Thursday, October 1, 2015

Book Tour for Signs of Life by Melanie Hansen (Review & GIVEAWAY)

As a fan of the m/m genre I'm thrilled to discover this new-to-me author and her intensely emotional tale of grief, loss, and moving on from the past.  Keep reading to get a tantalizing taste of Signs of Life by Melanie Hansen, the second installment in her Resilient Love series, along with my impressions of it.  Learn even more about this book by visiting the other sites hosting this tour and then add it to your bookshelf.  In honor of this powerful read make sure to fill out the form below for the chance to win a $50 Amazon GC too!

Successful lawyer Jeremy Speer has it all—a loving husband, a beautiful home, and a cherished dream that’s about to become reality. He’s learned not to take happiness for granted, meeting the challenges of life and love head-on with unwavering commitment and fierce devotion. A series of tragic events leave Jeremy shattered, adrift on a sea of unimaginable pain. He’s able to piece his life back together, but instead of embracing it, he merely exists, using isolation and punishing physical exertion to keep the world at bay.
High school teacher Kai Daniels has a heart for at-risk kids—he was one himself, and a teenage brush with the law and some troubled years behind bars left him scarred inside and out. With courage, hard work, and the support of friends, he’s built a fulfilling life that leaves no time for a relationship.
An intense encounter with Kai at a gay club ignites a spark in Jeremy that he thought was extinguished forever, but he’s unwilling to destroy the fragile peace he’s managed to create, and he leaves Kai humiliated and disappointed. Things should have ended there, but a bizarre occurrence brings the two together in a way neither of them expected.


Jeremy got as close as he could, the people massed around the bar making it difficult to get next to his target. The man looked Jeremy up and down leisurely, all the way to his feet and back up to his flushed and burning face; then he slowly spread his knees wide, making room for Jeremy between them. Jeremy moved in, feeling like he was strangling, his chest tight, the need to touch, kiss, lick and bite overwhelming him.
“Hey,” the man said, his voice deep and husky, lightly accented.
Jeremy swallowed, then nodded, all of his senses focused on the heat of the man’s body close to his, the way his legs looked splayed around Jeremy’s hips.
“Are you here with anyone?” he asked, annoyed at how abrupt his voice sounded. He wasn’t used to making small talk anymore, wasn’t used to the mating dance between strangers. It had been so easy with Brent: a backyard barbeque with friends, an introduction, mutual attraction and easy conversation leading to an invitation to dinner. They hadn’t spent more than a day or two apart after that.
The thought of Brent was like ice water on his ardor, and he could feel himself shutting down, wondering what the hell he was doing. Just as he was about to take a step back and leave, he felt the man settle his warm hands on his hips, stroking the skin between his shirt and the waistband of his jeans with a rough thumb.
“Just a friend,” the man said softly. Jeremy struggled to focus, remembering he’d just asked if he was here with anyone. The thumb caressing Jeremy’s sensitive skin was rough, callused, and it felt so good. It had been so long since he’d been touched….
Jeremy took a deep breath. He could do this… he wanted to do this. It was just fucking, just mutual pleasure with a willing stranger, a stranger he would never lay eyes on again. Purging his thoughts of anything except need, lust, he laid his hands high on the man’s splayed thighs, drawing circles with this thumbs along the inner seam of his jeans, flirting with his crotch but not quite touching.
“I want to fuck you,” Jeremy blurted, hating himself for his ineptness, his cheeks flushing hotter as the man’s amazing eyes filled with amusement.
“Yeah, I got that, amigo,” he said, tightening his grip on Jeremy’s hips to keep him from moving away. “And I want to let you.”





I'm a reader who's drawn to stories that put characters through the emotional wringer and Ms. Hansen has certainly done that here.  By taking her characters to the lowest depths of despair she builds them back up in a believable way that makes them even stronger and more admirable.  It's a gritty journey they take though, one with lots of tears and lots of regrets, but it's a very worthwhile one that has me ready for more as this unconventional family has more stories to tell.

Jeremy once had a happy life married to the love of his life with a baby on the way when tragedy struck sending him in a downward spiral of addiction, anger, and regrets that his long-time friend luckily rescued him from.  His return to the land of the living is an emotionally intense one with each step as painful as the last.  A torrid encounter outside a bar though is the pentultimate moment in his recovery as he and the delicious Kai forge a connection that slowly deepens as both men move beyond their pasts to make a future together.  Jeremy is a compelling character who doesn't always say or do the right thing.  Grief sometimes brings out the worst in him but his lashing out is understandable as the events that befell him were unimaginable.  His journey of healing was easy to relate to as his feelings were vividly depicted with emotions that were palpable.  Through the early stages of his story you could feel the weight of his pain, but meeting Kai brought him a lessening of that weight.  Their connection was crackling outside the bedroom while their sexual encounters were scorching and intense with the battling of demons leading to more sensual encounters later on.

Kai's life hasn't been easy either as his teen years were spent running with a gang which led to jail where he was emotionally, physically, and sexually assaulted.  It might've left him bruised but it made him stronger and set him on a path of betterment. He now works with problem youths with the interactions with these kids vividly portrayed and showing his caring side and understanding nature when it comes to abuse.  Kai's an admirable character who hasn't forgotten his roots which gives him a sexy bad boy vibe.  His professionalism in being a teacher also shines through to lend an air of refinement which makes his sexual encounters with Jeremy even hotter for this duality.  Kai's a heroic young man who's supportive and understanding and just what Jeremy needed to heal.

From start to finish this is an emotionally intense read with feelings vividly depicted that brings readers along for the journey.  Their pains easily become the readers and it makes for a compelling story that easily immerses you in their battle for a HEA.  Kai is larger than life though he's a quiet and thoughtful man, he's caring and goes out of his way to help others to make him the quintessential hero who rose from the ashes of his painful past.  Jeremy's reactions to the painful events in his life make him a bit less heroic but being with Kai brings out a more kindhearted side to him.  Together they're an intense couple with numerous, almost too numerous, sexual interludes that segued into enlightening talks that gave readers more insight into their pasts.  For Kai, his past is one entwined with closeted cop Loren who's supportive and helped Kai get through what befell him in jail.  Their relationship was sweet, carefree, with playful sexiness that made for some lighthearted moments along with heartfelt talks and I look forward to seeing more of Loren in the next book in this series. Along with an emotional journey to HEA Ms. Hansen also dealt with issues of abuse and problems with troubled teens in a thought provoking way that adds to the story's overall intensity and leaves you thinking beyond the final turn of the page.  It's a story that's well-written, though it goes on a bit longer than necessary and juggles almost too many issues, but is one worth recommending for its powerful emotions and compelling characters.

My rating for this is a B+

*I got this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.


Melanie Hansen has spent time in 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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 comment: