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:
Parker Williams, Full Moon Dreaming, Andrew Q. Gordon, Happily Ever Chapter, Michael Mandrake, Bayou Book Junkie, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, BFD Book Blog, Bike Book Reviews, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Mikky’s World of Books, MM Good Book Reviews, Boys on the Brink Reviews, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Jessie G. Books, Inked Rainbow Reads, Velvet Panic

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Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘University of Southern Georgia: Davy & Tony’.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prizes provided by the author and   Pride Promotions.


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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
The Hat Party
Jessie G. Books
BFD Book Blog
Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews
Inked Rainbow Reads
Love Bytes
Bayou Book Junkie
MM Good Book Reviews
Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
Happily Ever Chapter
Molly Lolly