A MelanieM Review: Forging the Future (Change of Heart #5) by Mary Calmes


Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Forging the future coverJin Church is back where he started, alone, wandering, and uncertain of his path. It’s not by choice but by circumstance, as he remembers he’s a werepanther… but not much else. He knows one thing for sure—he needs to find the beautiful blond man who haunts his dreams.

Logan Church is trapped in a living hell. His mate is missing, his tribe is falling apart, and he’s estranged from the son he loves with all his heart. His world is unraveling without his mate by his side, and he has no one to blame but himself.

If Jin can regain his memory and Logan can overcome the threats to his leadership, then perhaps they can resume their lives. The question is: Is that what they want? Back to the same house, the same tribe, the same troubles? They can choose from various roads leading to their future… or they can forge their own path.

When an author or publisher announces a book that ends a beloved series, it unleashes a flood of mixed feelings.  Shock…the series is ending?  Sadness…I love this series and can’t bear to seem them go.  Happiness…I get to read about some of my favorite couples and characters. Fear…how will the series end and will I be happy?  Anticipation…how will the author pull it all together and will I be content to let them go?  Mary Calmes gave me the perfect answer to all my questions with Forging the Future, the last in the Change of Heart series.

I fell deeply and totally in love with Jin Raine and Logan Church, Mary Calmes’ panther shifters, from the moment I met them in Change of Heart (Change of Heart #1).  Each character had such a rich and varied back history to them, it had a interesting location of Reno, Nevada, and the drama that swirled around them was  layered, full of pain, discrimination, and race pride.   I couldn’t get enough of them or their story.  I read the book twice. Finished it the first time and started rereading it all over again.    Yep, hooked.

But it wasn’t just the characters that drew me in, it was the fascinating culture and enthralling species history that Mary Calmes  built book  by book that  had its origin in Egypt and egyptian mythology.   Especially when the plot and characters ended up on Sobek, Egypt, ancestral home of their kind, then I was riveted.  Calmes wove the plight of her characters (often horrific and gutwrenching) into the idea of Egyptian myths come alive and an ancient shifter tribe on the brink of change and the result was gripping and magnificent.

So what does Mary Calmes do with her last Jin and Logan story?   She terrifies us!  From the very first sentence, the reader is plunged into a living nightmare.  It’s Jin at his most heartbreaking and horrific.  Jin has been stripped of everything he fought so hard and so long to have.  He’s alone, amnesiac, and heartsick, although he doesn’t know why.  No Logan, no family or friends or tribe.  Its chilling, and his panic and uncertainty  becomes ours from the outset.  And overtop of what Jin is feeling is the fact that we can imagine just what Logan and the others must be going through at Jin’s absence.  Above all, the question looms for Jin and us….what the hell happened to blow everything to bits?

That answer comes slowly and with great suspense.  Mary Calmes’ approach here is masterful.  It is suspenseful, gripping, and excruciating in the anticipation it creates along the way.  I loved it.  And when the reunion comes, the scene explodes with just the sort of power and emotion we have come to expect from this story and characters.  My heart was pounding along with Jin’s.  But it doesn’t stop there but just starts gather more strength and energy as the pieces start to fall into place and Jin’s memory  returns.  I went back and forth reading and rereading passages for the shear amazement and total enjoyment that brought to me as a reader and fan of this series.

What else did I love?  That the author brings her saga full  circle, back almost to the beginning and then launches it upward with new direction and hope for the future.  This story has all the elements I look forward to in a Change of Heart story and then some.  Calmes gave us more mythology  and also filled in some world building that was extremely practical and down to earth.  Things made sense at the end.  I found myself nodding “yes” at certain turning points and crosspaths in the narrative.

And it all made me want to go read it from the start all over again.  Which I am going to do.

What can I say?  I thought this was perfection.  It ended better than I hoped, with a smile and laughter and utter joy in all the characters and the new future ahead for them all.  Am I sorry its over?  Absolutely.  But did Mary Calmes give Jin, Logan, Yuri, and all the rest the ending they deserved? Without question.  Change of Heart remains a series close to my heart and Forging the Future is one of the Best of 2015!  I highly recommend this book and the entire series.  Now you must excuse me, I have a series to reread!

Cover art by Anne Cain is just perfection.  Perfect for the last cover in the series.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 180 pages
Expected publication: June 29th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
edition languageEnglish
seriesChange of Heart

Books in the Change of Heart series in the order they were written and should be read for character and plot development.

  • Change of Heart (Change of Heart, #1)
  • Trusted Bond (Change of Heart #2)
  • Honored Vow (Change of Heart, #3)
  • Crucible of Fate (Change of Heart, #4)
  • Forging the Future (Change of Heart, #5)

Need a Blast of Science Fiction and Romance? Check out The Tide of War by Lori A. Witt (giveaway)



The Tide of War by Lori A. Witt
Publisher:  Riptide Publishing
Cover Art by L.C. Chase

Defending Epsilon series
Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing

Welcome to the Riptide Publishing/Lori A. Witt blog tour for The Tide of War!


Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a choice of two eBooks off my backlist (including books written as L.A. Witt or Lauren Gallagher, excluding The Tide of War) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 28th, and winners will be announced on July 29th. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries and you must be 18 years of age or older to enter.


