A MelanieM Review Redux: Infected: Bloodlines (Infected #2) by Andrea Speed

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Infected Bloodlines 2 by Andrea SpeedIn a world where a werecat virus has changed society, Roan McKichan, a born infected and ex-cop, works as a private detective trying to solve crimes involving other infecteds.

The newly married Roan is struggling to balance his work with his home life as he grows increasingly distracted by his husband Paris’s declining health. One case with strong emotions attached takes up most of his time: finding the murderer of a missing little rich girl. It’s a family with secrets so toxic they’d rather no one investigate, and there’s no shortage of suspects. But despite the dangers and obstructions involved, Roan won’t stop… until he loses something infinitely precious as well.

Note: This book remains one of my favorites of the series and is still the most heartbreaking.  Even mentions of Paris in subsequent stories will bring memories of this book flooding back as  well as the tears it engendered.  I had no idea that instead of fading away, the idea of Roan and Paris actually got stronger for me in the series.  Did the author have any idea this would happen?  I think not.  But Paris will forever eclipse Dylan as Roan’s mate in my eyes and the Holiday stories just cemented that.  But this book, oh this book, dug them so deep into my heart nothing could ever pull them out.  Here is that old review.

I knew this book would be heartbreaking from the very beginning. After falling in love with Roan and Paris in the first Infected book, I had been debating how quickly I wanted to delve into this one. I decided on the cowardly choice and read a much lighter book instead. But the characters kept calling me and truthfully, I just had to know what happened next.

As expected, the sniffles started from the very first page. Andrea Speed has created such a mesmerizing universe here populated with beings both memorable and haunting. Roan McKitchen is hired to find a missing girl, a case that turns into a murder with a suspect at each new development. Paris Lehane (Roan’s partner/husband) is involved in a fight of his own as the infection and the Tiger virus take its toll. The warm and loving relationship of these two men (built in this and the first book) is countered by the realities of Paris’ condition and Roan’s attempts to deal with it. Paris and Roan aren’t perfect, and their relationship has taken work. But the pain coming off both men is genuine as are the motions they go through. Denial, anger, depression and bargaining, Roan is dealing with them all as the case of the murdered girl gets murkier. All the people around Roan and Paris are beautifully fleshed out characters, remarkable in the impressions they leave you with.

By the time I finished the book, my box of tissues was as empty as I felt. So, can you love a book when you hate whats coming? In my case, yes. Andrea Speed made me care so much about these people that I was drained at the end but would not have missed the journey. With 2 more published books to this series yet.

So I think I will go read something frivolous or one of my comfort reads before I head into the 3rd book. But the pain and heartache of this story is worth it. And it will stay with me for some time to come.

Cover art is more to my liking as I like to think its Roan trying to run away from what he knows is coming. Powerful.

Sales Links:  DSP Publications | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 2nd Edition, 224 pages
Published October 14th 2014 by DSP Publications (first published December 16th 2010)
Original TitleInfected: Bloodlines
ISBN 1632163284 (ISBN13: 9781632163288)
CharactersRoan McKichan

Series:

A MelanieM Review Redux: Infected: Prey (Infected #1) by Andrea Speed

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Note:  This was the first of the Infected Stories, written back in 2010, when it first came out.  Now 8 stories  later, Roan’s tale is done.  Or is it?  Here’s a look back at the series, leading up to my review of the Holiday special on the 17th and a series review.  Roan will always have my heart.

 

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

 

Infected Prey“In a world where a werecat virus has changed society, Roan McKichan, a born infected and ex-cop, works as a private detective trying to solve crimes involving other infecteds.

The murder of a former cop draws Roan into an odd case where an unidentifiable species of cat appears to be showing an unusual level of intelligence. He juggles that with trying to find a missing teenage boy, who, unbeknownst to his parents, was “cat” obsessed. And when someone is brutally murdering infecteds, Eli Winters, leader of the Church of the Divine Transformation, hires Roan to find the killer before he closes in on Eli.

Working the crimes will lead Roan through a maze of hate, personal grudges, and mortal danger. With help from his tiger-strain infected partner, Paris Lehane, he does his best to survive in a world that hates and fears their kind… and occasionally worships them.”

This is the first book of Andrea Speed’s that I read and it is a case of love at first read.  Infected Prey includes the first two books in this series and what a fabulous introduction to this author.

The world created here is one in which a werecat virus has spread much like HIV through society and governments are struggling to deal with it much like they did with AIDS in the initial stages of discovery and scientific research.  At this time, there is no idea how this blood born pathogen came into being although it is suggested that the government might have something to do with it.  Again, much like HIV, some are born with it (virus children) and some are infected, whether by accident (transfusions) or intention (attacks or choice).

