A MelanieM Review: Step Up with Me (With Me #5) by Kris Jacen


Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Richard “Tank” Martin was a big boy from the start. Born weighing over 11 pounds, he didn’t stop growing. When he was in middle school, a football coach took him under his wing and finally explained to him the mystery of calories in, calories out and from then on it was all good for him. At least he thought. Being called to meet with his platoon sergeant and told that he was now part of the Army’s overweight program, sent him into a spin that only his crews can help him out of.

Dr. Jack Dillon thought his life was good and finally settled. Part of an active veterinarian practice, volunteering with a service dog organization, spoiling his sister’s triplets and training in sports jiu-jitsu…the only thing missing was a partner. He never thought that his world could be shattered with just a phone call even after being around his military friends.

Tank and Jack have been dancing around each other for months until Tank takes a chance and kisses Jack at their friends’ wedding moving their slow dance into a heated bump and grind. Can these two survive the changes coming their ways together or will all the changes break them apart?

It seems I always learn something new about military life when I read one of Kris Jacen’s stories, especially her series With Me.  Step Up with Me, the fifth book in the With Me series, addresses an issue I hadn’t even thought was a problem with the military.  That of weight and body issues.  I had no idea.  i just assumed (bad me) that all the constant training and workouts kept everyone ready and well, slim or rock hard.  I should know better considering all the various body types out there and struggles with weight that just don’t mysteriously vanish one you enter the military.  Or that it has such serious repercussions if not met.  Including the end of a career.

Yes, the U.S. Army has Weight Standards for its Soldiers , men and women. Army Body Fat Measurements that includes an army body fat calculator and  the Military Tape Test which  Jacen makes  such effective use of in her story.  She also notes that the current standards are under review and, hopefully will be updated to more realistic measurements.

All of this brings us to Richard “Tank” Martin, a man who has been fighting with his weight and body image all his life.  Solid muscle by any standards, a recent “tape test” has deemed him overweight and his superior officer put him on the Army’s Overweight program, which carries not only a stigma but potential career consequences.  This in addition to the emotional impact its having on Tank himself, who is not only frustrated in his attempts to lose weight but dealing with the old issues of poor self image as well.

Tank is easily one of most recognizable and connectible characters of all of the military unit for me.  Perhaps it’s in his issues with his body image, his quiet manner of questioning his choices later on in this story, or his appreciation of all the difference people in his life, his teacher on nutrition and diet (who just happens to be the wife of one of the Heptad).  Maybe its a largesse of character and personality to go along with his body that Jacen has created for him, a huge heart as well.  Whatever it is, Tank is someone who I gravitated towards immediately.  You will too.

As we saw towards the end of the last story, a swift surprise kiss with Dr. Jack Dillon moved a tentative romance ahead and that’s where this story starts off.

Both men are already established characters and here they come more fully into depth, revealing more layers and backhistory as their romance progresses and we see Tank work through his “program”, learning to eat better, exercise more in a way that suits him all the while talking about body positivity and support.

The two men together are so special  and just settling in, when another traumatic event happens to throw them and the reader into an emotional spin.  I wasn’t prepared for just how much pain this section caused but as Jacen has done her normal outstanding job of putting together a character that we cared about, however briefly, I shouldn’t have been surprised.  Then come the triplets, oh my.   And a family unit.

I won’t give too much away except to say how much I love this story.  All the many other characters from previous books appear as support and, as have been proven over and over again, the military families joining forces to act as an extended family to those in need.  It was heartwarming, moving, and it felt as authentic as could be.

With Me is such an outstanding series and Step Up with Me (With Me #5) by Kris Jacen is another exemplary reason why I always recommend this series and this author.  The writing is so smooth as to be impeccable, the plots realistic and moving, and the characters real and memorable.  Read them all in the order they were written for a memorable journey with a group of people you won’t soon forget.

Cover art: Kris Jacen. I adore this cover by the author.  It’s perfection in its representation of Tank and one of the triplets.  Now I need to read it again.

Sales Links:  MLR PressAmazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 125 pages
Published February 20th 2019 by MLR Press
SeriesWith Me #5

Wait for Me

Explore with Me

Learn with Me

Challenge Me

Step Up with Me

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Stone the Crows (Wolf Winter #2) by T.A. Moore


Rating: 5 stars out of 5

When the Winter arrives, the Wolves will come down over the walls and eat little boys in their beds.

Doctor Nicholas Blake might still be afraid of the dark, but the monsters his grandmother tormented him with as a child aren’t real.

Or so he thought…until the sea freezes, the country grinds to a halt under the snow, and he finds a half-dead man bleeding out while a dead woman watches. Now his nightmares impinge on his waking life, and the only one who knows what’s going on is his unexpected patient.

For Gregor it’s simple. The treacherous prophets mutilated him and stole his brother Jack, and he’s going to kill them for it. Without his wolf, it might be difficult, but he’ll be damned if anyone else gets to kill Jack—even if he has to enlist the help of his distractingly attractive, but very human, doctor.

Except maybe the prophets want something worse than death, and maybe Nick is less human than Gregor believes. As the dead gather and the old stories come true, the two men will need each other if they’re going to rescue Jack and stop the prophets’ plan to loose something more terrible than the wolf winter.

Imagine being dumped into a landscape where all your childhood nightmares are real, where the bedtime stories of monsters  with claws to rend your flesh and teeth to eat you told by your gran were not just nasty tales but of horrible tattered together creatures waiting for you to arrive?  This is but the beginning of an incredible story and the second book in an amazing series by T.A. Moore.

Stone the Crows  is the second novel in the Wolf Winter series by T.A. Moore and its a stunner at every level and element.  Horror, urban fantasy, and romance.  There is nothing this author and book doesn’t excel at.

It starts from the beginning, a bleak winter landscape and an isolated compound.  It’s full of dead people.  And that’s where we meet both Dr. Nicholas Blake, cataloging the dead, and the soon to arrive Gregor, werewolf, (twin brother to Jack, and one of the Crown Prince Pup of the Numitor).  The author immediately surrounds us with the horrors of a plague like illness and a catastrophic winter that’s overtaken the population.  Only we see the intimate results on the villagers nearby.  The families and their children.  It’s heartbreaking and ominous, setting the tone for all that follows.

Moore seamlessly blends the Norse mythology with the horrors of the supernatural to create something sublime.  His wolves, his dogs, (they are different), are fully non-human.  Not human characters given a light fur coating and called were.  No, they have the “feel” of something feral and wild. And that contrasted with Nick’s humanity, makes the difference all too apparent. As will all the horrors that follow.

When legends and mythology collide, when blood and revenge are tied together, and a Throne involved, well, as it’s already been proven, there is nothing no one will sacrifice to achieve one’s goals, no amounts of blood, no great number of people, wolf or human that can’t be killed and Moore understands the emotions behind it all.  On both the grand scale and the small emotional, intimate one.  That last one that will leave you  sobbing in scenes here. Trust me…keep those tissue boxes handy.

This is a bleak, gritty, moving story. It’s epic fantasy  It’s full of muddy, emotional complications, and an overall series arc that starts back in book one, Dog Days (Wolf Winter #1).  It’s got a ways to go before its highly involved, convoluted tales  plays out.  So much more blood to be spilled, and I expect the price to be paid equally high.  I’m both dreading and highly anticipating the next story.

You con’t have to have read the first one but why wouldn’t you?  It’s equally incredible and give’s you Jack’s story.  This is a beautifully written story and series.  It has amazing depth, and continues to grow as more elements are revealed in detail.  Again, it’s a stunning story.  Don’t pass it up.  I highly recommend it.

Cover Artist: Bree Archer.  I like the cover but it’s too white (i can’t believe I’m saying this. Doesn’t convey the  darkness of the story).

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 240 pages
Published May 29th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Wolf Winter :

Dog Days (Wolf Winter #1)

Stone the Crows (Wolf Winter, #2) 

Release Blitz and Giveaway for Forged in Fire (Asheville Arcana #2) by Ari McKay



Cover Design: Aaron Anderson

Length: 59,473 words

Ashville Arcana Series

The magic touch.