About The Tide of War 

Lieutenant Commander Kyle West is one of Earth Fleet’s greatest fighter pilots. Every day, he leads his squadron into battle over Earth’s cities in a seemingly endless war against a vicious alien race, defending his home and his loved ones.

Millions of miles away, the Fleet’s Elite Squadron attacks from another angle, engaging the enemy on its home turf. Casualties are high, and the Squadron needs more of the Fleet’s very best. But joining the Elite is a death sentence—a surety Kyle isn’t willing to face. Until a devastating attack wipes out the family he refused to leave.

Commander Andrei Dezhnyov, an Elite Squadron gunner, isn’t sure what to make of the cocky new American pilot. Kyle is equally uncertain about the snarly Russian, but as they warm up to each other, their tentative alliance becomes a deep bond—one that endangers them both when a daring and disobedient rescue reveals secrets that call into question everything they’ve ever believed about their enemy. Secrets that their superiors would kill to protect.

The Tide of War is available July 22nd from Riptide Publishing.

About Lori A. Witt...

Lori A. Witt is the fourth corner of the Gallagher-Witt quad, and prefers to play in the genres of science fiction and fantasy over all that romance nonsense. Okay, so romance does show up sometimes, but these are the books she writes when she needs a change of pace. Sword and sorcery, spaceships, and just general weird nerdy goodness—Lori writes it all. Like the other members of the quad (  L.A. Witt, Lauren Gallagher, and Ann Gallagher), Lori is in the process of relocating from Omahabad, Nebraskastan to the southwestern coast of Spain. In her spare time, she tries to stay out of the middle of L.A.’s and Lauren’s ongoing rivalry, while never missing a chance to trip Ann when she’s not paying attention.

Connect with Lori:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorloriawitt
Blog: http://gallagherwitt.blogspot.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GallagherWitt

In the Spotlight: Branded (Ash and Flames #1) by Ana J. Phoenix (excerpt and giveaway)



Branded (Ash and Flames #1) by Ana J. Phoenix
Release Date: June 23, 2015

STRW In The Spotlight Header

Publisher: Ana J. Phoenix
Cover Artist: Ana J. Phoenix


Sales Links:  Amazon


STRW Author BookSynopsis

Asher doesn’t like people, and people don’t like him. He’s cool with that—all he needs from them is sex, anyway. But when he’s suddenly thrust into a strange and dangerous world filled with magical creatures, joining forces with other people may just be the only way to survive. 

It’s not all bad though—in this new world, he can turn into a fire-breathing dragon! Which would be awesome if it weren’t for José, the pesky fire elf sharing his fate whose goal in life seems to be to stop Asher from ever having fun. José is hot, though and Asher wants to get into his pants just as much as he wants to get home. But José is also blind, and Asher has no clue how to charm a man without relying on his looks. 

Somehow, Asher has to show José that he’s more than a sex-obsessed pyromaniac with no filter between his brain and mouth. Preferably before either of them ends up dead. Civil war rages around them, and finding the way home isn’t going to be easy. And for Asher, getting there in one piece, and with his heart intact, might just prove impossible.

Pages or Words: 70,000 words

Categories: Fantasy, M/M Romance

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

The ruins of a small town stretched out before Asher. Flames were nibbling at huts here and there, but most of the buildings had already burned out, leaving nothing but black, charred and empty shells of what they might have been. Smoke still rose in the air and made Asher’s eyes water as he walked deeper into the ghost town.


He turned around to see Blind Guy catch up with him. Judging by the dirt on his clothes, he’d either run into a tree on his way or kissed the ground. A leaf stuck to his hair. Door number one, then.

“You know you wouldn’t crash into so many trees if you’d just let me burn them.”


Asher stepped closer to him. “Let me take the decoration out.” He stroked the leaf out of Blind Guy’s hair. It was a little ridiculous, but when he drew his arm back, and he was face to face with Blind Guy, close enough to kiss, his only thought was Damn, I want you to fuck me.

“What?” Blind Guy furrowed his brow.

Shit, had he said that out loud? Knowing himself, he probably had.


STRW Author Bio and Contacts

Ana is a writer of m/m romance and erotica. Her interest in hot guy-on-guy action was first sparked by reading scandalous Japanese mangas. A dirty secret she couldn’t resist. In a long bout of insanity – also known as her life — she decided to learn the language and escape to the land of sushi, sumo, and yaoi.

She’s since moved back to Europe to be with the love of her life – delicious European chocolate.

Now she resides in the sunny part of Germany where she fills her days chasing her dreams and writing about men in complicated relationships. Her family believes she’s writing “erotic manga stories.” She’s pleased they got the erotic part right, at least.

Where to find the author:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006860593164
Twitter: https://twitter.com/anajphoenix
Website: http://anajphoenix.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8334506.Ana_J_Phoenix

Tour Dates & Stops: June 23, 2015
Parker Williams, Dawn’s Reading Nook, Divine Magazine, Bayou Book Junkie, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, BFD Book Blog, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Inked Rainbow Reads, Bike Book Reviews, Kimi-Chan, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Chris McHart, Carly’s Book Reviews, MM Good Book Reviews, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, Mikky’s World of Books, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My, Happily Ever Chapter, Velvet Panic

STRW Spotlight Contest Header

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: $10 ARe 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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