A MelanieM Release Day Review: War Paint (States of Love) by Sarah Black

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

There’s an art to love.

Mural artist Ben has come from Tel Aviv to Atlanta to work on a commission. A successful artist, he’s still lonely and isolated after his family’s rejection. Ben is charmed and surprised when local soldier Eli mistakes him for homeless, and brings him a cup of coffee and a biscuit. This gesture opens the door. Eli is lost, trying to make sense of a future without the Army after a combat injury ends his career.

Art gives them a new language and a path forward. But lost men can reach out, desperate to hang on to anyone close. Is what they find together real, and the kind of love that will last?

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

I’ve accepted that I’ll never read a long novel by Sarah Black as she’s written that the novella is her favorite form of story.  Truly length has never really mattered other than my strong wish to spend more time in the universes this author creates and with the characters she brings so vividly to life.

War Paint is a perfect example of why I love her stories so.  Small, encapsulated, yet so fully formed a universe that every building, cafe, street, and benches across that street can easily be envisioned.  And populated with layered, wounded characters trying to find their way through life, one day, one person at a time (see Sarah Black’s guest post on Adaptive Reuse on Young Guys and Old Buildings)*.

Vet Eli feels lost, and not just because of the trauma of losing a limb and the subsequent recovery.  He’s still dealing with the loss of his “warrior self” as well as his limb.  His unusual therapist wants him to keep a diary.  Eli’s character is wounded in multiple ways and the path he takes towards healing and love is remarkable, and (in a 88 page novella) deceptively slow.

An act of kindness has Eli meeting artist Ben and his dog across the street from the cafe Eli haunts.  A conversation becomes a layered, complicated, and oh so lovely relationship that I can’t even begin to attempt to describe.  A sort of yin and yang of need, love, wounds and ability to salve.

Oh, and there’s this automobile building that’s getting repurposed (like so many older wonderful buildings are these days) and is getting a mural as well.  Sarah Black gives us some insight into that process as well.*

This story runs tender, wild, funny, and loving.  All within 88 pages.  It has so much soul.  Love even for the buildings and the man himself who is behind the construction project is treated with a light of respect and a gift.

Small gems like these leave me smiling all day, even more in memory when I spot street art or another building downtown being repurposed and saved.  I’ll remember War Paint.  And Ben and Eli, and a certain therapist.

Yes, I highly recommend this story. And the author.  Oh and check out the free story here at Dreamspinner Press, The Nutmeg King of Marrakesh.  Just amazing!  Yes, another gem.

Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht.  Cover is strong but I always wish for a little more here. Maybe something of the building itself.

Sales Link: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 88 pages
Published May 25th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640806412
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Free Dreamer Review: Bane (Strain #2) by Amelia C. Gormley

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

The weapon that nearly destroyed humanity may be their only salvation. 

Rhys Cooper once thought he was a dead man. Instead, he’s proven immune to the virus that nearly wiped out humanity.

Now the Clean Zone’s scientists want to know why. Summoned for testing, Rhys is about to learn first-hand why his Juggernaut partner, Sergeant Darius Murrell, and the rest of his superhuman comrades in Delta Company don’t trust the uninfected survivors in the Clean Zone–or the remnants of the government that unleashed the epidemic in the first place.

For a decade, Zach Houtman has yearned for his lover, Nico Fernández, but fear of infection has kept them apart. Separately they keep tabs on the last vestiges of the corrupt government, particularly the head of the Clean Zone’s virus research division. Secretary Littlewood seeks to unlock the secrets of the Bane virus. But Nico knows how dangerous Littlewood will be if that ever happens.

Zach and Nico now have the perfect bait to draw Littlewood out: Rhys. But Delta Company isn’t about to let Rhys walk into hell alone. They’ll take Littlewood down together, or not at all. Even if they succeed, however, for Zach and Nico one question remains: can infected and uninfected people ever be together safely?

Bane is the second and final installment in the Strain series. As such, it really doesn’t work as a stand-alone. I would recommend you to read the prequel “Juggernaut” as well. Both couples from book 0.5 and book one are back in “Bane” and I think you really need to get to know all four of them to really enjoy this book.

It’s been years since I read “Strain” but it’s a very memorable book and I absolutely loved it. It’s very, very different. “Bane” is much more mainstream. It’s still dark, but there’s no dubious consent. The sex scenes between Rhys and Darius are fewer and not as explicit as in book one. While I’m glad that Rhys has found his peace and is starting to feel more self-confident, I just kind of missed the spark I remember from book one.

Zach made me really angry at times. I kind of understood why he didn’t want to infect himself with the Alpha strain all those years ago. The whole “it’s God’s will” pissed me off. I thought it was really cruel of him to do this to Nico.

The author definitely knows how to write sex scenes. And while it is far tamer than book one, the sex was still really hot.

Once again, the book was incredibly addicting. I just could not put it down and it really had me emotionally invested. While I did have my issues with Zach, it’s always a good sign when I get so emotional over a character’s choices.

There were so many twists and turns and intrigues and secrets, it really had my head spinning. I really did not expect some of these things. I’m actually quite satisfied with the ending. I often have issues with how books end, but this really worked. It’s not exactly a HEA but it does leave you hopeful.

Overall, “Bane” is a great read. While it’s not quite as good as the first two books, I still really enjoyed it. It’s tamer and more mainstream, but still pretty good. If you liked the first two books, I’m sure you’ll like this one too.

The cover matches the other two in the series perfectly. It’s just as dark and creepy and gorgeous.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book details:

Kindle Edition, 2 edition, 240 pages

Published April 20th 2018 (first published September 19th 2015)

A Lila Review: Swings & Roundabouts (The Power of Zero #4) by Jackie Keswick

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Jack Horwood. Vigilante, hacker, security specialist. Partner to Gareth Flynn. Adoptive father to their two teenage boys. Happily juggling long days and short nights.

Gareth Flynn. Ex-army officer. Ace negotiator. Righter of wrongs. Family man. Away from home more often than he likes.

Desperate for a relationship reset, Jack treats Gareth to a romantic getaway and Sweden’s frigid peace gives them the break they both need. But Jack’s a trouble magnet and the next dead body just a wild skidoo ride away.

Can love, teamwork, and trust survive the troubles that follow them around? Can Jack save what’s become so important to him?

Swings and Roundabouts shows the family Gareth and Jack have created during this series. I love Gareth and it’s interesting to see how much he had changed, and at the same time, has stayed the same as he makes Jack his priority. Jack has grown as a person too but his quirky personality still intact.

The story has three parts, not equally divided but well-balanced. The story starts pretty much into Jack’s and Gareth’s day to day routine. With how Nico and Daniel are integrating into regular life and how they are adjusting to the up and downs. The second part includes the romantic getaway, and the last part shows how everything comes together in the end.

There’s a lot of introspect and some self-recrimination from Gareth’s and Jack’s points of view. Dealing with the kids, their jobs, and their relationship is taking a toll on them, but at the same time is making them get closer. They have a great support system which is also present in this story. It’s nice to see everyone back for this installment.

As always, the author descriptions are great. Especially, anything related to food. Once again, this book has made me hungry, even if I’m not adventurous enough to try to half the recipes.  The weather was another nice integration in the story, as well as the small details as clothing and decorations. And the humor it’s on spot as always.

Overall, this is a great addition to the series. I hope this is not the last time we get to enjoy this couple and their band of misfits and adventures.

The cover by Maria Fanning shows all the elements from previous books–colors, silhouettes, and Jack’s tattoo–to create a cohesive cover. Even when it’s not too appealing.

Sale Links:  Amazon | Nook

Book Details:

ebook, 340 pages
Published: May 13, 2018, by Jackie Keswick
ISBN: 9781717103819
Edition Language: English

Series: The Power of Zero
Book #1: Job Hunt
Book #2: Ghosts
Book #3: House Hunt
Book #4: Swings & Roundabouts

Sarah Black on Adaptive Reuse and her new release ‘War Paint’ (author guest post)

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War Paint (States of Love) by Sarah Black 

Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht

Sales Link: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Sarah Black here again talking about her latest story, War Paint. Welcome, Sarah.