Roan McKichan was born an infected child.  Now grown, he is a ex-cop and P.I.  The years of growing up unwanted and in abusive foster homes, have left him wary, cynical, and  isolated.  His partner, Paris Lehane, is a Infected by malevolent intent and carries the rare Tiger strain.  Paris is the only one that Roan lets get close to him physically and more importantly, emotionally.  The heart of this book is  the relationship between these two men, both incredibly different and yet deeply in love with each other.  Two unique voices that leap off the page and demand your attention.

In Andrea Speed’s world, shifting from one species to another is not an easy matter.  In fact, it’s painful, debilitating, and in some cases lethal.   Those Infected are caged during their change for society’s protection, whether it is cages at home supplied by the State or at the Police Station in a special ward.  Still, there are some who wish to be Infected themselves and the Church of the Divine Transformation draws those individuals like flies to raw meat.  And someone is killing them.

Hired by the head of the Church to find the killer, Roan and his lover, Paris, struggle to find the killer while dealing with the dynamics of their relationship, their health problems, and the fact that Roan is changing in ways neither man can grasp.

Intense, sometimes funny, and always addictive.  Here is Roan in a mall store trying to get information from a clerk:

Roan: “I’m a cat, yeah. I’m a virus child.”

“Really?” Her eyes were shining now. He was another boring adult when he walked in, but now he was suddenly exotic and appealing. “Cool.” He thought of Paris’s breaking bones, and wanted to backhand her across the face.”

Short, succinct, and telling.

There are more in this series, four published and another on the way.

I give this a 4.5 and am on my way to starting the second book, Infected Bloodlines, that looks to be a heartbreaker.  I’ll let you all know what I find.

But in the meantime, pick this one up.  Let me know what you think.  I think you will love it.

Cover art is textured and dark but the character that is supposed to be portraying Roan is just not my idea of him, including the dark red mane.

Sales Links: DSP Publications | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 2nd Edition, 384 pages
Published October 14th 2014 by DSP Publications (first published June 24th 2010)
Original TitlePrey
ISBN 1632163268 (ISBN13: 9781632163264)

SeriesInfected #1
CharactersRoan McKichan, Paris Lehane settingSeattle, Washington (United States)

 

Series:

A Stella Review: Between Ghosts by Garrett Leigh

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RATING:  3.75 out of 5 stars

BetweenGhosts_600x900In 2003, journalist Connor Regan marched through London to add his voice to a million others, decrying the imminent invasion of Iraq. Eight months later, his brother, James, was killed in action in Mosul.

Three years on, Connor finds himself bound for Iraq to embed with an elite SAS team. He sets his boots on the ground looking for closure and solace—anything to ease the pain of his brother’s death. Instead he finds Sergeant Nathan Thompson.

Nat Thompson is a veteran commander, hardened by years of combat and haunted by the loss of his best friend. Being lumbered with a civilian is a hassle Nat doesn’t need, and he vows to do nothing more than keep the hapless hack from harm’s way.

But Connor proves far from hapless, and too compelling to ignore for long. He walks straight through the steel wall Nat’s built around his heart, and when their mission puts him in mortal danger, Nat must lay old ghosts to rest and fight to the death for the only man he’s ever truly loved.

I’m a fan of Garrett Leigh, she is a great author who writes beautiful and heartbroken characters, just how I like my boys to be. I had enormous expectations on her new release, Between Ghosts, and in some ways they were greatly satisfied, because the author can write and pick the right cast, main and secondary too. As you can read and imagine from the blurb, the story is pretty hard and the setting is hurtful, still I wasn’t scared and I was wrong. Now I can admit I can’t read these kind of books. Between Ghosts is well done and deeply emotional, but the sadness I felt, highly distracted me.

I was left dubious and not so into the book since the start, I felt a detachment from the words I was reading and although I was enjoying Nat and Connor, I couldn’t connect with them. And to me the reason was pretty simple: I was too overwhelmed by the setting. I was able to feel a chemistry and a connection, because it was clear from the first sight Nat and Connor are meant to be together and heal each other hearts. Still the mission  they were on played a huge role on the plot and was more important than the beginning of something (physical) between the guys.

I was a little disappointed by the last third of the story, some parts were predictable, others a little unrealistic but the ending was what I wanted, a sense of closure and a peace hard to find throughout the story, but so well deserved. What the MCs felt and did in their lives earned them the right to try and get all the happiness they can have together. And right there at the end I was really hoping for a sequel where I could follow them in a new life and enjoy them in another way.

The cover art by Garrett Leigh is well done as anything she designs. The cleaness and the colors were a success for me.

Sales Links:   Riptide Publishing | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook,226 pages
Published March 14th 2016 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN 1626493510(ISBN13:9781626493513)
Edition Language English