A MelanieM Review: Monster of the Week (The Rules #2) by F.T. Lukens

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

In the sequel to F.T. Lukens’ The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic, spring semester of Bridger Whitt’s senior year of high school is looking great. He has the perfect boyfriend, a stellar best friend, and an acceptance letter to college. Oh, he also has this incredible job: assistant to Pavel Chudinov, an intermediary tasked with helping cryptids navigate the modern world. His days are filled with kisses, laughs, pixies, and the occasional unicorn. Life is awesome.

But as graduation draws near, Bridger’s perfect life begins to unravel. Uncertainties about his future surface, his estranged dad shows up out of nowhere, and, perhaps worst of all, a monster-hunting television show arrives in town to investigate the series of strange events from last fall. The show’s intrepid host will not be deterred, and Bridger finds himself trapped in a game of cat and mouse that could very well put the myth world at risk. Again.

In F. T. Lukens’ novel, Monster of the Week, it’s the end of the senior year of high school for Bridger Whitt with all the anxiety, stress, and sheer anticipation that time of year brings to kids everywhere. For Bridger that means being in a new relationship with the popular sports star boyfriend, finishing his finals, dealing with prom and the yearbook quotes!  But that’s not enough, because for Bridger, it’s also about daily tasks like gathering unicorn poop for pixies. All  part of his job as a assistant to Pavel Chudinov, intermediary extraordinary to the non human realm that Bridger is  now a part of.

That realm and it’s beings actually form an unconventional “family” for Bridger, along with his  boyfriend Leo, and bestie Astrid,a support system Bridger will need if he’s to graduate and make it through to attend college next year.

I adore this story.  It’s a sequel to The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic but if you haven’t read that one, the author does a great job in  giving the reader all the pertinent information here so  you don’t feel like you have missed too much.  Except for all the joyful and scary goings on that is but that’s another story.

Here we are dealing with the end of senior year and that plenty scary enough.  Bridger is full of senioritis!  All the “what ifs”  are filling his brain and making him crazy.  The leaving behind, the fear of the future, the new boyfriend, the what will happens, ….everything!  And Lukens makes us remember ours while bringing Bridger’s freakout front and center in funny and heartbreaking ways.

Plus there’s his job and  there is always something wonderful and fundamentally hairraising going on there. This time it’s a cable TV show headed to town for an expose to film the residents about the events that happened in the previous story.  Things Bridger was in the middle of and no one wants exposed!

The pace is fast.  The writing is excellent and the characters amazing.  Lukens has gifted the readers with a story that resonates with genuine teenage feelings, sharp, sparking dialog, and in some truly heartrending moments, recognizable angst and family drama to empty many a tissue box.  Those scenes with his returned absentee dad?  Felt so authentic and sadly real.

As this is a true YA, the sex  scenes are non existent or left to the mild kissing.  Everything else happens “stage left” as it were.  And that’s perfect.

I’m hoping this isn’t the end for this gang and couple.  I would hate to see the end of Pavel, and Elena, the pixies, and the Unicorn.  More of Astrid and Luke, and even Bridger’s mom.  She’s hilarious.  And most definitely more of Bridger and Leo.

Because this ends on a HFN, as it should.  They are, afterall, teenagers.

But wouldn’t you like to know what comes next?  I certainly would.  Here’s hoping Lukens is listening.

Until then I highly recommend both stories in The Rules series.  Read them both.  They are quite remarkable!

Cover art is sassy and fun.  Love it.

Sales Links:  Interlude Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Expected publication: October 15th 2019 by Duet Books

Chris T. Kat on Reading Influences, Writing, and her new release ‘Alpha Unit One, New York’ (excerpt)

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Alpha Unit One, New York by Chris T. Kat

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art: Cate Ashwood

Sales Links:      Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Chris T. Kat here today talking about her reading influences and writing. Welcome, Chris.

♦︎

 

How my choice of teenage reading carried into my own writing

Thanks so much to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for having me on their blog. Dreamspinner Press published my new shapeshifter novella, Alpha Unit One, New York, on July 27th.

I’ve always preferred to read suspense books. During my childhood, these books were classified as adventure books, like The Famous Five. During my teenage years, I discovered the horror / supernatural genre, which was en vogue at that time. So I started reading Stephen King, Dean Koontz, etc. To this day, I still read pretty much every book written by Dean Koontz because I simply adore his writing.

For a while, I read a lot of thrillers—either “normal” thrillers, medical thrillers or supernatural thrillers. It didn’t really matter as long as the book was suspenseful. I’m the same with movies—I love action movies the most. 😉

Then there came the time when I became a mother. Suddenly my choice of books started to change. The suspense books became too much, especially when something bad happened to the children characters in the book. After some searching and finally discovering the m/m genre, I found my new perfect reading experience. While I still prefer suspense books, I also want to have the romance.

As for my own writing, I started as a fan fiction writer in the House MD fandom and believed that only romance stories would do. Soon enough I realized that yes, writing romance is fine, but something was missing. So I dipped into the supernatural and suspense world and that was it. I prefer writing stories with a romantic part but I love writing action scenes. When, for example, I wrote Breeding Stations, which is a science fiction story, I had the most fun to that day in my writing career. In Alpha Unit One, New York, I was able to merge romance, suspense, and cuteness into one single story and had a blast writing. I hope you’ll enjoy it too!

Blurb:

The cat’s out of the bag….

In a world that accepts shifters as normal and thinks nothing of human/shifter couples, baby shifters and small shifters are treated as subpar. They are not allowed into the more dangerous professions, and their mates have legal control over what they can and cannot do.

Nicholas Reed is about to challenge the established rules. At twenty-eight, Nick has just been accepted into New York’s Alpha Unit One—an elite law enforcement team, composed equally of humans and shifters, that specializes in drug crimes. It is Nick’s dream job. But if they find out what he’s hiding, his career could be destroyed.

Enter a huge complication in the form of Sam Black, an older lion shifter who is the leader of the unit… and Nick’s mate. Nick wants Sam, and he wants to keep his job, but he can’t have them both. He also can’t choose between them.

Excerpt from Chapter One:

Annoyed at my jumbled thoughts and ramblings, I tried to push everything aside and knocked at the door. A deep rumble called out, “Come in!”

For a second, my bravado faltered. What if they found out who I really was? All my hard work would be for nothing, then. No matter how good I was at my job, they’d kick me out before I could utter a single word. Guys like me weren’t supposed to become cops.

I pushed the door handle and walked inside, catching glimpses of a handful of people—mostly large people. That’s how it always was. Everyone had to be taller, bigger, meaner than me. It was like a law or something.

Oh boy, and there I went again with the rambling.

Seven pairs of eyes stared at me, waiting, assessing. After clearing my throat, I gave a small wave with the hand that still clutched the envelope.

“Hi,” I said. My voice came out soft and tentative. Screw that!

Putting more strength into my tone, I tried again. “I’m Nicholas Reed, your new colleague. I’m looking for Sam Black.”

A guy with short black hair, tinged with a few silver strands at his temples, unfolded from a chair. My nose informed me this was the guy who’d jostled me only a minute or so earlier.

Fuck, fuck, fuck! My boss was a lion shifter.

Okay, I could still do this. No stepping back, even though my inner voice screamed at me to leg it. How could I be so stupid as to want to associate with one of his kind?

Black strode toward me—or maybe I should say he swaggered—oozing self-confidence and… intoxicating pheromones. He smiled as he stretched out his hand. For a second, I got lost in his hazel eyes. All my defenses lowered at once. I wanted to rub my cheek against his in the worst way while my inner voice shrieked, filled with too many emotions for me to accurately compute.

I blinked, which effectively cleared my head. Bastard!

I knew what he was doing. He was checking to see if I’d fall for his pheromones and react so he could determine whether I was a shifter instead of a human. I ignored his hand, still held out there waiting for the obligatory shake, and sneered. “What? No conviction in the system?”

He dropped his hand and scowled. “Last guy who reeked of cologne as much as you do was no human. He fooled everyone, and he put the team in jeopardy.”

“So the guy was a shifter. What’s your problem with that?”

“Guy was a goddamn sheep, that’s my problem. First sign of trouble, he ran.” My new boss frowned suddenly. “How’d you pick up on what I was doing?”

Shit. That tiny inner voice yelled something unintelligible at me, but I’ve had years of practice ignoring it. “You sniffed the air, and let me tell you, it wasn’t subtle.”

A lanky man on my right threw a ballpoint pen onto his desk, laughing. “He’s got you there, Sam. Regarding your question about the shifter—that’s just how we roll here, kid. We don’t work with sheep or small shifters. They’re not dependable.”

“Then it’s your lucky day, since I’m simply human,” I stated, wishing I’d stop sweating so much.

Black circled me before his meaty hand landed on my neck. I stood stock-still as he swept my hair aside and whispered, “Then you won’t have a problem with me taking a whiff, right? You know, just to make sure you’re not another one of those lying idiots who could cost my team their lives.”

“Does that mean you’ve had trouble with imposters regularly?” I asked, curious even as a shiver crept down my spine. A huge beast sniffing at me tended to put the fear of God into me.

“Everyone wants to get on this team, but only a few are a good fit,” Black purred. “You’re sweating. Are you scared of what I’m going to find out, and what I’m going to do with you then?”

I had a pretty good idea what he’d do with me if he found out. “You’re sniffing at my neck, dude. Either you want to fuck me or bite me. Neither option sounds incredibly appealing.”

Chris T. Kat

Chris T. Kat stumbled upon the M/M genre by luck and was swiftly drawn into it. She divides her time between teaching, taking care of her family, reading, and sometimes writing. She enjoys a variety of genres, such as romance, paranormal, and suspense. She also buys way too many fabrics and spends a ridiculous amount of time behind her sewing machine.

Links:

blog: http://christikat.blogspot.com

e-mail: christi_kat25@yahoo.com