A MelanieM Review: The Case of the Man Eater (Kanaan & Tilney #2) by Jenna Rose and Katey Hawthorne


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Wolf-Beast and ex-cop Lowell Kanaan recently brought his boyfriend, Elementalist and mystery author John Tilney, into the PI business with him. They’ve been solving cases for Boston’s varied praeternatural communities ever since. So when a young Terran feels that the brutal murder of his Beast boyfriend isn’t being treated seriously enough by the police, he brings the case to Kanaan & Tilney for a second opinion.

Similarly defiled corpses pop up around Boston as they race to find the killer. All the victims are packless Beasts, like Lowell, and the vicious nature of the killings stir up old prejudices in the praeternatural community, Beast and otherwise. Throw a personal vendetta and some ugly family history for Lowell in the mix, and the trails are as muddy as ever.

This case will test Kanaan & Tilney’s strength, both as a PI team and a couple. It’ll take all they have to keep each other alive—and stop a serial killer.

Private investigators Lowell Kanaan and boyfriend John Tilney are back with another heartbreaking case of murder that hits close to home.  This time they are called in to investigate the murder of a packless lion, torn and cut up in an alleyway, parts of him missing.  That the lion-beast was packless like Lowell was enough for them to take the case…then more are killed, and it looks like Lowell could be a target.

In this story more of Lowell’s history and the nature of the pack organization/culture comes to light, and not in a good one. Those that are packless are looked down upon by others, said that their state will make them feral without the structure of the pack.  Their “second class citizenship” is made evident through their self help groups and troubled lives within the stories.  Easy prey for a murderer.

While investigating the crimes, the authors dive into the evolving relationship of Kanaan and Tilney, progressing as work partners as well as  romantic ones.  I loved them as both and enjoyed the dynamics between them, hot, sexy, and in one instance, where they impersonated tourists, very funny.

I wish there had been more about the actual murderer.  That seemed a bit fuzzy at best.  The action was swift and suspenseful but the actual person behind it and who they were?  That needed more groundwork and a better foundation here.  That actually would be the only thing that people coming at this story new would find fault with.  It’s not a stand alone.  You need to read the first story and then come here.  I loved the coroner and look forward to more investigations where he and other continuing characters resume their roles.

Cover art by Dar Albert.  I like the intense cover.  The old typewriter font and the story elements,  Nice!

Sales Links:  Loose id  | Amazon

Book Details:

Published December 26th 2017 by Loose Id
Edition LanguageEnglish
URL http://kanaanandtilneyinvestigations.com/
SeriesKanaan & Tilney #2

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Regret Me Not by Amy Lane


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Pierce Atwater used to think he was a knight in shining armor, but then his life fell to crap. Now he has no job, no wife, no life—and is so full of self-pity he can’t even be decent to the one family member he’s still speaking to. He heads for Florida, where he’s got a month to pull his head out of his ass before he ruins his little sister’s Christmas.

Harold Justice Lombard the Fifth is at his own crossroads—he can keep being Hal, massage therapist in training, flamboyant and irrepressible to the bones, or he can let his parents rule his life. Hal takes one look at Pierce and decides they’re fellow unicorns out to make the world a better place. Pierce can’t reject Hal’s overtures of friendship, in spite of his misgivings about being too old and too pissed off to make a good friend.

As they experience everything from existential Looney Tunes to eternal trips to Target, Pierce becomes more dependent on Hal’s optimism to get him through the day. When Hal starts getting him through the nights too, Pierce must look inside for the knight he used to be—before Christmas becomes a doomsday deadline of heartbreak instead of a celebration of love.

Take two damaged, hurting men meeting a month before Christmas, needing recovery and someone to help them heal, thrown in an age difference, toxic parents and you get another heartwarming winner of a romance from Amy Lane.

Pierce Atwater is recovering from a car accident, about to be divorced and jobless.  He’s bitter, and sinking under the pain of his injuries and self-pity when sitting poolside, he meets Hal, a 23 year old college student, in the chair next to him.  Hal is gorgeous, outgoing, downright irrepressible and wants to help Pierce it seems.

Amy Lane starts to build a unique friendship between the men that turns into something more as Pierce’s attitude turns from bitterness and self-pity back into the “unicorn” he’s been for most of his life.  As he recovers, the story reveals more of Hal’s painful upbringing and current status.  It’s an emotional  seesaw with the balance tipping back and forth with each new revelation and sharing as they open up to each other.

