A MelanieM Release Day Review: Micah Johnson Goes West (Get Out #2) by Sean Kennedy

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Sequel to The Ongoing Reformation of Micah Johnson

On the outside, Micah Johnson seems to have everything. He is proving his worth on the field during his rookie year with his new professional football team, the Fremantle Dockers, but his personal life is a mess. Homesick, three thousand kilometres away from his family and friends on the other side of Australia, Micah isn’t coping. He’s using casual sex, alcohol, and drugs as crutches since he doesn’t feel comfortable approaching his foster family with his problems, and he’s left with nowhere to turn. It isn’t until he experiences a health scare and a friend is rocked by a personal tragedy that Micah realises he does have the strength to succeed at a new life in the West—but he has to learn to ask for help.

Sean Kennedy is a must go author for me.  He become one on the strength of his wonderful series Tigers and Devils. Its from that series that the complicated and sometimes self-destructive Micah Johnson sprang.  He was a compelling character in Tigers on the Run (Tigers and Devils #3) so it was amazing (and overjoyed Kennedy’s readers when he brought him back in the Get Out series.

What can I say?  Use every cliche you want but this series and character just keep getting better and better!  Micah Johnson’s propensity for trouble begins early in Tigers and Devils and stays with him all through the first two stories in Get Out.  But these things that steer him towards a predilection for self-destructive habits are ones I think  most people will recognize.  The ability to believe you can handle things yourself…until they blow up, closing yourself off from people who want to help you until its too late…and you’re a teenager to boot.   When he finally realizes he needs help?  Well, you are almost weeping for joy for him and those that love and support him.  Those are just the first couple of books you meet him in.

Then comes Micah Johnson Goes West (Get Out #2).  Micah’s world gets upended…again.  In a totally believable way.  The football draft!  And Micah gets all his worst fears and the best thing to ever happen to him all in one.

Sean Kennedy’s writing is just amazing.  I get lost in Micah’s story immediately.  Lost in his turmoil of emotions and the whirlwind of feelings whipping all around him.  Plus the author never loses sight of what’s happening to Micah’s all important support…his family, friends, and mentors, which include Dec and Simon from Tigers and Devils (yes, a wonderful series overflow occurs).

We also travel from Melbourne to Perth, a shock to the  system as well, in location and perhaps even in mentality.  Smaller, hot, isolated, the relocation to Perth is a shock to Micah’s system in every sense of the word.  Kennedy, however, supplied Micah with an incredible host family and mentor, a troubled younger brother Dane  to the host football player (an important part of this story) and a greater secondary cast to draw on for the next stories. The Mitchell household (Micah’s football foster family as it were) provides a wealth of storylines and  emotional support for everyone here.  Trust you, you will end up falling deeply in love with them as well. And don’t get me started on the Dockers organization and team! Loved them!

See?  One thing just leads to one more element but Kennedy ties them all together so perfectly, so naturally that the relationships, the work that it takes, the missed steps and yes, the forgiveness…well, it all seems right and very real.  And it made me want to get a jersey with Micah Johnson’s name and number on it!

Can you read it as a standalone?  I suppose so.  But read as part of this series and as even part of Tigers and Devils, you put the characters and their situations in context.  Its then becomes this incredible rich tapestry of lives, sports and cities that stays seated deep within your heart and continues to grow in scope with each story the author writes.  I need more of this series and as soon as possible.  So I hope Sean Kennedy is listening.

Oh and yes, I highly recommend this book, the previous book and Tigers and Devils.  So yes to the author too!

Cover art by Catt Ford is simple enough for Micah, the character. Would have loved some element of the Dockers there.

Sales Links  Harmony Ink Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 186 pages
Published April 4th 2017 by Harmony Ink Press
ISBN 1635333644 (ISBN13: 9781635333640)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series Get Out 

  • The Ongoing Reformation of Micah Johnson (Get Out #1)
  • Micah Johnson Goes West (Get Out, #2)

A MelanieM Review: Tigers on the Run (Tigers and Devils #3) by Sean Kennedy

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Rating:  5 out of 5 stars  ★★★★★

Tigers on the Run coverYoung Australian Micah Johnson is the first AFL player to be out at the beginning of his career. Retired professional football player Declan Tyler mentors Micah, but he finds it difficult, as Micah is prone to making poor life choices that land him in trouble. Nothing Dec can’t handle. He’s been there, done that, more times than he’d like to admit. Being Simon Murray’s partner all these years has Dec quite experienced in long-suffering and mishaps.

As usual, Simon thinks everything is going along just fine until his assistant, Coby, tells him a secret involving an old nemesis. Simon and Dec’s problems mash together, and to solve them, they must undertake a thousand-kilometer round trip in which issues will have to be sorted out, apologies are finally given, and a runaway kid is retrieved and returned to his worried parents.

Tigers on the Run by Sean Kennedy is the book I have been waiting for since I first read Tigers and Devils back in 2012.  Ever have a book just suck you in? One that kept you superglued to the story and the characters? That was Tigers and Devils. There I fell passionately, madly in love with Simon,  and Dec, plus their close friends Fran and Roger, Nyssa,  even, dare I say it  Jasper Brunswick (ok, more like a case of disgust with Jasper).   Sean Kennedy created a cast of funny, fallible, and plain out irresistible characters who moved through a story that was full of angst, humor, and the pain and rewards that come with taking risks to become the person you want to be and to be with the person who is your HEA.

Sean Kennedy followed that up with Tigerland (Tigers and Devils #2), a book I really liked (4 stars) but that was missing some indefinable spark, an element found in the original story.  Yes, the characters resolved some issues between them, Fran and Roger’s personal quest to have children was gripping and real, and all  showed growth as people and/or as a couple.  It’s a wonderful book but still…..

Now comes Tigers on the Run (Tigers and Devils #3) , a book I’ve already read twice!  And I can happily say, the magic is back!  I laughed, and cried, and laughed some more.  I marveled over the crispness and intelligence of the dialog,  nodded in recognition at certain events and the emotional fallout that enveloped everyone, and in general, had the time of my life.  I intend to read it again…soon.

Kennedy has used the structure of an Australian football game as the format for his narrative.  We open on Coin Toss, which takes us back years BD, or Before Declan as Simon calls it.  It functions as a small sketch of Simon’s start towards a larger family of friends and his relationship with Dec.  First chapter?  That’s First Quarter and it finds our snarky, irresistible narrator, Simon, now in his “gay golden years” as he calls it, also known as his thirties!  Simon and Dec are babysitting Roger and Fran’s twins and its prompting a ton of introspection in both, but mainly in Simon.  Dec wants kids.  Simon?  He’s just not sure.  That’s just one of the issues that plays out here in layers, parent/child relationships at all levels, including  if one of those children is a teenager  and not the most lovable one at that.

This is also a story of letting go, of putting  old issues to rest and finding a way to move forward, even if part of you stubbornly wants to resist the change that’s coming.  How human is that?  Needing to  hold onto old grudges, finding a way to forgive? Kennedy acknowledges these truths, makes it a vital, believable element of this story as well.  So many layers and all so beautifully woven into Tigers on the Run.  I love Sean Kennedy’s writing.  It’s fluid, it feels so natural and easy, two things hard to accomplish, and it pulls your heart and mind into the story from the beginning.

That’s important too.  The reader’s heart and mind.  I found myself appreciating how gorgeous some of the sentences and structure of Kennedy’s writing even as I was laughing until I was bent over as Simon, or Roger or even Fran was embarked on some shenanigans.  I could actually have just  quoted sentence after sentence but as good as those lines are separated from the narrative, they get stronger and smarter in context.  What a joy lies in discovering them as you go.

Old standing betrayals are reexamined, surprising new relationships are formed, and their “family” circle enlarges once more. And while that’s happening all  the characters are growing emotionally,  and intellectually.  Kennedy understands people and relationship dynamics, whether its between lovers or friends or even colleagues.  Most importantly, Kennedy knows how to write those relationships and changing dynamics in a way that brings these people to life.  We believe in them, we feel for them.   My connection to Simon, Dec, Colby, Roger and Fran (I adore these two), even Jasper is both deep and solid.   By the end of the story (yes, a terrific ending too), I never wanted to let go.  I’m hoping that the last paragraph is indicative of the fact that more is to come.  Fingers crossed, bribes being prepared.

I just went back to look for a quote to end this one and now I’m laughing again, caught up once more in the story.  Got to go, I have a story to reread.  Need a new book or three to love?  Pick up Tigers and Devils series from Sean Kennedy.  Start at the beginning of Simon and Dec’s relationship and then work your way through their lives, mishaps and love until you reach Tigers on the Run.  Its one of my Best of 2015.  After you have read it, you will understand why.

Cover art by Catt Ford.   It’s a cute cover but only partially reflective of the outstanding story within.

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

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 256 pages
Published July 13th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB011061AKG
edition languageEnglish
seriesTigers and Devils #3
characters: Simon Murray, Declan Tyler

Tigers and Devils Series stories in the order they were written and should be read: