Tag Archives: Military

TWO 5 and 4.5 Stars for Everything Changes by Melanie Hansen (Guest Post)- #MM #Military #Amputee @MelJoyAZ

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Title: Everything Changes
Author Name: Melanie Hansen
Publication Date & Length: March 13, 2015 – 68,029 Words

Synopsis

Former Marine and lower-leg amputee Carey Everett keeps a grueling schedule of counseling fellow war veterans and their families. The injury he received in Afghanistan forces him to rely on a reserve of strength he didn’t even know he had. A much deserved vacation will let him reconnect with his best friend, who saved his life and has been there for him through devastating injury and painful recovery.

Part-time EMT and aspiring singer Jase DeSantis has been in love with Carey for years, but he’s come to accept that his straight friend will never be able to offer more. Jase fills his days with band rehearsals, ambulance shifts, and willing groupies, all while trying to cope with debilitating PTSD.

A week of sun, fun, and music in San Diego changes Jase and Carey’s lives forever when their relationship takes an unexpected turn. Jase has been longing for that change, but it leaves Carey reeling with confusion. As Jase fights to hold things together, Carey deals with doubts, fears, and his own preconceived notions about labels and the true nature of love.

Review

FiveStars
This is my first novel by Melanie Hansen, and I have to say the Prologue grabbed my attention.
This was one of the most profound, heart-wrenching, gut-wrenching, and beautiful journey’s I have read and I read a lot!!!!
Jase and Carey met and became friends when they were officers in the Army. Jase was a medic and when Carey was wounded, Jase saved his life, and the feelings Jase had for his friend were forever, and deeply embedded in his heart. Carey was indebted to Jase but he also wanted to forget everything that happened during the War. They remained friends but it was strained…until Carey decides to take a visit to Jase, in San Diego. And what ensues is a panty-melting page turning seduction that will leave you flushed and breathless. *fans self* Phew!!!
Melanie Hansen has an incredible way of describing so many gut-wrenching and heart-felt moments, you will sob out loud without even realising it, and not care either. I would suggest not reading this in public as the emotions won’t be contained.
Both have very difficult inner battles to overcome. The war did not leave them unscathed. But with each by their side, the battle doesn’t feel so lonely…. Sigh. I devoured this in one sitting, one morning actually, could not put it down!!! That is all I got, and if you are getting the impression that I loved this author, and the story is a MUST READ, then I said enough.
Reviewer: Kimberley
FiveStars

This is truly a beautiful piece of writing.   The enduring friendship between Marine Corey and Medic Jase is forged in the heat of an Afghanistan warzone.  The men are inseparable on deployment until a tragedy leaves Corey badly injured and Jase trying desperately to save his life even if he can’t save his leg.

Both men return from the war deeply damaged, but their friendship is immutable.  What Jase never tells Corey is how much he truly loves his straight best friend.

Hansen’s elegant prose elevates this book beyond the average wounded warrior story.    Her characters are complex and fully developed.  Hansen never shies away from the realities of war or underestimates the strain of civillian life on former servicemen and women.  Her plot drags readers back and forth in time until we have no hope but to fall madly, deeply in love with both of her captivating leading men.

A character in the story explains that “the best kind of love is friendship that has caught fire.”

Hansen captures this love with sensual, sumptuous language.  Corey’s growing awareness of Jase sexually is delectably slow.  The chemistry between Jase and Corey is explosive, delivering moments of almost unbearable desire.   The slow burn attraction between two men who have loved each other for a very long time is painfully sexy.

Highly recommended.

Sarah

FourandHalfStars

Jase and Carey are kind of an odd couple. They had such a close connection while in the army – so close, that they stayed connected even after the tragedy that is war touched their lives.

Carey seems to hold all of his emotions in side. He hides himself away. Hints from his past creep in to the story and the reader can then guess as to why Carey is the way he is. His character was a hard nut to crack – despite his inner dialogue, he was very frustrating at times. I wanted to hit him over the head to get him to really see how he was living.

Jase is much more free spirited. He is much more go with the flow. However, even with that attitude, he was not unaffected by the war and he has his own demons to overcome.

Despite years of loving each other, neither was able to express that love for quite some time. The story of their love is a struggle – it is filled with years of meaningless encounters with other people, sometimes with each character floating through their life, not really living. While I thought the story was slow at times, I really liked how Hansen brought it all together.

One quote that really hit home was “Just give me one more day. And if that’s all you have to give me, it just today, I’ll take it.” I think that is a great way to get through rough times. This story was about survival, love, finding yourself and finding happiness even among the broken pieces of your life. Today is not tomorrow, nor is it yesterday and these characters were able to live in the moment. So many times, people are not able to do that.

So, this story was touching, hopeful and romantic.

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Excerpt

“You keep looking at me like that, this ain’t gonna last long,” Jase growled. Carey smirked, then twirled his finger in a turn-around motion.

“I feel like a piece of meat,” Jase grumbled good-naturedly, but turned in a slow circle. Carey’s mouth watered as he took in Jase’s broad shoulders and muscular back, tapering in a perfect V into slim hips and high, round buttocks. Carey was a little bemused at how looking at another man’s body was revving him up, but it was. It was just… Jase. Carey already knew how beautiful he was on the inside; now he knew how stunning he was on the outside too.

Using his support leg and his arms, he pulled himself to the edge of the bed and sat up, crooking his finger “Come here.”

Jase’s eyes flared hot, and he took the few steps necessary to reach the edge of the bed. Carey reached up slowly and moved his hands onto Jase’s hips, stroking over the hipbones lightly before tugging him forward to stand between his legs.

“I just want to touch you,” he said hoarsely. “Is that okay?”

Jase smoothed Carey’s hair back from his forehead, his fingertips achingly gentle. “Touch me,” he said

AuthorInterview

One of my characters in Everything Changes, Carey Everett, is an amputee due to an injury he suffered in Afghanistan.  The surgery he received to remove his damaged leg is called a transtibial amputation, which means below the knee.  Carey is fortunate in that respect since transfemoral, or above the knee, amputations are more complicated and prosthetic fittings more difficult.  With a transfemoral amputation, an artificial knee is required so the recovery time and mastering the range of motion takes longer.

Prosthetic comes from the Greek word meaning “addition.”  The oldest prosthetic discovered in history was on the mummy of an Egyptian noblewoman dating back 3,000 years ago.  It was a prosthetic toe made of wood and leather and was fully articulated, meaning it could bend and move exactly like a real toe.

Carey wears a prosthetic made of a blend of lightweight plastic, carbon fiber and titanium.  He attaches it to his residual leg, or stump, with a suction socket.  When he dons, or puts on, his prosthetic, he bears down until air is expelled through a one-way valve and a vacuum seal forms.  When he doffs it, or takes it off, he opens the valve to expel the air and break the seal.

Fitting for a prosthetic is a long, arduous process since an amputee’s residual leg is constantly changing due to swelling or shrinkage.  Physical therapy is painful and involved.  Carey was already dealing with a traumatic and life-changing injury, and adjusting to and learning to walk again with an artificial leg was emotionally and physically draining.  Jase’s support and care during this time made all the difference to Carey’s recovery, and it cemented the existing emotional bond between them which eventually turned to love.

AuthorBio

Melanie Hansen has spent time in both Texas and Florida prisons…for work.   She’s been in a room with a 17-year-old mass murderer who was also one of the most soft-spoken and polite teenagers she’s ever met.  After a 13-year career as a court reporter, she can tell many stories both hilarious and heartbreaking.

She grew up with an Air Force dad, and ended up marrying a Navy man.  After living and working all over the country, she hopes to bring these rich and varied life experiences to her stories about people finding love amidst real-life struggles.

Melanie left the stressful world of the courtroom behind and now enjoys a rewarding career transcribing for a deaf student.  She currently lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons.

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4 and 3 Stars for His Soldier by Anna Lee #MM #Erotic #Military @annalee59

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Title: His Soldier
Author Name: Anna Lee
Publication Date & Length: March 6, 2015 – 200 pgs

Synopsis

Sometimes you find love where you least expect it, for Sergeant Ryder Brooks that’s writing letters home to Dean Anders, his army pen pal…

After a tragedy, in a way to honor his brother and try to cope, Dean becomes a army pen pal to Sergeant Ryder Brooks. The two connect through letters and phone calls for a year, falling in love and making plans to meet when Ryder finishes his tour. However, in an effort to save one of his men who steps on a mine, Ryder loses his leg. Broken and depressed, he doesn’t think Dean will want him. But once Dean learns what happens, he immediately goes to Ryder, determined to help him heal and show him that he loves him no matter what. Ryder has a long road of recovery ahead of him, but with Dean’s support, he realizes his life isn’t over, it’s just beginning if he’ll only give them a chance.

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Review

FourStars

This was a wondering story. It has pain, loss, but it also has happiness and hope. We all know that when a soldier comes home, sometimes they come home to a different type of fight, but not any less important.
I loved the relationship that Ryder and Dean embark on. Their long-distance letters bring both peace and hope to lives that were both damaged by war.
I really wanted to hug Joel every time he was mentioned in this story. He was supportive, open-minded and grateful. Not only did he witness what true friendship was, he also demonstrated it right back. The friendship is one that will withstand anything.
I wanted to boot Bentley in the rear each time he was mentioned. It is asking too much of anyone to hide any type of relationship – to not allow his friends to be who they are. Bentley was someone who never was going to learn that lesson and the fact that he tried to hurt both Ryder and Dean, that he had no redeeming qualities, I could have done without him in the book.
Finally, I LOVED Dean’s family. When I say family, I mean those he surrounds himself with. DNA does not make your family. It was so awesome that Dax was his friend – so often people have no where to turn.
I really enjoyed this book
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ThreeStar

This book had me crying from the second page.  If you’re a fan of Nicholas Sparks or John Green, you will enjoy this raw, emotional story.

When Dean loses his brother in Afghanistan, he signs up to offer pen-pal support to another deployed soldier.

Ryder is a sergeant deployed in Afghanistan.  When Dean’s first letter arrives, Ryder is lonely and experiencing huge stress.  But Dean’s letters start to quickly make Ryder’s life just a little bit better.

The two men write and talk over the course of Ryder’s deployment.  After nearly a year, they are close and looking forward to Ryder’s return.  When Ryder loses his leg in a last minute act of heroism, plans change.

Ryder needs rehabilitation and emotional support when he returns and he doesn’t want to make demands on a man he’s never actually met.   Both men struggle with relationships and and neither man trusts easily.

I really loved the premise of this book, but the execution was slightly clunky.  The book needs a final grammar and punctuation edit.  The developing emotional bond between the two men was at times overshadowed by a series of complex sub-plots and discussions that seemed to repetitively re-hash the same topics.  There were obvious reasons for the sex scenes being delayed and tentative, but it was difficult to sense any real heat in the bedroom scenes that were included.  Supporting characters, like Beth, Joel and Jessie were well developed, but more villainous characters were pretty one dimensional.

But still, the men are sweet and their emerging relationship is charming.  The story of loss and new hope is gentle and tender.

Ultimately, Anna Lee definitely knows how to pull at heart strings.  You will need a box of tissues, a glass of wine and a tub of Ben and Jerry’s for this one.

Sarah

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Excerpt

Hey Ryder,

So, uh, I’ve never really done this. I mean I had a pen pal when I was, like, eight, and I waited for the mailman every day to see what Skylar would say about kangaroos in Australia. Everything is so techy now, you know, email, texts, and written letters are rare. I guess that was part of the appeal—this just feels more important taking the time to write by hand. And you deserve that.

The reason I decided to become a pen pal is I recently lost my brother and, well, I thought in his memory I’d do more to give back and find ways to support guys like him going through hell over there and fighting for our country. I want to say thanks, and I honestly do admire you. I don’t think I could do it. I’m a creature of comfort and complain ridiculously when it’s hot.

Anyway, I keep going on about me. Thanks for everything you’re doing. I hope you’re staying safe. I’m sure you got a lot going on so if I don’t hear from you it’s okay. I just wanted to let you know I’m thinking of you and wishing you a safe journey home.

Take care,

Dean

AuthorBio

Anna Lee graduated from the University of California Riverside with a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing. Living with a disability, she has overcome many challenges and puts her passion for life and love into her writing. She lives with her family and dogs and enjoys writing late into the night. When she isn’t writing, Anna enjoys spending time with her nieces and nephew or chatting with her friends about her favorite books and TV shows.

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Cover Reveal for Everything Changes by Melanie Hansen – #MM #Military #Amputee @MelJoyAZ

SMeverythingchanges-DSP

Title: Everything Changes
Author Name: Melanie Hansen
Publication Date & Length: March 13, 2015 – 68,029 Words

Synopsis

Former Marine and lower-leg amputee Carey Everett keeps a grueling schedule of counseling fellow war veterans and their families. The injury he received in Afghanistan forces him to rely on a reserve of strength he didn’t even know he had. A much deserved vacation will let him reconnect with his best friend, who saved his life and has been there for him through devastating injury and painful recovery.

Part-time EMT and aspiring singer Jase DeSantis has been in love with Carey for years, but he’s come to accept that his straight friend will never be able to offer more. Jase fills his days with band rehearsals, ambulance shifts, and willing groupies, all while trying to cope with debilitating PTSD.

A week of sun, fun, and music in San Diego changes Jase and Carey’s lives forever when their relationship takes an unexpected turn. Jase has been longing for that change, but it leaves Carey reeling with confusion. As Jase fights to hold things together, Carey deals with doubts, fears, and his own preconceived notions about labels and the true nature of love.

