A MelanieM Review: Last Marine Standing (Heroes #2) by R.J. Scott

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Former Marine Recon, Mackenzie ‘Mac’ Jackson has secrets. The things he did for his country, the things he saw, must never be spoken about. Until, that is, his team is targeted.

A shift in political alliances means one particular mission undertaken by Mac and his Fire Team needs to be wiped from the history books. Starting with the team itself.

Forest Ranger Samuel Larson wants to find the Marines who saved his life. He just wants to say thank you. What he can’t know is that he’s walking into a firestorm of betrayal and murder.

When Samuel arrives at Mac’s place he throws Mac’s plans for hiding out of the window. Abruptly Mac has to protect a man who threatens his heart, only this time he can’t be sure he will succeed in keeping Sam alive.

When the people you trusted turn on you, when you are the last one standing, should you take your secrets to the grave? Or make the murderers pay?

Heroes is turning out to be an incredible series.  A spinoff from the amazing Sanctuary stories,A Reason To Stay hooked me in with RJ Scott delivering romance, murder mystery along with  her hardened SEAL on leave and his second chance at love police officer.  Last Maine Standing though kicks it all into high gear.  There’s an absolutely horrific mission in the past that starts the story.    I’ll say no more about that.

But these two men haunt each other and the reader with their combined pasts.

On top of that, RJ Scott has thrown a conspiracy of deceit and murder against our heroes.  It’s heinous, it’s murky, and the suspicions and suspense of everyone drives this story, sometimes pushing the romance aspect to a secondary element.   Still, RJ Scott is so great with it comes to interpersonal dynamics that even when suspense and espionage is driving a certain portion of the story, she gets to work in the magnetic attraction and heat that brings these two men together and makes their relationship work.   You certainly understand by Sam needs to find Mac after all these years and you can see Mac’s need as well.  The balance works.

Really, I thought this story had it all.  Action, drama, hot men, sex and yes, romance.  I loved this story.  Heroes is a wonderful series and Last Marine Standing is the prime example why.  I highly recommend both.

Cover art by Meredith Russell is terrific.

Sales Links:  RJ Scott Books | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 211 pages
Published October 8th 2014 by Love Lane Books (first published October 6th 2014)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesHeroes #2

 

A MelanieM Review: Bitten by Desire (Regent’s Park Pack #3) by Annabelle Jacobs

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Two lovers from rival packs. Have they come together only to be forced apart? 

Alec Knight, a beta in the Regent’s Park pack, guards his heart carefully. Ghosts from his past keep him alone and angry, any hope of a relationship impossible while guilt from the pack wars still haunts him. With the anniversary drawing near, Alec needs a distraction.

As a lowly member of the Primrose Hill pack, Mark Appleton isn’t used to having his alpha’s attention. Lately he’s had more than his fair share, and not for the right reasons. Despite growing suspicions that all is not well, Mark tries hard to do better, but constant criticism leaves him desperate for a stress outlet.

Sex is a good way for shifters to let off steam, and while their packs attack each other with accusations and lies, Alec and Mark work out their frustrations in bed. Pillow talk and shared secrets lead to a closeness neither was expecting, but when pack relations reach an all-time low, any future for them seems out of the question.

If they want to be together, they’ll have to go against their alphas’ wishes—except Alec won’t and Mark can’t.

Bitten by Desire, the third in the Regent’s Park Pack by Annabelle Jacobs, is my favorite by far.  That’s saying a lot because I’ve loved them all.  But these two shifters, Alec Knight of the R Pack and Mark Appleton of the PR Pack really got to me.

First, there’s the Romeo and Juliet aspect of their situation or in this case Romeo and Jules as their two packs are at war.  Mark has already been a victim of his Alpha’s heinous behavior and need to win at any cost, putting Mark at forefront of a Council investigation into both pack’s recent actions. It also brought him to Alec’s attention as part of the storyline in Bitten By Design (Regent’s Park Pack, #2).  In Bitten by Desire, the pull Mark and Alec feel towards each other intensifies as Alec is unable to stay away from Mark, no matter the consequences.

Jacobs gives us both shifter’s perspectives, letting us feel the danger of the situation and the inevitability that drives them forward…yes, it’s the mate bond already forming.  It’s primal, sexual, and so very hot!  Alec also has an angst filled past that’s haunting him, keeping him in an unsettled state, along with his uncertain feelings for Mark and the stress of the Council’s investigation.  The author’s writing drops us into the hearts and minds of these men, letting us feel the push/pull of the mating bond as it strengthens…and it’s every bit as sexy and wild as it sounds.

Plus yes, there’s the fact that Mark’s Alpha is plotting against the R Pack.  Annabeth Jacobs continually ramps up the suspense and the danger around Mark and those around him the entire story, keeping the readers right on the edge.  This was a successful element here and my only disappointment was the sentences doled out at the end.  For me, I thought the Council was too light handed considering what Howell and his Betas had done.  But perhaps that was just me. Or maybe there’s more to come.  I hope so.  I love this series and for me Bitten By Desire is one of the best.  The writing is excellent, the romance primal, hot and shifter perfect,  and the storyline full of suspense and happy endings!   For the fullest reading pleasure, start with the first story, Bitten By Mistake and work your way to Bitten By Desire!  I highly recommend them all.

Cover Design: Natasha Snow is nice and hot.  But I’d like a little more detail.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:

Kindle Edition
Published October 12th 2017
Edition Language English

Bitten By Mistake (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK

Bitten By Design (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK

Bitten By Desire (Book #3)

An Ali Review: We Met In Death by KA Merikan

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
 
“This is not the night you die.”

After years of working for a loan shark, Robert is done with blood and violence. All he has to show for it is a bag of money and a lifetime of regrets. There’s no other way out of his line of work than in a body bag.

So Robert decides to die.

But on the night he chooses to seal his own fate, destiny offers him a chance at redemption. When Robert saves a handsome young escort from a terrible death, he has no idea he is setting in motion much more than one last attempt at proving that inside the hardened shell, he is a decent human being. 

Charming, quick-witted, and full of smiles, Nathan is all Robert could dream of. He’s also ready to fall into the arms of his gruff protector. Robert, on the other hand, has never been with a man and will first need to fight his own demons if he is to accept that his whole being wants to make Nathan his.

With his former boss hunting them both, time is ticking, and Robert might just not get the chance to decide before it’s too late. More importantly though, Robert will stop at nothing to protect the man who’s made him feel alive again, the man who is the only thing between him and the abyss.
“I never had to think much about death before, but I did yesterday. I thought I would die. In a hole. Covered with dirt. Suffocate underground. 
But then you saved me.”

This book was a wild ride from the very first page till the end.  I love that I never know what I’m going to get with these authors but I always know that it’s going to be unique and outside the box.  I was really looking forward to this one and it did not disappoint.

Both Robert and Nathan are a bit lax when it comes to morals (especially Robert) but that didn’t effect my enjoyment of the story or them as main characters.  Robert was a bit difficult to like at the beginning and he doesn’t treat Nathan well overall. He was harsh and mean at times.  He has the glimpses of sweetness though that keep both the reader and Nathan interested in more. It was worth the initial struggle because when Robert finally opens up and falls, he falls hard.  I liked Nathan from the start.  He was spunky and funny and he rolled with both the metaphorical and literal punches.  These two had great chemistry and the sex scenes were scorching hot. 
Since the two men are part of the criminal world parts of the story are pretty gritty.  There’s some death and some destruction along the way but I was rooting for them the entire way.  I didn’t think it was very dark but I can’t always be trusted with that because my tolerance is pretty high.  If you are on the more sensitive side you should note the tags for the book. 
I really liked this and thought it was well done.  I enjoyed both the overall plot and the romance.  I thought the entire thing was wildly entertaining and I had a hard time putting it down once I had started it.
Cover Design: Natasha Snow:  I think the cover is perfect for the book.  It has the same dark, gritty vibe the books does.  I like it a lot.

Buy Links:

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 274 pages
Published October 10th 2017 by Acerbi & Villani ltd
ASINB0764CK6TZ
Edition LanguageEnglish
CharactersRobert Zidane (We Met In Death), Nathan Edwards (We Met In Death)

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Familiar Angel by Amy Lane

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

One hundred and forty years ago, Harry, Edward, and Francis met an angel, a demon, and a sorceress while escaping imprisonment and worse! They emerged with a new family—and shapeshifting powers beyond their wildest dreams.

Now Harry and his brothers use their sorcery to rescue those enslaved in human trafficking—but Harry’s not doing so well. Pining for Suriel the angel has driven Harry to take more and more risks until his family desperately asks Suriel for an intervention.

In order for Suriel to escape the bindings of heaven, he needs to be sure enough of his love to fight to be with Harry. Back when they first met, Harry was feral and angry, and didn’t know enough about love for Suriel to justify that risk. Can Suriel trust in Harry enough now to break his bonds of service for the boy who has loved his Familiar Angel for nearly a century and a half?

Familiar Angel by Amy Lane might be one of those “its not you, it’s me” things.  I’m in totally unfamiliar territory here (no pun intended) because I’ve never felt less connected to a story than I did here with that of Harry and his angel Suriel.  It’s been bothering me to no end to get to the heart of why because first it’s Amy Lane (insert surprise face emoji).  That’s never happened before. I felt such a detachment towards a story that had so many elements that should have had my had my emotions all caught up,  zip tied and locked in.

There was child trafficking, child prostitution and abuse, magic, demons (yes, I absolutely find them far more interesting than angels) and the potential for love  forever lost.  All great!  I did zero in on the angel aspect as part of my issue with the storyline.  Angels are not high on my list when looking at plotlines, not until they fall, and then they have to do some scrambling to draw my attention. Usually I just avoid the heck out of them.  But Amy Lane?  I don’t avoid her…  ever!  So into Familiar Angel I dove.  I dunno.  I think the angels won here.

I found Suriel whinny and his explanation as to why he couldn’t be with Harry full of holes.  I liked Harry but honestly wished he could have moved past his initial “angel worship” because their interactions and dynamics got old and repetitive. Harry’s two other ‘brothers’ and their chosen mates I found far more fascinating than the main couple here.

I liked the family that the author created to surround Harry, Edward, and Francis.  That goes for the evil that’s chasing the boys and the way in which he gets dealt with.  Francis and Edward especially seem to have so much depth and promise, that I can’t wait to read their stories.  At least I think that’s where Amy Lane is heading here.  Francis deserves to have his HEA so I hope the author gives him one.

Other readers will pick this story up and love the romance between Harry and Suriel.  They might find it sweet and magical and, just what they are looking for.  But for me…I’ll look backwards to those stories I loved and forwards to the new Amy Lane

Cover art by Reese Dante.  Something about that cover is off just like the story.   The cat should be more alleycat, leaner, harder like Harry.  Again, it’s me, not you.  *Shakes head*

Sales Links;  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Expected publication: October 20th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN13 9781635339468
Edition Language English

Xenia Melzer on Writing, Inspiration, and her latest release ‘A Dom and His Writer (Club Whisper #1) (guest blog)

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A Dom and His Writer (Club Whisper #1) by Xenia Melzer
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art: Aaron Anderson

Release Date: October 23, 2017

Available to Purchase at

Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

How I got the idea for A Dom and his Writer

by Xenia Melzer

People often want to know how authors get their ideas for stories. For each author, that can be a unique process, but one thing many of us have in common is the so-called “plot bunny disease”. The plot bunny is an evil little thing that hops through your mind, leaving new ideas like Easter eggs when you should be writing something else. Once the plot egg hatches – with me, it usually happens during night, when I’m defenseless – there’s this new story with all those interesting characters and it wants out. It can’t wait. Nope. Not a day, not a minute, and certainly not until you have finished this other project.

For me, this means I sit down with my trusty notebook (analog, not digital, so last century, I know!) to write down the cliff notes, overall plot, and everything else you need to craft a story. I usually don’t know what triggers the plot bunny to drop its eggs, but with “A Dom and his Writer”, I have a pretty good idea. I had read something about so-called helicopter parents, the pro and cons of getting children early/late in your life, and why especially parents with an academic background seem to be prone to helicoptering. Why I read that article? Don’t ask me. It was less complicated than the Lego bus my younger daughter wanted to build with me and slightly more demanding than scrolling through my FB account, so I went with it. Anyway, said article culminated in the idea for “A Dom and his Writer”.

I thought about all the ways my children have changed my life and then I wondered how somebody who had no ties to children or inclination to have them whatsoever, would react to having one dumped in their lap. At least, I wanted to have children…

So I came up with Richard and Dean, a gay BDSM couple, Richard a filthy rich billionaire, Dean a super-successful, not as filthy rich but still loaded author, who live their life with absolutely no care in the world. (I’m not saying BDSM couples don’t want children, it’s just that I wanted the maximum in contrast and black leather against pink onesies was irresistible to me.)

