Review Tour for Bitten by Desire (Regent’s Park Pack #3) by Annabelle Jacobs

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 78,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Natasha Snow
 
Regent’s Park Pack Series
 
Bitten By Mistake (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK
Bitten By Design (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb
 

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.

 

Read Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Highly Recommended Review Here.


October 12 – Gay Book Reviews, Mikku-chan, Mirrigold: Mutterings & Musings
October 14 – My Fiction Nook
October 16 – Nerdy Dirty & Flirty
October 20 – Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
October 23 – Jim’s Reading Room
October 25 – Making It Happen, Diverse Reader, Gay Media Reviews, Lelyana’s Book Blog
October 27 – The Way She Reads, Bayou Book Junkie, Book Lovers 4Ever, Love Bites & Silk Ties, Sexy Erotic Xciting

Author Bio

Annabelle Jacobs lives in the South West of England with three rowdy children, and two cats. An avid reader of fantasy herself for many years, Annabelle now spends her days writing her own stories. They’re usually either fantasy or paranormal fiction, because she loves building worlds filled with magical creatures, and creating stories full of action and adventure. Her characters may have a tough time of it—fighting enemies and adversity—but they always find love in the end.

 

Twitter – https://twitter.com/AJacobs_fiction
Website – www.annabellejacobs.com
Email – ajacobsfiction@gmail.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ajacobsfiction

 

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A MelanieM Review: Wheels Up (Out of Uniform #4) by Annabeth Albert

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Their love is forbidden, but their hearts aren’t listening to rules and regulations.

Lieutenant Dustin Strauss is a reformed man. No longer a twentysomething hell-raiser, he’s his SEAL team’s new XO-and a man with a secret. Or seven. He’s kept his bisexual identity under wraps for years, along with his kinky side and a fondness for the military-themed semi-anonymous hookup website Joe4Joe. His latest chat buddy is more than a sexy online distraction-they’re taking their very not-safe-for-work relationship into real time.

Petty Officer Wes Lowe has a smart mouth, a take-charge attitude and an uncanny ability for making things go boom. The life of an enlisted man isn’t always enough to satisfy him, but one wild, no-questions-asked weekend with his online love comes close. When a transfer order comes in, Wes feels ready and centered. He’ll make a good impression on his new SEAL team and keep his growing feelings for Dustin on the down low.

But as they log more time online and some very real emotions surface, Dustin and Wes struggle to pretend they’re just a harmless fling. And when his commander introduces Dustin to his team’s newest member, they’re in for the shock of a lifetime…and a crushing disappointment: their difference in ranks means even a friendship without sexual contact could end their navy careers for good.

With their hearts on the line, Dustin and Wes may not survive their next mission, let alone find a way toward a future together.

Wheels Up is the fourth story in Annabeth Albert’s Out of Uniform series and it’s just outstanding.  One of the things I look forward to in every story is a different window on Navy life, in particular the SEALs.  Here the element is fraternization, something I hadn’t really given any thought to, why the military (all branches) would have such a rule in place and its impact on those who fall in love with the wrong rank.  Of course it doesn’t start out that way.  It all starts out in complete lovely ignorance and lust.

Lieutenant Dustin Strauss and Petty Officer Wes Lowe meet through an ap called Joe4Joe, a  Grindr sort of hookup place and startup an “online” relationship, part lust/part growing friendship.  They have no idea of their real names or jobs, just that they seem to get along and might be sliding into something real if they let it.  Albert’s believable characters and wonderful dialog brings us wholly into Dusty and Wes’ lives, both together online and separately as a SEAL (Dusty) and a demolitions man (Wes).

We need the alternate perspectives because both men lead such full, stress-filled lives.  For Wes, that includes a younger sister Sam, with a life threatening illness as well as being a ordinance or demolitions man, meaning explosives.  For Dusty he’s now a XO,  and as the oldest and “last straight” son of the family, the pressures from his father to be that family man is forcing him to hide the fact that he’s bisexual and he’s resenting the fact that out of all the other sons, he’s the one shouldering the burden.  Two men, lives of unbelievable strain and responsibility and their outlet is each other via the internet and anonymity, a wall they no longer may want to hide behind.

The author makes their online “connection” hot, sexy and emotionally intimate.  We can feel the bond that’s formed between them and the fear that rises when the moment comes to meet in RL.

Of course, nothing prepares either man  for what happens afterward, after the “after meeting” and the coincidence of Wes ending up under Dusty’s command.  And that’s where I think this story really takes flight.  Because the fraternization policy is in place for a reason.  To protect those of lower rank from being abused from their officers (something that does occur in the service).  It’s a good rule and it should be enforced.  But Albert looks at it from the flip side.  What happens when a couple who loves each other also has to abide by the same law, there’s no addendums that apply.  This storyline comes across as fresh and authentic.  The pain each man feels is anguished and in the moment.  Their need for each other immediate and unlawful.  Plus you have to look at the impact it has on their teammates which Albert also covers in a frank manner.

We travel every hard step with each man, through the family drama, the military minefields, the emotional and mental roads they must traverse.  There’s some kink, some bdsm as Dusty needs to let go and have someone else been in charge.  It’s understandable and hot.  Wes and Dusty together are an unforgettable pair.

The only thing that keeps this from an absolute 5 stars rating is that I wanted a look a little into their future I guess, not far, maybe months or a year.  I guess I wasn’t ready to let them go yet.  Maybe the author is listening and I’ll see them again soon.  Here’s hoping.  Until then, pick it up and begin your new Out of Uniform journey with Dustin Strauss and Wes Lowe, a hot, sexy, team in and out of the bed!  I highly recommend them and this series.

Cover art is perfect for both men and this story. Loved it.

