A MelanieM Release Day Review: Royal Rescue by A. Alex Logan

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

 

At age eighteen, when they become marriageable, all royal children in the Thousand Kingdoms must either go questing to rescue another royal or be hidden away to await rescue themselves. Some go the traditional route of princes rescuing princesses, but not all princes want to be rescuers…and some would rather rescue other princes.

Then there’s Prince Gerald, who has no interest in getting married at all. When he refuses to choose a role as either rescuer or rescuee, his royal parents choose for him and have him magicked away to a distant tower to await a spouse.

Gerald, however, is having none of it. He recruits his guardian dragon and a would-be rescuer and soon the trio is dashing to all corners of the united kingdoms on a quest to overturn the entire system.

Well, I just love this story!  New author and new fantasy story all in one.  Love it when that happens.  Especially when the author manages to take several standard fantasy elements and give them their own take.  Here Logan uses the familiar knight quest/damsel in distress/rescue as a major element, along with the dragon that guards the tower.  And promptly turns all said elements on their narrative heads to my total entertainment and joy.

It starts with Prince Gerald, who’s mothers, the Queens want him to get married.  That’s right the Queens.  In this world, the many kingdoms have apparently long come accustomed to various sexualities and their pairings.  Marriages made between men, women, gender fluid people…like Princex…all good and accepted.  But there’s one last huge area not understood or even thought of….that of being asexual.  That is Gerald and his current problem because he doesn’t want to get married and can’t seem to get anyone to listen to him to understand exactly why this is so deeply affecting him.  He doesn’t feel the way they do.  He doesn’t understand everyone being a “sexual” being nor does he want a sexual marriage and that’s want is being forced on him and whoever he marries.

Logan, using Gerald as our point of view, brings us into his heart, mind, and frustration over the lack of empathy and the poignancy of his situation.  Which only gets worse.  Then unexpectedly through Gerald’s kindness and intelligence, gets better.  For not only himself, but for several species that had been forced into servitude, including dragons, and wholes generations of new young royals coming of age.  In other words, Gerald and a small group of friends become heroes.

And it will start by Gerald saving himself.  Really, doesn’t get any better than that.

Logan does a superb job of world building, crafting the characters and creating the rigid political structures that have led to the situation all have found themselves in.  I found myself totally invested in every aspect of this story.  I was rooting for them all to succeed while admiring different aspects of the author’s storytelling.

There is a small group of royal friends and a sapient dragon, several quests of their own making, and a remarkable ending.  Yes, this is a character and troop of characters to root for.  Especially as I thought the author did an excellent job with bringing Gerald’s pain and frustration over his asexuality to light to those around him, including the readers.  What hurt and was perhaps realistic was still a matter of total understanding from those closest to Gerald at the end of his asexuality.  That he might not ever get all the approval or total acceptance he was hoping for.  That it would have to be enough…for now.

And it was.  You have to read the book to understand that.  There’s hope and Gerald was leaving to go where he wanted, on a path of his own making.  Sort of perfect.  Just like this story.

Yes, I definitely recommend this story for YA fantasy lovers or just lovers of fantasy.  There is no heat level as you can imagine.  But lots of adventure and plenty to cheer about.  Dragons and heroes or every sort!

Cover art: Natasha Snow.  I think Natasha Snow is just nailing her covers including this one.  Perfect from the dragon to the setting. Love it.

Sales links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: April 8th 2019 by NineStar Press
ISBN 139781950412419
Edition Language English

Review Tour and Giveaway for One-On-One (Cayuga Cougars #5) by V.L. Locey

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Buy Links:

 
Length: 57,000 words approx.
 
 

Cayuga Cougars Series

Book #1 – Snap Shot – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Open Net – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – Coach’s Challenge – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 – Overtime – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Blurb

The past few years have been a bit chaotic for Cougars new associate coach, Lancaster Hart. After an amiable divorce he began living his life as the gay man he’d kept closeted for far too long. With the recent move to Cayuga, he’s away from his support system and properly made sweet tea. Despite a roster filled with new friends and associates, he’s spending his nights alone.

