A MelanieM Review: Always With Me (With Me #6) by Kris Jacen

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Rating: 2.75 stars out of 5

Calvin and Camden Luna — why yes, their dad is a big baseball fan— have moved around the world with their parents. Their father has been in the military since before they were born. Proud of their father and uncles and all they’ve done, neither of them is sure the military is for them. Cam is a fantastic baseball player and Cal loves the science of everything. Haven’t they given enough?

Tristan Nolan and Maddy Holt both grew up as military kids too, but neither of their fathers moved them around as much as the twins. Maddy wants to save the planet and capture the heart of Calvin Luna… if he’d only open his eyes. Tris has grown up wanting to follow in the footsteps of those before him. But can he be himself — out and proud —serve and protect his country and end up with the one he’s loved for as long as he can remember?

What can happen when you grow up a military brat with the ties that they have with their fathers’ close friends and their families? Find the love of your life almost from the start? Or find out that maybe you’re all too close for anything else?

I have loved Kris Jacen’s With Me series from the very first story Wait for Me.  From that foundation novel, Jacen established a universe, tone, and overall series framework that pulled her readers into the world of military families and soldiers, the  units that become to tight that they form a brotherhood unlike any other, one that also then encompasses their families as well, and then extends out to future generations coming up the ranks.  We watch them toil, and sweat, and work through major issues, deep ones, military in nature, emotional, and sexual.

Some of the men start off alone and get pulled into the heptad, a strong group of men that trained and fought together.  Others were there all along as part of the foundation.  And we watched and were there, connected through our hearts as each and everyone has found their HEA,  And gotten married.  Some have had kids, those that had kids or adopted, well, we watched them grow up through theses stories. We felt as much a part of these families as these men did.

That is the beauty of Jacen’s writing.  It’s her intimate knowledge of this world and it’s workings.  Her compassion for the families and her acknowledgement of the strength and flexibility or perhaps adaptability it takes to be a military spouse and family. And the support system needed as well.  It’s all here, layered in, all the characters, the kindnesses and the tears, the food and the packing, the stress and the pain.  And also the joy, the love, and the fierce pride in serving their country.  That is here too and never forgotten.

I loved the men and I love the romances.  And I though the author was finished with the series with her story Step Up With Me.  With that book, she seemed to have wrapped up things nicely.

Then out comes Always With Me (With Me #6) and it’s a whole new generation.  Literally.  And in so many ways it just doesn’t seem to fit in with all the books that went before.  Style, characterizations, and even editing. Something happened here with this story and that’s surprising.

The first thing (and this element is something the author noted in her forward) is that there are too many voices.  Hard not to do with when the book is about twins but the format of the book which moves the storyline forward by ages (ex Cal age 26, Cam age 28) doesn’t give the reader a smooth flow.  It’s jumbled to begin with and lacks a continued character growth for both men.   That’s the other thing.  We have two men here.  One gay, that’s Cam. One, het, that’s Cal.  To do each justice, each needs their own story.  But both gets jammed into one here and it suffers from that.

The book flip flops back and forth between brothers quickly, never really resting too long for any depth or layering to set in.  We know that Tristan and Maddy (kids now grown from other men in the heptad)  are going to be the twins boyfriend/girlfriend.  But when it happens, it’s so quick, that you find yourselves blinking in astonishment over the suddenness.  Cam and Tris needed their own story.  By putting Cal in here too with Maddy no one got the story they deserved and everyone came off pale shades of what could have been.

So I think this book and romances hurt by a jumbled format and hurt by too many characters not allowed to show growth and development.

But the final issue for me was the editing.  I will give just one example.  Under the Chapter Cal Age 26 .  This is the chapter where Tris is surprising Cam but first meets up with Cal for a talk.  Every word that is supposed to say Cal says “Cam”.  For pages.  So it looks like Tris is talking to Cam about well, Cam.  It’s jarring and removes the reader totally out of the story.  There were other issues but this was the most egregious.  And yes, it was the final copy.

Then ending did see everyone show up from many of the other stories, brief appearances that were nice to see but again only made you wish for those couples and stories in comparison.

This was also lacking much of the military life that one normally expects to see in this series, especially as Tris went into the military as a career, a huge thing and should have been a major element in their relationship.  And it was barely addressed, again something that was left by the wayside because too much had to be fit in . But made no sense in what is essentially a military series.

So I absolutely recommend books 1 through 5, I will leave book 6 up to you.

Cover art: Kris Jacen captures the twins perfectly.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 114 pages
Published May 24th 2019 by MLR Press
ASINB07S7KCYXH

With Me Series:

Wait for Me

Explore with Me

Learn with Me

Challenge Me

Step Up with Me

Always With Me #6

Release Blitz and Giveaway for Kiss Me Again by Garrett Leigh

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal LinkExclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow With Kindle Unlimited
 
Cover Design: Black Jazz Design
 
Length: 227 pages
 
Blurb
 

Tree surgeon Aidan Drummond is content with his own company. He works alone, and lives alone, and it doesn’t occur to him to want anything else until a life-changing accident lands him in hospital. Then a glimpse of the beautiful boy in the opposite bed changes everything.


Ludo Giordano is trapped on the ward with a bunch of old men. His mind plays tricks on him, keeping him awake. Then late one night, a new face brings a welcome distraction. Their unlikely friendship is addictive. And, like most things in Ludo’s life, temporary.


Back in the real world, Aidan’s monochrome existence is no longer enough. He craves the colour Ludo brought him, and when a chance meeting brings them back together, before long, they’re inseparable again.


But bliss comes with complications. Aidan is on the road to recovery, but Ludo has been unwell his entire life, and that’s not going to change. Aidan can kiss him as much as he likes, but if he can’t help Ludo when he needs him most, they don’t stand a chance.


“Kiss Me Again is a deliciously tender and prickly romance about the intimacy that comes with acceptance. Ludo and Aidan accept and love each other for exactly who they are—complications, injuries, mental health issues, moods—and I loved them for it.” — Roan Parish

Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Fox Love Press.


Garrett’s debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards.


When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.


Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at blackjazzdesign.com, and co-owns the specialist stock site moonstockphotography.com with renowned LGBTQA+ photographer Dan Burgess.


Website: http://www.garrettleigh.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/garrettleighauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Garrett_Leigh

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Sales Blitz for First Season (Harrisburg Railers #2) by RJ Scott & V.L. Locey (giveaway)

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FIRST TIME ON SALE!!
 
ONLY 99C/99P TILL JUNE 8 AND AVAILABLE TO BORROW WITH KINDLE UNLIMITED
 
 
Length: 55,700 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Meredith Russell
 
Harrisburg Railers Series
 

Book #1 – Changing Lines – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link
Book #2 – First Season – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link
Book #3 – Deep Edge – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link
Book #4 – Poke Check – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link
Book #5 – Last Defense – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link
Book #6 – Goal Line – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link
Book #7 – Neutral Zone – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link

Book #8 – Hat Trick – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link

Blurb
 

Layton wants success, Adler wants family, how can love make both these things possible?


Layton Foxx works hard for what he has. The condo, the career, the chance to make his mark, is all down to the sacrifices he has made. With tragedy in his past, he doesn’t want or need love. Then he meets Adler Lockhart, the extroverted, sexy winger for the Harrisburg Railers and abruptly he can’t avoid love even if he wanted to.


Adler Lockhart has had everything handed to him his whole life. Cars, villas, cash, college tuition at the finest Ivy League schools. The only things he doesn’t have are parents who care or the love of a good man. Then Layton walks into his privileged life and shows him what real love can be like.

USA Today bestselling author RJ Scott writes stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, a happily ever after.


RJ Scott is the author of over one hundred romance books, writing emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing.


The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.


She’s always thrilled to hear from readers, bloggers and other writers. Please contact via the links below:

USA Today Bestselling Author V.L. Locey – Penning LGBT hockey romance that skates into sinful pleasures.


V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, Torchwood and Dr. Who, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, a pair of geese, far too many chickens, and two steers.


When not writing spicy romances, she enjoys spending her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in one hand and a steamy romance novel in the other.

 

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