A MelanieM Review: Monster of the Week (The Rules #2) by F.T. Lukens

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

In the sequel to F.T. Lukens’ The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic, spring semester of Bridger Whitt’s senior year of high school is looking great. He has the perfect boyfriend, a stellar best friend, and an acceptance letter to college. Oh, he also has this incredible job: assistant to Pavel Chudinov, an intermediary tasked with helping cryptids navigate the modern world. His days are filled with kisses, laughs, pixies, and the occasional unicorn. Life is awesome.

But as graduation draws near, Bridger’s perfect life begins to unravel. Uncertainties about his future surface, his estranged dad shows up out of nowhere, and, perhaps worst of all, a monster-hunting television show arrives in town to investigate the series of strange events from last fall. The show’s intrepid host will not be deterred, and Bridger finds himself trapped in a game of cat and mouse that could very well put the myth world at risk. Again.

In F. T. Lukens’ novel, Monster of the Week, it’s the end of the senior year of high school for Bridger Whitt with all the anxiety, stress, and sheer anticipation that time of year brings to kids everywhere. For Bridger that means being in a new relationship with the popular sports star boyfriend, finishing his finals, dealing with prom and the yearbook quotes!  But that’s not enough, because for Bridger, it’s also about daily tasks like gathering unicorn poop for pixies. All  part of his job as a assistant to Pavel Chudinov, intermediary extraordinary to the non human realm that Bridger is  now a part of.

That realm and it’s beings actually form an unconventional “family” for Bridger, along with his  boyfriend Leo, and bestie Astrid,a support system Bridger will need if he’s to graduate and make it through to attend college next year.

I adore this story.  It’s a sequel to The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic but if you haven’t read that one, the author does a great job in  giving the reader all the pertinent information here so  you don’t feel like you have missed too much.  Except for all the joyful and scary goings on that is but that’s another story.

Here we are dealing with the end of senior year and that plenty scary enough.  Bridger is full of senioritis!  All the “what ifs”  are filling his brain and making him crazy.  The leaving behind, the fear of the future, the new boyfriend, the what will happens, ….everything!  And Lukens makes us remember ours while bringing Bridger’s freakout front and center in funny and heartbreaking ways.

Plus there’s his job and  there is always something wonderful and fundamentally hairraising going on there. This time it’s a cable TV show headed to town for an expose to film the residents about the events that happened in the previous story.  Things Bridger was in the middle of and no one wants exposed!

The pace is fast.  The writing is excellent and the characters amazing.  Lukens has gifted the readers with a story that resonates with genuine teenage feelings, sharp, sparking dialog, and in some truly heartrending moments, recognizable angst and family drama to empty many a tissue box.  Those scenes with his returned absentee dad?  Felt so authentic and sadly real.

As this is a true YA, the sex  scenes are non existent or left to the mild kissing.  Everything else happens “stage left” as it were.  And that’s perfect.

I’m hoping this isn’t the end for this gang and couple.  I would hate to see the end of Pavel, and Elena, the pixies, and the Unicorn.  More of Astrid and Luke, and even Bridger’s mom.  She’s hilarious.  And most definitely more of Bridger and Leo.

Because this ends on a HFN, as it should.  They are, afterall, teenagers.

But wouldn’t you like to know what comes next?  I certainly would.  Here’s hoping Lukens is listening.

Until then I highly recommend both stories in The Rules series.  Read them both.  They are quite remarkable!

Cover art is sassy and fun.  Love it.

Sales Links:  Interlude Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Expected publication: October 15th 2019 by Duet Books

A MelanieM Audio Review: Lucky Town (Badlands #1.5) by Morgan Brice and Kale Williams (narrator)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Psychic medium Simon Kincaide and his boyfriend, Myrtle Beach homicide Detective Vic D’Amato, find that the only thing more frightening than murder might be navigating their first holiday season as a couple.

A trip back to Pittsburgh to spend Thanksgiving with Vic’s large, exuberant family means dodging old frenemies and a bitter ex-boyfriend. A cold case comes back to haunt Vic when a murdered woman’s ghost begs Simon for justice. Then a new murder back in Myrtle Beach looks suspiciously familiar, and the dead man’s ghost isn’t playing nice.

When Simon gets a vision of the next victim before the crime occurs, he realizes that all the murders are supernaturally linked. Catching the murderer will take his psychic sleuthing skills along with Vic’s street smarts to avert a tragedy.

Can they do right by ghosts past, present, and yet to come without ending up in the crosshairs of a killer for Christmas?

I read Lucky Town when it first came out and enjoyed it but I was doubly curious to see what Kale Williams would bring to the story and if that would change my outlook on the novel.  Turns out the answer is yes.

There was a space of time between the ebook and audio version that enabled me to become more familiar with Morgan Brice and the marvelous interconnected series of paranormal romances and their foundation universe of entwined allied couples.  local mythology of ghosts/demons, and murders/mysteries.  I’m talking not just the Badlands series which includes this story but the Witchbane series, the new Treasure Trail which starts a new series and more.  All have couples that are mentioned in each others books and are connected through the work they do.

Which means I could now approach Lucky Town, the second time around with a wider foundation myself of its background and appreciation for the universe its author is still creating.

Plus I get the invaluable Kale Williams, a narrator I adore, delivering a remarkable narration that brings both men and the various other characters right to life.    There are ghlosts, bourags, and all sorts of things that nastily go bump in the night here.  Plus Simon and Vic still settling into their relationship and home in Myrtle Beach.

One of the many elements I have come to look forward to and appreciate in droves is the use of each locality and its mythology in the series.  If it takes place in Myrtle Beach then that beachtown is explored, casually, through the storyline, as you would if you lived there.  And it’s local ghosts and legends pop up as you would expect them to.  Or just those southern scary monsters of the region spun out and taken another look at.

The human relationships are real and complex.  And intertwined with the paranormal.   Here the edge between the two is thin and murkey to our endless entertainment.    And chills.

I loved listening to Lucky Town. I thought Kale Williams narration elevated the story a tad for me.  Made it more exciting.

As I’m already connected to this series and couple, that’s saying a lot.

So yes I recommend this audio version, yes, to the series and yes to this story.  Now to wait for the nest releases to arrive.

Cover art works as does the models for the characters.

Buy Links

Audible US  |  Audible UK  

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  

Audio Details:

Audiobook
Published March 29th 2019 by Tantor Audio (first published October 29th 2018)
Edition Language English
SeriesBadlands #1.5

Check Out the New Release Tour with Exclusive Excerpt for On Wings of Passion (On Wings Saga Book 0.5) by M.D. Grimm

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On Wings of Passion (On Wings Saga Book 0.5) by M.D. Grimm

Dreamspinner Press
Published July 12th 2019

Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

BUY LINKS: Dreamspinner Press 

 

 

Good day! M.D. Grimm here with an exclusive excerpt for my newest release “On Wings of Passion.” I want to give a big thanks to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for hosting me today.

“On Wings of Passion” is the prequel to my surprisingly popular story “On Wings of Thunder.” The great dragon Asagoroth is different in this story then when we met him in “On Wings of Thunder.” He is young, ambitious, and without the wrath of imprisonment and the poison of grief to drive his goals.

There are other dragons alive in this period of time and they battle each other for dominance. While Asagoroth participates in the battles he has a bigger plan—to conquer all the realms. He doesn’t do so with malicious intent, it is simply how dragons function. They are born fighting and spend their entire life doing more of the same just to survive. However, his plans are shaken when he meets Roland, an angelic artist of some note.

Roland is thrown for a loop when he meets Asagoroth, and his fascination with the dragon continues to grow until he finds the courage to ask questions. To talk to him. Roland has no idea that he’s caught the dragon’s eye, and Asagoroth has no idea that he could be worthy of an angel’s attention.

Enjoy!

Exclusive Excerpt

**

Still moving carefully, Roland grabbed a blank piece of parchment and some charcoal, then began to sketch. The compulsion wasn’t something he could deny or ignore. Besides, what was the harm? Asagoroth’s calm breathing was almost hypnotic, and it lulled Roland into a steady rhythm, weirdly comforting. It wasn’t long before he realized his own breaths had changed to match. Smiling slightly, Roland did the best he could to draw an accurate representation of Asagoroth. Yet it just wasn’t enough. As he grew more frustrated, he realized he would never be able to do the majesty of the dragon justice. It was disappointing to acknowledge that.

“What do you draw?”

Roland jumped, and the charcoal fell from his stained fingers. His heart skipped a beat as he looked up to find Asagoroth focused on him with unnerving intensity.

“Um. I—nothing. Nothing. Just….”

Asagoroth watched him, waiting.

With a shaky sigh, Roland stood on unsteady legs and took hesitant steps forward. Holding his breath, he turned the parchment around and lifted it above his head. Asagoroth flickered his gaze over it.

“That is me.”

It wasn’t a question. He knew it was him. Well, thank the Light he didn’t sound offended, merely surprised.

“Yes. But I can’t capture you right. I don’t know why I even attempted it. You’re just too, well, massive for me to accurately represent you.”

Asagoroth grunted. “You are saying I am too fat to fit on your parchment?”

Roland’s eyes bugged out of his head as he lowered the sketch. “What? No! No, not at all. That’s not what I—”

A light rumble trembled out of Asagoroth’s chest, and Roland exhaled in relief.

Laughter. He was teasing again.

Roland smiled. “What I mean is your energy, your being, is just too massive to convey with any medium.” He felt himself blushing. “You’re majestic, and I can’t capture you with my meager talents.”

Asagoroth lowered his head until his eyes were level with Roland’s. Roland hoped his gulp wasn’t audible.

“Your talents are not meager. I like that you want to draw me. I enjoy you looking at me.”

Uh. What?

Roland blinked, speechless.

Asagoroth settled his body on the ground, resting his stomach against the stone. He set his chin on the tops of his forearms and sighed in apparent relief. He snaked his tail all the way around his body. Roland didn’t think it would be a horrible fate to gaze into those startling eyes forever.

The slit pupils dilated slightly, and he was reflected in the black. He looked rather haggard, and his hair was tangled and stringy. His robes were also clingy, and he doubted he smelled the best. He barely stopped himself from cringing. It was rather humiliating to be so dingy when compared to the being in front of him.

“You are an artist, then?”

Roland snapped his attention away from his vain thoughts. He nodded. “Yes, that is what the seer chose for me.”

“Your fates are chosen from birth.”

“Yes. The seer looks upon us and knows what we are destined to be.”

“Strange,” he said absently. Then, quietly, “Perhaps it is the seers I should have taken.”

Roland frowned. “Pardon?”

“Without your seers, the angels would not know what they are supposed to be or do. Better chaos. Faster capitulation.”

Roland clenched his fists, which had him crinkling the parchment in his hand. Asagoroth stared at him, head somewhat slanted, eyes gleaming with interest. Perhaps amusement. He was amused by Roland’s anger. Arrogant ass.

“Why are you doing this?” Roland asked, forcing himself to relax and keep his voice calm. “To rule all the realms? Then what? What will you do once you conquer everything?”

Asagoroth stared at him. Roland could read nothing in his gaze.

“Will owning everything make you happy?”

“Happy?” Asagoroth said, contemplating the word. “What is ‘happy’?”

Roland gaped. “You… you don’t know….” He took a deep breath. “It’s not easy to describe. Is this what you really want to do?”

“It is not about want,” he said softly.

Roland frowned and tilted his head, considering the great beast in front of him. For an intelligent being, he seemed confused by simple things. Or perhaps such concepts were more complex than Roland thought.

“Who are you?” Roland asked quietly.

Asagoroth focused on him again. “I am dragon.”

“That’s what you are. I asked who you are.”

He narrowed his eyes, but not in anger. “I don’t understand.”

Roland highly doubted he uttered such words regularly. “What you are is a dragon. What I am is an angel. But who is Asagoroth the dragon? I was born an artist, and that’s who I am to my people. Sometimes I wonder if I could be someone else, would I want to? Do you ever want to be someone or something else?”

Asagoroth huffed, and warm air fluttered over Roland. He staggered back a step at the force.

“I am dragon.”

“Humor me.”

Asagoroth stretched out his neck, and his snout almost touched Roland’s stomach. “Why are you asking these things?”

Roland swallowed hard. “I want to understand you. To be perfectly honest, I find you fascinating. And I have to wonder if there’s more to you than a conqueror, than a lord of demons.” Feeling abruptly vulnerable and unable to hold Asagoroth’s gaze any longer, he bowed his head. “I apologize if I have offended you.”

Asagoroth lifted his snout and, with astonishing gentleness, touched it to Roland’s chin, forcing him to raise his head. His eyes were burning with an even brighter light, which made Roland squint.

“I am not offended.” He stood, hunching to avoid the stalactites. “I enjoy your intelligence. And your voice.”

Realizing he was gaping again, Roland snapped his mouth shut, his blush heating his face. “I—thanks? I—I enjoy talking with you as well.”

Asagoroth bobbed his head before he tapped seven demons with the tip of his tail, waking them.

“Come.” Then he was gone, striding away, the demons close behind. Though, strangely, he didn’t head out of the cave but turned in the other direction, moving deeper underground.

**

I hope to eventually write two sequels after “On Wings of Thunder” to continue Asagoroth and Trystan’s story. Perhaps in a year or two.

Right now I am working on three series concurrently plus a fantasy trilogy I hope to submit next year. I have way too many stories buzzing around in my brain.

Thank you for joining me and I hope you’ll check out my story!

May dragons guard your dreams,

M.D. Grimm

BLURB:

Every story has a beginning….

Dragons. Angels fear them and demons follow them. Formidable beasts of incredible power, they fight each other to the death for dominance. But dwindling dragon numbers cause alarm among the angelic ranks. Surely when the dragons have finished killing each other, the victors will search elsewhere for conquest… maybe even the Upper Realm.

Roland, an angelic artist of significant talent, doesn’t know what to believe. Part of him longs to see a dragon in person, and his peaceful life of contentment is wearing thin. He wants passion, desire, adventure, and love. He gets more than he bargained for when he and his sister are ambushed and captured by demons, and they bring him to a creature who surpasses Roland’s wildest imaginings.

But the mighty dragon Asagoroth is not all that he seems. Something sparks between him and Roland. Something neither anticipated. Something that will shake the cosmos to its core.

 

AUTHOR BIO:

M.D. Grimm has wanted to write stories since second grade (kind of young to make life decisions, but whatever) and nothing has changed since then (well, plenty of things, actually, but not that!). Thankfully, she has indulgent parents who let her dream, but also made sure she understood she’d need a steady job to pay the bills (they never let her forget it!). After graduating from the University of Oregon and majoring in English (let’s be honest: useless degree what else was she going to do it with it?), she started on her writing career and couldn’t be happier. Working by day and writing by night (or any spare time she can carve out), she enjoys embarking on romantic quests and daring adventures (living vicariously, you could say) and creating characters that always triumph against the villain (or else what’s the point?), finding their soul mate in the process.

