A MelanieM Review: Not Gonna Lie (#lovehim #4) by S.M. James

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Everyone has their secrets.

Last year Digi walked out on Webcon, on his fans, and on Gram.

Now he’s back determined to give what they had a real shot, but Gram is more prickly than ever, not willing to risk his heart again.

Despite trying to stay out of the spotlight, the anonymous Public Service Announcements draw Digi back in. As the secrets of the internet’s top celebrities are leaked to the world, it’s only a matter of time before Digi and Gram are next.

To get through it, they have to set their rivalry aside.

Will Digi handle the pressure of the bright lights long enough to find who is tearing their world apart? Or will the threat of full exposure be too much for him to handle?

LGBTQ Enemies to Lovers Romance

Not Gonna Lie (#lovehim #4) by S.M. James is the tale I have been waiting for since I finished To Be Continued (#lovehim 3.5), the so aptly named novella and the first part of Digi and Gram’s story.  At the end of that complex bit of storytelling, Digi walked away from everything, including Gram, in order to find himself after the escalating events of that story.

Now in Not Gonna Lie, we dive into back Gram and Digi’s lives a year later.  It’s not exactly what we expected to find for both of them.

One thing I will mention immediately is the length of this story.  It’s much longer than any other books in the series and because of that we get a story richer in layers, more plot threads throughout the novel, and on whole just a thoughtful, authentic, beautifully written story. James takes a deeply honest look into the “media culture” of vloggers and their fans, including the dark side of popularity and online mass bullying and attacks.  If you’re familiar with beauty vlogger James Charles, who is people forget only 19, and the current morass he finds himself the center of, then this story will resonate with you. One minute you’re 18 and your yearbook photo goes viral, then you’re a star with a Cover Girl contract and a popular vlog at 18, and then a feud and the loss of millions of followers.  All still at the age of 19.  Such is the fickleness of the media and popularity and James gets it.

And makes it painful and intimately more real for us when we fall back into the lives of Gram and Digi.

What the blurb is not saying is why Digi is returning to Webcom and that is as big a part of this story as his reuniting with Gram.  And yes, it has also to do with the media, and bullying in the worst way.  Everything that Digi thought he was getting away from and had found him again.  It’s hard to mention aspects of this story without giving away details that lead to spoilers because the blurb is so vague that I feel that anything I mention is a surprise and important element that the reader should find out for themselves.

There are so many large things here that S.M. James gets into because of the characters.  It’s not just bullying and cyberbullying but also bulimia and eating disorders, something that Digi has been fighting for a long time (and was brought on in To Be Continued).  Along with this in the story goes cutting and self harm, so if these are triggers for you, please sake note.    Again, I will say that the longer length of the book gives the author the time to delve into the reasons behind such actions and the treatment received. It will make your  heart hurt and hold out hope for others in Digi’s situation.

And still there’s more.  Along with Gram and Digi reconnecting and working through a strained and tumultuous past history (along with their mothers competition as well), we also get a mystery, and the stress and strain of Gram’s new ever higher level popularity and the effects its having on him.  And his crazy fans.

Oh the complexities of this amazing story and all the characters.  Yes, still a romance and oh, so much more.  A social commentary, and perhaps a subtle warning too.

After all the many stories I have been reading in this remarkable YA series, I wasn’t quite prepared for just how exceptional Not Gonna Lie (#lovehim #4) by S.M. James turned out to be. A beautiful continuation of Digi and Gram’s story from To Be Continued, a social commentary on the media, vloggers and the powers of popularity and its whims.  And even more, the stress these days of just being young.  That’s heartbreaking too.

So you can imagine how you feel when a romance posts a win, even a HFN, and it makes your heart soar.  If only for a while.  This is one you will want to read and cheer for the win.

I truly love all the stories that come with this series but this one?  Oh, this one is really something exemplary.  Pick up To Be Continued and then read it and Not Gonna Lie (#lovehim #4) by S.M. James together for an amazing reading experience.  I highly recommend them and the entire series which I have listed below.

Cover art: Story Styling Cover Designs. Brands the series and works for this story.

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon AU

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 430 pages
Published May 16th 2019 by May Books
ASINB07PSMHV8Y
Edition Language English
Series#lovehim #4

Series #lovehim

That Feeling When (Archie and Landon)

No Big Deal
To Be Continued(3,5) Digi and Gram
In Real Life(4.5)  Archie and Landon  coming soon, hopefully.

A MelanieM Review:To Be Continued (#lovehim #3.5) by S.M. James

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Welcome to Webcon. Where the biggest and brightest internet celebrities come face to face with their fans.

Brought up in the ‘live for likes’ culture, Digi Lynch has amassed an impressive following. His channel is taking off, and Webcon always delivers a boost in numbers, thanks to his rivalry with ex-vlogging partner, Gram Saito.

