A MelanieM Release Day Review: In Enemy Hands by MA Church

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

in-enemy-handsTwo very different civilizations—one bathed in bright sunlight, and the other veiled in shadow.

Bad decisions, declining resources, and a king on the brink of madness force Prince Varo Kutchif, third son of the royal family and a starship captain, to attempt the impossible: barter for Black Phospolrock, an energy source the mysterious Helkan kingdom has in abundance. Varo opens a line of communication with Adlar, an intriguing Helkan who seems to reciprocate Varo’s interest. He hopes so, because if negotiations collapse, Varo has orders to attack.

The Helkans preside over a planet shrouded in perpetual darkness. Several species have tried to exploit its natural resources through trade with them, but all have failed. Adlar Mondur is the older brother to the Helkan ruler. An assassin of the highest order, he’ll do anything to protect his king and his people—including tracking down the Yesri prince who crash-lands on their planet, leaving an ugly scar across its untouched beauty.

Thus begins a journey where two men from disparate civilizations grow from enemies to lovers.

In Enemy Hands by MA Church was a story I never wanted to end.  Great world building to the extent that you felt you were walking along side Varo, seeing the planet’s marvels and dangers through his  eyes, the flora and fauna each and every one detailed and enticing.  And the Helkans are  every bit as intriguing and captivating as their planet.  Church has naturally carried through to from a planet wreathed in darkness to its peoples.  They are pale, dark haired, yellow eyes, strong and, just as beautiful and lethal as their home.  The Helkans view their resources, including the precious Black Phospolrock, in a manner the rest of the galaxy does not.  Church lays out their society and culture clearly.

What little we learn of the Yesri, they are the opposite in every way.  Industrialized to the point that they have destroyed their planet’s habitats and resources, their  planet is covered in sun as is their high born people who are tanned, white haired with brown eyes.  Heavily divided into class systems, the disparity between them is getting greater, and desperation is driving the commands behind Varo’s mission into space.

Was I hooked?  Oh you bet!

And once the two met?  Even better.  Because every time I came up with an issue with the way I thought Varo should be acting (perhaps more assured, whatever), Church was there ahead of me, anticipating my questions about his behavior, putting forth answers through Adlar…well, it was amazing.  I’m not one of those readers who enjoy a captive situation but this made great reading.  It was a slow learning process for both men, no hurt/comfort, just discovering who each one was under a stressful situation.  Adler giving Varo space to grow and Varo being  able to see past his prejudices.  Plus the two of them together?  Sexy as hell.

There’s intrigue of course, and danger.  Enough here for two books.  I believe the author has left open enough possibilities that should Church wish too she could revisit this planet and couple easily.  Or we could see how  Wrief, Varo’s brother got on.   After this, I’m up for anything to do with the Halkans and its ruling family.

As I said this was an amazing story.  I loved it.  If you are a lover of science fiction, romance, M.A. Church, or all of the above, pick it up and start reading.  I highly recommend it.

Cover art by Anne Cain is perfect for Adler.

Sales Links

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Book Details:

ebook, 214 pages
Expected publication: December 30th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634776089 (ISBN13: 9781634776080)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Champagne Kisses by Lynda Aicher and Audiobook narrated by Tobias Silversmith

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

champagnekisses_audiobookIt’s easy to summarize this story—short, sweet, sexy! And the bonus to listening to the audiobook is that Tobias Silversmith narrated it beautifully.

This audiobook is only two hours long, but nearly every minute is packed full of character building, drama, romance, and hot, hot sex. It’s much better than receiving a Christmas stocking full of chocolates. Positively yummy and delicious!

Evan Cleary is a struggling wedding planner who’s spent the last four weeks putting together the perfect wedding for Nate Patterson and his soon-to-be-husband. Unfortunately, on Christmas Eve, their wedding day, Nate finds out his fiancé has been very naughty—banging one of the hotel staff. Major drama ensues, including Nate hurling a vase across the banquet room, leaving his fiancé bleeding with a head wound and on the way to the hospital for stitches. He doesn’t really care though, storming out of the room and promising never to return.

Evan is stunned, but he’d sunk everything he had into making this perfect so the wealthy Mrs Patterson would recommend him to friends and fellow socialites. He needs that business so sets about turning the former reception into a gala Christmas party. Watching from the wings while all this is going on is Nate’s brother, Richard Patterson. Though out and proud, few people know it, and certainly not Evan, but Richard is determined to make good use of Evan’s time later that night, convincing him that the day isn’t a total waste, and neither is the night.