Sales Links: Carina Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Expected publication: November 6th 2017 by Carina Press
Original TitleWheels Up
ASINB072MFM798
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Out of Uniform

A MelanieM Recent Release Review: Justified (Magnified #2) by Mell Eight

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

The world of vampires and werewolves is in upheaval. The magical community is under attack by a great evil power trying to destroy them all and their strongest fighter is oblivious with his nose glued in a spell book. Yani has given up hope in getting Aaron back on track. He knows he instead has to focus on his own future and the lives of those he loves, even if it means losing Aaron, the love of his life, forever.

Yani’s life isn’t the only one in flux. As the battle heats up and lines are drawn, the rest of his friends must fight for their own survival in a world with no answers to the terrible magic attacking them.

The Magnified novels, starting from the first story, is an amazingly complex and immensely mysterious series that’s getting increasingly horrifying by the book.  It’s also  quite wonderful, full of unexpected elements I’ve not seen in other tales.  Mell Eight is combining mysticism with vampires, Nazis, Kabbalism, dragons, faeries, werewolves, horror, M/M romance and it all works.

The first story, Magnified, sets up the introduction and the couples and should not be missed. It’s a gripping story. Without it, Justified floats without its foundation material.  This is not a standalone novel.  With Magnified as the backhistory for the couples and the situation they find themselves in, the reader can settle into the drama that is unfolding here in Justified.

That group of friends (and couples within) has just fought a major battle and barely escaped.  We now see the effects that it’s had on certain members, and there aren’t healthy ones.  Aaron has withdrawn into his books looking for knowledge and Yani is despairing over the loss of their closeness and perhaps their relationship.  The cost of that most recent battle is high indeed.

Mell Eight weaves her many plotlines (the overall series thread and the sub storylines) with great care, popping and pulling various elements in and out of the current scenes.  Could be Yani’s Jewish family and his ties to the vampire world and the Kabbalah or maybe we are heading into werewolf territory or even pandas, you never know.  It will be in pursuit of an evil so horrific that you are happy that Mell Eight has left some of the descriptions of that villain’s deeds less than vivid.  And terrifying to know that this series is continuing because it means only one thing has happened.

Justified (and the Magnified series) is full of fascinating, multi-layered characters, which include several here outside of the main group that I grew to love and hope to see again.  This small group of fighters seem like underdogs battling overwhelming odds with only one that stands a chance against true evil.   It started out as a gripping story and is growing into a powerful one of determination and bravery.  I can’t wait for the next book in the series.  The only reason it doesn’t have a higher rating is that you absolutely need the first book as a foundation for this one.  Together?  They have the makings of a 5 star series!

Cover art by Aisha Akeju.  I like this cover with the simple object that has its part to play within the story.

Sales Links:  Less Than Three Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 147 pages
Published August 9th 2017 by Less Than Three Press
ISBN139781684310500
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Magnified

Magnified (Magnified, #1)

Justified (Magnified #2)

A MelanieM Review: Kingdom Volume 1 (Kingdom #1) by R.J. Scott

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

The Vampire Contract

A vampire guilty of murder on the run from justice to prove his innocence. A werewolf sent to retrieve him with one thought – that only the guilty run.

The Guilty Werewolf

Declan Finlay is hunting the guilty werewolf, his friend Connor. The incubus, Levi Tiernan, is his companion on the hunt. If Declan doesn’t track and kill Connor, then Levi will.

The Warlock’s Secret

In a world where magic is rare, Joseph Jamieson is a holder of power. Orophin Tiwele, or Phin to his friends, is the son of the Elf King and has magic of his own. The rules say two supernatural beings with magic cannot be together and Joseph and Phin have lived by that rule despite their attraction to each other.

Let me take the stories of RJ Scott’s Kingdom series Vol 1  one by one.  These tales, the first three in the series, build on each other, each picking up where the other left off.  None should be considered standalone stories because you need all the previous information and character foundation laid out to get the gist of the impact of the search and the issues with the Glitnir Court here.

None of these stories are of great length yet Scott manages to build wonderful  characters and interesting relationship dynamics between them all.  Brother to brother, brother to potential lovers/mates.  There’s frenemies to lovers, second chance at love stories…so many favorite tropes the author visited here within this volume that’s easy to read,  easy to please, and hard to put down.

♦︎The Vampire Contract – 4 stars

A vampire guilty of murder on the run from justice to prove his innocence. A werewolf sent to retrieve him with one thought – that only the guilty run.

Vampire Micah Jamieson is found guilty of killing his human husband. He runs from the execution he is facing to get home. He just has to pray he’ll reach home before supernatural law enforcement, in the shape of a Glitnir Court Retriever close in on him.

Wolf shifter and Retriever, Connor Strand easily captures Micah and he’s fully prepared to take the runaway in. But his wolf has other ideas.

Something about Micah challenges Connor and his long held beliefs. What if Micah is actually innocent? Will Connor put to one side his own prejudices, and then risk both his life and career to keep Micah safe?

I loved the Micah and Connor story.  Micah had the most interesting element here because of all of the surprises he had in store for the reader.  They just kept coming.  Poor Connor, his inner wolf had no issues knowing where he stood which made the relationship aspect delectable if a little predictable.  I found this to be Micah’s story all the way, which was fine as he will have a powerful role down the line.  This story started laying down the universe and the issues within it.  Loved it.

♦︎The Guilty Werewolf – 5 stars out of 5

Declan Finlay is the best Retriever that Glitnir has.

Well, he is now that Connor Strand has gone rogue.

He is sent to find Connor – the guilty werewolf. But he doubts that his best friend could ever be guilty and he resolves to track him down and find out why he ran with the renegade vampire.

When the Fae Alliance, reporting to Glitnir, demand that he not go alone he is forced to accept the Incubus, Levi Tiernan, an assassin, as his companion on the journey. If Declan doesn’t kill Connor, then Levi will.

What happens when old lust and love dictate action and suddenly Declan is questioning everything he loves.

