A Free Dreamer Review: Ostakis by Angelica Primm

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

The Human Planets Collective sent young Ambassador Kaj Deder to the former colony planet Ostakis to establish relations. Without trade with the HPC, the dwindling resources of Ostakis will ultimately end human life on the planet. But his mission faces a huge obstacle in the form of Most Reverend Thyenn Sharr, the head of the Faith Progressive Church, who sees Kaj’s arrival as the beginning of the end of the Church. Kaj’s powerful attraction to Trademaster Klath’s son, Arlan does not smooth relations.

Arlan Klath, the son of the Trademaster of Ostakis, bears in his body the secret that the pious people of his planet want to hide. Born Cursed and inherently sinful, Arlan lives without legal rights or property. It enrages Thyenn Sharr Arlan’s father defiantly refuses to submit his son to a cruel act to “redeem” Arlan’s soul. The stakes ratchet when Arlan and Kaj form a relationship Thyenn Sharr considers ample justification to usurp the Trademaster position through the legal power of his Church.

Can Kaj navigate the treacherous currents of Ostakian politics and religion to save these human descendants of Earth? And must he chose between Arlan or his mission to do so?

“Ostakis” was a very surprising read. Surprising plot-wise and surprising that I enjoyed it as much as I did.

The main focus of the story lies on the diplomacy, which was actually really interesting. It’s told through both MCs’ POV, so we got to see the society of Ostakis through the eyes of a stranger and of a native. That was a very good choice and made for some interesting insights.

At times, I thought Kaj was a bit undiplomatic. His mission is a very dangerous one, potentially lethal, actually. And yet, he made some rather clumsy mistakes. Like during the very first meal, he refuses to eat the meat he’s served. He’s a vegetarian and I can see why he wouldn’t be happy to eat an animal. But under such circumstances, that’s a little rude and probably not a very wise decision. Not the kind of behaviour I’d expect from an experienced diplomat. And he did seem a little bit judgmental as well, though only in private. Of course the oppressive society of Ostakis is horrible, but I’d have expected him to be a little more open-minded.

Arlan was a really sweet young man. But also rather brave and fierce, despite the oppressive society he’s grown up in.

The world building of Ostakis was well done. The world building surrounding Earth in the distant future was barely there, however, and seemed rather utopian. You have to be quite the optimist to expect humanity to let go of all prejudices for good and embrace diversity of any kind and create a completely equal society.

Most surprising of all, however, were the Cursed. They’re pretty much a third gender and there’s something like Mpreg in this story. Now, I hate Mpreg with a passion and would never pick up a story with it. But in this case, it actually worked for me. Maybe because I didn’t really see the Cursed as males and more something like intersex. Kaj and Arlan are real equals, which is not something I’ve seen in stories of this kind before. Plus, there wasn’t a lot of focus on the pregnancy itself and more on the inequality and oppression of the Cursed.

I really liked the idea behind the story and I think there might just be hope that this is the start of a new series. I really hope so, because I’d love to read more about this idea. Maybe on different planets, so we  get to see more of the universe.

The cover by Natasha Snow is very fitting, though maybe a little bit dark.

Sales Links:

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

Book details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published February 18th 2019 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781950412037
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Review: A Miracle for Markie by Lynn Lorenz

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Rating: 5 stars for the contemporary story, 1 star for the supernatural story.  Overall rating: 3 stars out of 5

 

Seven-year-old Markie is determined to shine this Christmas. He’s decided his light can’t be hidden any longer, but not everyone in his life is supportive.

This Christmas, he’s looking for a miracle. Maybe if the family’s Nativity can host a miracle, then it might spill over onto him and his family.

For me, A Miracle for Markie by Lynn Lorenz is absolutely two short stories, one of which is unnecessary and in a Twilight Zone sort of way, will forever be that question mark dangling around narratively speaking.  The other?  An amazingly beautiful story about love and acceptance.

Why, oh why, I lament, did someone not pull them apart or say, hey, let’s just concentrate on that treasure of a child, Markie?

Because that’s where all of this story belongs.  On a broken family at Christmas time, a genderfluid child at  the heart of the shattered mess of a family   because his father couldn’t accept his child and the changes Markie was going through.  Lorenz brings Markie delightfully to life, we feel the joy in finding and buying “the one” dress for Christmas, the fear and doubt instilled by the father due to past arguments and loud disapproval.  And we get the fiercely loyal and protective mother and sister, who are loving and supportive of Markie while dealing with their own anger and pain.

This story?  Beautiful, heartwarming, and  all kinds of perfect.  Just like Markie.  Lynn Lorenz can write kids that melt your heart and this one is  no exception.  Love this whole part of this short story.

Ok, then on to the weirdness.

So there’s this Nativity that Markie likes to play with, and Markie makes up this story about a wise man in love with the shepherd, gives them names and, boom, in a Christmas Miracle, they come alive.  But only at night.  We see and hear them so they become real to the readers as well.  And of course they move around the Nativity, because , hey, real now.  When found in different places, who gets blamed and called a liar?  Markie, which I hated.  That’s never cleared up.  Because it’s never shown that Markie brought them to life, while showing the reader that he did.

It gets worse.  We know that they are alive.  No one else does.  And we know nothing else about that.  Nothing about a time frame etc.   Just that they are alive.   Guess what happens to Nativity scenes after Christmas is over?  Yep.  But they are alive….no matter here come the boxes….

Is that creepy music I hear start to play as the lid comes down and the screams start?  Why is this even part of the story?  Or why didn’t the author do a better job is explaining what does happen to the little alive people?   Unreal.  For me they keep waking up in a box in the dark for a year til next Christmas.  Talk about your nightmares.

This was so unnecessary next to Markie’s story that glowed.  I love Markie but guess what part of the story I remember. Yep. That box and the little shepherd and his boyfriend the wise man.

So if you want to skip over small chapters about Nativity scenes and keep just to Markie, then yes, I recommend this.  But in no way, should you read the entire book.  Not unless you have a really warped sense of humor.  Then be my guest.

Cover art: Kris Jacen. Lovely job of conveying the warmth and glow of the holidays.

Sales Links: MLR Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 65 pages
Published December 28th 2018 by MLR Press
ISBN13 9781641222198
Edition Language English

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Lord Seabolt (Four Families #2) by Megan Derr

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 Rating: 4 stars out of 5

I think this could be read on its own without missing anything, but the emotional impact would be greater if Finder Tolan was read first. This takes place eighteen years later. Goss is now twenty. His father Tolan is now Master Mage for the Crown. His other father Shaw has retired and teaches basic magic classes. Lords Sealore and Moonrise now have a son named Kerra, whom Goss has an ill advised crush on. Some traumatic event happened three years ago that derailed Goss’ future. His master dismissed him after the incident, so he is no longer an apprentice Binder. He is widely disliked and bullied. Tae Min is a foreign Prince visiting the kingdom for three months for academic lectures, to secure trade, and to arrange marriage contracts for his relatives. The best thing that could happen to Goss, with his infamous origins, powerful noble guardians, and this past event hanging over his head, is for an outsider to see the real him. This is told from Goss’s POV, so the reader’s sympathies will lie with him.

This is a fun short story with a fast romance where everyone gets what’s coming to them. It doesn’t have the detail of the author’s longer works, so I feel like many things could have been added to make this utterly amazing. I felt that way about Finder Tolan as well. But, that’s not fair because that’s not what this is; this is a fairytale you read on a rainy day to cheer you up when you don’t have time to read a novel. It has angst, love, sex, and the villains get their comeuppance. I still want to know what the motto of Seabolt is, so I can only hope there will be another story.

I can’t see where it says who did the cover art. It looks a little modern to me, but shows Goss likely at the Seabolt Palace.

 

Sales Links:  Less Than Three Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 65 pages
Published January 23rd 2019 by Less Than Three Press, LLC
ASIN B07L7J1SVZ
Edition Language English
Series Four Families #2

Love to Listen to Your Books? Check out the Audio Tour for A Dance for You by Colette Davison and Narrator Neil McFarlane

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AUDIOBOOK REVIEW TOUR

Book Title: A Dance for You

Author: Colette Davison

Publisher: Colette Davison

Narrator: Neil McFarlane

Release Date: February 5, 2019

Genre/s: Contemporary Gay Romance

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length:  6 hours 4 minutes

 It’s the second of a pair of ballet-based books, but can be read as a standalone.

Add on Goodreads

 

Tagline

Can David help Mason dance, like he’s never danced before?

Blurb

New job, new city: Mason hopes both will lead to him escaping burnout as a ballet dancer. Not living out of a suitcase anymore is a bonus. His new life gets off to a steamy start when he encounters his new neighbour, David. Things soon become complicated when Mason turns up for his first day at BalletEast, to discover that David is not only his choreographer, but the man who inspired him to take up dancing in the first place.

With two divorces and a string of failed relationships behind him, David has no intention of promising ‘forever’ to anyone. But when he meets Mason, he falls hard and fast for the enigmatic young dancer. As David becomes more serious about Mason, he wants to open his lover’s eyes to the kinks that he enjoys.

Whilst the two men are navigating the early stages of their romance, Mason is facing immense pressures in the rehearsal studios that threaten to dampen his natural enthusiasm for life. Will David’s love and support be enough to help Mason continue to hold his head high and dance like he’s never danced before?

**Contains explicit language and sex scenes, including mild, consensual BDSM**

 

Buy Links (Bounty Links)

Audible US

Audible UK

Audible FR

Audible DE

Amazon US

Amazon UK

 

About the Author

Colette’s personal love story began at university, where she met her future husband. An evening of flirting, in the shadow of Lancaster castle, eventually led to a fairy-tale wedding. She’s enjoying her own ‘happy ever after’ in the north of England with her husband, two beautiful children and her writing.

 

Author Links

Blog/Website

Facebook

Twitter

Facebook Group: Colette’s Cosy Corner

Bookbub

Goodreads

Instagram: colettedavison

Mailing List

 

 

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW TOUR SCHEDULE

 

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

Release Blitz for Rapid Response (Hearts & Health #8) by DJ Jamison (excerpt and giveaway)

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UKExclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited
 
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
 
Length: 92,000 words approx.
 
Hearts & Health Series
 
Book #1 – Heart Trouble – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Bedside Manner – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – Urgent Care – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 – Room For Recovery – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #5 – Surprise Delivery – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #6 – Orderly Affair – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #7 – Operation Makeover – Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb



A confused straight guy and a gay hookup artist walk into a bar …


Firefighter Sean Connolly is straight — until one impulsive night changes everything. He tries to dismiss it as a fluke, but when a fire rescue leads him back to the guy who blew his mind, he’s thrown into a chaos of confusion and want. He gives in to curiosity, exploring a new side to himself — not just his attraction to a man, but his desperate need to please.


Paramedic Jace Gillespie is a hookup pro, never letting anyone get too close. When he meets Sean, though, he feels a connection right away. An ill-advised threesome seems to kill a friendship in the making, but when they’re thrown together by work, it doesn’t take long for passion to reignite. Sean calls to something in Jace he never knew was there, and together, they explore a dynamic that fulfills them both.


But as feelings deepen, doubts surface. Sean is in the closet, and Jace struggles to trust his promise that it won’t last forever. With family conflict and his career in the balance, Sean finds it difficult to picture his life without secrecy, but if he doesn’t find a way, he may lose the one person he most wants to please.


Rapid Response is the longest novel of the Hearts and Health series at approximately 92,000 words! It can be read as a standalone.

 
Excerpt
 

Sean glanced into the mirror, and though he looked like the same guy on the outside — dark hair, dark eyes, unremarkable face — he didn’t recognize the one on the inside. And that was scary.


“I’m sorry,” he scraped out.


“For what? Staring at my mouth, or for hiding from yourself?” Jace asked caustically.


Sean swallowed hard. His traitorous eyes found Jace in the mirror, locking on the mouth in question. Pink, full lips. Jace had been a good kisser. A good … sucker.


“Yeah, just like that,” Jace said.


Sean jerked his gaze to Jace’s eyes, which bored into him, their power not diluted in the slightest by the mirror acting as their go-between. Could Jace see what was inside? If he could…


“Sorry,” Sean whispered. “I didn’t realize I…”


“What, Sean? What didn’t you realize?”


“That I, um. That I…” He couldn’t get the words out.


“That you like my mouth? That you want it on you again? That you—”


Sean spun around. “Shut up.”


“Make me.”


His breath caught. “What?”


“You heard me,” Jace said. “Make me shut up. You know exactly how to do it.”


Sean hesitated, and Jace smirked. “Yeah, I didn’t think so.”


Frustrated and frazzled, Sean acted on instinct, doing exactly what Jace had asked. He grabbed the front of Jace’s shirt, spun him around, and shoved him against the counter containing the row of sinks.


Then he kissed him.


Hard.


To make him shut up.


It was the only way to get him to stop talking. Gloating. Jace had practically ordered him to do it, the bastard. And Sean needed to shut up the doubts in his head, too.


He closed his eyes, blocking out all thought, and sank into the feeling of Jace’s perfect, hot mouth on his again.

 

Author Bio


DJ Jamison is the author of more than a dozen m/m romances, including the Ashe Sentinel series and the Hearts and Health series. She writes a variety of queer characters, from gay to bisexual to asexual, with a focus on telling love stories that are more about common ground than lust at first sight. DJ grew up in the Midwest in a working-class family, and those influences can be found in her writing through characters coping with real-life problems: money troubles, workplace drama, family conflicts and, of course, falling in love. DJ spent more than a decade in the newspaper industry before chasing her first dream to write fiction. She spent a lifetime reading before that, and continues to avidly devour her fellow authors’ books each night. She lives in Kansas with her husband, two sons, two fish and, regrettably, one snake.


Facebook Author Page | FB group | Mailing list! | Twitter | Goodreads | Book Bub

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E.J. Russell on Fashion, Characters and her new release, Demon on the Down-Low (Supernatural Selection #3) (author guest blog and giveaway)

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Demon on the Down-Low (Supernatural Selection #3) by E.J. Russell

Riptide Publishing
Cover Artist: L.C . Chase

Published February 25th 2019

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have E.J. Russell here today talking about fashion, choices, characters, and her new story,Demon on the Down-Low. Welcome, E.J.

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Fashion impaired

by E.J. Russell

I am not a fashion-forward kind of person. In fact, “fashion” is probably a word that could never be paired with me, unless “victim” were also part of the sentence. Since I’ve worked from home for over fifteen years—first at my left-brain tech day job and then in my writer cave—I’ve definitely embraced the “comfort over style” paradigm.

This hasn’t always set well with my children, particularly when they were teenagers and had ideas about how their parents’ appearance reflected on them. LD once told me flat out: “Mommy, you dress badly.” She was, I think, in sixth grade at the time, and I was wearing sweat pants (because of course I was). She had embraced her own sense of style quite early, as I recall. My Curmudgeonly Husband and I had decided before she was born that we wouldn’t go for the “girls::pink, boys::blue” model, so we bought pants and shirts for her in bright colors (the late, lamented Mervyn’s department store had great toddler clothes!), and if there was any any pink in the lot, it was dark fuchsia rather than pastel. Then, when she was about two and a half, she suddenly refused to wear anything but dresses. Pink dresses. Pastel pink dresses. (Although CH and I had shunned the frilly and overly feminine, my mother was not on board, and her gifts infiltrated LD’s wardrobe.) 

With DS A and B, CH and I pretty much said, “Screw it,” because if we wanted anybody to be able to tell the boys apart (especially from a distance), we needed a color code. DS A’s outfits were predominantly red; DS B was the blue guy. Not only did it assist in people outside the family being able to identify them, but it was a huge help in sorting laundry.

The twins weren’t quite so dismissive of sweatpants either. Until they were in seventh grade, their entire fall-to-spring pants wardrobe consisted of Target sweatpants in red (DS A), navy (DS B), or black (both of them, dang it, and I had to buy a handful of laundry markers). Since Target  put their boys’ sweats on sale at regular intervals, back-to-school clothes shopping for the twins was a snap—even more so because, unlike LD, they didn’t want to have anything to do with choosing their own outfits. I bought ‘em; they wore ‘em. Easy peasy.

Who would have believed that those same boys would one day become absolute clothing snobs—especially DS B. Moving to Manhattan for college (and then remaining there to work as professional dancers after graduation) might have had something to do with their evolving sense of style. DS B, for instance, has worked in at least three different higher-end mens’ clothing stores, and usually smoked the other clerks in sales.

Because I’m not particularly interested in fashion, most of my characters dress pretty plainly. But in Demon on the Down-Low, I had a secondary character—Olli, Hamish’s first date—who needed to be fashionable. I knew just who to contact for advice, and had this text conversation with DS B:

As it happens, Olli is Finnish, not Swedish, but I hadn’t figured that part out yet. DS B pointed me to several websites, and I was able to dress Olli from the Paul Smith site.

In case you’re wondering about the coat, here it is (with DS B inside it). He designed the coat and had a friend of his make it.

It’s hard to tell from the picture, but it’s got two different fabrics, plus a lining, all of them super soft.

Lucky for me (when it comes to character wardrobe research), he’s come a long way from navy Target sweatpants!

 

 

Hello, everyone, and thank you for joining me on blog tour for Demon on the Down-Low, the third (and final) book in the Supernatural Selection trilogy! Follow along with the tour and comment for a chance to win the tour grand prize, a $25 Riptide gift card and your choice of either Single White Incubus or Bad Boy’s Bard. Winner chosen randomly at the end of the tour from comments across all tour stops.

 

About Demon on the Down-Low

After decades of unrequited love, this kangaroo will jump at the chance for a date. Any date.

Lovelorn kangaroo shifter Hamish Mulherne, drummer for the mega-hit rock band Hunter’s Moon, waited years for the band’s jaguar shifter bassist to notice him. Instead, she’s just gotten married and is in a thriving poly relationship. How is Hamish supposed to compete with that? But with everyone else in the band mated and revoltingly happy, he needs somebody. Since he can’t expect true love to strike twice, he signs up with Supernatural Selection. Because what the hell.

When Zeke Oz was placed at Supernatural Selection through the Sheol work-release program, he thought he was the luckiest demon alive. But when he seems responsible for several massive matchmaking errors, he’s put on notice: find the perfect match for Hamish, or get booted back to Sheol for good. The only catch? He has to do it without the agency’s matchmaking spells, and Hamish simply will not engage.

But Zeke starts to believe that the reason all of Hamish’s dates fizzle is because nobody in the database is good enough for him. And Hamish realizes that his perfect match might be the cute demon who’s trying so hard to make him happy.

Now available from Riptide Publishing!

 

About Supernatural Selection

Are you a shifter who’s lost faith in fated mates? A vampire seeking a Second Life companion? Or perhaps you’re a demon yearning to claim a soul (mate)?

Congratulations! Your search is over!

Welcome to Supernatural Selection, where our foolproof spells guarantee your perfect match.

Until they don’t.

Check out Supernatural Selection today.

 

About E.J. Russell

E.J. Russell holds a BA and an MFA in theater, so naturally she’s spent the last three decades as a financial manager, database designer, and business-intelligence consultant. After her twin sons left for college and she no longer spent half her waking hours ferrying them to dance class, she returned to her childhood love of writing fiction. Now she wonders why she ever thought an empty nest meant leisure.

E.J. lives in rural Oregon with her curmudgeonly husband, the only man on the planet who cares less about sports than she does. She enjoys visits from her wonderful adult children, and indulges in good books, red wine, and the occasional hyperbole.

Connect with E.J.:

Website: ejrussell.com

Blog: ejrussell.com/bloggery/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/E.J.Russell.author

Twitter: twitter.com/ej_russell

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ejrussell/

 

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Demon on the Down-Low one lucky person will win a $25 Riptide Publishing gift card and an ecopy of either Single White Incubus (first in the Supernatural Selection series) or Bad Boy’s Bard (the book from the Fae Out of Water series that influences this one). Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 2, 2019. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!