The Uncrossing by Melissa Eastlake

Hey, friends! It’s been a while since I’ve done a Sunday Review, but here I am with this lovely ARC and a whole lot of feelings so strap in! Considering a few of my recent posts have been less than light-hearted, this should be a welcome reprieve.

So first, let me preface this by registering my biases. Melissa is a fellow Hollins graduate and has guested on my blog. I reached out to her for the ARC in advance of her upcoming October 2nd release. It is a YA M/M Romance. You can preorder this lovely little book for $3.99 at Amazon last time I looked. This is a spoiler-free review.

On to the review!

I don’t read a lot of romances, but I always really enjoy the good ones. My favorite anime genre is definitely shoujo, though I’m picky, and I am a huge fan of urban fantasy and very aware that the line between “urban fantasy” and “paranormal romance” is often a gray one. I would, however, classify this book solidly in the paranormal romance category if it were being marketed to adults – the romance is the main plot motivator in this book, despite the magical elements. The book is also firmly young adult, with the two main love interests, Luke and Jeremy, both being in their late teens. There’s a lot to love here if you like romantic anime like Princess Jellyfish (with its awkward love comedy between a shining, magical rich boy and the traumatized but brilliant girl who is oblivious to his interest) or Yuri! on Ice (with two male protagonists and the added professional element). Jeremy is a beautiful, somewhat awkward, very anxious little princeling, and Luke is a grounded, charismatic character who can’t leave well enough alone more often than not and happens to be somewhat bound to Jeremy’s family. They both are clear, at times unpredictable, and lots of fun. The story benefits from the fact that, though Jeremy and Luke’s relationship is primary, other relationships are well-developed. These include Jeremy’s relationship with his brothers Sergei and Alexei, the heads of a magical mafia family, the Kovrovs, and Luke’s relationships with his family, who had previously served the Kovrovs and continue to be affiliated with them. There’s a strong supernatural element throughout, and a mystery that potentially threatens the lives of both Jeremy and Luke, as well as their families.

My two critiques of the book were simple. I would have liked to see more of Luke’s relationship with his sister, who he was closest to, and more of his family in general and their past. I really wanted to learn more about them, though I don’t think the book suffered. It’s more of a personal desire. The way their magic worked, for example, and the stresses of growing up in a biracial, bicultural family, were super interesting to me. I’d be interested in knowing more.

On a less selfish note, I do wish that the cover had not been white-washed – the character that I assume to be Luke on the cover does not look like the Luke I had in my head. The author often has limited input on covers, so given the specificity of the text I can’t imagine this was intentional on her part. It is otherwise beautiful, and I’m glad they didn’t flinch from showing m/m affection.

All in all, The Uncrossing was a fun, mostly light-hearted read, with high enough stakes to keep me engaged and characters I wanted to shelter from the world like the precious cinnamon rolls they are. I recommend this book if you are looking for positive LGBT representation and a cute romance wrapped up in magic.

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Child of Brii – The book that was

If you have been reading my stuff for a while, you may remember my first book.  Child of Brii was and is a new adult urban fantasy/romance book. It was my first book that I ever actually finished writing, if not the first book that I started, and it holds a special place in my heart. I took it off sale in February of 2016 and the decision was not necessarily a good one.

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There were a number of things going into that. First, Child of Brii was my first book, and you could tell. That in and of itself wasn’t a problem, but it was also the first book I self-published. Back in 2013, I really thought that self-publishing was easy. So many of my friends had talked about it that way, after all. They all made decent sales and I had it in my head that I could just toss a book up and people would buy it. Some people did.

But I didn’t do a good job with the editing and I didn’t understand the market. The book was riddled with typos and weird gaps, and while I love it, I didn’t want people to think that was my best work. It isn’t.

But Child of Brii is the work of my heart, and for all of the unexpected helicopters in it (sorry, folks, I know that’s jarring) it’s also been my best-received book. People really love these characters, probably because they’re incredibly lovable. And Amaya’s powers are still on my top list of super powers, honestly.

Writing is about being vulnerable. It’s about putting yourself out there and standing by the fact that you will grow and sometimes not be able to look at what came before the same way. I have grown as a writer, I hope. I’m not afraid of my mistakes anymore. It helps that I cleaned up some of the typos.

So Child of Brii is back online! Thank goodness. In honor of this event, there’s a Rafflecopter giveaway! This is my first time using this platform, and I’m excited.

Also good news – part of this republishing included a paperback print on demand book through the new KDP Select platform. If you’re the kind that loves paperback books, I have created a paperback which you can purchase through Amazon only. I’ll also have it available at the Roanoke Author Invasion in April! That’s a free event, so please come by, buy a book or twelve from some amazing authors, and enjoy the after party! I’ve heard there’s chocolate.

I fully intend to sweeten this situation further in the future. I’ve got a great idea for a spinoff story that will be more of the epic fantasy/romance variety – a prequel to the novel. It centers mostly around Brii and her girlhood, such as it was, as a near-deity to a lost and outcast people. I’m in the middle of another story/novelette now, and then I really need to buckle down on some Creation Saga edits, but my goal is to start on that project this year sometime. I’m super excited about it.

Thank you so much for loving this book as much as I do, and loving my work with all of its errors. Your support means more to me than you can know.