A MelanieM Audio Review: To See the Sun by Kelly Jensen and TJ Clark (Narrator)

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Survival is hard enough in the outer colonies—what chance does love have?

Life can be harsh and lonely in the outer colonies, but miner-turned-farmer Abraham Bauer is living his dream, cultivating crops that will one day turn the unforgiving world of Alkirak into paradise. He wants more, though. A companion—someone quiet like him. Someone to share his days, his bed, and his heart.

Gael Sonnen has never seen the sky, let alone the sun. He’s spent his whole life locked in the undercity beneath Zhemosen, running from one desperate situation to another. For a chance to get out, he’ll do just about anything—even travel to the far end of the galaxy as a mail-order husband. But no plan of Gael’s has ever gone smoothly, and his new start on Alkirak is no exception. Things go wrong from the moment he steps off the shuttle.

Although Gael arrives with unexpected complications, Abraham is prepared to make their relationship work—until Gael’s past catches up with them, threatening Abraham’s livelihood, the freedom Gael gave everything for, and the love neither man ever hoped to find.

As both a fan of Kelly Jensen and science fiction, I was looking forward to how well the combination of the two worked out.   After listening to the wonderful audio version of To See the Sun by Kelly Jensen as narrated by TJ Clark I had a definitive answer.  It was everything I could have hoped for.

A detailist in her contemporary romances, that same aspect of her writing is found here and used to great advantage when building her alien worlds, their cultures, and the sciences that enable them to exist.  From farming in crevasses on a hard mining world with acid rains and methane mists to beautiful city that discards its evil and its refuse in a walled off underground city beneath it, each place, location, and world, becomes fully alive here as it’s so multidimensional in every way.  From the air filtration systems such as they are, the way the underground city is lighted, methods of payment and transit.  Jensen has thought it all out, and clued our minds in, whether the description is lengthy or a brief mention.  Nothing here to make your mind stop and thing “wait, how would that work here” because she’s thought of it.

Then with her foundations in place, we get great characters. With a horrible past history, we have poignant, suffering man in the person of Gael, and his “complication”,  lonely, gentle, and competent in the person of Bran, the man who sent for a companion.  As well as other secondary characters of note on the mining world.  It’s Gael we first meet and it’s quite the impression.  It serves to connect us indelibly to him as it opens him up in all his suffering and compassion.  We see his kindness, gentleness and inability to go on and survive in the world he is living in.

The story and action moves swiftly at first, the pace of the narrative pulling us into Gael’s life and situation.  Later it will smooth out to flow with the life of a farmer/miner on the edge of the galaxy.  A element I enjoyed because it felt so natural, a slower life suited to life on a farm. And that was the pace of the development of Gael’s and Bran’s relationship as well.  It’s more of a slow burn as they get to know one another to see if this arrangement could actually work out, as fraught with pitfalls as it was.

I really don’t want to go into too many actual plot details here because it would venture into spoiler territory and that would be a shame.  There is so much here to love.  All the relationship dynamics are believable and constructed in such a way that they will grab onto your heart, but slowly, just as they are working it out between them. There is suspense, and drama, and yes, some heartbreak, however, temporary, because this is a HEA story, which I deeply love.

The narrator,TJ Clark, did a wonderful job with the story. Only his ‘girlish child’s voice’ made me stumble a bit.  Then I got used to that.  That is a hard one to do right, especially when it’s such an important role here.  But his voice made the story a captivating one and pulled me into the drama, making it hard to stop for breaks when necessary.  I will definitely be listening to more books from this narrator again.

Cover By: Garrett Leigh.  Love this cover, bright and filled with the sun, an important element.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Audible | Amazon | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audiobook
Listening Length: 9 hours and 7 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Audible.com Release Date: April 4, 2019
Language: English, English
ASIN: B07Q49HTR7

A Free Dreamer Review: Royal Rescue by A. Alex Logan

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

At age eighteen, when they become marriageable, all royal children in the Thousand Kingdoms must either go questing to rescue another royal or be hidden away to await rescue themselves. Some go the traditional route of princes rescuing princesses, but not all princes want to be rescuers…and some would rather rescue other princes.

Then there’s Prince Gerald, who has no interest in getting married at all. When he refuses to choose a role as either rescuer or rescuee, his royal parents choose for him and have him magicked away to a distant tower to await a spouse.

Gerald, however, is having none of it. He recruits his guardian dragon and a would-be rescuer and soon the trio is dashing to all corners of the united kingdoms on a quest to overturn the entire system.

“Royal Rescue” presents a delightful twist on the common damsel in distress trope and since I love tropes turned on their head, I jumped at the chance to read this book. I’m happy to say it was a very enjoyable experience.

I’m glad the author went with a more serious route, instead of comic relief. Gerald’s experiences aren’t always easy or happy, but they make sense.

