A Free Dreamer Review: Barricade by Lindsey Black

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

The Barricade is all that separates the Northern Russian Empire from what remains of the world’s plague-decimated population. Snaking 8921 kilometres across Eurasia, the Barricade is crafted from the New World’s nanotechnologies. Breathing, thinking, constantly regenerating, it sustains those charged with defending its districts from those desperate to find refuge in the north.

Atop the battlements of District 666, Sasha Stepanova and his team ruthlessly suppress heavy insurgencies, but at a cost. With the loss of one of his men, Sasha feels isolated and adrift. The bitter snows are a harbinger of winter’s early arrival and the town on his southern perimeter is swelling with foreboding shadows.

Transferred from a black operations testing facility, Jett Ioane is not the replacement Sasha is expecting. He’s short, sheltered and untested in battle—a poor replacement for the friend Sasha has lost. But Sasha finds him impossibly alluring. A lifetime of alienation and scrutiny has hardened Jett to the friendship and camaraderie necessary for survival. Struggling to find his feet while Sasha sweeps them out from under him, Jett hesitates to entrust the team with his truth.

Will Jett’s secrets be the key to their salvation, or annihilation?

It’s no big secret that I love Science Fiction and Post Apocalyptic books. But I usually also avoid books that are set somewhere really cold. However, the blurb for “Barricade” just sounded too good to ignore. And I’m glad I decided to read this unusual book.

I’ve read countless books that are set in a post apocalyptic world and almost all of them are set in the United States or whatever’s left of them. It seems you need to live in North America to have any chance at surviving the apocalypse. So “Barricade” was a very interesting change of the usual setting. This time, the Russians are the survivors. They built this ginarmous wall, called the Barricade, to keep out all those people who suffer from the plague. I really enjoyed the setting, even though it’s not what I usually prefer.  I could easily imagine the cold and wet and general nastiness of it. It was very well written and diverse, even though we don’t see much of the world other than the Barricade.

I really liked both Sasha and Jett. I liked their relationship and how they behaved around each other. Every character has their own, distinctive voice, even the minor characters. I loved the whole team of District 666 and their interactions. It was also really interesting to see how each tower’s team worked and how different they all were, even though they all lived basically the same life.

The romance and non-romance parts of the plot very well balanced. The love story worked really well with the rest of the plot.

There were quite a few surprises and unexpected plot twists that made it nearly impossible for me to put the book down. I finished it within a couple of days. I would’ve finished it in a single sitting, if not for work interfering. It was all so fascinating and addicting and I really loved the whole story.

As much as I enjoyed the story itself, I was really annoyed with the editing. There were so many spelling mistakes and it was really distracting. I absolutely hate sloppy editing and there just is no excuse for it. If an author expects me to pay money for their book, then I expect them to the very best to make it perfect. I can forgive the occasional typo, but I have a very low tolerance for bad spelling. The author kept switching between “Sasha” and “Sacha”. Spelling your protagonist’s name wrong is a huge no go and it made me really mad. If not for the sloppy editing, I would’ve happily given this book 4.5 stars. But this really took away from my reading experience.

The ending was a bit sudden and kind of left me with the hope for a sequel.

If you’re into post-apocalyptic stories with some romance to spice things up, I think you will enjoy this book. As long as you don’t let yourself get distracted by the sloppy editing.

Cover art by Natasha Snow: The cover looks a little bit generic. I don’t think it really fits the story. The naked guy makes you expect a way steamier story, with a lot less plot. It just doesn’t do this book justice.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book details: ebook, 342 pages

Published December 28th 2017 by Netherwood Press

A Stella Pre-Release Review: When the Devil Wants In by Cate Ashwood and JH Knight

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RATING 3,75 out of 5 stars

John Turner has been living a lie most of his life. Growing up in the rural Georgia town of Magnolia Ridge, he’s only ever let one person truly know him: his best friend, Chloe. To the rest of the world, they’re the perfect couple, but just between them, she’s helping John hide in plain sight.

Matt Kinsley, a cop from San Francisco, moves to town looking for a slower pace and to reconnect with his Southern roots. Starting over in Magnolia Ridge means taking a step into the closet, but Matt finds that with John for company, he doesn’t mind so much.

As the two start to explore a possible relationship, a horrific murder rips the town apart but brings John and Matt together in ways neither could’ve imagined. Matt must decide where his loyalties lie while John resists the urge to run again. Together, they have to discover who the real devil is before another life is destroyed.

I was over the moon when I saw two of my favorite authors were going to coauthor a book together and I was more than happy when I finally had the story on my Kindle. I love both authors writing style and mixed they delivered a lovely novel. I truly enjoyed  reading about Matt and John’s love. I liked how their relationship developed and the attraction between them was clear from the first time, as it was clear something more important was going to happen, no matter that the future could be against them.

I liked the plot, I found myself into the story from the start.  I liked the characters, not just the main ones, interesting and well defined. Matt and John were well portrayed, they were realistic persons, with their huge baggage and flaws. The writing was very well done, perfect in every detail, even the sex scenes were hot and steamy. And I have to say I enjoyed the mystery part too, although I’m not a huge fan of mysteries in general.

When The Devil Wants In could have been a huge success because as I said, I loved a lot of things, but some little particulars left me dubious and brought me to the point that I couldn’t give the novel the full four stars. First of all, although I like the mystery part because it was good and I wasn’t able to guess the murderer at all, I really think it was unnecessary to go where the authors decided to go (I can’t say more, I would reveal too much), to me it was unexpected and evil. Nonetheless I can understand this could be just me and my love for the characters. Still, in my opinion the pages needed to solve the mystery should have been better used to develop more the relationship between the MCs and better understand them together. In fact I have to say I enjoyed the first half part of the book more than the second, simply because the focus wasn’t anymore on the romance but moved to an hurtful event that took too much away from Matt and John.

At the end, I enjoyed When The Devils Wants In a lot and I will strongly welcome other works from these authors.

The cover art by Cate Ashwood has a meaning, the flowers are on it for a reason, and that’s why I like it.

SALE LINKS Dreamspinner Press

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, First, 264 pages

Expected publication: January 30th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press

ASIN B078X5Q28C

Edition Language English

A MelanieM Review: Open Net (Cayuga Cougars #2) by V.L. Locey

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

August Miles has the world on a string professionally.

Augie, as his friends and teammates call the unassuming young goaltender, is on the fast track to the pros. The starting goalie for the Cayuga Cougars, he has a year or two in Cayuga to hone his skills and all his career dreams will have come true. Pity his personal life isn’t riding the same high. He’s the only one among his group of friends without that special someone to call his own.

Until he meets Salvatore Castenada at a lakeside party. The attraction is white-hot and more than a little wonderfully overwhelming for the romantically inexperienced goalie. August quickly discovers that Sal is everything he’s dreamed of in a man: mature, settled, sinfully handsome, and filled with gentle humor. Sal is also HIV positive.

Will Sal’s revelation about his status end this budding relationship before it can even begin? Or will the two men be able to handle the challenges life—and a championship run for the Cougars—throws at them?

The second in the Cayuga Cougars series, Open Net is a marvelous joining of hockey and romance by V.L. Locey.  This author is amazing at this love/hockey combo because of her in depth knowledge and love for the game which flows through her narrative like a hockey puck on ice.  Here the hockey player who falls in love is a goalie, that special quirky teammate on ice that every team has.  He’s  past oddball, having  some indefinable character element that all great and even not so great goalies must have.  And Locey captures that in the persona of Augie, aka August Miles.   How I love Augie.  I see him so clearly even now, adopted late in life elderly  parents, raised out in the middle of nowhere in Manitoba, hockey is his life.  It’s his only thing until he meets Salvatore  “Sal”Castenada and realizes Sal is everything.

Except Sal is also HIV positive.  It’s a defining moment in both men’s lives.  Sal is older, hurt by one moment in life when he was a trusting innocent and is now paying the price.  He has been also hurt when he’s tried to date and start a  romance again only to find out that his HIV status is a barrier few will cross.