The Guilty Werewolf is amazing and it rests on the shoulders of 2 great characters.  I can’t help it.  My favorite?  That incubus, Levi Tiernan, the assassin, who undergoes an amazing evolution here, one he expects in a way.  The other is Declan Finlay, an already troubled Retriever, pursuing an old friend under  circumstances he can’t or won’t believe.  Nothing here is as it seems and the characters and their painful path to romance shine under this layered, twisted narrative approach by RJ Scott

♦︎The Warlock’s Secret 4,75 stars out of 5

In a world where magic is rare, Joseph Jamieson is one of the most powerful holders of power. Orophin Tiwele, or Phin to his friends, is the son of the Elf King and has magic of his own. The rules say two supernatural beings with magic cannot be together and Joseph and Phin have lived by that rule despite their attraction to each other.

The resistance is growing larger each day, but traitors threaten everything Joseph has built. He wants peace, but soon comes to realize the way to peace, is through war.

When the only thing that will save lives is Joseph and Phin working together, it becomes impossible to see where magic and passion end and where love could begin.

The Warlock’s Secret is a story that could have easily doubled in size for all the author  set out to accomplish here.  It’s a huge tale bringing in all the couples from the three stories but the focus is on Joseph and Phin as well as the growing resistance movement to Glitnir.  Secrets are revealed, rescues are undertaken, more horrors are uncovered…it’s one giant thing after another.  And it works to lay down more groundwork for the next three stories coming and the revolution that’s in the air.  The only reason it didn’t get 5 stars is that when you are trying to cover so much narrative ground in so few pages, there are bound to be some holes, are there are some I found here.  I wanted more background on a big character I cannot name (would be a spoiler) and a certain book.  Hopefully that’s coming.

Joseph and Phin?  A lack of communication did them in early on and it almost does again.    Wanted to shake them both, good thing as characters they are magic together, literally.  I also can’t wait to see more of them in the stories in the future.  Should be one wild ride.

What’s better than having three books?  Three books in one volume so you can easily blow through all three in one read as I did. It made for sorting out all the relationships and ties and family dynamics easy.  Loved it and loved these stories.  Now I’m on to Vol. 2.  I’ll let you know what I find.  In the meantime, I highly recommend all three stories in one volume.  Werewolves shifters, vampires, Fae, incubus Oh My!

Cover art by Meredith Russell does a nice job with the characters.

Sales Links:Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:

ebook, 296 pages
Published June 14th 2017 by Love Lane Books Limited
ISBN139781785640643
Edition LanguageEnglish
URLhttp://www.rjscott.co.uk
SeriesKingdom #1

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Romancing the Ugly Duckling (Romancing the… #2) by Clare London

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Is this the makeover of a lifetime?

Ambitious fashionista Perry Goodwood lands the project of his dreams—track down a celebrity family’s missing brother in the Scottish Highlands and bring him back to London for a TV reality show. But first he must transform the rugged loner into a glamorous sophisticate.

Greg Ventura has no use for high fashion. He lives on the isolated island of North Uist to escape the reminder that he’s nowhere near as handsome as his gorgeous brothers and avoid the painful childhood memories of being bullied.

Greg wants nothing to do with city life, and Perry’s never been outside London. When Perry is stranded on North Uist, this conflict seems insurmountable. But Greg is captivated by the vivacious Perry, and Perry by both the island and his host. However, Perry’s one heartfelt wish remains: that ugly duckling Greg fulfill his potential as a swan.

Romancing the Ugly Duckling (Romancing the… #2) by Clare London is everything I look for in a contemporary romance and more.  Beautifully written, great characters, fantastic storytelling! I fell completely in love with every aspect of Clare London’s tale, from the characters to the location (especially the location) to the plot.  This is one of those stories I just wanted to add on a star or plus sign because the characters touched me so.

Told from both Perry and  Greg’s povs, the blurb doesn’t give the reader any idea of the bad situation Perry is in when given the assignment by his boss to track down the estranged brother of a popular “pop/media” family to bring him back into the fold for a TV reality show.  Perry is in a bad situation at home, due to an ex-boyfriend and the stress at work, the family is a challenge to work with and the place he must travel to?  An unknown factor to Perry.

Greg Ventura left family, his brothers and their bullying behind, preferring life on the isolated isle of North Uist.  There he’s made a life without tvs or media and even phone for the most part.  So it’s not surprising he’s unaware of the arrival on the island of one Perry Goodwood, there to bring him home and make him over.  But Perry’s arrived under the worst conditions, Greg’s not only what he not expected but he’s refusing all offers and Perry’s stuck.  It’s such a engaging situation and London makes it magical.

North Uist is a featured  player here along with all its inhabitants and local charm.  It pulls the reader in as thoroughly as it did Greg and it does Perry,  the landscape’s harsh beauty combining with the warm-hearted, enveloping nature of the villagers and the isolation provide a enchantment that serves as a solid foundation for story and romance.  I wanted to find a plane, then a ferry, and then immerse myself in life here as well.  It’s as real to me as anywhere I’ve ever visited and the pull here feels true.

With North Uist as the background, having two main characters such as Perry and Grey, well, the story becomes irresistible imo.  Greg has been so wounded by his family, his brothers specifically.  Constantly belittled and bullied, made to feel ugly and not wanted, that mindset became a permanent part of his emotional and mental state.  He’s withdrawn to the island, almost hiding thinking himself unworthy in so many ways, unable to see himself as others do.  That he has friends who look after him, trying to pull him into the meager social life of the isle is testament that they see him far more clearly than he sees himself.  Greg is a wonderfully constructed character and watching the layers peel away here is a true joy of this story.