The depth and authenticity that Amy Lane brings to her romances and storylines is something that I’ve always appreciated about her novels.  Her characters have a certain human fragility, yet solidness about them.  You wouldn’t be surprised to meet any of them walking down the road or sidewalk because their situations are easily ones that people you know could find themselves in.

The ending is a wonderful HFN with the promise of updates to come.  I can hardly wait.  I want to know more about Pierce and Hal’s adventures and what the future holds for them both.    Are you listening, Amy?  I hope so! Until then, I  absolutely recommend Regret Me Not.  A terrific read at this or any time of the year.

Cover artist: Reese Dante is wonderful.  Great for the characters.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 119 pages
Expected publication: December 4th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Review: Hunter (Brawlers #4) by J.M. Dabney


Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Welcome to Brawlers Bar…

If there was a way to completely destroy his life, Hunter Black would do it. He was a catastrophe waiting to happen. Survival was his only priority and having to leave his old life behind that meant a job of the legal variety. He’d found one as a bartender at Brawlers Bar and a safe place in a huge house with the rest of the bar crew who quickly became the family he’d never had. The one thing Hunter didn’t need was his old life tracking him down.

Deputy Wren Gramble hated his job and his weekend assignment of staking out a bar in the middle of nowhere waiting for drunks. Although he’d heard the homophobic and racist jokes going around about the crew and customers, he kept his head down and stuck to his job and nothing else. He despised being driven back into the closet, but he’d reached the end of the line and what he’d do if he earned another transfer he didn’t know.

Linus Trenton was considered the normal one in his family and according to the weird ones that meant he should be punished on a daily basis. He never came out one way or another, if he found someone attractive he was attracted. His life was complicated enough having a crush on the sweet and awkward Hunter but now he had to throw Wren into the mix. Linus didn’t have time for dating or romance, most of the time he didn’t even think about having a sex life, although, Wren and Hunter were ruining his calm.

Hunter was in lust with the handsome deputy the minute the man pulled him over, but a man like that wouldn’t give him the time of day. His friend, Linus, was another matter altogether. Hunter wanted both. His bosses made it work with their man, why couldn’t he? Could Hunter prove he wasn’t as much of a screw up as he appeared or would he have to call in backup to claim his men?

Hunter (Brawlers #4) by J.M. Dabney surprised me in many ways.  For me it seemed to hold  the least amount of angst that i’ve come to expect of the Dabney men and the Brawlers series.  Hunter is quiet to the point of utter silence, he’s so clumsy that he often poses a danger to himself and others, shy with a self esteem that seems to exist at basement level.  He’s bearish with long hair (how the cover missed a motherlode there) and everyone seems to want to look after him.  Surprisingly again, the author is stingy with Hunter’s backstory. At least with the others, we’ve gotten an idea of the circumstances that brought them to Brawler’s.  Here we just get the barest outline of jail time and some juvenile arrests, not nearly enough.

Those details are left for Linus Trenton and Deputy Wren Gramble, the two men vying for Hunter’s love and ending up as a threesome.  As the fourth book in the Brawlers series, it’s also the one that sees the most storyline involving the corruption within the Sheriff’s Department and how that affects Hunter, Linus, and Wren.  This book also sets the stage for my all time favorite stories and series, the Executioners.  So maybe, Hunter just had too much to do.

But whatever the case maybe I felt as though this threesome was missing some of that magic, or vivid relationship interactions that brought the other three stories alive.  Somehow I never felt as connected to these men as I did all the other couples (and it’s not due to the fact that it’s a menage – those can be very hot).   Maybe it was that it felt as though it happened too fast, or just that Hunter had ignored Linus and then he didn’t.  I’m not sure what the element here is that made me wishing for all the other couples stories again but the spark, that heat, never flared.  Sweet, happy even, yes….but never quite Brawlers red hot.

There are some really funny moments here to enjoy. I can always count on the author to supply those, usually along with some major angst which is missing here.  Dabney’s  wonderful dialog and  rough hewn characters are always something I look forward to and I needed to see Hunter get his HEA which he does.  Most importantly though, the author is tying up some story threads and setting the tone and overall plot in place for two of the best books of the connected series (all three), that would be Ghost and Joker.  I have listed all the series and stories below.

