A Mika Review: Hummingbird House by Kenzie Cade

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

HummingbirdHouseLGTo honor his grandmother’s final request, Trenton Appleton drops everything to visit the family’s ancestral home: Hummingbird House, where he experienced his first kiss and first heartbreak with Callum Eason.

 Eight years ago, confused by his attraction to Trent, Callum reacted badly. But with help he never expected, Callum found himself and learned to accept who he was.

Now Trent is back at Hummingbird House, and Callum has his opportunity to salvage their friendship, at least. But Trent is less receptive than he was all those years ago. Still, Callum is determined to show Trent he has changed and keep his promise to Trent’s grandmother. When past mistakes repeat themselves, Callum must break the cycle before his last chance with Trent passes him by.

This short work was a lovely, sweet read, and I was able to finish it in an afternoon. I really enjoyed it. It was romantic,  charming, and heartwarming. I didn’t want it to end. Indeed, I wish it was a full length novel. Trent was amazingly strong once he set his mind to it. I really enjoyed Callum as well; he was determined to fight for what he wanted.

Both gents have a big past of each other’s lives. They have made their mark, and it was only a matter of time before they were reintroduced back in each other’s lives. Trent was dealing with his emotions and grief from the death of grandmother. I wish we could have seen actual moments in time with her; she was really warm and loving for him. Trent’s own mother was no where to be found, and while she decided she didn’t want to be a parent; his grandmother did with open arms. We start the book by her writing letters because she has the feeling that her time is ending. I loved what she had to say, and all her sneaky ways of getting letters to Trent at different times.

Upon her death, she made sure he went back to the United Kingdom to the family’s Hummingbird House Estate which has always been in the family. It was hard for Trent returning to a place where his first heartbreak ended, but he would have done anything to please that woman. The family theme is heavenly in this book. Callum’s family welcomed Trent back with open arms and warm hearts. I found myself cheesing through certain moments in the book. I love how Callum decided that he wasn’t going to just walk away because Trent told him. Callum was very patient, and I thought he was cute for interacting with the grandmother and no one knew new about it.

I would definitely recommend this sweet read to people who want to see your one true loves returned to each other. I wish we could have gotten this in full length, who knows maybe one day down the road Kenzie might produce a full length sequel. 

Cover Art by Catt Ford. I actually liked this cover a lot. I loved the snowy background, because it was Christmastime in the novel. I think both of these guys descriptions are spot on with Trent & Callum.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press eBook      All Romance (ARe)  amazon       buy it here
Book Details:

eBook, 51 pages.
December 1st, 2014 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 9781632167439
Part of Dreamspinner Press Celebrate – 2014 Advent Calendar

Edition Language: English

A MIka Review: Heart by Garrett Leigh

Standard

Rating:  4 stars out of 5

HEARTTheFinal_edited-1Cornish pastry chef Seb Wright dreads the summer tourist season. The cash injection to his artisan fudge pantry is more than welcome, the extra work, less so. Then one summer, a shadowy Good Samaritan catches his eye. Irish Traveller Dex is bewitching, a beautiful sullen enigma who turns Seb’s world upside down until he disappears in the night, vanishing like a mystical summer rain. 

Twelve months later Dex is in the midst of a dark storm. A slave to his master, ‘Uncle’ Braden, he spends his days cleaning caravans and his nights working in Braden’s other businesses. His short summer with Seb seems a lifetime ago. Lost in the savage violence of the murky underworld, he doesn’t dare dream he’ll ever find his way back, until one night, a brutal crime opens the door for a chance escape. A new life beckons, old faces emerge, and immersed in the heady vibe of London’s East End, new love begins to heal his fractured heart.

Garrett Leigh has become a must read author for me since she put out Only Love. That book is still my favorite m/m book of this year. Heart is about finding one self, finding love, what it means to be in love, and family. Garrett Leigh always seems to put us in these dark places and we get to see these guys find their way to the light. From the beginning of the story we are introduced to this amazing man name Seb, for someone his age which is mine, the amount of compassion and love he has is astounding. I’m a sucker for abuse, dark gritty tells, under educated that’s just me. Seb was a twenty-something guy working in a town that he grew up end making fudge. He is about the only good Samaritan around in my opinion. He finds himself walking home one night and he got the feeling that someone was close which they were. It was Dex, beautiful, sweet, homeless gypsy Dex, and what does it do, honest Dex tells Seb he dropped his wallet he did. I think for me from that view point I wanted more Dex, that’s all I cared about. Reading from Seb’s point of view was so satisfying because he was enthralled just as much as the reader was. It’s a point in the beginning of the story where it’s the weather conditions are horrible and Seb see’s Dex underneath an awning trying to stay warm, Seb invites him in for food and shelter. What broke my heart was what Dex said next. He automatically went into thinking what did he owe Seb for doing this for him. As if everyone in the world expect something from a 19 yr old boy.

Things progress from there for a while. One morning Seb wakes up and Dex is gone. Surprisingly I didn’t cry, which I thought I was going to the entire time. The point of view changes to Dex story now, and man did I cry. He went through so much hard ache and pain. I can’t imagine people having to go through this. He was apart of a gypsy carnival. He was a prostitute who never seemed to come out on the winning side. As I don’t like to give away the plot I can only talk about how I felt towards these characters. I felt anger mostly. I felt anger because he had to go on years with out Seb and only have his memories as the only good thing in life. He does get save it’s not sweep off your feet. It’s hard, and Dex worked really hard for whatever he did in life. Those moments in the story pulled at my heart more and more. I really appreciate his growth, determination and usefulness.

Seb Wright is an amazing character. One thing I could say that really gave him an edge was his patience. He was super patient with Dex when they reunited. I loved how Seb was willing to move mountains for Dex. I will continue to support this author as long as Garrett continues to write. I wish I had beautiful words to encompass of how I felt. Sometimes I do have the words, and other times I just write what comes to me. I can say the angst was alive and kicking. I recommend this book to lovers of Garrett Leigh, lovers of angst. People who want to believe and succeed in life. Don’t ever give up is my only words of wisdom.

The cover artist: G.D. Leigh. I liked the cover; it doesn’t give much away for the story. Upon reading the story you kind of guess which character it’s for. The cover does make you feel at peace with what has transpired for one of the main characters.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner eBook & Paperback      All Romance eBook      amazon Heart

Book Details:
eBook, 204 pages
Published October 27th, 2014 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 9781632163677
Edition Language: English
url

A MelanieM Review: Dead Things by Meredith Russell

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Devin never thought he could find hope or love among the ruins of a broken world. Not until he found Noah.

Dead-Things-ebookDevin Reed is one of the last survivors of a virus that has turned the earth’s population into living corpses…zombies.  Devin lives and conducts daily hunts from high security penitentiary in Kansas State that provides his group of survivors with shelter and security.   Devin returned from his last tour in Afghanistan to find the world gone mad.  He lost everyone he loved to the plague, including his long term partner and love.  Broken hearted and enraged by the circumstances he finds himself in, he risks his life daily to leave to hunt for supplies and any other survivors he can find.

One fateful scavenger trip changes everything when Devin and his partner check out what looks to be an abandoned farm house and find Noah Webber, the last of his family and the only person to survive a zombie attack.  Each man has lost so much, and their attraction to each other is bound up in each other’s survivor guilt and fear.  Together Devin and Noah unite to fight the monsters around them.  But it will take more than determination and firepower to win, it  might take finding the courage  to risk all for love and the hope of a future.

Just when I think I’ve about had my fill of all things zombie, along comes a story to remind me why this genre is so pupular.  Dead Things by Meredith Russell manages to combines  the heartbreak of loss, suspense, a post apocalyptic world, zombies and, of course, romance and has us sitting on the edge of our seats while doing it.

I especially liked her character, Devin Reed.  He is the epitome of a survivor, complete with a lost love, a sense of futility about the present and yet he endures and perseveres.  He’s also a warrior, hot, and gay.  Devin feels real,  he is shut down emotionally, allowing only the pain of loss or anger to penetrate the barriers he has erected again any further vulnerability.  There are other characters around that also seem authentic to the direness of the circumstances they find themselves in but Devin comes across as the most believable.

Noah Webber took longer for me to invest in.  His attitude seems at odds with his history and background.  And although we got a good explanation for his actions and outlook, it ended up irritating not only Devin but the reader as well.  Luckily for the story, that faded away under the onslaught of zombies and the events that occur.

Russell adds in high suspense, to go along with the anxiety of survival and the prickling of hope for the future.  The author solidly builds her story and keeps us guessing as we head into the climax and story resolution.  It’s fun, heartbreaking, white knuckle ride all the way to the end.  If you are a lover of zombies and post apocalyptic worlds to go along with your M/M romance, then add this to your TBR list.  It delivers what it promises. And that makes it one of Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words recommended reads.

Like most fiction of this trope, a small group of survivors has banded together in the most secure place they could find, a high security penitentiary.  This place has become their world, complete with a dictator who makes the rules and expects everyone to follow them.

Cover art by Meredith Russell.  Love the cover, it works perfectly for the character and gives a dark tone to the overall look.

Sales Links:  All Romance (ARe)       Amazon        Dead Things

Book Details:

book, Second edition
Published August 29th 2014 (first published August 2012)

Review: Reviewing Life (A Review Story) by Lara Brukz

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Reviewing Life coverAfter a life spent as an alcoholic,  Marshall Ellerbee finds a himself at an AA meeting and on the path to sobriety.  Finally sober, Marshall find a new outlook and the strength to change his life in every aspect.  He starts a new job at the Wellness Center that houses his sponsor and starts making amends.  Then his sponsor suffers a heart attack and dies.  His replacement is none other than Kyle Young, Marshall’s ex-lover’s best friend.  Kyle was no friend to Marshall even when Marshall and Eric were just dating.  But after the drunk driving accident that cost Eric the use of his legs, Kyle’s distain turned to hate.  And now Marshall is expected to work with the man who hates him.  Marshall wants to show Kyle that he has changed, but will Kyle accept that fact and Marshall?

Kyle Young is floored when he finds out that the athletic manager for the Wellness Center where he was just hired is none other than the drunk that almost killed his best friend, Eric.  But Marshall appears sober and when Marshall saves Eric’s life, then Kyle must finally accept the fact that Marshall has turned his life around and become a better person, not just a sober one.

When the men find themselves attracted to each other, and not just physically, it upsets the fragile state of their budding friendship.  Is a romance even possible between two men who shared  a past such as Marshall’s?

I thoroughly enjoyed Lara Brukz’s first story in the series, Five-Star Review.  That novel was Eric Carillo (a reviewer of M/M Romances) and Cade Montgomery’s (author of M/M Romances) story.  But Marshall Ellerbee figured largely in that tale as the ex-lover who, driving drunk, put Eric in the wheelchair and the lifestyle that isolated him in his loft.  His attempts to re-enter Eric’s life after the accident only caused more pain and heartache through a scheme hatched by a drunken Marshall.  In another story, it would have been easy to write  Marshall off as the villain he certainly was but in Brukz’s hands, Marshall was also a person in great pain, drowning in alcohol, destroying his life and others in the process.  Eric could never bring himself to hate Marshall although he hated what the man had done and who he became under the influence of alcohol.     Brukz created a character who could be redeemed but not in that story.  I think many of us who read Five-Star Review wanted to see what happened to Marshall and now we have our answer in Reviewing Life.

As the story opens we find Marshall sitting in at his first AA meeting, listening to people relate the traumatic events that finally made them get sober.  It is a bleak picture and Marshall sits there shaking wondering if he has the courage to go to the podium and acknowledge that he is an alcoholic.  It is a powerful scene and handled with the  painful realism it deserves by Lara Brukz.  Alcoholism and the path to sobriety is a topic of much larger and detailed stories.  But Brukz’s treatment rings with sincerity and the need to make Marshall Ellerbee’s recovering alcoholic as authentic as possible.  We get glimpses into Marshall’s upbringing and his use of booze as a bandaid for the problems he encountered.  And Brukz makes Marshall work for his acceptance, asking for forgiveness and trying the make amends for his past actions.

Kyle Young also has a past that includes alcoholism, although not his own.  So Kyle’s approach to the disease and those afflicted is colored by his own experiences, again a realistic handling of the subject matter.  I liked Kyle and the sober Marshall found in this story.  Their romance was slow to build, as it should be with two characters and their past issues.

At 124 pages, it would be a challenge for any author to bring in the full range of issues and milestones in an alcoholic’s road to recovery.  There are several mentions of the temptation to drink again, including one scene at a bar.  The need for support for a alcoholic is there throughout Reviewing Life, a necessity for someone to remain sober.  Lara Brukz introduces a few secondary characters at the Wellness Center, including a young man called Toby.  I loved the scenes that took place there and can only hope the next novel is located at the Center and brings  back not only Toby but the other children and adults as well.

Of course Eric and Cade are strong secondary characters in this tale, so those readers as fond of them as I am will be overjoyed  to see them again.  This is a strong romance which could have benefited by additional length to add some more layers to  Marshall’s recovery and Kyle’s background.  However, I enjoyed Marshall and Kyle’s romance and think most readers will too.  Consider this definitely recommended for both the story and the author. More please.

This is how Reviewing Life starts…

“I LOVED vodka. Vodka martinis; Bloody Marys; screwdrivers. Oh, and I loved green apple vodka. Simply an amazing drink. It was what I went to when I was happy, when I was sad, when I was frustrated. I used any excuse as a reason to practically drink myself into a coma.”

Cover art by Catt Ford.  Just a terrific cover, love the artwork.

Books in this series include:

Five-Star Review (A Review Story #1)
Reviewing Life (A Review Story #2)

Book Details:

ebook, 134 pages
Published November 20th 2013 by Dreamspinner Press (first published November 19th 2013)
ISBN 1627982752 (ISBN13: 9781627982757)
edition language English