♦︎

Adaptive Reuse for Young Guys and Old Buildings

Thanks for letting me visit! When I was writing War Paint, I was thinking about what happens when a door slams shut behind you. You don’t get to transition gradually, get used to the change and settle in to the new place or new role. Sometimes life just kicks us in the butt and slams the door. Retirement, divorce, an accident or injury. For soldiers and other military people, a combat injury not only changes everything today, but may change the future forever. No kids, no career, no ability to support oneself—that’s not easy to swallow at 24.

At the same time I was working on this story, about a young guy who sustains a combat injury and is trying to find a way forward, I was looking at adaptive reuse buildings. I started writing some information articles for an architectural firm to use on their blog, and the more I looked into adaptive reuse, the more I liked it. The idea of saving the old buildings, making them useful and beautiful again, appealed to me deeply. Much of the adaptive reuse is being done in cities, and as the old warehouses and factories are being turned into lofts and small creative businesses, more than just buildings are being rejuvenated and made new again.

This adaptive reuse is more expensive and difficult that simply tearing down the old buildings and putting up new. They have to be changed to support new access and new systems, while keeping their structural integrity and the design elements that people associate with the old. The care and attention, intentionally seeking out a difficult way to work, was very appealing.

But why? It didn’t make sense. Lead paint! Asbestos! Why couldn’t we just sweep those old mistakes under the rug and put up the new and shiny and efficient, with functioning air conditioning? There is just something about the slow, the old, the challenging, choosing to keep the antique and not so efficient—because it is part of our history, it reminds us where we came from, it has—forgive me—the weight of years of stories in the floorboards, the walls. We are more than our potential. We are also where we came from. For me, keeping the old buildings, making them useful again, seems like we are keeping the soul of the old places. And taking responsibility for caring for it.

Somehow my thinking about these characters, one just injured and one injured in the past, melded with the other writing I was doing about adaptive reuse. I wanted to fix everyone, the old buildings, the characters. So then I did something totally off the wall- I put myself into the story. I’m the model for the slightly flaky, totally inappropriate therapist the guys call The Manatee.

The building in the story, the Riviera, is actually an adaptive reuse Buick showroom in Roanoke, Va. It has been made into lofts and artist studios, and is called The Electra after one of the original Buick models. The work done on the old building is beautiful, and it is lovely, a grand old lady- but without a mural! However, the wall of big industrial windows on the side of the building make the artists who work there very happy. I live right up the street, in another adaptive reuse building, in a neighborhood of warehouse conversions and old buildings made new again.

Thanks for reading my story! I hope you like War Paint.

About War Paint

There’s an art to love.

Mural artist Ben has come from Tel Aviv to Atlanta to work on a commission. A successful artist, he’s still lonely and isolated after his family’s rejection. Ben is charmed and surprised when local soldier Eli mistakes him for homeless, and brings him a cup of coffee and a biscuit. This gesture opens the door. Eli is lost, trying to make sense of a future without the Army after a combat injury ends his career.

Art gives them a new language and a path forward. But lost men can reach out, desperate to hang on to anyone close. Is what they find together real, and the kind of love that will last?

Review Tour and Giveaway – Swings & Roundabouts (The Power of Zero #4) by Jackie Keswick

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Length: 100,000 words approx.
 
The Power Of Zero Series
 
Book #0 – The Power Of Zero
Book #1 – Job Hunt
Book #2 – Ghosts
Book #3 – House Hunt
 
Blurb
 

Jack Horwood. Vigilante, hacker, security specialist. Partner to Gareth Flynn. Adoptive father to their two teenage boys. Happily juggling long days and short nights.


Gareth Flynn. Ex-army officer. Ace negotiator. Righter of wrongs. Family man. Away from home more often than he likes.


Desperate for a relationship reset, Jack treats Gareth to a romantic getaway and Sweden’s frigid peace gives them the break they both need. But Jack’s a trouble magnet and the next dead body just a wild skidoo ride away.


Can love, teamwork, and trust survive the troubles that follow them around? Can Jack save what’s become so important to him?


Expect action, drama, and hot romance in book 4 of the Power of Zero series.



