Blog Tour for The Stars May Rise and Fall by Estella Mirai (excerpt and giveaway)

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BLOG TOUR

Book Title: The Stars May Rise and Fall

An M/M retelling of Phantom of the Opera set in turn-of-the-millennium Japan

Author: Estella Mirai

Publisher: Self-published

Cover Artist: MiblArt

Genre/s: M/M romance, contemporary

Heat Rating: 2 flames

Length: 90 000 words/320 pages

It is a standalone story.

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Blurb

Teru came to Tokyo with dreams of making it big in the glam-metal visual kei scene, but three years later, all he has to show for it is a head of hot pink hair and some skill with an eyeliner pencil. He may look the part, but he doesn’t sound it, and constant bickering among his bandmates has him worried about his future. When he finds a mysterious business card in his bag, he’s willing to take any help he can get.

Help comes in the form of Rei, a crippled, disfigured composer whose own career was ended by an accident before it had really begun. With Teru’s voice and looks, and Rei’s money and songwriting skills, both of their dreams seem about to come true – but a forbidden kiss and a late-night confession threaten to tear it all apart. Now Teru, who has spent most of his life denying his attraction to men, and Rei, who vowed long ago never to love again, must reconcile their feelings with their careers – and with their carefully constructed ideas of themselves.



THE STARS MAY RISE AND FALL is an M/M retelling of Phantom of the Opera, set in Tokyo at the turn of the millennium. It comes with a healthy dose of angst and a dollop of nostalgia, as well as an age-difference romance, a physically disabled love interest, and memorable characters who will stay with you long after the pages are closed.

Buy Links

Amazon US

Amazon UK 

Excerpt 

I can help you. Call me.

Teru ran his finger around the edge of the card. Maybe it had been a mistake. Should he call, and let whoever had left it know?

He opened the window and lit a cigarette. The smoke floated out into the muggy Tokyo night.

“This is stupid,” he said aloud. “It’s one in the morning. Whoever it is, they’re asleep.”

But Teru wasn’t asleep. His bandmates probably weren’t asleep either. If it was a musician who had left the card, one in the morning was better than one in the afternoon.

I can help you. Call me.

He picked up his phone and dialed.

It rang once, twice—and Teru cut the connection. This is stupid. But he didn’t feel stupid. He felt guilty, like he’d been doing something he shouldn’t.

He stubbed out the cigarette and walked across the room to the refrigerator. Nothing but a pack of noodles and a flat Diet Coke. Even though he’d already had a couple with the guys after the show, what Teru really needed was a beer.

On the other side of the room, the phone rang.

The floor was littered with clothes and magazines and Playstation controllers. Teru almost tripped as he lunged for the phone, and then only crouched there, watching it, with his nerves wrapped around his voice box like a snake. There was no name with the number, but Teru knew it by heart. He’d only been staring at it for the past hour.

The ringing stopped. An engine rumbled outside Teru’s window, and a train clattered over distant tracks. Upstairs, slippered feet padded across a tatami floor. The air was thick with an anticipation far from silence—but just as easily shattered by the trill of a different ring.

Teru’s fingers fumbled to open the text.

I heard you sing.

He stared, waiting for the words to sink in. They didn’t, though. They made no sense.

It had only been a mistake after all.

You’ve got the wrong number, he replied. This is Teru, the drummer for La Rose Verboten. I don’t sing.

And then: You should.

The phone rang again.

“Hello?”

“You have a beautiful voice.”

It wasn’t Yasu. It wasn’t anyone he knew.

“Hello?” Teru repeated. “Who is this?”

“A friend.” The voice was male, deep and effortlessly sensual in a way that Seika would have envied. It made Teru distinctly uncomfortable.

“Look,” Teru said. “I think you want Bara. I’m not the singer. I’m the drummer. The one with pink hair?”

“I heard you,” the man pressed. “In the dressing room. I can help you.”

In the dressing room? There’d been no one else in there.

“Is this some kind of joke?”

“Not at all.”

“What do you want?” Teru whispered.

“To teach you. To help you. Will you meet with me?”

Teru’s palms were sweaty, his face flushed. It was partly exhaustion, partly a lingering buzz… but it was more than that. He felt dirty. This was worse than what he felt with Seika—and it was just a voice on the goddamn phone.

“There’s a studio in Koenji,” he heard himself say.

“No!” the man snapped, and he took a sharp, hissing breath. “No studios. You may come to my apartment.”

“Your apartment?”

“Please. It is… difficult, for me to go out.”