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Check Out the Audio Tour for Lucky Town (Badlands #1.5) by Morgan Brice and Kale Williams (narrator)

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AUDIOBOOK REVIEW TOUR

Book Title: Lucky Town (Badlands #1.5)

Author: Morgan Brice

Publisher: Tantor

Narrator: Kale Williams

Release Date: March 29, 2019

Genre: Urban Fantasy, MM paranormal romance

Trope/s: Established relationship, second chances

Themes: Commitment and trust

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 3 hours and 9 minutes

It’s the second in a series, but it can be read alone

Add on Goodreads

 

Can they do right by ghosts past, present, and yet to come without ending up in the crosshairs of a killer for Christmas?

 

Blurb

Psychic medium Simon Kincaide and his boyfriend, Myrtle Beach homicide Detective Vic D’Amato, find that the only thing more frightening than murder might be navigating their first holiday season as a couple.  

A trip back to Pittsburgh to spend Thanksgiving with Vic’s large, exuberant family means dodging old frenemies and a bitter ex-boyfriend. A cold case comes back to haunt Vic when a murdered woman’s ghost begs Simon for justice. Then a new murder back in Myrtle Beach looks suspiciously familiar, and the dead man’s ghost isn’t playing nice. 

When Simon gets a vision of the next victim before the crime occurs, he realizes that all the murders are supernaturally linked. Catching the murderer will take his psychic sleuthing skills along with Vic’s street smarts to avert a tragedy. 

Can they do right by ghosts past, present, and yet to come without ending up in the crosshairs of a killer for Christmas?

 

Buy Links

Audible US  |  Audible UK  

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  

 

About the Author

Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions. Characters from her Gail books make frequent appearances in secondary roles in her Morgan books, and vice versa.

On the rare occasions Morgan isn’t writing, she’s either reading, cooking, or spoiling two very pampered dogs.

Other books include Witchbane, Dark Rivers, Badlands, Lucky Town, The Rising, Treasure Trail. Watch for more in these series, plus new series coming soon!

Join my Worlds of Morgan Brice Facebook Group! Get the early scoop on upcoming books and new series, see new covers first, enjoy insider news and special contests and giveaways! Plus it’s where I get my beta readers and launch team!

 

Author Links

Amazon

Facebook Group

Pinterest (for Morgan and Gail)

Twitter: @MorganBriceBook

Website

BookBub

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Cover Reveal for Gentleman Wolf by Joanna Chambers

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Release Date: August 26 2019
 
Cover Design: Felix d’Eon
 
Blurb 
 

An elegant werewolf in Edinburgh…


Lindsay Somerville, the most elegant werewolf in Paris, has no great wish to return to his home city of Edinburgh, but when he learns that the cruel Duncan MacCormaic is on the Continent and hunting for him, he reluctantly agrees to go into hiding.


Duncan, who held Lindsay in abject captivity for decades after savagely transforming him with his bite, has been trying to find Lindsay since the day he escaped his prison a century before. If Duncan can find him, he has the power to compel Lindsay to obey his every command, so the more distance Lindsay can put between them, the better.


… on a mission…


While he’s in Edinburgh, Lindsay has been tasked with acquiring the “Naismith Papers”, the writings of a long-dead witchfinder. It should be a straightforward mission. All Lindsay has to do is charm an elderly book collector, Hector Cruikshank. But Cruikshank may not be all he seems—and there are others who want the papers.


… meets his match


As if that were not enough, while tracking down the Naismith Papers, Lindsay meets stubborn architect Drew Nicol. Although the attraction between them is intense, Nicol seems frustratingly determined to resist Lindsay’s advances. Somehow though, Lindsay can’t seem to accept Nicol’s rejection. Is he just moonstruck, or is Nicol bonded to him in ways he doesn’t yet understand?

 
About The Author
 

Joanna Chambers always wanted to write. She spent over 20 years staring at blank sheets of paper and despairing of ever writing a single word. In between staring at blank sheets of paper, she studied law, met her husband and had two children. Whilst nursing her first child, she rediscovered her love of romance and found her muse. Joanna lives in Scotland with her family and finds time to write by eschewing sleep and popular culture.


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