A Mika Review: Violated by Jamie Fessenden

Standard

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Violated coverDerek Sawyer thinks he has it all—a high-salaried position, a boyfriend, a dog, even a new cabin on the lake—until a business trip with his manager and best friend, Victor, shatters his world.

One night of drunken horsing around in their hotel room leads to the most intensely personal violation Derek has ever endured. As if the humiliation of working under his attacker every day isn’t enough, Victor reports Derek for sexual harassment. Now he’s without a job, without a boyfriend, and the mortgage on the cabin is due.

Officer Russ Thomas has worked with rape victims before, and it doesn’t take him long to sort out the truth in Derek’s tale. With his support, Derek finally reports the crime, months after it happened. But restraining orders and lawyers further Victor’s anger toward him, and even though a relationship develops between Derek and the policeman, Russ can’t be there to protect him all the time

This is going to be hard for me to rate, not because of the content of the story but solely based on the execution. I felt this was very much  a one-note novel. I didn’t get a rise out of myself reading this, not one time. Certain parts of the story should demand a certain reaction out of it’s audience, but this did not get one. Reading this story, I feel like the way it was written left it emotionally unavailable. It did not feel authentic at all.  I just felt like I was reading this, and felt completely detached from the story. I reached the end and felt absolutely nothing. I want to thank the author for being bold enough to write about this type of incident. I don’t think people talk about it enough. Going into this I expected turmoil, tears, and just an emotional read and I didn’t get it. I don’t want to say everyone is going to have the same reaction, because they aren’t but it was a straight read through.

The story itself was good. While I liked certain areas of it,  I disliked more than a few of the characters, and the situations that the MC’s found themselves in. The author did a good job on the subject. Its not something we read a lot about in m/m fiction, it had a realistic feeling to it. Derek  reacted like an individual would in this situation to me. A couple of times, I felt myself wanting to throttle him for not speaking up for himself afterwards, but nothing can be done on my time. I applaud Derek for going to work with his attacker everyday and living, surviving, and fighting to get back to himself. This incident brought up Derek’s dislike with himself. I think all the personal issues surrounding his sexuality might have impeded his recovery, but this is only my speculation reading it. Russ was a good guy, and character. I liked Russ with his sister, and I liked Russ with Derek. I did not like Russ on his own. It felt very filler-ish type. Like the author needed some space plugged up so we are just going to put Russ with these random people. I’m saying that not because he needed someone else, I’m saying it like it did not feel real. Where was the connection between Russ and the other two guys? None, I felt zero hints of magic with them. I just think  it added n0thing really except me feeling like it was open space.

Cover Art by L.C. Chase: I liked this cover, very serene feeling. I think Derek had to come to terms with himself before he could love someone else.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Amazon links coming Aug. 7th.

Book Details:

ebook, 256 pages, also in paperback
Expected publication: August 7th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
original titleViolated
ISBN139781634764513
edition languageEnglish

A Stella Review: Get Your Shine On by Nick Wilgus

Standard

Rating:  5 stars out of 5 ★★★★★

Get Your Shine On coverWhen his mother goes out to party one Saturday night and doesn’t come back, seven-year-old Ishmael Hood is taken in by his estranged uncle Henry and Henry’s live-in boyfriend, Sam. As this unlikely trio begins to build a new life together, they encounter both support and hostility in the small Mississippi town where they live. Seems like just about everybody has an opinion on the matter—and they’re not shy about expressing it.

While this blossoming little family finds its feet, outside forces—and ghosts from the past—threaten to tear it apart. Henry, still trying to deal with the tragic death of his parents, finds himself hard-pressed to open his heart to this needy child.

Just as a little shine begins to come back into their lives, Ishmael’s mother returns, and their world is thrown into chaos.

Nick Wilgus is one of my favorite authors, I have a soft spot for his Sugar Tree series, so every time I know he’s releasing a new book, I start to hyperventilate. Even if his books are not the usual m/m books I read, most of all even if his writing is hard to read for me, I’ve learned to simply love them and wish for more and more of his characters.

Get Your Shine On was another winner to me. I didn’t read the blurb because I didn’t care what it was about, I just cared that it was out. I wasn’t expecting this kind of story, so much (sometimes too much) emotional for me and I wasn’t ready for it. Especially halfway through it when we get some heavy angst. I so hoped,  until the end, that it wasn’t like I suspected to be and when my suspicions became reality they were hard to take; the central part was melting, I had to stop a couple of times.

The style and the language are the ones we used to find in the Sugar Tree series so if you liked that books you absolutely can’t miss this new one. I enjoy Nick Wilgus’ writing so much especially because he talks about children, the not so lucky ones, the same ones that break my heart in almost every scene I read. He writes so beautifully about imperfect characters, in fact there is no one perfect character in all of his books. For example at the start of Get Your Shine On I despised Henry, the MC, so much. I didn’t like how he approached his nephew Ishy, he didn’t get the boy at all and often he was too hard to the little one to my liking. But Wilgus is great at creating well developed characters, some of them will grow in the book and become better people, for other character there will be no hope sadly. Each one of them is well portrayed, from the details, to their background.

What I appreciate the most (cause it’s real) but at the same time I can understand it could be not easy to accept, is a specific quality of this author, so present in this book too. His books are full of crap, the MCs usually have to take it from everyone. There are a lot of homophobic people, too many times the word pedophile is said and it is just one of the nasty things that flew in the books. It’s a trait of his writing that can leave the reader puzzled the first time but later will be understood as the true way to show us a world that truly exists. Moreover the icing on the cake is that all of this is surrounded by a ton of laughter. There are so many funny scenes that balanced the angsty and heavy and sad parts.

As you can see I haven’t talked about blurb, plot or characters, it will be your pleasure to discover them, I’m sure. I just want to mention my favorite character (apart from the little Ishy that filled my heart every time he smiled), because she deserves it. She is Sister Ascension. She was the best, so fierce in her wanting to help Hen and his new family. Religion and I  have a tough relationship and I can’t tell you how much I appreciated the author for giving me a nun as the most positive person in this book.

I want to recommend Get Your Shine On cause it was emotional, funny, too many times really over the top. I can’t have enough of Wilgus’ works.

Cover art by AngstyG. It’s not my favorite by this artist. Not a bad cover at all but not so eye catching. I like it but nothing more. But at the end you could have give me a blank cover for this book, I wouldn’t have cared.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook 350 pages
Published July 24th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN13 9781634763738
Edition Language English

 

Anna Butler is Here Talking SciFy, Aliens, Romance and Heart Scarab! (Author Interview, Excerpt and Contest)

Standard

HeartScarab_cvr_f (1)

Heart Scarab (Taking Shield #2) by Anna Butler
Release Date: July 22, 2015

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas

 Sales Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Kobo

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Anna Butler, author of Heart Scarab.
Hi Anna, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

First, thank you for hosting me today. I’m delighted to be here.

Heart Scarab is the second of the Taking Shield series, which charts the life and loves of Shield Captain Bennet. Taking Shield is both a sweeping sci-fi story (old school sci-fi with spaceships and lasers, aliens and handsome heroes) and an equally sweeping love story. I should warn you, though, that it isn’t a romance in the sense that it won’t be what most m/m romance readers would expect.

Thousands of years after an alternate-universe Earth went dark, the people of one of her colonies, Albion, are struggling in a war that’s probably unwinnable, against aliens called the Maess. Although humans have been fighting the aliens’ cyborg drones for over a century, they haven’t seen a real, organic Maess. Set against the war, is the love story between Bennet and Fleet Lieutenant Flynn. They meet in the first book, Gyrfalcon, but for various reasons theirs isn’t going to be an easy love. They meet and part several times before the end. In Heart Scarab, Bennet’s return after being declared missing in action, presumed dead, puts intolerable strain on his relationship with his long term partner, Joss, but paves the way for a reunion with Flynn.
As for me, I worked for the UK civil service for many years as a communications specialist, working on everything from marketing employment programmes to running an internal TV service. These days I’m concentrating on trying to make it as a writer, combining my love of old school science fiction and m/m themes. I live in London with my husband and our cockapoo, Molly. We’re currently house hunting, looking for a country retreat.
• Do you buy a book because of the cover, the blurb, or something else?

That depends. I won’t say that I buy books *because of* either of those things, but if I’m trawling Amazon or a bookshop they do influence which books I’ll look into and which I’ll then consider buying.

I’m a very visual person, so the cover will catch my eye first. Truly, all the advice you read about getting a good cover that tells the reader something about the story, really holds true. Terrible cover, and I probably won’t even get to the blurb to see if it’s worth pursuing.

If the book comes to me as a recommendation, I’ll usually not let the cover influence me too much (beyond a wince if it’s dire).

Best possible tool – the ‘look inside’ feature on Amazon, or the sample. That really gives you a feel for if you’re going to get on with this author and book.

• What does ‘romance’ mean to you?