Perry also is a bundle of pleasing depth.  Interested about everything, outgoing, he finds himself embracing the island and its people to his surprise.  And Greg too.  From Greg’s introduction (and his stone cottage and his dog) to Perry, we are both completely lost in their relationship.  Perry is intelligent, charming and perceptive.  He’s a great match for Greg, and for the island itself.  He  just has to figure that out.

But it’s not just the main characters, it’s all the other people you meet here.  From Bridie, Greg’s friend, Greg’s dog Rory, the people at the pub, Marty who gets the fresh scallops and so many others, you’ll feel like you’ve known these people for a lifetime.  You get tangled up in the lives of island, how it’s lived…how they share it together. It’s a strength here as well as the fear from the parents that all the young people will be lost to the mainland.  I don’t know…I just can’t say enough about this entire story.

Yes, I can.  I didn’t want it to end.  I could have happily stayed there, watching these men live out their lives among friends.  I wanted to see that too.  Leaving that place left me sort of heartbroken.  I wasn’t ready.  But I was so happy to have read it in the first place.  You will be too.  I’m putting Romancing the Ugly Duckling (Romancing the… #2) by Clare London on my highly recommended list.  Don’t miss this one!

Cover art by Bree Archer is perfect with the island in the back and Perry in the front.

Buy Links: Dreamspinner | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:

ebook, Dreamspun Desires #36, 260 pages
Expected publication: June 15th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleRomancing the Ugly Duckling
ISBN139781635333879
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Romancing the… #2 settingScotland

A MelanieM Review: Lord of Ravens (Inheritance #3) by Amelia Faulkner

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

lord-of-ravensLover. Predator. Killer.

Laurence Riley’s inheritance comes with a price – one he’s not at all sure he can pay. When his urge to hunt grows out of control, he sends a desperate prayer to his ancestor for guidance. But he never expected that Herne the Hunter would answer.

Scion. Target. Victim.

There are horrors lurking in Quentin d’Arcy’s past, but they won’t hide there forever. Something ancient is coming to take him home: a creature of nightmare who feasts on the flesh of children. When the choice is between his own life and the lives of innocents, there is no choice at all.

Honesty is the worst policy.

A legendary horror comes to San Diego, but it’s merely an emissary. Laurence has seen the real monster, and it’s a darkness which will destroy everything he loves – especially if Quentin ever finds out what it did to him as a child.

It’s down to Laurence to prepare for war against a force which far outmatches him. The enemy has the most powerful weapon of all at his disposal, and if they’re to stand a chance, Laurence must master the same power.

He must learn magic.

Lord of Ravens is the third book in the Rainbow Award winning Inheritance series and contains mature themes and events which may be distressing to some readers. It has a moderate heat rating and an HFN ending.

Lord of Ravens (Inheritance #3) by Amelia Faulkner is another spectacular new author find for me as is her series Inheritance.  Lord of Ravens is the third book in the series and the one I read first (the other reviews for the previous books will follow soon).  It didn’t do anything but wet my appetite for the other stories.  I could follow some of the history the author provided of their pasts together but clearly I missed out on a wealth of feeling and relationship building that I will now go back and pickup.

Even having said that?  This story is still a 5 plus star rating.  Faulkner clearly loves and knows her mythology.  From Herne, the Lord of the Forest to other gods and goddesses, we travel through a myriad of plains of existence, from modern times to the magical forests and beyond in search of answers and the instruments of revenge for our couple, Quentin and Laurence.

In Lord of Ravens, Quentin and Laurence are still working on a relationship that’s very shaky.  One is prone to running, the other? Well, he has other outlets that he has used in the past and both are trying to overcome their urges to do both to stay together instead.  They are also trying to find their way to a sexual relationship.  The reasons to that slow build to sex lies in their past but we get a horrifying, gut wrenching answer in this story to one of the character’s rejection of all things sexual.  I will have to read the first books to see if there is  even a clue lurking in either of those stories to the revelation here.  But if anything, it just cemented my desire to know more about Quentin, Laurence and pulled me further into their universe and damnable journey together.

So deep did the author pull me into these characters lives, that I was sometimes shaking with fear, frustration, anger..all the emotions that they were feeling as the story moved forward.  Trust me, the glimmers of humor are scarce here.  But when Laurence goes running through the old woods, you feel the rush of the wind, and smell the leaves and rotting wood as he runs on his way, the descriptions are so vivid.   Equally, so when evil comes calling.  As it does several times in more than one form.  Then it becomes by turns chilling and surprising.

Quentin, oh poor scarred Quentin.  How your fear for him will grow.  I had no idea I would love him so.  By the end of the story I was reaching for book 4 only to realize its not there yet.  I wanted to wail in anguish!

Lord of Ravens?  Yes, there is a reason for that title and I won’t spoil the surprise for you.  Let’s just say its just the beginning of another element in this superb series, one I just loved.

There are people, a small group, mystical and otherwise, being pulled into the circle, that will help them do battle.  At least it seems that way.  But against what?  We still don’t exactly know but the vague picture that’s coming together is horrifying enough.

Amelia Faulkner has written a series that’s truly incredible.  Magical, suspenseful, frightening, richly layered, and yet still full of love.  Look for my reviews of Jack of Thorns (Inheritance, #1)  and Knight of Flames (Inheritance, #2) to follow shortly.  I can’t get enough of this author’s imagination, characters, and fantastic world building.  Please, bring on book 4 now!

Cover art is just perfect, with Herne standing outlined in the background as he is all through this story.

Sales Links:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2iLjlUM

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2iiZRWj

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 327 pages
Published January 5th 2017 by LoveLight Press
ASINB01N4LAAY5
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series: Inheritance

A Melanie Release Day Review: Chosen Pride (L’Ange #3) by Mary Calmes

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

chosen-prideJon Slade finally met his mate, but instead of it being the happiest day of his life, it became the saddest when wolf shifter Kelvin MacCurdy chose his obligations over their fated bond, leaving Jon to pick up the pieces of his shattered dreams. Lucky for him, Roman Howell, his boss and the owner of L’Ange, saw promise in the forlorn lion and put him to work so he wouldn’t have time to sit around and lick his wounds while he waited for his wounded spirit to heal.

