to burying his head under the covers and sleeping until it’s time to leave for college. Then a tornado named Emmet Washington enters his life. The double major in math and computer science is handsome, forward, wicked smart, interested in dating Jeremey—and he’s autistic.

But Jeremey doesn’t judge him for that. He’s too busy judging himself, as are his parents, who don’t believe in things like clinical depression. When his untreated illness reaches a critical breaking point, Emmet is the white knight who rescues him and brings him along as a roommate to The Roosevelt, a quirky new assisted living facility nearby.

As Jeremey finds his feet at The Roosevelt, Emmet slowly begins to believe he can be loved for the man he is behind the autism. But before he can trust enough to fall head over heels, he must trust his own conviction that friendship is a healing force and love can overcome any obstacle.

Warning: Contains characters obsessed with trains and counting, positive representations of autism and mental illness, a very dark moment, and Elwood Blues.

It has to be something in the air with these MM NA (new adult) books. I’ve read two back to back and fell in love with characters from both books. I would never have picked up this book if it wasn’t for the cover which is beautifully done and a friends review of it. I read this book in one sitting, and I will reread it again. I found myself crying uncontrollably because Emmet was amazing. He did things or said things that just warmed my heart.

Emmet is one of the bravest guys I’ve ever read about. His explanation of things and willingness to do them just kept on exciting me. Every little step he’s taken was with precaution and determination. He didn’t allow his Autism or Brain Octopus dictate his life. I love that when he needed help he reached out to his family. I liked that he took out time for Jeremey and explained certain things to him. From that first moment of him on the page his reasoning was so well thought out. I liked that the writing kind of related to how he would speak. I loved that he knew he was different in a certain aspect but didn’t want that to be his main focus. I love his parents and his aunt. His support system is amazing. I like they he thinks of Jeremey well being constantly.

Here’s the thing, I know a lot of people won’t like Jeremey, but I did. I don’t think it’s fair to be frustrated with him because I don’t live with major depressive disorder or clinical anxiety. I’ve never once felt the way he had. I don’t know what it is like to feel like I’m carrying everyone’s emotions. I don’t know what it feels like to have my brain go against me. I don’t know how those dark times control everything about me. I don’t know what it feel’s like to be scared all of the time. I don’t know what it feel’s like to not have a voice. That is how Jeremey feels, and I’m okay with that. Sure I found it extremely frustrating how hard he was on himself, or him standing up for himself. I get it though and I Hate that he didn’t love himself enough back then to get help.

I think Jeremey became complacent in his life, and I would have hated to see how he would have acted if his parents for college on him. I HATED his parents; they were inexcusable by their actions. I kind of felt that way towards his sister as well, and I know I shouldn’t but no one was there for him after his panic attack.

I really enjoyed the pace and flow of the story and really liked the relationship between the two guys. The writing was really good.

Cover Art by Kanaxa. I absolutely loved this cover. It’s what drew me in at the first place. I think it’s a great visual for how these two books carry things around. I love that it’s most likely Jeremey’s reasoning for how he feels about stuff. It is really beautiful.

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

Book Details:

Expected publication: April 7th 2015 by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
original titleCarry the Ocean
edition languageEnglish
seriesThe Roosevelt #1

In The Spotlight: Driven By Fire by Draven St. James (excerpt and contest)


STRW In The Spotlight Header

Driven by Fire (Firehouse Six #4) by Draven St. James
Cover Artist: Dar Albert

Release Date: March 24, 2015

Goodreads LinkSMDSJ_Driven by Fire

Firefighters are hot!  Draven St. James’ firefighters from Firehouse 6 are back in Drive By Fire.  Check out the blurb and excerpt below and don’t forget to enter the contest at the end of the post!  Happy reading.

STRW Author BookSynopsis

Publisher: Loose ID
Cover Artist: Dar Albert
Sales Link:  Loose id  Amazon  All Romance (ARe)

About Driven By Fire:

Taber Delane is lucky to be alive, but his career as a firefighter ended
the day a beam snapped, resulting in a crushing spinal injury. Most of his
friends are willing to give him space, everyone except paramedic,
Deacon Hall.

Deacon hasn’t met a challenge he couldn’t tackle and he knows Taber
needs someone in his corner who isn’t afraid to stand up to the big bad
fireman. The longer he’s around Taber, the more the sexy vulnerability
of the man comes through. Deacon finds he doesn’t just want to be
Taber’s live-in caregiver, he wants a chance at the passionate man
beneath the stubborn shell.

A shell that is cracking, no matter how Taber tries to hold it together.
Deacon being in his home starts to open him up—and open his eyes to
the man Deacon hides from the rest of the world. Without seeing it
coming, Taber soon craves more. A lot more.

Now if only Deacon can get Taber to see that it isn’t so bad having him
there to assist. Even if and maybe especially when Taber is naked,
dripping wet, and angry as hell.

Pages or Words: 43,556 words

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


STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

from Driven By Fire...

“You’re not giving me a sponge bath,” Taber snapped and glowered at Deacon as he wheeled himself into the locker bay. The sweat ran down his temples, his shirt soaked through with it. He took in his motionless legs and grimaced before shooting Deacon another irritated look.

Deacon sat with his feet on one of the peeling dark blue benches, his back reclined against a bank of gray lockers along the far wall in the physical therapy building. A book was balanced on his knees, and black-rimmed glasses perched on his nose. His shaggy auburn hair fell to curl around his ears in disarray.

Deacon peered at him with pale green eyes. “There go my dreams of rubbing you down and tweeting the pics.”


STRW Author Bio and Contacts

Draven St. James is a born and raised Oregonian. She has traveled extensively in search of mischief and mayhem to fill her books. Her ventures have been quite successful in inspiring a wealth of stories. Of course at the end of the day, coffee within reach, laptop at the ready is where she finds her peace.

Where to find the author:

Facebook Author Page:


Tour Stops and Dates:

Parker Williams, Bayou Book Junkie, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, My Fiction Nook, BFD Book Blog, Amanda C. Stone, Divine Magazine, Molly Lolly, Inked Rainbow Reads, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Kimi-Chan, Carly’s Book Reviews, Kristy’s Brain Food, Decadent Delights, Sinfully Addicted to All Male Romance, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Bike Book Reviews, MM Good Book Reviews, Because Two Men Are Better Than One, LeAnn’s Book Reviews, The Fuzzy, Fluffy World of Chris T. Kat, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, 3 Chicks After Dark, Rainbow Gold Reviews

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Contest: Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: A book from Draven’s backlist. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Rafflecopter link and prize provided by Pride Promotions.

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