A MelanieM Review: The Case of the Wandering Wolves (Trickster’s Eye #1) by Mell Eight

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Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

the-case-of-the-wandering-wolvesSix years ago Latrans found his mate—and had to let him go. Now York has returned pleading for Latrans’ help. His daughter has been kidnapped and Latrans is the only person York trusts to get her back. But a simple matter of rescue proves to be far more complicated than anticipated, and even having his mate at his side may not be enough to win the day.

I dive right into every Mell Eight book with enthusiasm and a certain amount of expectation on what I’m going to find in her stories.  Her imagination almost certainly provides me with something new to think about, great characters and a wildly entertaining story.  However, The Case of the Wandering Wolves (Trickster’s Eye #1) by Mell Eight did provide some a couple of elements I liked, it mostly had me scratching my head in disappointment.  Why?  Because there are huge holes in the narrative here and in the thinking of the characters and plot.

It all revolves around the mate bond and what happens when that occurs.  Unfortunately here, the mate bonding is between were and human, twice over.    In the first pairing… Latrans and York, Latrans first pushes his attraction/need for his mate unto the human with disastrous results.  It didn’t help that York is closeted, only has the slightest leanings or interest in men (he might be bisexual, a path not investigated here). But Latrans does eventually leave his mate alone, knowing that as a human, York cannot feel the same as he does.  Realistic, and  totally abandoned when another were/human pair appears later in the story.

That human is expected to adjust to the fact that they are a part of a bonded pair, a fact that shocked me given the factors surrounding that pair’s history. (Spoilers) .  Its even more unbelievable given York’s stilted little speech about forgiving Latrans’ stalking bonding behavior etc. at the end of the tale.  One, where did that language come from?  A therapist? A brochure? It didn’t sound like anything the man had said previously in any of his conversations, so it was jarring. Secondly, the child and her welfare.  Let’s just say, that got a little mixed up here as well.  At least in my opinion.

There is a mystery.  Two actually.  One gets solved fairly quickly.  The other?  Well the villain is not really never in doubt.  The ending is a HFN and this story a set up for a series that seems to revolve around the detective agency that Latrans runs with his friend called The Trickster’s Eye (Latrans is a were coyote). I will mostly likely pick up the second book to see what happens.  It can only get better.

Cover art is so so.  It could also be so much better.

Sales Links

Less Than Three Press

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Book Details:

ebook
Published January 11th 2017 by Less Than Three Press
ISBN139781620049358
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesTrickster’s Eye #1

A MelanieM Recent Release Review: Ash into Fire by Tully Vincent

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

ash-into-fireAsh, misfit son of a clan warrior-chief, has reason to fear his coming of age ritual—no one expects him to survive.

In a matter of hours, Ash must walk into the sacred fire, where he will transform or die. But the fire is not what the clan believes, and it may be the least of Ash’s troubles.

Tully Vincent creates a dark tale of a post apocalyptic world and a boy about to face his coming of age ritual.  Vincent creates her own mythology, one I would love to see revisited in a larger storyline, both as a prequel (although that would be very hard to read knowing what’s coming) and a sequel to this short story.

The character of Ash is carefully laid out, we can see who they are and guess at Ash’s history and upbringing.  It also makes the horrors that are to come all the more shattering.  This is not just dub con, but actual rape that happens here.  So please take note of the warnings.   I found it very difficult to read.

However, getting past those scenes, the powerful images and the remainder of the story, including the ending, pulled everything the author hoped to achieve together, giving Ash a transformation you will not only love but want to know more about.

Cover art works beautifully with the story and character.

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Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 54 pages
Published January 1st 2017 (first published December 2016)
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Edition LanguageEnglish

Genre: post-apocalyptic, paranormal

Warnings: bondage, dub/non-con

A MelanieM Review: Fish Stick Fridays (Half Moon Bay #1) by Rhys Ford

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

fish-stick-fridaysDeacon Reid was born bad to the bone with no intention of changing. A lifetime of law-bending and living on the edge suited him just fine—until his baby sister died and he found himself raising her little girl.

Staring down a family history of bad decisions and reaped consequences, Deacon cashes in everything he owns, purchases an auto shop in Half Moon Bay, and takes his niece, Zig, far away from the drug dens and murderous streets they grew up on. Zig deserves a better life than what he had, and Deacon is determined to give it to her.

