Everything Changes by Melanie Hansen ~ (5 Star ARC Review, Excerpt, + Author Guest Post)
Book Name: Everything Changes
Author Name: Melanie Hansen
Release Date: March 13, 2015
Pages or Words: 68,029 words
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow of Natasha Snow Designs
Buy The Book at Dreamspinner:
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.
Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance
“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 at Jase.
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 simply.
*This book was provided to me by the author/publisher via Pride Promotions in exchange for an honest review*
Carey and Jase have been friends for 4 years. They have been through hell and back in those 4 years. Veterans of war, Carey is a lower leg amputee, Jase was one of his best friends and the medic that saved his life and, later helped him heal mentally and physically after he was released from the hospital.
Jase is openly bi-sexual, and has been in love with Carey, who is straight for years. Jase suffers from PTSD, that he tries to self treat.
Jase is a part time EMT and a front man for a band in California. Carey is a counselor at a center for vets in Colorado. When Carey makes a trip to Cali for a visit, they fall into bed and "Everything Changes". Will Jase get the man he has always wanted? Will Carey be able to look past the fact that Jase is a man and give in to his feelings?
This was a really good book. I loved both Carey and Jase. They were both very likable characters. They had great chemistry and the sex was beyond hot, yet sweet and plentiful, but not so much that it was overwhelming. I felt the love these two shared come off the pages at me.
The storyline was really good and the book was well written, although I could have done with less flashbacks. I understand the need for a backstory, but one flashback in particular was just way too long and I know I found myself skimming. It was also kind of a graphic, if you have a weak stomach, you may want to skim as well. I found at times the flashbacks interrupted the natural flow of the story.
I loved the way the author handled Carey's amputation and the aftermath of it. My best friends husband is an amputee, and I know even after some 12 years he still has pain and gets ulcers from walking too much or from too much strenuous exercise. This author seems to have done her research where this was concerned. She also handled Jase's PTSD very well. It too seemed well researched. It was all handled so well I am not even removing any stars for the pesky flashbacks. The book kept me entertained enough that I will most likely be visiting Carey and Jase down the road again as a re-read.
This was a highly enjoyable read and a really awesome debut novel from this author. I look forward to more from her in the future!
Guest Post from Melanie:
I’ve lived almost my entire life on or near military bases. My father served in the Air Force during the Vietnam era, and my husband served in the Navy during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. I’ve grown up hearing terms like shell-shock, battle fatigue and PTSD.
For years PTSD has been a very misunderstood condition. Recent studies have shown that it’s more accurate to classify it as a physiological condition instead of an emotional or mental disorder. It produces a physical reaction that affects the entire body, including heart rate, breathing and muscle control.
Jase, one of my main characters in Everything Changes, experiences a flashback during an event which triggers him. My research into flashbacks was fascinating. I learned that memories of trauma are stored in a different part of the brain than other memories. Most memories are stored in the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain that controls rational and reasonable thought. Traumatic memories instead are stored in the limbic system part of the brain, a part of the brain that is more primitive, animal.
A person has no conscious control over limbic system memories, and they can be triggered by any reminders of a war zone, things such as smoke in the distance, dust in the air, trash along the side of the road, shouting, large crowds. When these memories are triggered, they are extremely vivid, the most vivid of any of our memories, and they can be as intense 20 years later as they were at time the event happened.
In my story, Jase seeks help for his issues but so many service people don’t, fearing the stigma attached. Men in my father’s era suffered terribly; luckily our increased understanding today has led to better treatment options for these men and women who have given so much to their country.
About Melanie: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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