I don’t really consider any of these stories stand alone as they flow from one person to another, connecting, developing and using each as a foundation for the next.  So remarkable.   So one more jump backward to the Twirled World Ink series to see where it all began.

Whether it’s Hunter or the Brawlers series, I absolutely  recommend them all.  Then continue to  finish off all the series and wait for the rest to be released just like me!  I can hardly wait.

Cover art by Winterheart Designs is showing just the torso.  I think this is a miss as they could have included Hunter’s signature long hair.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

book, 160 pages
Published June 13th 2017 by Hostile Whispers Press
Series Brawlers #4

A MelanieM Release Day Review: ​The Bunny and the Billionaire by Louisa Masters


Rating: 4 stars out of 5


Spending their fortunes and losing their hearts.

Hardworking Australian nurse Ben Adams inherits a substantial sum and decides to tour Europe. In Monaco, the home of glamour and the idle rich, he meets French billionaire playboy Léo Artois. After getting off on the wrong foot—as happens when one accuses a stranger of being part of the Albanian mafia—their attraction blazes. Léo, born to the top tier of society, has never known limits, and Ben, used to budgeting every cent, finds it difficult to adjust to not only Léo’s world, but also the changes wealth brings to his own life.

As they make allowances for each other’s foibles, Ben gradually appreciates the finer things, and Léo widens his perspective. They both know one thing: this is not a typical holiday romance and they’re not ready to say goodbye.

Stories don’t get any more Dreamspun Desiry than The Bunny and The Billionaire by Louisa Masters.  Between that title which screams 60’s B or C romance movies (and the Harlequin Romance paperbacks this series pays homage to) right down to the storyline, everything about The Bunny and The Billionaire is one great shoutout to those types of romances we adore.

Here a great guy, a male nurse, who inherits a ton of money from his last client.  Ben goes off to visit her favorite places, sees a mysterious handsome guy (part Arab Prince/part Parisian Aristocracy) who sweeps him off his feet, they romance around Monaco, then they live happily richly ever after. That’s sort of it, but in the hands of Masters, it’s totally works, the characters endearing, the dialog witty ,settings are charming and romantic.  Believable?  Ok, maybe not.  But, the point it, that it’s thoroughly enjoyable and the relationship was a steady build right into your heart.

Especially Ben.  He really stumbles into your heart, bad clothing and all.  My only complaint?  I wanted us to have his best friend, Dani, come there too.  I adored her and we only got to see/hear her through Ben’s phone.  Other than that, I loved Ben and his open heart.  How could Léo Artois not fall for him?

Yes, it’s a fairly quick fall, but Masters makes a good case for it.  Plus it all calls for a good suspension of belief anyhow so you’re just going with it.  Things like this only happen in the movies right?

By the time the book ends, I’m sighing with total happiness over this couple, their friends and of course, hoping that Masters will bring them all back for another magical romance cruise for some love in Monaco!  We can always hope.

Looking for a story that’s the very definition of sweet romance?  Here it is.

Cover art by Bree Archer.  Love the cover.  Works great for the book and the character.

Sales Links:

 Dreamspinner Press | Books2Read

Book Details:

ebook, 204 pages
Expected publication: October 1st 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN13 9781635338768
Edition Language English

J.C. LONG on Characters, Writing, and his new release ‘Hearts in Ireland’ (Guest Blog/Tour)


Hearts in Ireland (World of Love) by J.C. Long
reamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Valerie Tibbs | Tibbs Design

Available for Purchase at


Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host J.C. Long here today on his Hearts in Ireland blog tour. Welcome, J.C.!


Welcome everybody to the next stop on my Hearts in Ireland blog tour! I’m J. C. Long, author  of Hearts in Ireland, coming May 10th, 2017! I’m so glad to be here on Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words. I love to talk about myself (just joking, haha. Okay, maybe not entirely a joke) so today I’m bringing you an interview! The people folks here at SW&RT asked some really good questions, and I’m really excited to answer them! Without further ado, on to the questions!

How much of yourself goes into a character?

I try to make my characters far more well-rounded than I am. If a majority of my characters were like me, the stories would be pretty boring pretty quickly, I think. But, with that said, there are definitely elements of my personality or little quirks that do shine through into the characters, though I don’t often realize it until I’ve finished writing. Noah Potter in my novel A Matter of Duty shares my love of spicy food and aversion to certain textures of food, like tofu. The self confidence issues that the character Tate suffers in Broadway Babe are very much my own. But Ronan, from this upcoming story, is the closest to me. He has the most of me I think I’ve ever put into a character.

Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

I think it’s important for an author to avoid the perfect, idealized characters as much as possible. Perfection is boring. No one wants to read a character that doesn’t make a mistake, because those are usually characters with absolutely zero agency.

Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

Honesty time: I hate most research, which does influence what I write, I think. Let’s just say you will NOT be getting a Victorian era historical from me (I hate that era, anyway). When I select a project that requires research, I always want it to be something that I love and am interested in. My Hong Kong Nights series required quite a bit of research into the city, but I found it to be really interesting and fun. Science fiction and fantasy have a great appeal because of the ability to make up worlds and cultures as I go along.

Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?

Yes! I have a contemporary romance WIP that’s sitting about 75% finished. I can’t touch it yet. It involves a character who loses his grandmother, who raised him. This time last year my grandmother passed away, and that loss was devastating. Any time I approach that story I get overwhelmed and can’t think straight. I hope to finish it one day, when the time is right, but for now it’s on hold.

Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

I didn’t read romance much as a teenager; I was far more into scifi and fantasy. I do read it now as an adult. I’ve developed an appreciation for just how wonderful the genre is (and how difficult to write, as a writer, when the world is a dark and scary place).

How do you choose your covers?  (curious on my part)

I like this question. Part of the cover process for me is trusting the artist and the publisher. They know what’s marketable and what will sell the best. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve loved all of the covers I’ve had for my books. With Hearts in Ireland I was given three choices, and I was stuck between the one you see and a second. My boyfriend actually was the tiebreaker for me.

Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

My favorite? That’s a bit difficult. Each story is meaningful to me in its own way. This one is the one that my heart is most invested in, I’ll say that. I can tell you my least favorite—it’s always the one I’m working on right now!

What’s next for you as an author?

I’ve got a busy year ahead of me! I’m currently working on the follow-up to Broadway Boys. When that’s finished I’m jumping into the third book in my Hong Kong Nights series and after that the third book in my Gabe Maxfield Mysteries series (the first and second will be out sometime this year).


When the future is shrouded and it’s hard to find direction, maybe it’s time to let the heart lead the way….

Ronan Walker stands at a crossroads, unsure how to pursue his education… unsure if he even wants to. Now that his mother is gone, all he has left are the wonderful stories of her youth in Ireland, and he’s drawn to the land of his ancestors. There, he seeks out his mother’s family and meets Fergal Walsh, who works at Ronan’s aunt’s bookstore. A love of literature facilitates a fast friendship between the two men, and even though Ronan cannot deny the potential—and his desire—for more, he cannot see a future for the two of them when he leaves Ireland. Fergal must persuade Ronan to give school in Dublin a chance—and convince Ronan that his heart has already found its home.


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

About the Author

J. C. Long is an American expat living in Japan, though he’s also lived stints in Seoul, South Korea—no, he’s not an Army brat; he’s an English teacher. He is also quite passionate about Welsh corgis and is convinced that anyone who does not like them is evil incarnate. His dramatic streak comes from his lifelong involvement in theater. After living in several countries aside from the United States, J. C. is convinced that love is love, no matter where you are, and is determined to write stories that demonstrate exactly that.

His favorite things in the world are pictures of corgis, writing, and Korean food (not in that order… okay, in that order). J. C. spends his time not writing thinking about writing, coming up with new characters, attending Big Bang concerts, and wishing he were writing. The best way to get him to write faster is to motivate him with corgi pictures. Yes, that is a veiled hint.

Social Media:

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Two Cowboys and A Baby by BA Tortuga


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

A little bundle of joy means big changes.

Hoss McMasters has a working ranch, a bull riding career, a nosy momma, and a best friend he’s been in love with since he can remember. He’s a busy, happy cowboy, living the good life.

Then one morning he discovers a baby on his doorstep.

Well, Hoss does what any reasonable man would do—he calls his momma and his buddy, Sheriff Pooter, and they head to the clinic to see if Doc knows of any suddenly not-so-pregnant girls.