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Teaser

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Excerpt

“You keep looking at me like that, this ain’t gonna last long,” Jase growled. Carey smirked, then twirled his finger in a turn-around motion.

“I feel like a piece of meat,” Jase grumbled good-naturedly, but turned in a slow circle. Carey’s mouth watered as he took in Jase’s broad shoulders and muscular back, tapering in a perfect V into slim hips and high, round buttocks. Carey was a little bemused at how looking at another man’s body was revving him up, but it was. It was just… Jase. Carey already knew how beautiful he was on the inside; now he knew how stunning he was on the outside too.

Using his support leg and his arms, he pulled himself to the edge of the bed and sat up, crooking his finger “Come here.”

Jase’s eyes flared hot, and he took the few steps necessary to reach the edge of the bed. Carey reached up slowly and moved his hands onto Jase’s hips, stroking over the hipbones lightly before tugging him forward to stand between his legs.

“I just want to touch you,” he said hoarsely. “Is that okay?”

Jase smoothed Carey’s hair back from his forehead, his fingertips achingly gentle. “Touch me,” he said

AuthorBio

Melanie Hansen has spent time in both Texas and Florida prisons…for work.   She’s been in a room with a 17-year-old mass murderer who was also one of the most soft-spoken and polite teenagers she’s ever met.  After a 13-year career as a court reporter, she can tell many stories both hilarious and heartbreaking.

She grew up with an Air Force dad, and ended up marrying a Navy man.  After living and working all over the country, she hopes to bring these rich and varied life experiences to her stories about people finding love amidst real-life struggles.

Melanie left the stressful world of the courtroom behind and now enjoys a rewarding career transcribing for a deaf student.  She currently lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons.

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3 Stars for Desert Heat by Lucy Felthouse – #MM #Military #Romance

1.3

Title: Desert Heat
Author Name: Lucy Felthouse
Publication Date & Length: January 29, 2015 – 59pgs

Synopsis

Their love is forbidden by rules, religion and risk. Yet still they can’t resist.

Captain Hugh Wilkes is on his last tour of duty in Afghanistan. The British Army is withdrawing, and Wilkes expects his posting to be event-free. That is, until he meets his Afghan interpreter, Rustam Balkhi, who awakens desires in Wilkes that he’d almost forgotten about, and that won’t be ignored.

Please note: this book was previously published as part of the Unconditional Surrender bundle.

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Review

ThreeStar

To me this story felt like two different stories combined even though it is very short. You have the romance side and then you have the military side. While the military side was fairly accurate, it was kind of cut and dry, even for someone with a military background. I didn’t find much to keep me wanting to find out what happens, except for with the romance.
How could these two men have anything happen between them? That is what kept me reading. Then when it does happen, it was almost like a man and a woman, not two men together. My turn, then your turn. It wasn’t like either actually enjoyed being on the receiving end, which made it awkward to read. There didn’t seem to be a whole lot of emotions or feelings until there was the expression of love, which was completely an insta-love situation as they didn’t even know each other outside of the military situations and the between the sheets action.
Altogether it wasn’t terrible though, I just wish it’d felt smoother from the transition of military parts to romance and getting to know each other (or not had the love thrown in and just made it a way to relieve stress or something that route).
Renee

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AuthorBio

Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over 100 publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include several editions of Best Bondage Erotica, Best Women’s Erotica 2013 and Best Erotic Romance 2014. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and co-edited a number of anthologies, and also edits for a small publishing house. She owns Erotica For All, is book editor for Cliterati, and is one eighth of The Brit Babes.

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TWO 4.5 Stars for Dead Shot by Erk Shubach – #FF #Military @erikschubach

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Title: Dead Shot (Music of The Soul #13)
Author Name: Erik Schubach
Publication Date & Length: December 18, 2014 – 143pgs

Synopsis

McKenzie is a soldier and her girlfriend, Katie, is a contractor with the United Nations peacekeeping force. McKenzie’s squad has named her Dead Shot for her uncanny ability with weapons.

When her unit is ambushed, will her skills be enough?

This is set in the same world as Music of the Soul but is a standalone book.

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Review

FourandHalfStars

Kenzi is my favorite kind of hero. She is not only one of the best she is humble about it. I love that she doesn’t care if someone insults her, as long as they don’t insult her country. Her whit and personality make her easy to fall in love with.
I like Katie because of her compassion. She is also a hero in her own right only behind the scenes. I love that she is willing to bend the rules when she thinks it will help.
This is a great read especially if you enjoy military/action books with a touch of romance and a lot of loyalty. Their loyalty to there country as well as each other is truly amazing. I was drawn in from the first paragraph, and the twist and turns from heartbreaking to happy makes it a page turner you won’t want to put down.

Amber

FourandHalfStars

There are typos in this book but not so glaring that it took away from the experience of reading this stand-alone book in the Music of the Soul world.

I really liked the lead characters, McKenzie and Katie. I did not have any backstory on these characters but the flashbacks filled in the blanks. I do plan on reading the other books in the series as I really did enjoy this book.

Schubach used his vivid imagination to get McKenzie and Katie together. McKenzie had never seen Katie, only heard her voice and known her as Valkyrie One. She is the one that would help her team see hostiles before they saw them and had done so for 5 years. McKenzie hears her when she is in a bar. And, of course, it is love at first sight.

I have never been in a combat situation, however, when I read about McKenzie and her team dealing with hostiles, I could get a sense of how a situation like that might unfold and a death toll could stack up.

I could feel McKenzie’s heartache as she felt she let down the members of her squad when some of them were gunned down. They were in a sense part of her family. It was clear the way she was felt about them and they felt the same about her.

Despite the typos, Schubach will draw you quickly into the world of McKenzie and her team and Katie.  Not to mention, will make you cry!

Angela

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AuthorBio

Website:
http://erikschubachauthor.blogspot.com/

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https://twitter.com/erikschubach

Facebook Page:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Erik-Schubach-Author/438534946240951

5 Stars for Falling Slowly by Lila Bruce – #FF #Military

Two beautiful girls in the background of spruce forest

Title: Falling Slowly
Author Name: Lila Bruce
Publication Date & Length: November 12, 2014 – 110pgs

Synopsis

Badly wounded in Afghanistan when the helicopter she is piloting goes down under enemy fire, Captain Quinn Briscoe is struggling to rebuild her life. Facing not only a disfiguring injury, but a medical discharge and the end of a serious relationship, Quinn increasingly shuts herself—and her heart—off from the rest of the world. Her first meeting with lovely, self-confident and successful business owner Alison Jenkins is disastrous, and Quinn feels an instant antipathy for the woman, along with an undeniable attraction.
Trying to get along for the sake of her sister Rebekah, who’s gone to work for Allie, Quinn offers to fly the attractive boutique owner to a family wedding. However, what should have been a quick one day trip to the mountains of North Carolina suddenly turns into a long weekend at a romantic lodge. When a series of circumstances makes it increasingly clear that Quinn won’t be able to deny the growing passion between them much longer, will she be able to put the scars of the past aside to build a relationship with Allie worth fighting for?

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Review

FiveStars

First off I absolutely love the cover of this book. It’s stunning. And it’s fitting for Quinn and her history with the military and as a helicopter pilot.
The dynamics between Quinn and Allie are great. They start off on the wrong foot, and then another wrong foot and finally they get on the same page and things turn much smoother for the pair.
I really enjoyed watching Quinn get over the scars her ex caused her while Allie learned that Quinn wasn’t what she first appeared to be. Both had a lot to learn about each other, but somehow made it happen in this short novel.
It was great, a few steamy scenes toward the end to go along with the growing and changing relationship added a nice touch to a pretty well rounded story.
Renee

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AuthorBio

Lila Bruce lives in the North Georgia Mountains, where the air is sweet and the summers are hot. When not writing, she spends her time adding to her ever-growing pack of basset hounds and dreaming of being able one day to leave behind her evil day job.

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3.5 Stars for In His Sights by D.D. Symms – #MM #Military @ddsymms

In His Sights

Title: In His Sights
Author Name: D.D. Symms
Publication Date: November 21, 2014

Synopsis

Wounds on the inside can be the hardest to heal. Dalton Blake takes responsibility for the death of his comrade and lover when a roadside bomb explodes in Afghanistan.

Back in the states, and preparing to end his military service, Dalton withdraws from society and is prepared to face a new life alone. A perceptive captain on the base notices the pain and tries to find a way to Dalton’s heart and soul.

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Review

ThreeandHalfStars

This was a very quick read. I really enjoyed the characters. Bruce and Dalton are both healing from loss. They find part of their souls within each other, because they both have been wandering around for a while without that piece of themselves.

Symms wrote a sad story that gave hope to the reader. Hope for more for each of these characters – Hope that they would find themselves again and not simply exist. I think Symms does that in this story. Symms allows the characters the find new life in a new friendship/relationship.

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Writing has been a theme in my life. It’s usually been shorter works and corporate writing.

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