Lang Harris is stunned when Zig, a little girl in combat boots and a purple tutu blows into his bookstore, and then he’s left speechless when her uncle, Deacon Reid walks in, hot on her heels. Lang always played it safe but Deacon tempts him to step over the line… just a little bit.

More than a little bit. And Lang is willing to be tempted.

Unfortunately, Zig isn’t the only bit of chaos dropped into Half Moon Bay. Violence and death strikes leaving Deacon scrambling to fight off a killer before he loses not only Zig but Lang too.

I was all set to read the sequel to Fish Stick Fridays when I decided to revisit the first story in the series to reacquaint myself with the characters and the setting of Half Moon Bay.  It  didn’t take long to be swept under the spell of Zig, Deacon, Lang and a orange cat that Zig is determined to call Fred.  How I had missed them.

Writing children into stories is always a iffy proposition.  They can always go so wrong.  Come off sounding not like children at all with dialog so stilted and adult, the character lacking some childish element.  But Zig?  Precocious, profane, wounded, insanely intelligent Zig?  Rhys Ford just nailed her right down to her combat pants, boots and pink tutus!  There she was from the moment we meet Zig, cursing, dirty, wary,  and oh so wonderful.  If, as Deacon says, she’s bent on world domination, well, I’m going to pitch in and help her.  Connection made.

Of course, there’s so much more to this story.  There’s the romance and mystery. With Zig, comes Deacon, her uncle with his own troubled past, Harley and new auto shop in Half Moon Bay.  *Waves fan* Like Lang, the minute Deacon appears in Fish Stick Friday, you lean in a little closer, the magnetism that Ford builds into this character oozing off the pages in line after line.  From the glasses that perch on his nose to his intelligence, its clear that Deacon is so much more than his looks.  Its his interactions with his niece first and then with  Lang.  All those conversations, intriguing dialog, literary references and the care with which they treat each other.  It not only pulls you into the story but into the characters, their relationship and the evolving family unit as a whole.  I love it when relationships get the full adult treatment.  Issues get talked out, full disclosures, etc.  That happens here and I loved every second of it, and this couple.

There is, of course, some nasty characters and mysteries at work here.  Its Rhys Ford people!  Its played off nicely.  It kept me guessing as to where the explosions and danger was coming next.  The suspense and anticipation ratcheted up perfectly.  And that ending?  Just want I wanted to happen!

Lang’s twin brother makes a brief appearance here and sets in motion the second book in the series, Hanging The Stars (Half Moon Bay #2) which I will be reviewing next.  I had forgotten about him honestly until I reread the story.  Didn’t really like him, to be honest. Now I’m chuckling with glee.  Yes, I’ve already read that sequel.  No, you will have to wait for the  review.  What will Rhys Ford deliver next in this series?  I can hardly wait.  I’m loving Half Moon Bay with all its wonderful characters, oddball twists, and great stories.  I hope my favorite couples and Zig (and cats) make appearances in each and everyone.

I absolutely recommend this series.  Its out now in audiobook.  Look for our review by Lila coming soon as will my review of the sequel.  Rhys Ford remains one of my favorite authors.  Fish Stick Fridays and Half Moon Bay is just one more reason why.  Pick it up and find out for yourself if you haven’t already done so.

Cover Artist: Reece Notley.  The only thing more perfect would be the addition of a sidecar for  Zig.  Love it.

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Book Details:

ebook, 204 pages
Published November 30th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleFish Stick Fridays
ISBN 1623809487 (ISBN13: 9781623809485)
Edition LanguageEnglish

SeriesHalf Moon Bay #1 settingCalifornia (United States)

A MelanieM Review: Dragon Dilemma (Supernatural Consultant #3) by Mell Eight

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

dragon-dilemma-by-mell-eightDane doesn’t get along with his parents. He hasn’t spoken with his mother in years and he’s never met his father. Somehow his mother finds out about Mercury and the kits anyway, and it’s difficult to throw one’s mother out when she happens to be a powerful, dangerous witch.

She isn’t the only uninvited guest either, and these ones are even less likely to take no for an answer—and much more likely to leave everyone dead if they don’t get what they want.

Mell Eight’s Dragon family and its growing pains and mysteries is back in Dragon Dilemma, the third  in the Supernatural Consultant series.  Half god/half..well we aren’t exactly sure Dane (Dragon Consultant), his spouse Mercury, an investigative agent and their adopted group of dragon kits have had another  year of relative peace but that comes to an end when a letter from  Dane’s mother arrives, the powerful Isle Crone.  She’s come to make the acquaintance of her “grand kids” and her son in law and Dane is filled with trepidation.

But also arriving fast behind her is another mystery, one that will be another thread in the long running underplot, that of who has been kidnapping and experimenting on dragons and their kits?

I have always loved how Mell Eight has contrasted the family element here with the horrific scientific experimental one.  One light-hearted and full of love, the other dark and full of nightmares.  In Dragon Dilemma, the story is more heavily family oriented and I’m just fine with that.  I love the family dynamics here.  The children’s powers and personalities continue to grow and manifest themselves in various ways, whether its through daily chores or confronting evil at its worst.  So does  Dane’ and Mercury’s happy partnership/marriage.  It strengthens, surviving even the appearance of Dane’s imperious and powerful mother.

With each new story, the author adds to her world building, the circle of associates and friends that surround Dane, Mercury and their kits, and the bigger mystery of the evil behind the abduction and experimentation on the dragon children.  Eight both satisfies our needs to rediscover and enjoy meeting this family again but prods us towards the next in the series with a curiosity born a little out of fear for some of our favorite characters.  Its a perfect balancing act and one she accomplishes in a fairly  quick read.

Love dragons? Wizards, magic, and a big old mystery, romance and more?  Grab up the Supernatural Consultant series by Mell Eight.  Start at the beginning and work your way through.  I’m on my way to book four, Dragon Detective (Supernatural Consultant #4).  Watch for that review shortly. I highly recommend them all.

**
Cover  art by Alisha Akeju has elements from the story on it and matches with the others from the series.

Sales Links

Less Than Three Press

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Book Details:

ebook, 88 pages
Published June 1st 2016 by Less Than Three Press

A MelanieM Review: Wriggle & Sparkle by Megan Derr

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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

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Book Details:

ebook, 260 pages
Published August 10th 2016 by Less Than Three Press (first published January 2014)
Original TitleWriggle & Sparkle
ISBN139781620048221
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Review: Midlife Crisis by Rob Rosen

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

midlife-crisisJack is thirty-five and single once again. He is not, as he as quick to point out, going through a midlife crisis. Still, it would be nice to have a partner. And so he sets out on an adventure to find the one-time love of his life, Bing, a man he hasn’t set eyes on in more than fifteen years, a man who has seemingly vanished off the face of the planet. With the help of his family and friends—plus the family dog and, of all people, his high school bully—he goes searching for Bing, only to unearth an ages-old mystery that puts them all in grave danger. In this hysterically funny tale of romance and self-discovery, the question remains right on up to the surprise ending: can we return to our past in order to better our future?

I often forget Rob Rosen’s ability to crack me up until I pick up another book of his, then the memory snaps back into place, along with the laughter as I read his characters hilarious wry, snarky and often wildly funny thoughts and dialog that flows out of their mouths and stories.

Midlife Crisis is another Rob Rosen gem.   Jack, a college professor has just had his last long relationship (6 months) breakup.  And his emotions are a jumbled mess about it. On one hand, he wasn’t in love with the boyfriend, in lust with the sex, ok.  But not with the man.  So time to say goodbye.  But another failed relationship?  That’s that  one that hurts and Jack is trying to see where he’s gone wrong with all the past relationships in his life because none have worked.  And hey!  Jack’s hitting 35, the gay midlife crisis number (according to Jack).  No long a cute  twink, his best cruising dayz behind him, he’s reaching gay old age (in his head).  Listening to Jack’s thoughts rambling on, leaping from one snarky peak to the next without ever hitting a valley of connectivity, is hilarious.

I love how Rosen lay’s out Jack’s life and his thoughts about how its played out.  It helps off course to have  Jack’s best friend weigh in on the matter with his own funny judgements.  Soon Jack has made the fateful decision that the love of his life, Bing O’Malley, must be found.  That the former teen love might hold the answers to the problems of his current relationship woes seems both silly and familiar and all too real.  Yep, its off to his hometown, his folks (who I couldn’t get enough of ) and a gassy Bassett Hound named Chompers.

Let the hilarity ensue.  How it does.

Also some very hot sex.  Many wild goings on, a murder mystery, the Shriners, the mob, even the FBI, as Jack pursues the boy who he loved and who left him, the new hot guy helping him, and  a slew of crazy clues all swirling about Jack’s past.  Plus there’s tons of laughter thrown in.

The writing’s fast paced to keep up with the action ~ in and out of the bed.  I was finished before I knew it or I was ready for the story to be over.  I loved Jack, his parents, Chompers…everything about Midlife Crisis.  And yes, Jack found the answers he was looking for.  Ready for some love and laughter? A murder mystery and hot sex too?  Pick up Midlife Crisis by Rob Rosen, you won’t be disappointed.

 

Cover art works for the character and story.

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Book Details:

ebook, Smashwords edition, 182 pages
Published August 20th 2016 by Fierce Publishing
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Review: Heart of the Warrior (The Tameness of the Wolf #4) by Kendall McKenna

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Rating: 2.5  stars out of 5

heart-of-a-warrior-by-kendall-mckennaTerrell Hubbard, decorated Marine sergeant, proudly serves as Beta wolf to his True Alpha and Dominant. During a mission, he meets Staff Sergeant Kai Thayer, Pack Leader of the Camp Fallujah sippe. Terrell is thrown completely off balance by the strength of their mutual attraction and the intensity of their passion. His entire world felt perfect though, each time they came together to mark and claim one another.

In the chaos of a surprise attack Kai shows poor judgement, driving a wedge between Terrell and him, and landing Kai on the True Alpha’s bad side. Terrell is torn between his ferocious loyalty to his True Alpha, and his new but powerful feelings for Kai. In the battle’s aftermath, Terrell and Kai are drawn together in passion, hoping it’s not the final chance to mark their claims.

First off let me say that I love this series and its author Kendall McKenna.  The first story was one of those novels that combined  all sorts of unusual elements (the Marines, Afghanistan, deployment, a unique shifter mate bond) and pulled them all together in a powerful story and beginning of a first series.  I adored it and so did tons of other readers.  I’ve followed it through the sequels and the love affair has continued.   Then came Heart of the Warrior and I have no idea what’s happened here.

Heart of the Warrior (The Tameness of the Wolf #4) by Kendall McKenna is really only a third to a half of a story and a fractured one at that.  Its the story/romance meeting of Terrell Hubbard, Marine sergeant and Staff Sergeant Kai Thayer, Pack Leader of the Camp Fallujah sippe (both characters we have meet in previous stories).  As with the other stories, a sniff sets the pair into motion but here its a flawed usage.  We get little feel for the characters. I think we are supposed to remember them more than we do but its been a while since the last story.  While Terrell is the strongest (in every way) MC in Heart of the Warrior and couple, Kai suffers from lack of time as a character present in the story here other than as a bed partner.  His character seems to shift from one personality to another or maybe because its just that we don’t know him that well.  Anyway the bond we feel towards the fleeting couple is limited because of the treatment he gets here.  He’s supposed to be an important Pack Leader of the Camp but we get no indication of that here, a flaw in the story that’s carried forward in the relationship.

Also this tale slides around, jumping ahead over apparently key scenes from previous stories you are supposed to have remembered if you’ve read the other stories.  If not you are completely out of luck and totally confused.  The battle scenes we drop in and out of?  Have no idea what’s going on.  Its one big mess.  And that’s unusual for this  series.  Its as though scenes from other novels were used here.  In fact, parts of this book feel more scrapped together than intentionally written.

The ending is perhaps the worse.  It just abruptly ends.  As if it was just a chapter in a much larger story.  But here it goes no further.

There’s not to say I didn’t enjoy parts of this story.  I did.  It holds promise as does this couple.  But you have to put the pieces together from a jumbled mess of a story.

Who should read this book?  I suppose those who are addicted to this series and need a fix.  You will get glimpses of your favorites couples.  But if you are new to this author and series.  Give this story a pass.  It does justice to neither.

I like the cover for the story.  Its terrific.  Wish I could say the same about the novel.

Sales Links

MLR Press

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Book Details:

ebook
Published August 19th 2016 by MLR Press
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series: The Tameness of the Wolf  – add to your Goodreads shelf here

 

A MelanieM Review: Blind Date by Kay Doherty

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Rating: 3.75 rounded up to 4 stars out of 5

Blind DateDekker Callan is content with his life though he knows something is missing. Wanting the kind of love his friends share with their partners, Dekker is talked into taking part in a modeling and dating show as part of a fundraiser. He immediately falls in love with the anonymous, sexy voice on the other side of the wall, but fate has a surprise in store–his mystery man isn’t single.

Slade Gannon wasn’t supposed to take part in the dating show. That spot was for his roommate, Phil, who becomes ill and asks Slade to take his place. Slade has just recently gone through a breakup with his cheating boyfriend, George. Shocked and pleased when he wins the interest of handsome Dekker Callan, before he can go on the obligatory blind date, his ex asks for a second chance. Believing Dekker can’t possibly be as good on the inside as he looks on the outside, Slade agrees.

Dekker and Slade hit it off immediately, drawn to each other despite Slade being involved with someone else. They finally get their opportunity to be together when Slade finds out his boyfriend is still cheating, but just as they seem to discover the happiness they’ve been waiting for, George throws them one last hurdle—and this one may prove to be insurmountable.

Blind Date by Kay Doherty was an enjoyable fun contemporary romance, that starts off with a blind date that goes incredibly right and then incredibly wrong.  What fun!

Dekker Callan’s best friend talks him into a charity modeling show and sort of Dating Game fundraiser.  I thought this was a nice element and its handled with a light and sexy touch by the author.  You don’t get to see the men just as Dekker doesn’t.  Just here their questions and listen to Dekker’s mention descriptions of their voices and how they make him feel.  Delicious.

Then comes his choice and date, Slade.  Its going well until both the reader and Dekker find out that Slade went back to his cheating ex, something that makes us all extremely unhappy.  Then the waffling begins.  Will Slade go back permanently or won’t he?  Will Dekker will out or won’t he?  Dekker is such a terrific character that its a bit of a no brainer here.  He’s charming,outgoing, owns his own Adult Toy Business.  Yes, he’s a catch.  Plus he’s gorgeous.  Slade however is someone I wished had a little more…gumption or backbone or something.  I’m not sure what exactly. But the dithering here lasted a little too  long in several passages for me to be completely on Slade’s side.  This is without spoilers.

However, love is not without bumps and larger hurdles, and this author gave this couple their fill.  They survived them, and their romance and ending came together just as it should.  I got to see Dekker happy and his Slade and that’s all that counted in the end.

Did I enjoy this story? Absolutely.  I went to check to see if there were other stories about the secondary characters here because they were so entertaining and worth their own tales.  Did I find any? No, but I hope that means that this first time author is intending to bring more stories out, starting with this circle of friends I thoroughly adored.  I can’t wait to see what Kay Doherty writes next.

Cover art is vibrant and eye-catching although a little too generic for me for the storyline.

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NineStar Press

 

 

 

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Book Details:

ebook, 113 pages
Expected publication: August 29th 2016 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781911153757
Edition LanguageEnglish

 

A MelanieM Review: Diary Dates by T.J. Masters

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Rating: 2.75 stars out of 5

Diary DatesPostgraduate student Andrew Chin arrives in London not only to study, but to explore life away from his traditional family in Singapore. His adventure begins at the airport, where he finds the diary of a wealthy British businessman and endeavors to return it.

James Howard is twice Andrew’s age, and he’s not used to selfless youngsters. Despite a rocky first meeting, the two develop an unlikely friendship as James introduces Andrew to the city. James is looking forward to the festivities leading up to Christmas in London and maybe a celebration with Andrew. But will a nasty bout of the flu ruin their romantic holiday?

Not if Andrew has anything to say about it.

Diary Dates by T.J. Masters was a short story that was a swift romance read that had promise of a much better tale then the one that was delivered.  I liked the premise and the beginning that had Andrew Chin arriving and finding the diary of James Howard was intriguing and held my interest.  But once the main characters met, the story started dissolving amidst a lack of chemistry and characterization.

I liked the awkwardness displayed by Andrew Chin as a student out of his element in London.  First time in away from his family, first time in that foreign city, so many firsts…the cultural misunderstandings.  He was charming and I adored him. In fact I wanted more of his background.  James Howard on the other hand always came across as a bit of an enigma.  Even though the author kept telling us Andrew was attracted to him, I never got it, I never “felt” the attraction.  It was just words.  So their romance, when it happened, was every bit as awkward or ok, sort of creepy in my opinion because I felt the author never laid down any solid foundation for their attraction or relationship.  It was more telling, less letting the readers feel it.  At least that’s how it came across to me.

You may feel completely different.

Its a short story.  Just 52 pages that fly by.  So check it out for yourself.  You may think it works and like the May/December romance.  For me,  I remain disappointed in a story I was really looking forward to.

Cover art by Bree Archer is quite wonderful, for the story and characters.

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Book Details:

ebook, 52 pages
Published July 23rd 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634770617 (ISBN13: 9781634770613)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Stranded with Desire by Vivien Dean and Rick R. Reed

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

perf4.250x7.000.inddWhen their plane crashed, their desire took flight.

CEO Maine Braxton and his invaluable assistant, Colby, don’t realize they share a deep secret: they’re in love—with each other. That secret may have never come to light but for a terrifying plane crash in the Cascade Mountains that changes everything.

In a struggle for survival, the two men brave bears, storms, and a life-threatening flood to make it out of the wilderness alive. The proximity to death makes them realize the importance of love over propriety. Confessions emerge. Passions ignite. They escape the wilds renewed and openly in love.

When they return to civilization, though, forces are already plotting to snuff out their short-lived romance and ruin everything both have worked so hard to achieve.

In Stranded with Desire by Vivien Dean and Rick R. Reed the familiar and often loved trope addressed with the plot is the boss/employee romance, starting off with the employee crushing hard on the oblivious boss.  The boss or CEO in this case is Maine Braxton, gorgeous, hardworking who is currently under siege at his company and job. But that mystery is a thread that runs through the book and its a lovely one that we don’t jump into immediately.  The second part of the romance?  That would be Maine’s man Friday, Colby.   Someone who has made himself invaluable to Maine, right down to helping the man and his fiancé plan their honeymoon and parts of their wedding.  Right.  His boss is getting married.  Something that breaks Colby’s heart even as he hides it from the man he has grown to love.

Then comes a plan crash.  And this part of the book is just terrific.  The authors handle both the crash and the fight for survival with remarkable feeling and an ability to connect the readers with the couple that you really feel their desperation and vulnerability out in the wild.  All of which is a good thing because as much as I liked Colby, Maine was a character I was having a hard time getting into.  And some of that still continued throughout the novel, although this section helped tremendously. Colby is everything I love in a main character.  Charming, self depreciating, easy to fall in love with Colby.  His boss?  That’s the question.

The odd thing is that I can’t exactly pinpoint why I couldn’t connect with their romance and Maine.  It wasn’t his closeted status or confusion over his sexuality.  Maybe I felt he lacked a certain amount of depth the  other characters in the stories had, including his fiancé Helen. Who contrary to most stories, was a lovely person, understanding and layered. I love it when authors write the other “women” in the mens lives as complete, believable people.  In many ways I liked her better than Maine.

There were some other issues here,  a rescue that was more than a tad unrealistic but given some of the other Dreamspun Desires story lines, I felt that sort of fell into the genre and was in keeping with the overall romance tale I was expecting. Stranded with Desire by Vivien Dean and Rick R. Reed is, in short, a lovely, sweet contemporary romance in the style of the stories everyone used to gobble up by the dozens.  We have our beloved trope turned M/M romance, a mystery thread, and a happy if for now ending.  Its a light hearted, quick read.  And that too is exactly what I remember from those stories as well.  If this is what you are looking for this summer, pick up Stranded with Desire by Vivien Dean and Rick R. Reed and get started reading today.

Cover artist Paul Richmond again does a wonderful job with both branding the Dreamspun Desires  series and the novel with parts of the storyline.  Love it.

 

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Book Details:

ebook, 228 pages
Expected publication: August 1st 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634772563 (ISBN13: 9781634772563)
Edition LanguageEnglish
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