In the meantime, Hoss and his best friend, Bradley, have their hands full trying to care for an infant, run a ranch, and deal with the sudden confession that Bradley doesn’t hate Hoss for coming out to him in high school. In fact, Bradley’s been trying to catch Hoss’s attention for damn near a decade.

Well, hell.  Two Cowboys and A Baby.  Shakes head.  Really, its hard to get much cuter than that.  So of course, I loved this sweet baby left on the doorstep story by B.A. Tortuga, a favorite author of mine.  B.A. talked about loving tropes like this in her author guest post on this story (read it here), but the tale of how these long time friends (yep since childhood) finally move towards HEA and a family is heartwarming and sweet.  Of course, there’s some wild plot doozies here that I throughly enjoyed.  There’s almost a ‘B.A. goes Texas soap opera’ thrown in but who knows?  Totally possible so I rolled with it.  These days  anything goes so it could happen.

I of course, loved Hoss.  The author makes Hoss and his profession so painfully real with all its breaks, pain, and physical wake up in the hospital realism.  That the part of the life, people never see when watching the rodeos.  Here (and in all of B.A. Tortuga’s stories) its laid out in all it stark, bill and injury-laden reality. Another element that I look forward to when reading a Tortuga novel?  Her families and its another key element here.  Bradley has been a part of that, living as he has been on Hoss’ land in a trailer.  But all that’s about to change with a baby bundle lands on Hoss’ doorstep.

I think if I have only one major issue here, it would be Bradley’s behavior at one point.  His lack of faith in Hoss and inability to talk to him.  I kept trying to rationalize that as fear but still it seemed as unlike the man’s personality as laid out before so it brought down the rating.  There’s another hugely intriguing area that just cries out for its own story.  If you read this book you’ll know what I’m talking about and who.  I hope the author is already working on that. What a story that would be.

As it is, I loved Two Cowboys and a Baby.  Its sweet, heartwarming and a wild journey of two men towards HEA and a family.

Cover Artist: Bree Archer. Cover art is perfect and just as cute as the story.

Sales Links


Book Details:

ebook, 220 pages
Expected publication: March 15th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Release Day Review: A Matchless Man (Lexington Lovers #2) by Ariel Tachna


Rating: 4.25 stars out of  5

a-matchless-manNone of the matches caught his eye as much as the matchmaker himself.

Growing up poorer than poor didn’t leave Navashen Bhattathiri many options for life outside of school. All of his concentration was on keeping his scholarships. Sixteen years later, he’s fulfilled his dream and become a doctor. Now he’s returning home to Lexington and is ready to prove himself to the world. In doing so, he reconnects with Brent Carpenter—high school classmate, real estate agent, all-around great guy… and closet matchmaker.

Brent makes it his mission to help Navashen develop a social life and meet available, interesting men. Unfortunately Navashen’s schedule is unpredictable, and few of those available, interesting men value his dedication like Brent does. Brent’s unfailing friendship and support convince Navashen he’s the one, but can he capture Brent’s heart when the matchmaker is focused on finding Navashen another man?

A Matchless Man (Lexington Lovers #2) by Ariel Tachna is another heartwarming, loving romance from the Dreamspun desire.  I haven’t read the first  Lexington Lovers story but this one is a definite winner.  Ariel Tachna uses her intimate knowledge of the Indian family unit to great advantage here with the character of Navashen Bhattathiri.  Navashen is returning home to Lexington, ready to settle down with his new job, wanting to buy his forever home and  finally start his new life as a out gay doctor.  Included in those plans are Navashen’s parents living close by and his adult younger brother with a learning disability brought on by a premature birth and lack of oxygen to the brain.

The family dynamics are such that you get a feel not only for the adult Navashen but for the life he had as a child as well.  You can sense the isolation of the mother (self imposed), the father’s role, that  wonderful brother.  That family, each member and its culture is vividly, sympathetically portrayed.  You understand their actions, even their fears, and it makes them come alive.

That goes for all the characters here.  From the other secondary ones like the retired math teacher and hardware store owner, to the other main one in Brent Carpenter, the real estate agent who helps Navashen find his “right” home, and get settled within the community.  Brent too has his own issues,  primarily dealing with his ex, wife that is.  Brent is bi-sexual, something that confuses Navashen who is less experienced with his own sexuality.

Tachna packs this story with quite a number of themes , each is handled honestly and with delicacy and humor.  Akshat, the brother especially jumps to mind with the  way he’s been sheltered and now starts to assume more responsibilities when he moves in with his brother.  The joy, the growth…this character just shines off the page.  Yet you never forget his history or his position in the family.  Its just terrific.

Also the way Brent’s bisexuality is talked about, his choices and Navashen’s as well.  There is adult discussion going on here, and yes, some emotional denial, but that’s all too human as well.  Tachna shows how that isolation that exists in the Bhattathira family extends in many ways to all members.  In Navashen, he’s had blinders on  until he finished his internships and got his degree.  Now he’s still focused on the house and his brother.  That’s seems very real too.

This entire story reads true.

The angst, such as it is, is believable, built on human foibles and the barriers raised up out of past fears.  But watching the characters work their way through their problems to arrive at a place where they can see a future together?  Beyond wonderful.

I loved this story.  Now I’ll have to find the first in the series to see what I missed.

Cover art by Paul Richmond shows Navashen, a terrific representation of the character.

Sales Links



Book Details:

ebook, 224 pages
Expected publication: October 1st 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634773705 (ISBN13: 9781634773706)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series Lexington Lovers – add it to your Goodreads shelf here:

Unstable Stud (Lexington Lovers, #1)
A Matchless Man (Lexington Lovers, #2)

A MelanieM Review: Wriggle & Sparkle by Megan Derr


Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

wriggle-and-sparkleLynn is a kraken shifter in every way: detailed, tenacious, resilient, and hard-working. Also possessive, vain, arrogant, and demanding. It makes him an excellent agent for the Federal Bureau of Paranormal Security and Investigation—and impossible to work with, as the long list of partners who have transferred away from him will attest.

His newest partner is a unicorn, possibly the worst type of paranormal for work that often turns ugly and violent. Everyone knows unicorns are too delicate for such things. Then Anderson proves to be a unicorn like no other, the kind of partner Lynn has always wanted—the kind of partner he wishes was more. But if there’s one thing he’s learned, it’s that the only thing harder to keep than a partner is a lover.

Warning: Contains tentacle porn

I’ve read many different types of stories from Megan Derr but never a love story between a unicorn and a kraken. So Wriggle & Sparkle was a definite first.  But as expected Megan Derr delivers not only a wonderful offbeat romance but several unusual cases for these partners at the Federal Bureau of Paranormal Security and Investigation to solve.

Its all about the Wriggle and the Sparkle, as in Lynn the kraken and Anderson the unicorn.  Neither will fit your idea of what a typical kraken or unicorn should be,  In fact they don’t fit most of the paranormal world’s idea either.  Lynn is a gender shifter, sharp dressing, detail oriented crack detective…who can’t keep a partner for longer than a flick of a tentacle.  His newest matchup?  Anderson…a slutty, sparkly unicorn who goes against what most unicorns (and the paranormal world) think unicorns should be.  He’s also snarky, intelligent, and appreciates the finer points of the kraken in front of him.  Things start to spark and sizzle immediately between the two, but peculiar cases both pull them together while pushing them emotionally apart.

This is a collection of cases so it doesn’t always flow as naturally as I wanted it too from chapter to chapter but as I have a tendency to like that format it didn’t bother me as it might others.

I loved the natural history that Derr created for her kraken species.  Its fascinating and Lynn comes with a sibling who has an important role in his life and in this story. The fluidity and naturalness which with Derr folds her background and world building works so well here that I found myself believing in her krakens and unicorns wholeheartedly.  Even down to the tentacle sex.

This is not my first story with tentacle sex.  The way Derr handles it feels exactly right to the species involved and the body type they are in at the moment.  Yes, these are shapechangers with all that entails.  I have to admit most of the time with such disparate species I tend to roll my eyes a bit.  Not here.  Derr more than makes her case for interspecies love and then seals it with a resounding “hell yes”.

Along with layered characters, as I said there are some interesting paranormal cases to solve.  Some weird, some heartbreaking…but all will command your interest.  I easily could have had several more to read about.  But then again I feel that about about almost all of Megan Derr’s stories.

The reason why is here on display.  Its her attention to detail.  In compiling a natural history for her kraken, very little is left out, right down to offspring and incubation.  I loved that.  It pulled me in and let me connect emotionally to the couple and the events as they occur.  From the dialog to the clothes to the very hot sexy scenes, Lynn and Anderson were a couple I found I could fall in love with and root for.  Which I did all the way to the end of the page.

I think you will do the same.

I highly recommend Wriggle & Sparkle by Megan Derr.  Its romantic, suspenseful, intriguing and fun.  And of course, sexy.  Check it out for yourself.

Cover art by Aisha Akeju works for the character of Lynn and the story.

Sales Links

Less Than Three Press






Book Details:

ebook, 260 pages
Published August 10th 2016 by Less Than Three Press (first published January 2014)
Original TitleWriggle & Sparkle
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Review: 7&7 – Anthology of Virtue and Vice by Andrea Speed , Carole Cummings, Rick R. Reed, John Inman, Serena Yates, Clare London, J. Tullos Hennig


Rating: 4.25 out of 5

7 & 7 AnthologyHumankind possesses a dual nature, the ability to rise to the brightest heights—or sink to the darkest and most perverse depths.

What inspires some to reach the pinnacles of virtue while others cannot resist the temptations of vice? Is it something innate, or a result of destiny and circumstance?

Delve into the minds and spirits of saints and sinners alike with a collection of stories that explore the call toward good or evil—and the consequences of answering it. For while rewards certainly await the righteous, there are also pleasures to be found in the darkness. Venture off the expected path with some of the most innovative voices in LGBT speculative fiction as they present their unique takes on the classic vices and virtues.

Many authors including: Andrea Speed, Brandon Witt, Sean Michael, J Tullos Hennig, Carol Cummings, Rick R. Reed, John Inman, Rhys Ford, Clare London, Pearl Love, Jamie Fessenden, J. S. Cook, Amy Rae Durresson, Serena Yates

I found this to be an absolutely wonderful  anthology…however not if you are looking for stories of romance exactly.  This anthology is released from DSP Publications which means its stories are less romance based and more driven towards content elsewhere, which in some cases here is horror.  That’s fine, if those are not to your taste, skip over them and proceed to the next.  This is a wonderful smorgasbord of authors and a wonderful way to taste their various narrative talents.

Which ones were some of my absolute favorites?

Heirs to Grace and Infinity by C. Cummings – 5 stars (31 pages)

Urban fantasy in which a fugitive sorcerer matches wits with the bureau’s top agent to save children.  Its imaginative, wonderful in its world building and keeps you on your seat.  It was just terrific in every way from the characters to the plot. C. Cummings is one of my favorite authors. This is why.

Hope by Rick Reed – 5 stars out of 5 (47 pages)

Looking for hope in crises around a mother’s death and one’s personal life.  This was such a deeply moving story of loss and hope.  One man moves home to his mother’s house after she’s died, to deal with the aftermath of her loss.  His grief, those of her friends who loved and took care of her…and the house that’s now his and the new location.  Its powerful, moving and so beautifully done.

The Darkness of the Sun by Amy Rae Durreson – 4.5 stars out of 5 (41 pages)

A grieving Priest finds his faith.  Another story that is based in loss and takes a different tack altogether.  The author has a wonderful feel  for the trail and the life of this simple priest who has lost his way.

Prudence for Fools by Sean Michael – 4.5 stars out of 5 (41 pages)

A disgraced seer is thrown out of court and returns to the tribe of his husband but is haunted by his visions.  I loved this  story by Sean Michael.  This seer and his husband, a couple of long years, are wonderful and their relationship is one I connected to immediately.  Michael pulls us into this world and the situation quickly.  Another story that could have filled twice its pages.  I found it gripping, the couple moving in their deeply loving relationship and the tribe is one I wanted to learn more about.

Red Light Special by Rhys Ford – 4.5 stars out of 5 (38 pages)

An Elf, a Knight and a Succubus plus Detroit and one of my favorite authors who writes with snark, a vividness thats startling and a pizazz that flies off the page.  Really.  This is a story that needs no review.  Just read it.  It works.  It hilarious and sexy.

Horseboy by J. Tullos Henry – 4.5 stars out of 5

A Horseboy of the Lebanon, a Templar Knight, and intimate desert secrets.  A bit of history, a bit of the supernatural.  A short story I found that works on every level, it kept me connected and involved in the action and the time period.  Great job.

