A MelanieM Review: Away in a Manger by JC Owens


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

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

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

Everything they have is suddenly on the brink of disaster.

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

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

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

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

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

Sales Links:  MLR Press | Amazon

Book Details:

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


A Sammy Review: Taken (Taken #1) by J.C. Owens


Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Taken coverLandon’s past has been a series of shadows and pain. After the loss of his parents at a young age, he’s been tormented by his brothers for years. As a mercenary, he’s been forced to do things he never wanted to, has blood coating his hands. Their latest mission is the result of his brother being captured. It seems simple enough, kidnap a man and bring him back.

But no mission is ever so simple. The men on the island are prepared for them, and Landon soon finds himself held hostage by Kirith, the brother to a well-known mob boss. Their first meetings are that of anger and contempt, but they soon reach an agreement, one that will give Landon his freedom. As they grow to learn each other, bodies and minds, Landon begins to wonder if freedom from this man is what he really wants after all.

“Kirith holds great sadness in his heart, more than any man should have to bear. I have worried over the years as I watched those he brought here, worried that he would never find someone strong enough for him. He isn’t an easy person, but well worth the trials, you will find. You, Landon, are strong enough. You have a fire in you that will match him, keep him from sinking into his depressions. For the first time, I have met someone who could save him from himself and the past.”

I wasn’t necessarily excited to read this book, but I had to for a couple challenges, so I kind of forced myself into starting it. At first, I was very confused. The opening chapter was fairly vague and I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. When I finally understood, I was like “Oh, okay, gotcha.” – but still not gripped.

While I wasn’t the most amazed by this story, I did grow to enjoy it. I love things with a dash of darkness to them, and this certainly had elements of that. My biggest problems were in the quick development of Kirith and Landon’s relationship. One minute he’s threatening Landon, and the next they’re so head-over-heels. I just wanted a smoother transition.

What I liked most about the book were the characters, particularly Enzo and Laura. I was immediately drawn to Enzo for his killer demeanor. I mean, come on, who doesn’t find crazy psychopaths hot, right? But in all seriousness, there was just something to him that I was drawn to. And Laura, she was just such a sweet little character in the midst of such a dark, dangerous world. I also enjoyed Michael, Stephanie, and Trent. Actually, I’d love to get to see Trent have his own story. Why not?

I am looking forward to reading about Enzo and Chase. It’ll be interesting to see how one broken heart can unfreeze another. All in all, a pretty good book. It was just missing a bit of something special for me.

The cover isn’t the best thing in the world, but it works. The island theme is displayed, so that’s a place. Beyond that, it’s fairly generic.

Sales Links:   Etopia Press       All Romance (ARe)  Amazon       Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 1st Edition, 158 pages
Published January 14th 2011 by Etopia Press
edition languageEnglish
seriesTaken #1