A MelanieM Review: Confetti, Cake & Confessions by K.C. Wells

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Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

Confetti, Cake and Confessions jpgIt’s been eight years since Tony Porter and Marc Powell moved into the same house and joined their families when their single parents moved in together. When Tony’s mother Marie and Marc’s father Dennis decide to finally get married, it should be a reason to celebrate and make merry.  But there’s an unknown problem.  Tony and his feelings for his step brother Marc.  Tony moved out of the house as soon as he recognized the feelings growing for Marc and now he is facing having to spend 2 weeks at home, in Marc’s constant presence, and he’s not sure how he is going to handle it.

Marc too is coming home from college and he has no idea that Tony has been in love with him since Marc was sixteen.  Their parents are depending upon the boys to make this time a special family celebration, and need them to help make it the best time for all.  But high emotions, secrets, and confusion have a way of coming out and two weeks is just long enough for that to happen.  Weddings are a time for confetti, cake, and, just maybe a few confessions.

The description and cover for K.C. Well’s story Confetti, Cake, & Confessions give the impression this is a frothy, fun story of misunderstandings and romance but I’m not sure that’s the story the readers get.   True, there are plenty of misunderstandings and romance here but the atmosphere is definitely not one of fun or froth!

Did I enjoy it?  Definitely many elements of it.  It’s very well written and the characters and their behavior are so fitting for young men of that age.  I recognized the truth of K.C. Wells’ characters.  The angst and confusion that occurs over some of the drama and “complications” that arise felt so familiar because I have had children just that age. Teens, or those just twenty, when all the emotions and feelings and obstacles loom so large, unmanageable, and  occasionally forbidding.   All that conveys beautifully within the story and yes, it does make Tony and Marc both understandably real and vulnerable.  However, it also felt frustratingly long and overcomplicated.  I know at points I just wanted to poke them and say “communication does wonders”.  That frame of mind does not readily give into the romance that is supposed to be taking place.  Realistic?  Yes.  Romantic?  No.  At least for me.

What did I think was so well done?  The self examination and doubt that comes with the road to acceptance and understanding of a young man’s sexuality. That plays out beautifully here.  At times, painful, confusing, a barrel of mixed up emotions that have to be figured out before any growth or movement can take place within the characters all felt absolutely believable.

There are other aspects of this story that other readers might have issue with.  The first being that Tony and Marc are step brothers.  This is not a case of incest as the young men are not related, not even by marriage until the end.  But those readers who look at the most strict definition of family will be bothered by the close familial ties.  That didn’t bother me.  Marc and Tony had only lived together for eight years, not all of their lives and Marc’s dad is still alive.  What else might  bother some readers?  The age of Marc and Tony.  Again, while not quite Romeo and Juliet’s age, I found this aspect of the plot to be spot on.  Remember when you first started having feelings for someone else?  Fifteen and sixteen isn’t unusual to start thinking about sexuality and who you are attracted to.  K.C. Wells does a wonderful job of treating this element with sensitivity and restraint.

I think it all came down to the ending that felt a little unrealistic for me.  It felt rushed and perhaps too simple for all that went before to have it so easily resolved.  Then again, others may be cheering and thinking that’s the best part of Confetti, Cake & Confessions.  This story can go so many ways with so many different types of readers, depending upon their outlook on family and age, that it is hard to predict where its audience lies.   Some readers will adore this story, others not so much.   To those fans of K.C. Wells, I think you will enjoy this.  For all other readers, think about the story content and decide for yourself.

Cover art by Meredith Russell, whose lovely design and models make you want to reach out and grab up this story.

Sales Links:        All Romance eBooks  (ARe)       amazon   Confetti, Cake & Confessions

 Book Details:

ebook, 180 pages
Published September 29th 2014 by Island Tales press
edition languageEnglish
urlhttps://www.facebook.com/IslandTalesPress

A MelanieM Review: Last Marine Standing (Heroes #2) by R.J. Scott

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

When the people you trusted turn on you, when you are the last one standing, should you take your secrets to the grave? Or make the murderers pay?

Last Marine Standing coverJapan 2004.   Marine Recon Mackenzie ‘Mac’ Jackson and his team are sent in to rescue two kidnapped children of a Congressman.  It was a horrifying mission that was to have a lasting impact  on Mac and  Samuel Larson , one of two siblings held captive.  Now ten years later, both men are dramatically different, changed forever in ways neither could have anticipated.

