August 2014 Summary of Reviews and Best August 2014 Covers

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August 3d clip art

2014 3d clip art

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 Scattered Thoughts

And Rogue Words

August 2014 Book Review Summary

*Key:
STRW S series
C contemporary
F-fantasy
SF-science fiction
PN-paranormal
SP-supernatural
H-historical
HR-horror
N-Nonfiction
YA-young adult
Rating Scale: 1 to 5, 5 stars is outstanding, 1 not so much.

Note:  Starting in September, there will be an additional notation to credit the reviewer.

5 Star Rating:

Dissonance by Shira Anthony STRWCS
Deep Plunge by Rory Ni Coileain STRWFS
Double Up by Vanessa North STRWC
Finding Jackie by Lou Sylvre STRWCS
Head-On by John Inman STRWC
John and Jackie by TJ Klune, STRWC
Out In The Cold by Lee Brazil PF2014, STRWCS
Prevailing Winds by Laura Harner STRWCS
Semper Fae by Angel Martinez STRWFS

4 to 4.75 Star Rating:

City of Monsters by Andrea Speed (4) STRWSN
Delsyn’s Blues by Lou Sylvre (4.25) STRWCS
Designated Bottoms Anthology (4) STRWA
Devil’s Own by Susan Laine (4.5) STRWSNS
dr.a.g (A Photographic Journey) by Christopher Logan (4.75) STRWN
Gale Force by Rory Ni Coileain (4.75) (STRWFS)
Hard Act To Follow by Kimber Vale (4) STRWCS
Hero by Heidi Cullinan (4.25) STRWF
Midnight Rodeo: Homecoming by Kiernan Kelly, Julia Talbot and BA Tortuga (4.75) STRWSNA
Moving Mountains by Laura Harner (4.75) STRWCS
Not Fade Away by SE Jakes (4.25) STRWCS
Summer Son by Anna Martin (4) STRWC
You Can’t Go Home Again by Michael Murphy (4) STRWC
Wicked Winds by Havan Fellows (4.75) PF2014 story

3 to 3.75 Star Rating:

My Favorite Uncle by Marshall Thornton (3.5) STRWC
The Choosing by Annabelle Jacobs (3.25) STRWSF

2 to 2.75 Star Rating:

Queer Dirty Laundry by Jason Lloyd (2.5) STRWC

Best Covers of August 2014

City of MonstersDelsynsBluesLGDevil's Own coverDouble Up cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

City of Monsters, artist Simone
Delsyn’s Blues, artist Reese Dante
Devil’s Own, artist Brooke Albrecht
Double Up, artist L.C. Chase

FindingJackieLGHero cover

John & Jackie cover

My Favorite Uncle

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Jackie, artist Reese Dante
Hero, Art director of Wilde City Press
John and Jackie, Reese Dante cover artist
My Favorite Uncle, Art Director of Wilde City Press

 

NotFadeAway_500x750Semper Fae coverSummer Son coverThe Choosing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not Fade Away, artist L.C. Chase
Semper Fae, Winterheart Designs
Summer Son, artist Aaron Anderson
The Choosing, artist Brooke Albrecht

September is here and This Week’s Schedule at ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords

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Announcement clip artWinner Announcements:

Winner of The Wheel Mysteries Susan Laine contest is Anna Thompson
Winner of Lee Brazil’s contest is Prof VJ Duke
Winner of Midnight Rodeo Homecoming:Carrier V.
Winner of Rory Ni Coileain’s Soulshares Contest is Nikki R.

More announcements to come this month, including a new reviewer who will be starting mid September. But more on her later.

September is here. That’s amazing. I think because this summer was so unseasonably cool and delightful that I don’t have the same desperate need to have September appear this year. Already there have been plenty signs of fall. Leaves are falling, I have seen a kettle or two of Broadwings a flight mid migration, and I heard my first Eastern Screech Owl whinnying for its territory a few days ago. And my gardens, for the most part, are awash in blue.

I do love this time of year. So many changes happening outside. It’s my favorite time of the year.

Here are a few pictures from my yard…

Garden 2 Sept 1Garden Sept 1

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Now for the week ahead at ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords:

Monday, September 1:

  • A Barb Review: Bliss by Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau
  • August Summary of Reviews and Best Covers

Tuesday, September 2:

  • Cover Reveal for Angel Martinez’ No Fae Is An Island (contest)
  • In the Author Spotlight:  Havan Fellows (contest)
  • Riptide Book Tour: Pulling Leather by L.C. Chase (contest)
  • A MelanieM Review:  Firestorm by Rory Ni Coileain

Wednesday, September 3:

  • In the Author Spotlight:  Angel Martinez on Fae, and her Series (contest)
  • Book Blast:  A Tooth for a Fang by Liv Olteano Tour and contest
  • Review:  A MelanieM Review: A Suitable Replacement by Megan Derr

Thursday, September 4:

  • KC Wells’ Learning To Love: Final Exam Book Tour and Contest
  • On Tour with Rae Brewer’s David Dilemma (contest)
  • A MelanieM Review:  Yakuza Courage by H.J. Brues

Friday, September 5:

  • Rebecca Cohen’s “Idolatry” Book Tour and contest
  • A MelanieM Review:  A Tooth for a Fang by Live Olteano

Saturday, September 6:

  • A MelanieM Review: Blown Chance by Havan Fellows
  • A MelanieM Review: Frank’s Knight (a PF2014 side story) by T.A. Webb

 

A Barb the Zany Lady Review: Bliss by Heidi Belleau and Lisa Henry

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Rating: 4.5 stars

BlissTate Patterson comes to Beulah because he’s heard that it’s easy pickings. Unlike his hometown, there’s no crime, and therefore, no locks on doors. It would be simple to make a quick haul and get away, but just as he’s doing that, a cop grabs him at the train station, and he makes a run for it. He has to get back to Tophet, no matter what, but when it looks like there’s no escape, he seeks a diversion by punching a young man in the face, breaking his nose. Tate’s captured anyway, and the young man, Rory James, is sent to the hospital while Tate learns his punishment—rehabilitation through restitution. How hard could that be? Tate finds out when he’s sentenced to seven years of service to the man he hurt. He knew he shouldn’t have thrown that punch, but seven years?

Review:

Beulah is the perfect town with the perfect justice system. In fact, it seems to exist in a bubble. There is very little crime and there are no jails. Almost everyone arrested plea bargains for a 7-year sentence, because, if they go to trial and are convicted, the sentence is life. Once found guilty, the criminal is fitted with an implanted chip in the brain, one that guarantees that they will remain docile. What many people don’t know, however, is that the chip will not allow that man to resist any command given to him by his “master”, the sponsor, who in almost all cases is the victim of the crime perpetrated.

When Rory receives custody of Tate, his new “rezzy”, the nickname given to those in the restitution program, he’s initially very wary, quite fearful of having this man in his home. He’s so new to the town himself, that he doesn’t yet understand or trust the system. But he comes to see that Tate is constantly looking for guidance and expressing his regret. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry” is a constant refrain. Then he discovers that Tate would prefer to be naked and on his knees as he begs for sex every time he greets Rory at the front door. When Rory finally gives in, feeling like a heel for doing so, he can’t quite reconcile Tate’s pleas for “more” and “harder”, when Tate is actually crying and moaning as if in pain.

Despite his better judgment, and under the guidance and counsel of his supervisor, Justice Lowell, he keeps Tate and continues to have sex with him. Justice Lowell acts as his friendly confidante and advisor, as Rory acclimates to Beulah and to his new job in the court system. He’s left Tophet, his hometown, behind him—a dirty, crime- and grime-filled dump, and he’s really happy to have that behind him, but he starts to question why Tate is so obedient and so obsessed with servitude and sex, especially when Tate is never able to verbalize answers to any questions about his own past in Tophet. If anything, the more he is ordered to perform certain tasks, both household and sex, the more he appears to enter a state of happiness that can only be described as bliss. Rory is told, “They’re always happy”, so many times that he feels he needs to believe that to assuage his own conscience.

As the tale unfolds, the authors delve more deeply into the personalities and complexities of the secondary characters. Justice Lowell is the type of guy who is friendly with all of his office staff, and one night, convinces Rory to host an impromptu office party for all of them. It’s then that Rory notices that Aaron, their cute and exuberant office intern seems uncomfortable around Lowell, especially once Lowell gets drunk and starts to make a pass at him. Two days later, he finds out that Aaron has been “caught” stealing and is now Lowell’s rezzy. Shocked, Rory tries to find out more, but is met with a dead end and a boss who tells him that he needs to learn to accept the way things are done in Beulah.

As time goes on and more and more incidents cause Rory to question what is really going on in this town, he endangers himself through his rebelliousness and will be lucky to escape the same fate as Tate and Aaron.

It… It hurts. Help. Me.

As a reader, I was particularly troubled during the times when Tate tried to break through the chip to speak to Rory to make him aware of what was going on. The chip causes tremendous pain each time a rezzy tries to break through the barrier. And, though we spend more time listening to Tate’s inner turmoil and powerlessness, we also share in Aaron’s pain which is manifested through excessive nosebleeds, so we see these very engaging characters struggling through extreme physical pain and, though we know what they want to say, we bear witness to what is actually said, and it’ s never what is intended. They’re always happy. But they really aren’t, and I found it painful to read these passages.

In fact, I started feeling depressed and reluctant to pick up the story again. Not because it was so poorly written, like others that I’ve hesitated to continue to read in the past, but because it was so well-written that I became one with the character. I hurt for Tate and Aaron so much!

On the flip side, I loved the surprising twist the story takes when Rory finally takes action. On the one hand, I knew something good would happen, but on the other hand, I was indeed surprised when it happened the way it did. And, of course, this dynamic author duo provided us with a satisfying HEA for all involved, though it was hard-earned.

So, I’m torn in my rating, because I realize it was so well written and the plot was extremely imaginative and well executed, that it might deserve a 5, yet it had so many dark and depressing elements that I may not have finished it if I hadn’t committed to a review. Therefore, I’m going with 4.5 stars.

I recommend it to those who enjoy a dark tale with non-con and dub-con scenes and/or a look into a non-conventional, yet Earth-based, world. And if you love angst, this is the story for you!

Cover Art by Kanaxa, http://www.kanaxa.com
Layout: L.C. Chase
— The cover depicts a very “blissful” expression on a handsome young man’s face. Sweet!

Sales Links: Riptide Publishing  All Romance eBooks (ARe)      Amazon             <a href=”Bliss

Book Details:

ebook, 230 pages
Published August 18th 2014 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN139781626491380
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/bliss