There’s some major steamy hot sex in this story, and of course, it involves champagne and lots of kisses—in all sorts of places. But will the couple move beyond one night? Richard’s made it known he doesn’t do femme and there are few less femme than Evan around. This one is worth picking up to hear what happens. Stick it in your stocking. Stick it in a friend’s stocking and listen to your heart’s content. Is it original? Not so much. It’s holiday trope, but it’s very well done and left me feeling happy, so what more could I ask for? Certainly not chocolates.

Cover art by L.C. Chase shows two hot men, one taking his shirt off, the other loosening his tie. Both ready for a round of Champagne Kisses. 

Sales Links

Riptide Publishing

Audible, Amazon, iTunes

Audiobook Details:

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A VVivacious Advent Calendar Review: Ranger Station Haven (2016 Advent Calendar – Bah Humbug) by S.A. Stovall

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Rating: 4 Stars out of 5
 
ranger-station-haven-by-s-a-stovallCarter is a regular Christmas grump while Owen is the polar opposite. They are both federal park rangers who are spending their Christmas in the Voyageurs National Park Ranger Station when they get a call informing them about six children who are out in the woods with a storm headed their way.
 
As Carter and Owen rescue the kids, Owen gets badly injured. This Christmas is definitely not looking up for Owen but looks like the kids they rescued might just spread around enough holiday cheer to convince even Carter to join in on Christmas.
 
I liked this story. It was an established couple romance and I loved the familiarity and warmth of love these two characters shared. Also Owen and Carter took shape almost instantaneously making this story very appealing. This story focuses on Owen and Carter and sees them embark on a new journey in their life.
 
This story was a pretty unique Christmas story. I loved how Owen and Carter end up celebrating their Christmas with Justin, Casey, Crystal, Melissa, Luke and Edmund. I loved the kids, they were just so precious.
 
I adored Carter, the story is from his perspective and I loved how he left his grouchiness behind to make Christmas special and truly memorable for the kids and Owen.
 
This is a nice warm holiday read with a bit of twist what with a rescue operation on Christmas Eve followed by a very special Christmas morning.
 
Cover Art by Paul Richmond. I loved the cover.
Sales Links
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Book Details:
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ebook, 42 pages
Published December 1st 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1635331927 (ISBN13: 9781635331929)
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series2016 Advent Calendar – Bah Humbug

A Lila Release Day Review: More Things in Heaven and Earth By Paul Comeau

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Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

more-things-in-heaven-and-earth-buildWhen young Danny Crawford’s father and a priest conspire to subject him to conversion therapy, Danny only sees one way out. But little does Danny know he’ll soon have a sentinel watching from the darkness, a guardian angel in the most unlikely form imaginable.

Damien, a vampire, is inexplicably moved by Danny’s plight. He takes it upon himself to make sure Danny’s father and the priest can never hurt him again, giving Danny a chance at a normal life. As Danny grows up, Damien struggles to keep the boy—and later the young man—from harm. He does not dare go any further, no matter how much he wants to. To do so would ruin everything he’s tried to do for Danny. He doesn’t realize that as Danny embarks on a successful modeling career and begins dating, Danny feels empty, longing for something—or someone—just beyond his reach: a shadow, a presence he despairingly believes forever lost to him.

When brutality and violence threaten Danny again, Damien must make a decision—risk revealing himself to Danny, or leave Danny to his fate.

More Things in Heaven and Earth is not what I expected after reading the blurb. At the same time, it’s more, and less. To better explain, I think these are two books trying to become one—a literary fiction story that collided with a romance novel. I would have preferred to get a HFN or a tutor & apprentice kind of ending in this story. And then, round up the romance and the rest of their future on a separate book.

Some of the scenes were too descriptive and the things Danny and Damien endured too brutal to be compensated by their flourishing relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I know life’s not easy, and many men & women had these same experiences, but it’s hard to balance them in order to enjoy the author’s main purpose.

Damien was lovely. The way his feelings for Danny developed and how he lived his life were interesting. I like that he was not a conventional vampire, and even made fun of Hollywood’s stereotypes. His protective instinct and his friendship with Danny saved the story for me. They were great together.

Danny is an interesting character; perhaps a little naïve. The story arc with his family works as part of his book, but was a bit over-the-top. I did enjoy how his relationship with his mother and sister ended.

The story is well written and I do like the author’s style. I simply had some trouble getting over some facts that seemed unnecessary at times. The ten POV changes were unnecessary as well. Some of those paragraph could have been re-written from one of the MCs’ POV. The background chapters for Danny’s parents were too much. We could had inferred the information from their actions instead of reading their narrations.