May 14 – Megan’s Media Melange
May 18 – RAM PA Group, MM Good Book Reviews
May 21 – Wicked Faerie’s Tales & Reviews
May 25 – Gay Media Reviews, Book Review By Virginia Lee, Mirrigold: Mutterings & Musings, Bayou Book Junkie, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

Author Bio
 

Jackie Keswick was born behind the Iron Curtain with itchy feet, a bent for rocks and a recurring dream of stepping off a bus in the middle of nowhere to go home. She’s worked in a hospital and as the only girl with 52 men on an oil rig, spent a winter in Moscow and a summer in Iceland and finally settled in the country of her dreams with her dream team: a husband, a cat, a tandem, a hammer and a laptop.


Jackie loves unexpected reunions and second chances, and men who don’t follow the rules when those rules are stupid. She blogs about English history and food, has a thing for green eyes, and is a great believer in making up soundtracks for everything, including her characters and the cat.


And she still hasn’t found the place where the bus stops.


For questions and comments, not restricted to green eyes, bus stops, or recipes for traditional English food, you can find Jackie Keswick in all the usual places:


Website: http://www.jackiekeswick.com
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/ctY9RD
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JackieKeswick
FB: https://www.facebook.com/JackieKeswick
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jackiekeswick/
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jackie-keswick
Queeromance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/jackie-keswick/

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Quinn Anderson on a future for Max and the new release Fourteen Summers (guest post and giveaway)

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Fourteen Summers by Quinn Anderson

Riptide Publishing
Cover by: Melissa Liban

Sales Links: Riptide Publishing

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Quinn Anderson here today on tour with the new release, Fourteen Summers.  Welcome, Quinn.

I’m Quinn Anderson, author of New Heights and the Murmur Inc. series. Welcome to my blog tour for Fourteen Summers! Stay tuned to get fun facts about this release, inside information about my writing process, and to learn how I chose my penname. Leave comments for a chance to win a $10 Riptide gift card. I look forward to chatting with you all!

 

✒︎

Will Max Get His Happy Ever After?

I wouldn’t say I left a “loose end” in this novel, but there is something I left up to readers’ imaginations. For now, at least.

Max—the third POV character in this novel, and the one who’s not involved in the core romance—has a number of revelations during this story. He learns about boundaries, friendship, family, and respecting other people’s space. Most importantly, however, he begins to understand an aspect of his love life he’d previously ignored. I won’t say what (because spoilers), but by the end of the novel, it’s clear he has a path of self-discovery ahead of him.

Unfortunately, with only so many pages and a love story to tell, there wasn’t room to show where Max ends up when all is said and done. I’m not worried about readers finding this frustrating, because it’s set up in a way that makes it clear you can imagine for yourself what happens to Max.

However, if enough people demand it, I could be convinced to write Max’s story. We’ll see if people are curious, or if they’re happy deciding his fate for themselves!

 

 

About Fourteen Summers

 

Identical twins Aiden and Max Kingsman have been a matched set their whole lives. When they were children, Aiden was happy to follow his extroverted brother’s lead, but now that they’re in college, being “my brother, Aiden” is starting to get old. He’s itching to discover who he is outside of his “twin” identity.

 

Oliver’s goals for the summer are simple: survive his invasive family, keep his divorced parents from killing each other, and stay in shape for rowing season. He’s thrilled when he runs into his old friends, the Kingsman twins, especially Aiden, the object of a childhood crush. Aiden is all grown-up, but some things have stayed the same: his messy curls, his stability, and how breathless he makes Oliver. Oliver’s crush comes back full force, and the feeling is mutual. Summer just got a whole lot hotter.

 

Fun-loving Max takes one thing seriously: his role as “big brother.” When Aiden drifts away, Max can’t understand how his own twin could choose a boy over him. Summer won’t last forever, and with friendship, family, and happily ever after on the line, they’ll have to navigate their changing relationships before it’s too late.

 

About Quinn Anderson

 

Quinn Anderson is an alumna of the University of Dublin in Ireland and has a master’s degree in psychology. She wrote her dissertation on sexuality in popular literature and continues to explore evolving themes in erotica in her professional life.

 

A nerd extraordinaire, she was raised on an unhealthy diet of video games, anime, pop culture, and comics from infancy. Her girlfriend swears her sense of humor is just one big Joss Whedon reference. She stays true to her nerd roots in writing and in life, and frequently draws inspiration from her many fandoms, which include Yuri on Ice, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Buffy, and more. Growing up, while most of her friends were fighting evil by moonlight, Anderson was kamehameha-ing her way through all the shounen anime she could get her hands on. You will often find her interacting with fellow fans online and offline via conventions and Tumblr, and she is happy to talk about anything from nerd life to writing tips. She has attended conventions on three separate continents and now considers herself a career geek. She advises anyone who attends pop culture events in the UK to watch out for Weeping Angels, as they are everywhere. If you’re at an event, and you see a 6’2” redhead wandering around with a vague look on her face, that’s probably her.

 

Her favorite authors include J.K. Rowling, Gail Carson Levine, Libba Bray, and Tamora Pierce. When she’s not writing, she enjoys traveling, cooking, spending too much time on the internet, playing fetch with her cat, screwing the rules, watching Markiplier play games she’s too scared to play herself, and catching ’em all.

 

Connect with Quinn:

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Fourteen Summers, Quinn is giving away a $10 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on May 26, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Series Recap Blitz/Cover Reveal – Taking Shield Series by Anna Butler

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The award-winning Taking Shield series comes to an explosive conclusion in the fifth book, Day of Wrath, to be published on 28 June 2018.

First that cover. Designed by Adrian Nicholas, whoís been responsible for creating the Taking Shield brand, this cover features a faceless drone, one of the cyborg soldiers sent against humanity by the Maess:

About Day of Wrath

In less than a week, Bennet will finally return to the Shield Regiment, leaving behind the Gyrfalcon, his father, his friendsÖ and Flynn. Promotion to Shield Major and being given command of a battle group despite the political fallout from Makepeace the year before is everything he thought he wanted. Everything heís worked towards for the last three years. Except for leaving Flynn. He really doesnít want to leave Flynn.

Thereís time for one last flight together. A routine mission. Nothing too taxing, just savouring every moment with the best wingman, the best friend, heís ever had. Thatís the plan.

Bennet should know better than to trust to routine because what waits for them out there will change their lives forever.

Pre-order Day of Wrath

Want to win some loot? Pre-order The Day of Wrath at a digital store (Amazon, Kobo, Nook etc) and send a copy of the email confirmation (or a screengrab of it) to annabutlerfiction@gmail.com and

(i) Anna will send you the first chapter and some deleted scenes by email. The deleted scenes will be exclusive until the end of the year;

(ii) the first twenty to respond will get a little bag of Taking Shield loot; and

(ii) your name will be entered in a draw to win one of seven signed first edition paperbacks of Taking Shield 02: Heart Scarab. Winners will be announced on publication day.

Preorder here: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Kobo | Smashwords

 

Excerpt from Day of Wrath

As Bennet angled over to starboard, Flynn gave his own Hornet a metaphorical boot in the backside, and tagged along faithfully at Bennetís port wing. He stayed close and tight. Pity the ensigns werenít there to see how it was done. With finesse. Panache. And sheer, mind-boggling talent.

The Hornetís navigational computer helpfully overlaid a representation of Aglaia with the usual spherical latitude-longitude grid, pulling the planetary data from the database. At least they had the figures for known planets logged and stored and the nav-com didnít have to make it up. Which it could, of course, by designating the poles with an arbitrary north and south label, locating the equator, and inventing an arbitrary prime meridian to work with. According to legend, the system originated on Earth before man took to the skies, so old it was invented for sailing ships. Given Earth was ten thousand years gone, Flynn put a lot of emphasis on ëlegendí. Their flight navigation systems were built on bloody folklore.

Madness.

Still, at least he couldnít get lost.

He followed Bennet into a high orbit along Aglaiaís equator, skimming along for a moment before going down into the atmosphere. And by skimming, he meant they bounced along like stones skipping over water before they burst through into a storm system. A big storm system. The air roiled in great waves and billows, buffeting the Hornets, and lightning cracked and sizzled off their hulls. The flow of the clouds was fierce, the turbulence greatest at the boundaries between cloud layers. And the winds! More than fierce. They were a howling, raging, relentless savagery that threatened to overwhelm even the Hornetís engines. The Hornet bucked and balked against the winds, and it took every ounce of skill Flynn possessed to fight her into obedience, to keep her flying in the direction he wanted. He couldnít rely on relaxed experience here. This was active, constant readjustment to make her respond. He dropped back a trifle, giving Bennet and himself room to ride out the bucking and bouncing. He wasnít so much flying through Aglaiaís skies, as cavorting through them.

Gods, it was fun!

Anna : what you, dear reader, might expect from the Taking Shield series

Gay literature is a growing genre. And the biggest element of that, just as itís the biggest element of literature generally? Romance. Love, hearts, kisses, and happiness. M/M romance, in particular, is booming.

Now then, if Iím reading a romance, I have certain expectations. I want to see two people attracted to each other, overcoming some obstacle to being together, being faithful and loving. And at the very least, the book must close with a Happy-For-Now ending even if the story canít quite make it Happy Ever After. En route they can have all sorts of things happen: murders, mystery, mayhem. Doesnít matter. What matters is theyíre together and I can put the book down feeling good about the outcome.

But this is where things get a little sticky. Because if youíre looking for pure romance, then I have to confess that the Taking Shield series wonít deliver it. Shield isnít romance. It is a love storyóa very deep and, at times, intense love storyóthat covers five or six years of interstellar war and billions of miles of space travel. This is a classic space opera. All the staples of old school sci-fi are here: big spaceships, infiltrations of enemy bases, cool Shield suits, and lots of people running around shooting their lasers.

And it has two men in love. Oh wait. Not as old school as all that, then.

Across the whole of the series, there are two main story themes, intertwining with each other: the war against the Maess and, set against that, the relationship between Shield Captain Bennet and Fleet Lieutenant Flynn. The Maess war and everything Bennet has to do there gets equal billing with the slow unfolding of his relationship with Flynn.

So something of a niche appeal, here! But if you like sweeping sagas and big love stories where the obstacles the heroes face are big and sweeping too, I do hope youíll give Bennet and Flynn a try. They arenít perfect, but a couple of guys with all their warts and faults, all their brilliance and intelligence, all their courage and loyalty and great hearts, all their beauty and all their uglinessóand they love each other. They love each other a great deal, despite every parting, and every reverse and upset in their relationship. And now, at the end of the series, perhaps theyíll get their chance.

Do come on the adventure with them. I donít think youíll regret it.

About the series

Taking Shield started out as a simple set of ëwhat ifí questions. What if, in some AU universe, Earthís been a burnt out dustball for the last ten thousand years? What if thereís a riff on the Exodus and remnants of humanity escape, but led by Pharaohs? What if the new world they found, Albion, is at war with an enemy no one has ever seen? What if the hero is a member of Albionís special forces and the Military Strategy Unit? What if he finds something that seriously threatens Albion? What if he falls in love with a Fleet pilot and has his life turned upside down?

Earthís a dead planet, dark for more than ten thousand years; lost for so long no one even knows where its solar system is. Her last known colony, Albion, has grown to be regional galactic power in its own right. But Albionís drive to expand and found colonies of its own has threatened an alien race, the Maess, against whom Albion is now fighting a last-ditch battle for survival in a war thatís dragged on for generations.

The Taking Shield series charts the missions and adventures of Shield Captain Bennet, scion of a prominent military family. Over the Taking Shield arc, Bennet will see the extremes to which humanityís enemies, and his own people, will go to win the war. Some days he isnít able to tell friend from foe. Some days he doubts everything, including himself, as he strives to ensure Albionís victory. And some days he isnít sure, any longer, what victory looks like.


Note: the novels are not standalones and should be read in order.

 

Taking Shield 01: Gyrfalcon ó Earthís last known colony, Albion, is fighting an alien enemy. In the first of the Taking Shield series, Shield Captain Bennet is dropped behind the lines to steal priceless intelligence. A dangerous job, and Bennet doesnít need the distractions of changing relationships with his long-term partner, Joss, or with his fatheróor with Flynn, the new lover who will turn his world upside-down. He expects to risk his life. He expects the data will alter the course of the war. What he doesnít expect is that it will change his life or that Flynn will be impossible to forget.

Available FREE at Payhip | A digital bookstore near you

Taking Shield 02: Heart Scarab ó Shield Captain Bennet is on Telnos, an unpleasant little planet inhabited by religious fanatics and unregistered miners running illegal solactinium mines. Itís about to be about to be overrun by the Maess. Bennetís job is to get out as many civilians as he can, but the enemy arrives before the evacuation is complete. Caught in a vicious fire fight, Bennet is left behind, presumed dead.

His family is grieving. Joss, his long-term partner, grieves with them; lost, unhappy, remorseful. First Lieutenant Flynn has no official ërightsí here. He isnít family. He isnít partner or lover. Heís just broken

Available at Payhip | A digital bookstore near you

Taking Shield 03: Makepeace ó Returning to duty following his long recovery from the injuries he sustained during the events recounted in Heart Scarab, Shield Captain Bennet accepts a tour of duty in Fleet as flight captain on a dreadnought. The one saving grace is that it isnít his fatherís shipóbad enough that he canít yet return to the Shield Regiment, at least he doesnít have the added stress of commanding former lover, Fleet Lieutenant Flynn and knowing the fraternisation regulations will keep them apart.

Bennetís new mission takes him behind the lines to Makepeace, once a human colony but under Maess control for more than a century. The mission goes belly up, costing Albion one of her precious, irreplaceable dreadnoughts and bringing political upheaval, acrimony and the threat of public unrest in its wake. But for Bennet, the real nightmare is discovering what the Maess have in store for humanity. Itís not good. Itís not good at all.

SECOND PLACE WINNER 2016 Rainbow Awards for Best Sci/Fi Futuristic book

Available at Payhip | A digital bookstore near you

Taking Shield 04: The Chains Of Their Sins ó Shield Captain Bennet arrives on the Gyrfalcon to take up his final year’s posting before returning to the Shield Regiment.

On the Gyrfalcon he faces up to the fallout from Makepeaceóethical, political and above all, personal. Will he be able to accept necessity: that knowing what the Maess are up to outweighs the humanitarian issues surrounding the prisoners he rescued from Makepeace? Can he ride out the political furore that follows the loss of the dreadnought Caliban? How will he cope with an entire year of serving under his father, Caeden? And worst of all, how in the name of every god in the Pantheon can he stand to see Flynn every single day, with the Fraternisation Regs standing between them and keeping them apart?

It will be an interesting year. Bennet can hardly wait for it to be over. Of course, things never really do go to plan…

FIRST PLACE WINNER 2017 Rainbow Awards for Best Sci/Fi Futuristic book

THIRD PLACE WINNER 2017 Rainbow Awards for Best Gay Book

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Anna Butler was a communications specialist for many years, working in various UK government departments on everything from marketing employment schemes to organizing conferences for 10,000 civil servants to running an internal TV service. These days, though, she is writing full time. She lives with her husband in a quiet village tucked deep in the Nottinghamshire countryside. Sheís supported there by the Deputy Editor, aka Molly the cockerpoo, who is assisted by the lovely Mavis, a Yorkie-Bichon cross with a bark several sizes larger than she is but no opinion whatsoever on the placement of semi-colons.

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COVER REVEAL for Murder in New York (The Pinkerton Man Series #2) by C.J. Baty

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COVER REVEAL

Book Title: Murder in New York, The Pinkerton Man Series

Author: C.J. Baty

Cover Artist: Select-O-Grafix, LLC

Genre/s: M/M Mystery

Blurb

Coming back to New York to see her ailing father, Lizzie Ferguson did not expect to find him healthy and newly married to a much younger woman. She, also, didn’t expect to connect with an old lover and childhood friend or be accused of killing her father. But, life has a way of knocking you to your knees when you least expect it.

Stiles Long had always regretted that the killer, from his first case as a Pinkerton Agent, had got away. Now, in New York it was happening again. The Hotel Astor Bar was a meeting place for men who enjoyed the company of men. And, some of them were being brutally murdered. When one of the suspects from the original case appears at the hotel, Stiles is torn between his desire to stop a killer and kiss the man senseless.

Two different cases, but some of the faces overlap from one to the other. Stiles and Lizzie are in a race to discover who the killers are before another body gets added to the count.

About the Author

CJ Baty lives in southwest Ohio with her very patient husband and two encouraging children. Her heart however, lives in the mountains of Tennessee where she hopes to retire some day. The mountains have always provided her with inspiration and a soothing balm to the stresses of everyday life.

The dream of writing her own stories started in high school but was left on the back burner of life until her son introduced her to Fan Fiction and encouraged her to give it a try. She found that her passion for telling a story was still there and writing them down to share with others was much more thrilling than she had ever expected.

One thing she has learned from life and she is often heard to say is, “You are never too old to follow your dream!”

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A MelanieM Review: Drama Fraternity (Nicky and Noah Mystery #6) by Joe Cosentino

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

 

Theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza is directing Tight End Scream Queen, a slasher movie filmed at Treemeadow College’s football fraternity house, co-starring his husband and theatre professor colleague, Noah Oliver. When young hunky cast members begin fading out with their scenes, Nicky and Noah will once again need to use their drama skills to figure out who is sending the quarterback, jammer, wide receiver, and more to the cutting room floor before Nicky and Noah hit the final reel.

When last we saw Nicky, Noah, and all their extended family, they were happily enjoying fame and Broadway at the end of the hilarious murder mystery, Drama Detective (A Nicky and Noah Mystery #5.  Alack and alas, with these two the call for home and Treemeadow College came as the lights of Broadway dimmed on their show.

Never fear! Joe Cosentino has authored another campy high body count murder mystery for Nicky and Noah to charge through!  It’s full of the snappy dialog, fast-paced high jinxed action, and, of course, lots of falling bodies that this series is known for and we’ve come to love.

Nicky is directing a slasher movie at Treemmeadow College.  You’d think he’d know better by now.

Things are ridiculous off the bat with actors from a fraternity that favors their virginity and football, a deeply religious right church against homosexuals and this play, and many, many mysteries to solve.  Plus their is their son smack dab in the middle as always.

With their adopted son, Taavi, Joe Cosentino, always managed to bring in the moving and the poignant elements of his stories.  With Taavi as the focus of their family, in come the grandparents of both men, as well as all the many other friends that have come to love and support these three as a family.  Nicky, Noah, and Taavi are now an important centerpiece of this  series.  The heart, and I couldn’t love this family more.  Taavi also keeps proving himself surprisingly resourceful.

I have to admit I sort of figured out the murderer early.  That’s why I marked it down a tad, normally Joe keeps me guessing a bit longer.  Same for the motive.

A lovely touch was the way two women found a new love at the end of the story.  Nicely done there,  Both could have come off so badly and instead each turned out realistically human and ready to move forward.

Need a series and book to love?  Look no further!  Grab this one and all of them up today for nonstop jocularity and murder hijinks!

Cover art is primitive movie poster style which works for the series and storyline.

Sales Links:  MyBook  | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble  | Kobo | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: May 25th 2018
ASINB07C9FMMT2
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesNicky and Noah Mystery #6

A Lila Review: A Broken Cup by Emery C. Walters

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Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

Funerals are no fun, except, maybe, if cell phones get mixed up. Russell hasn’t seen his now deceased, non-supportive father in years, but his older brother calls him in Hawaii, demanding his appearance at the funeral. But brother Mike warns against displaying any ‘gay stuff’ to his perfect wife and innocent children.

Recently dumped, Russell isn’t quite with it as he rushes to get ready with help from a new neighbor. So it turns out that the Mike he calls from the airport isn’t his brother but the neighbor’s bisexual ex.

Countless hi-jinks follow, with family and without. Through it all, sexy ex Mike is right there with Russell. When all is said and done, can Russell make a go with a newly developed family with Mike? What might life be like on the mainland?

A Broken Cup starts with an interesting premise, but a confusing set of events. After a couple of pages, the author’s intent became clear, and it’s easier to see the path the rest of the story takes.

Perhaps if this has been a movie or TV series, it would have been great, but the dry humor and comedic relief was a bit overwhelming. I wanted to enjoy it, the characters, the locations, and theevents. Unfortunately, it felt as if I was skipping important parts of the story.

If you are looking for a laugh, lots and lots of drama, and a strange way for the main characters to get together in the start, this is a good short story to read.

The cover by Written in Designs is sweet and goes with the title even when it can be the cover for any other MM Romance.

Sale Links: JMS | Amazon | Nook

ebook, 32 pages
Published: April 24, 2018, by JMS Books
ISBN: 9781634866156
Edition Language: English