Monday, February 1, 2016

Book Tour for Unquiet by Melanie Hansen (Review & GIVEAWAY)

As a reader who's drawn to romances that depict real life, and hard-hitting, issues I've become enthralled by the m/m-fueled Resilient Love series and its portrayal of loss and the definition of love when life takes unexpected turns.  Keep reading to get a compelling glimpse of Unquiet by Melanie Hansen, along with my impressions of it, and learn even more about this book by visiting the other sites hosting this tour.  In honor of this unforgettable release make sure to fill out the form below for the chance to win a $50 bookstore GC too!

Loren Smith has been in love with Eliot Devlin almost his entire life. During their turbulent childhood and teen years, Loren didn’t always understand Eliot, and sometimes he could be a challenge, but Eliot was the only one to ever truly ease Loren’s deep loneliness and accept him. When Eliot’s increasingly erratic and self-destructive behavior culminates in a suicide attempt at seventeen, Loren is devastated.
Upon meeting again by chance nine years later, Loren is enjoying a successful career as a police officer while Eliot’s life has been a constant struggle for stability. In and out of mental hospitals, with a rap sheet a mile long, he continues to be buffeted by the twin storms of mania and depression. Loren’s love and protectiveness for Eliot are deeply ingrained in him, however, and their feelings for each other are quickly rekindled.
Loren has issues of his own he’s dealing with, and trying to understand and cope with Eliot’s bipolar disorder isn’t easy. They believe they’re meant to be, and Eliot brings a fulfillment to Loren’s life that no one else will ever match. But as they both come to realize, love by itself can’t cure all.


When they woke the next morning, they packed an overnight bag and headed north on I-17. Eliot was amazed at the view out his window, craggy rocks and towering saguaro cactus eventually giving way to the pine trees of the Coconino National Forest.
In Flagstaff they stopped for gas, and both of them shivered at the cold bite in the air. They ran by a sporting goods store to buy some fleece pullovers, and Eliot goofed off with a couple of plaid hunting caps, complete with fuzzy earflaps. He grinned at Loren, trying to keep the hat from falling forward into his eyes.
“You look about twelve years old,” Loren said drily. “That hat swallows you whole."
As Loren reached out to take it off of him, he stroked his thumb along Eliot’s cheek.
“I love to see you smile, to see you happy,” he whispered. He grabbed a simple knit cap and pulled it over Eliot’s head, fussing with it a minute before saying, “Much better.” Eliot scanned the room and, not seeing anyone, stretched up to give Loren a kiss.
Soon they were on the road again heading north, and Loren took Eliot’s hand, twining their fingers together and resting their joined hands on his knee. Eliot could sense Loren was turning something over in his mind, so he just waited.
Are you happy, El?” Loren finally asked. “I’ve seen so many different incarnations of your moods, but I honestly don’t know if I’d recognize happiness in you.” His voice held a faint note of apology for asking, and Eliot glanced at him, surprised but pleased by Loren’s candor.
“I don’t know if I’d recognize happiness either, Loren,” he admitted, rubbing his thumb over the back of Loren’s hand when he threw Eliot a stricken look. “Hey, hey,” Eliot said reassuringly. “I don’t mean that the way it sounds."
Eliot blew out a breath, thinking about how to explain this. Loren waited, but his lips were pressed together in a tight line, and Eliot squeezed his fingers.
“Usually when I wake up in the morning, I’m afraid,” he said slowly, and Loren opened his mouth to speak but then didn’t say anything. Eliot glanced at him again, then continued, “I feel the craziness, the madness lurking, just waiting for me. It feels like it’s attached to me, that when I get out of bed, I’m dragging it with me. It’s always there, ready to pounce and swallow me up."
“Oh, El,” Loren whispered achingly.
Eliot stroked his hand. “And this morning when I woke up, I wasn’t afraid. I think that’s what it feels like to be happy. It’s enough for me."
Loren didn’t say anything, but a lone tear slid down his cheek. Eliot reached up and wiped it away with his thumb, stroking Loren’s jaw tenderly.
“What’s the matter, honey?"
Just then the sign for a scenic lookout appeared, and Loren took the exit, parking the truck. He stared through the windshield, blinking fast, more tears welling up.
“The thought of you for all those years, waking up afraid,” he whispered brokenly. “And I wasn’t there, Eliot. I wasn’t there.” Eliot could see Loren’s throat working as he fought not to cry, and with a soft exclamation, Eliot opened his arms, gathering him close. He stroked Loren’s hair, feeling the hot wetness of tears against his neck.
“But you were there, Loren. Shhh,” he murmured.
When Loren calmed a little, Eliot pulled back and took Loren’s face in his hands, forcing him to meet his eyes.
“I’ve been in a lot of therapy over the years, and they always ask me the same thing, what my best memories are, what memories do I have of feeling happy or safe. I’m supposed to bring them to mind when I’m stressed or scared or angry. It’s part of cognitive therapy, learning to readjust your thinking, to focus on good things and not negative things."
Eliot caressed Loren’s face. “And Loren, there’s a lot I don’t remember, but what I do, every single one of those types of memories is about you. Being kids, riding our bikes, playing with toys, laughing at stupid jokes. Then later the way you held me in the dark after a nightmare or sat with me when I was so sad and hurting that I wanted to die. The way you—the way you loved me, loved my batshit crazy and fucked-up mess.
“You’ve always been with me, Loren, through my memories. Always."
Loren completely lost it then, and Eliot let him cry it out, murmuring to him, rocking him, reveling in being the one to comfort, to soothe, of being able to shore up the man he loved when he needed it.
Finally the storm passed and Loren pulled away, sitting up and scrubbing his hands over his face.
“I’m glad, El,” he said hoarsely, clearing his throat several times before starting the truck and pulling back onto the interstate. “I’m glad I’m your best memories.”





As a reader who appreciates romances that are carefree I also find myself drawn to those that are emotionally intense, ones that pull me into the story through the author's vivid depictions. With her m/m-fueled Resilient Love series Ms. Hansen has crafted a trio of books that pull at reader's heartstrings with themes ranging from the pain of losing a loved one, to the harsh realities of living with a disability, to the ups and downs of dealing with mental illness. With Unquiet readers are pulled into the sometimes manic world of Eliot Devlin as he struggles to live a life of normalcy with a mind that's anything but quiet. Supporting him throughout the years is Loren Smith who has his own issues to deal with when it comes to coming out. Theirs is a connection that ebbs but never wanes as they've come to count on one another as children whose parents were more caught up in work than in them. At an early age they became each other's support system which led to a burgeoning romantic relationship that ended before it barely started as Eliot's bipolar disorder took over his life and gave Loren his first glimpse of what loving Eliot really entails. From start to finish this is a powerful read with palpable emotions that jump off the page. The characters are compelling and likable and you can't help rooting for them as they definitely deserve a HEA considering all the highs and lows they've been through together. By story's end you'll need Kleenex as this is a story that brings a tear to your eye while you'll also be left cheering the power of unconditional love depicted between Eliot and Loren.

Ever since he was a kid Eliot was seen as weird for his non-stop moving and talking and his death-defying actions. Loren though just saw him as his friend, someone just as lonely as him, and from the moment they met a bond was forged. As Eliot got older his moods became even more chaotic and his acts more self-destructive. Loren stood by him through it all, with their parents continuing to turn a blind eye, until the day their burgeoning romance was tarnished with Eliot's disorder raging out of control and leading to a tragic choice that separated them for years. Their reunion was unexpected but their feelings just as intense with Eliot needing Loren more than ever as his disorder has him lost and alone, used by others who prey on his weakness. Eliot's a sympathetic and kindhearted character, even when he's at his most self-destructive and hurling vile words, as he hates being the way he is. Eliot just wants to be normal and live a life of being a contributing member of society by helping others with mental illness. He wants a HEA with Loren where he makes him proud to be his boyfriend, but his disorder is insidious as it eats away at his self-confidence. It makes him feel worthless and unlovable and those dark thoughts had me aching for him. Ms. Hansen doesn't sugarcoat the realities of what Eliot's going through. The dangerous voices and overstimulation of his senses give an air of desperation to the reader. As his manic phase hits his words and actions become frantic and you can feel yourself on the edge with him. It pulls you into his life and leaves you hoping he finds a way out of the darkness which is why Loren became so important to him. Loren always made him feel safe and accepted him and gave him a reason to go on and it all makes for an epic love story.

Loren was a loner too growing up with his chubby body that others made fun of. Meeting Eliot changed his life irrevocably as it was soon them against the world where they were never apart. With parents too caught up in their own careers it was Loren who first noticed Eliot's issues but no matter how hard he tried he could never get adults to help his friend. Feelings of frustration go hand in hand with loving Eliot and ultimately reached a breaking point when Eliot had his first hospitalization. Being apart had him trying to build a new life but Eliot was always in his thoughts and it's with the best of intentions that they became a real couple where Loren, and readers, get deeper insight into Eliot's disorder. Loren has always wanted to help others, it's why he became a cop. Eliot can never be fixed though, and Loren's arrogance leads to a very rocky road to HEA full of heartbreak and tears that's frustrating at times and uplifting at others. Loren's a likable and admirable man who wants the best for Eliot. He loves him but to be with him he'll have to show him with words and deeds. He'll have to make sacrifices, which he was slow to do, of his own to be with Eliot and embrace not just the man but the disease as well. Loren's reactions and choices don't always put him in the best light but it's a difficult path he's set for himself that shows what the real meaning of love is.

As the final book in this series readers are given an epilogue reuniting us with previous characters which makes for a heartwarming conclusion tied up with a bow that can definitely be labeled HEA. Though this story can be read on its own there's other references to previous installments and events that greatly affect the characters here and it will make for a richer storytelling experience having read the other books. Loren and Eliot are an engaging couple with a bond that can't be broken despite every hurtful word and deed. They're truly not complete unless they're together. Their connection is deeply emotional and makes for intense sexual interludes that are nicely balanced with the angst. With Eliot's disease sex takes on a different meaning at times but it didn't diminish the sensuality of their being together. Ms. Hansen has eloquently and realistically depicted Eliot's bipolar disorder to fully engage readers in his journey. Readers learn right alongside Loren and come to accept Eliot just as Loren accepts that love is more than a word, it's being all-in through sickness and in health, and it's choosing the good moments that far outweigh the bad when walking away is too painful to think about. Ultimately, this is a powerful story on many levels and Ms. Hansen has crafted a memorable and thought provoking read that I'm still thinking of long after the final page was turned and I highly recommend it for those wanting romance with substance.

My rating for this is an A!

*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.


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  1. Great review! Thank you for hosting UNQUIET today!

    Crystal, Tasty Book Tours

  2. Thank you SO much for this lovely review, and for being a wonderful tour host :)