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

Standard

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