A MelanieM Review: Sound of Silence by Mia Kerick and Raine O’Tierney

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

 

High school senior Renzy Callen hasn’t uttered a word in years. He likes being invisible to all around him; it keeps life safe and predictable. In his attic bedroom, he experiences a world far from the drama of his family. He doodles, listens to music, and contemplates the troubled souls he observes when attending self-help meetings designed for people with problems he doesn’t have. Renzy lives his life like a spectator, always on the outside of life’s games, looking in at others.

Everything changes when Seven and Morning Moreau-Maddox relocate from their glitzy lives in Paris to boring, picturesque Redcliff Hills, Missouri. Tall, platinum blond, and as put-together as a pair of European high-fashion models, the sophisticated siblings befriend Renzy, drawing him in and then pushing him away. What starts as nothing more than a means to an end for Seven, however, quickly becomes something more. Could icy-hearted Seven be thawing for the silent, quirky charm of Renzy Callen?

Determined to find the cause of Renzy’s selective mutism, the three teens set off on a road trip, during which they discover that flawless physical facades can conceal the most scarred souls, and that sometimes silence is better than golden.

It’s not often a contemporary story can astonish me with elements of uniqueness but Sound of Silence by Mia Kerick and Raine O’Tierney certainly did.  Several times over.  Starting with the protagonists themselves,  the three wounded teenagers at the heart of this story, Renzy Callen, Seven and Morning Moreau-Maddox.

I can’t imagine where or how the authors came up with these characters, now marked so indelibly into my heart and mind, but starting with Renzy Callen, who hasn’t talked in years, his inability to utter a sound and his method of communicating is the soul of the story.   He tries to blend into his surroundings, ghosting through his life, invisible until he  comes to the notice of Morning Moreau-Maddox, ateenager traumatized from a brutal rape,  and through association to Morning, her brother Maddox, her constant companion and protector.  Sleek, blond, seemingly self possessed, Morning recognizes a kinself with herself in Renzy, both dealing with their own traumas in different ways but still alike.  For Maddox, Renzy presents a puzzle to unravel as well as one more person to act as guardian over.

This book operates on so many levels and it’s done so well, it’s actually hard to reviews.  The characterizations are highly unusual, layered, remarkable.  You have three separate voices that are guaranteed to stay in your head for quite some time.  Especially as they grow over the course of the story, events forcing them to look at themselves, reexamine the dynamics of their own relationships from those of the siblings to that of the young lovers Renzy and Maddox.  It is one complex relationship after another.  Plus the close friendship  that Morning has with Renzy.  And that’s not even starting to get into the odd parent or should I say emotionally detached or worse parent relationships these teenagers have.

Like twisting vines of ivy, the various story threads, wind their way through each other connecting and intertwining in surprising and sometimes heartbreaking ways to uncover the truth behind Renzy’s selective mutism.  It will also lead to new paths for Morning and Maddox as well.

Such an amazing novel.  The writing is smooth and so well done that you don’t notice how quickly you’ve been drawn into the lives of this incredible trio until you realize it’s 2am and you haven’t stopped reading.  I loved the ending.  Like everything else about this story,  the changes and growth of the characters to the last sentence, everything works and makes you want to read it again just to to watch it unfold all over again.

I highly recommend Sound of Silence by Mia Kerick and Raine O’Tierney.  It’s truly one of those books you won’t want to miss.

Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson.  Cover art is just as unusual as the book.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Harmony Ink | iBooks

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 214 pages
Published January 23rd 2018 by Harmony Ink Press
ASIN B076QB8CXH
Edition Language English

A MelanieM Release Day Review: ​American Road Trip by Sarah Black

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

A single moment—or a single mistake—can change everything.

When Captain James Lee Hooker and his lover, Sergeant Easy Jacobs, were in the Army, they made a mistake that got a young soldier hurt. Three years later, they’re civilians again, living far apart, haunted by what they lost. Now that young soldier needs their help.

With his grandmother’s one-eyed Chihuahua riding shotgun, James Lee climbs into Easy’s pickup for a trip across the American Southwest. They set out to rescue a friend, but their journey transforms them with the power of forgiveness.