Mac Jackson is now a former Marine having been discharged on a disability.  His former team has been deactivated, with one dead from a mission gone wrong. Mac is in hiding, from himself and the world around him.  Until it appears that someone high up in the government is targeting the remaining members of his team.

Samuel Larson is now a park ranger, a surefire way to remove himself from his father’s world and influence.  But Sam has never forgotten the man who saved him and saw  him through the worst time of his young life.  When his best friend Aiden and his Marine lover, Viktor, finally look to have their HEA, Sam realizes that he needs to find the man who means so much to him and tell him so. But Sam never expects a simple journey to say thank you to turn into a mission of danger and deceit.  Once more its up to Mac to keep not only Sam safe and alive, but himself as well.  As the bullets fly, Mac’s inner barriers fall.  Now only if they can survive to see if they can have their own HEA.

When I got my first glimpse of RJ Scott’s Samuel Larson in A Reason to Stay (Heroes #1), he was a character that left little impression upon me.  Aiden’s best friend and all around good guy, Sam came off as bland.  Kind, a friend with benefits sort of to Aiden, Sam felt more like a “filler” character than one necessary for the story.  But RJ Scott had plans for Sam, ones that included an horrific event from his past that would help explain the man we met in the first Heroes book.

Without revealing too much detail, Sam and his sister were kidnapped by terrorists overseas, a horrific event made all the more heinous by Sam’s treatment by his captors.  The first part of Last Marine Standing takes place in Japan, the year 2004.  Mac’s Recon team is about to rescue  Sam and his 14 year old sister.  RJ Scott makes the reader feel every moment of this heart-stopping and heartbreaking event.  Using spare prose and tightly woven scenes of action, the mission jumps to life as does the aftermath as it falls so differently upon the rescued teens.  Trust me when I say these pages have staying power.   So much so that its easy to understand Sam and the man he has become when the narrative picks up ten years later in August 2014.

The contrast between the adolescent Sam and the mature Sam sees a young man who needs to put certain parts of his past behind him. That includes finally telling the men who saved him, one Marine in particular, thank you.  Far from the bland, undisturbed surface individual we saw in Heroes #1, this Sam has a large, complicated inner life.  It makes him likable, accessible, and vulnerable.

The man he is searching for is far more wounded, complex and haunted than Sam could ever expect.  Former Marine Recon Mackenzie ‘Mac’ Jackson is a man on the run.  A secret mission cost Mac everything. The wounds he incurred disabled him, releasing him from the Marines, a life he loved. It also cost Mac his fellow Marines, friends who were also his family.  Now secret messages from his former team members are warning him that his life is about to change once more.  Skillfully,  Scott leads us through the complexities of Mac’s past, his memories and feelings, to the uncertainties and mystery that is Mac’s present.  Mac’s honorable Marine is someone the reader connects with immediately.   And the ten years that pass only add to his attraction and strength of personality.

The strong past connection between Sam and Mac is necessary to believe in the pull and depth of their feelings for each other.  Add to that the suspense and action that gives each scene a charged atmosphere of danger and uncertainty, then the heat of their attraction to each other needs no explanation. I loved their burgeoning romance and their need for each other is hot, hot, hot!

I thought the first book in the Heroes series was wonderful, but Last Marine Standing has taken its place as my favorite.  I loved these characters,   the other Marines and the surrounding people and places that make this so memorable.  You could read this as a stand alone but it adds so much to read the stories in the order they were written.  There is another Heroes book on the horizon, Deacon’s Law (Heroes #3) out in January 2015, which sees a return to the Sanctuary universe (ok, its one we never ever truly leave or want to). I can’t wait to see what angst,  action, and, of course, romance  R.J. Scott has in store for us there.

While we are waiting, pick up Last Marine Standing, an action filled, heart stopping tale of love and suspense.   I think you will love it as much as I do.  I highly recommend it and the first story in the Heroes series.  Happy Reading!

Cover artist Meredith Russell does her usual terrific job of capturing the characters and bits of storyline.

Sales Link:   Love Lane Books   All Romance (ARe)  amazon Last Marine Standing

Book Details:

ebook, 211 pages
Published October 8th 2014 by Love Lane Books (first published October 6th 2014)
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://rjscottauthor.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/SEALHeroes2.html
seriesHeroes #2

Heroes Series in the order they were written:

A Reason To Stay (Heroes #1)
Last Marine Standing (Heroes #2)
Deacon’s Law (Heroes, #3) to be released January 2015 from Love Lane Books

A Reason To Stay Heroes 1 coverLast Marine Standing coverDeacon's Law Heroes 3 cover