Gram is popular, confident, and rising to the kind of fame worthy of a second gen internet sensation. And he’s up to his old tricks.

Digi can’t turn a corner for fear of being pranked and his reaction blasted online. And after one of Gram’s most high scale pranks yet, Digi decides it’s time to get even.

The animosity between Digi and Gram heats up as old feelings resurface, and Digi is forced to decide whether a life in the limelight is worth it …

Before they both go too far.

A YA contemporary novella, To Be Continued is the prequel to Not Gonna Lie and will show you where it all began for Gram and Digi.

To Be Continued (#lovehim #3.5) by S.M. James is the last of the available stories in this author’s must read YA series, a fact that’s making me sigh already.  That it’s ending here, on the “first half” of Digi and Gram’s story? Worse because this is not one of those happy stories.  It’s full of pain, the punch in the gut ways only family and those we care for but have blinders on can deal blows. It’s being young and trying to figure things out.  It’s real, sometimes mean and in every way authentic as S.M James gets under these characters skins and emotions like no other.

You have two boys now teenagers who used to be friends only a year ago, their animosity fueled in part by their mother’s  who are competitive in their online blogs and make sure it carries over to their sons, who have blogs and followers of their own.  A twisty world, a heartbreaking way to grow up online and Digi has had enough.

The strength and pain of his feelings come through so powerfully that we are carried swiftly along through several days of events to an abrupt end.  It will make sense and make us want to grab for the story still out of reach until May.  We need to know what happened to everyone next.  But as James tells us in the title  this is To Be Continued….

If you ask me to pick a couple as a favorite, I probably would have swayed towards Brooks and Damien….but there’s something about Digi and Gram.  Well of of them.  They get to you.  In their struggles to find themselves.  Their sexuality and their path to love.  Each and everyone has a deep place in my heart.   This story is just one more reason why.

But don’t start here.  I listed all the books below.  They are short and incredible.  Read them in the order they are written and then wait with them to see what happens with Digi and Gram.  Is it time yet?  Are we there?

 

Cover art: Story Styling Cover Design.  That’s perfect in a way.  Brands the series and has the tone down.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 114 pages
Published April 4th 2019 by May Books
ASIN B07P3SMSSR
Series #lovehim #3.5

Series #lovehim

That Feeling When (Archie and Landon)

No Big Deal
To Be Continued(3,5) Digi and Gram
In Real Life(4.5)  Archie and Landon  coming soon, hopefully.

Looking for New Contemporary Romances? Check Out the Release Blitz for The #lovehim Series Box Set by S. M. James (excerpt and giveaway)

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 RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: The #lovehim Series Box Set

Author: S. M. James

Publisher: May Books

Cover Artist: Story Styling Cover Designs

Release Date: May 4, 2019

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance

Trope/s:  Friends to lovers, mild hurt/comfort

Themes:  Coming out, friendship, family, chronic illness, internalised homophobia

Heat Rating:  1-2 flames

Length: 290 000 words/ 1,000 pages

Box Set of three books and three short stories

Add on Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US 

Amazon UK

Six stories. Three couples. One perfect kind of love.

Blurb

Read the first three books in the #lovehim series and their short stories. 

That Feeling When 

A summer camp romance where a bi actor and a closeted ballet dancer are blackmailed into keeping their relationship a secret.

No Big Deal 

In the meet cute to To Be Honest, Angus finally gets a roommate … and a big, fat crush.

To Be Honest 

Angus and his adorkable roommate Tyler, embark on a cross country road trip to confront Angus’s catfisher. 

For The Win 

The meet cute for In Case You Missed It, Brooks agrees to one non-date with Darien because they’ll never see each other again … right?

In Case You Missed It 

Love is supposed to be simple, but Brook’s secret will put their relationship to the test. 

PLUS A BONUS NOVELLA NOT YET RELEASED

In Real Life 

The sequel to That Feeling When, where Archie and Landon visit Australia and try to make their relationship work amidst judgmental family and pushy exes.

Excerpt (From No Big Deal)

I groan and give him a playful shove, not able to resist touching him, but it just makes the urge to do it again worse. “I think I’ll manage.”

I’ll manage because I don’t even watch the end. I watch Tyler from the corner of my eye. The way his chest expands with each breath, the way he scratches his nose, or rubs his arm. I catch everything.

I really need to get out of here, to put some distance between us, but I can’t. I don’t want to, which is the really messed up part.

The movie ends with that same song that’s played through the whole thing and instead of choosing another, or returning to his own side of the room, Tyler rolls onto his side, legs hanging off the bed, and tucks a pillow up under his arm.

“Okay, if you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?”

I shift around so I’m facing him and try to be subtle about putting distance between us again. I lean back on my hands, my knees filling the void between us. “Tokyo.”

“Huh. I didn’t picture you for a big city guy.”

I shrug and nod at him. “Same question.”

“The Central Library in Vancouver. Reason one.” He holds up his thumb. “I get to visit another country without having to fly, reason two.” He holds up his forefinger. “I could spend my life there and never read all the books they have. Plus it looks like the Colosseum. Which I’ll never see. Because I hate planes.”

“You’re afraid of flying?” It’s my turn to try and hold back a laugh.

“I happen to have a healthy appreciation for how much it would hurt to plummet to my death.”

“Okay so what do you like?”

He considers the question for a moment. “Quesadillas, marine life, old school computer games … and you.” He shrugs like what he said was no big deal. Just a random list.

I try not to hide how awkwardly I swallow. “I guess you’re pretty cool too.”

He lets my lame reciprocation go. “So football … do you actually love it? Or is it one of those things where you tried it, you were good, and Mom and Dad were so proud you couldn’t give it up for fear of disappointing them?”

“Wow. That was oddly specific. Umm … no. It’s one of the ‘I’m an only child and my mom’s dead so Dad is proud of anything I do’ things.”

“Oh.” Tyler’s eyebrows jump up and it’s weird to see him caught by surprise. “I shouldn’t have pried.”

“Don’t worry about it. I was young, I barely remember her.”

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“No. Trust me, if I do, I won’t be much fun for the rest of the day. I mean … it’s hard to miss something you never had. And, well, it makes me feel a bit guilty.”

Tyler’s looking at me with so much sympathy it’s kind of hard to look away from. He reaches out and gives the spot just above my knee a squeeze. I feel it all the way up my leg.

“Okay, how many guys have you hooked up with?” He’s trying to take my mind off it and I’m so grateful.

“Umm … two. The first was the summer before I came out. It was kind of a confirmation, I guess. Sloppy and rushed. The second …” I rub at my mouth to try and hide the smile. “The second was last Christmas break. Dad and I went to a Christmas party with some of his work friends. I didn’t know the guy, and I know I’ll never see him again, and I think that’s what made it so hot.” I nod at him again. “Same question.”

“How many guys have I hooked up with? I can honestly say zero.” He catches my eye with a grin. “Sorry, Angus.”

He gets a laugh from me. “If you ever want to try it, you know where to find me.” I don’t know what makes me say the words but I immediately regret it. Maybe repressing my sexuality for so long isn’t the best idea.

“Noted.”

“Obviously I meant girls, you idiot.”

“In that case.” He frowns as he thinks. “Also zero.”

“No way.”

“I know. I struggle to believe it myself.”

“Do you ever get lonely?” I’m not sure where the question comes from.

Tyler’s serious when he answers. “Only all of the time. Mom and Dad are super busy, and I don’t really have any friends.”

“Except me.”

He lets loose his smile, all teeth and squinty eyes. “Except you.”

“It’s very possible you’re my only actual guy friend too. At least, the only one who doesn’t see me as the gay kid.”

“What do you mean?”

“I just have so be so careful around people. Honestly, it gets pretty exhausting, but it’s safer. Like, I can’t joke around with my teammates in case they think I’m coming on to them or something. I mean, I’m not an idiot, I wouldn’t set myself up to fail by falling for a straight guy.”

“Yet you just offered to hook up with me.”

My stomach clenches and he starts to laugh but I’m kind of uneasy about it. I’d meant it as a joke—obviously—but to him … it had been too easy to say.

About the Author

S. M. James writes books for teens about squishy sweet characters.

While not writing, SM is a readaholic and Netflix addict who regularly lives on a sustainable diet of chocolate and coffee.

​​Unapologetically dishing out HEAs for LGBTQ characters.

Author Links

Blog/Website

Facebook

Instagram

BookBub

Goodreads

Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win a $20 gift card or one of two eBooks of the box set

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RELEASE BLITZ SCHEDULE

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

A MelanieM Review:To Be Continued (#lovehim #3.5) by S.M. James

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Welcome to Webcon. Where the biggest and brightest internet celebrities come face to face with their fans.

Brought up in the ‘live for likes’ culture, Digi Lynch has amassed an impressive following. His channel is taking off, and Webcon always delivers a boost in numbers, thanks to his rivalry with ex-vlogging partner, Gram Saito.

Gram is popular, confident, and rising to the kind of fame worthy of a second gen internet sensation. And he’s up to his old tricks.

Digi can’t turn a corner for fear of being pranked and his reaction blasted online. And after one of Gram’s most high scale pranks yet, Digi decides it’s time to get even.

The animosity between Digi and Gram heats up as old feelings resurface, and Digi is forced to decide whether a life in the limelight is worth it …

Before they both go too far.

A YA contemporary novella, To Be Continued is the prequel to Not Gonna Lie and will show you where it all began for Gram and Digi.

