A MelanieM Review:To Be Continued (#lovehim #3.5) by S.M. James

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Welcome to Webcon. Where the biggest and brightest internet celebrities come face to face with their fans.

Brought up in the ‘live for likes’ culture, Digi Lynch has amassed an impressive following. His channel is taking off, and Webcon always delivers a boost in numbers, thanks to his rivalry with ex-vlogging partner, Gram Saito.

Gram is popular, confident, and rising to the kind of fame worthy of a second gen internet sensation. And he’s up to his old tricks.

Digi can’t turn a corner for fear of being pranked and his reaction blasted online. And after one of Gram’s most high scale pranks yet, Digi decides it’s time to get even.

The animosity between Digi and Gram heats up as old feelings resurface, and Digi is forced to decide whether a life in the limelight is worth it …

Before they both go too far.

A YA contemporary novella, To Be Continued is the prequel to Not Gonna Lie and will show you where it all began for Gram and Digi.

To Be Continued (#lovehim #3.5) by S.M. James is the last of the available stories in this author’s must read YA series, a fact that’s making me sigh already.  That it’s ending here, on the “first half” of Digi and Gram’s story? Worse because this is not one of those happy stories.  It’s full of pain, the punch in the gut ways only family and those we care for but have blinders on can deal blows. It’s being young and trying to figure things out.  It’s real, sometimes mean and in every way authentic as S.M James gets under these characters skins and emotions like no other.

You have two boys now teenagers who used to be friends only a year ago, their animosity fueled in part by their mother’s  who are competitive in their online blogs and make sure it carries over to their sons, who have blogs and followers of their own.  A twisty world, a heartbreaking way to grow up online and Digi has had enough.

The strength and pain of his feelings come through so powerfully that we are carried swiftly along through several days of events to an abrupt end.  It will make sense and make us want to grab for the story still out of reach until May.  We need to know what happened to everyone next.  But as James tells us in the title  this is To Be Continued….

If you ask me to pick a couple as a favorite, I probably would have swayed towards Brooks and Damien….but there’s something about Digi and Gram.  Well of of them.  They get to you.  In their struggles to find themselves.  Their sexuality and their path to love.  Each and everyone has a deep place in my heart.   This story is just one more reason why.

But don’t start here.  I listed all the books below.  They are short and incredible.  Read them in the order they are written and then wait with them to see what happens with Digi and Gram.  Is it time yet?  Are we there?

 

Cover art: Story Styling Cover Design.  That’s perfect in a way.  Brands the series and has the tone down.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 114 pages
Published April 4th 2019 by May Books
ASIN B07P3SMSSR
Series #lovehim #3.5

Series #lovehim

That Feeling When (Archie and Landon)

No Big Deal
To Be Continued(3,5) Digi and Gram
In Real Life(4.5)  Archie and Landon  coming soon, hopefully.

A MelanieM Review: No Big Deal (#lovehim #1.5) by S.M. James

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Angus Reid has always hoped for a roommate. As the only openly gay student at Pinebrook Private, he’s never had the kind of friendship everyone else in his year does, until Tyler shows up. Tyler is sweet, thoughtful, and absolutely adorkable—and better still, he couldn’t care less that Angus is gay.

Unfortunately, falling for your straight roommate is never a good idea, and during a snowed-in weekend, Angus learns this lesson the hard way.

A YA contemporary short story, No Big Deal is the prequel to To Be Honest and will show you where it all began for Angus and Tyler

No Big Deal is as the blurb says the prequel to the marvelous YA road story romance, To Be Honest, second novel in S.M. James’ outstanding YA #lovehim series.  And yes, yet another story I’ve read out of sequence.  I just can’t seem to read this series in order which is really doing it, the author, and me a disservice.

Because had I read this before To Be Honest, I would have had so much more insight into the characters and the issues they faced going into that story.  It would have made an already layered and moving reading experience that much richer.

No Big Deal is the story of Angus and Tyler’s first introduction, our look into their first steps as roommates and friends, and some hidden clues into each person’s back histories and personalities, especially when it comes to the LGBT community.  All of which have important roles to play in the next story.

This is a short story of 38 pages so it does just fly by but the writing is smooth and so beautifully done.  The characters as bright, funny, thoughtful, and engaging as I remembered.  They act their age, with so much depth to their emotions and mental acuity that its a pleasure to watch them grow as individuals and in their relationship.  In this story and in the series.

Told you, I read the other story first.

Don’t you do that.  Read all these amazing book in the order they were written.  Each and every one is a treasure.   More to come that, yes, I read out of order too. Sign.