“Um… okay.” What the hell did that mean?

“I live in Meguro,” the man said. “Near the live house. I can send you the address. If you’ll come.” There was a plea in his voice, a quiet desperation. Teru swallowed, hard.

“You want to give me singing lessons?”

“Yes.”

This was insane. “When?”

“Whenever you are free.”

Teru glanced at his calendar. June, 2000. Three years, almost to the day, since he had stepped off the night bus from Niigata. After all that time, he didn’t even have anything to lose.

About the Author

Estella Mirai lives just outside of Tokyo with her human family and a very spoiled lap cat. When she isn’t reading or writing, she works in editing and translation—which means that 99% percent of her day is usually words. In her minimal free time, she enjoys watching musicals, cooking (badly), and slaughtering power ballads at karaoke.

Author Links

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A MelanieM Release Day Review: The Quarterback’s Crush by John R. Petrie

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Dylan Porter needs a Hail Mary….

Because it’ll take a miracle for him to pass English and trig so he can stay on the football team, get a scholarship, and go away to college—where the distance from his friends and family will give him the confidence to finally tell them he’s gay. But flunking his classes will put a stop to all of his dreams.

Luckily there’s Tommy Peterson to help him. In Dylan’s eyes, Tommy’s perfect. Short, smart, and sexy, he checks every one of Dylan’s boxes, so it’s no surprise when Dylan falls head over heels. Too bad Tommy doesn’t seem to feel the same, and a pining Dylan accidentally outs himself to the team. Now Dylan has to deal with the fallout of his coming out to the team, his dad, and his coach while trying to score the ultimate touchdown—the love of Tommy Peterson.

It took me almost no time to fall totally under the spell of this endearing story and its amazing characters.  And it’s all due to the unique voice and personality of the main character, Dylan Porter.  You see, it’s his perspective that we see the story from and he’s an astonishing person!

As crafted by John R. Petrie in The Quarterback’s Crush, Dylan Porter is that amazingly elusive animal….a layered human being with the ability to surprise you over and over, not just the length of the story, but even several pages.  He’s not “peggable”.  What comes out of his mouth frustrates him,  makes him angry, or cry, but for the reader?  It makes you want to hug him, cheer him on,  support him, and in every respect do what’s necessary, because, damnit, this author has made us quickly believe in him.

The Quarterback’s Crush is a coming out tale from Harmony Ink Press but  its also so much more.  It deals with the stresses of senior life in high school (oh the joy and horror), the college entrance tests, prom, bullying, cliques, and more.  Normally those are topics we expect to get from a “nerds” pov,  and we do here.  But it’s also from a popular high school football player’s and his team.  They will surprise and delight you as well.  They certainly did me.

Tommy Peterson is the other side of the romantic equation (a sentence I think he would respond to).  He is as well put together as Dylan and a great match.  Did I wish to know more about Tommy’s story?  Yes, but honestly, this isn’t his story, It’s Dylan’s, and while I loved Tommy and wished for more, I wouldn’t to the detriment of Dylan’s voice.  So maybe a prequel with Tommy?

In fact, all the other characters here, Riley, Dylan’s best friend and the other  football players, Coach, father, have a certain stability and strength to them which only made this story more real and the relationships better defined.

The only thing that keeps this from a 5 star rating is that epilogue.  It was cute but I would rather have had more stories than something so full of teasers and questions.  Sort of a let down for me.  It could have ended without it and been a 5 star story in my opinion.

The Quarterback’s Crush is John R. Petrie‘s first published romance which amazes me.  It’s heartwarmingly wonderful, it’s characters endearing, and it’s storyline captivating.  I recommend it highly to all.

Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas.  I like the cover, although all the models seem more like college age than high school but the composition and characters are spot on.

Sales Links

Amazon (Kindle/Paper format) |  Dreamspinner Press  |  Harmony Ink Press  |  Barnes & Noble: 

 

 

Book Details:

ebook, 167 pages
Expected publication: September 4th 2018 by Harmony Ink Press
ISBN139781640803909
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Recent Release Review: Galaxies and Oceans by N.R. Walker

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Seizing his one chance to escape, Ethan Hosking leaves his violent ex-boyfriend, leaves his entire life, and walks into the path of a raging bushfire. Desperate to start over, a new man named Aubrey Hobbs walks out of the fire-ravaged forest, alive and alone. With no ID and no money, nothing but his grandfather’s telescope, he goes where the Southern Cross leads him.

Patrick Carney is the resident lighthouse keeper in Hadley Cove, a small town on the remote Kangaroo Island off the coast of South Australia. After the tragic death of his lover four years ago, he lives a solitary life; just him, a tabby cat, the Indian and Southern Oceans, and a whole lot of loneliness. He’s content with his life until a stranger shows up in town and turns Patrick’s head.

Patrick never expected to be interested in anyone else.

Aubrey never expected to be happy.

Between Aubrey’s love of the stars and Patrick’s love of the ocean, these two fragile hearts must navigate new waters. If they can weather the storm of their pasts, they could very well have a love that eclipses everything.

Galaxies and Oceans by N.R. Walker was simply one of the most moving, heart felt romances I’ve read in a long time.  The combination of island, lighthouse, small town atmosphere, and memorable characters make this story one to carry in your heart for some time to come.

There’s also this almost intangible overlay of something magical, call it fate…call it the stars but N.R. Walker has cast a spell over her narrative so that this contemporary romance has a mystical feeling when the men need it the most.  Or perhaps when you least expect it, a touch of magic brushes over the story.

How these men need it and each other.  Walker has created two wounded souls in Patrick and Ethan.  Patrick lost his partner years ago to the sea and he has never recovered from the loss. Now he just goes about his life as the keeper of the local lighthouse at Hadley Cove, his romantic life nil. Ethan Hosking’s life has  gotten so dark, so full of despair and pain that he can’t see his way out until a fire and desperation points a way.  Using his grandfather’s telescope, it’s Aubrey Hobbs who walks out of the fire and eventually makes his way all the way to Hadley Cove and into Patrick’s life.

Walker’s ability to make us see the frailty of Ethan/Aubrey as he tries to ease his way into being a part of life at Hadley Cove is amazing.  You are there as Patrick slowly befriends the skittish new person in town, finds him a job, and in the  slow burn way, builds a trust that will allow the men to form a relationship and love.  And in turn, Ethan who now is truly becoming Aubrey teaches Patrick how to start to let go, grieve, and truly celebrate what he had with his first love.

Plus there’s all the secondary yet so important cast that is needed to shore up Aubrey’s recovery from his years of abuse into the person he’s becoming in Hadley Cove.  And the food that Patrick cooks  and serves up that’s simple but mouthwatering. The descriptions of the warmth of the hearth in the lighthouse and the cat that mourned and now accepts Aubrey.  It’s exemplary and all just means this book is beautifully written. Everything about this story will break your heart and put it back together again.

I just love it.  And it’s on my to be reread pile soon.  Yes, I highly recommend it.  I will leave you sighing and so happy for days after the book is done.

Cover art is perfect for the story. I wish I could have found the artist. Love it.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 313 pages
Published June 23rd 2018 by BlueHeart Press
Original TitleGalaxies and Oceans
ASINB07DZNX1LT
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Releases Day Review: All That Glitters by Kate Sherwood

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

 

No matter what he tells himself, wealthy NYC architect Liam has never been able to forget his first love, Ben. But as he approaches midlife and realizes something is missing, can he forgive himself for the worst mistake he ever made—the one that left a hole no amount of career success can fill? Or will fear keep him from the full life he really wants?

Liam and Ben were childhood sweethearts, then college boyfriends. But when Liam cheated on Ben, Ben forced himself to cut ties and move on. He’s still living in the small town where they grew up, teaching, but it’s not the life he imagined for himself as a younger man. Still, when Liam returns, he can’t risk his heart again. He certainly can’t allow himself to love Liam again after fighting so hard to get over him.

Neither man wants to let go of the past and face their apprehension at starting over. They don’t want to fall in love a second time—but sometimes love happens whether it’s wanted or not.

All That Glitters by Kate Sherwood is one of those books that I just submersed myself in from the very beginning and happily stayed that way, never wanting to emerge from the story , town of North Falls and warm company of characters Kate Sherwood created.

Instantly I knew everyone deserves an Uncle Calvin, best friends like Seth and his wife Dinah, and well, damn, everyone who populates North Falls including the deputy with her trooper car of authority.  I wanted to move into this town and wallow in its uniqueness and hometown warm glow.  By the end, I wanted to be one of them, quirks, history, and all.

It’s funny because in  one of my Sunday blogs, I had researched authors and articles who wrote down talking about how to write great romance stories.  One said don’t concentrate on secondary characters.  This story just proves how wrong that person was.  North Falls and all its townspeople, Uncle Calvin, Seth, Dinah….they make this story.  They show us the heart and foundation and history  where both  Ben and Liam came from.  Ben and LIam nee them not only to support them but to  supply the men with the weft and warp of this couple’s life tapestry.  Everyone plays major roles in these mens lives and the author weaves them in and out, with a richness of layers both fun, poignant, determined and deep.