To Be Continued (#lovehim #3.5) by S.M. James is the last of the available stories in this author’s must read YA series, a fact that’s making me sigh already.  That it’s ending here, on the “first half” of Digi and Gram’s story? Worse because this is not one of those happy stories.  It’s full of pain, the punch in the gut ways only family and those we care for but have blinders on can deal blows. It’s being young and trying to figure things out.  It’s real, sometimes mean and in every way authentic as S.M James gets under these characters skins and emotions like no other.

You have two boys now teenagers who used to be friends only a year ago, their animosity fueled in part by their mother’s  who are competitive in their online blogs and make sure it carries over to their sons, who have blogs and followers of their own.  A twisty world, a heartbreaking way to grow up online and Digi has had enough.

The strength and pain of his feelings come through so powerfully that we are carried swiftly along through several days of events to an abrupt end.  It will make sense and make us want to grab for the story still out of reach until May.  We need to know what happened to everyone next.  But as James tells us in the title  this is To Be Continued….

If you ask me to pick a couple as a favorite, I probably would have swayed towards Brooks and Damien….but there’s something about Digi and Gram.  Well of of them.  They get to you.  In their struggles to find themselves.  Their sexuality and their path to love.  Each and everyone has a deep place in my heart.   This story is just one more reason why.

But don’t start here.  I listed all the books below.  They are short and incredible.  Read them in the order they are written and then wait with them to see what happens with Digi and Gram.  Is it time yet?  Are we there?

 

Cover art: Story Styling Cover Design.  That’s perfect in a way.  Brands the series and has the tone down.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 114 pages
Published April 4th 2019 by May Books
ASIN B07P3SMSSR
Series #lovehim #3.5

Series #lovehim

That Feeling When (Archie and Landon)

No Big Deal
To Be Continued(3,5) Digi and Gram
In Real Life(4.5)  Archie and Landon  coming soon, hopefully.

A MelanieM Review:For The Win (#lovehim #2.5) by S.M. James

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

He’s been stood up.

It stings more than it should, considering it wasn’t actually a date. But being stranded at a holiday party alone, is one of the most terrifying things Brooks can imagine.

Then he meets the larger than life Darien. He’s cool, fun, and saves Brooks from a night of lurking awkwardly in the corner.

But before Darien can get too flirty, Brooks lays down the law. They’re hanging out as friends. Just friends.

Because Brooks doesn’t date. Ever.

Even though Darien is gorgeous.

Even though he sees through Brooks’s bullshit.

Even though everything about him screams ‘take a chance’.

Brooks made his choice.

This isn’t a date.

Well, if you’ve been following my reviews of this incredible YA series, then you know that, unfortunately as is my wont, I did not read them in the order they were written.  Bad me.  Mea Culpa.  Because they are so much better that way.  If (insert duoh here) you read them as the author clearly intended,  you pick up on the nuances of each characters back history, their slow to develop relationship with the person they are meant to be with, as well as some of the other personalities that appear throughout the series and in their own stories. More on that below.

But I fell into the #lovehim series by way of that incredibly emotional story In Case You Missed It (#lovehim #3).  That would be the one that first introduced me to this author, series, and proceeded to put my heart through an entire gamut of emotions from heartbreak to hope while making me fall deeply in love with these characters and world the author was building.

For The Win (#lovehim #2.5) by S.M. James is a “beginning” story, the how they meet section of one of the main couples in the series.  It just so happens to be the story I should have read prior to In Case You MIssed It because all the clues, all the “damnit, really” indications are flowing here.  But so are the beautiful writing and relationship dynamics that occur between Brooks and Darien as they meet for the first time.  The dialog, the glances, it’s everything.

I think I might have mumbled something about the author giving enough information that you could read the other story as a stand alone.  After reading this, I was an idiot.  Don’t do that.  For The Win is the foundation that In Case You Missed It needs.  Just as I have come to realize that this is a pattern the author uses with her other couples.  We get a glimpse into their past lives and first meet or section taken from their relationship.  Then we get a story that will fast forward it to a “present day” to see where that relationship stands and how the young men are doing in their lives. And, folded in among the real life relationship drama of the current main couple, we get an idea of what our other couples are doing as well.

What can I say?  I love this series and characters!  It’s realistic in its situations, the characters have depth and remain true to their age and histories.  Where needed, and yes, it’s really needed with some of the people here, the author has done the research to make everything feel authentic and believable.  So easy to fall in love with all of them and I did.

I have listed all the stories below.  Only a couple left to review before I’m out and waiting for the May release.  I don’t think I want to be deprived of this series even for a month’s time.   So yes, I highly recommend this story and series.  Please start with the first one and work your way through.  It’s the only way to go.

I will be waiting for the next story to release!

Cover art:  Story Styling Cover Designs.   Cute, and the  tone, style fits and brands the series.

Sales Link: Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 40 pages
Published November 28th 2018 by May Books
ASINB07HFVVJSG
Series #lovehim #2.5

Series #lovehim

That Feeling When (Archie and Landon)

No Big Deal
To Be Continued(3,5) Digi and Gram
In Real Life(4.5)  Archie and Landon  coming soon, hopefully.

A MelanieM Review: No Big Deal (#lovehim #1.5) by S.M. James

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Angus Reid has always hoped for a roommate. As the only openly gay student at Pinebrook Private, he’s never had the kind of friendship everyone else in his year does, until Tyler shows up. Tyler is sweet, thoughtful, and absolutely adorkable—and better still, he couldn’t care less that Angus is gay.

Unfortunately, falling for your straight roommate is never a good idea, and during a snowed-in weekend, Angus learns this lesson the hard way.

A YA contemporary short story, No Big Deal is the prequel to To Be Honest and will show you where it all began for Angus and Tyler

No Big Deal is as the blurb says the prequel to the marvelous YA road story romance, To Be Honest, second novel in S.M. James’ outstanding YA #lovehim series.  And yes, yet another story I’ve read out of sequence.  I just can’t seem to read this series in order which is really doing it, the author, and me a disservice.

Because had I read this before To Be Honest, I would have had so much more insight into the characters and the issues they faced going into that story.  It would have made an already layered and moving reading experience that much richer.

No Big Deal is the story of Angus and Tyler’s first introduction, our look into their first steps as roommates and friends, and some hidden clues into each person’s back histories and personalities, especially when it comes to the LGBT community.  All of which have important roles to play in the next story.

This is a short story of 38 pages so it does just fly by but the writing is smooth and so beautifully done.  The characters as bright, funny, thoughtful, and engaging as I remembered.  They act their age, with so much depth to their emotions and mental acuity that its a pleasure to watch them grow as individuals and in their relationship.  In this story and in the series.

Told you, I read the other story first.

Don’t you do that.  Read all these amazing book in the order they were written.  Each and every one is a treasure.   More to come that, yes, I read out of order too. Sign.

Oh, and no sex, no heat, definitely YA all the way, this is also just meeting for a first time story.

Cover Artist: Story Styling Cover Designs. The cover art is so simple yet appealing, and perfect for the characters.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 38 pages
Published October 23rd 2018 by May Books
ASINB07FX69TTC
Edition Language English
Series#lovehim #1.5

Series #lovehim

That Feeling When

No Big Deal

A MelanieM Review: To Be Honest (#lovehim #2) by S.M. James

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Angus Reid is pretty sure he’s being catfished.

After spending the last half of junior year talking online to the guy of his dreams, Angus wants to meet. In person. So when Scotty brushes it off with excuses of not being ready, red flags go up.

Determined to either catch Scotty out, or take a shot at real love, Angus embarks on a summer road trip with his adorkable roommate, Tyler. But as summer stretches on, and mixed messages fly between them, Angus finds his heart torn.

His potential catfisher?

Or his straight best friend?

And while their road trip takes them across the country, Angus is headed for one destination.

Either a happily ever after … or a broken heart.

Continuing that outstanding YA series #lovehim is To Be Honest (#lovehim #2) by S.M. James.  To be all fangyrl here, I heart them so much.

Angus Reid was mentioned in the first story, That Feeling When, as the only out person that  Archie Corrigan knew at the boarding school they both went too.  Angus is well liked,popular with every crowd and clique, masculine yet “gay” within Archie’s definitions at that time.  And it just added to Archie’s confusion.  Angus seemed to be everything Archie was not.  And  yes, Archie makes a couple of appearances here.

True to form and the writing of this amazing author, we find out that what you see is not what is laying deep underneath the surface.  Especially with teenagers.

I have never been much for YA stories until the last couple of years or so then a splendid number of just beautifully written coming of age, coming out stories brought me firmly back to this genre.  It takes such skill to bring out the hormonal, on the edge of….something…, the need to be more, to know more, part bravery, part fear and ignorance…it’s such a trying time to be a young human.  Being LGBT even more so. What a road of self discovery lies ahead.  S.M. James has proven themselves a master at giving their readers  deeply layered characters at that crucial stage of development and then pushing them off onto the path or in this case road of self discovery and love.

Angus and friend/roommate, Tyler, are poised on the brink of changes in their lives as their junior year is ending and summer approaches.  Angus will be moving into his own room at school as a senior, leaving Tyler behind, a profound change in their relationship neither has addressed.  Angus’ other bbf has broken up with her boyfriend again, seemingly for the last time, although Angus has his doubts.  And the person he has been chatting with online and wants to meet, won’t commit to meeting him.  Everything is topsy turvey….emotionally and mentally.

The story rolls out through the points of view of Angus,  as well as the texts between himself and Scotty, his online infatuation/love.

James makes Angus and Tyler so real, along with everything each of them is going through personally.  I felt as though I knew them both.  And that road trip that they take (the Maryland Hospitality House I can vouch for) turns out to be not only  a moving journey of self discovery but a great sightseeing tour of several states and locations.  Trust me I will never think of envelopes of dirt without wanting to add a sniffle or two.  The journey ends up profoundly changing both Angus, Tyler, and the readers.

The question of course as to who Scotty is will be quickly answered by most of you.  No, it was how everything was going to play out, what was going to be the overall picture here. What happens, not only to Angus and Tyler but to several others in the picture as well.

S.M. James pulls you into life at this school and the young people living there.  It’s the Community  Boards that pop up and the people that use them.  It’s the entire universe this author is creating and then populating that has me addicted.

I still have a couple of books to go.  But those that i have read?  I highly recommend them all.  They are moving, gorgeously written, and tremendous characters and great plots. Pick them all up today.

Cover art is amazing.  Bright and perfect down to the sneakers propped up on the dashboard as the car goes down the road.

Sales Links: Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 386 pages
Published November 15th 2018 by May Books
ASINB07GKF8H22
Edition Language English
Series #lovehim #2

That Feeling When

No Big Deal

A MelanieM Review:That Feeling When (#lovehim #1) by S.M. James

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Dance Academy reject, Archie Corrigan, resents the stereotype guy ballet dancers are gay. Because he isn’t. At all. Forced to reassess his life goal at Camp Crystal Cove, it’s by sheer dumb luck he meets Landon Summers, who turns everything Archie was sure of into chaos.

Poor boy turned teen heartthrob, Landon Summers, is the name on everyone’s lips. With his unexpected leap to fame, his agent advises him to keep his bi status on the down low. Not a problem! Until Landon meets Archie.

Their unexpected friendship leads to an inevitable kiss, but their moment is caught in high definition and used as fuel for blackmail. If the truth gets out, Landon’s career could be over, and Archie will be forced to acknowledge the one thing he’s fought to deny.

But how do you go back to your average life once you’ve experienced That Feeling When … you’re finally happy?

I discovered S.M. James and her incredible series when I picked up and read the moving, 5 star story In Case You Missed It, the third novel in this #lovehim series.  That one story just did it for me on so many levels that I had to seek out the rest of the series and, well, start from the beginning.

Why, oh why, have I not found S.M. James before?  What a treasure!  And this series!  I’m running through them far too fast for my own liking because they should be enjoyed far more slowly for the precious caches of revelation, joy, romance, and love each represents.  And what a better way to start a journey with a loosely connected group of people than with That Feeling When (#lovehim #1) by S.M. James.

A coming out and coming of age story set in a summer camp for privileged youth, it delves far below surface exteriors and expectations to get at the truths that lie below.  The story is told from two points of view.  That of Archie Corrigan, scion of one of America’s wealthiest, most influential men (and power couple, his mother is famous in her own right).  His sister and twin is with him as well.  That he is there is due to a lost bet with his father, one that he sees has altered his future permanently  in an awful way. To say he’s unhappy is putting it mildly.  Then he meets Landon and everything goes crashingly off course.

The other perspective?  That of Landon Summers, famous actor, finishing a role in a movie on location at the camp.  That white sounding name is everything he is not.  He’s a bi aboriginal from Australian, homesick, his part in the movie isn’t going well, and he’s feeling lost.  Until he meets Archie.

The relationship between Archie and Landon will make Archie reevaluate not only his sexuality, but his lack of action in making his own path, his being courageous and passionate towards those things that mean the most to him.  After figuring out what they are, if he didn’t already know, and even eventually coming to a greater understanding of his parents and their love and role in his life.  Austen doesn’t let any stereotype go unflipped or unshattered with her characters.  Relationships were by turn subtle,funny, wry, and real at every turn/ It didn’t matter if it was a cringe inducing conversation with a girl over a phone or one you never expected to have with your mother.  I could see each happening in real life as clear as could be.  They each felt that authentic.

And while Archie is painfully trying to work his way through his thoughts about his sexuality, his parents, and, well, everything.  Landon too is feeling lost in his own way.  The author is so good at letting the reader into the heart and soul of this young man so far from his mum and home.  In a place where the night sky’s are so foreign and no one sounds like him.  His need for home becomes almost palpable and will bring you to tears….

The relationship dynamics between Archie and Landon?  Oh, how special.  It just clicks right off the page.  You get it, because it’s magic, you feel the chemistry as though these two were real.  The angst as Archie tries to figure out if he’s brave enough to be gay, Landon as he knows it has to be Archie to work it all out for himself…that’s real too.

There is still plenty of drama here and angst.  But I love the ending.  It’s HFN but these two get another book later on.  Plus you will see them again in book two.

Well, as I said this author and series has me well and truly hooked.  The writing is superb, the characters wonderful and the stories one to take into your heart.  Over and over again.

