A MelanieM Review: Ground of Insurrection (Wizard Wars #1) by Mell Eight

Standard

 

 

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Life on the prairie isn’t easy, especially since the prairie has a habit of eating people it doesn’t like. Ruse knows the dangers, but there’s so much more to the prairie than death.

The nearby country of Ammet, however, only sees an exploitable resource to be conquered. Caught between the political machinations of Ammet and his love for the prairie, Ruse can only hope he doesn’t wind up killed by one or the other.

I honestly hesitated on the rating because the imagination behind the concept of Ground of Insurrection is just incredible.  There have been sentient planets, yes.  Sentient plants.  But here you have a sentient eco system, one that came about via a mage war.  A sentient prairie that once was a man. Mind blowing stuff.

My mind went all over the place with questions that quite frankly the author never answered.  How?   What?  As in I wanted to know exactly what it feels like to be a prairie! One that gobbles up people mind you for sustenance among other things. The adjustments to life, mind, everything that had to have taken.  There’s the book I kept thinking….

But nope.  We get Ruse as a storyteller. One of the convict’s sent to the Prairie from Ammet as a part of the city’s survive or die program.  True, Ruse has his own secrets and each small village of criminals is interesting on its own.  That would be small towns that grew as the killers, perverts, thieves…one by one…started to figure out how to survive and come together long  enough to form a village structure.

The dynamics at work within such a village are fascinating too, especially the ease at which they each accept what other societies find horrifically unacceptable:  the serial killer who continues to kill leaving bodies of the unwary to be deposed of at dawn, the psychopaths, the thieves, all working together, in a criminal harmony.

Mell Eight has other elements at  work.  Espionage, treason, assassination, and more plotting than I was honestly interested in.  No.  My focus was on the Prairie, his existence, his beginning, and how the others started to interact with him.

He is a 5 star creation in my books.  The rest almost suffers next to him.

In fact, the ending brought up so many  questions and opened up a bunch of holes in the narrative for me.  The villagers starting orchards for one thing.  Orchards are the very bane of prairies.  Any  woody plant it because its the first stages of a forest.  The very introduction of something that could mean the end of such a ecosystem seemed all wrong.  Surely Ruse and the settlers/villagers would have come up with a substitute for apples and tree grown produce?

And yes, that other ending left me unsatisfied because I still had so many unanswered questions to begin with and now had more.  It wasn’t until I looked at the title on Goodreads that I understood that this was to be a part of a series.  Still….

Magnificent creation.  And I definitely need more.  So I can handle a little frustration if I    finally get the answers I’m looking for…in book 2.  Hang in there with me and check it it.

Cover art:  Natasha Snow.  Perfect cover.  Just love it.

Sales Links:  Less Than Three Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published June 13th 2018 by Less Than Three Press (first published June 11th 2018)
ISBN139781684312931
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesWizard Wars #1

A MelanieM Review: Kelpie Blue (Out of Underhill #1) by Mell Eight

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Mama always said, don’t go near the lake. Rin already knew the forest was filled with dark things, but aside from Mama no one had warned him about the lake. One day, Rin wanders off to the lake, where a beautiful blue horse asks him to go for a swim, and Rin learns too late it may not be a swim he survives.

I have to admit it took me a little while to connect with a character who referred to his lover as his “snack” and thought about eating him or his bone marrow.  I was dubious until about halfway through that this would have a HEA and that the old adage about creatures staying true to their nature might prove out here.  You never know….

But Kelpie Blue (Out of Underhill #1) by Mell Eight kept taking one interesting turn after another, and eventually I even enjoyed the peculiar mindset of a Kelpie (thoughts of eating humans included).

I loved the way  Mell Eight weaves the Fae and human worlds together here, connecting them through a matter of fact woman running a stables at the edge of a special forest and lake, and her son Rin.  That lake and forest are just any plain forests but the entranceway and habitat of the fae as Rin soon finds out.

Side by side with the fae story element is an ongoing one that shows Mama, who raises and races horses, having major troubles with another horse breeder.  I thought this was a terrific idea.  Just when the whole Rin/Blue aspect of the storyline gets a little overwhelming with their  diary dialog  (they write back and forth in Rin’s diary) and relationship then we cut away to Mama’s gritty real life issues and the fight to save the farm and their livelihood.

Two thirds into the story, the drama has increased, the suspense and mystery has been raised, and I was just as interested in Mama’s story as I was in Rin’s.  Plus there is this whole other guy called Jim who runs Overhill Stables….

Anyhow, by the time the book ends (it ends way too soon), you still have some questions.  Ok, a lot of questions.  Blue is still a young Kelpie and Rin is, well, a young Rin.  Both have a lot of growing to do.  I expect Fae politics to start intruding one more into their lives so I can’t wait for the next book to appear.

By the way?  Kudos to Mell Eight for keeping Blue as completely non-human and Kelpie as possible.  It takes time to relate to him precisely because the author did her job so well.  I can’t wait to see what happens as he grows, trepidations notwithstanding.  Snack indeed.

Cover art: Michelle Seaver.  Beautiful cover and works so well for the story.

Sales Links:  Less Than Three Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published March 21st 2018 by Less Than Three Press
Original TitleKelpie Blue
ISBN139781684311989
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesOut of Underhill #1

A MelanieM Review: Dragon Lesson (Supernatural Consultant #6) by Mell Eight

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

All Lumie wants is Goldie’s beautiful smile, but the only expression he ever shows Lumie is tears. When Goldie asks him for a favor, Lumie leaps at the chance to finally see Goldie happy.

Goldie wants to live a life free of the fear that has chained him for so long, but breaking free of them once and for all may come with a higher price than he and Lumie are prepared to pay.

Cover by Aisha Akeju is similar in tone and coloration to the other books to brand the series, along with the “dragon kid like” footprints which these dragons are now long past.  It makes it feel like a children’s story and in fact they are getting their mates. Just not a fan.

We’re now up to book six in the Supernatural Consultant series by Mell Eight and she’s still running strong and not out of dragon kits yet.  In Dragon Lesson, it’s one of my favorite of Dane and Mercury’s  odd children or dragon kits as it were.  Lumie, a dragon of mixed elements the result of heinous scientific experiments, he’s been something of an adorable enigma throughout most of the stories.  He’s been capable of astonishing feats of power even at the youngest of age and has abilities that not even his mixed elemental powers can explain.  Now of age to go to college, Lumie finds himself at a crossroads at every stage of his life.

In a previous story, several dragons were rescued from yet another “lab” by Dane, Mercury and family along with government help.  One of them was a badly abused and tortured dragon  named Goldie (you won’t have to guess the element here). Lumie finds himself instantly drawn toward Goldie, trying in his own way to help the dragon heal and move forward.

These are short stories.  Yet, Mell Eight still produces a tale that shows Lumie trying to figure out where he belongs (he doesn’t think it’s college), how much he loves his family), what’s happening with some of the other kits, and still produce a suspense story that moves the entire series arc forward.  That would be the one about the mystery of the person behind the dragons kidnapping and experimentation to begin here.  Goldie and Lumie figure heavily into the plot as well as find they mean something much more to each other.

Dragon Lesson is another wonderful edition to the series.  But if you are coming at it new, I expect you would be quite lost.  These are not standalone stories but need to be read in progression starting at book one as the characters age and the plots build on one another.

Sales Links:   Less Than Three Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published October 10th 2017 by Less Than Three Press
ISBN13 9781684310913
Edition Language English

A MelanieM Recent Release Review: Justified (Magnified #2) by Mell Eight

Standard

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

The world of vampires and werewolves is in upheaval. The magical community is under attack by a great evil power trying to destroy them all and their strongest fighter is oblivious with his nose glued in a spell book. Yani has given up hope in getting Aaron back on track. He knows he instead has to focus on his own future and the lives of those he loves, even if it means losing Aaron, the love of his life, forever.

Yani’s life isn’t the only one in flux. As the battle heats up and lines are drawn, the rest of his friends must fight for their own survival in a world with no answers to the terrible magic attacking them.

The Magnified novels, starting from the first story, is an amazingly complex and immensely mysterious series that’s getting increasingly horrifying by the book.  It’s also  quite wonderful, full of unexpected elements I’ve not seen in other tales.  Mell Eight is combining mysticism with vampires, Nazis, Kabbalism, dragons, faeries, werewolves, horror, M/M romance and it all works.

The first story, Magnified, sets up the introduction and the couples and should not be missed. It’s a gripping story. Without it, Justified floats without its foundation material.  This is not a standalone novel.  With Magnified as the backhistory for the couples and the situation they find themselves in, the reader can settle into the drama that is unfolding here in Justified.

That group of friends (and couples within) has just fought a major battle and barely escaped.  We now see the effects that it’s had on certain members, and there aren’t healthy ones.  Aaron has withdrawn into his books looking for knowledge and Yani is despairing over the loss of their closeness and perhaps their relationship.  The cost of that most recent battle is high indeed.

Mell Eight weaves her many plotlines (the overall series thread and the sub storylines) with great care, popping and pulling various elements in and out of the current scenes.  Could be Yani’s Jewish family and his ties to the vampire world and the Kabbalah or maybe we are heading into werewolf territory or even pandas, you never know.  It will be in pursuit of an evil so horrific that you are happy that Mell Eight has left some of the descriptions of that villain’s deeds less than vivid.  And terrifying to know that this series is continuing because it means only one thing has happened.

Justified (and the Magnified series) is full of fascinating, multi-layered characters, which include several here outside of the main group that I grew to love and hope to see again.  This small group of fighters seem like underdogs battling overwhelming odds with only one that stands a chance against true evil.   It started out as a gripping story and is growing into a powerful one of determination and bravery.  I can’t wait for the next book in the series.  The only reason it doesn’t have a higher rating is that you absolutely need the first book as a foundation for this one.  Together?  They have the makings of a 5 star series!

Cover art by Aisha Akeju.  I like this cover with the simple object that has its part to play within the story.

Sales Links:  Less Than Three Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 147 pages
Published August 9th 2017 by Less Than Three Press
ISBN139781684310500
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Magnified

Magnified (Magnified, #1)

Justified (Magnified #2)

A MelanieM Pre-Release Review: Dragon Home (Supernatural Consultant #5.2) by Mell Eight

Standard

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

With Rios happily mated and planning an entire future, Aqua can’t help but feeling left out. The brother that was always been his chief playmate and best friend is going to leave him behind, which isn’t at all acceptable. The obvious answer is to leave first, so Aqua packs a bag to go on an adventure. But this adventure isn’t anything like his last one and the chances of him returning home alive dwindle every moment.

I actually liked Dragon Home better than its previous story, Dragon Adventure, which I thought was really cute.  Here in Dragon Home (Supernatural Consultant #5.2), Mell Eight goes into a little more depth into her universe by revealing wonderful unknown details about  characters and dragon growth we hadn’t known before. We also meet some new supernatural creatures are introduced as well when Aqua, like Rios, sets off to find new friends and perhaps a mate like his twin.

When we begin this story, Uncle Willy himself seems to be undergoing a physical change which I found interesting although not explained exactly.  I’m hopeful that Mell Eight will find a mate for William as well and his change will be a part of that. He deserves one for his accepting attitude and loving behavior towards his “wards” and their antics.  Intriguing bits like this keep me thinking throughout the story.  Dragon Home (and indeed all of Mell Eight’s stories) is full of things of a similar narrative nature tucked here and there, just waiting for the reader to notice them and wonder.

Aqua is lonely and unhappy with his twin now spending all his time with his mate and his new found interest in the Coast Guard.  Rios has shot up physically with his mental and emotional maturity. Not so poor Aqua.  Now they don’t even look like twins, making him feel even more isolated, something William is aware of.  It’s adventure time for Aqua, he needs to see what it’s like to get out there by himself and he does in a big way by going where no water dragon should.

I won’t go further but this story has some surprising depth here.  The place Aqua “falls” into is a tumultuous one. It will take bravery, maturity and respect for others to see Aqua and others safely through.  That he does so is no surprise.  But the companion he brings home?  A delightful surprise, especially at the end which left me charmed and smiling as it did William.   Plus this story gave us a whole new side of William still to be seen.  I hope that book is coming.

Who knew I would love William and his kits as much as I do Dane, Mercury and their bunch?  Turns out I certainly do!  I just loved Dragon Home (Supernatural Consultant #5.2) by Mell Eight.  It’s not a standalone story, you really need to read the others.  Luckily they’re short and you can catch up quickly.  Read the entire series.  It’s a joy! I recommend not only Dragon Home but all of the Supernatural Consultant series.

Cover art by Aisha Akeju is one of my favorite in this series.  Dramatic and speaks to the story.