As his team gears up to make a run at the Calder Cup, Lancaster discovers that not everything in upstate New York is wine, woodlands, and chilly conservative ideals. At a summer music festival, he first lays eyes on Townsend Harris, folksy/blues singer by night and mayoral office assistant by day. Lancaster is enraptured with the man’s powerful sultry voice. Also, Town just might be the most beautiful man he has seen in all his forty-one years.

The two hit it off at an informal meet and greet after the show, where they spend the night talking and sipping wine. One evening of conversation and an incendiary goodbye kiss leads them into a scorching love affair that might be exactly what Lancaster has been searching for his whole life. Can his team pull off professionally what he’s hoping to do privately as well? Or will capturing their dream evade both the Cougars and Lancaster?

 

V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, Dr. Who, Torchwood, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, two Jersey steers and a flock of assorted domestic fowl.

When not writing lusty tales, she can be found enjoying her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in hand.

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A MelanieM Review : Bitten By Her (Regent’s Park Pack #4.5) by Annabelle Jacobs

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Brought together by fate, torn apart by family.

Rachel Tregarrak, Penwith pack beta and daughter of the alpha, has always called the rugged Cornish coast her home. With its beautiful landscapes, bracing sea air, and vast spaces to run, she can’t imagine living anywhere else.

After years of living with her mother in her grandfather’s pack, Sara Gallen returns to Penzance to be with her alpha father and her brothers. She wants to build their relationships, get to know the rest of her family better than occasional visits allow.

When their paths cross on the full moon, the attraction is immediate and instinctive. But Sara’s father refuses to allow such a union and forbids any further contact. Sara finds solace with her grandmother in her alpha council residence, and Rachel is sent to a London pack to keep her out of trouble. Both women feel the desperate ache of an uncompleted bond, but unless they find a way to be together, it’ll fade to nothing and their connection will be lost.

In Bitten by the Alpha we were introduced to two young women, weres whose bond was being denied by one’s Alpha (and father.  It was an important secondary storyline as Rachel Tregarrak would end up being sent away from her pack to the Regent’s Park Pack to act as a temporary Beta and standin for Gareth’s unit.  The readers learned to love her and her would be mate Sara, separated by Sara’s father’s hidebound rules and pack regulations regarding female roles.  The author had done such a great job with these characters and their heartbreaking dilemma that we needed to know more and we wanted a resolution.

Bitten By Her (Regent’s Park Pack #4.5) is Annabelle Jacobs answer for everyone’s begging for their story.  It’s everything I was waiting for and more.

Surrounded by familiar characters from previous stories, we get Rachel and Sara’s story from the moment they meet under the full moon and everything goes disastrously wrong.   A mate bond denied, a deep pain that doesn’t fade and two women sent away from their territories to keep a bond from forming.

Told from two points of view, their separation and incomplete bond is  wrenchingly vivid.  Even as two factions, Sara’s grandmother and part of the Council and Cam, Alpha of the Regent’s Park Pack, work to bring the two women together without starting a pack war, the reader feels every bit of the pain and heartache of the cost of the separation.  Even as both need to find a way to continue on day by day, especially Rachel in her important duties as Beta in a unit that needs her.

Jacobs does a marvelous job with the characterizations as always and the tension and drama here is off the charts.  I love the connection and chemistry between Rachel and Sara.  They were perfection.  Sara’s grandmother, the Council, and all of the Regent’s Park Pack included here just bring this story to life.

This is an amazing series and I can’t wait to see who has the next story.  Bitten By Her was an  absolute delight to read and  it satisfied all my expectations for Rachel and Sara’s story.

If you’ve been following this series, than this is a story you won’t want to miss.  None of these are standalones and work within the Regent’s Park Universe.  Read them together to get all the relationships and connections.  I recommend them all.