Richard and Dean have it all: deep love, a stable relationship, both are comfortable with their roles and the kinky side of their love-life, they have good friends and more money than they will ever be able to spend. Then comes Emily, Dean’s niece, a three-month old girl, and everything changes.

I do admit some of the scenes including Emily were written with my own children in mind. Becoming a parent is easy, being one is quite another story and nobody can prepare you for the challenges that come with raising a child. Those who consciously decide to become parents have at least nine months to prepare for it. To read books, watch videos, attend courses. Richard and Dean are thrown into the role with no warning and I have to admit, I just watched them struggle with the changes Emily brought to their life.

Sometimes it was funny, sometimes sad, and sometimes I got angry. Writing this story was a bit like the first year with my first daughter. A roller-coaster ride that I’d never want to miss, even when the ride was a bit bumpy sometimes.

I hope readers see the story like I do – a love story between two men who have to face a major challenge, not knowing how it will end for their relationship.

Oh, and there’s a bit of kink, too. 😊    

 

Blurb

Life is perfect for Richard and Dean. Richard is a wealthy and successful businessman who also owns a BDSM club, and Dean is a bestselling author and sub to Richard. They’re young, happy, and in love. The future is bright….

 

Until tragedy strikes and an accident claims Dean’s beloved sister. Dean also finds himself the guardian of a three-month-old infant, and soon he’s trading in his leather fetish gear for diapers and drool bibs. But little Emily is all that remains of his family, so how can he abandon her?

 

It’s not what Richard signed up for. As much as he tries to be supportive, he never wanted kids and misses having his partner to himself. Suddenly the life he imagined for them is gone, and he’s not sure their relationship can survive the upheaval. But fate isn’t through with Dean, and when misfortune strikes again, will he be able to turn to the man he loves? A final crisis will determine if they can pull together as a family or they must face facts and part ways.

About the Author

Xenia Melzer is a mother of two who enjoys riding and running when she’s not writing stories. She doesn’t like beer but is easily tempted by a Virgin Mojito. Or chocolate. Truffles are especially cherished, even though she doesn’t discriminate. As a true chocoholic, she welcomes any kind of cocoa-based delight.

You can contact her through her website: http//www.xeniamelzer.com

Or befriend and follow her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/xeniamelzer/

Review Tour and Giveaway for We Met In Death by KA Merikan

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 90,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Natasha Snow
 
Blurb
 

“This is not the night you die.”

After years of working for a loan shark, Robert is done with blood and violence. All he has to show for it is a bag of money and a lifetime of regrets. There’s no other way out of his line of work than in a body bag.

So Robert decides to die.

But on the night he chooses to seal his own fate, destiny offers him a chance at redemption. When Robert saves a handsome young escort from a terrible death, he has no idea he is setting in motion much more than one last attempt at proving that inside the hardened shell, he is a decent human being.

Charming, quick-witted, and full of smiles, Nathan is all Robert could dream of. He’s also ready to fall into the arms of his gruff protector. Robert, on the other hand, has never been with a man and will first need to fight his own demons if he is to accept that his whole being wants to make Nathan his.

With his former boss hunting them both, time is ticking, and Robert might just not get the chance to decide before it’s too late. More importantly though, Robert will stop at nothing to protect the man who’s made him feel alive again, the man who is the only thing between him and the abyss.

“I never had to think much about death before, but I did yesterday. I thought I would die. In a hole. Covered with dirt. Suffocate underground. But then you saved me.”

WARNING: This story contains scenes of violence, torture, mentions of suicide, offensive language, morally ambiguous characters, homophobia and homophobic language

October 10 – BooksLaidBareBoys, Mikku-chan, Mirrigold: Mutterings and Musings
October 12 – Urban Smoothie Read
October 14 – My Fiction Nook, OptimuMM
October 16 – Bonkers About Books, MM Book Escape
October 18 – The Librarian’s Corner
October 20 – Jim’s Reading Room, Bayou Book Junkie, Cheekypee Reads & Reviews, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Sanaa’s Book Blog, Love Bites & Silk Ties

K. A. Merikan is the pen name for Kat and Agnes Merikan, a team of writers, who are taken for sisters with surprising regularity. Kat’s the mean sergeant and survival specialist of the duo, never hesitating to kick Agnes’s ass when she’s slacking off. Her memory works like an easy-access catalogue, which allows her to keep up with both book details and social media. Also works as the emergency GPS. Agnes is the Merikan nitpicker, usually found busy with formatting and research. Her attention tends to be scattered, and despite pushing thirty, she needs to apply makeup to buy alcohol. Self-proclaimed queen of the roads.


They love the weird and wonderful, stepping out of the box, and bending stereotypes both in life and books. When you pick up a Merikan book, there’s one thing you can be sure of – it will be full of surprises.

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Review Tour ~ A Cowboy for Caleb (Great Plains Shifters #1) by L.C. Davis (excerpt and giveaway)

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Book Title: A Cowboy for Caleb (Great Plains Shifters #1)

Author: L.C. Davis

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Wolf Conan

Release Date: October 11

Genre/s: M/M Romance, hurt/comfort MPREG with a HEA

Length: approx. 37k words

It is a standalone story, but is the first in the Great Plains Shifters series (the same universe as The Mountain Shifters).

Blurb

A COWBOY FOR CALEB BLURB

Falling for his deceased twin brother’s mate was never part of Dustin’s plan.

This midwestern Alpha might be a little rough around the edges, but he lives by a few simple principles and honor is chief among them.

Nonetheless, when tragedy strikes the Meadowlands Pack, Dustin feels he has no choice but to bring his twin’s mate home to take care of him. The only problem is, Caleb isn’t anything like Dustin expected of the city omega who stole his brother’s heart and divided their family.

What starts out as trying to do the right thing soon becomes a blurry series of complicated decisions that lead Dustin further away from the path he’s always followed—and further into the arms of the one omega he was never supposed to want.

Caleb has been through the worst a mated omega could fear. He’s lost his mate and their unborn child, and now he finds himself at the mercy of an Alpha who has every reason to hate him.

Despite being twins, Dustin and Caleb’s former mate, Alec, are nothing alike. Caleb wants nothing more than to please his new Alpha and secure his position in the pack, but Dustin seems to take everything he says the wrong way.

As forbidden tensions mount between Alpha and omega, Caleb begins to fear that Dustin will start taking his developing interest the right way.

Buy Links

Amazon US

Amazon UK Author Page

Goodreads Link

Excerpt

Dustin hadn’t been prepared for Caleb to take him up on his offer to stay and help him through his heat, even though he’d made it in all sincerity. He moved a bit closer, and the moment his hands made contact with Caleb’s skin, he knew he’d bitten off more than he could chew. He tried desperately to focus on the nonsensical plot of the movie, but the more he touched Caleb and the more he felt the omega’s tight muscles relax under his attention, the harder it was to think at all.

After all, some things didn’t require a whole lot of brain power. Instinct was more than enough. It was reining in those instincts that posed the real challenge.

The soft moan that passed Caleb’s lips was the thing that caved Dustin in all at once. The omega arched his back and leaned into Dustin’s touch, their pheromones mingling together in perfect harmony, as if their bodies had already decided how the night was going to go.

“That feels so good,” Caleb breathed.

“Good,” Dustin growled. He hoped Caleb would assume he was just hoarse and not angry, but knowing the Alpha’s voice was just rough with desire was probably even worse. “You’re tense.”

Caleb froze and looked over his shoulder. His eyes were dark and heavy with lust, and if there was any doubt in Dustin’s mind that the attraction he felt was a two-way street, it was gone now. Caleb turned slowly, and before Dustin could fully process what he was doing, the omega had slipped his arms around Dustin’s neck. His fingertips grazed Dustin’s skin, raising goosebumps all over his flesh.

“I know this is wrong,” Caleb said, his voice soft and husky but full of guilt. He wouldn’t meet Dustin’s eyes, which was just as well. The Alpha knew once he did, all bets were off. He wouldn’t be able to keep the truth inside any longer. “But I — I’m just so tired of feeling alone,” he whispered, tears slipping down his cheeks.

“You’re not alone,” Dustin assured him, stroking Caleb’s cheek. “I know I haven’t been there for you the way I should have. I’m just so afraid of making a mistake. Of giving in to the way I feel about you, and leading us into something we’ll both regret.”

“How do you feel?” Caleb asked, finally meeting his eyes. His gaze was searching, needful.

Dustin swallowed hard. “I think you know by this point. I’m pretty bad at hiding it, but God knows I’ve tried.”

Caleb gave him a small, rueful smile. “Maybe I’ve just been afraid to see it. Afraid that you’ll realize I feel the same way.”

“You don’t,” Dustin said, coming back to himself for a split second. He hoped it was enough. “You’re in heat.”

Caleb laughed. It was a soft, regretful sound. “I wish I could blame it on that. Maybe then I could sleep at night without feeling like such a horrible person.”

“You’re not a horrible person.” Dustin’s thumb swept across Caleb’s lips. They were so soft. How had he gone this long without kissing them? Without touching him…? “You’re the most beautiful person I’ve ever met.”

The omega’s lips found his. This was it. This was the point of no return. If he crossed that line, if he returned the kiss, it was all over. He could no longer lay even a technical claim to goodness if he tasted the forbidden fruit and took more off the vine, but he had never felt quite as weak—or as strong—as he did with the omega in his arms.

In the end, the satin sin of Caleb’s lips brushing against his own was just too much. Dustin took the omega into his arms and his tongue slipped in past Caleb’s parted lips, taking the reins of control the way he’d always wanted. In all his wildest dreams—and Caleb had been the subject of plenty—he had never imagined giving in to temptation could taste so sweet.

 About the Author

L.C. Davis is an M/M romance author with a passion for representation. Series include The Mountain Shifters, Great Plains Shifters, Kingdom of Night and Queer Magick.

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Release Blitz Tour and Giveaway for VL Locey’s Improper Fraction

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Cover Design: Reverie Design



Length: 68,690 words


Blurb

O’Malley Ramsey, math aficionado, grew up next door to Garrison Rook, All-American athlete. While O’Malley dreamed of numbers and kissing Garrison, Garrison’s tastes ran to home runs and hot chicks. During a family celebration the night before both young men were heading off for college, O’Malley joyously discovers that Garrison isn’t quite as straight as the star athlete had been pretending to be. Vows to return to each other quickly followed a few clumsy kisses in the old treehouse in the Rook’s backyard.

O’Malley came home to Garrison. Garrison never returned to O’Malley.

Four years later, the two ex-friends meet up at a summer camp where O’Malley is serving as a counselor. Garrison is desperate to make things right with his childhood friend, but can O’Malley, still nursing the pain and mistrust of Garrison’s betrayal, ever forgive or love Garrison again?

Author Bio


V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, 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 flock of assorted domestic fowl, and two Jersey 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


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An Ali Audiobook Review: Unquiet (Resilient Love #3) by Melanie Hansen and Michael Stellman (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Loren Smith has been in love with Eliot Devlin almost his entire life. During their turbulent childhood and teen years, Loren didn’t always understand Eliot, and sometimes he could be a challenge, but Eliot was the only one to ever truly ease Loren’s deep loneliness and accept him. When Eliot’s increasingly erratic and self-destructive behavior culminates in a suicide attempt at seventeen, Loren is devastated.

Upon meeting again by chance nine years later, Loren is enjoying a successful career as a police officer while Eliot’s life has been a constant struggle for stability. In and out of mental hospitals, with a rap sheet a mile long, he continues to be buffeted by the twin storms of mania and depression. Loren’s love and protectiveness for Eliot are deeply ingrained in him, however, and their feelings for each other are quickly rekindled.