There are many in the 4 star to 3 star range. Those I enjoyed as well.  And won’t cover here.  There were only a few that I was disappointed in.  That’s a great number is an anthology this size.

The Gate by J. S. Cook – 2.75 stars out of 5 (21 pages)

A gay man sees a seedier, dark side of the wartime effort.  Set in the 40’s during the wartime, I felt this went nowhere.  Little setup, little ending.  I know the author was going for noir but it went south instead.

The Rendering by J. Inman – 1 star

Fat gay guy goes on a date set up by a computer dating service and ends up….

Well, I saw the ending coming from the very beginning.  Why?  For starters, I knew the historical ingredients of the product being sold and the links being made in the story.  The clues were obvious as to where it was going to go.  Some have called this fat shaming…others strictly horror.  I thought it just beyond obvious and boring.  That it came from one of my favorite authors made me want to cry.  That’s the horror.

Those are the highs and the lows.  The highs and all the terrific stories in the middle far outweigh the lows.  I highly recommend this anthology.  Its a feast all around.  Pick it up and start sampling.

Cover is simple and it works.

Sales Links:  DSP Publications

Book Details:

ebook, 360 pages
Published May 10th 2016 by DSP Publications (first published March 10th 2016)
ISBN 1634773608 (ISBN13: 9781634773607)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Review: Jackson & Nick (Storming Love: Wild Fire #6) by Laura Baumbach


Rating:4 stars out of 5

Jackson and Nick coverFireman Jackson Kain and ER physician Dr. Nick Kirby would both like nothing better than to leave behind their high-pressure NY City lives for a just a few days in the peaceful wilds of Northern Ca. Two ordinary men exploring their growing relationship in glorious, undisturbed beauty of nature. Before this trip is over, both men will need all their specialized abilities and training to survive their romantic interlude turned WILD FIRE.

Recuperating from an work-related injury, NY City fireman Jackson Kain convinces new boyfriend Dr. Nicolas Kirby to spend a few days at a secluded California cabin in the woods far away from the hustle and bustle of their stressful worlds.

Nick is a cautious man with protective walls around him that persistent, persuasive Jackson is determined to breakdown, scale or tunnel under. These few days are Jackson’s best chance to convince Nick he is sincere and reliable in all things, including matters of the heart. Unfortunately, both men are going to get more opportunities to prove themselves than either bargained for.

What was supposed to be a relaxing break from the world to get to know one another better turns into a struggle for survival, that pits both men against nature and time.

Another story in the Storming Love series by MLR, this one is highlighted by the fact that its author is Laura Baumbach, an author I love.  Secondly, this is the first new story from that author in a long while so I was so happy to get this story and start reading.  I quickly fell into the author’s style of writing and the two main character’s relationship, which is still in the first stages of working things out and seeing if they mesh with each other.  They are at that first crucial big step, the first vacation away with each other.  This time a trip with a cabin in the woods…de-stressing time for one who is a doctor and a last minute relaxing vacation for another who’s been out on work related injury leave.

Baumbach lets us fall easily into their lives, showing us the rush, pressure, and fears of the 24/7 lifestyle that consumes Dr. Nicolas Kirby and the determination of Fireman Jackson Kain to have Nick put that behind him and enjoy the time together.  And they do, for a while.

We get sweet and sexy scenes and then the scramble is one to survive and outrun the forest fire.  Its a white knuckle trip all the way, mixed in with relationship dynamics and personal  revelations.  I had invested enough of myself in this couple that I was with them emotionally as they fought through the fire and their own fears.

My only issue is that the story was too short. I was connected to these men, their situation was dire, their relationship still new and there was so much to explore here and  plus, hey, its was  Laura Baumbach!  I wanted much, much more.

Still I love the Storming Love series.  They are exciting, wonderful romances and really you just can’t go wrong here.

Why not start your exploration of the Storming Love series here with Jackson & Nick (Storming Love: Wild Fire #6) by Laura Baumbach.  It’s a fast, sexy, story and then go find the others.

Cover art by Kris Jacen is a great representation of the story, setting and with a hint of the characters.

Sales Links:  MLR Press |  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 73 pages
Published October 8th 2015 by MLR Press, LLC
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesStorming Love: Wild Fire #6