Cover art: Natasha Snow.  That’s a wonderful cover.  I love the picture of Rachel and Sara with foreheads touching.  That’s moving and perfect for the story.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 187 pages
Published August 14th 2018
ASINB07GC59Q7Q
Series Regent’s Park Pack

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Patron by C.B. Lewis

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Theodore Wentworth, who possesses little more than a sharp and well-educated mind, is trying to solicit a sponsor for his studies of Greek antiquity by performing recitations at gatherings of collectors. Desperate for luck and better skills in oratory, in jest, he places a coin at the feet of a statue of Hermes. It seems like coincidence when his fortune turns and a gentleman calling himself Alexander becomes his benefactor. Despite his friend John teasing him about it, Theodore continues to offer tokens to Hermes and sinks himself into his study of the classics.

Alexander encourages Theodore’s interest, prompting Theodore to face desires he tried to put aside years before. As Theodore embraces the knowledge, he must also resist his attraction to Alexander—knowing his feelings are a serious crime in Victorian England.

But the secret Alexander keeps will change everything in a love story for the ages, steeped in taboo, temptation, history, and myth.

Patron by C.B. Lewis was a terrific novelette!  I wasn’t expecting to be quite as captivated by Theodore and his mythological lover as I was.  Lewis weaves a tale of increasing mystery, personal exploration, faith and love set within Victorian England. The author lets us know that Theodore has an open mind and heart by giving him a friend (half Indian) that British society of those times looks down upon. John and his wife (a couple I was swift to take to heart) are Theodore’s best and perhaps only friends.  John even has knowledge of Theodore’s leanings (never acted upon really)  towards men instead of women.    Theodore’s life changes one evening when he lays a coin down at the feet of Hermes, wishing for luck and the best speech of his life during a gathering of great and influential men. Theodore emotes brilliantly.  And the story takes off.

Lewis does a beautiful job of capturing the details of 1860 England, right down to the boarding house where Theodore lives and the clothes he wears.  From the lower to upper levels, we get the entire picture (as much as you can skillfully lay down in 78 pages).  It’s a great atmosphere in which to bring out the wildly romantic mythic element.  It’s in keeping with the times, enraptured as they were with the classics and using Hermes instead of one of the other Greek gods was a usual choice but one I adored.

Little by little, we build up to the ending.  I thought it was exactly right.  But did I want more?  Yes, of course.  You will too.  Such a little gem, this is!

Patraon by C.B. Lewis is a quite, delightful read, especially for those who love the Greek classics, mythology and romance.  I highly recommend it.

Cover Artist: Blake Dorner.  Love, love this cover by Dorner.  Its perfect in every way.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 78 pages
Expected publication: June 21st 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781635335217
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Ride Along (States of Love) by Meghan Maslow

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Drew Nolan is a loud-and-proud mystery writer with a brutal case of writer’s block. He needs practical experience with the Baltimore police beat to get his latest manuscript to his publisher on time. When he wins a ride-along at a writer’s conference, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot… until he meets his partner.

Closeted cop Josh de Oliveira lost his family, his partner, and the respect of his unit—all for doing the right thing. Recently busted back down to patrol, he’s relieved to get a cushy assignment at the Author’s Police Institute where he’ll take one lucky writer on a ride-along. Unfortunately, his author looks like he belongs in the backseat of Josh’s squad car—long, ginger dreadlocks, piercings, and an “I would bottom you so hard” T-shirt. But there’s something about Drew Josh is having a hard time resisting.

It’s going to be a long night and one hell of a ride as opposites attract and realize they share a lot in common beneath the surface. As animosity becomes desire, they realize they can help each other out—in more ways than one.

I couldn’t tell until I really got into this story that the author has to be either from or living in my area where the story is located.  I mean how many people know Greenbelt that intimately? Hell, how many people have even heard of Greenbelt outside of here? And the places in Baltimore? She has it all right down to the food (G&M crab cakes) and the traffic and the Hon festival.  I often cringe when someone obviously not from here (and not having done their homework) writes about this region from the District, surrounding areas right to Baltimore and Northern Virginia.  The mistakes are often howlers.  But not here and I loved it!

Happily living in Greenbelt is Drew Nolan, a mystery writer trying to get around a writer’s block by attending a conference.  At the conference?  Officer Josh de Oliveira who’s in all sorts of trouble at work because of his ” ex-partner” gone bad and his sending the man to jail.  There’s more, including his  closeted status within the department.  The two meet and its instantaneous miscommunication and rudeness amidst attraction.  Told from Josh and Drew’s povs which is necessary otherwise Josh comes off as a complete jerk from the first moment the reader is introduced to him.  Instead, from his thoughts, we get a totally different, complex picture of the man.  I adored Drew from the outset.  Masow did such a terrific job with the all the characterizations here that I connected with them all.

A ride along assignment courtesy of the conference puts both men together in Josh’s squad car.  The reader gets a tour of the area, the men get to know each other and it works on every level.  The men get to know each other in close surroundings and in situations that vary by the minute or hour. This is a very neat setup.

There is another important thread involving Josh’s department, the history with his partner and his current situation. I wish that had been fleshed out a little more.  Much is made of the threat to him and yet I felt at the end, it just sort of faded away.  Another chapter could have been used here to take care of this element of the story. Or maybe just several more pages.  It just felt incomplete with no resolution, just an epilogue telling us what happened.

There are several big issues here.  One is in Drew’s past but I felt that was handled beautifully including its effect on Drew’s family dynamics. In fact the entire romance was great and heartwarming, including the addition of Drew’s large Nolan family.  I could see these two together and the bright future ahead.  Put that together with a location I loved?  Yes I can absolutely recommend Ride Along (States of Love) by Meghan Maslow for all you lovers of contemporary romance!  Its a heartwarmer you’ll just adore!  Plus maybe you’ll order some crabcakes or five!  Check out the links I provided!

Cover Artist: Garrett Leigh.  Not a fan of this cover.  Makes it look like there’s a mystery going on and there’s not.  Very misleading.  Drew writes mystery books but there is no mystery here.  Plus this is a States of Love story!  Where’s parts of Baltimore?  Or even Greenbelt?  Shakes head. A miss on every level.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 122 pages
Expected publication: June 14th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781635335231
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesStates of Love settingMaryland (United States)

A MelanieM Review: Back Home by RJ Scott

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Falling for his brother’s boyfriend broke his heart. Now he’s back home and falling in love all over again.

One birthday kiss, given on a dare, and Kieran realizes he is in danger of falling for his brother’s boyfriend, Jordan. Leaving for college, then moving to another country is the only way to ease the ache in his heart.

But, when his father becomes ill, and his sister begs him to come home, Kieran returns for good. He finds the family business nearly bankrupt and Jordan, the man he ran from, beaten down by despair and guilt.

Friendship is what they promise each other as they work to repair the business, but it could never be enough for Kieran. When secrets spill, and there are vital decisions to be made, Kieran realizes two things; he’s back home, and he wants to stay with Jordan for good.

Now he just needs to convince Jordan.

Back Home by RJ Scott is a story a second chance at love given to two men layed deep in guilt, linked by a family and a man they both loved, one as a brother, one as a lover and partner.  RJ Scott delivers the story from Jordan and Kiernan’s perspective, a necessary format so the reader can see both how differently they see each other and how certain events looked but also so we can connect intimately with each man.    And connect we do.

We see Kieran giving up his job and life in London to return home, unaware of the disaster awaiting him at almost every level.  He just thinks he’s going to have to deal with his father’s illness and having to see Jordan one more.  Instead he’s walking into a catastrophe.  We feel sorry for him but not as bad as we feel for Jordan who’s pushed himself to the point of dying.  His despair, his pain rolls off the page it reads so real.  The story and gulf in between these two is one that is slowly revealed over the storyline.

I must say RJ Scott writes a wonderful anguished relationship, especially one borne out over time. All the secrets buried here get revealed at the right time, and the family that supports these men, no matter what, are an excellent secondary cast.  It makes for a terrifically engaging story.  Plus she throws in 2 villains that  get their comeuppance by the end of Back Home in way that will make you cheer.

Love a second chance at love romance with angst and a HEA?  Check out Back Home by RJ Scott!  It’s one I absolutely recommend!

Cover art by Meredith Russell works for both the characters and storyline. Terrific.

Sales Links:  Amazon 

Book Details:

ebook, 4th edition
Published May 24th 2017 by Love Lane Books Limited (first published April 1st 2011)

 

 

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Catching Heir by Julia Talbot

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

catching-heir-by-julia-talbotIs he in love with an old hotel—or its new owner?

Professional snowboarder Cullen Patrick is successful and kinda famous. So when he inherits an old Colorado hotel from an unknown relative, he really should leave well enough alone.

Matt Nathanson has been managing the Treeline Estates since college. He loved the elderly former owner, and he stands to inherit the place if no one claims it in the next week. Of course, Cullen shows up, and Matt thinks it’s time to move on. He doesn’t want to like Cullen, no matter how engaging the guy is, or how hunky.

Cullen has grand ideas for the Treeline, but he doesn’t want to implement them without Matt, and he’s not sure he’s ready to give up snowboarding. Can Matt convince Cullen that putting down roots is worth it… and maybe catch his heir at the same time?

I throughly enjoyed Julia Talbot’s Catching Heir, another contemporary romance in Dreamspinner Press’ Dreamspun Desires series.  It follows a storyline of the lost inheritance and the found heir.  Someone is about to inherit a …fill in person’s heart’s desire…home, ranch, palace estate…you name it and then up pop’s the long lost heir to take it  back.  In this case its a beautiful old hotel, a  grand dame of hotels that Matt Nathanson stands to inherit in 24 hours if no heir arrives to claim it.  But of course, one does in the person of Cullen Patrick, grandson of who owned and loved Treeline Estates dearly and who recently died.

Part of this review is hard to write because as much as I adored the story, its what’s missing about it that nags at me and makes me wonder about those parts I feel are left out.  I really like these characters, Matt especially.  You get the feeling he’s been caught in a time warp of his making and that of Ben Patrick, Cullen’s grandfather.   Ben plucked Matt right out of college and brought him to the Treeline as a young man, a hotel filled with 60 somethings and a owner who dwelled in the past.  You certainly get a wonderful feel for this character immediately.

Cullen too fits that snowboarder image and extreme sports athlete although I wish he had a bit more layering to him.  He needed more a past to match that of Matt,   although they make a great couple.  I like how the author moves him from immediate jerk status to one to comes to appreciate Matt and the hotel.  That’s lovely.  Plus its great to watch the slow process of Cullen easing Matt out of the closed in life he’s lead all these years at the hotel as their romance deepens.

But you know who’s missing?  Ben Patrick..the dead man at the heart of the hotel, staff and who was Matt’s best friend and mentor.  I really needed to get a feel for him and that hole haunts this story, much like his empty room Matt refuses to enter.  We don’t know anything about their relationship all those years, not even a memory.  He’s a ghost that pulls this story down by his absence.

Talbot has given Matt and Cullen a wonderful secondary cast with the hotel staff.  We get a feel of what it is to run something like that as well as set up a snowboard run, all of which was interesting and well folded into the story.  It also helped to authenticate both men and made them believable.  There was a side thread that was less so but it was a flash and then it was dropped.

All in all, a sweet, contemporary romance and another terrific addition in this series.

I recommend it, let that cover pull you in.  Its a perfect representation of Cullen, perfectly adorable.

Cover art by Paul Richmond does a wonderful job once more.

Sales Links

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Book Details:

ebook, 250 pages
Expected publication: December 1st 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 163477678X (ISBN13: 9781634776783)
Edition LanguageEnglish
URL

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Blueprint (Out of the Blue #4) by R.J. Jones

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

blueprintIf only building the foundation for a lasting relationship was as easy as drafting the blueprint.

Jet Black doesn’t date. Even if he wanted a man beyond sex, his ever-watchful identical twin scares potential suitors away. Jet lives with his brother, but since Gray fell in love with Kris, Jet feels like a third wheel. Despite their bond, Jet knows he needs to move out and experience life for himself, whether Gray likes it or not.

After his father dies in a boating accident, Ethan Nichols is devastated. As the last survivor of his family, he feels the need to put down roots. He leaves Australia and returns home to San Francisco and his old architectural firm. But there’s more to building a new life than simply moving house.

Jet and Ethan’s first encounter is brash and anonymous, but when Ethan moves across the hall, their lives become irrevocably linked. Jet is quirky and fun loving, while Ethan is rock steady and dependable. There’s no denying the passionate spark between them.

