A MelanieM Review: No Big Deal (#lovehim #1.5) by S.M. James

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Angus Reid has always hoped for a roommate. As the only openly gay student at Pinebrook Private, he’s never had the kind of friendship everyone else in his year does, until Tyler shows up. Tyler is sweet, thoughtful, and absolutely adorkable—and better still, he couldn’t care less that Angus is gay.

Unfortunately, falling for your straight roommate is never a good idea, and during a snowed-in weekend, Angus learns this lesson the hard way.

A YA contemporary short story, No Big Deal is the prequel to To Be Honest and will show you where it all began for Angus and Tyler

No Big Deal is as the blurb says the prequel to the marvelous YA road story romance, To Be Honest, second novel in S.M. James’ outstanding YA #lovehim series.  And yes, yet another story I’ve read out of sequence.  I just can’t seem to read this series in order which is really doing it, the author, and me a disservice.

Because had I read this before To Be Honest, I would have had so much more insight into the characters and the issues they faced going into that story.  It would have made an already layered and moving reading experience that much richer.

No Big Deal is the story of Angus and Tyler’s first introduction, our look into their first steps as roommates and friends, and some hidden clues into each person’s back histories and personalities, especially when it comes to the LGBT community.  All of which have important roles to play in the next story.

This is a short story of 38 pages so it does just fly by but the writing is smooth and so beautifully done.  The characters as bright, funny, thoughtful, and engaging as I remembered.  They act their age, with so much depth to their emotions and mental acuity that its a pleasure to watch them grow as individuals and in their relationship.  In this story and in the series.

Told you, I read the other story first.

Don’t you do that.  Read all these amazing book in the order they were written.  Each and every one is a treasure.   More to come that, yes, I read out of order too. Sign.

Oh, and no sex, no heat, definitely YA all the way, this is also just meeting for a first time story.

Cover Artist: Story Styling Cover Designs. The cover art is so simple yet appealing, and perfect for the characters.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 38 pages
Published October 23rd 2018 by May Books
ASINB07FX69TTC
Edition Language English
Series#lovehim #1.5

Series #lovehim

That Feeling When

No Big Deal

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Blue Umbrella Sky by Rick R. Reed

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Milt’s husband of many years, Corky, has passed away after suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, a horrible deterioration of mind and body.  As is the case with many who suffer from this disease, Corky forgot who Milt was at times and at other times was angry and resentful toward him. He escaped his home, sometimes while nude, and in short, tested Milt’s reserves to the nth degree.  But Milt never stopped loving him and now, sitting in his new mobile home in Palm Springs, California, he’s far away and yet still close in his heart.  Some thought Milt was being too reactionary when he packed up and moved across country, but he and his adopted dog, Ruby, are beginning to acclimate to their new lives together.

Then, along comes a flash flood and a friendly neighbor to rescue them. Billy Blue, handsome, young, a former singer, now working at Trader Joe’s is an alcoholic in recovery for several years and planning to stay that way, despite the emotional ups and downs he begins to feel when Milt enters his life. Though several years older than Billy, Milt is nevertheless exactly the man of Billy’s dreams and Billy has to exercise all his life lessons to remember that good things happen in their own time, not on his time schedule.

Those who follow my reviews know I get a little (okay, a lot) peeved when authors glaze over a “drinking problem” or have their character in detox and then have him live a happy life, drinking again whenever he’s out with friends—with no consequences.  But in this story, Mr. Reed presented alcoholism and recovery, through the twelve step fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous, as clearly, kindly, respectfully, and honestly as I’ve ever read. And I’m old, so I’ve read a lot! I appreciate his attention detail more than I can say.

A frequently heard term in AA is “the joy is in the journey, not the destination.”  And for me, the joy was in the journey of reading this beautiful portrayal of a man coming to grips with the death of his husband, moving through the stages of grief as time goes on, and ultimately recognizing that it’s okay to love again.  There’s also joy in being present for Billy’s journey as he follows direction from his sponsor and does what he’s learned is most important to his balance—to put his sobriety first.  After all, he wouldn’t have any chance with Milt if he wasn’t the man he is today and that’s due to working the program. 

I simply loved this story.  It’s not explicit, thankfully.  That wasn’t necessary.  What was necessary was to allow two men to have an opportunity to get to know each other, become friends, and eventually move to a firm and loving relationship.  Slow burn, hurt-comfort, age gap, men over forty, grief, men with pets—I can think of many more tags I’d use for this one. But ultimately, the tag I’d use first and foremost is amazing.   Thank you Rick R. Reed! You have set the bar high. 

The cover by Reese Dante features two men in an embrace—perhaps a kiss about to happen—set against a beautiful blue background of the sky over Palm Springs.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 190 pages
Expected publication: March 19th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN B07NNX7J4Q
Edition Language English

A Caryn Review: Shadows On The Border (Lost In Time #2) by A.L. Lester

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

It has been a year since I read the first book in this series, Lost in Time.  Long enough that I had forgotten about the cliffhanger ending that irritated me so much!  And although it is clear there will be at least one more book in the series, this one wrapped up the current story arc well – the next book will take off in a slightly different direction, and follow up on the adventures of some of the secondary characters.

Lew – who is from 2016 and got accidentally drawn back in time to 1919 while following his sister Mira – and Alec – the Detective Inspector who was inadvertently drawn into Lew’s world of magic and secrets while investigating a series of grisly London murders – are once again the main characters in this book.  The Creature who left a string of bodies behind turned out not to be fully destroyed as they had all hoped.  It was merely injured, and dormant, and its presence drew a Hunter from the Outlands to draw it back across the Border.

Fenn was the Hunter – a being of considerable power who was clearly more expert dealing with the energy of the Border than anyone in the human world.  To some he appeared male, and to others she appeared female, and they were evasive about their gender – this was just one of many ways they were completely alien to the early 20th century Londonites they came across. Fenn spoke English, reading the minds of those humans he interacted with, and when they were found by Alec’s group of police and discovered that they were also trying to apprehend the Creature (Carnas, to Fenn), Fenn decided to work with them.  The humans were somewhat reluctant to join forces, but could only acknowledge Fenn’s greater power and expertise.  There were secrets on both sides, and it became increasingly clear that those secrets could bring down the entire operation.

This book is once again primarily a fantasy/adventure, and there is even less romance than there was in the first book.  Lew and Alec are an established couple, and I really enjoyed how the focus became more about how they thought about their relationship.  How could it work between them when Lew could only tell Alec minimal amounts about his life before he went back in time?  How could Alec trust Lew, for the same reasons?  How was the fact that Lew was a Worker, and responsible for maintaining the Border, allow him to fully open himself up to Alec?  I also enjoyed the interactions between Fenn – not quite human if you looked closely – and the rest of the group interesting, especially in regards to their gender, or lack thereof.

I still had some quibbles with the writing – this time it was primarily the names and pronouns.  Sometimes first names were used, sometimes last names, and though the distinction made some sense – for instance, they were Lew and Alec when they were by themselves or with close friends, but Tyler and Carter when interacting professionally, or with others.  It did not help that many of the names could be first or last names (Will Grant, for example).  I just found it to be unnecessarily confusing, and it literally took me until half way through the book before I consistently had them all straight!  I do not like working that hard to read for pleasure.

I am really looking forward to the next book, when the focus will move away from Alec and Lew.  I hope it won’t be another full year though…

Cover art by Written Ink Designs fits well with the previous book in the series.  It was easy to imagine the Creature hiding somewhere in this alley.

Sales Links:  Amazon | Kobo | Barnes&Noble

Book Details:

ebook
Published March 9th 2019 by JMS Books, LLC
ISBN13 9781634868716
Edition Language English

Review Tour for Shadows On The Border by A.L. Lester

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Release Date: March 9 2019
 
Publisher: JMS Books
 
Lost In Time Series
 

The Gate (a FREE short story introducing the characters from Lost In Time)
Amazon US | Amazon US | JMS Books

Book #1 – Lost In Time – Amazon US | Amazon UK | JMS Books
 
Blurb
 

Newspaper reporter Lew Tyler and his lover, Detective Alec Carter, are working out the parameters of their new relationship. Meanwhile, time traveler Lew is trying to decide whether he wants to stay in the 1920s or find a way to get back to 2016, and Alec doesn’t know if he can bear the vulnerability of being in love with someone who uses such dangerous magic.


Fenn is a Hunter from the Outlands, come through the Border to search for the murderous Creature and its offspring at the behest of the Ternants, who maintain the balance between Fenn’s world and ours. Fenn strikes a bond with Sergeant Will Grant, Alec’s second in command, who is keen to learn more about his own magical abilities. As time goes on, Will grows keen to learn more about Fenn, as well.


Fenn has their own painful secret, and when they appear to have betrayed the team and goes missing in London, Will is devastated. He has to choose between following his heart or following his duty.


Moving through the contrasting rich and poor areas of post-First World War London from West End hotels to the London docklands, the men need to work together to capture the Creature … and choose who – and what — is important enough to hold on to and what they may need to give up to make that happen.


Author Bio


A. L. Lester likes to read. Her favorite books are post-apocalyptic dystopian romances full of suspense, but a cornflake packet will do there’s nothing else available. The gender of the characters she likes to read (and write) is pretty irrelevant so long as they are strong, interesting people on a journey of some kind.


She has a chaotic family life and small children, and she has become the person in the village who looks after the random animals people find in the road. She is interested in permaculture gardening and anything to do with books, reading, technology and history. She lives in a small village in rural Somerset and is seriously allergic to both rabbits and Minecraft


Website: http://www.allester.co.uk/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CogentHippo
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ALLesterAuthor/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cogenthippo/
Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/A.-L.-Lester/e/B01MZ6R1QR/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/allester

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Looking for that Second Chance at Love Story? Check Out Release Blitz for Rewind by Rowan Shaw (excerpt and giveaway)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Rewind

Author: Rowan Shaw

Publisher: Self-published

Cover Artist: Molly Phipps

Genre/s: MM Romance

Heat Rating:  4 flames

Length: 73 350 words/ 343 pages

Release Date: March 18th, 2019

Add on Goodreads

Buy Links

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon FR

Amazon CA

Amazon AU

All other vendors (Nook, Kobo, iBooks)

Tagline

Were Enzo and Florian truly meant to get a second chance or were they doomed from the start?

Blurb

The day Enzo Chevalier lost his hearing, everything changed. Forced to rebuild his future and fight for his dreams, Enzo refused to let anything take him down…until the man of his life walked out on him and shattered his heart. 

Florian Beaudry had his whole life figured out. His business was flourishing and everything was settling down at last. Or so he believed…until he walked in on his girlfriend and best friend.

Still on the rebound and unable to trust another man, Enzo never expected a chance encounter with Florian. The one person he thought he would never see again. The one person he missed the most. 

Were they truly meant to get a second chance or were they doomed from the start?

REWIND is an MM romance novel set entirely in France. Though part of a series, it is a standalone story without a cliffhanger.

Excerpt

I stared at Enzo, unsure what to do or how to react. I hadn’t seen him in such a long time. When I smiled at him, the deep scar on his left cheek carved into his skin as he replied with a grin of his own, along with a shy wave. I gaped like a moron. He was even more breathtaking than he used to be, taller and stronger too.  

My eyes caught on the gorgeous male with his arm around Enzo’s shoulders. Something inside me sank. I could either be a coward and ignore Enzo, or I could be the bigger person and ask him to join me for a drink—even if that meant watching him flirt with that hot guy all evening.

Enzo was staring back at me without moving, so I took that as my cue to beckon him forward. The man next to him raised a questioning eyebrow, but Enzo signed at him, explaining I was someone he used to know in high school. The guy crinkled his forehead and glared at me with eyes so green, I couldn’t help but stare. Even their hypnotizing tint wouldn’t soften the warning in his glower.

Enzo chuckled at the guy’s reaction and grabbed his hand, leading him toward me.

I had also forgotten how beautiful he was when he laughed. Even in my fondest memories, he had never looked as good as he did now. The scar on his face only heightened his splendor, especially since I knew what it represented. I tried hard not to gawk, but it felt so good to see him again and get confirmation he was well.

Enzo kept smiling at me shyly, but before he could reach my level, the other guy stood in the way.   

“Florian, is that it?” he asked with a hint of hostility.

“Yeah.”

I held out my hand to shake his, but he snubbed me, leaning forward instead, blocking Enzo’s view. “I don’t remember Enzo telling me about any friends in high school. If anything, I only remember him talking about his bullies.”

I clenched my teeth at the threat under his tone. “I’m not going to hurt him if that’s what you’re implying.”

About the Author

Rowan Shaw is a human being from Planet Earth (originally from the country of France). She’s also the queer author of Rewind, an MM romance series set entirely in her home country.

Addicted to reading and writing, Rowan can usually be found with a book in her hands or sitting in front of her computer typing some kind of story while listening to music from the 80s.

Author Links

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Release Blitz and Giveaway for The Demon Lord Of California (Infinity 8 #1) by Jeanne Marcella

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Length: 77,500 words 
 
Blurb



Earth, 1900.


Calico Winghorse has no choice but to flee to the plane of existence called Earth. His great grandfather, suffering from a terrible curse, strips him of his psychic abilities and nearly murders him.


As a mixed-blood phoenix concealing himself in human form, Calico first settles in England, then in the San Francisco Bay Area. In order to make a living, he opens a small bakery and quietly licks his wounds.


But just how Calico escaped his childhood home—via interdimensional portal—is the very reason why he’s drawn the unwanted attention of Infinity Corporation.


Representing this angelic-run company is Agustín Chávez de la Cruz, the Demon Lord of California. Even though Agustín is IC’s heir, he finds himself demoted from his daily duties for a new assignment: take absolute control of Calico’s portal.


Calico and Agustín’s first brief encounter ignites sparks of attraction. Their second is highly explosive, bogging down initial communication with innocent mistruths and a healthy dose of fear.


As Agustín struggles to restore trust, Harper, the demanding head of IC interferes, further complicating matters. With negotiations slowed, Calico and Agustín realize they both wish to establish more than just a business deal.


However, until the extensive and brutal psychic injuries Calico received from his great grandfather are healed, the portal remains vulnerable to the darker forces that want it at any cost. Agustín will have to push both his angelic heritage, and his psychic powers to the very limits to mend someone who bears more than celestial blood, but who is also the god of space and time.


And the clock’s ticking.

 
About The Author
 

Jeanne Marcella was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Granted unlimited access to books at a very early age via the library, she quickly acquired a fondness for creating her own stories through word and drawing.


She writes queer dark fantasy not for the faint of heart, and fun (but sometimes gritty) urban fantasy soaps, all with romantic elements.

 

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