Ever since Harlan Edgewood was bitten by a possessed werewolf, his monthly shifts have been agonizing. When he meets Whimsy Hickes—a mage who specializes in transformation—the attraction is mutual. But Harlan believes his curse is too great a burden to inflict on any romantic partner.

Fortunately, Whimsy thinks he can help.

When Harlan is provoked into an unexpected change, Whimsy uses his magic to help ease Harlan’s pain, but with an unexpected consequence. While he’s shifted, Harlan’s wolf claims Whimsy as his mate.

As they draw closer, suspicious events in the Asheville magical community escalate. Shifters are disappearing, others are murdered, and Harlan’s curse makes him an obvious target. It will take all of Whimsy’s magic to force back the rising evil—and if he fails, Harlan will lose not only his life, but his very soul.

Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure. Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge watching TV shows together.

Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.

McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.


A MelanieM Release Day Review: Forged in Fire (Asheville Arcana #2) by Ari McKay



Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

The magic touch.

Ever since Harlan Edgewood was bitten by a possessed werewolf, his monthly shifts have been agonizing. When he meets Whimsy Hickes—a mage who specializes in transformation—the attraction is mutual. But Harlan believes his curse is too great a burden to inflict on any romantic partner.

Fortunately, Whimsy thinks he can help.

When Harlan is provoked into an unexpected change, Whimsy uses his magic to help ease Harlan’s pain, but with an unexpected consequence. While he’s shifted, Harlan’s wolf claims Whimsy as his mate.

As they draw closer, suspicious events in the Asheville magical community escalate. Shifters are disappearing, others are murdered, and Harlan’s curse makes him an obvious target. It will take all of Whimsy’s magic to force back the rising evil—and if he fails, Harlan will lose not only his life, but his very soul.

Whimsy Hickes! Of all  of the character names that have leapt across the  pages I have read all these years, this is one of the ones I wish I could grab for myself.  Just the sheer charm of this name speaks to me.  As does the character himself.  I have adored  Whimsy since I met him in Out of the Ashes (Asheville Arcana #1).  Then he was dealing with the loss of his triad relationship when his friend and lover, half-elf Arden Gilmarin, finds true love with his mate werewolf Eli Hammond.  When their other third, the Vampire disappears in his research, it leaves Whimsy lonely and searching for something for himself in Forged in Fire (Asheville Arcana #2) by Ari McKay.

The Asheville Arcana series or maybe trilogy is so wonderful.  Layered over with multiple storylines that keep your attention glued to every sentence less you loose a clue or important element that will frame out the next action, McKay never forgets that its the people (or beings) that are the foundation here.  And I mean every character, not just the main ones.  Just terrific characterizations all around.

Both Whimsy and Harlan are looking for something….and find each other unexpectedly.  It’s the mate bond that shows them the way.  Each character is lovingly built up so that they feel alive, each detail, right down to the handmade candles that one makes and the other joyfully receives, gives us insight into them as people and as a couple.  I loved that and them.  And could see them so clearly in my mind that I felt I  was nearby, listening in as  a friend and happy for them.

Of course, there is an ongoing series storyline arc here with a great evil and that is carried through here with suspense and wonderful action.  I was holding my breath at parts to see how it would all shake out and how if any resolution would happen knowing the series was only as book two.  I wasn’t disappointed. The authors can write action as well as romance.  And of course, we still have a lonely vampire at large.  Can’t have that, can we?

So what have we got?  A terrific magical series with supernatural and fantasy characters that feel alive and so vivid that you will connect with them easily.  An evil so pervasive that it sends chills down your spine and make you fear for all involved.  And plenty of love and romance for all lovers of, well, love and romance.  Plus the name Whimsy Hickes. You know how I feel about that.

I can’t wait for the next story in this series.  Until then, if you are new to the Asheville Arcana series, pick up book one and find out what’s in store for you.  None of them are standalones.  Then read this one.  I highly recommend them both.

Cover art:  Aaron Anderson.  Love this  cover.  That’s my idea of Whimsy Hickes now absolutely.

Sales Links:     Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 220 pages
Expected publication: May 1st 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Asheville Arcana

Out of the Ashes (Asheville Arcana #1)

Forged in Fire (Asheville Arcana, #2)

A MelanieM Review: Squared Away (Out of Uniform #5) by Annabeth Albert


Rating:   4.5 stars out of 5


In the wake of tragedy, SEAL Mark Whitley rushed stateside to act as guardian to his sister’s three young children. But a conflicting will could give custody to someone else—someone Mark remembers as a too young, too hot, wild party boy. Even after six years, Mark can’t shake the memory of his close encounter with Isaiah James, or face up to what it says about his own sexuality.

Isaiah’s totally over the crush that made him proposition Mark all those years ago. In fact, he’s done with crushing on the wrong men altogether. For now, he’s throwing himself into proving he’s the best person to care for his cousin’s kids. But there’s no denying there’s something sexy about a big, tough military man with a baby in his arms.

As the legal details get sorted out, their long-buried attraction resurfaces, leading to intimate evenings after the kids are tucked in. A forever future is within reach for all of them, if only Mark can find the courage he needs to trust Isaiah with his secrets—and his heart.

Squared Away (Out of Uniform #5) by Annabeth Albert is another heartwarming installment in her   Out of Uniform series that I just love.  If you asked me to name which of this author’s series is a favorite, I’d be hard pressed to name one because each has its own special elements that I adore and draw me back to them.  For her Out of Uniform series, Albert really captures both that sense of what it means to be a   part of the “military unit” with her tight knit group of SEALs and their families.   The author manages to convey their sense of duty to country, their drive to serve, the deep bonds between those that serve together, and yes, the stresses and the reality of what it means to be a part of the military today.

Along with the realism of military life, Annabeth Albert makes her stories delightfully inclusive, reflecting the fact that military today is as diverse as the society itself.  Couples are looking much like the ones you see staring back at you at bars, grocery stores and city streets everywhere…they are racially mixed, not just all white couples.   That’s especially true with Squared Away‘s main characters.  You have SEAL Mark Whitley and the younger (now grown up) man who’s been crushing on him since his teens, Isaiah James.  Among the many issues that crop up between them (age differences, perception of attitudes, stability,  etc), race isn’t one of them.  I liked that too.

Trust me this couple has enough to deal with as it is.  Young children left orphaned by drunk driving, revelations about who their parents really were, life adjustments, and then Mark having to rearrange how he sees Isaiah, now an adult and how he sees his own path in the military.  Getting one’s life ‘squared away’ is never an easy task, sometimes it takes a monumental sea change.  And that’s what happens to both men here.  The challenges each man faces in order to move forward towards their goals comes with frustrations here for them and for the reader who wants to shake them occasionally.

This is one emotional, heart felt ride of a story.  It’s typical of Annabeth Albert that we grieve with Isaiah and Mark and the kids, then we chart the growth of their relationship, the steps back and tiny steps forward.  We gnash our teeth in frustration over Mark’s inability to communicate and the consequences for all involved.  And because the writing and characters are so wonderful, we’ve taken them all to heart and we need to know all will be safe and together.  And love the ending so.

Squared Away (Out of Uniform #5) by Annabeth Albert has everything I’ve come to love and expect from this author and series.  A heartwarming story and romance, great characters, and a ending that left me smiling and feeling happy for hours.  Its why I am again recommending this series and this lovely story.  If you’re a Annabeth Albert fan, you’re already way ahead of me.

Cover art: is hot, relevant and wonderful.

Sales Links:   Carina Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Expected publication: April 16th 2018 by Carina Press
Original TitleSquared Away
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesOut of Uniform #5

A MelanieM Review: Open Net (Cayuga Cougars #2) by V.L. Locey


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

August Miles has the world on a string professionally.

Augie, as his friends and teammates call the unassuming young goaltender, is on the fast track to the pros. The starting goalie for the Cayuga Cougars, he has a year or two in Cayuga to hone his skills and all his career dreams will have come true. Pity his personal life isn’t riding the same high. He’s the only one among his group of friends without that special someone to call his own.

Until he meets Salvatore Castenada at a lakeside party. The attraction is white-hot and more than a little wonderfully overwhelming for the romantically inexperienced goalie. August quickly discovers that Sal is everything he’s dreamed of in a man: mature, settled, sinfully handsome, and filled with gentle humor. Sal is also HIV positive.

Will Sal’s revelation about his status end this budding relationship before it can even begin? Or will the two men be able to handle the challenges life—and a championship run for the Cougars—throws at them?

The second in the Cayuga Cougars series, Open Net is a marvelous joining of hockey and romance by V.L. Locey.  This author is amazing at this love/hockey combo because of her in depth knowledge and love for the game which flows through her narrative like a hockey puck on ice.  Here the hockey player who falls in love is a goalie, that special quirky teammate on ice that every team has.  He’s  past oddball, having  some indefinable character element that all great and even not so great goalies must have.  And Locey captures that in the persona of Augie, aka August Miles.   How I love Augie.  I see him so clearly even now, adopted late in life elderly  parents, raised out in the middle of nowhere in Manitoba, hockey is his life.  It’s his only thing until he meets Salvatore  “Sal”Castenada and realizes Sal is everything.

Except Sal is also HIV positive.  It’s a defining moment in both men’s lives.  Sal is older, hurt by one moment in life when he was a trusting innocent and is now paying the price.  He has been also hurt when he’s tried to date and start a  romance again only to find out that his HIV status is a barrier few will cross.

Locey accurately details life with HIV as well what it means to date someone who’s HIV positive.  She does so while maintaining a heartwarming, loving relationship between Augie and Sal.  And she deals realistically with the reactions of those of the people around them as well, both for and against.

And while Augie and Sal are working on their relationship, Augie is also working within his team to become the best goalie he can be. I love the action in the ring, the playing time!  Its fast, fierce and as much of the story as the romance!  Combine both and you have one outstanding novel and a great series!

Love romance?  Hockey players in love?  Grab up this story and the others too.  You can’t go wrong with the Cayuga Cougars and their partners…on and off the ice.  I highly recommend them.

Cover art by Riverie Design and Formatting: love it.  Great job.

Sales Links: – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:

book, 200 pages
Published August 16th 2017 by V.L. Locey
Original TitleOpen Net — Cayuga Cougars #2
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesCayuga Cougars #2

A MelanieM Review: Tribute Act (Porthkennack #8) by Joanna Chambers


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Nathan Bridges hadn’t intended to settle down in his home town of Porthkennack—he just ended up staying after saving the family business from ruin. The truth is, Nathan can’t stop himself from stepping in when problems arise. He’s a fixer, the man everyone turns to. But even fixers can’t solve everything.

When Nathan’s sister needs an organ transplant, it’s his stepbrother, Mack, who the family turns to as Rosie’s only potential living donor. Nathan’s curiosity about the stepbrother he’s never met turns to shock when he realises that Mack is his latest—and hottest ever—one-night stand.

Nathan and Mack agree to forget their single night together, but that’s easier said than done. When Mack moves in to Nathan’s place to recuperate after surgery, it’s not just the sexual tension between them that keeps growing. Against all the odds, and despite Mack’s wariness of intimacy, the two men grow close enough that Nathan begins to wonder what it would take to mend the rift that’s kept Mack and his father estranged for over a decade . . . and whether Mack might consider staying with Nathan in Porthkennack for good.

Sometimes, when the writing, the themes, and, the characters all come together, then a place comes alive for a reader.  You feel like you can walk down the pathways, watch the wild seas, look in through the glass windows into the pubs and storefronts of a place and feel you know it intimately because it’s now real for you.  Porthkennack is now that place or me.  Which is more amazing because the series isn’t written by one author but by five (at least for the moment).  Each one adding to the mythology, the foundation of the place, it’s people and its history.

Some are stand alone novels, such as this one, others are not.

All make you wish with all your heart that Porthkennack was a place you can grab a plane or bus to.  Tribute Act is just another reason why.

Tribute Act opens with music from songs from Nathan’s father’s band, one he walked away from, along with his marriage when he married Nathan’s mother in Porthkennackk, giving up music, settling down to have a family and fun a ice cream store.  That’s where we meet Nathan Bridges.  Home to rescue his Dad (awful businessman), his Mom, and sister.   It’s Nathan who is the rock of the family, always giving, sacrificing to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the family.  Nathan’s character is so well defined.  We see how much it takes out of him to continually be the giver, leaving little for himself, including dreams for his future.

Nathan’s sister is in need of a transplant which introduces Mack to the family and a series of startling revelations for all, especially Nathan who’d hooked up with Mack the night before not knowing he was his stepbrother.  Mack also was shocked by that little surprise.  Mack is a torn, bitter young man, hurt by seeing the family before him he never had as he was abandoned by Nathan’s dad.

Ah, that’s the huge weakness at the center.  The roaring musician, the dad who’s basically a coward but still loves his family.  This story is full of flawed people.  Some you will love, some you’ll understand, some you might despise…but all of them feel downright authentic.   They act, talk, yell, and react from places that you expect….deep wells of pain and anguish.  Childhood abandonment and loss.  Lack of familial love.  That’s very powerful stuff and it flows from the very heart of the narrative here.

And when hesitatingly, it all  starts to find a way to  come together, in forgiveness and as a family?  Well, you can’t help but feel joy and love for them all.  And another story and group takes its place in your Porthkennack corner of your heart.  How I love this place.

If you aren’t familiar with the Porthkennack series, Tribute Act (Porthkennack #8) by Joanna Chambers works fine on its own.  I highly recommend it and the others.  Check out the entire series here.  You might find me waiting on the bench by the bus stop waiting to walk with you into town.   You never know what magic can happen there.

Cover art by Garrett Leigh is spectacular.  Moody, it captures the tone, location, and character and pulls you in.  I love it.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 206 pages
Published January 15th 2018 by Riptide Publishing (first published January 13th 2018)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesPorthkennack #8

This title is part of the Porthkennack universe.

Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway for Tribute Act by Joanna Chambers


Tribute Act (Porthkennack #8) by Joanna Chambers
Riptide Publishing
Cover Art: Garrett Leigh

Available for Purchase/Read an Excerpt at Riptide Publishing

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Joanna Chambers here today on her tour for Tribute Act, another great release in the Porthkennack series from Riptide Publishing.  Welcome, Joanna.


Hello, book lovers! I’m Joanna Chambers and this is the blog tour for Tribute Act, my new romance which is book #8 in the Riptide’s Cornwall-set Porthkennack series. I’ll be sharing thoughts on writing my first full length contemporary, writing Christmas songs as an extreme form of authorly procrastination and my love of men with sad eyes. Please join me for a chance to win a copy of the book and a $25 Riptide gift card!

About Tribute Act

Nathan Bridges hadn’t intended to settle down in his hometown of Porthkennack—he just ended up staying after saving the family business from ruin. The truth is, Nathan can’t stop himself from stepping in when problems arise. He’s a fixer, the man everyone turns to. But even fixers can’t solve everything.

When Nathan’s sister needs an organ transplant, it’s his stepbrother, Mack, who the family turns to as Rosie’s only potential living donor. Nathan’s curiosity about the stepbrother he’s never met turns to shock when he realises that Mack is his latest—and hottest ever—one-night stand.

Nathan and Mack agree to forget their single night together, but that’s easier said than done. When Mack moves in to Nathan’s place to recuperate after surgery, it’s not just the sexual tension between them that keeps growing. Against all the odds, and despite Mack’s wariness of intimacy, the two men grow close enough that Nathan begins to wonder what it would take to mend the rift that’s kept Mack and his father estranged for over a decade . . . and whether Mack might consider staying with Nathan in Porthkennack for good.

Available now from Riptide Publishing!

About Porthkennack

Welcome to Porthkennack, a charming Cornish seaside town with a long and sometimes sinister history. Legend says King Arthur’s Black Knight built the fort on the headland here, and it’s a certainty that the town was founded on the proceeds of smuggling, piracy on the high seas, and the deliberate wrecking of cargo ships on the rocky shore. Nowadays it draws in the tourists with sunshine and surfing, but locals know that the ghosts of its Gothic past are never far below the surface.

This collaborative story world is brought to you by five award-winning, best-selling British LGBTQ romance authors: Alex Beecroft, Joanna Chambers, Charlie Cochrane, Garrett Leigh, and JL Merrow. Follow Porthkennack and its inhabitants through the centuries and through the full rainbow spectrum with historical and contemporary stand-alone titles.

Check out Porthkennack! http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/universe/porthkennack

About Joanna Chambers

Joanna Chambers always wanted to write. In between studying, finding a proper grown up job, getting married and having kids, she spent many hours staring at blank sheets of paper and chewing pens. That changed when she rediscovered her love of romance and found her muse. Joanna’s muse likes red wine, coffee and won’t let Joanna clean the house or watch television.

Connect with Joanna:

Website: www.joannachambers.com


Twitter: @ChambersJoanna



To celebrate the release of Tribute Act, one lucky winner will receive an ecopy of the book and a $25 Amazon gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 20, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A MelanieM Review: Not All Chocolates & Cuckoo Clocks by Rebecca Cohen


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Neither of them wants to fall in love, but getting exactly what they don’t want might be the best thing to ever happen to them.

Mark hopes his boredom with his current job will be alleviated by a short stint in Basel, Switzerland. When he meets Steffen, who struck out on his own from an old-money family to establish an IT firm, Mark expects some fun, great sex, and a clean break when his job is done. The arrangement is perfect for Steffen, who has been content with casual after a betrayal—and has a taste for British men after attending university in the UK. But as they explore the city’s rich history and traditions, Mark begins to see Steffen as much more than a tour guide with benefits. If he isn’t careful, the trip meant to break the lull in his career might end up breaking his heart instead….

I’m very fond of Rebecca Cohen’s stories, from historical romances of The Crofton Chronicles to the contemporary Treading the Boards series, she always brings something different, a decided depth and twist to her novels.  So I was interested to see where her new story, Not All Chocolates & Cuckoo Clocks, would take me.  Surprisingly it took me to her home.

As the author states in her forward, Not All Chocolates & Cuckoo Clocks is as much a love letter to Basel, Switzerland as it is a contemporary romance.  That’s so true.  Rebecca Cohen’s love for her adopted city shines through every scene, every description, glowing like a adoring spotlight over this historical place that’s the location for Mark and Steffen’s love story.  I have to admit I was googling as fast as I was reading, so alluring and warm did Basel become in my mind.  It is a fully formed main character, as much as Mark and Steffen, enfolding them both with the culture, cobbled streets, sounds, and even flavors of Basel itself.  I want to go so badly my fingers are itching to hit Priceline.com or whatever link, book and go!

And with all that, it doesn’t overshine the easy, sweet romance of Mark and Steffen who fall in love over a simple arrangement and look like they have found their HEA.  Normally I don’t do any sort of instant love.  But here with Mark and Steffen, both men are older, coming out of relationships where they can define what didn’t work, and know what they want.  In other words, they are ready.  Right age, right timing.  It happens that way.  And the author makes it believable.  I believed not only in both men, their different personalities, their workplaces, everything.  Oh and the differences in where they lived!

I liked knowing where they took the train to, what stations they got off at.  It gave me a real feel for the city.  The walk to the Zoo and the penguins!  It made the book feel intimate and authentic.  Oh, and the Carnival in Basel, the Basler Fasnacht, along with the 4am Morgestraich, a parade unlike any other.  And so much more.  The reader is right there, watching with Mark and Steffen, laughing and amazed!

Really, it’s hard to remember this story is only 132 pages.