I had some questions by the end of the story, and skimmed over certain areas, but overall I like it. It took me some time to decide on a rate for it, but in the end, the parts that deserved one-star benefited from the story as a whole.

The cover by Catt Ford goes very well with the book; showing the main characters and their home.

Sale Links: Dreamspinner | Amazon |

Book Details:

ebook, 284 pages
Published: December 30, 2016, Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 9781635331363
Edition Language: English

In the Spotlight: “Accused” by Leona Windwalker (excerpt and giveaway)

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Accused (The Talani Trade Alliance Book 1) by Leona Windwalker
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une Tree Press

Buy (https://www.amzn.com/B01N2U1HOZ)

December 27, 2016

Blurb:

Matthias Reynolds loves his life. He’s starting to make it as a graphic artist at last and has a job he really likes at a local café that pays the bills. When a night out clubbing leads to an awkward morning after, he’s embarrassed and more than ready to forget  all about it. When Talani Enforcers show up at the café, he doesn’t know what to make of it all as he’s led away in restraints.

Standing accused of crimes he struggles to understand, he finds he has an unexpected champion: the Talani warrior and war hero J’nah Quislin. J’nah knows that Matty is his. All J’nah has to do is keep Matty safe from those who engineered Matty’s charges and sentencing. That, and get Matty to accept that the universe always intended them to be together as one. All it requires is for Matty to return J’nah’s devotion and offer his willing submission. Can Matty do it, with all that it will mean for his future?

Excerpt:

He carried his clothes and shoes over to the waste receptacle as instructed, wincing at the thought of how much he’d paid for those shoes just three weeks ago. He finished just in time, as he could hear doors opening and closing. His door opened moments later, another burly Talani warrior entering with a bowl of food. He took it as it was offered and thanked the warrior, who gave a curt nod and carefully backed out of the cell, quickly shutting the door behind him before pushing a cart to the next cell.

The food looked unappetizing, being some sort of purple mush with strings of some unidentified meat and vegetables he knew no name for. He’d not eaten all day since the two bites of toast on that seemingly far away morning. He gingerly tried a taste.

Okay, so not revolting despite the looks of it. Not great either, but I’ve had worse things.

He polished off the bowl and pondered what to do with it.

Are they going to come back for it or do I throw it away or what?

He decided to place it upon the floor until someone came to tell him what to do. He waited until his thirst made him go to the sink and take a drink from his cupped hands. He scrubbed at his teeth with his finger, wishing he at least had some toothpaste. Exhausted from his harrowing day, he was relieved when the lights began to dim, slowly going out. He climbed onto his bed and curled up on it before the light was completely gone. He was asleep before he knew it.

Morning came quickly, the lights slowly brightening up almost as if they were approximating sunrise. Another warrior appeared, bringing more food and a plastic tumbler of some type of juice. He eyed the dirty bowl and utensil on the floor pointedly, then pointed to the trash receptacle.

“Okay, sorry, I wasn’t sure,” Matty said contritely.

The warrior gave a curt nod and handed him his breakfast. It too did not look like much and was on the bland side. He found the juice sweet with a tart edge to it that he found hard to define. Whatever it was, it was refreshing and not only slaked his thirst, but left his mouth feeling clean. When he finished, he placed all the dishes in the trash, taking a moment to wonder where it all disappeared to when he closed the lid.

He’d splashed his face with some water from the sink and dampened his hair finger combing it to try to tame the bedhead he couldn’t see but knew was there. He was just finishing his efforts when guards came, opening the cell doors and ushering the prisoners out into the hall. Exiting into the branch corridor, they continued on until they came to the main corridor, then made their way to yet another branch. This one ended in a large area that had a stage of some sort set up, with a large overhead screen set up. There were chairs filled with Talani as well as a few other humanoids he couldn’t identify.

Other Trade members, no doubt. I suppose only those of us who make it off-world get to meet them until Earth makes full membership. Though maybe some of the higher ranked employees back at the Trade Confederation Headquarters back on Earth might’ve too, I suppose. Not like I can ask Duane, he thought with a mixture of sarcasm, anger, and sadness.

The group of prisoners were ushered through a door at the rear of the stage and the door shut. Sound from the other room was abruptly cut off and the prisoners were urged to sit down, being re-cuffed as they did so.

One of the warriors tilted his head as if listening to instructions, alerting Matty that he was wearing an earpiece of some sort. The instructions seemed to involve taking the prisoners one by one to the outside room, returning a few minutes later to retrieve another. Soon it was Matty’s turn and he found himself onstage, made larger on the viewing screen that hung over head. Information written in Talani scrolled  on one side of the screen and the seated audience seemed to be busy glancing up at it and idly tapping away on their data pads or staring off into space. A chime sounded, apparently serving as an alarm as all movements ceased. His image vanished from the screen and characters flashed up on the screen for several moments. He was escorted offstage and met by yet another official, this time a Talani woman with short-cropped hair.

“This way, please, Matthias.” She continued speaking to him as they walked along. “You’ve successfully been matched and now we are beginning your out-processing. First stop is Medical, where they will give you an exam and prepare you as needed for where you are going.”

“You mean like immunizations?”

She hesitated before answering. “Immunizations, well, yes, that is definitely something they’ll tend to.”

Makes sense. Not like I’d have any natural defenses against some exotic hemorrhagic fever or anything like that. Matty shuddered at the thought. “So, can you tell me who employed me?”

“J’nah Quislin.  He’s a warrior of great renown, a hero of the Expansion Wars.”

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Author Bio:

Leona is a longtime staunch supporter of human rights and environmental causes. Her favourite genre to read is M/M fiction and she particularly enjoys science fiction, fantasy, and action/suspense sub-genres—especially if they have a nice seasoning of romance. She has far too many books on her Kindle, has overloaded her phone with even more and, when not reading, writing, being driven to distraction by her children, or being overlorded by her three cats, can be found trying to locate the portal that the sock monster uses to steal socks from her dryer.

Recent head-reeling news for her included her novel Jared:Urban Wolves #1 being nominated for an Indie Award from Metamorph and placing as a finalist in the 2016 Rainbow Awards, earning an Honorable Mention. She’s still suspicious that it’s all been a dream, but as long as her readers are happy and she can find at least one of the missing socks, she’s happy.

You’ll find her books on Amazon (universal link is http://author.to/LeonaWindwalker), including on Kindle Unlimited. You’ll also find her on Facebook at Leona Windwalker, where you can keep up on news regarding current, new, and upcoming releases.

Don’t forget to put it on your Goodreads shelf! (Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33414912-accused)

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Cover Reveal for Regeneration by Louise Lyons

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Regeneration by Louise Lyons
Expected publication: January 15th 2017

Pre-Order Links

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NAL4NJ8

Amazon UK:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01NAL4NJ8

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/688822

Blurb

In the 23rd Century in the galaxy of Sigma Kappa, Kim Fortune was the first surviving experimental enhanced human—a regenerate. Aged fifteen, he escaped the lab and years later, his failings as a regenerate and the suspicion of regular humans, leave him lonely and lacking in self-worth. Stranded on an abandoned planet, the arrival of a stricken ship and its crew give him hope that he may finally find what he always longed for—love.

Christian Novak is a successful regenerate with all the intended attributes—including lack of human emotion. Despite their immediate attraction to each other, Kim’s failing confidence, and Christian’s inability to empathize are a recipe for disaster. But war, imprisonment, and danger throw them together, and after each saves the other’s life, their feelings begin to change.

Can a seemingly unsuitable pair ever find love, or is a future together destined to fail?

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Author Bio

Louise Lyons comes from a family of writers. Her mother has a number of poems published in poetry anthologies, her aunt wrote poems for the church, and her grandmother sparked her inspiration with tales of fantasy.

Louise first ventured into writing short stories at the grand old age of eight, mostly about little girls and ponies. She branched into romance in her teens, and MM romance a few years later, but none of her work saw the light of day until she discovered FanFiction in her late twenties. Posting stories based on some of her favourite movies, provoked a surprisingly positive response from readers. This gave Louise the confidence to submit some of her work to publishers, and made her take her writing “hobby” more seriously.

Louise lives in the UK, about an hour north of London, with a mad dog called Casper, collection of tropical fish and tarantulas. She works in the insurance industry by day, and spends every spare minute writing. She is a keen horse-rider, and loves to run long-distance. Some of her best writing inspiration comes to her, when her feet are pounding the open road. She often races home afterward, and grabs pen and paper to make notes.

Louise has always been a bit of a tomboy, and one of her other great loves is cars and motorcycles. Her car and bike are her pride and job, and she loves to exhibit the car at shows, and take off for long days out on the bike, with no one for company but herself.

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Email: louiselyons013@gmail.com