I didn’t start here but I wish I did.  Yes, I highly recommend That Feeling When (#lovehim #1) by S.M. James.  I also recommend the author and series.  Grab them all up and have a binge fest!

They are all on my must rec list!

Cover art is wonderful.  Light, bright, yet contains elements from the story.  Perfect.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 343 pages
Published September 16th 2018 by May Books
ASINB07DTB7MJ4
Series#lovehim #1

Series #lovehim

That Feeling When

No Big Deal

Release Blitz for In Case You Missed It (#lovehim #3) by S.M. James (excerpt and giveaway)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: In Case You Missed It

Author: S. M. James

Publisher: May Books

Cover Artist: Story Styling Cover Designs

Genre/s: YA LGBT romance

Heat Rating: 1-2 flames

Length: 98 000 words/400 pages

It is a standalone story.

Release Date: February 12, 2019

Add on Goodreads

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon AU

 

 

Blurb

Brooks is convinced his life is totally, one hundred percent happy. 

Until Darien tracks him down.

Darien was supposed to be the guy he kissed once and remembered forever, but now he’s back in Brooks’s life, with easy smiles and big ideas.

The first of which … show the homeschooled Brooks everything he’s missed out on. But as the pair work through a spring of playing catch up on life, it becomes obvious to Darien that Brooks has a secret. 

And as things heat up between them, Brooks’s secret might just be Darien’s worst fear.

Because Darien has always lived in the moment. 

But Brooks has always lived for the future he knows is inevitable. 

When life is set to tear them apart, will love be enough to keep them together?



All books in the #lovehim series are stand alones. The series number is the recommended reading order.

 

Excerpt

We cross the front of the school, head past the football field, and into the courtyard. It’s eerily quiet, with filtered sunlight and a soft breeze breaching the concrete quad.

Darien heads for a bench that runs along the base of an enormous tree and flops down onto it. I sit next to him and silence settles gently over my shoulders. The courtyard is surrounded by buildings on three sides, and I vaguely remember one of them as the science wing.

“So this is where you’d eat at breaks on a nice day. Cameron and Chels sit there, and some of the others here, and over there.” He points to an opposite bench. “We’d sit right here, of course. Since you’d be in all the nerd classes, we’d be inseparable over break.” He grips the back of the bench and leans into his hands, grinning over at me.

I swing a leg over the back of the bench so I’m facing him. “And you’d be such a shameless flirt, I’d have to find new friends to save you the embarrassment.”

“No point.” He shrugs. “I’d just follow you there too.”

The thing is, I believe him. I don’t know how anyone can be so effortless about how they feel. He doesn’t try to hide it, but he doesn’t push me either, and the fact he can be so unashamedly into me, makes me want to give him more.

But he’ll get over it. And I have to help him.

I lean away from him a little. “So, is there anyone here who’s caught your eye?”

“There’s this one guy …”

His tone makes me arch my eyebrow. “He wouldn’t be me, would he?”

“See? You’re too damn smart.”

I duck my head as I hold back a laugh. “Seriously though. Nothing is going to happen between us, so it’s okay if you find someone else.”

“Yeah, we’re not doing this.”

I frown. “What do you mean?”

“We’ve been over this, like, a thousand times. Jesus, Brooks, I get it. I just want to spend time with you, as friends, and I don’t need you trying to push me onto someone else.”

“Darien …” I reach for his arm and he shrugs me away. “I’m sorry.”

“Good. Now no more mentioning that shit, okay? My memory is fine, I can make my own damn decisions.”

“You’re right.” But how does he make the right decision when I’m keeping a huge part of myself from him? I take a couple of short breaths, the very real possibility of telling him, looming at the front of my thoughts.

“Here.” Darien finally takes off his backpack and unzips it. He’s packed a heap of food, some I haven’t seen before, and he slides away from me on the bench to set it out between us. “Dig in.”

Lunch is delicious, and I try some of everything. Darien talks me through some of the foods his mom made, like zelnik and tulumba, and it’s so damn good, I’d hang out with him just for the food. After a week of barely eating I don’t hold back, but I didn’t bring my enzyme tablets with me, so it’s close to pointless.

Darien takes some more photos after lunch as we explore the school. He fills me in on little bits and pieces about his first two weeks, and we wind up under the bleachers. He dives into his bag again and pulls out two cigarettes.

I give him a flat look. “Fuck no.”

He smirks. “Goodie two shoes.”

“Nope.” I shake my head, trying to think of how I can get him to put those freaking things away. “I just don’t see the point in sucking on something that can fucking kill you.” My words come out way harsher than I mean, but if he starts on one of those things, I’m leaving him here.

His dark eyebrows furrow, and something goes on behind his eyes that I can’t quite make out, but he just shrugs and grinds the smokes into the ground. “Thank the lord. Don’t think I could have stomached it, even for you.”

I relax a little, though I’m not sure I really believe the words.

He steps closer. “You know, there are other things people do under the bleachers …”

It takes me a second to catch up, and my focus automatically drops to his lips. My stomach is a riot as I try not to focus on how good our first kiss was, all those months ago.

Darien smirks and steps back, breaking my runaway thoughts. He pulls a marker from his bag. “We have to mark we were here, otherwise it doesn’t count.”

“That, I can do.” I take the marker from him and uncap it with a click. Reaching above my head, I hesitate a second, trying to figure out what to write. In the end, I go simple.

BL + DM.

“Those letters look good together,” Darien says. His voice is low and warm and reminds me of summer. His fingers slide down mine as he takes the marker from me.

He reaches up and his shirt pulls higher on his back, leaving this smooth strip of brown skin exposed. The pull to touch him is so strong. I need to feel his skin under my fingertips. It’s a physical battle to hold back, and just as I’m about to fold,

To reach,

To touch,

To give in to him, Darien finishes up, and steps back to survey his work. I blink a few times to try and lessen the fog in my head, then turn my focus up.

He’s drawn a heart around our initials.

 

 

 

About the Author 

S. M. James writes books for teens about squishy sweet characters.

While not writing, SM is a readaholic and Netflix addict who regularly lives on a sustainable diet of chocolate and coffee.

​​Unapologetically dishing out HEAs for LGBTQ characters.

 

Author Links

Blog/Website

Facebook

Instagram

Bookbub

Goodreads

 

Giveaway 

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win one of the following:

$30 Amazon gift card (AU or US only)

2 x paperbacks (That Feeling When or To Be Honest) (International)

3 x eBooks (That Feeling When or To Be Honest) (International)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

RELEASE BLITZ SCHEDULE

 

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

A MelanieM Review: In Case You Missed It (#lovehim #3) by S.M. James

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5 (caution spoiler due to trigger)

Brooks is convinced his life is totally, one hundred percent happy.

Until Darien tracks him down.

Darien was supposed to be the guy he kissed once and remembered forever, but now he’s back in Brooks’s life, with easy smiles and big ideas.

The first of which … show the homeschooled Brooks everything he’s missed out on. But as the pair work through a spring of playing catch up on life, it becomes obvious to Darien that Brooks has a secret.

And as things heat up between them, Brooks’s secret might just be Darien’s worst fear.

Because Darien has always lived in the moment.

But Brooks has always lived for the future he knows is inevitable.

When life is set to tear them apart, will love be enough to keep them together?

Several things.  First, I haven’t read the other stories in this series and now I know I must.  Secondly, I haven’t made S.M. James an author on my auto scan list and now they are.  All based on the strength of this remarkable book.

That’s In Case You Missed It (#lovehim #3) by S.M. James a story of a first time deep love, a heartbreaking reality, and the ability to find hope and brightness where you might least expect it.   This story could have gone so many ways but the author took a subject matter, Cystic fibrosis, an inherited genetic disease that has no cure and gives it a face in Brooks

I debated saying something in my review about the issue with Brook’s because it’s not listed in the synopsis.  But this is something that could be a trigger for many people, especially those who have lost children or someone to terminal illnesses, not necessarily CF, and the subject matter is dealt with realistically and bluntly. CF is a disease without a cure  (and its natural progression of an early death) that Brook has lived with his entire life. No, the story, told from both Brooks and Darien’s povs, is how their relationship changes their outlook, on their lives, a relationship, and even their future together.

It starts with their meeting.  We are there in the mix, learning about each of them as they do each other.  The secret that is a barrier between them that will crumble as their feelings grow. It’s the effects upon Darien and the reader as we grapple with the knowledge upon revelation of exactly what all the coughing has meant, what Brook’s has been trying to hide behind his “asthma”.  Honestly, I have no words for the authenticity of the dynamics between Brooks and Darien, the beauty of the “realiness” that exists here, and the pain felt over the grim physical reality of Brook’s situation.

But S.M. James gives these young men and the readers so much more.  The depth of feeling and love, the incredible families and support, and an unexpected path for them both that the reader will love.  There is no cure for CF, not in real life and certainly not in this book.  But the joys and heart found here will carry you through, as it did me and find you laughing through the tears.  So much happiness , it will amaze you.

In Case You Missed It (#lovehim #3) by S.M. James just blew me away.  Beautifully written, incredible characters, heartwarming, heartbreaking plot, and an  great ending to remember.  I highly recommend it and it’s sending me running to grab up the rest of the series.  Never has a contemporary story flown by so quickly.

Cover Artist: Story Styling Cover Designs is nice but there is an even better artist’s rendering of the drawing used for the tour of the 2 characters that I loved even better..

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 400 pages
Expected publication: February 12th 2019
Edition Language English
Series#lovehim #3