A MelanieM Release Day Review: Don’t Fear the (Not Really) Grim Reaper by Carole Cummings

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

When unassuming college student Emery Sutton wakes up in the morgue, it takes him a few minutes to remember he has magic (superpowers, damn it!) and free himself from the refrigerated drawer. And the body bag. (God.) It doesn’t take long, though, for him to remember the hot guy with wings he ran into just before a city bus ran into him.

Junior Reaper John must explain to his supervisor how his first solo assignment went so wrong. All he knows is that he happened upon Emery quite by accident, that Emery saw John when he shouldn’t have been able to, and when they accidentally touched, a bus came out of nowhere and plowed Emery under. (John really does feel bad about that.)

Hot angels, annoying demons, hijinks, absurdity, drunk siblings, a dash of silly romance, an inordinate attachment to wings, and a highly disorganized bid for world domination—Don’t Fear the (Not Really Grim) Reaper follows Emery and John down the rabbit hole where they find that moms are scarier than demons from hell, a goat is not a puppy no matter what Emery’s sister says, and awkward romance can happen anywhere.

While most readers and fans are familiar with Carole Cummings from her darker fantasy or supernatural stories, there are a group of lighter, humor-filled tales that show this author’s talent for the weird turn for the farce,  the fantastical bend of the funny bone. Don’t Fear the (Not Really) Grim Reaper by Carole Cummings is just such a story.

Emery Sutton is having a very bad day.  He dies and wakes up, very alive in a morgue.  It doesn’t really phase him considering he’s a very magical sort of person, always has been. Although this is taking it to a new level.  And he’s not looking forward to explaining it to his parents.

Junior Reaper John, seemingly as young as Em, also having a very bad day.  First day on the job and it goes spectacularly wrong.  He delivers the first soul but  wants to hang around Earth.  He sort of misses it and knows his name isn’t John. Then he touches Em because he can’t help himself and poof.  Guy dies..soul doesn’t appear in heaven and he’s’ in huge trouble.

Both characters are just wonderful.  You can see just how young each  one is in their own way. It doesn’t matter that one is an angel, the other….magical.  Their actions, dialog, and reactions to everything that happens is that of young adults just barely dealing at times.  Both  “John” and Em have support systems to help direct them. Each happens to include a somewhat scary female/matriarchal figure.  For John, it’s his supervisor.  For Em, his mother.  Yet both women have these young men’s best interests at heart.  Along with the rest of Em’s very interesting family of sister and dad.

Told in alternating povs, the story is jammed pack full of entertaining elements that whiz narratively by.  Blink and you might miss one.  There’s a wild reason behind all this madness, an all too quick resolution that leaves one question unanswered.  But the rest of the ride to get to this point is imaginative, the main characters and supporting cast wonderful, and the promise of a fascinating future for them both just a happy ending enough to make sense.  Fun, farcical with enough of the dark thrown in to make it interesting.  Characters I connected with?  Definitely a Carole Cummings story.  One I recommend.

Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza.  This just misses the mark.  Looks like a cover for Valentine’s Day not a cover for this story.  The guy is way too happy, the cover too bright, no dark  elements.  Could be a high school cover for a dance.  It looks like ten other “nerd” covers I can name.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 70 pages
Expected publication: January 11th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB07LFQTV47

An Ashez Review: Elias by Erin E Keller

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Rating: 2 stars out of 6

After his partner’s death, Thomas Doyle lives a life made of work and late-night sexual encounters with unnamed bodies. It’s a life of solitude that leaves him too much time to think and regret.

Yet, despite everything, he jealously treasures it.

That’s why when Elias Byrne—who comes out of the shadows of Thomas’ nights—suddenly bursts into his everyday life with arrogance, Thomas finds himself fighting against ambivalent feelings—the need to reject the tormented Elias and the strange, inconceivable, and difficult to accept desire to join their solitudes.

My Thoughts:
In the beginning of this book I had high hopes – it was moving quickly and it was intriguing, I wanted to know Elias’s backstory, I wanted to know Thomas’s backstory.  By midway through the book I got a bit bored of the characters, I felt like they didn’t progress enough for me, Elias showed his age (I felt he could have been written a bit more adult given his past/current) and I found him rather annoying.
The same goes for Thomas, I felt he could have been written a bit more mature, he’s older and has a past (which in the end I wasn’t even really interested in) but he acted like a teenager sometimes.
It was all written mostly with Thomas/Elias – barely any outside influence happened at all and I was frustrated, it gave less opportunity for the characters to really develop.
Overall it just wasn’t my type of read – but it’s still worth a read if you like an intriguing backstory to a character/very main character driven book.
 
Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 123 pages
Published January 5th 2019 by JMS Books, LLC (first published May 28th 2016)
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Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesLandmeadow #1

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: The Alpha Heir (Kingdom of Askara #2) by Victoria Sue and Joel Leslie (Narrator)

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

 

I enjoyed this sequel to The Alpha King almost as much as I enjoyed the original. But I didn’t feel the pull and the love between the MCs as much in this one, mostly because of their life circumstances and the way the story was written—they were enemies for quite some time. Toward the end, when they finally acknowledge and share their love, it was well worth the wait. And speaking of the end, I thoroughly enjoyed the cameo appearance of Luca in his role as the Alpha King. It’s evident he wears the cloak of responsibility regally.

In the early stages of this story, we meet both Caleb and Taegan, in different scenarios and with totally opposite life circumstances. Taegan is the leader of the human rebel forces in a different pack area of the kingdom of Askara from where The Alpha King took place. These rebels have much to lose since the wolves are snatching their children to use not only for dangerous work but now for unknown purposes. As an aside here I just have to say that Joel Leslie’s childrens’ voices were too precious for words! Loved, loved, loved them!

Teagan’s mother is still with him and he has the protection, counsel and support of Silas, a 200-year-old lone wolf. We learn late in the story about why Silas has made himself available to watch over Teagan, a human, but throughout the book he’s extremely helpful in helping Teagan solve the puzzle of the missing children, the dastardly plans of the reigning alpha, and the very puzzling circumstances of why Caleb, though a wolf, would be bound in chains, starved, beaten, and tortured.

To be honest, I don’t recall every little detail of the story—mostly because I was swept along in my enjoyment of the narration and in understanding the complexity of events as they unfolded. Given the fact that I generally start and stop an audiobook frequently over the course of several days, I have to admit that my total recall is lacking. However, what I can say is that Caleb is sweetly endearing, and as he begins to heal and get stronger, it’s evident that he does indeed  have the stuff an Alpha Heir is made of. Will he get the opportunity to present himself as the heir? Well, that’s why readers should pick up this book, preferably in audio form so Joel Leslie can bring the huge cast of characters to life and tell you the tale.

Over the course of the second half of the book, even though it seems impossible, the human and the wolf realize they are lifemates, but if Caleb is to claim his rightful place as Alpha, he’ll need to have an Omega wolf at his side, according to the laws that govern them. Add to that, Teagan’s natural tendency to put others ahead of himself, and Caleb’s low self-worth—beaten into him over the course of his six-year persecution, and we have an interesting quandary. By all means, if you like shifter stories and a little fantasy added into your paranormal, this series is the one to choose. Highly recommend

Sales Links:  Amazon | Audible

Audiobook Details:

7 hours and 34 minutes

Audible Audio, Unabridged, 8 pages
Published December 19th 2017 by Victoria Sue (first published September 4th 2017)
ASIN B078BGHCJF
Edition Language English
Series Kingdom of Askara #2

New Release Blitz for Stay by KM Neuhold

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STAY

K.M. NEUHOLD

M/M PUPPY PLAY ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 01.11.19

stay puppy play romance version 2

BLURB

What happens to a couple when one of them discovers a new kink that he’s not sure his partner will be into?

Dear Art,

I’m sure you get messages like this all the time, but I feel like I don’t even know who I am anymore. I suppose I should start from the beginning… Three weeks ago, I saw puppy play for the first time, and now I can’t stop thinking about it. Wait, no, that’s not really the beginning… Ten years ago, my best friend who I’d been in love with my entire life told me he loved me too.

For ten years, I’ve been living in complete bliss with Lars, the man of my dreams. Don’t get me wrong, we have our fights and disagreements (mostly because I do irritating shit, and every once in a while, he reaches the end of his patience), but he is my other half in every way. I didn’t know I could love someone the way I love him.

Then, the puppy thing happened. It’s not so different from when I realized I was gay; there was a moment where everything sort of clicked into place, and my whole body was like “Yes, that’s what we’ve been trying to figure out all this time.” At first, I thought maybe I should just let it go because it’s not the kind of thing I can imagine my partner being into. But last week I went into a kink shop and ended up walking out with a puppy hood. I stashed it in our guest bedroom closet and haven’t even had the courage to take it out and try it on again, let alone show it to Lars. I don’t know what to do. How do I bring this up to him? And what if he isn’t into it? I feel like I don’t recognize myself anymore, and I don’t know where to turn. Please help.

Sincerely,

One Lost Puppy

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EXCERPT

I turn away from him, heading deeper into the shop, and there it is, hanging innocently on the back wall alongside a number of other accessories—collars, knee pads, mittens, toys—but right now, the only thing I can see is the hood. My heart gives one of those odd flutters again, my hands shaking as I slowly make my way toward the display.

I glance around to see if anyone is watching me and realize no one else is in the store right now. I look back at the employee and find him leaning against the counter, thumbing through his phone like he couldn’t care less about what kinky shit I’m here looking for. And I’m sure he can’t. He works in a sex shop for fuck’s sake; I’m sure he’s seen it all.

The pleasant scent of leather lingers in the air around the display as I near it. When I come to a stop in front of it, my knees tremble, practically knocking together, and my breath is coming so fast I’m a little concerned I’m about to pass out from lack of oxygen.

I reach out an unsteady hand and when my fingers brush against the smooth material of the hood, a rush of excitement zips through me like an electric shock. To my surprise and slight horror, my cock begins to perk up as my fingertips dance along the muzzle and around the eyeholes, mapping the topography of it.

“You can try it on if you want.” The voice makes me jump, nearly knocking the entire display off the wall.

KM Neuhold Logo 2

Author K.M. Neuhold is a complete romance junkie, a total sap in every way. She started her journey as an author in new adult, MF romance, but after a chance reading of an MM book she was completely hooked on everything about lovely- and sometimes damaged- men finding their Happily Ever After together.

She has a strong passion for writing characters with a lot of heart and soul, and a bit of humor as well. And she fully admits that her OCD tendencies of making sure every side character has a full backstory will likely always lead to every book having a spin-off or series.

When she’s not writing she’s a lion tamer, an astronaut, and a superhero…just kidding, she’s likely watching Netflix and snuggling with her husky while her amazing husband brings her coffee.

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