Locey accurately details life with HIV as well what it means to date someone who’s HIV positive.  She does so while maintaining a heartwarming, loving relationship between Augie and Sal.  And she deals realistically with the reactions of those of the people around them as well, both for and against.

And while Augie and Sal are working on their relationship, Augie is also working within his team to become the best goalie he can be. I love the action in the ring, the playing time!  Its fast, fierce and as much of the story as the romance!  Combine both and you have one outstanding novel and a great series!

Love romance?  Hockey players in love?  Grab up this story and the others too.  You can’t go wrong with the Cayuga Cougars and their partners…on and off the ice.  I highly recommend them.

Cover art by Riverie Design and Formatting: love it.  Great job.

Sales Links: – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:

book, 200 pages
Published August 16th 2017 by V.L. Locey
Original TitleOpen Net — Cayuga Cougars #2
ISBN139781386038474
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesCayuga Cougars #2

DSP Dreamspun Promo Kris T. Bethke Ghost of a Chance (Requiem Inc. #1) by Kris T. Bethke

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Ghost of a Chance (Requiem Inc. #1) by Kris T. Bethke
Dreamspinner Press
Dreamspun Beyond
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Buy Links: Dreamspinner PressAmazon |  Barnes & Noble |  Kobo |  iBooks 

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Kris T. Bethke on tour for her story Ghost of a Chance (Requiem Inc. #1).  Welcome, Kris!

✒︎

 

Hi there! I’m Kris T. Bethke, and a great big thanks for spending a little time with me today. Thanks to the gang here at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for hosting me!

My newest release, Ghost of a Chance, is out now, and there’s a lot I love about this story. But the truth is, it almost didn’t happen. I’d started a version of this story several years ago and almost immediately shelved it, knowing it wasn’t working. But when I saw the submission call for this new line, I knew it was time to bring it out and dust it off again.

The original premise wasn’t mine to begin with. It was, in fact, and idea my brother had. He told me about this idea a dozen or so years ago and it stuck with me. The picture he painted with that scene he shared with me haunted me for a decade. I thought about it off and on throughout the intervening years. And then I asked him if I could have it, because I wanted to write a story around it.

So I started to, but as I said, it just wasn’t working. So I put it away and tried to forget about it. Except, just like the original idea, it wouldn’t leave me alone. When I decided to write trying writing it again, just about everything changed. Except the most important details. A man’s job requires him to die, he doesn’t want a new partner, and he helps lost souls cross over.

Blake Jones emerged from the ashes of that failed first draft, and Derek Scott stepped in to pick up the pieces. Once I had these two MCs, everything else fell into place. That’s not to say this story wasn’t a lot of work. It was, but the most enjoyable kind. I needed to figure out the world, how it worked, and how these guys were going to fall in love while doing their job.

Especially because the salient details weren’t something I’d ever seen before.

I loved writing this story, and I loved creating the world in which they lived. The first try wasn’t right, but I’m so glad I didn’t give up on my instincts that this was a story that needed telling. If I’ve done my job, you’ll enjoy reading it just as much.

I hope you get a chance to check it out.

Blurb:

Only love makes life worth living—over and over again.

Ghostwalker Blake Jones dies every day. It’s his job and how he helps trapped souls cross over. But to return to life, he needs an anchor. His new partner, Derek Scott, is a surprise. Not only is he male, but his appearance belies a caring and gentle heart underneath. Despite attraction and a strengthening relationship, they know they shouldn’t take things further.

But there’s a big difference between knowing and doing.

Their growing love presents a problem, though not the one they expect. Blake and Derek have to decide if they should take their relationship to the most permanent level—an unbreakable metaphysical bond. Doing so offers both risk and unimaginable reward. Can Blake let go of his fears and put his complete trust in Derek in order to have the happily ever after he’s always craved?

About the Author

Kris T. Bethke has been a voracious reader for pretty much her entire life and has been writing stories for nearly as long.  An avid and prolific daydreamer, she always has a story in her head.  She spends most of her free time reading, writing, or knitting/crocheting her latest project.  Her biggest desire is to find a way to accomplish all three tasks at one time.  A classic muscle car will always turn her head, and naps on the weekend are one of her greatest guilty pleasures.  She lives in a converted attic with a way too fluffy cat and the voices in her head.  She’ll tell you she thinks that’s a pretty good deal. Kris believes that love is love, no matter the gender of people involved, and that all love deserves to be celebrated.