Oh, and no sex, no heat, definitely YA all the way, this is also just meeting for a first time story.

Cover Artist: Story Styling Cover Designs. The cover art is so simple yet appealing, and perfect for the characters.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 38 pages
Published October 23rd 2018 by May Books
ASINB07FX69TTC
Edition Language English
Series#lovehim #1.5

Series #lovehim

That Feeling When

No Big Deal

A MelanieM Review:That Feeling When (#lovehim #1) by S.M. James

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Dance Academy reject, Archie Corrigan, resents the stereotype guy ballet dancers are gay. Because he isn’t. At all. Forced to reassess his life goal at Camp Crystal Cove, it’s by sheer dumb luck he meets Landon Summers, who turns everything Archie was sure of into chaos.

Poor boy turned teen heartthrob, Landon Summers, is the name on everyone’s lips. With his unexpected leap to fame, his agent advises him to keep his bi status on the down low. Not a problem! Until Landon meets Archie.

Their unexpected friendship leads to an inevitable kiss, but their moment is caught in high definition and used as fuel for blackmail. If the truth gets out, Landon’s career could be over, and Archie will be forced to acknowledge the one thing he’s fought to deny.

But how do you go back to your average life once you’ve experienced That Feeling When … you’re finally happy?

I discovered S.M. James and her incredible series when I picked up and read the moving, 5 star story In Case You Missed It, the third novel in this #lovehim series.  That one story just did it for me on so many levels that I had to seek out the rest of the series and, well, start from the beginning.

Why, oh why, have I not found S.M. James before?  What a treasure!  And this series!  I’m running through them far too fast for my own liking because they should be enjoyed far more slowly for the precious caches of revelation, joy, romance, and love each represents.  And what a better way to start a journey with a loosely connected group of people than with That Feeling When (#lovehim #1) by S.M. James.

A coming out and coming of age story set in a summer camp for privileged youth, it delves far below surface exteriors and expectations to get at the truths that lie below.  The story is told from two points of view.  That of Archie Corrigan, scion of one of America’s wealthiest, most influential men (and power couple, his mother is famous in her own right).  His sister and twin is with him as well.  That he is there is due to a lost bet with his father, one that he sees has altered his future permanently  in an awful way. To say he’s unhappy is putting it mildly.  Then he meets Landon and everything goes crashingly off course.

The other perspective?  That of Landon Summers, famous actor, finishing a role in a movie on location at the camp.  That white sounding name is everything he is not.  He’s a bi aboriginal from Australian, homesick, his part in the movie isn’t going well, and he’s feeling lost.  Until he meets Archie.

The relationship between Archie and Landon will make Archie reevaluate not only his sexuality, but his lack of action in making his own path, his being courageous and passionate towards those things that mean the most to him.  After figuring out what they are, if he didn’t already know, and even eventually coming to a greater understanding of his parents and their love and role in his life.  Austen doesn’t let any stereotype go unflipped or unshattered with her characters.  Relationships were by turn subtle,funny, wry, and real at every turn/ It didn’t matter if it was a cringe inducing conversation with a girl over a phone or one you never expected to have with your mother.  I could see each happening in real life as clear as could be.  They each felt that authentic.

And while Archie is painfully trying to work his way through his thoughts about his sexuality, his parents, and, well, everything.  Landon too is feeling lost in his own way.  The author is so good at letting the reader into the heart and soul of this young man so far from his mum and home.  In a place where the night sky’s are so foreign and no one sounds like him.  His need for home becomes almost palpable and will bring you to tears….

The relationship dynamics between Archie and Landon?  Oh, how special.  It just clicks right off the page.  You get it, because it’s magic, you feel the chemistry as though these two were real.  The angst as Archie tries to figure out if he’s brave enough to be gay, Landon as he knows it has to be Archie to work it all out for himself…that’s real too.

There is still plenty of drama here and angst.  But I love the ending.  It’s HFN but these two get another book later on.  Plus you will see them again in book two.

Well, as I said this author and series has me well and truly hooked.  The writing is superb, the characters wonderful and the stories one to take into your heart.  Over and over again.

I didn’t start here but I wish I did.  Yes, I highly recommend That Feeling When (#lovehim #1) by S.M. James.  I also recommend the author and series.  Grab them all up and have a binge fest!

They are all on my must rec list!

Cover art is wonderful.  Light, bright, yet contains elements from the story.  Perfect.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 343 pages
Published September 16th 2018 by May Books
ASINB07DTB7MJ4
Series#lovehim #1

Series #lovehim

That Feeling When

No Big Deal

A MelanieM Pre-release Review: Jacked Cat Jive (The Kai Gracen #3) by Rhys Ford

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Stalker Kai Gracen knew his human upbringing would eventually clash with his elfin heritage, but not so soon. Between Ryder, a pain-in-his-neck Sidhe Lord coaxing him to join San Diego’s Southern Rise Court, and picking up bounties for SoCalGov, he has more than enough to deal with. With his loyalties divided between the humans who raised him and the Sidhe Lord he’s befriended and sworn to protect, Kai finds himself standing at a crossroads.

When a friend begs Kai to rescue a small group of elfin refugees fleeing the Dusk Court, he’s pulled into a dangerous mission with Ryder through San Diego’s understreets and the wilderness beyond. Things go from bad to downright treacherous when Kerrick, Ryder’s cousin, insists on joining them, staking a claim on Southern Rise and Kai.

Burdened by his painful past, Kai must stand with Ryder against Kerrick while facing down the very Court he fears and loathes. Dying while on a run is expected for a Stalker, but Kai wonders if embracing his elfin blood also means losing his heart, soul, and humanity along the way.

In a series that by turns has been dark, gritty, wondrous, and wild in the previous stories, Jacked Cat Jive has me gobsmacked with it’s , dare I say it, jacked up gloriously layered plot,  the multiple story threads running and twisting and turning each pulling your attention this way and that, while the author carefully weaves a vivid complicated tapestry that will pull them all back together into a stunning whole.

It’s a stunning series, grounded in a warped universe where dragons fly over cracked highways, elven palaces grow themselves, and the peace between humans and non is tentative at best in a world where neither quite understands the new laws of nature and reality can buckle along with the ground.

If someone would ask me what are my favorite elements, I couldn’t tell them, because there are far too many.  From the world building to the characters and the weirdly complicated, often twisted relationships.  This is a harsh landscape, not only of land but of the mind and soul.  And Rhys Ford gives us the same tortured, determined, and incredibly real beings that now inhabit it.

Kai Gracen has undergone many changes since , the first story in the series, Black Dog Blues.  He’s grown, learned more about his past, accepted responsibilities ,j and given much thought as to what his genetic pool makes him as a person.  It’s a journey of self that continues, along with his relationship with Ryder, the High Lord of the Southern Rise Court (Mad Lizard Mambo (Kai Gracen #2).  Talk about your slow burn!  They haven’t even kissed yet!  And it’s book three!

This story is so crammed full of high adventure, suspense, breathtaking hijinks and political manipulations of all sorts along with the just ol pull at your heart emotions that this author never forgets is needed as the heart that holds it all together.  It’s the perfect combination of them all and I couldn’t stop reading once I started, I think I ended somewhere around 3 am.

We are introduced to new characters even as we brace to let old ones go. Ford breaks our hearts even as she prepares us for further attachments and excitement to come.  Really this is my favorite story in the series yet.  And that is saying something.  Because this series is already full of favorites.

The writing is tight and flows like a fast moving river.  The characters are both real and fantastical, flawed and incredibly moving.   And the universe building, which continues to evolve, is absolutely stunning.

If you love urban fantasy, here is a series for you.  But they are not standalone stories but should be read in the order they are written.    Already I’m primed for the next in the series.  I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Kai, Ryder, and everyone they care for.

I highly recommend this and all the stories listed below.  Stay tuned

Cover Artist: Chris McGrath. I like the cover, Bright, colorful although not quite as edgy nor my idea of Kai.

Sales Links:  DSP Publications | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 253 pages
Expected publication: March 5th 2019 by DSP Publications
ASIN B07L8LZSLK
Edition Language English
Series Kai Gracen #3

Mad Lizard Bites(.05)

Black Dog Blues

Mad Lizard Mambo

Jacked Cat Jive

A MelanieM Review: Challenge Me (With Me #4) by Kris Jacen

Standard

Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Briar Mason joined the Army to find himself after he believed the lies that had gone around about his best friend, Carter, and his sister. He should have known that Carter wouldn’t do those things but family was family, right? He’ll find out who his real family is when he’s injured and sent back to the states.

Not-telling-you-my-first-name Randolph was about to hit ten years in the Army and had some amazing assignments but one had eluded him until now – Ranger School. Coming from being assigned to the Presidential Salute Battery was going to be the best thing for him since training was emphasized. Should be easy, right?

Briar and Randolph met when Briar had stopped to apologize to Carter and Randolph was in full-on protective mode. Can these two find a middle ground while challenging themselves and each other to be better?

Kris Jacen’s With Me series is, without a doubt, one of my favorite contemporary series.  Jacen brings her intimate knowledge of military life to create a first rate series about life, service to the country, and love.  Each story normally has a slightly different focus on a certain aspect within the military for it’s main characters.  Could be making it through BUD/S training, trying to decide when to retire, military family life, or here, what happens what a soldier is so badly injured during a tour of duty it ends his military service.  What happens to him next?  What happens to all those lost men and women?

The VA is under fire and in the news for mishandling the files of so many soldiers in need of treatment.  And as Jacen’s story states the parking lots have become the locations where too many soldiers has taken their lives.  In Briar and all other of this author’s soldiers, Jacen brings our current military situation and our soldiers, male and female, vividly and memorably to life.

What is so remarkable about her stories is the depth of feeling that is relayed from page to reader.  There’s so much emotion here.  We run the gamut, from fear, pride in one’s duty and unit, to anger and depression, to hope, recovery, romance, and love.  We get the full spectrum.  We also get the accuracy of detail as to what it’s like to service in the military, from both sides.  From the soldier’s perspective and that of their family.  Strong stuff indeed.

And that’s in every story.

Here we’re with Briar on a tough journey.  But he’s got a full team of support behind him, lucky Briar.  Two connected groups of soldiers, one older and some getting ready for retirement as of this story, and a younger group in transition that appear in all the stories.  Each character a strong and individual personality on its own. That also includes their wives, husbands, and children who have also made a huge impact on this reader.  And on Briar and Randolph.

Watching not only the romance unfold, but the various story threads is such a pleasure.  It’s almost impossible to separate out one from another because they are so tightly wound up in each other.  Much like the support that is given within this tightly cohesive unit of family and friends, that become family.  They simply are whatever each other needs for each other.  The understanding of the perils as well as the strengths come through crystal clear.

In the end Briar and Randolph have made major decisions and another story looks to  unfold.  I can’t wait.

If you love contemporary romance, heartwarming stories full of great characters and realistic situations and relationships, look no further than the With Me series and Challenge Me (With Me #4) by Kris Jacen.  I highly recommend them all.

Cover art by Kris Jacen.  I find this a very striking cover.  The half torso on the dark background draws your eye, the meaning clear once you dive into the story. Beautiful.

Sales Links: MLR Press |   Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 124 pages
Published August 31st 2018 by MLR Press
ASINB07H1N9QTR
SeriesWith Me #4

With Me Series
 
Book #1 – Wait For Me – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Explore With Me – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – Learn With Me – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 – Challenge Me – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Charlie Cochrane on Her Fav Reads and her new release Old Sins (Lindenshaw Mysteries #4) by Charlie Cochrane (author guest post, tour and giveaway)

Standard

Old Sins (Lindenshaw Mysteries #4) by Charlie Cochrane

Riptide Publishing
Cover Art: L.C. Chase

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Charlie Cochrane back again talking about the latest releases in her Lindenshaw Mysteries, Old Sins.  Welcome, Charlie.

 

🐾

 

 

What Charlie likes to read

Do you have a favourite book? I have many, in all sorts of genres. “The Charioteer” if we’re talking gay fiction, “Death at the President’s Lodging” if it’s mysteries, “Three Men in a Boat” for humour; the list goes on and on through different genre, fictional and non-fiction. Some of these books are a bit of a guilty pleasure, not least because I can see their flaws.

I’m a huge fan of classic age mystery writers; Dorothy, Agatha, Michael, Ngaio and the rest, but they have their feet of clay. Sayers could sometimes overcomplicate plots to the point of obscurity (which reader could really have worked out the sequence of events in Five Red Herrings?) and seems increasingly in love with her detective, Lord Peter Wimsey.  All of these authors shared a falling of their powers in later life – the last few Appleby mysteries are a pale shadow of the early ones – and, of course, all were products of their time, so modern readers might fund things which jar, such as anti-semitic references or the treatment of gay characters in a derogatory way.

Some of these authors reused plot ideas and devices. The classic story of the murderer assuming someone else’s identity, sometimes to benefit from inheritance, occurs again and again with Christie (as do other tried and tested story arcs). Marsh also showed an economy of plot, using the same method of murder both in a short story and again in a full novel. Her “Death and the Dancing Footman” falls into the category of “familiar plot” – the twist is the sort that an avid reader of the genre would soon spot –  but that doesn’t make it any less of a delightful comfort read. A sort of literary equivalent of mulled wine in front of a roaring fire.

The book has several of the staple elements of the archetypal classic age mystery: a country house, a house party cut off by snow, family rivalries, a sealed room death, an outsider who acts as ‘chorus’ and a witty, urbane and aristocratic sleuth, Roderick Alleyn. How I love “Handsome Alleyn” – I wonder if Ngaio loved him, too, like Sayers loved Wimsey. He seems just a bit too perfect at times.

That’s why I’m determined to show that neither of my male leads in the Lindenshaw series are anything less than human. They get angry, they make mistakes, they argue with each other, they make up, they talk about work, they refuse to talk about work…just like any of us. I’m also determined not to fall in love with either of them, although how can I resist falling head over heels for their dog Campbell?

A detective, his boyfriend and their dog. That’s the Lindenshaw mysteries in a nutshell. Old Sins is the fourth instalment in the series, and not only does Robin have a murder to investigate, he and Adam have got the “little” matter of their nuptials to start planning. And, of course, Campbell the Newfoundland gets his cold wet nose into things, as usual.

 

About Old Sins

Past sins have present consequences.

Detective Chief Inspector Robin Bright and his partner, deputy headteacher Adam Matthews, have just consigned their summer holiday to the photo album. It’s time to get back to the daily grind, and the biggest problem they’re expecting to face: their wedding plans. Then fate strikes—literally—with a bang.

Someone letting loose shots on the common, a murder designed to look like a suicide, and the return of a teacher who made Robin’s childhood hell all conspire to turn this into one of his trickiest cases yet.

Especially when somebody might be targeting their Newfoundland, Campbell. Robin is used to his and Adam’s lives being in danger, but this takes the—dog—biscuit.

Available now from Riptide Publishing.

 

About the Lindenshaw Mysteries

Adam Matthews’s life changed when Inspector Robin Bright walked into his classroom to investigate a murder.

Now it seems like all the television series are right: the leafy villages of England do indeed conceal a hotbed of crime, murder, and intrigue. Lindenshaw is proving the point.

Detective work might be Robin’s job, but Adam somehow keeps getting involved—even though being a teacher is hardly the best training for solving crimes. Then again, Campbell, Adam’s irrepressible Newfoundland dog, seems to have a nose for figuring things out, so how hard can it be?

Check out the Lindenshaw Mysteries.

 

About Charlie Cochrane

Because Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes. Her mystery novels include the Edwardian era Cambridge Fellows series, and the contemporary Lindenshaw Mysteries. Multi-published, she has titles with Carina, Riptide, Endeavour and Bold Strokes, among others.

A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People and International Thriller Writers Inc, Charlie regularly appears at literary festivals and at reader and author conferences with The Deadly Dames.

Connect with Charlie:

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Old Sins one lucky person will win a swag bag from Charlie! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on February 16, 2019. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A MelanieM Review: Hat Trick (Harrisburg Railers #8) by R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey

Standard

Rating:  5 stars out of 5

Stan Lyamin has seen many of his dreams come true. He’s found his soulmate, loves Noah like his own, hoisted the Cup, and has his Mama living with him in his new country. But his fantasies of a loud, loving, madcap home overflowing with childish laughter linger. When a distant family member passes, Stan and Erik immediately agree to take in the two orphaned children, but that means a trip back to Russia for Stan, an idea that both exhilarates and terrifies him.

Erik’s world tilts on its axis when a phone call wakes him and Stan in the middle of the night. Abruptly, Stan is returning to Russia, making deals, working with people who know people, and fully intending to bring two orphaned children home. The red tape is overwhelming, and Erik is alone in Harrisburg with the nearly impossible task of finding a nanny who can speak fluent Russian. Being on his own is one thing, but add in fears about Stan’s safety and team issues, and Erik is finding everything hard to balance; not least of which is spending quality time with Noah.

When their family expands from three to five, the journey won’t be easy, but love can always find a way.

Sometimes, especially now, you just need a story, that makes you laugh, feel absolutely wonderful down to your toes,  and makes your heart feel all shmoopy. That would be the latest in the Harrisburg Railers series, Hat Trick (Harrisburg Railers #8) by R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey.

This story has every element that’s guaranteed to make your face ache because it’s smiling so hard with the love and warmth that is overflowing from the characters and plot here. Yes, it feels that good.  Children, dogs, a grandmother, Elvis, well, not him exactly, but glitter, red tuxedos and so much more.  Plus you get Stan!!! Who I have to admit is my favorite Railer, he just is, fractured English and all.

Goalies, real and fictional, are just that special breed of human.  They take quirkiness to a whole new level and these two authors have always been able to bring that to the goalies they have created for their different hockey romances, Harrisburg Railers included.  But meeting him, heart to heart, is his soul mate Erik, another Railer.  Their relationship and deep love as well as  family is here, and it’s beautiful.

I love how the authors treat the expansion of Stan and Erik’s family, the careful consideration of the child already there, the patience and care with the new children coming into the fold.  It’s loving and endearing.  Plus we get the madcap too.

In the end, as usual, I’m left wanting so much more.  I can never get enough of Stan and Erik. I’m clearly obsessed here.  They make me feel great and just when I needed it the most.  I’ll probably be rereading it again instead of the news.

I love this series.  Such a variety in couples and plots.  Drama, suspense, hilarity, and romance.  And love of course, so much love.  I highly recommend them all.

 

Cover art: Meredith Russell.  I just love this cover.  It’s pertinent to the story and so clean and adorable.  Perfect!

Sales Links:

Amazon US | UK | CA | AUFR |DE (and other territories)

Apple Books | KOBO | Smashwords |Barnes & Noble

Book Details:

ebook
Published February 10th 2019 by Love Lane Books Limited (first published 2019)
ISBN 139781785641466
Edition Language English
Series Harrisburg Railers #8

Harrisburg Railers Series:

Changing Lines | First Season | Deep Edge | Poke Check | Last Defense | Goal Line | Neutral Zone | Hat Trick | Save The Date (30 June)

Charlie Cochrane on Her Fav Reads and her new release Old Sins (Lindenshaw Mysteries #4) by Charlie Cochrane (author guest post, tour and giveaway)

Standard

Old Sins (Lindenshaw Mysteries #4) by Charlie Cochrane

Riptide Publishing
Cover Art: L.C. Chase

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Charlie Cochrane back again talking about the latest releases in her Lindenshaw Mysteries, Old Sins.  Welcome, Charlie.

 

🐾

 

 

What Charlie likes to read

Do you have a favourite book? I have many, in all sorts of genres. “The Charioteer” if we’re talking gay fiction, “Death at the President’s Lodging” if it’s mysteries, “Three Men in a Boat” for humour; the list goes on and on through different genre, fictional and non-fiction. Some of these books are a bit of a guilty pleasure, not least because I can see their flaws.

I’m a huge fan of classic age mystery writers; Dorothy, Agatha, Michael, Ngaio and the rest, but they have their feet of clay. Sayers could sometimes overcomplicate plots to the point of obscurity (which reader could really have worked out the sequence of events in Five Red Herrings?) and seems increasingly in love with her detective, Lord Peter Wimsey.  All of these authors shared a falling of their powers in later life – the last few Appleby mysteries are a pale shadow of the early ones – and, of course, all were products of their time, so modern readers might fund things which jar, such as anti-semitic references or the treatment of gay characters in a derogatory way.

Some of these authors reused plot ideas and devices. The classic story of the murderer assuming someone else’s identity, sometimes to benefit from inheritance, occurs again and again with Christie (as do other tried and tested story arcs). Marsh also showed an economy of plot, using the same method of murder both in a short story and again in a full novel. Her “Death and the Dancing Footman” falls into the category of “familiar plot” – the twist is the sort that an avid reader of the genre would soon spot –  but that doesn’t make it any less of a delightful comfort read. A sort of literary equivalent of mulled wine in front of a roaring fire.

The book has several of the staple elements of the archetypal classic age mystery: a country house, a house party cut off by snow, family rivalries, a sealed room death, an outsider who acts as ‘chorus’ and a witty, urbane and aristocratic sleuth, Roderick Alleyn. How I love “Handsome Alleyn” – I wonder if Ngaio loved him, too, like Sayers loved Wimsey. He seems just a bit too perfect at times.

That’s why I’m determined to show that neither of my male leads in the Lindenshaw series are anything less than human. They get angry, they make mistakes, they argue with each other, they make up, they talk about work, they refuse to talk about work…just like any of us. I’m also determined not to fall in love with either of them, although how can I resist falling head over heels for their dog Campbell?

A detective, his boyfriend and their dog. That’s the Lindenshaw mysteries in a nutshell. Old Sins is the fourth instalment in the series, and not only does Robin have a murder to investigate, he and Adam have got the “little” matter of their nuptials to start planning. And, of course, Campbell the Newfoundland gets his cold wet nose into things, as usual.

 

About Old Sins

Past sins have present consequences.

Detective Chief Inspector Robin Bright and his partner, deputy headteacher Adam Matthews, have just consigned their summer holiday to the photo album. It’s time to get back to the daily grind, and the biggest problem they’re expecting to face: their wedding plans. Then fate strikes—literally—with a bang.

Someone letting loose shots on the common, a murder designed to look like a suicide, and the return of a teacher who made Robin’s childhood hell all conspire to turn this into one of his trickiest cases yet.

Especially when somebody might be targeting their Newfoundland, Campbell. Robin is used to his and Adam’s lives being in danger, but this takes the—dog—biscuit.

Available now from Riptide Publishing.

 

About the Lindenshaw Mysteries

Adam Matthews’s life changed when Inspector Robin Bright walked into his classroom to investigate a murder.

Now it seems like all the television series are right: the leafy villages of England do indeed conceal a hotbed of crime, murder, and intrigue. Lindenshaw is proving the point.

Detective work might be Robin’s job, but Adam somehow keeps getting involved—even though being a teacher is hardly the best training for solving crimes. Then again, Campbell, Adam’s irrepressible Newfoundland dog, seems to have a nose for figuring things out, so how hard can it be?

Check out the Lindenshaw Mysteries.

 

About Charlie Cochrane

Because Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes. Her mystery novels include the Edwardian era Cambridge Fellows series, and the contemporary Lindenshaw Mysteries. Multi-published, she has titles with Carina, Riptide, Endeavour and Bold Strokes, among others.

A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People and International Thriller Writers Inc, Charlie regularly appears at literary festivals and at reader and author conferences with The Deadly Dames.

Connect with Charlie:

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Old Sins one lucky person will win a swag bag from Charlie! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on February 16, 2019. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A MelanieM Review: Rough Terrain (Out of Uniform #7) by Annabeth Albert

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

The camping trip from hell may be the first stop on the road to happily-ever-after.

Navy SEAL Renzo Bianchi has a soft spot for Canaan Finley, and not only because the man makes a mean smoothie. He’s the first guy to get Renzo’s motor revving in a long time. But when he agrees to Canaan’s insane charade—one all-access fake boyfriend, coming right up—he never expects more than a fling.

Creating a hot Italian SEAL boyfriend to save face seemed like a good idea…until his friends called Canaan’s bluff. Now he’s setting off into the woods with the very man who inspired his deception, and Canaan is not the outdoorsy type. The sparks are already flying when a flash flood separates them from their group, leaving Renzo and Canaan very much trapped…very much alone in the wilderness.

Working together to come up with a plan for survival is sexier than either of them expects. But back in the real world, being a couple is bringing its own set of hazards…

Everytime I think I have a favorite series by this author narrowed down, then Annabeth Albert goes ahead and releases a new story. In this case its Rough Terrain (Out of Uniform #7) and, sure enough my heart and attention is switched back to the Out of Uniform series from #gaymers or whatever series it happened to have landed on from the last Annabeth Albert novel I last finished reading.

It works like that with this author.

She has to ability to imbue her stories and characters with such vitality, such heart that they live beyond whatever electronic device you happen to be reading the novel on.  From the moment you meet them, dive into their lives and whatever messy situations they happen to be in, you are completely sunk!  Hooked by the fact that Albert has connected you heart to heart, thought to thought, emotion to emotion to these men and whatever she and this story has in store for them.

Rough Terrain has so much in store for us as readers and for its main characters!  From meeting Canaan Finley making smoothies and waiting for the SEALs to arrive, especially the one he’s crushing on to finding out about the upcoming weekend where Canaan desperately needs to appear with a date, the reader’s anticipation starts to rise.  We know who    he will take but how will Albert bring it about?  And what will happen.  Then we meet Navy SEAL Renzo Bianchi and oh my!

This is a series filled with complicated men and rough roads to coupledom. But never have I so eagerly awaited the path these two took together and was so rewarded with the story that followed.

The dynamics between them in various situations from normal daily routines to some of the most traumatic, life threatening scenes imaginable were extraordinary.  From the dialog, to the action I felt every moment, clung to the horror, and almost cried with relief with all the events that take place in the wilderness.  It’s truly amazing in every respect.  And that and the romance will make you want to read this story  over and over.  It’s really one of the highlights of the series.

If you love contemporary stories, here is a novel and a series you won’t want to miss.  If you are a fan of Annabeth Albert, you are probably, like me, already for the next one.

I highly recommend the story, series, and author.  I’m a huge fan of all three.

Cover art by Carina Press art department does a great job in continuing to brand the series with the color tone and overall design.  The figures do well by the main characters and storyline.

Sales Links:   Carina Press |  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Expected publication: January 14th 2019 by Carina Press
Original Title Rough Terrain
ASINB07GB8B4XR
Edition Language English
Series Out of Uniform #7

Series Out of Uniform /add to Goodreads here:

Off Base

Homecoming (1.5)

Off Leash (1.6)

At Attention (2)

I Do (2.5)

On Point (5)

Wheels Up (4)

Homebodies (4.5)

Squared Away (5)

Tight Quarters (6)

Rough Terrain (7)

 

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Sweet Clematis (Being(s) in Love #9) by R. Cooper

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Can a curse be a blessing?

