A MelanieM Recent Release Review: The Case of the Guilty Ghost (End Street Detective Agency #6) by R.J. Scott and Amber Kell

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Bob is lost in grief, Sam is fighting for his life, and there is no middle ground. Can their love survive?

Bob is grieving over his brother’s sacrifice. Guilt-ridden and devastated, he buries himself in vampire mourning and pulls away from Sam.

Magic tears Sam from the vampire castle and he has to face new adversaries alone, when all he wants is Bob at his side.

Ettore is in the Aset Ka waiting room, next in line for the ceremony for his soul to be torn from his body. Aset Ka has other plans, and Ettore finds himself reunited with a lost love and fighting alongside his brother.

A forgotten past binds Theodore ‘Teddy’ McCurray Constantine III to Ettore, and with the curse tied to Ettore broken by his death, Teddy’s past returns to him with a vengeance.

A royal family in denial, a battle between gods, and long forgotten love leaves no time for Sam and Bob to take a breath. Is it too late to save the supernatural world?

The last book in a series always has an enormous job to do.  It can’t simply tell its story, no it has to wrap all up the loose ends and dangling plot threads from multiple couples and books that came before it.  How it does all that and tell its story will leave the reader either feeling really good about the series and couple/couples or feeling that they’ve missed something and that it all fell rather flat. Or even, quelle horror, a waste of their time! What a burden placed on that last novel!

I’m so happy to report that The Case of the Guilty Ghost wraps things up quite nicely for everyone at the  End Street Detective Agency and even gave us a look at the future that left me all aglow as they say.  Nothing so wonderful as bringing a series full circle as the authors did here.  I’ll say right at the beginning that it doesn’t get the full 5 stars because someone coming into the story without reading all the previous books would be quite lost.  You need to have read all the others to have a firm foundation and fix on the characters and situations already established at page 1, starting with the  grieving Bob.  Yes, I still love a vampire called Bob.

I also thought this was the weakest link here.  There’s no real reason for Bob to separate himself from his family during this time of mourning.  Everyone seems to be telling Bob to buckup and bring at least Sam there to help him through this.  But of course, Sam’s presence is needed elsewhere and Bob won’t soon be mourning.  So begins an action packed supernatural adventure that brings so many characters together one last time.  We learn who and what Sam truly is, a mystery that ran throughout the series.  How that bracelet Sam wears comes into play and a outstanding fight to end all fights at the end.   And our Terry, the resident ghost of End Street Detective Agency? Well, he figures into this in a huge way as well. Oh and did I mention there’s sex too? That too, lots of that.

If a plot is tied up too neatly, well, ok.  I thought that banishment was quick and pretty handy.  But the rest of the story was so good and answered so many of my questions, that I’m willing to overlook something so expedient as that.  Plus it worked within the narrative, so I’m happy even if I wanted something a little more complicated.  Sam, Bob and daughter Mal have their HEA as do our other favorite characters.  That’s what I wanted here and what I got with a lot of suspense and acton along the way.

Then Amber Kell and RJ Scott threw in the marvelous Epilogue and brought things full circle.  That was just delightful and left me smiling even more.  I could walk away from the End Street Detective Agency happy and content.

Cover design by Meredith Russell is perfect for the characters and storyline.

Sales Links

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2mYNrYY

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2nDMEK6

Book Details:

ebook, 164 pages
Published March 15th 2017 by Love Lane Books Limited
ISBN139781785640759
SeriesEnd Street Detective Agency #6

A MelanieM Review: Cherish the Land (Lang Downs #5) by Ariel Tachna

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Sequel to Conquer the Flames
Lang Downs: Book Five

Cherish the Land coverSeth Simms never wanted to be a cowboy, although to listen to his best friend, Jason Thompson, tell it, he isn’t one. He just happens to have lucked out in coming to live on Lang Downs with his brother ten years ago. He found enough stability to finish high school and go off to university, but he never really believed Lang Downs would be the same haven for him that it had become for so many others. He’s too messed up in the head. No one would accept someone with his issues.

All his life, Jason has had one goal: to come home to Lang Downs as resident veterinarian when they need his skills and jackaroo when they don’t. And it means he gets to spend time with Seth during his occasional visits, even though his dream of going from friends to lovers is hopeless since Seth is straight.

When Seth unexpectedly comes home to stay, Jason takes it as the boon it is. But juggling a relationship with another jackaroo and his friendship with Seth isn’t easy, and that’s before Jason realizes how deep Seth’s issues run and how dangerously Seth chooses to cope with them.