Hallelujah, that spare, rare , totally wonderful literary voice known as Sarah Black is back in American Road Trip.  How I’ve missed her unique perspective.  Her narrative so powerfully evocative in rendering the American West and US veterans so vividly alive and haunting have stayed with me story after story.   Now comes another.

Told in alternating time frames, we get the past that has framed the current circumstances under which Captain James Lee Hooker now finds himself.  Adrift after being discharged from the Army, he was sent to look after his grandmother in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he ends up staying after she dies, looking after her house and dog Tino.

Sergeant Easy Jacobs is sent on a mission.  Go look for his cousin, Austin.  The very same young soldier from their troop injured in the IED blast in Afghanistan, a blast that left lasting reverberations on Easy and James Lee.   It sends him looking for his Captain and a long overdue meeting with his ex-lover.

American Road Trip pulls out all the convoluted feelings between these two in one memorable road trip across America, in small cabins and motels with Tino, a one-eyed Chihuahua, who they keep telling the people they encountered different stories as to how he came to lose that eye.  Each tale more more hysterical than the previous one and just as unbelievable.  All the while the men reconnecting, exploring their past, their present, and just perhaps seeing if they have a future again together.

I read it twice.

This particularly american rite of passage was so sweet, touching, and yes, hilarious in sections.  How I loved that dog.  I also found out he was based on Sarah’s rescue dog, a Chihuahua also named Tino, made it all the more heartwarming.

This is a HFN, which is as it should be given their past, this road trip, and their recent reconnection.  I would love for Sarah to bring them back later for us to see how it all works out, Austin included.  So many stories on that road.  I feel they were just getting started.

If you are expecting a lot of erotica, this is probably not the book for you.  This is all about characterizations, the past and where our current paths will take us.  It’s about forgiveness and redemption.  And the beauty that can be found in the small out of the way places along the road if you only stop to look.

Yes, I highly recommend this and the author.  Welcome back, Sarah Black.  You’ve been missed.

Cover Artist: Tiferet Design.  I liked that cover.  It has the colors I think of when I t hink of the desert and the American West.  And yes  that’s James Lee rocking that ponytail and yoga pants all right.  Ok, I love it.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

book, 86 pages
Expected publication: March 16th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640802582
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Ever After by Riley Hart & Christina Lee

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This is a sweet fairy tale so well done that I was left feeling warm and fuzzy and somewhat in love with the characters in the same way I did when I was a child and first heard the story of Sleeping Beauty and her prince.  The authors created a timeless world in which a man loving a man was not unheard of but was considered unacceptable.  But it was not punishable by death, and by the end of the story, readers could hold out hope that in this particular magical kingdom same sex love might become so much the norm that it wouldn’t even be remarked upon.  If Prince Merrick gets his wish, that may well happen. 

Merrick is under a lot of pressure from his family to choose a bride so that he can ensure the future of the kingdom.  The only one who seems to support him in his hesitation to choose just anyone without being in love with them is his sister.  In fact, throughout the story, she’s his champion, even arranging for several intriguing plot points that throw him in the path of his one true love. 

Cassius is a simple man, devoted to his family and excited by the prospect of being chosen as valet to Prince Merrick.  Promoted through the ranks rather quickly, he doesn’t have a lot of friends and he’s never told his family of his preference for men.  When he gets to know the real Prince Merrick, he discovers a young man who truly cares about others and who has an artist’s soul.  Merrick enjoys the little things in life and appreciates the beauty of nature more than the beauty of his family’s pompous surroundings.  He’s like no other and certainly not like Cas had imagined the future king would be.

Merrick and Cas fall in love over the course of weeks together.  It’s all the little everyday things Merrick does for Cas—like taking him riding, or encouraging him in his story and poetry writing, and eventually making a stop to meet Cas’s family.  Merrick loves Cas’s beautiful nature and the heart of a poet.  He admires his humility and, of course, the two eventually become romantically involved, though they know their days together are numbered.  Cas has already made up his mind that he’ll leave Merrick’s service once the prince chooses a bride at the Winter Solstice Ball. 

The fairy tale plot thickens as the prince sees his love from across the room.   But as should happen in any good fairy tale, his love runs, leaving both heartbroken.  Of course, the authors wouldn’t leave us there and we do eventually get a happily ever after, but it’s the sweetness of reading their adventure that makes this story most memorable.  And make no mistake—there’s no major drama or heartache in this one.  It’s purely sweet—as in a magical fairy tale. 

Kudos to both authors for bringing us this story and, on a personal note, for giving me one more memorable fairy tale to add to my favorites list.  I highly recommend this to those who want to simply go away to a sweet place, daydream to their heart’s content, and end the day on a happy note.    

~~~~

Cover art is a caricature depiction of Prince Merrick offering his hand to Cassius at the Winter Solstice Ball.  The outfits exactly match the descriptions in the book. It’s colorful, sweet, and exactly right for this story. 

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Detail:

Kindle Edition, 1 edition, 262 pages
Published February 26th 2018 by Christina Lee and Riley Hart
Original TitleEver After
ASINB07B413R98
Edition LanguageEnglish

BOOK TOUR Off-Campus Setup by Maria Vickers (teasers and excerpt)

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Title: Off-Campus Setup
Author: Maria Vickers
Genre: M/M College Romance
Release Date: March 7, 2018
Levi Cox left it all behind to go to school in California, but nothing could prepare him for what he discovers when he gets there. Between the university screwing up his living arrangements, the weird meddling old woman who runs the boarding house, and the fellow student who instantly catches his eye, life in Cali is more than he expected, and he isn’t sure he’s ready for any of it. College was supposed to be an adventure, but this might be more than Levi can handle. 

 


Nathan Orion wants to have fun. That’s what he lives for and it’s exactly what his college years are supposed to be about. He’s happy with living the single life and being carefree…that is until the new student at his grandmother’s boarding house crashes into his life. Now he’s been recruited to show the new guy around, and if Nathan has his way, it won’t be just on-campus.

Will there be more, or is this only an illusion? Two men thrown together, not expecting anything, but possibly finding so much more than an off-campus setup.

“This book was very enjoyable!” – Under Covers Book Blog

“Such a fantastic book!” – Goodreads Review

“If you love M/M stories, you will love this one.” – Cranky – The Book Curmudgeon 

 

Prologue

 

 

Levi

 

I remembered everything very clearly. The first time we met, our first kiss, the first time we were discovered in the same bed by a nosey grandmother with bright yellow hair, and then the fallout when I realized everything was nothing more than a wishful fantasy that was never supposed to come true.
And now I as scanned this room to make sure nothing got left behind, I realized how much I’d changed and how far I’d come. My imaginary world exploded, leaving me shell shocked and pissed off.
This wasn’t the first time I’d fallen prey to feelings, wasn’t the first time I’d been hurt, but it would be the last.
I took a step out of the room and closed the door behind me. This part of my life was now over, and a new one had just begun.
***

 

Nathan

 

Life as I knew it had disappeared. Poof. Gone without a trace. And any other of those sayings people tended to overuse.
It was my own fault really. I should have expected it, should have seen it coming, but I hadn’t. And now everything had changed. Good or bad. I didn’t know yet. Should I be thanking her or blaming her? Both maybe?
As I closed the door on the small space I’d called my bedroom for the past few years, I realized for the first time I didn’t know what I was going to do or what would happen tomorrow…and oddly enough, that thrilled me.

 

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Maria Vickers currently lives in St. Louis, MO with her pug, Spencer Tracy. She has always had a passion for writing and after she became disabled in 2010, she decided to use writing as her escape. She believes that life is about what you make of it. You have to live it to the fullest no matter the circumstances.

From a young age, she has always loved books and even dreamed of being an author when she was younger. Growing up in the Navy, she used to weave tales for her siblings and her friends about anything and everything. And when she wasn’t creating her own stories, she had a book in her hand. They transported her to another world. She hopes that with her books, her readers have the same experience and that they can relate to her characters. 

Getting sick changed her life forever, but it also opened doors for her that she thought would always be out of reach.


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Book Blast for David – Beginnings by B. J. Smyth (excerpt)

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BOOK BLAST

Book Title: David – Beginnings

Author: B.J. Smyth

Publisher: Self Published

Cover Artist: Benjamin Smith

Genre/s:  Contemporary Gay Erotic Romance

Length: 31 024 words/110 pages

Blurb

When opposites attract things get hot in this MM Erotic Romance series.

Read the first four stories about David and Bradley from the first night they meet to their first Christmas together.

DAVID

David is sweet and loveable, but he doesn’t have much luck when it comes to meeting guys. All his recent hookups have ended up as one-night stands.

Bradley is a fit, wealthy guy who is dominant in the bedroom. Bradley knows what he wants, when he wants it and how to get it.

David is in for one hell of a ride tonight with a hot session in Bradley’s basement room.

DAVID – Raw Heat

The next weekend continues the story of David’s hot MM adventures with Bradley as they learn more about each other in Bradley’s basement room.

Then we catch up with them six months later, David and Bradley have met several times now and things between them are slowly developing as they get closer.

DAVID – Business Trip

Bradley invites David on a trip to a business awards ceremony in New York. This is the first time David experiences Bradley’s work world and he is in for a very enjoyable ride as he enjoys Bradley’s wealthy lifestyle.

Hot MM moments in their hotel suite in-between meeting work colleagues at the ceremony bring them ever closer.

DAVID – Secret Santa

Bradley invites David to his house for the Christmas celebrations where David meets Bradley’s family for the first time. Another snapshot of their lives as things between them become more serious.

Love grows when opposites attract.

Buy Links – Available on KU

Amazon US 

Amazon UK 

Goodreads

Excerpt

‘Do you like the place?’ Bradley asks.

‘Like it? I love it. If Mandy could see me now, she would be gobsmacked.’

Bradley pulls me into his arms, hugging me tight as his lips brush against mine.

‘Well, now we’re finally alone, we can have some fun,’ he says as his cock stiffens against my leg.

I kiss him back, pulling him tighter against me. ‘Where would you like me, sir?’

‘Come with me.’ Bradley takes my hand and leads me back into the living room, walking me over to one of the blue leather chairs. Standing me in front of the chair, his hands caress my face as he kisses me, his tongue exploring deep into my mouth. He pulls away from me and slowly unbuttons my shirt, admiring my smooth, hairless body, as my chest and belly are revealed to him. I hear a moan of approval.

‘I see you did as I asked,’ he says in a soft whisper.

‘Yes, is this smooth enough for you?’ I ask.

Sliding his hands around my waist, he kisses and nibbles at my neck. My cock stiffens in my pants as his hands slide to my belly. His right hand gliding up to my nipple, he squeezes it hard, making me wince in pain. I feel his mouth move down from my neck as he drags his wet tongue along my skin, until he reaches my nipple, softly circling it with his tongue.

He removes my shirt from my shoulders and it drops to the floor. Bradley lowers himself to the floor, kissing my chest and belly on his way down. Undoing my belt and jeans, he pulls them to the floor. His face presses against my stiff cock in my white briefs and he kisses my cock through the material.

‘Shall I see if your cock is smooth as well?’

‘Yes, sir,’ I reply. My breath quickens as my cock throbs in my pants.

Bradley slides my pants to the floor, releasing my hard cock.

‘Very nice,’ he says as he sees my hairless cock and balls.

His tongue circles the head of my cock, pushing my foreskin back off the head as I moan with pleasure.

‘Sit down,’ he says in a commanding voice.

About the Author

B.J. enjoys writing MM Erotic Fantasy to tease and entertain his readers. Having experienced many of the situations in real life he brings these into his books. Preferring to have mature characters in the stories, escaping the cliché of college boy romance.

I Hope you read and enjoy my MM Erotic books as much as I enjoy writing them.

If you already enjoy MM books or are just curious about MM love. Why not have a browse of the books, you may surprise yourself.

Follow the rainbow to your dreams.

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Book Blast PRIDE OF LOVE by Kevin Dwyer (excerpt)

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BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Pride of Love

Author: Kevin Dwyer

Publisher: Alibris

Release Date: June 3, 2014

Fiction or Non Fiction: Fiction

Genre/s: Contemporary, Literature & Fiction, Coming of Age

Length: 143 Pages

Blurb

Twenty-five-year-old Jesse Coleman endures a heinous act on him. After the case is dropped, his mother, Claire, accedes to his request to move. Leaving behind his old life, he is left with a disturbing scar on his back. Hopelessness comes in on him and he takes off the bracelet that he has worn his whole life, which means something to him. Looking for a new beginning, Jesse who dresses differently meets Jaden who dresses like an outcast and the two fall in love with each other. With love from their mothers and good friend Liz, they try to bury their pasts behind.

Buy Links

Author’s Website

Amazon US 

Amazon UK   

Barnes & Noble  

Goodreads 

Excerpt

The talk show host woman sits on the stage with a fancy couch alongside her with a mother and young grown-up son. The supervisor with the headset on counts down from five to one with his fingers, and the cameras go live. There is audience applause and then a pleasant smile comes on the host’s face. “Thank you for tuning in on the Tina Live Show. I’m Tina and my guests today are Claire along with her son, Jesse Coleman.” Tina sets her attention on Claire and Jesse. “Thank you for joining us today.”

“Thank you for having us,” Claire replies back with a smile, then looks at her son, Jesse. She slides Jesse’s brown hair bangs to the side from his forehead. “You comfortable being here, sweetie?”

Jesse sets his focus on Tina, who is looking on with the smile diminishing away. “Yea . . . I’m all right,” Jesse says.

Tina takes a moment and gathers words to say, then looks at the audience looking on in their seats. “About a year and a half ago, Jesse Coleman was attacked from behind in a wooded area. He was beaten and his back was cut open. Basically, he was left for dead. What’s so horrifying about this attack is that the cut on the back spelled a word.” Tina looks over at the two sitting right across from each other.

A nod comes from Claire’s head, like she’s reliving the day. “Yes, the cut spelled out a word. It was not a cut in his back . . . more like a butcher does. My son’s back had to be stapled shut.”

Tina puts her attention on Jesse. “I’m so sorry that happened to you. You’re a strong man to live from that.”

“Yea . . . ,” Jesse replies back; he is wearing plain clothes with brown shaggy hair covering his head. “Others say that I cheated death.”

“How old are you?” Tina asked.
“I’m twenty-six, but I was twenty-five when I was attacked.”
Tina looks around his arm area. “Can you explain what that bracelet you have on means?”

Glancing down at his arm, Jesse lifts up the arm and shows a blue, white, and green sown bracelet with “Pride of Love” stitched in black in the colors. “Pretty much means take pride in yourself and love yourself.” Jesse sets his eyes on Tina through his glasses. “I’m gay, and that is the little thing that defines me. I was attacked for being who I am. Wasn’t bothering no one. Just kept to myself.”

Tina looks over at Claire with a blank stare down. “You all right, Claire? Looks like it’s hard to talk about.” “Yea, I’m fine. After the first court hearing, it was best to leave and start over and I’m thankful for that.”

“How did you deal with the attack? I’m a mother of two,” Tina tells Claire. “I mean it had to be tough on you, emotional wise.”

“Hope . . .” Claire wipes her eyes with fingertips. “Jesse found what he needed when we moved. Found someone that understands him. Small world, don’t you say?”

About the Author  

Kevin Dwyer self-published his first novel called Pride of Love in the year of 2014 in which it got an overall of 3+ star on BarnesandNoble.com and Amazon.com. Kevin rewrote the novel into a screenplay and was a finalist in the Tea Dance screenwriting contest and one of the top 5 winners in the 2016 International Las Vegas screenwriting contest (winner in LGBT category.) Pride of Love was a February Platinum Award winner in 2018 for best screenplay in the Mindfield Festival.

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