‘Good storytelling’ and ‘strong characters’ and ‘lose yourself for an hour here’—heartfelt emotion and drama, eroticism, sex scenes in which the feelings and the relationship matter as much (more?) than the physical gymnastics, an ending that is happy/enriching/hopeful. Stories about love. Sometimes about loss. But ultimately uplifting stories that leave you feeling good.
• What are your current projects?

I’m currently working on the fourth Shield book, The Chains Of Their Sins. On the current timetable, it will be published around this time next year, so I have a little time to polish it up! In this book, Bennet and Flynn are thrown together again, but it isn’t all hearts and rainbows. In fact, it isn’t hearts and rainbows at all…

• What is the most difficult part of writing for you?

Not to edit as I go along. I have a terrible habit of tinkering with what I’ve written so far, trying to perfect it, rather than ploughing on to the end and then editing in its entirety. It is a bad habit, because I can spend hours dithering over word choices and syntax when I should be forging on with the plot. Scrivener helps because it’s a separate folder and document for each chapter, so going back to the beginning to read is several steps more complex than in a word processing programme like Word. Scrivener is breaking me of some bad habits!

• Tell us something about yourself that would surprise people.

I’ve ridden in the circus ring.

I was about five, and my parents took my sister (then about three) and I to a small circus visiting a nearby town. The clowns brought in a Shetland pony, trained to do tricks as part of their routine, and at the end the Ringmaster asked for a volunteer to ride it. I was down in the ring almost before the man finished speaking. I can just about remember noise and light and a lot of people’s faces as I rode three times around the ring, led by the chief clown. He had a red coat and blue trousers and that’s all I remember about him. The pony was called Pickles.

Thank you, Anna, that was wonderful!

Now more about Heart Scarab.

Banner300x250

Blurb:

Telnos is an unpleasant little planet, inhabited by religious fanatics in the festering marshlands and unregistered miners running illegal solactinium mines up in the hills. But the Maess want Telnos, and Shield Captain Bennet’s job is to get out as many civilians as he can—a task that leaves him lying on Telnos while the last cutter of evacuees escapes in the teeth of the Maess invasion.

Bennet is listed missing in action, believed dead on a planet now overrun by Maess drones. His family is grieving. His long-term partner, Joss, is both mourning and guilt-ridden.

And Fleet Lieutenant Flynn? Flynn is desolate. Flynn is heart-broken… no. Flynn is just broken

Pages or Words: 97,900 words

Categories: Gay Fiction, Science Fiction

Excerpt:

Flynn liked kissing. In fact, Flynn considered himself something of an expert in the art. He’d tried it in all its forms, from the first tentative pressing together of juvenile lips that had you wondering what all the fuss was about, to the discovery that if you just opened your mouth and, you know, kind of moved everything, your tongue suddenly had a lot more positive uses than just allowing you to articulate clearly and swallow things without choking. Flynn got the hang of it, ran with it, and never looked back.

 

Soft kisses and hard kisses; kisses that were wet and slobbery with people who didn’t know exactly how to hold their lips to get the best and sexiest effect, and wet and sexy kisses with people who did. Kisses that turned the blood to molten lava and kisses that cooled you as you came down. Kisses that inflamed and kisses that soothed; feverish kisses and languid after-sex kisses. Kisses that meant only good fellowship and casual affection, and kisses that were desire incarnate.

 

Flynn had not only tried them all, he’d made them his own. He was considered by all the relevant authorities to be rather a specialist in the area.

 

Flynn really liked kissing. He had been gratified by the discovery that Bennet liked it too. Because now he could add slow kisses to the repertoire. Kisses so leisured and intense the world came to a stop while a hot tongue moved over his lips, explored each and every tooth down to the last molar, while teeth pulled at his bottom lip, biting it gently until it was swollen and hot and heavy, and he had to lick his lip to cool it and met Bennet’s tongue with his. Only then, would Bennet’s mouth close over his and start a real in-earnest kiss that lasted several more centuries. Those were kisses Bennet seemed to specialise in.

 

Flynn was always willing to take tips from another expert. A man should always try to extend his technique.

BannerTemplate

 

About the author:

Anna Butler was a communications specialist for many years, working in UK government departments on everything from marketing employment schemes to running an internal TV service. She now spends her time indulging her love of old-school science fiction. She lives in the ethnic and cultural melting pot of East London with her husband and the Deputy Editor, aka Molly the cockapoo.