With Ariel Tachna’s Cherish The Land, another heartwarming series comes to a close and does so beautifully.  I have never been to Australia (a long held desire) but I have felt like I have been transported there by several authors and their incredible stories, including Ariel Tachna’s Lang Downs series.  My introduction to Lang Downs, a cattle station in the Northern Territory, came with Inherit the Sky (Lang Downs, #1).  With that story Ariel Tachna brought Lang Downs Station, the men that love and live on it, and the “close to nature” lifestyle inherent with living on land that is both beautiful and extreme.  By the end of that amazing story, I felt that not only did I know these men but that I had  spent actual time at Lang Downs, getting a feel for the land and the roll call of seasons that sweep over it.

Now through five stories, it  comes to an end, and it sort of breaks my heart to let  it and all these couples go.   But just as in nature, there is a natural cycle to things, so it happens here.  Tachna takes most of the loose plot stories and floating characters and brings them home, whether to Lang Downs or somewhere close by and does it in the manner that all the previous stories have been written-gentle, persuasive and loving.

There are no explosions here, just a narrative that moves with the unstoppable progression and a quietness that is so unflinching, so natural that the events seem as though they were written in the red dust of the land covers all that enters it. Lang Downs has always been a sanctuary…for gay men, for those in need of safety and acceptance.  Seth Simms accepted that haven once, with his brother, Chris Simms of Chase the Stars (Lang Downs #2) years ago.  But he left for heartbreaking reasons.  And those same reasons are now pulling him home.  Seth is a vulnerable character, his fears deep and his pain secret. Its affect on him has become one of shame and withdrawal.  I had forgotten over the course of the series how complicated Seth was and this story renews that believable characterization once more.

Jason Thompson was an original member of the first story along with his family.  He has grown tremendously (including his age as well as depth) as each book appeared and fully takes his place as a main character here.  I have always loved him and his family, never more so than in the events that occur here with Seth, who is such a damaged soul.

All the couples get pulled into the tragedy that occurs (all too commonplace in the removed outback), and the situation as it works itself out and resolves was one that I had hoped would lead to an all new series, not an end to this one.  Ah well….

What happens involves the adjacent station run by the rigid and homophobic brother of Jeremy Taylor who now lives at Lang Downs, along with his lover, manager Sam Emery of Outlast the Night (Lang Downs #3).  Also involved?  Thorne Lachlan and Ian Duncan of Conquer the Flames (Lang Downs #4).   Each has an important role  at Lang Downs and each has an important part to play as this final installment rolls out.  Did I say how much I will miss them all?  Yes indeed, and that includes all the various dogs, cats and horses that have appeared to become part of the family as well.

Did all the loose plot threads get resolved?  Did all the characters find their HEA?  No, realistically so. And while that lead to a small amount of frustration with this story, it also serves to keep hope alive that Ariel Tachna might revisit this series once more to update us on all the lives and goings on of the people of Lang Downs and beyond.  Hope is good, right?

Haven’t read this series yet?  Need a new contemporary saga to fall in love with?  I absolutely recommend Ariel Tachna’s  Lang  Downs series and Cherish the Land (Lang Downs #5).  The writing is evocative and seamless.  The images deeply moving and sometimes emotionally shattering.  And the love these men feel for each other and the land flows off the pages and into your hearts in stories you won’t easily forget in books its hard to put down.  Here’s hoping this won’t be the last time to journey to Lang Downs and men I adore.

Cover art by  Anne Cain is simply beautiful as it has been for each book in the series.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press  eBook & Paperback | All Romance (ARe) |  Amazon  | Buy It here

Book Details:

ebook, 220 pages
Published June 8th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press LLC
ISBN139781634760881
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.dreamspinnerpress.com
seriesLang Downs #5

Books in the Lang Downs Series in the order they were written and should be read are:

  • Inherit the Sky (Lang Downs, #1)
  • Chase the Stars (Lang Downs, #2)
  • Outlast the Night (Lang Downs #3)
  • Conquer the Flames (Lang Downs #4)
  • Cherish the Land (Lang Downs #5) – series finale

A MelanieM Review: Forging the Future (Change of Heart #5) by Mary Calmes

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Forging the future coverJin Church is back where he started, alone, wandering, and uncertain of his path. It’s not by choice but by circumstance, as he remembers he’s a werepanther… but not much else. He knows one thing for sure—he needs to find the beautiful blond man who haunts his dreams.

Logan Church is trapped in a living hell. His mate is missing, his tribe is falling apart, and he’s estranged from the son he loves with all his heart. His world is unraveling without his mate by his side, and he has no one to blame but himself.

If Jin can regain his memory and Logan can overcome the threats to his leadership, then perhaps they can resume their lives. The question is: Is that what they want? Back to the same house, the same tribe, the same troubles? They can choose from various roads leading to their future… or they can forge their own path.

When an author or publisher announces a book that ends a beloved series, it unleashes a flood of mixed feelings.  Shock…the series is ending?  Sadness…I love this series and can’t bear to seem them go.  Happiness…I get to read about some of my favorite couples and characters. Fear…how will the series end and will I be happy?  Anticipation…how will the author pull it all together and will I be content to let them go?  Mary Calmes gave me the perfect answer to all my questions with Forging the Future, the last in the Change of Heart series.

I fell deeply and totally in love with Jin Raine and Logan Church, Mary Calmes’ panther shifters, from the moment I met them in Change of Heart (Change of Heart #1).  Each character had such a rich and varied back history to them, it had a interesting location of Reno, Nevada, and the drama that swirled around them was  layered, full of pain, discrimination, and race pride.   I couldn’t get enough of them or their story.  I read the book twice. Finished it the first time and started rereading it all over again.    Yep, hooked.

But it wasn’t just the characters that drew me in, it was the fascinating culture and enthralling species history that Mary Calmes  built book  by book that  had its origin in Egypt and egyptian mythology.   Especially when the plot and characters ended up on Sobek, Egypt, ancestral home of their kind, then I was riveted.  Calmes wove the plight of her characters (often horrific and gutwrenching) into the idea of Egyptian myths come alive and an ancient shifter tribe on the brink of change and the result was gripping and magnificent.

So what does Mary Calmes do with her last Jin and Logan story?   She terrifies us!  From the very first sentence, the reader is plunged into a living nightmare.  It’s Jin at his most heartbreaking and horrific.  Jin has been stripped of everything he fought so hard and so long to have.  He’s alone, amnesiac, and heartsick, although he doesn’t know why.  No Logan, no family or friends or tribe.  Its chilling, and his panic and uncertainty  becomes ours from the outset.  And overtop of what Jin is feeling is the fact that we can imagine just what Logan and the others must be going through at Jin’s absence.  Above all, the question looms for Jin and us….what the hell happened to blow everything to bits?

That answer comes slowly and with great suspense.  Mary Calmes’ approach here is masterful.  It is suspenseful, gripping, and excruciating in the anticipation it creates along the way.  I loved it.  And when the reunion comes, the scene explodes with just the sort of power and emotion we have come to expect from this story and characters.  My heart was pounding along with Jin’s.  But it doesn’t stop there but just starts gather more strength and energy as the pieces start to fall into place and Jin’s memory  returns.  I went back and forth reading and rereading passages for the shear amazement and total enjoyment that brought to me as a reader and fan of this series.

What else did I love?  That the author brings her saga full  circle, back almost to the beginning and then launches it upward with new direction and hope for the future.  This story has all the elements I look forward to in a Change of Heart story and then some.  Calmes gave us more mythology  and also filled in some world building that was extremely practical and down to earth.  Things made sense at the end.  I found myself nodding “yes” at certain turning points and crosspaths in the narrative.

And it all made me want to go read it from the start all over again.  Which I am going to do.

What can I say?  I thought this was perfection.  It ended better than I hoped, with a smile and laughter and utter joy in all the characters and the new future ahead for them all.  Am I sorry its over?  Absolutely.  But did Mary Calmes give Jin, Logan, Yuri, and all the rest the ending they deserved? Without question.  Change of Heart remains a series close to my heart and Forging the Future is one of the Best of 2015!  I highly recommend this book and the entire series.  Now you must excuse me, I have a series to reread!

Cover art by Anne Cain is just perfection.  Perfect for the last cover in the series.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook & Paperback | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon    Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 180 pages
Expected publication: June 29th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781634763042
edition languageEnglish
seriesChange of Heart

Books in the Change of Heart series in the order they were written and should be read for character and plot development.

  • Change of Heart (Change of Heart, #1)
  • Trusted Bond (Change of Heart #2)
  • Honored Vow (Change of Heart, #3)
  • Crucible of Fate (Change of Heart, #4)
  • Forging the Future (Change of Heart, #5)