The romance of two men who have always loved each other and now have a second chance at their HEA if only they can work through fear and other obstacles is realistic and moving.

The cheating is way in the past for those of you for whom its an issue.

Things I learned?  I so need to plan a baby shower (not a strong point of mine) because I need to play beer baby!!!! Thank you, Uncle Calvin!  I have never laughed so hard as during these scenes.  Maybe I’ll just can the baby shower and find a need to play beer baby on its own.  Along with some of the other twisted games he came up with.  Buy the book just for this.

Nope, when it domes down to it, this book is a treasure.  I laughed, sniffled a little, and outright loved this story.  The characters (man, oh, man, I need Uncle Calvin in my life), feel so real that it almost hurts to realize that I can’t go out and find them and North Falls on a road trip next week.

I highly recommend All That Glitters by Kate Sherwood.  For me, its everything, every word, every sentence, every paragraph,  every page.  Pick it up and get started today.

Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas.  I sort of like that cover but in a couple of ways it doesn’t represent the book or give the reader an idea of what they are getting into.  It could just as easily be something supernatural instead of contemporary.  Nice representation of Ben however.  Definitely no LIam and that would have helped to show both men on the cover as well as the town.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 206 pages
Expected publication: June 26th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640805255
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Release Day Review: BFF by K.C. Wells

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

I’m about to do something huge, and it could change… everything.

I met Matt in second grade, and we’ve been inseparable ever since. We went to the same schools, studied at the same college. When we both got jobs in the same town, we shared an apartment. And when my life took an unexpected turn, Matt was there for me. Every milestone in my life, he was there to share it. And what’s really amazing? After all these years, we’re still the best of friends.

Which brings me to this fragile, heart-stopping moment: I want to tell him I love him, really love him, but I’m scared to death of what he’ll say. If I’ve got this all wrong, I’ll lose him—forever.

I’m having a terrific contemporary fiction week! BFF by KC Wells is a warmhearted, feel good story of discovery, friendship, and love.  It’s  got a sort of tone to it that caught me off guard that I attribute to its format.  I almost had to read the   first couple of paragraphs twice to make sure  it was part of the story and not an author’s forward.  Well, it was an author’s forward.  But it  didn’t come from K.C. Wells but rather from David, our narrator of this story.

You see BFF is the coming of age, coming out story that charts two men’s friendship from their first meeting as second graders where they became the Dynamic Duo, through high school, all through roommates at college and after graduation as they start their various careers…always together.  As the best of friends.

But David is recounting it at the beginning of novel, he’s writing it all down as a story, complete with notes and reflections on his behavior towards Matt at the time (hindsight is everything).  It gives the book an immediate and intimate feel as his thoughts and feelings come tumbling out along with the memories.  Through David’s eyes, both Matt and their families come alive as does their long, blended history together.  If the two boys were always side by side so too were their parents (and siblings), matching them for support and love, even in the toughest of times.

Oddly I’m talking financially here.  This wonderful story has these families carry with them many of the strains most modern families do….job security, moving, eduction issues, and learning disabilities.  Even sex education and tolerance in the nicest of ways.  What it doesn’t have?  Extreme angst of any sort.  This is a gentle, moving story of a journey of a friendship and a deep love  towards a final revelation and HEA.

KC Wells really got to me.  Even when she had David remarking on his own dialog as a kid (too smart) in his story, to his interactions with Matt throughout the years, I was there with them, throughly invested in their relationship, their happiness.  That included their families.  I tell you I loved both sets of parents and when you read this story, you will too.

Honestly, that blurb gives you one idea of the plot line. But the story is so much more than that.  It’s bigger, warmer, decades in these mens lives and a touching, joyous journey to love.  Trust me, I really didn’t want to let them go.  I highly recommend this story.  It left me smiling and with a happy heart.  Doesn’t that sound like a grand afternoon?

Cover art:  Reese Dante.  This cover is perfect in every way.  That’s David and Matt and an importation location.  Love it.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Expected publication: June 5th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640801004
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Review: Consorting with Dragons by Sera Trevor

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

At last, the novel-length expansion of the award-winning novella!