Find her on her
site https://kristbethke.com
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/people/Kris-T-Bethke/100014524539852 or on
Twitter https://twitter.com/kristbethke

Release Day Blitz for To Seek and To Find by Tamryn Eradani (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  To Seek and to Find

Series: Enchanting Encounters, Book One

Author: Tamryn Eradani

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: January 22, 2018

Heat Level: 5 – Erotica

Pairing: Male/Female, Male/Male

Length: 56900

Genre: Contemporary, Contemporary romance, BDSM, multiple partners, fetish club, college lecturer

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

“Project: Notice Me” is a win-win for Kyle. He’ll do a series of demonstrations at the club and have a good time with people he knows and the fledgling Doms who are new to the scene and looking for encouragement from an experienced Sub. And maybe along the way, he’ll attract the attention of the new Dom at the club, the one with terrible taste in fashion, but who has the most intense focus Kyle has ever seen. He wants the entirety of the man’s attention on him. The clothes are optional.

Excerpt

To Seek and to Find
Tamryn Eradani © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
“So,” Kyle says. He slinks into Jenny’s office, glad he wore his stretchy jeans when he pulls a chair out from the table and turns it around so he can straddle it. Even with the give in his jeans, they still pull tight across his quads.

Jenny doesn’t glance up from her computer.

“Remember that time I introduced you and Charlotte?” Kyle asks, undeterred by her obvious disinterest in him. He and Jenny have been best friends for what seems like forever, and they both work from their apartments—Jenny does photography, Kyle does graphic design—and if she didn’t want to be bothered, then she would’ve closed her office door.

As it is, she’d left it wide open, and Kyle is happy to take advantage.

At the mention of Charlotte’s name, Jenny looks up, a smile on her face. They’ve been together for five years, but her expression always softens whenever Charlotte’s mentioned as though they’ve only been dating for a few weeks. Kyle thinks it’s sickeningly cute. He hopes one day someone will look like that when his name is brought up.

Jenny registers the rest of what Kyle’s said and her smile is replaced with something more guarded, suspicious. “Last time you opened with that, we almost wound up in jail.”

“Exaggeration,” Kyle says.

“The time before that you made me go bungee jumping with you.”

“That was awesome.” There’s nothing like the rush of adrenaline as he plummeted toward the earth. Then, right when he thought his harness was going to fail and he would splat, it caught him with a jerk of reassurance. Kyle had loved it. Jenny…not so much.

“I’m afraid of heights.”

“Which meant you were incredibly brave on top of being a good friend.” Kyle needs to get to the point. He’s on a break from his work because all shades of red now look the same to him, but he has a project to finish before the day is over. “This is a favor that’ll benefit us both.”

Jenny continues to look skeptical.

“I want you tie me up,” he says.

Kyle and Jenny have been roommates, have worked together, and have scened together throughout their long and storied friendship. They’ve never slept together, because Kyle’s bisexual, and while Jenny enjoys men on an aesthetic basis, she prefers sex with women.

They frequent the same club, Enchanting Encounters. Jenny does rope demos and occasionally ties up a close friend, but she isn’t as involved with the casual scene as Kyle. She’s been pulling away since she met Charlotte, going mostly to keep Kyle company or catch up with their friends there.

Kyle, on the other hand, is still searching for someone who wants him for more than a couple of sessions a month. He wants a Dom who wants him back and so far, he hasn’t had any luck. He’s hoping his luck is about to change.

Jenny abandons even the pretense of working. “Is this about the new guy?”

He grins. “Who else?”

Kyle spends a lot of time at Enchanting Encounters. Working from home means he’s able to set his own schedule, which allows him to sleep in after a night of play or take an early afternoon if that’s what works better with his partner’s schedule.

Sometimes, he’ll go to the club to have a drink or chat with his friends, but more often he’s there with the intent to pick-up or because he’s part of a demo.