Then the wolves make an official visit to L’Ange, and Jon finds out Kelvin’s pining for him is taking its toll on his position as the king’s champion. Though Kelvin’s training and the expectations of others steer him toward an intended mate, Jon has an unbreakable hold on his heart, and it’s no longer possible for Kelvin to keep himself from where he truly belongs.

But the conclave brings more than Kelvin to the château. It also brings a challenge to jackal alpha Quade Danas, a threat that Quade and Roman, Arman and Linus, and Jon and Kelvin may have to fight in order to keep L’Ange’s family intact. Jon never wanted to lead a pride, but the loyalty and devotion to one is ingrained in him. Kelvin was raised to punish anyone who questioned his king, but the calling to protect others runs through his veins just as deeply. To come out on the other side of the battle together, Jon and Kelvin will have to hold the darkness of solitary pride and broken hearts at bay—and find strength in belonging to something bigger than themselves.

Mary Calmes’  L’Ange series became a favorite of mine from the very first story Old Loyalty, New Love.  An old chateau, a mix of shifters, dark men with mysterious and painful pasts?  Yes, yes, and hell yes!  And as with my deeply loved Mary Calmes stories and series, a connecting story thread that both pulls at your heart and mind.  A vast estate that seems to beckon to isolated, wounded shifters and an Alpha set to  rule them  all.  An estate huge enough to hold the promise also of mates for them all as well.

Jon Slade, a lion shifter, was one such lone male without a pride who was taken in by Roman and Quade (after a rocky start).  His story began in the last amazing tale,Fighting Instinct (L’Ange, #2).  Chosen Pride picks up in the resulting aftermath.

If you had to ask me why Mary Calmes has such a large and loyal following, I would point to her ability to create characters such as Jon Slade.  Golden, strong, and unbelievably beautiful on the outside and yet now broken by the rejection of his mate.  Calmes makes  Jon and his heartbreaking situation so real, so painfully cruel that you almost bleed for Jon,  Doesn’t matter how pretty, how strong Jon is because those qualities won’t help him here.  Not even the strength of a lion can bring him his mate.  The irony.  The author has the reader so invented in Jon and his plight that you can’t even think about putting this book down, not for a minute.

There is also an equal tragedy going on with wolf shifter Kelvin MacCurdy.  He’s caught up in a vicious tradition that regards him as little more than a beast within his society, something to be breed for size and strength, nothing more.  We’ve gotten to know him during the last story too and become wrapped up in his complicated life and turmoil that led to him rejecting Jon to Jon’s and our astonishment and pain.

In Chosen Pride, Calmes brings out the best in her characters, and her series thread.  Other main couples appear in strong supporting roles necessary to both this story and the series.  There also a fox shifter that’s a sexy delight.  The minute I finished the story and went back and started it all over again wanting to see what details I had missed the first time around.

There’s several clues here, about the journey to another kingdom, the perils that await there.  I expect that Mary Calmes will use that in an upcoming book.  She doesn’t lay false trails.  Now I’m anticipating a journey that will make my heart stop and angst as well.  I can’t wait.

This is an amazing series.  So don’t start here.  Go to the beginning story and proceed from there.  It will become a favorite of yours as it has mine.  Its one I highly recommend.

Cover Artist: Reese Dante.  Such a gorgeous cover.  Its perfect for Jon and I love it.

Sales Links

        

Book Details:

ebook, 240 pages
Expected publication: December 26th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634779010 (ISBN13: 9781634779012)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series L’Ange:

A MelanieM Review: Hanging The Stars (Half Moon Bay #2) by Rhys Ford

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

hanging-the-stars-by-rhys-fordAngel Daniels grew up hard, one step ahead of the law and always looking over his shoulder. A grifter’s son, he’d learned every con and trick in the book but ached for a normal life. Once out on his own, Angel returns to Half Moon Bay where he once found…and then lost…love.

Now, Angel’s life is a frantic mess of schedules and chaos. Between running his bakery and raising his troubled eleven-year-old half-brother, Roman, Angel has a hectic but happy life. Then West Harris returns to Half Moon Bay and threatens to break Angel all over again by taking away the only home he and Rome ever had.

When they were young, Angel taught West how to love and laugh but when Angel moved on, West locked his heart up and threw away the key. Older and hardened, West returns to Half Moon and finds himself face-to-face with the man he’d lost. Now, West is torn between killing Angel or holding him tight.

But rekindling their passionate relationship is jeopardized as someone wants one or both of them dead, and as the terrifying danger mounts, neither man knows if the menace will bring them together or forever tear them apart.

 

Hanging The Stars, the second book in the Half Moon Bay series, had a obstacle to overcome that most Rhys Ford books don’t start out with.  I wasn’t crazy about one of the main characters right off the bat.

West Harris was a minor character in a close-to-my-heart book, Fish Stick Fridays.  A twin in appearance only to Lang Harris the bookstore owner and wonderful MC of that story, much like Zig (really you have to read that book) I was ready to write this fellow right off.  Skedaddle, out of here!  Nope, Ford was determined to put West on the road to redemption.

Well, its a hard road, I’m telling you.  I wasn’t ready to accept him right at the start.

What’s not so hard to do?  Fall in love with Angel Daniels and his brother Roman.  Ford loves her down on their luck men.  When she writes about them, builds their characters, something special happens.  A magical spark ignites, a personality pops into place and boom, there rides into the story a layered, hunted man.  Tortured past, looking to better himself for any number of reasons, trying to escape the demons running so close behind him. That Angel Daniels.  In this case, its Roman his young highly intelligent brother that’s pushing Angel to get them a better life.  A few scenes, snappy dialog, and hints of their awful past. and there you are, rooting for these two to make it happen.

Then  West Harris enters the picture.  I swear most of the time I wanted to swat him one. Mostly because I was that irritated with him.

Turning around a prejudice towards a character is a hard thing for an author to have to do.  Making that turn here, well, it didn’t happen as smoothly for me as I think the author might have hoped.  I guess I thought certain connections should have been made far sooner than someone as bright as he was supposed to be.  Maybe it was because I adored Angel and Roman so much that they shone so brightly that took longer to connect with West.  That entirely possible.  I was certainly more emotionally engaged in the dynamics in the relationship between brothers first, and then between Angel and West.

Then all three, Angel, West and Roman, began to meld into a unit.  That’s when this story took flight.  I loved it when all three started to come together as a whole.  West became more layered, more a functioning human being.  The scenes as West and Roman discussed candy spreadsheets?  Priceless!  If Zig is focused on world domination, then Roman is be her CFO.  Rhys Ford should seriously consider writing a book filled with Zig’s and Roman’s and fantastical creatures and libraries bursting at the seams with books full of mystical things.  I’d buy them and hand them out on the street.  She writes children and pretweens like no one’s business.  I recognize them as I have one just like them in my family.   How much they enrich these stories can’t be measured.

Hanging the Stars pulled the mysteries together and the murderous reign of terror to an end in a totally satisfactory manner.  Yep, happy at the end. Ford left me wanting more as she always does.  And as we are all likely to get more…Half Moon Bay is a wonderful place.  I can’t wait to see who and what is coming next.

I recommend this story.  And the one before it.  The author too.  S’marvelous…all three!

Grab up the first and wait for this to come out.  And don’t be so hard on West Harris as I was.  He had Lang Harris (and 2 cats)  to overcome.  That’s a tough one in any case.
Cover Artist: Reece Notley.  I think its perfect for the character and in keeping with the series.

Sales Links – Pre Order

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Book Details:

ebook, 206 pages
Expected publication: December 5th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781634778985
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series Half Moon Bay:

Fish Stick Fridays (Half Moon Bay, #1)

Hanging The Stars (Half Moon Bay #2)

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Connection Error (#gaymers #3) by Annabeth Albert

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Connection Error By Annabeth AlbertIt’s typical of video game programmer Josiah Simmons to be the last one on the plane on the way to the biggest meeting of his career. Though he’s (mostly) coping with his ADHD, he can’t handle another distraction. But he also can’t ignore his rugged seatmate—especially once he learns the military man’s a fan of his game.

Ryan Orson refuses to let his severe injuries pause his career as a navy SEAL. He’s got hours of grueling physical therapy ahead of him, and no time for anything that might get in the way of his return to active duty. But that doesn’t mean he’s above a little first-class flirtation with geeky-cute Josiah.

When a delay strands the pair in St. Louis, they agree to share a hotel room and a night of gaming. Neither expects their new connection to move to the next level in the light of day. Opposites may attract, but is this game over before it’s even begun?

My love affair with this series began with Status Update (#gaymers, #1) where I met Adrian Gottlieb, video game designer of Space Villager and his lover geoarchaeologist Noah Walters and solidified with Beta Test (#gaymers, #2) and the couple of that story, graphic designer Ravi Tandel and Tristan Jones.  Now comes Connection Error (#gaymers #3) by Annabeth Albert and it turns out, that yes here’s a couple I can love as much as the original I first fell in love with, that of video game programmer Josiah Simmon and injured Navy seal Ryan Orson.

Josiah popped up first in Beta Test during a gaymers party that Ravi and Tristan attended.  He was a stand out character there and clearly needed his own story so I was thrilled to see Annabeth Albert give him one here.  But what made him interesting there makes him a deeply layered, fascinating character here.

Young, he has a severe case of  ADHD, to the point that he lives at home, has a strict schedule and medications he uses to help him control it and function.  He’s highly successful at his job at Space Villager and about to lead a group of programmers into a new stage of development for the game.  Its a hugely busy and scary time for Josiah.  And due to Albert’s wonderful way with characterization, we see into the heart of Josiah.  His nerves, his fears, the way he functions or sometimes doesn’t at the office…every part of his life.  By giving us…this open, stubborn and sometimes fragile Josiah (a very believable one), we are quickly pulled into his life and connected to him.

Sitting on a plane heading to the same destination as Josiah?  That would be injured Navy Seal Ryan Orson.  His character surprised me.  I’m not  going to go into anything here.  Read the story.  But having Ryan here, real, hurting, stubborn, and impossible not to give your heart to made this story for me. Connecting him with Josiah?  Amazing.  Watching them work together to find a common ground for a relationship made for a book I never wanted to put down.

Annabeth Albert doesn’t do fast romances.  Her characters have their own issues to work through, sometimes they have personal blinders on, sometimes obstacles of their own making stand in their way to happiness.  Whatever.  It always takes a while for them to work through their differences and believe they can be happy themselves and with another person.  I love that about her stories.  Sometimes gritty, painful, and real.  So that when it works, when the main characters such as Josiah and Ryan realize that a future is possible together, well the joy and love just flows making the story and romance all the sweeter.

Plus…Space Villager.  Yep.  I still want the game.

This is the third book in the series.  In each book we get to see some of the couples from the previous stories.  I love that too.  I don’t know where the next couple is coming from but I can’t wait to read it.  This is one of my favorite series.  I highly recommend this story and all the #gaymer novels.

Cover art is terrific and works for the story.

 

Sales Links

Carina Press | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | Itunes | Kobo Books

Book Details:

ebook
This book is approximately 66,000 words
Published September 2016 by Carina Press
Original TitleConnection Error
ISBN139781459290679
Series: #gaymers – Add to Goodreads here:

Its Release Day for Connection Error (#gaymers #3) by Annabeth Albert (excerpt and giveaway)

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Connection Error Blitz BannerTitle: Connection Error

Author: Annabeth Albert

Series Title and Number: #Gaymers, Book 3, but stands alone well too

Publisher: CARINA PRESS

Cover Artist: CARINA PRESS

Release Date: September 5, 2016

Heat Level: 4 (explicit m/m sex, but lots and lots of plot too!)

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: approx. 66,000 words

Genre/Tags: Romance, M/m Romance, contemporary romance, military romance

Add To Goodreads

9781459290679

Synopsis

It’s typical of video game programmer Josiah Simmons to be the last one on the plane on the way to the biggest meeting of his career. Though he’s (mostly) coping with his ADHD, he can’t handle another distraction. But he also can’t ignore his rugged seatmate—especially once he learns the military man’s a fan of his game.

Ryan Orson refuses to let his severe injuries pause his career as a navy SEAL. He’s got hours of grueling physical therapy ahead of him, and no time for anything that might get in the way of his return to active duty. But that doesn’t mean he’s above a little first-class flirtation with geeky-cute Josiah.

When a delay strands the pair in St. Louis, they agree to share a hotel room and a night of gaming. Neither expects their new connection to move to the next level in the light of day. Opposites may attract, but is this game over before it’s even begun?

Book Three of the #gaymers series

Excerpt

Chapter 1

Somewhere between the third newsstand and the fourth moving sidewalk in LAX, Josiah regretted not joining his friend Ravi in training for a 10k charity race. Nothing like a flat-out sprint from the check-in counter to the slow-moving security lines and another dash from security all the way through gates to make him rethink his aversion to cardio. And the worst part was that for once in his life he’d made every effort to be on time, getting up before the alarm, starting coffee, making sure they were out of the house by o’dark thirty ready for his early morning flight to Germany via a stop in Washington, DC.

Passport? Check.

Carry-on with both laptops, tablet and assorted accessories? Check.

Suitcase with more shirts with buttons than he’d ever owned in his life? Check.

Double-checking that his ticket was booked under “Josiah” not “Joseph”? Total fail, but in his defense, it never occurred to him that the travel agency his employer used would give the wrong name. And the check-in attendant at the airline counter didn’t want to believe that there was a mistake. Thus, every careful endeavor he’d made to ensure that he was on time—early even—went up in a huff of waiting for a supervisor and then another supervisor.

And now finally he was sprinting to make sure he didn’t miss the plane. Forget being there in time to priority board, he was going to be lucky to make the plane period. His first time flying first class—thank you, Space Villager for being such a bestselling gameand it was off to an inelegant start thanks to a stupid mistake.

Finally, finally, he reached the last few gates of the terminal. The TV sets scattered throughout the waiting area were all taking about that huge freak snowstorm heading for the New York area and whether it might veer south enough to cause snow along the whole Eastern Seaboard. Josiah shook his head, trying to not get sucked in to the TV. As long as he got to Germany on time, it wasn’t going to affect him and he needed to stay focused on—

“Last call for Flight 324 nonstop service to Washington Dulles International,” the loudspeaker blared.

“I’m here, I’m here,” he panted as the gate attendant set the red phone back on its hook. He held out his ticket. The woman was around his mother’s age with very red lipstick and very short blond hair and a spectacular frown just for him.

“Ah. Mr. Simmons.” She looked up after scanning his tickets, decidedly less frosty once she saw his first-class seat number. “Come with me, I’m going to have to walk you down.” She spoke into a walkie-talkie as they headed down the walkway. “We’re going to need to gate check your bags. I’m so sorry, but the first-class overhead compartments are all full.”

“Crap.” She gave him a questioning look, and Josiah remembered that he was supposed to be Mr. Smooth and Sophisticated Project Manager, not some whiny kid. “Sorry. That’s fine. Just let me grab my laptop.” He grabbed the laptop with the longer battery life before the attendant put a pink gate-check tag on his two bags. “But…uh…fragile.”

She gave him a tight smile, but added a yellow Fragile tag to his laptop bag. “You’re in Seat 1A,” she said, handing him his ticket back. “You’ll get your bags back when we land, I promise. Enjoy your flight.”

After a brief conversation with the gate attendant, a male flight attendant shut the plane door behind Josiah. “Welcome aboard,” he said to Josiah in a tone that clearly meant, “thank you for pushing back our departure.” In fact, the plane was rolling away from the gate before Josiah almost tumbled into the empty aisle seat of the first row.

“You made it.” A warm chuckle eased past the pounding of Josiah’s heart.

“Wha—what?” he whipped his head over to the window seat—a farther distance than one might expect. The first-class seats were huge padded affairs and there was a thick console dividing the seats. And…hello, most gorgeous guy Josiah had ever seen.

Wide, mischievous smile. Sparkling hazel eyes. Unshaven jaw. Short dark brown hair. And holy hell, arm muscles for days. Bulging biceps with tats poking out of his T-shirt sleeves.

All of a sudden this flight started looking way up.

“Sorry. Didn’t mean to startle you. I just meant I was beginning to think I’d get the row all to myself.” The guy’s voice was possibly even more attractive than his model-worthy face, deep and soothing, with an undercurrent of the sort of confidence that never failed to make Josiah shiver.

And he was all Josiah’s for the next five hours.

Well, except for the part where he seemed ready to take a nap and tune Josiah out—the guy had a pillow behind his head and a blanket on his lap. He yawned, revealing gleaming teeth worthy of a toothpaste ad.

“You’re not a model, are you?” As usual, Josiah’s tongue leaped into action before his brain could restrain it.

“What? No, not a model.” The guy laughed, more of that smoky chuckle that did things to Josiah’s insides.

“TV star? Athlete? Because it seems like I should know you from somewhere, and I don’t want to get to DC and people be like, hey, you were next to that Laker the whole flight…” He trailed off because his friends were right that he had absolutely no filter, and that was triple true around Muppet-flail-worthy hot guys.

“Nope, not famous.” The guy studied Josiah for a long moment, considering, the sort of are-you-for-real expression on his face that Josiah was well used to. Seeming to come to some sort of decision, the guy stuck his right arm across the console. “Lieutenant Ryan Orson, US Navy.”

“Pleased to meet you.” Josiah accepted the handshake. Navy made sense given the Navy-emblazoned T-shirt stretched tight over the guy’s aircraft-carrier-wide chest. Holy crap, the guy was big. Josiah was a skinny 6’2” with big hands and feet that always got in the way. But this guy’s hand made Josiah’s feel downright dainty. “I’m Josiah, Josiah Simmons.”

“Well, Josiah, want to know a secret?” Ryan asked in a conspiratorial whisper.

“Sure.” Josiah was down with whatever secrets this guy wanted to share.

“Not only am I not famous, I’m not even supposed to be in first class.”

“You’re not?”

“Nope.” Ryan winked at Josiah. He had a very disarming wink, all good humor and twinkly eyes.

“The check-in clerk bumped me into first.”

“You got the nice clerk.” Josiah was still a bit grumbly over the name hassle.

“She lost a brother over in Afghanistan.” There was a subtle hint of “grow up” in Ryan’s tone. Josiah straightened, remembering again who he was supposed to be. And here was this impossibly attractive guy to practice on. Sure, he might be Josiah the clueless geek back home, but here he was Josiah the new project manager. This Josiah knew the right way to act and speak and could impress even tough audiences.

“That’s so sad for her.” Josiah tried for sophisticated empathy, something he knew he kind of sucked at.

“Yeah, it is.” Something indecipherable passed over Ryan’s face, his eyes getting darker and cloudier and that wide smile flagging a bit. “Anyway, guess she saw…the Navy connection and had a spare seat to bump me into.”

“What do you do? In the Navy I mean?”

The guy went silent, considering, and Josiah was afraid he’d been too nosy again, but right when he was about to apologize, Ryan finally spoke. “I’m a SEAL. I do a little bit of everything, but mainly I make things go boom. You?”

“Oh my God, you’re Special Forces. Do I ever have questions for you!” Josiah babbled again, only slowing down as Ryan’s easy smile morphed into grim line. “Sorry. I’m just excited because I’m a video game designer. And special ops is our new expansion pack.” And it happened to be the one Josiah was in charge of.

“You program games?” Ryan blinked, and Josiah wasn’t sure what he’d expected Josiah to do, but this clearly wasn’t it. “Anything I’ve heard of?”

Ah. That was it. He assumed Josiah was some sort of kid programming a dot matrix game in his basement. Josiah knew he looked too young for his job, because he was too young. At twenty-three, he was the youngest lead developer on the design team. Thus, he took no small amount of pride in saying, “Space Villager.”

“Oh wow, really?” There was a new note of respect in Ryan’s voice. “I love that game, especially the pod racer and first-person shooter expansion packs.” There was a hint of Texas or something else Southern in his voice, and Josiah could listen to him all day.

“Yeah? Well you’re going to love our special ops expansion pack even more.” Josiah projected far more confidence than he actually felt. He could make this project a success. He had to. The PR team had already hinted that the next expansion pack would revolve around special ops activities on a small war-torn planet, so Josiah didn’t worry too much about sharing this much with Ryan.

“I bet. My ex got me to back the crowdfunding drive, and I’ve been hooked ever since. My buddies were already teasing me about how much time I spent gaming, but there’s something particularly addictive about your game.”

Your game. Josiah liked the sound of that. He only knew a handful of women who played Space Villager, but the ones who did tended to be rabid fans. It was possible he might even know Ryan’s ex by her user handle, but Josiah had just enough self-control to not ask.

“Prepare for takeoff,” the pilot intoned over the PA. This was the part Josiah hated, the acceleration and stomach-dropping ascent. Today he hated it even more, knowing they might catch the edge of that storm. Focusing on turbulence that was probably hours away wasn’t logical, but then, Josiah’s brain seldom was.

“You always so antsy or are you a nervous flyer?” Ryan asked.

Oh crap. Guess he wasn’t doing such a bang-up job projecting the aura of a with-it project manager. He laughed nervously. “Both?”

“I promise we’re going to be okay.” Ryan gave him a quick friendly pat on the knee.

Oh. Josiah’s eyes went wide. Ryan was missing part of the pinky finger on his left hand and had some wicked scarring further up his forearm. Josiah tried not to stare, but knew he failed miserably.

“Mission gone wrong,” Ryan said gruffly. “Now back to flying, millions of people fly every day. It’s safer than car travel.” His tone made it clear further discussion of his hand was not on the table.

“I know flying’s safe. Knowing that’s not the same as believing it.”

Ryan’s answering laugh seemed to strip some of the tension from his face. “How well do I know that attitude. My ex got nervous before every flight, and his buddies used to razz him about it mercilessly.”

Man, two ex references in five minutes. Ryan must be totally hung up on his ex…wait. “His buddies”…What the hell?

“Your ex is a guy?”

“Yup.” Ryan’s smirk said he’d pegged Josiah ten minutes ago, probably when Josiah couldn’t peel his eyes away from those tasty biceps.

“Cool.” He was grinning, but he couldn’t make his facial muscles behave. Hot damn. Gorgeous, muscled, single, gamer, and gay. He ticked every last one of Josiah’s “perfect man” boxes. And if the gods were kind at all, Josiah could keep it together long enough to make a lasting impression.

Purchase

Carina Press | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | Itunes | Kobo Books

Connection Error Square

Meet the Author

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.

Represented by Saritza Hernandez of the Corvisiero Literary Agency

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