Sales Links:   Preorder at Less Than Three Press

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: June 21st 2017 by Less Than Three Press
ISBN139781684310333
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesSupernatural Consultant #5.2

A MelanieM Recent Release Review: Dragon Adventure (Supernatural Consultant #5.1) by Mell Eight

Standard

Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Aqua and Rios are bored, which is always a recipe for disaster. They decide that taking a trip to visit Nickel would be a ton of fun, so they hop on a boat and go sailing down the river. Niagara Falls separates the two kits from their destination, not that they’re aware of that fact, and their fun adventure quickly turns into a desperate fight for survival.

Dragon Adventure switches families from the huge family of Mercury and Dane to that of William, the head of a neighboring Land Region and his two fosters/sons Aqua and Rios, two very active water dragons.  We had met them before when William came for Council meetings and sought Dane and Mercury’s help with bringing up his two young dragons (a rare feat as young dragons have a tough time reaching maturity).

Here its that very immaturity that gets them into trouble and sends them off on an adventure to visit Nickel.  William makes for a great scary and understanding father  figure and the two maturing kits are endearing and great to get to know on a deeper level.

I loved that Mell Eight brought her readers a better understanding of why the dragons aged so slowly (staying young or small as a matter of survival didn’t occur to me until she laid out a perfectly logical explanation.   There’s also another cute character introduced here as well.

The story breezes along as it should for 34 pages.  Its cute, sweet and a  great side adventure to the main body of stories in this series.  Loved it.

Cover art by Aisha Akeju contains part of an element of the story. I like the dragon footprints.

Sales Links:  Amazon |   Less Than Three Press LLC 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 34 pages
Published May 15th 2017 by Less Than Three Press, LLC
ASINB071Z85M57
SeriesSupernatural Consultant #5.1

A MelanieM Recent Release Review: Dragon Soldier (Supernatural Consultant Book 5) by Mell Eight

Standard

Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

The aftermath of the last battle has left Nickel weak in bed and grounded for the next decade. Despite being in trouble, Nickel wants to return to the battle as soon as he can, but thoughts of Platinum, the dragon helping to nurse him back to health, keep distracting him.

Platinum can’t believe how much his life has changed. He went from being a lonely fugitive on the run to part of a family in only hours. The last few days have been his happiest, especially now that he’s met Nickel. He knows it’s only temporary, though. The enemy that kept him captive for most of his life isn’t finished with him yet, and even Platinum and Nickel’s combined powers might not be enough to save them.

Dragon Soldier was a different sort of story in this series, focusing on the relationship between Nickel and Platinum, and Nickel’s recovery from his last battle which left him comatose and healing.  Now awake, Nickel is having a hard time with his slow recovery and being kept away from the investigation into the man responsible for the dragon kidnapping and experimentation.  Nickel has always been a favorite of mine, so having a Nickel centric book is a plus.

The romance between Platinum and Nickel is slowly heating up.  Think teenagers discovering love and romance for the first time.  Gentle, sweet and endearing and ever so slow that you shouldn’t expect things past a cuddles and a kiss.

I loved all that part of this story.  Even the battles and Platinum’s working through the damage left over from his time as an experimental subject.  All those was typically wonderful Mell Eight.

The only places where I feel this story came up short was in the villain aspect and the conclusion.  I felt shortchanged somehow.  With everything that went before, I wanted rants and ravings of a lunatic or explosions or something.  I don’t know.  It just  seemed sort of quiet.  All the rest was lovely.  The author does seem to be wrapping this series up.  Not sure yet.  But I adored the dragons and this family, so I hope not.  I’ll be waiting to see if there’s more to come.

Cover art by Aisha Akeju includes an element of the story but really doesn’t work as a design.

Sales Links

Less Than Three Press

 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 30,000 words
Published March 7th 2017 by Less Than Three Press, LLC
ASINB06XH1YR8J

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

Standard

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

Amazon

Book Details:

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

A MelanieM Review: Elemental Ride by Mell Eight

Standard

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

elemental-rideRawley isn’t the type to crush hard and fast on anyone, but he’s somehow helpless when it comes to the new mailman. Even his bikes and his job as enforcer for a local motorcycle gang, the center of his world, don’t compare to his interest in Reign. Unfortunately, Reign doesn’t seem to be as interested—but secrets and magic have a way of turning everything upside down.

Elemental Ride is a short story by Mell Eight in the Roughhouse Riders series (written by different authors) by LT3 Press. Many of the things I liked about it can’t really be discussed here as they fall into spoiler territory and take away the aha moments the author has in store for the readers.

Lets just say its a  neat idea and I can’t say that I’ve seen it in another story before, at least handled in this manner.  Its both a strength of Elemental Ride and one place where the story falls a little short.  Short as in length.   For such a complicated aspect to this plot line (and trust me, this is Mell Eight’s typical weird, twisted little world), this story needed to be far longer than 65 pages.

I liked Rawley. I got a real sense of the man, his place but not his gang.  Since motorcycles clubs, it is their series after all, are his family, they should play a huge part of this, and I never got that really.  I needed more background here.  Perhaps there’s another book I’m missing.

There is romance but it is not the focus but the mysteries that the author is  playing with that are the key here.  So when the romance/love does occur, the connection you have with it isn’t as strong as it might have been, at least in my opinion.  Again, had this story been enlarged to the degree that all the elements had the layers they deserve and the time for the author to enrich them with dimension, more scenes, and way more dialog, then I believe this would be not only a superb story but one that showcases this author’s amazing imagination just as it deserves to be.

I enjoyed Elemental Ride, but I was always aware that it could have been so much more.

Cover art by Natasha Snow is hot and works for the story.  Loved it.

Sales Links

Less Than Three Press

9e7ee-all2bromance2bbutton

7104e-waxcreative-amazon-kindle

Book Details:

ebook, 65 pages
Published November 8th 2016 by Less Than Three Press
ISBN139781620048863
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Review: Dragon Detective (Supernatural Consultant #4) by Mell Eight

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

dragon-detectiveNickel might be a water elemental dragon, but even he has limits—and the sudden rain storms, hail, and snow in mid-summer are way over the line. Luckily, he works for Dane’s Supernatural Consulting firm and can use those resources to figure out who keeps mucking with the weather and get them to stop.

It doesn’t take long for Nickel to realize he isn’t the only one searching for the weather worker: the enemy he has been hunting for ten years has finally reappeared, and it’s a race to see which of them will reach the weather worker first. Nickel isn’t certain he’ll win, or even survive, the attempt, but he’ll do whatever it takes to save the dragons.

Dragon Detective gives this series a new couple of twists that I really enjoyed.  Nickel, one of the dragon kits who has long been a favorite of mine, gets one of the two major pov here in the story.  All the dragon kits are getting older and that’s being reflected in the series. Some are finding their hormones just out of whack and starting to notice each other, normal no matter the species, others are still sucking their thumbs, but yes, maturation has set in with the  appropriate consequences.  Leaving their parents to deal as well.

And none are showing that more than Nickel, the one dragon that maneuvered Dane and Mercury, their foster dads, into letting him work in the Supernatural Detective agency, assuming more and more responsibility as he showed he could handle it.  His goal?  Find the evil scientists and agency behind the heinous kidnappings and experimentation on the dragons and their kits.  The same experimentation that lead to his brothers and sisters and his own time in the lab.   Nickel is becoming such a layered, fantastic character and here he shines all the more brightly.

I love all the characters here.  From Dane and Mercury, to each and every kit, but this book belongs to Nickel and the “being” he’s chasing because of the unstable weather.

His counterpart in the story?  Ahhh.  That’s both part of the mystery here and the wonderful joy of the reveal.  Can’t give that away.  But its worth waiting for.

The oddest of the two kits, the  ones we  tend to love as they are both the smallest and the ones we know will be the most sought after by the scientists, Alloy and Lumie, get their fair share of the story.  As much as I love to see them, it also makes me wonder because I think its leaving clues for the new stories and clashes to come.  Both sides are getting desperate to succeed in their goals.  And the ending here is one that will leave you wanting to see the new story released tomorrow.

This is a terrific series.  It combines family, love, romance, fantasy, suspense, horror, supernatural…really, a little bit of everything and Mell Eight makes it work. But start at the beginning.  None of these are standalone novels, each builds upon the other.  Now I have to wait for the next to arrive.  I wonder if the author takes bribes…

Cover art is better. I like the darker look.  It works for the tone and series subject matter.

Sales Links

Less Than Three Press

7104e-waxcreative-amazon-kindle

6f71e-all2bromance2bbutton

 

 

 

Book Details:

ebook
Published October 19th 2016 by Less Than Three Press
ISBN139781620048702
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Supernatural Consultant  – add to your Goodreads shelf here: