A MelanieM Release Day Review: Ithani (The Oberon Cycle #3) by J. Scott Coatsworth

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

The Oberon Cycle: Book Three

Time is running out.  After saving the world twice, Xander, Jameson and friends plunge headlong into a new crisis. The ithani—the aliens who broke the world—have reawakened from their hundred millennia-long slumber. When Xander and Jameson disappear in a flash, an already fractured world is thrown into chaos.  The ithani plans, laid a hundred thousand years before, are finally coming to pass, and they threaten all life on Erro. Venin and Alix go on a desperate search for their missing and find more than they bargained for. And Quince, Robin and Jessa discover a secret as old as the skythane themselves.  Will alien technology, unexpected help from the distant past, destiny and some good old-fashioned firepower be enough to defeat an enemy with the ability to split a world? The final battle of the epic science fiction adventure that began in Skythane will decide the fate of lander and skythane alike. And in the north, the ithani rise….

After finishing the book, I knew writing this review was going to be frustrating.  Why?  Because it’s going to be hard to find the words to describe just how incredible Ithani, the final story in The Oberon Cycle truly isJ. Scott Coatsworth left himself quite the task in pulling together all the plot threads and overall monumental trilogy arc and bring them all to all rousing conclusion that not only is beautifully imaginative, but thoroughly satisfying.

But the author accomplished that task and then went further.  This book is magical in its reach and edifying in the joy and depth of its conclusion.  It stretches out past time and space,  it encompasses the past, present, and future with equal verve, heart-stopping action and suspense. It brings to many a deep abiding love in so many forms, a search for self and what that means and, oh, yes the astonishing winged aliens of several species.  Plus the probable end of not one but two worlds.  There are multiple cultures, languages, sciences to understand and embrace along with all the characters that Coatsworth has created.

It’s an absolute tour de force.

I am certainly not giving out any details.  Even now, thinking back on elements and tiny narrative jewels the author will deliver to the reader, I remain so grateful and stunned at the twists and turns he built into Ithani.  Ones that even now continue to astound and delight.  I’m a fan of Coatsworth’s science fiction series the Liminal Sky and, here we find a major storythread that links this trilogy to that one.  For a reader that is not familiar with the Liminal Sky Series, will they feel lost?  Not at all.  This element is beautifully explained and threaded into the plot line, it’s important and as vital as any element in the narrative.  But that it’s linked to another series altogether?  Only those who know and adore the Liminal Sky  will be dancing in dazed joy over this narrative inclusion.

That’s just the way this whole novel goes…like dancing lights above a lake.  It will entrance you, pull you in, leave you to wonder at it all.  And then make you want to take the journey all over again.

I highly recommend the entire Oberon Cycle trilogy, starting with Skythane, then to Lander, and finally to this magical, incredible conclusion Ithani.  It’s February and I already have an addition to my Best of 2019 list this year.  That would be Ithani and the Oberon Cycle.

Cover Artists: Anna Sikorska.  I love the drama and eyecatching colors of this cover.  Great job.

Sales Links:

Buy Now: Dreamspinner Press Buy Now: Amazon KindleBuy Now: AmazonBuy Now: Barnes and NobleBuy Now: KoboBuy Now: iBooks

Book Details:

Paperback and eBook 290 pages
Expected publication: February 19th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press LLC
ISBN 1644051125 (ISBN13: 9781644051122)Available on: February 19, 2019
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genres: Romance, Sci Fi
The Oberon Cycle:

Skythane

Lander

Ithani

Release Blitz for In Case You Missed It (#lovehim #3) by S.M. James (excerpt and giveaway)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: In Case You Missed It

Author: S. M. James

Publisher: May Books

Cover Artist: Story Styling Cover Designs

Genre/s: YA LGBT romance

Heat Rating: 1-2 flames

Length: 98 000 words/400 pages

It is a standalone story.

Release Date: February 12, 2019

Add on Goodreads

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon AU

 

 

Blurb

Brooks is convinced his life is totally, one hundred percent happy. 

Until Darien tracks him down.

Darien was supposed to be the guy he kissed once and remembered forever, but now he’s back in Brooks’s life, with easy smiles and big ideas.

The first of which … show the homeschooled Brooks everything he’s missed out on. But as the pair work through a spring of playing catch up on life, it becomes obvious to Darien that Brooks has a secret. 

And as things heat up between them, Brooks’s secret might just be Darien’s worst fear.

Because Darien has always lived in the moment. 

But Brooks has always lived for the future he knows is inevitable. 

When life is set to tear them apart, will love be enough to keep them together?



All books in the #lovehim series are stand alones. The series number is the recommended reading order.

 

Excerpt

We cross the front of the school, head past the football field, and into the courtyard. It’s eerily quiet, with filtered sunlight and a soft breeze breaching the concrete quad.

Darien heads for a bench that runs along the base of an enormous tree and flops down onto it. I sit next to him and silence settles gently over my shoulders. The courtyard is surrounded by buildings on three sides, and I vaguely remember one of them as the science wing.

“So this is where you’d eat at breaks on a nice day. Cameron and Chels sit there, and some of the others here, and over there.” He points to an opposite bench. “We’d sit right here, of course. Since you’d be in all the nerd classes, we’d be inseparable over break.” He grips the back of the bench and leans into his hands, grinning over at me.

I swing a leg over the back of the bench so I’m facing him. “And you’d be such a shameless flirt, I’d have to find new friends to save you the embarrassment.”

“No point.” He shrugs. “I’d just follow you there too.”

The thing is, I believe him. I don’t know how anyone can be so effortless about how they feel. He doesn’t try to hide it, but he doesn’t push me either, and the fact he can be so unashamedly into me, makes me want to give him more.

But he’ll get over it. And I have to help him.

I lean away from him a little. “So, is there anyone here who’s caught your eye?”

“There’s this one guy …”

His tone makes me arch my eyebrow. “He wouldn’t be me, would he?”

“See? You’re too damn smart.”

I duck my head as I hold back a laugh. “Seriously though. Nothing is going to happen between us, so it’s okay if you find someone else.”

“Yeah, we’re not doing this.”

I frown. “What do you mean?”

“We’ve been over this, like, a thousand times. Jesus, Brooks, I get it. I just want to spend time with you, as friends, and I don’t need you trying to push me onto someone else.”

“Darien …” I reach for his arm and he shrugs me away. “I’m sorry.”

“Good. Now no more mentioning that shit, okay? My memory is fine, I can make my own damn decisions.”

“You’re right.” But how does he make the right decision when I’m keeping a huge part of myself from him? I take a couple of short breaths, the very real possibility of telling him, looming at the front of my thoughts.

“Here.” Darien finally takes off his backpack and unzips it. He’s packed a heap of food, some I haven’t seen before, and he slides away from me on the bench to set it out between us. “Dig in.”

Lunch is delicious, and I try some of everything. Darien talks me through some of the foods his mom made, like zelnik and tulumba, and it’s so damn good, I’d hang out with him just for the food. After a week of barely eating I don’t hold back, but I didn’t bring my enzyme tablets with me, so it’s close to pointless.

Darien takes some more photos after lunch as we explore the school. He fills me in on little bits and pieces about his first two weeks, and we wind up under the bleachers. He dives into his bag again and pulls out two cigarettes.

I give him a flat look. “Fuck no.”

He smirks. “Goodie two shoes.”

“Nope.” I shake my head, trying to think of how I can get him to put those freaking things away. “I just don’t see the point in sucking on something that can fucking kill you.” My words come out way harsher than I mean, but if he starts on one of those things, I’m leaving him here.

His dark eyebrows furrow, and something goes on behind his eyes that I can’t quite make out, but he just shrugs and grinds the smokes into the ground. “Thank the lord. Don’t think I could have stomached it, even for you.”

I relax a little, though I’m not sure I really believe the words.

He steps closer. “You know, there are other things people do under the bleachers …”

It takes me a second to catch up, and my focus automatically drops to his lips. My stomach is a riot as I try not to focus on how good our first kiss was, all those months ago.

Darien smirks and steps back, breaking my runaway thoughts. He pulls a marker from his bag. “We have to mark we were here, otherwise it doesn’t count.”

“That, I can do.” I take the marker from him and uncap it with a click. Reaching above my head, I hesitate a second, trying to figure out what to write. In the end, I go simple.

BL + DM.

“Those letters look good together,” Darien says. His voice is low and warm and reminds me of summer. His fingers slide down mine as he takes the marker from me.

He reaches up and his shirt pulls higher on his back, leaving this smooth strip of brown skin exposed. The pull to touch him is so strong. I need to feel his skin under my fingertips. It’s a physical battle to hold back, and just as I’m about to fold,

To reach,

To touch,

To give in to him, Darien finishes up, and steps back to survey his work. I blink a few times to try and lessen the fog in my head, then turn my focus up.

He’s drawn a heart around our initials.

 

 

 

About the Author 

S. M. James writes books for teens about squishy sweet characters.

While not writing, SM is a readaholic and Netflix addict who regularly lives on a sustainable diet of chocolate and coffee.

​​Unapologetically dishing out HEAs for LGBTQ characters.

 

Author Links

Blog/Website

Facebook

Instagram

Bookbub

Goodreads

 

Giveaway 

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win one of the following:

$30 Amazon gift card (AU or US only)

2 x paperbacks (That Feeling When or To Be Honest) (International)

3 x eBooks (That Feeling When or To Be Honest) (International)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

RELEASE BLITZ SCHEDULE

 

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

A MelanieM Review: In Case You Missed It (#lovehim #3) by S.M. James

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5 (caution spoiler due to trigger)

Brooks is convinced his life is totally, one hundred percent happy.

Until Darien tracks him down.

Darien was supposed to be the guy he kissed once and remembered forever, but now he’s back in Brooks’s life, with easy smiles and big ideas.

The first of which … show the homeschooled Brooks everything he’s missed out on. But as the pair work through a spring of playing catch up on life, it becomes obvious to Darien that Brooks has a secret.

And as things heat up between them, Brooks’s secret might just be Darien’s worst fear.

Because Darien has always lived in the moment.

But Brooks has always lived for the future he knows is inevitable.

When life is set to tear them apart, will love be enough to keep them together?

Several things.  First, I haven’t read the other stories in this series and now I know I must.  Secondly, I haven’t made S.M. James an author on my auto scan list and now they are.  All based on the strength of this remarkable book.

That’s In Case You Missed It (#lovehim #3) by S.M. James a story of a first time deep love, a heartbreaking reality, and the ability to find hope and brightness where you might least expect it.   This story could have gone so many ways but the author took a subject matter, Cystic fibrosis, an inherited genetic disease that has no cure and gives it a face in Brooks

I debated saying something in my review about the issue with Brook’s because it’s not listed in the synopsis.  But this is something that could be a trigger for many people, especially those who have lost children or someone to terminal illnesses, not necessarily CF, and the subject matter is dealt with realistically and bluntly. CF is a disease without a cure  (and its natural progression of an early death) that Brook has lived with his entire life. No, the story, told from both Brooks and Darien’s povs, is how their relationship changes their outlook, on their lives, a relationship, and even their future together.

It starts with their meeting.  We are there in the mix, learning about each of them as they do each other.  The secret that is a barrier between them that will crumble as their feelings grow. It’s the effects upon Darien and the reader as we grapple with the knowledge upon revelation of exactly what all the coughing has meant, what Brook’s has been trying to hide behind his “asthma”.  Honestly, I have no words for the authenticity of the dynamics between Brooks and Darien, the beauty of the “realiness” that exists here, and the pain felt over the grim physical reality of Brook’s situation.

But S.M. James gives these young men and the readers so much more.  The depth of feeling and love, the incredible families and support, and an unexpected path for them both that the reader will love.  There is no cure for CF, not in real life and certainly not in this book.  But the joys and heart found here will carry you through, as it did me and find you laughing through the tears.  So much happiness , it will amaze you.

In Case You Missed It (#lovehim #3) by S.M. James just blew me away.  Beautifully written, incredible characters, heartwarming, heartbreaking plot, and an  great ending to remember.  I highly recommend it and it’s sending me running to grab up the rest of the series.  Never has a contemporary story flown by so quickly.

Cover Artist: Story Styling Cover Designs is nice but there is an even better artist’s rendering of the drawing used for the tour of the 2 characters that I loved even better..

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 400 pages
Expected publication: February 12th 2019
Edition Language English
Series#lovehim #3

A MelanieM Review: Away in a Manger by JC Owens

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Two men from vastly different backgrounds; one city, one country. They have loved each other for over fifteen years, but the balance of their relationship has always been skewed, with Nathan desperately attempting to make Malcolm content on the ranch, when his restlessness and creative soul drives him to explore the world outside. After all this time, the differences were beginning to create a divide that seemed inevitable. Sometimes, love was not enough.

Then Malcolm’s nephew goes missing and a storm brings Nathan to his knees…

Everything they have is suddenly on the brink of disaster.

It will take a Christmas miracle to show two men that everything they are, everything they need, is tied up in a love that deserves a second chance.

Away in a Manger by JC Owens is one of those short stories that not only seems like a much larger book but one that you wish would go on to fill a series.  In just 53 pages, J.C. Owens manages to create a world of characters that feel real right  down to the horses and dogs, a ranch that  comes vividly to life, and an established relationship between two men that solidifies and deepens before our eyes.

Oh, and a missing teenager finds his way to a new home.  At Christmas.  And you don’t want to roll your eyes but embrace the spirit, the love that flows from the story and all the “miracles” it contains.

There is a depth and reality to all the characters here, that includes the horses and the dogs that play big parts in this tale.  I want to spend more time with all of them.  This story and these people cry out for a series of books.  I hope the author is listening.  Until then, spread out your holiday reading to just one more story and pick up Away in a Manger by JC Owens.  I highly recommend it.

Cover art by Kris Jacen.  Just gorgeous and perfect for the story.

Sales Links:  MLR Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 53 pages
Published December 13th 2018 by MLR Press
ASINB07LCLWQ2J

 

A MelanieM Review: Prince of Air and Darkness (The Darkest Court #1) by M.A. Grant

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Phineas Smith has been cursed with a power no one could control.

Roark Lyne is his worst enemy and his only hope.

The only human student at Mather’s School of Magick, Phineas Smith has a target on his back. Born with the rare ability to tap into unlimited magick, he finds both Faerie Courts want his allegiance—and will do anything to get it.

They don’t realize he can’t levitate a feather, much less defend the Faerie Realm as it slips into civil war.

Unseelie Prince Roark Lyne, Phineas’s roommate—and self-proclaimed arch nemesis—is beautiful and brave and a pain in the ass. Phineas can’t begin to sort through their six years of sexual tension masquerading as mutual dislike. But Roark is also the only one able to help Finn tame his magick.

Trusting Roark’s mysterious motives may be foolish; not accepting his temporary protection would be deadly.

Caught in the middle of the impending war, Phineas and Roark forge a dangerous alliance. And as the walls between them crumble, Phineas realizes that Roark isn’t the monster he’d imagined. But their growing intimacy threatens to expose a secret that could either turn the tide of the war…or destroy them both.

As a lover of fantasy, I had two thoughts upon finishing this story.  First, I wanted to immediately tell Free Dreamer she had another story to read and secondly, I bemoaned the fact that I had to wait for the next book in the series to come out.  What a gripping story!  I can’t wait to see where this saga is going because if the next tale is anywhere half as amazing as Prince of Air and Darkness, then this series is going to be one whopping adventure!

There is several elements and a couple of twists I adore here with the Fae courts that the author plays with.  While not a twist, Grant’s Fae aren’t the lovely faeries you might expect.  Instead they harken back to the Fae of old Irish mythology.  Those you don’t make bargains with, with little use for humans other than as pets.  Cruel, manipulative, beautiful, and layered.  These are the Fae of M.A. Grant and I love them.  Furthermore, in most novels the Seelie of the Summer courts tend to sway towards the “good/light” side and the Unseelie of the Winter Court towards the “bad/dark” side, here the waters are murkier.  It’s more about balance and individuals, than black and white, good and evil.

Even the torture done might not have had all the ramifications known, even to those doling out the torture.

The ley lines too, which are a common element in fantasy tales, here get a special Grant treatment which I need much more of.

With all of this as a foundation and framework, the heart of the first story is the convoluted relationship between the Prince of Air and Darkness, one of the three sons of the Queen of the Unseelie,Roark Lyne, and a  magical human, Phineas Smith.  Phin is fighting hard to learn to control his power over the ley lines, something he must do to graduate.  If he doesn’t, the consequences are dire.  For himself and his family.  Mostly for himself.

I won’t go further because that ventures into areas that give away too much information.  This is such a complicated tale that twists back on itself, with layers upon layers of secrets, that it’s such a pleasure to read and discover it for yourself.  The characters are so well done, the writing tightly constructed, so full of elements that even as you are pulled along by the events, you want to stop and go  back to examine tiny bits and pieces strewn along the way.  But of course, the pace is quick, the action wild and exhilarating.

And it all leaves you wanting more.  From what I can tell, there’s two more stories in the works.  One at least for this year.  Maybe one for each brother of the Unseelie court. That would make sense to bring the balance back into place.  However many books there will be,  I will be waiting.  If you are a lover of fantasy fiction,  pick this one up and wait with me.  I highly recommend it. Prince of Air and Darkness (The Darkest Court #1) by M.A. Grant is just fantastic!

 Cover art by Carina Press art department.  I wish Carina Press would give credit to its artists but here I think parts of this cover is a miss because it’s ravens that play a major part in the story.

Sales Links:  Carina Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: February 25th 2019 by Carina Press
ASIN B07GB7WD2G
Edition Language English

Series The Darkest Court :

Prince of Air and Darkness

The Marked Prince – to be published

The Iron Crown – to be published

A MelanieM Review: Boy Next Door (Hot Off the Ice #5) by A. E. Wasp

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Hockey superstar Joey Luciano has always been good at being whatever people needed him to be. The fans want a good-looking fast-living party boy? Enter ‘the Looch,’ Joey’s carefully created public persona. But the cracks in his mask are starting to show, and he’s begun to lose touch with who he really is. It’s going to take someone who’s been there from the very beginning, to help him find his way home.

Coach Liam O’Reilly always had a very clear picture of what his life should look like. Falling in love with the infuriating, passionate, stubborn, and endlessly fascinating boy next door was not part of the plan. But when Liam’s carefully constructed life fell apart one Christmas Eve, Joey Luciano was there to pick up the pieces. Now Liam can’t stop wanting him.

The passion blazing between them on the ice and behind closed doors could leave both of them badly burned. But through the smoke, Liam can see glimpses of a future brighter than any he’d imagined, a future worth risking his career and reputation for, if only he is brave enough to reach for it.

But Joey’s got a secret he’s keeping from everyone. If it gets out, it could be the end of everything.

I really enjoyed the Boy Next Door (Hot Off the Ice #5) by A. E. Wasp.  It has so many elements I love in a contemporary romance, starting off with hockey players and hockey coaches in love combinations.  Or just a hockey element.  That always draws me in.  Wasp also has another aspect to this series and story I adore.  Large families that support the main characters!

Families easily identifiable by location (Boston), ethnicities (Irish and Italian), long association (neighbors), and even intertwined relationships.  This extended main cast is a huge factor in connecting the reader to the character of Joey Luciano (the Italian family) and Liam O’Reilly (the Irish one),  In a totally current and hilarious format, we often see the family members communicating with each other via group text.  It’s never overdone, totally funny, and very realistic.  It’s has the feel of family and truth.  And it brought these people and their lives right into my heart.

Joey, “the Looch” Luciano, is a 25 year old  with a lot of issues. On the outside, he’s let this “Looch” character he’s created take over his life (brash, outgoing to the  extreme that it seems like he’s hogging the media and outshining his teammates.  No one is happy with him, including himself.  On the inside it’s worse.  Wasp has created Joey as a insecure person, low self esteem to the point that he seeks approval from every source and everyone without asking himself why he needs it so.  This is an enormous issue, obviously.  Not his only one. On top of this Joey is dealing with the fact that he has loved Liam since he can remember, a love that he has never looked at what that meant.  Why?  Because he shrinks from being called gay or even bisexual.  Which imo is totally misused here with regards to Joey.

Joey is someone who has lacked self examination for most of his life and it’s not until he gets involved with Liam that he smacks into some hard realities for himself.  At about 51 percent, we get these musing from Joey…

“What did people see when they looked at him? Could they tell he was having sex with a guy? Probably not. He looked as normal as Paul and Robbie. And he wasn’t gay gay. If anything he was bisexual like Liam.”

There are so many flags in those sentences that show exactly how messed up Joey is over not only his sexuality but homosexuality in general.  Being gay isn’t “normal”?  He also has issues with femme versus masc. And as is worked out down the story, Joey really doesn’t enjoy sex with women, so no, not bisexual.  Yes, some of this flags get addressed, not as many as I wished but a lot.

There are so many broken layers to Joey, it’s just one right after enough. Panic attacks, health issues, and more that need to be seriously addressed. Are all given the depth of attention I would wish or deserve? Perhaps not but they aren’t blown off either. Believable, authentic cracks in this man.  Kudos to A.E. Wasp for creating such a character.

Liam is a strong character, older by 10 years than Joey.  I liked him and their relationship but honestly wondered if the author was going to use their hot, and admittedly kinky sex life as a bandaid for all of Joey’s deep problems.  Thankfully, the  answer is no.  Wasp let me wonder about that, while I enjoyed Joey and LIam working out their relationship and then gave me everything I hoped for in the ending of this story. That included my Washington Caps winning the Stanley Cup this year!  And therapy for Joey.  Win win.

The humor here had me cackling!  Whether it’s Knock Knock jokes or Liam’s younger brother Patrick trying to get Liam to switch out his posh furniture for a huge leather sectional that all the young hockey players can come over and watch TV on saying”

“It’s the traditional furnishings of our people!”

Well, this book and dialogue crackles with fun, the knowledge of what it is like to be young, in love, or a hockey player, or to just do dumb things.  And all of the above.

Yes, plenty of angst too.

If I also have a complaint, its the actual lack of hockey.

We get headlines, sports feeds,  but  little actual ice time.  These men are passionate about ice and hockey.  So where is the time on the ice?  Where is the sense of team?

We get little of that except towards the very end in the important game.  I wish so badly we had had lots more of that action throughout the story.  Then we could understand why Joey and Liam’s actions carried the weight of the love of ice behind them that they did.  I felt that was missing because we never really saw Joey on ice for the majority of the book.  We were told about it but never actually “felt” it through the character. And I felt that was a mistake.

But did I love this story?  Yes I did.  I thought the author did a tremendous job with the characters, actualizing a man on the brink of a life change for himself and letting us travel some of the journey with him.  Scary, messy, not totally complete, a work in progress as they say.  I think Joey would agree with that and be happy.  So would Liam and the rest of the two families.

I definitely look for more in this series.  I recommend this one for all lovers of contemporary romance and hockey and even a little love of spanking!

 

Cover art: Ana Phoenix.  Nice cover but doesn’t quite get the age difference.

Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 462 pages
Published September 21st 2018
ASINB07HL6TTW9
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesHot Off the Ice #5

 

A MelanieM Review: The Werewolf on Lowre Few Lane by Bryce Bentley-Tales

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Rating: 4 .5 stars out of 5

 

Thirteen-year-old Colton and his best friend Jade spend their free time investigating a local urban legend concerning an old abandoned house in their hometown in Ireland. The run-down building is said to be haunted and some of the things they’ve seen seem to confirm it.

Colton has a crush on foreign-exchange student, Dylan, who is visiting his aunt from America. But Dylan isn’t your average American kid, and soon Colton and his friends are embroiled in more than urban legend and must find a way to save everything they know and love.

If you’re a lover of those wonderful fantasy adventures that mixed youth, growing up with both the familiar and the unknown, where wardrobes turned into doors into scary, fabulous alternate worlds and a path that the heroes took on a fated journey?  Well, here’s a tale for you! The Werewolf on Lowre Few Lane by Bryce Bentley-Tales, the first story by this author, brings together an unlikely group of 13 and 14 year olds in a small town in Ireland. We  meet the first two misfits out where clearly they have no business being, spying on the local haunted house and getting thoroughly creeped out in the process when it starts to show evidence that perhaps things aren’t as normal there as they should be.

It’s Colton, half Irish half Asian with a mother from Singapore and a dad from Ireland, and one of his best friends Jade, a wonderfully brash,intelligent girl who’s a great match for the curious Colton, although their first attempts at being low key are both spot on for their age and laughingly normal.  Thomas of the bright red hair, and surprising depths and sweet Erin come a little later.  It’s on one dark night when they are out investigating that they meet Dylan, the American foreign exchange student staying with his Aunt who lives locally.just as

Ah, how the author has all the threads needed to start weaving a marvelous supernatural fantasy tapestry!  And he does!  What an adventure! From a pack of white wolves menacing the village and local boys gone missing to Colton needing to figure out issues within himself,  low self worth and insecurity to a group that shows realistic, heartwarming amounts of  individual growth while on an epic journey!  And yes, it’s also about family and love and what that truly means to each and every preteen and grownup involved here.

One element I absolutely appreciated?  That fact that both Colton’s and Dylan’s homosexualtiy wasn’t treated as a huge deal.  Of course, they do have much large things to face throughout most of the story, that feeling comfortable with who they are becomes much easier for all of them in the end.  Perspective and all.

Was the story perfect?  No.  I needed more worldbuilding and backhistory for Dylan and his side of the family.  I definitely needed more on Weredome. More, much more books and adventures there, please!  Just the tiny glimpses we got was enough to want to go sledding through the lands on romps wild and free with the folk there.  So I’m hoping the author has more planned for this merry  troop and that house on Lowre Few Lane.   One book clearly is not enough.

The Werewolf on Lowre Few Lane by Bryce Bentley-Tales is well written, full of endearing, believable characters on quests and into adventures that keep you glued to Kindle or whatever you happen to be reading the story on.  I loved it.

I definitely recommend this story for all lovers of YA  novels and fantasy/supernatural novels. Or just lovers of fantasy fiction who are young at heart.

Cover art: Natasha Snow.   I liked parts of this cover, especially where we seem to be looking through a doorway out into a snowy world.  I think maybe it’s the font giving me issues.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

ebook
Expected publication: October 29th 2018 by NineStar Press (first published July 9th 2018)
ISBN139781949340075
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Love and Lint Rollers by Kaje Harper

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Even with six beloved cats at home, Thom Fletcher can’t help opening his heart to a little injured stray he finds at Pride. Luckily, the generosity of the veterinarian who helps him means he doesn’t have to open his wallet. Thom’s budget is stretched pretty thin, between his struggling start-up and medical expenses for his Crohn’s disease, so the free cat care helps a lot. Thom may have fallen for the little feline, but he’s also intrigued by the attractive vet in the bi-pride bracelet.

Dean Edwards went to Pride with his colors on his wrist, hoping to find community after his divorce. Instead, he’s pulled into a cat rescue by an appealing man. Dean likes Thom’s kindness to strays, his blue-gray eyes, his intelligence, and his perspective from decades as an out gay man. Maybe with Thom, Dean will finally feel able to explore his long-neglected attraction to men.

They’re not a perfect match. From Dean’s cat-hating dog to Thom’s chronic health issues and preferences in bed, going from a casual date to something more will be a challenge for both of them.

I don’t know when I last read a story with so many elements that stood out as remarkable and yet still folded nicely into a heartwarming romance in the end as the ones in Love and Lint Rollers by Kaje Harper.   First the characters are older which I really appreciated, one in his early fifties, with all that means emotionally, mentally, and baggage wise.  Thom Fletcher has the added complications of Crohn’s Disease, something that has drastically affected his health and his love life (no anal sex to be explicit). Harper addresses life with Crohn’s through Thom and we see all stages of the disease and its effects on his life and relationships.  For some readers it might not be enough information. For others too much.  We definitely learn a lot about life lived with this illness and its tight restrictions.  And how not to give up as well.

The character of Thom is someone I just loved and understood, even if I wanted to given him a shake or two.  If you have ever known anyone who has or had had serious illnesses, then you know how their focus can or sometimes must narrow down to dealing with their own health issues, especially if they have been doing so over a length of time.  And doing it on their own.  Letting someone else in is hard and Harper shows that realistically.  Especially with a diseases such as Crohn’s.  Portraying Thom’s shame, fear, and belief that no one will ever stay with him because it’s too hard will ring true with all readers who will emphasize with this man.

Dean Edwards too is dealing with past issues, coming out at his age, overcoming the emotional restrictions his deceased parents placed on him that still effect him.  I really liked Dean and believed in his internal battles and choices he was making.  As well as his love of his animals and Thom. Oh, and Dean is a vet with years of medical experience behind him which helps when one has many animals and other issues.

Ah, the animals!  Cats Gin, Snap, Buster, Louie, Onyx, Salem, and Cinder.  Plus elderly but still fierce dog Tig.  All with their huge roles to play in Thom’s life, this couple’s relationship, and in the story. And of course, the reader’s heart’s they wind and twine their way into.

There is a lesbian couple with a bestie half with tendencies to want to control Thom’s life.  That was a character i found irritating, probably realistic as there are always people like that in RL who believe that they know better than another person what path that person’s life should take. That they do it out of love doesn’t make it any less controlling. That you as a reader want Thom to have this person back off?  Well, it means that Harper has done her job and written this bestie so believably we have become put off by their behavior.  Well done.

For me, I might have wished for a little less of the Crohn’s, and  a little more of Thom and Dean together at the end with the menagerie for Love and Lint Rollers by Kaje Harper to fulfill all the promise I had hoped for. But honestly?  It came so close I’m not complaining.  I loved it.  And think you will to.  Especially if you love cats as well.  I highly recommend this!

Cover Art is adorable.  At first I thought the models were too young.  Still wavering on that.  But Thom is remarked to look more like in his 40’s than the early 50’s he is and I loved the cats.  More cats.  Where is Louie?

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 220 pages
Expected publication: October 9th 2018 by Kaje Harper
ISBN139780463646465
Edition Language English

A MelanieM Review: Ryker (Owatonna U Hockey #1) by R.J. Scott & V.L. Locey

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

This New Adult book is the first in the Owatonna U Series, a spin off from the best selling Harrisburg Railers Hockey Series.

Ryker is hockey royalty, Jacob is a poor country boy. Can two vastly different people find common ground and become the men they want to be?

Ryker comes from a long line of championship-winning hockey players. Playing college hockey to develop his game is his only focus, and nothing will stand in the way of him working to become the best player. He has no room for relationships, people that point out his flaws, or anyone who calls him on his dreams. He certainly has no place for love, and meeting Jacob is nothing but a useful distraction on the side. After all trying to get his Owatonna Eagles teammate into bed is less work and more play. When tragedy rocks his family, his charmed life crumbles, and the only person he can turn to is the same one who claims to hate him.

Jacob Benson has only known hard work and stifling conservative values his whole life. Born and raised in the small rural community of Eden Crossing, Minnesota, he’s the only son of a hard-working but struggling dairy farming family. Jacob is using his skills in hockey to finance his way to an agricultural science degree. These four years at Owatonna U. will probably be the only time he has to enjoy life, gain acceptance about his sexuality, and live openly before his inevitable return to the farm. Running into a pretty rich boy like Ryker Madsen is putting a damper on his enjoyment of life away from home. Ryker’s flip, conceited, carefree attitude grates on Jacob’s every nerve. So why, if Ryker is everything he dislikes, does he want nothing more than to explore the sinful dreams that his annoying teammate stars in every night?

First of all, let me say I adore and am seriously addicted to the Harrisburg Railers series by these same authors.  It’s an ongoing series, and the focus is the Harrisburg Railers Hockey team, where you meet Coach Jared Madsen and genius player and from hockey family royalty Tennant “Ten” Rowe in the first book Changing Lines.  Why is that important?   Because Jared Madsen is Ryker’s dad. And Ten? Well, read both series and find out if you don’t already know.

That’s one warning I do have here. Ryker (Owatonna U Hockey #1) by R.J. Scott & V.L. Locey is an adjacent series to the Harrisburg Railers and contains spoilers for that series as it picks up during events happening in and after the Harrisburg Railers story Goal Line (Harrisburg Railers #6). 

So if you haven’t already read Goal Line, you’ll be shocked and heartbroken by the events here. I’m still in recovery over that book fyi.  So just a flag..

All that said, I’ve loved Ryker throughout the Harrisburg Railers series,  HIs close relationship with his father and Ten was a joy to read.  Now the focus is on him and the fact that he’s has the ability to be as talented a player as Ten.  People are seeing it as he heads off to college and the draft, he has choices to make, while others will be made for him.  And one hockey camp changes his life and opens his eyes to life lived outside his “hockey” bubble when he meets agricultural student Jacob Benson, using hockey to continue his education and save his  family farm.

As I’ve come to expect from these authors, the portraits of these young men at camp and college are realistic and layered.  They are exuberant, youthful, hopeful, serious, just everything you expect young men to be.  Even judgemental…that old not going past the surface thing…that happens all too often and the writers know it and use it.  The authors keep it real from the dialog to the physical contact..the boys jockeying for fun so high energy, all bumping and jumbling around with each other.  We get not only the interactions between Jacob and Ryker, but also all the other teammates that become so important to this couple.

Another moving element?  Jacob’s farm and parents.  Jacob’s deep love for his family farm, his need to save it comes across ini his characters and actions.  The scenes on the farm and his dynamics with his father are tremendous.  I reveled in the later when it comes to the aspect of Ryker.  I won’t spoil that here.  That should be savored.

My only, well, can’t call it an issue, maybe tiny heartbreak, is the HFN, which it has to be at this stage of their lives.  Both are still in the  growth stage, both still have their goals ahead of them. And like the Harrisburg Railers with Jared and Ten, we followed them all through every story, one way or the other as their relationship progressed, even though the stories had other couples at the fore.  I’m grinning in  anticipation and waiting for the next story to release.  That would be for both series!

You can  read one, which I highly recommend, but why would you when you can read both if you haven’t already ?  Make the  Owatonna U Hockey team part of your life along with the Harrisburg Railers.  Become as addicted as I am!  You won’t be sorry.

Cover art: Meredith Russell.  That’s a perfect representation of Ryker, irrepressible curls and all.  I love it.

Sales Links:

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2IdxlmP

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2MT11q9

Book Details:

ebook, 1st edition
Published September 26th 2018 by Love Lane Books (first published September 22nd 2018)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesOwatonna U Hockey #1

A MelanieM Pre-Release Review: Loving A Warrior by Melanie Hansen

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

BUD/S: six months of the most intense training there is. It’s survival of the toughest, and Matt Knytych is determined to come out the other side a navy SEAL.

Distraction is life or death. And just the sight of former marine Shane Hovland is enough to shake Matt’s concentration.

Shane came to BUD/S training ready to prove himself—again. Semper Fi is forever, but he needs a new start. Not this dangerous heat with a man he barely knows.

Everything they’ve ever wanted is riding on a thin, punishing line. And they’ll have to fight for more than just each other if they want to make it through intact.

After all, the only easy day was yesterday.

 

I started in with Melanie Hanson on her strong military story, Point of Contact.  Reviewed by both Barb, our Zany Old Lady and myself, each of us found it to be a moving, beautifully written 5 star novel. And each for very different reasons.  Now comes Loving a Warrior, the second in what feels like a series of SEALS themed novels and I’m just as caught up in her characters and storytelling as I was in the first.

Unlike the first novel where the men were out, well, one was at the start.  The men here are on a totally different journey.  Several of them in fact.  Both are first of all on that most intensive and exclusive of all paths…the one that might lead to getting their Trident and being a member of the SEALS.  That’s BUD/S training.  Hansen brings us directly into probably something the majority of us will never experience and can never imagine, what those men and now some women go through in their attempts to become SEALS. Only a tiny few make it.  As Shane and Matt are run through the hellish rigors of BUD/S, we are right there, sweating,  straining, even bleeding and almost breaking along with them.  It’s vivid, and so realistic that it makes you think about all the real soldiers going through training at this moment, doing everything they can to reach that almost unreachable goal.  Your heart is with them all.  Those that make it as well as those that don’t.

Along with the unrelenting stress, mental, emotional, and physical of BUD/S, there’s Matt and Shane trying to figure out their magnetic attraction to each other, one that threatens to become more and derail their  focus on their SEAL training which they can’t afford.

Matt and Shane are complex characters, Matt especially so because he’s got a hard veneer and laser focus on his goal to become a SEAL.  So for Shane to start to get under some of the barriers that Matt has erected takes time.  He seeks to understand   Matt and as he does, we do as well.  It works  both ways. Shane also has a background that makes his appear all too shallow when he’s anything but.  Matt makes certain assumptions about Shane that he also needs to overcome and a narrow view of the  future for himself that needs enlarging if they are to have a future.

This is not a HEA, but a realistic HFN as it should be for two soldiers.  I would love to see Melanie Hanson revisit them down the line in a sequel, perhaps as they both go off on assignments.

Loving A Warrior by Melanie Hansen is a beautifully written novel that is full of complex characters and a gripping plot that kept me connected from beginning to end. It is also a wonderful  complement to the first story Point of Contact.  I absolutely recommend this story as well as Point of Contact.  Both are just amazing and I can’t wait for another in this military series to be released.

Cover art is strong and has the characters well defined.  I like it although not as much as the first one.

Sales Links:  Carina Press | Amazon to come

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition
Expected publication: November 26th 2018 by Carina Press
ASINB07DCTPL94
Edition LanguageEnglish