Loren has issues of his own he’s dealing with, and trying to understand and cope with Eliot’s bipolar disorder isn’t easy. They believe they’re meant to be, and Eliot brings a fulfillment to Loren’s life that no one else will ever match. But as they both come to realize, love by itself can’t cure all.
This book has the distinction of being both one of the best and the worst books I’ve read in a long time.  The writing in this story is fantastic.  The author makes the characters and their situation so realistic you feel like you’re right there along with them.  This level of top notch writing makes it one of the best books I’ve read this year.
What makes it one of the worst is that this story is just emotionally brutal. It takes a very realistic look at loving someone with a chronic, severe mental health issue. I would go so far as to say it’s a love story but not a romance. If you’re looking for a story with a touching hea this is not it. The book is nothing but pain for these two. They have their moments of happiness but they’re boxed in between really horrible days, weeks, months. When it ended I just felt sad and so, so bad for both of them. I found this entire story to be a giant downer.
If I had known going in how heavy and serious it was going to be I would have been prepared and maybe I would have probably liked it better. Honestly it was just too much for me.  I want my romance stories to have a happily ever after and that didn’t happen here.  They’re together at the end and it’s as good as it’s ever going to be, but their lives are still this roller coaster of emotion.  There was more than once occasion where I wished for something different for Loren.  I had liked him so much in book two.  He was such a great guy.  Then I felt guilty for those thoughts because none of what was happening was Loren’s fault.  He didn’t ask for the life he was given.  My heart hurt for all the pain he had to go through.
This book was narrated by Michael Stellman who is a new narrator for me.  I thought he did a great job on this.  His narration was well done and I liked the way he did both MC’s as well as the side characters.  I think the great narration added another level of emotions to the story.  Normally that’s a good thing but in this I think it made it even sadder.
I struggled with how to rate this.  I think it deserves a 5 plus stars on plot and writing but if I based it on enjoyment level it would be much lower.  I have read and really enjoyed the first two books in the series.  I was expecting something with that same level of angst.  This was just too gritty and too realistic for me.  If you’re looking for something different and on a more serious tone I do recommend this.  If you have read the first two books you will see the other two couples in this a bit and there’s some sweet scenes in regards to some of them.  If you have not read the first two you can read this as a standalone.
This cover was done by Natasha Snow Designs and I think it is really good.  It perfectly captures the mood of this story.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audio
Published September 13th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press (first published January 22nd 2016)
Original Title Unquiet
ASIN B075KFLSC7
Edition Language English

A Kai Release Day Review: Safe and Sound by Caitlin Ricci

Standard

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Twenty-one-year-old Mason has to get out of his mother’s house, where her boyfriend subjects him to unwanted advances—and won’t take no for an answer. Since she didn’t believe Mason when he told her about his uncle’s sexual abuse, Mason knows he’s on his own, and it’s up to him to raise the money he needs. He thinks he’s in luck when he takes a modeling job.

Oliver is a photographer, and getting guys and sex has always been easy for him. His current open relationship is no exception: more friendship and fun than anything. But when Oliver meets Mason, he can see the younger man is fragile and desperately in need of help. Before anything can develop between them, Mason needs to free himself of his terrible living situation and start on the road to healing. Oliver wants to stand beside him as he does. What surprises him is the discovery that he might need Mason as much as Mason needs him.

Well, guys, this story just didn’t work for me.

The premise had such a great potential and although is a really short novella, I was hopeful it would be a good one before I read it. But, unfortunately, the execution fell flat.

Even though I didn’t have a big problem with the writing style, I didn’t like the way the story was developed. Or better yet, not developed enough.

I couldn’t connect with the main characters, and maybe if their personality had been more worked, it could be a little better. 

Mason seemed and acted just like a kid. And I get he had a traumatic experience in the past (that could have been more traumatic in my opinion), but his reaction to everybody and constant helpless characteristic seemed a little unrealistic for me.

On the other hand, Oliver personality wasn’t helplessly at all, but it was flat. He avoided monogamic relationships and, ok that’s his choice, not judgment here for it. But I couldn’t wrap why of it. I mean, he kind of tried to explain himself, but it was dull. It would be nice if we could see more depth in him.

Well, the open relationship Oliver had and the way it worked was intriguing, at least. But I couldn’t connect with Mason and Oliver together. It was really super fast and unrealistic the feelings. Like a super fast kiss and they had feelings for each other? 

I also didn’t like much of the supporting characters. Don’t even let me start with the mom. urgh! She treated her son like a kid and at the same time didn’t see what was in front of her nose. Urgh! 

I’ll stop now before I give you a big spoiler. But go there and read it. I recommend it? No. But I’d like to know if you have a different opinion or maybe agree with me. Let me know what you think about this novella.

Well, the cover art by Brooke Albrecht, is a really generic and a nice picture. But didn’t fit the story and I’m sorry, but it isn’t as inviting to read the book as a cover should.

Sales Links

Dreamspinner: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/safe-and-sound-by-caitlin-ricci-8948-b

Amazon: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36267337-safe-and-sound?from_search=true

Book Details:

ebook, 1st, 84 pages
Published October 18th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781635337839
Edition LanguageEnglish