But Ethan is looking for a more solid foundation than Jet is ready to offer. Until Jet learns to spread his wings and trust Ethan with his darkest secrets, building a life together will be impossible.

I read Blueprint (Out of the Blue #4) by R.J. Jones as a standalone novel and loved it but upon reading the notes I can only imagine what my rating might have been had I read it as a part of the series as the author had intended.  As it was, the characters of Jet, Gray, Kris and Ethan drew me in and connected me deeply to their lives and past history.  The twins brutal past history  is more than adequately explained here, In fact, its crushing enough in some details, that I can’t imagine what prior books must go into.

But oh how these twins climb into your heart.  Here its Jet finding love with Ethan, but where there’s one, the other is right behind as is his partner.  Its a package deal, one we are so grateful for.

Jones brings all these people vividly to life, foibles, heartache, past histories.  Its there.  From the moment I moved into the story, I was sunk deep into the storyline.  It moved along swiftly, almost too much so.  I wanted it to slow down at parts so I could savor the relationships forming between all four men, the surprises that popped up, the rollercoaster ride of emotions that comes with dating someone like Jet.  Its quite the story and romance.

And yes, it  ended too soon.  I wanted more.  I hope I will get it  in the form of another story.  In the meantime.  I will be returning to all the previous novels in the series that I missed.  I highly recommend this story.  You can read it like me, as a standalone or as part of a series.  Your choice.  But read it,  its a wonderful story.

Cover works for the story and character.

Sales Links

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Book Details:

**This can be read as a standalone, however it is best enjoyed reading the series in order as side characters play a major role.**ebook, 221 pages

Expected publication: October 14th 2016 by Vivid Blue Press
Edition LanguageEnglish
URL https://rjjonesauthor.com/my-books/blueprint/
Series Out of the Blue – Goodreads links here:

A MelanieM Review: Lovers Leap by JL Merrow

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

LoversLeap_600x900If they looked, would they ever leap?

Good-looking, confident, and doted on by his widowed mum, Michael is used to thinking only of himself. Getting shoved off an Isle of Wight pier by an exasperated ex ought to come as a wake-up call—but then he meets Rufus and he’s right back to letting the little head take charge. Rufus is cute, keen, and gets under Michael’s skin in a disturbing way.

Would-be chef Rufus can’t believe his luck when a dripping wet dream of a man walks out of the sea on his birthday, especially when Michael ends up staying at the family B&B. Life is perfect—at least until Michael has to go home to the mainland.

Rufus can’t leave the island for reasons he’s entirely neglected to mention. And though Michael identifies as bi, breaking his mum’s heart by coming out and having an actual relationship with a guy has never been his plan. With both men determined to keep their secrets, a leap of faith could land them in deep water.

I just  love JL Merrow and her ability to deliver characters that, whether you adore them, look at them with a little dislike and (yes, contempt for some), always feel downright real and human.   In Lovers Leap, Merrow delivers just such a story full of characters that are almost guaranteed to put readers down on one side or the other.  I fall firmly down on the side that sees this as a story full of characters that I understood, believed in and even when I was less then fond of their actions, I accepted them once I got the back history and foundation upon which they were based.  That’s wonderful storytelling.

The character in conflict, for the reader, himself and Rufus?  Michael, the man who came from the sea…the reason for which is one that is startling and is probably the basis for many readers dislike.  His actions that follow don’t help.  But there is something, as Merrow has written him, that draws you in, a certain vulnerability that pays off the more the story unfolds.  There are some very serious issues for Michael to deal with, his sexuality, his faith and family, and some are deeply shattering as the story unfolds.  Especially when it comes to his mother.  All his prior arrogance and obnoxiousness in words and deeds?  Well, there are reasons and a basis for all of them and Merrow lays it out for us like a very sad banquet.

Rufus is not without deep issues himself.  They too start at home with a father and stepmother whose fragile relationship with each other and perhaps Rufus is keeping them all tied in a knot that might be choking them in the B & B in which they all work and live.