But every page is a jewel.  Of romance, of loving information conveyed to Mark and the reader about Basel, and a terrific love story as well.  Hard to beat that!  If you love contemporary romance and travel too,  Not All Chocolate and Cuckoo Clocks
by Rebecca Cohen is a great combination of both.  Pick it up.  I highly recommend it.  And yes, I’d love to return and visit them again.

Cover Design: Brooke Albrecht. What a great cover. Incorporates both Basel and a model that’s the character. Love it.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Dreamspinner

Book Details:

Dreamspinner Press’ World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.

ebook, 132 pages
Expected publication: January 12th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Review: Genetic Snare (Details #2) by Laura Baumbach


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Betrayal, passion, adventure, primal sex, and a fight to the death.

Mating a 26th century Oracan Bounty Hunter with a 18th century pirate has its little glitches.

Bounty hunter Talos bows to pressure to bring his mate home for the completion of his strict warrior culture’s bonding ritual. Aidan, displaced 18th century Earth pirate— light-fingered, sly, charming and understandably naive about the new world he’s been thrust into— can’t wait. Even if it turns out someone wants him dead. The 26th century looks different, but it turns out to be a lot like his old life!

I will admit that maybe my review is colored by the fact that I’ve waited so, so, so, long for this damn book.  I mean I read the first one back in oh, I don’t know either 2006 or 2007, when it first came out.  Loved it!  I mean there was a ginormous space alien on a hunt who talked like Sam Spade, then an 18th century swashbuckling pirate wooshed out of time and sea (literally) who becomes a naughty, captivating mate, and so much more.  And oh, yes?  Tentacle sex of a sort.

By the end of Details of the Hunt (Details, #1), I was just as ensnared as Aiden was.  Thoroughly hooked on their romance, mating, and Laura Baumbach’s curious couple and her world building.  She then promised us a follow up, because they had mated and there was a ceremony Aiden and Talos had to undertake on Oracan to be official, and there was still potential mysteries floating about. So yes, needed that next story.  All the fans anxiously waited, sent texts, and waited some more.  But the sequel never appeared.  And years went by. I think most of us  probably thought it was forgotten under the stress and pressures of running MLR Press.

So imagine my wonder at seeing that a finished copy was available at MLR.  Be still my heart.  Yes!  Talos and Aiden were back! As was the intergalactic intrigue, the new bonding, the planetary politics,  and all the other wild story threads Baumbach had left swirling around the couple.  So many things to remember that I needed to go back and reread my  paperback copy of the first book as a refresher.  And I’m glad I did. (I’ll review it again soon.)

That’s the only thing that I can see will absolutely confuse people.  This is not a standalone story.  While the author did some back history here, it’s just not enough to completely bring a new reader up to speed.  At certain times, they will feel totally “out to sea” as Aiden still does.  There’s also multiple povs that carry over from the first story, again you need to know who they are and where they fit in with Aiden and Talos.  I’m not sure this book let’s the reader in on those elements with enough depth to make those people as real as they were in Details of the Hunt.

What this story does is give Talos and Aiden their acceptance among the Ocacans and Talos a long awaited homecoming.  You get more of a feel for their society and culture during the highly anticipated bonding rituals (which I wish were extended a little more), and only whetted my curiosity for more of them.  I loved the Oracans I do see, I wanted more of the planet and history,and of the couple after the ceremonies. From those Baumbach gave us, those pieces of Oracan culture, like the inking, were interesting touches that begged for the reader to be let in for more. More time, more information, just more.  I bet Aiden felt that way!

It’s hard to address certain aspects of the story without giving away spoilers. I guess after all this time, I’m just so happy to have it, that my biggest complaint is that there is more of it.  I could have used double the  story.  No real way to be objective on this one.  Maybe after a longer amount of time has passed and I can revisit it again.  Until such a time happens, I’m just so thrilled to have them back.  Just make sure you read the Details of the Hunt first, then onto Genetic Snare.  Lucky you!

Cover art by Spacepixel carries over from the first story which I liked very much.

Sales Links:  MLR Books | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 175 pages
Published November 25th 2017 by MLR Press
ISBN13 9781934531075
Edition Language English
Series Details #2