Lord Jasen of Grumhul, an impoverished young nobleman, has come to the Draelands to find a rich husband to help pay his father’s debts. To the shock of everyone, he ends up attracting the attention of King Rilvor himself, and the dragons who control the magic in the land. Becoming royalty wasn’t something Jasen either expected or wanted, but he can’t control his growing feelings for kind and handsome king. Scheming factions at Court conspire to keep him from Rilvor’s side, and now Jasen has to decide if the chance at true love with Rilvor is worth the burden of being the husband of a king.

This sweet and funny Cinderfella romance is complete at ~85000 words and ends in a solid HEA. After all, true love always wins in fairy tales!

Well, as someone who loves all things dragons, Consorting with Dragons by Sera Trevor was a novel I couldn’t wait to start into.  It has all the elements guaranteed to pull me in.  A King looking for a new consort, dragons who play a major element, and a young man throwing his fate to the winds because of the misdeeds of his father.  Yes, yes, and yes!

Sera Trevor let me know right at the start I was in splendid “narrative” hands when, for starters, it came to the father/son dynamics.  Jasen’s reprobate of a father is a drunk, a gambler, and a total loss when it comes to handling money.  He’s run through the considerable estate Jasen’s mother had left him and his father, their castle or mansion, or whatever is left is in a sad state of disrepair, and the what money is left is sliding fast through his father’s fingers.  So Jasen hates him, right?  No.  Bitter perhaps, but he loves his father, while understanding exactly who he is, extreme faults and all.  Trevor doesn’t make a villain out of him where others would have. Instead we get the realistic complicated relationship of a father and son trying to love each other giving the current state of affairs (albeit directly due to the father’s actions).

The author, though, also lets us in, immediately, into a secret.  Jasen is special.  When he spies the dragons soaring in the air above near the castle, his heart heats up.  Something new and different.  And magical.  Oh the anticipation that starts to build for the reader!

From there on out, we walk next to Jasen as he (the bumpkin at the court), finds two friends, makes a magical connection, and a connection quite unexpected.  I just enjoyed the fun and joy that seems to rise out of this character! I often found myself smiling along with whoever was in his company because as written, he’s downright charming and endearing.

So too are the other characters.  They make their mark on you.  Whether it is King Rilvor,  Jasen’s new friends, or even his court enemies, they are so well written, that they leave quite the impression.  This includes the King’s many children too.  I wouldn’t have minded a game of mudball with them myself.

This is a world I would happily return to and a couple I would love to see more of down the road.

If you love fantasy, dragons, and romance, Consorting with Dragons by Sera Trevor is a  novel not to be missed.  I loved it and highly recommend it.  And will probably end up reading it again.

Cover art is lovely and works for the characters.

Sales Links:   Amazon

Book Details:

indle Edition, 2 edition, 295 pages
Published April 7th 2018 (first published July 28th 2014)
Original TitleConsorting with Dragons
ASINB07BHHTFXZ
Edition LanguageEnglish

 

A MelanieM Review: Like the Night (Blood Bathory #1) by Ari McKay

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Evan St. John, a young fashion photographer running from the pain caused by the death of his younger sister, is thrilled when he is offered a job with House of Nadasdy, a leading fashion house in Paris. What he doesn’t know is that Elizabeth Nadasdy, the elegant and powerful owner, is a centuries-old vampire with a penchant for collecting beautiful people. To Evan’s horror, he is turned into one of her “children.” Unable to bear what he has become, Evan flees to New York and to his best friend, police officer Will Trask. For years, Evan has nursed an unrequited love for Will, but he also knows Will is the one person who might be able to help him. As Evan and Will try to deal with Evan’s condition, they are drawn into the world of the theriomorphs: shape-shifters who are guardians of life and the sworn enemies of vampires. Caught in an ancient war between two powerful supernatural forces, Evan and Will find they must choose sides — because if they are to have any chance of a future together, they must destroy Elizabeth Nadasdy before she destroys them.

Like the Night by Ari McKay is the first in the new Blood Bathory series the authors are creating.  And what a series it looks to be.  Starting out with the historic Elizabeth Bathory herself as the sublimely evil ancient vampire at the core of all misery here, McKay builds the universe out to include an ongoing war with Gaia herself and her soldiers, the theriomorphs against the vampires who would rule.  Caught in the middle are Evan St. John, a vampire turned against his will, and Will, a human police officer and Evan’s best friend who is about to find out that the world is much stranger than he ever believed.

The author gives us multiple points of view which works here to let us know how many people actually have their own agendas in this battle for conquest.  Hint, it’s not just the main characters.  So many manipulations going on here, so many secondary threads that will, of course, become major ones later on.

The romance between Evan and Will is one that needs major communication to move forward as well as some false (and hilarious) assumptions to be swept aside.  I liked the heat between them and they worked great as a couple.  One caveat is that Evan comes across as too much of the “weak pretty boy” here for someone who is a vampire.  He has one scene where he shows his vampire strength and the  rest of the time I feel that’s wasted making the theriomorphs look badass to his detriment.  Why not both?  Not using a vampire’s assets throws away a valuable weapon imo here.

Back to the theriomorphs and Gaia.  I absolutely love this element.  I hope its explored even more closely in the upcoming stories as the battle continues.

There are many great secondary characters, on both sides mind you.  I can’t wait to see what the next installment will bring.

If you love the supernatural, romance, vampires and shapeshifters, you can’t go wrong with Like the Night (Blood Bathory #1) by Ari McKay.  I highly recommend it for the great world building, wonderful characters, and a plot that grabs a hold of you right until the end.

Cover art: Lou Harper.  I like the cover but it’s not terribly representative of the characters, Evan is blond.

Sales Links: Universal Buy Link

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 2 edition, 352 pages
Published April 9th 2018 by Independent (first published July 2nd 2013)
Original TitleBlood Bathory: Like the Night
ASINB07BFMZ8L9
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesBlood Bathory #1

A MelanieM PreRelease Review: Magic Runs Deep by Alex Whitehall

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

 

For the last five years, Veier has been chained to a king’s throne in his bear form. When a neighboring kingdom overthrows the crown, Veier’s imprisonment ends, but true freedom is not so easily earned. With blood on his hands, he needs someone with patience, strength, and trust to help him become the person he was before and prove to the invaders that he isn’t the monstrous king’s loyal pet.

Elrid, the invading king’s brother and a powerful mage, is everything Veier despises. He’s also the only thing between Veier and execution, because he thinks he can help Veier change from an aggressive bear shifter into a reasonable man. While the pair have a rough start, with long talks and mutual leaps of faith, they begin to care for each other.

However, the closer Veier gets to his freedom, the closer he is to losing Elrid. He must find balance in his heart and his life if he wishes to truly claim the freedom he’s been given—and the man he loves.

I just loved everything about Magic Runs Deep by Alex Whitehall.  Here is a fantasy novel where the author managed to combine  some very dark and realistic elements like PTSD, the horror of torture , the  effects of long term prisoner captivity under the worse conditions, with that prisoner’s recovery and love.    That the prisoner is an Ursinae or bear shifter, the one to save and help him recover a mage and brother to a king, and that some of the methods used include magic?  In the hands of author Alex Whitehall, that seems normal.  Whitehall seamlessly blends modern methods for dealing with PTSD and the magical to come up with a unique combination of spells and universe for this story that entranced me.

The Ursinae had their own magic as do the Kingdoms themselves.  I could cheerfully dwell in this land for many books, hoping to learn more not just about Veier’s shifter history but all the neighboring Kingdoms across the lands.  If they are half as fascinating as the ones that Whitehall created for the ones we got to know here, I’m all in for as many stories as the author wants to tell.

These characters were amazing!  They were so well rounded and pulled so many emotions from me in their journey to  helping Veier recover from his heinous imprisonment and the scars he now carries inside and out.  As it should be, his recovery is painful, slow, full of anger and fear.  And the reader is on this agonizing path with Veier every step of the way. So is Elrid, the mage who sees the tragedy in Veier’s fate if he can’t be helped and the man fighting to regain who he was.  I was so absorbed in Veier’s tale I totally forgot what time it was and read into the early hours.

There are other equally important storylines flowing here.  Unrest in a kingdom slow to accept new rulers, people hesitant or afraid of the shifter among them, a man eager to go home again and afraid of what he would find…all these narrative threads are carried through, their importance to the overall plot arc handled beautifully, never impeding or overtaking the main plotlines but adding interest to them,  like spice does to a great meal.

But the heart and center here is Veier and Elrid and what a story that is.  It’s heartwarming, sometimes heartstopping, and always rewarding.   This is one for my “happy shelf”, when I need a book to pull out to put a smile on my face and a lightness in my heart.    How I loved this couple.  I think you will too.  I highly recommend Magic Runs Deep by Alex Whitehall.

Cover art:  Shayne Leighton.  I like the cover, has some very nice elements on it, including the character of Veier.

Sales Links: Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

book, 183 pages
Expected publication: April 9th 2018 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleMagic Runs Deep
ISBN 1626497478 (ISBN13: 9781626497474)
Edition LanguageEnglish