Clematis works hard to embody every fairy stereotype. He can be a sulky prince or a submissive flirt, slutty and arrogant or silly and soft. He makes himself into whatever causes someone to want him. Combine that with beauty that’s incredible even for a fairy, and everyone wants him sooner or later… just not for long.

Well, everyone except the fairy Clematis secretly adores. But then, he’s never expected happily ever after, not when he’s spent years burying his emotions and making himself unlovable to push people away and protect his heart.

But his curse changes all that, and Clematis can no longer prevent his feelings from rising to the surface. He’s terrified that when his few friends see him for who he really is, they’ll abandon him, just like his parents did.

It’s hard to imagine friends who see past his act to the sweet person within, but maybe happiness has been in front of him the entire time, waiting for the real Clematis to break free and blossom.

So it’s not often a story has me sobbing by the first 18 pages, well, ok, not a story by R Cooper.  I adore R Cooper.  This author has a definite style and approach to  writing and their stories, especially this series.  It flows very naturally, with ebbs and eddies, long lovely narrative winding strolls through storied forests and a town occupied by humans and magical beings alike.  From the first novel, Some Kind of Magic, the author has been building an amazing universe and ever increasing,  always interlocked ,cast of characters.  And they flit, sometimes on gossamer wings or growl or stomp or what have you through each other’s stories, making appearances both large and small.

The romances take  time to come to fruition, slow like the seasons, but eventually, love and the couples find a way.  And it’s amazing.

But I don’t find myself sobbing in the first couple of chapter.  Nope, nuh uh.  But then again there’s no one quite like Clematis.

You see, Clematis has impacted just about every character, often badly, within this series. And we’ve always seen the ramifications of Clematis’ actions from the perspective of the other person/being’s life.

Until now.

Now we see the tragedy, the pain, the victim that is Clematis.  And I’m here to tell you that it’s shattering in R. Cooper’s totally quiet, disquieting way.

I spent most of this book reaching for tissues because just when I thought his gentle acceptance of  victimization,  of his state of awful existence for such a long period of time  had gotten to a point where I could see him working through issues and trying to see what those around him did, R Cooper delivers a blow, not with a strike of a hand, but with the cut of a narrative feather. One that goes so much more quickly straight to the heart.  To the reader and to the other characters finally getting a true picture of the fairy in their midst all this time.

What an incredible talent that exists in this writer!  In this one story, Cooper takes one character that has existed throughout all the series and now reveals Clematis to have been not the being represented at all, but a new truth uncovered.  And some of the beings from the other stories?  Well their actions don’t seem quite so shiny in retrospect given the new revelations here.

These aren’t novels where you can relay details because the plots are too complicated and linked with other beings and their stories.  Suffice it to say, the characters/beings are created so realistically that they come alive from the moment you meet them.  They shower glitter, shed fur, and weep tears that leave tracks that shine into your heart.

This is the ninth book.  I don’t know if there will be a tenth.  So many characters from all the stories appeared here that it almost felt as though the author was wrapping things up. Excerpt that, R Cooper style, they also stirred up things as well.  So your guess is as good as mine.

I love this series. Sweet Clematis (Being(s) in Love #9) by R. Cooper certainly shook things up in many ways.  I’m going to have to restock my  tissues, that’s for certain.

I will say it has a wonderfully happy ending for all the tears that was shed.  Just as I hoped for.

For those new to the Being(s) in Love series, I have no idea what to tell you.  Without the foundation of the other stories, you might be somewhat lost here, but it takes time to read all eight stories (which I adore) before getting here.  I do recommend you do that,  Just pick a lovely  spot, take you time, get comfy, and be prepared to go on a wonderful journey.  You’ll end up here.  For now.

Cover art: Paul Richmond.  Love this  cover but…somehow something is missing. Read the story and you will know what I’m talking about.  Because that’s not Clematis. Read and find out who it is.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 306 pages
Expected publication: November 27th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 139781640808188
Edition Language English
Series Being(s) in Love #9

A Boy and His Dragon

A Beginner’s Guide to Wooing Your Mate

Little Wolf

The Firebird and Other Stories

Frangipani and the Very Shiny Boy

A Dandelion for Tulip

All the Futures That Could Be

Treasure for Treasure

His Mossy Boy

Sweet Clematis