Where to find the author:

annabutlerfiction@gmail.com
Website and Blog
Facebook
The Butler’s Pantry (Facebook Group)
Pinterest
Twitter

Final

 Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize:

–  a copy of my novella, FlashWired (epub, mobi or pdf) on every stop to one random commentator

–  Chance to enter a rafflecopter for

                      (i)   top prize of an Amazon gift voucher (is $50 overdoing it? It makes for a decent prize!)

                      (ii)  second prize, winner’s choice of a Heart Scarab ipad cover or kindle cover

                      (ii)  third prize, a Gyrfalcon iPad cover

Must be 18 years of 18 or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

Rafflecopter Code:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Dates & Stops: Wednesdays July 22 – November 4, 2015

22-Jul

Prism Book Alliance

29-Jul

Just Love Romance

Bayou Book Junkie

5-Aug

Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

12-Aug

Andrew Q. Gordon

19-Aug

My Fiction Nook

26-Aug

Joyfully Jay

2-Sep

The Hat Party

9-Sep

Inked Rainbow Reads

16-Sep

Velvet Panic

Molly Lolly

23-Sep

Emotion in Motion

30-Sep

BFD Book Blog

Jessie G. Books

7-Oct

Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

14-Oct

MM Good Book Reviews

21-Oct

The Novel Approach

28-Oct

Amanda C. Stone

4-Nov

Butterfly-O-Meter

 

In the Book Spotlight: Agate: Then and Now (The Stones of Power #4) by M.D. Grimm

Standard

AgateThenandNow1400

Agate: Then and Now (The Stones of Power #4) by M.D. Grimm
Release Date: August 5, 2015

STRW In The Spotlight Header

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Torquere Press
Cover Artist: Shardel_4251

Banner300x250

Sales Links:     Torquere Books

STRW Author BookSynopsis

Time travel. For mages, it violates their number one rule: what the Mother has written, let no one unwrite. The Mother writes the destinies of the creatures on the world of Karishian. If her writings were undone, it is feared that Creation itself could be undone. The Dark Mage Morgorth takes this rule to heart, but there are others who do not.

Morgorth is about to claim a stone of power when it is stolen from him by a female mage he hasn’t seen in decades. As they struggle for the stone, she activates it, and Morgorth is unwillingly plunged into another time and another place. It isn’t long before he realizes what time he’s found himself in and there are a few familiar faces.

Most notable is a much younger version of Aishe. His mate.

Living with a tribe who will be massacred, caring for a young lad who will become his mate, and fighting a battle against a mage who can travel from past to future at a whim; Morgorth’s life has never been easy but now he must contend with the will of the Mother. Unable to change the future and the tragedies of Aishe’s life, he must decide what his role in his mate’s past will be, and ask himself one vital question: how does one defeat time?

Pages or Words: 74,654 words

Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt


Even as I felt the air around her began to tremble and heat, I only had a split second to make a decision. I lunged forward, trying to grab the stone again. She jerked her arm away but I managed to grab her wrist just as she activated the stone’s power. I didn’t have time to change my mind as a silver dome formed around Drasyln, as the stone seemed to open a vortex with a gravity I couldn’t fight. I was being suffocated, compressed on all sides. My breath left my lungs, my muscles seized and wept. My last thoughts were of Aishe, and if I would ever see him again.

In my efforts to prevent this exact event, I realized I’d just broken the cardinal rule of a mage. The Number One rule my mentor Master Ulezander had ever taught me.

What the Mother has written, let no one unwrite.

Atcoatlu was an agate. It was the stone of time.

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

M.D. Grimm has wanted to write stories since second grade and nothing has changed since then. Thankfully, she has indulgent parents who let her dream, but also made sure she understood she’d need a steady job to pay the bills. After graduating from the University of Oregon and majoring in English, she embarked on her writing career and couldn’t be happier. Working by day, writing by night, she enjoys embarking on romantic quests and daring adventures and creating characters that always triumph against the villain and find their soul mate in the process.

Where to find the author:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001710645622
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/M.D.-Grimm/e/B00I0KZMY6/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Website: http://www.mdgrimmwrites.com

BannerTemplate

Tour Dates & Stops: August 5, 2015Parker Williams, MM Good Book Reviews, TTC Books and More, Bayou Book Junkie, BFD Book Blog, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Dawn’s Reading Nook, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Molly Lolly, Christy Loves 2 Read, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, 3 Chicks After Dark, Amanda C. Stone, Full Moon Dreaming, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My, My Fiction Nook, Andrew Q. Gordon, Ogitchida Book Blog, Inked Rainbow Reads

 

STRW Spotlight Contest Header

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘Agate: Then and Now’. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

Rafflecopter Code:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Final