Last week, things got interesting, because there was a new guy.

The BDSM world is a small one, and Kyle has known most of the people at Enchanting Encounters for years now. Someone will bring a friend sometimes or someone will move into the area or move away, but it doesn’t happen often, which means it’s always exciting when there’s a new face.

Unfortunately, it also means there’s a lot of competition for the man’s attention, and Kyle needs a battle plan.

The first time Kyle saw New Guy it was a normal Friday night and he had a drink in hand as he did a sweep of the bar to see if anyone caught his eye. He hadn’t come in with a particular scene in mind. Some nights, that made it easier to find a partner while other nights it made it more difficult.

That Friday had been a difficult night. Since he wasn’t sure what he wanted, no one popped out at him. If he wanted a good spanking, then Renee was his go-to, but he wasn’t feeling it. Same with a bit of bondage and a pegging, which is what Alexa would give him. Dylan was strutting around in his full leather gear, but Kyle wasn’t in the mood to have to work and Dylan always makes him work.

The only person who drew his interest was TJ, Kyle’s favorite bartender, and while TJ flirts with anyone who seems receptive, he doesn’t have sex with club members. It’s a shame, but Kyle can respect his choice.

Kyle was considering a second drink when his eyes landed on someone at the far end of the bar. New Guy was, well, new, which immediately made him interesting. What kept his attention was the expression on the guy’s face as he talked with Lou.

The guy was completely captivated even though Kyle knows from personal experience that Lou isn’t the most interesting person to talk to. Lou’s gorgeous, especially when he has red welts against his almost inhumanly pale skin, but he’s not the most thrilling conversationalist.

Still, New Guy leaned in like nothing in the world could pull him away.

Part of the reason Kyle scenes is he loves having the full attention of another person on him. If New Guy can be that intense during a conversation, then Kyle wants to find out what he’s like in a scene.

He didn’t look away from Lou once, didn’t give Kyle a chance to catch his eye, and Kyle eventually had to move on. He didn’t go home with anyone Friday night. A couple of people approached him, but he turned them down. New Guy was the only person on his mind, and it wouldn’t be fair to anyone he scened with.

Anyway, Kyle didn’t have a chance to talk to New Guy on Friday night, but he’s determined to change that. The guy is attractive and he has the kind of focus Kyle craves.

“You’re not the only one asking about him,” Jenny says.

Kyle shrugs. “He’ll want me once he sees me.”

“Modest. So, what’s your big plan, do a bunch of demos until he wanders over to see one?”

That’s exactly his plan.

Jenny groans. “Are you serious?”

“It’s a good plan! I’m hot, I’m an incredible sub. And while I’m waiting for him to notice me, I’ll be doing scenes I like. Plus, Wanda’s been after me to do some more demos. I’m good for business.” Kyle doesn’t bother holding back his smirk.

Jenny reaches across her table to shove his face away. “You’re terrible.”

“But you’re going to help me.”

Jenny sighs. “Because you got me and Charlotte together? That won’t work as leverage forever.”

“You’re going to help me because you just got a new order of rope in, and you know I look gorgeous in lavender.”

“Ugh. Fine. I’ll do a demo with you. But you’ll let me tie you up for a photoshoot. Unpaid.”

Kyle doesn’t bother to hold back his grin as he says, “Deal.”

“I’ll hang you upside down,” Jenny threatens.

It’s an idle threat. She likes to suspend him, but usually not upside down.

“You’re the best,” Kyle tells her. He stands up, smacks a kiss to her cheek, and leaves to finish the rest of his project. He needs to be on top of his work this week or he won’t have the time to hang around the club and put Project: Notice Me into effect.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Tamryn studied English and Creative Writing in school but has been writing since she could first hold a pencil. Recently, she’s turned her focus towards writing erotica. She enjoys writing stories where sex comes first, then feelings, because doing things out of order can be fun.

Tamryn has spent the past few months writing the Daniel and Ryan series with a lovely view of mountains out her window, and she’s now searching for a new mountain range to serve as her backdrop as she begins her next project.

 

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