Lovers Leap is all about twin needs that speak to each other without Rufus and Michael realizing how much at first, and then slowing pulling towards each other, with humor, with heartbreak, with passion…in true English form on the Isle of Wight.  I even adored the best friend, and her surprise coupling.  Definitely could have used more of them.

If you like your main characters with flaws that you can handle, you know a little gruff, nothing too bad, certainly not obnoxious or bi, perhaps this isn’t your story.  But if you love layered characters, people who need to work on themselves, and relationships that need just that bit of luck as well as love?  Don’t let Lovers Leap pass you by.  I highly recommend it and can’t wait to see what the Isle of Wight inspires JL Merrow to write next.

Cover art by Lou Harper is well done and indicative of the characters and story. Loved it.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 202 pages
Published February 27th 2016 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleLovers Leap
ISBN 1626493820 (ISBN13: 9781626493827)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Review: Mate of the Tyger Prince by Shannon West

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

MateoftheTygerPrince - WestDiplomatic marriages between two members of different planets certainly aren’t unheard of—but for Prince Mikos of Tygeria and Col. Ryan Donnelly of Earth, it might just be a fate worse than death. The union is meant to end a devastating war that has lasted for over a hundred and fifty years, but when the female bride intended for the fierce, sexy prince runs away, her handsome brother is substituted instead. Men are for mating as far as the Tygerian prince is concerned, but the colonel also happens to be Mikos’s sworn enemy, not to mention being completely irritating.

Ryan is horrified to learn that the Tygerians not only expect him to take the place of his sister, marry the Bloody Prince of Tygeria, and go to live with him on his mysterious planet, but they also expect him to undergo physical alteration to have the man’s baby! And nobody is taking hell no for an answer. Ryan’s being asked to turn his whole life upside down and the handsome Tygerian gets under his skin like nobody else. But with the fate of the universe at stake, how can he say no? Can the two enemies put aside their differences and focus on making love and not war—not to mention a baby? As a powerful love struggles to take root, can they learn to trust each other and stand together against the forces that are trying to tear them apart?

Mate of the Tyger Prince by Shannon West combined several of my favorite elements, that of cat shifters (tigers at that) and science fiction and pulled off a winner.  Once I started reading  I couldn’t stop.  This marvelous page turner pulled me in starting with a galatic war that Earth arrogantly expected to win and was now losing at an unimaginable cost of lives and resources.  A bargain has been struck to end the war, a marriage of alliance.  But things  of course do not go as planned.  I loved Shannon West’s descriptions of those involved, the bargaining that takes place is done by an unexpected source, Mikos’ parent and an Earthling like Ryan.

One of the things I actually had to work through was West’s world building and culture for the planet of Tygeria. a very male/dominant order.  So much so that the sexes live separately on different continents/islands by choice, taking their life partners of the same sex.  And in the case of the male Tygerians, male humans have become a favored companion/partner.  Their role is a prescribed one within the Tygerian society.  They run the household, raise the children, a difficult, almost subservient role for a ex-soldier to take on.  Which is exactly what Mikos’ parent also was, a wonderful element of this story.  West makes this aspect of the story work as an important thread of the plot  as well as a part of the interesting layers of Tygerian society.   I can’t wait to see what future books hold.

Another starting twist?  The age difference in the two beings.  I won’t tell you which is which, I’ll let you discover that for yourself.  The characterizations are wonderful and clearly drawn.  Its easy to picture the Tygerians and understand their emotional makeup, as well as see how easily misunderstanding and mistrust could arise between a human and a Tygerian.  Ryan is a heartbreaker, alone and so vulnerable, with the weight of two systems riding on his shoulders.   Actually, there are quite a few characters to fall in love with here, both young (Mikos’ younger brothers for one) and old (his parent for another).

As I said, I flew through this book right to the end.  Then I wanted another.  Its supposed to be the first in a series.  How I hope that’s true and another will follow soon.  This is a world I could wallow in for books to come.  Shannon West?  Are you listening?

Cover art by Eden Connor did a great job with Ryan but oh how I wanted a glimpse of Mikos.

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Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: January 19th 2016 by Dark Hollows Press LLC
Edition LanguageEnglish