I might not be asexual, aromantic or live in a world full of royals and magic, but society still expects me to marry and have kids, which I don’t want. The way A. Alex Logan described Gerald’s feelings on the matter were exactly the same as mine. It’s just so frustrating to have to explain yourself over and over and over again to each and every single person who has no business sticking their nose in your affairs in the first place. So, even though Gerald and I might not have much in common on a superficial level, I found him to be extremely relatable and likable.

Also, there’s a dragon. A sentient dragon, that’s capable of human speech and complex thought processes and yet its personality is completely different from humans. That was a prime example of a very well developed secondary character right at the beginning of the book. And the dragon didn’t remain the only three dimensional secondary character. Gerald’s eventually surrounded by a group of people and each and every one of them felt like a real individual. There was really only one person who didn’t get enough on-page time for my liking. Mikkel, one of the other royals, seemed like a very interesting person.

I absolutely loved the actual story of “Royal Rescue”. The marriage system is actually quite liberal for royals. The young people can choose if they want to be rescued by someone or go rescuing somebody themselves and the gender of the rescuer/rescuee doesn’t matter at all. Homo- and bisexuality is just as normal as heterosexuality and no problem at all. In fact, Gerald has two mothers and one of them actively asks him which gender he’d prefer to be rescued by. There are no arranged marriages, everybody gets a choice. You might even get away with marrying a commoner, as long as it’s True Love. But as the story progresses, we learn that it’s actually still quite restrictive and doesn’t account for people who aren’t interested in marriage at all.

The author did a really good job at unfolding a wild adventure with real depth and pretty solid world building. I still would have liked just a bit more world building and a bit more focus on the guardians of the towers.

Overall, “Royal Rescue” is a truly brilliant book, not only for lovers of YA Fantasy. Just don’t go into this expecting a “normal romance”. Gerald is aromantic and that doesn’t change.

There is potential for a second part, but the book also works as a standalone. I, for one, would love a sequel.

The cover by Natasha Snow looks good and fits the story, even if the flying creatures remind me of dinosaurs and not dragons.

Sales links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: April 8th 2019 by NineStar Press
ISBN 139781950412419
Edition Language English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review :Play Hard (Glasgow Lads #4.5) by Avery Cockburn

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

If you’ve read Playing with Fire, do not pass go, do not collect $200, go straight to your e-book retailer and purchase this story immediately! It’s a fantastic continuation of the love story between Robert and Liam which started in that book. But it’s also so much more. Filled with humor, love, friendship, romance, and sexy times, reading this story is like looking through a one-way mirror into the heart of Glasgow, Scotland, and coming away with a picture of everyday life.

As the blurb states: “Play Hard is the feel-good, staying-in-love story the world needs right now!” So very true! Liam and Robert were friends from the time Liam got into trouble with a teacher in grade school and Rabbie decided Liam was the kind of kid he wanted to hang with. Fifteen years later, they are still besties but, now, also deeply in love.

Liam still hasn’t decided what he wants to do career-wise while Robert is deeply enmeshed in his startup tech company developing an app to improve the health of Glaswegians who die at an earlier age than others in their country. Liam has the potential to be a massage therapist but is concerned it will be boring and not half as demanding and fun as his role as a bartender. We learn the real reason for his hesitance later in the story when he shares his fears with his lover.

Robert is a workaholic. He knew it before he took the online test to confirm it and their relationship is feeling the effects of their different shifts and Robert’s work ethic. To help them overcome the strain, Robert invents a game that takes them to new heights of pleasure in each other’s company. No, not a sex game. It’s more of a push-our-boundaries-in-new-ways game, and it’s not only enjoyable for them, it’s also delightful for readers as we get to know the characters much more in-depth than in the original story. In short, this book endeared these characters to me, and I won’t likely forget them for quite some time. The author’s wonderful sense of humor is woven throughout the story, as is their appreciation for their homeland.

As I said before, if you’ve read any of these books, don’t miss this one. And if you haven’t, read this anyway. It can stand alone and it can spark your interest in reading the series. I not only want to meet these men and watch a game of footy with them, I purely want to revisit this beautiful city in my grandda’s homeland.

The cover by Damonza features two young men, smiling adoringly at each other, obviously in love. Having read their original story in which their body types were described as big and bulky, I would not recognize them as the young men on this cover.

Book Details;

Kindle Edition, 126 pages
Published April 23rd 2019
ASINB 07QZG2HB4
Edition Language English
Series Glasgow Lads #4.5

Book 0.5 – Play On – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book 1 – Playing For Keeps – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book 2 – Playing To Win – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book 2.5 – Play It Safe – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book 3 – Playing With Fire – Amazon US | Amazon UK 
Book 3.5 – Play Dead – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Throwing Stones (A Glasgow Lads On Ice Novella) – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book 4 – Playing In The Dark – Amazon US | Amazon UK
 

New Book Release Blitz and Giveaway for Rebecca Cohen’s Anthony, Earl of Crofton

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Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
 
Length: 66,000 words approx.
 
Blurb



A tale set in Stuart England, where the king’s life depends on his most loyal of subjects.


Anthony Redbourn, Earl of Crofton, delights in his reputation as a charming rogue. Life is never quiet at the court of King James I, especially with his good friend and secret lover, Sebastian Hewel, by his side. As an actor with the celebrated King’s Men, Sebastian has his own admirers, but neither man has eyes for anyone else.



When a plot against His Majesty is uncovered it threatens Anthony and Sebastian’s charmed lives, and they are dragged into the political intrigue and the race to save the king from danger. Fear that a traitor is linked to the King’s Men leaves Sebastian and Anthony with no choice but to stage a very public dissolution of their friendship, so Anthony can be free to be the patron of a new rising actor, and Sebastian can be the prodigy of another noble.


It is a dangerous game they are playing to expose the plotters and still find a way to meet in secret, as Anthony is adamant that they will not sacrifice the love they have fought so hard to win. They will do whatever it takes to protect the king’s life, and their commitment to each other.
 
Author Bio
 

REBECCA COHEN spends her days dreaming of a living in a Tudor manor house, or a Georgian mansion. Alas, the closest she comes to this is through her characters in her historical romance novels. She also dreams of intergalactic adventures and fantasy realms, but because she’s not yet got her space or dimensional travel plans finalised, she lives happily in leafy Hertfordshire, England, with her husband and young son. She can often be found with a pen in one hand and sloe gin with lemon tonic in the other.

 

Giveaway

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Review Tour and Giveaway for Play Hard (A Glasgow Lads Novella) by Avery Cockburn

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Cover Design: Damonza
Length: 32,000 words approx.
 
Glasgow Lads Series
 

The Glasgow Lads series centers around an all-LGBTQ football/soccer team in contemporary Scotland. Though the series has an overarching storyline, each novel features a new couple and a happy ending, so they can be read in any order. The series also includes a prequel novella and two (soon to be three) “happier-ever-after” followup stories.


Book 0.5 – Play On – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book 1 – Playing For Keeps – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book 2 – Playing To Win – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book 2.5 – Play It Safe – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book 3 – Playing With Fire – Amazon US | Amazon UK 
Book 3.5 – Play Dead – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Throwing Stones (A Glasgow Lads On Ice Novella) – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book 4 – Playing In The Dark – Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb
 

“I’ll always want more of you.”


Robert McKenzie lives to work. He’s fresh out of university as a video-game entrepreneur, and his new app could actually save lives. But burning the candle at both ends means missing out on the best parts of his own life—including his boyfriend, Liam.


Liam Carroll works to live. His job as a bartender pays the rent—if not always the heating bill—and that’s plenty for now. But Robert’s workaholism reminds Liam his own life is going nowhere, and his own dreams are scaring the pants off him.


To jolt them out of their ruts, Robert invents a new game: He and Liam are to take turns offering each other sexy new challenges with irresistible rewards.


Of course, Robert gets more than he bargained for, as Liam takes their game in one surprising direction after another. Whether it’s in the bedroom, on the football pitch, or at the pub (or even the supermarket?), the things they learn about each other—and themselves—could change their lives forever.


Play Hard is the feel-good, staying-in-love story the world needs right now!


Note: This happier-ever-after novella features the main characters of Playing With Fire but can be read as a stand-alone story.


Excerpt


From Chapter 4:

Robert didn’t join Liam in the shower, partly because it was too small to fit a pair of men their size, but mostly because he wanted to watch.

Built into the corner of the bathroom, the shower’s glass walls were fully transparent, not smoky or marbled or made otherwise translucent for privacy’s sake. So there was nothing to obscure the sight of Liam’s naked body.

Fully dressed and standing in the opposite corner, Robert simply observed. If Liam had been craving his undivided attention, he was about to get it in spades.

They’d showered together many times, but he’d never noticed how Liam wet the bar of soap by lifting it into the water spray much farther than necessary—at nearly throat height—and turning his face aside to avoid the resulting splash. Did he think the soap got wetter faster by putting it closer to the shower nozzle? Perhaps it was a habit borne of the poor water pressure in his childhood flat. Robert remembered it well, as he’d lived with the Carrolls for ten months when he was sixteen, between the time of his father’s death and the start of university.

“You’re staring.” Liam’s voice echoed against the green tile walls. He met Robert’s eyes as he soaped his broad, well-muscled, and thoroughly freckled chest, then swept his fingers up beneath his rib cage to emphasize his abs.

“I know.”

“I like when you stare.”

“I know.” Robert licked his lips as Liam used one sudsy hand to stroke his cock and the other to reach back between his cheeks. Soon he would taste Liam everywhere, tracing his tongue over each angle and curve as if for the first time. He would erase the doubt from this man’s mind and replace it with the certainty of endless adoration.

Just as steam began to obscure the shower walls, turning the spectacle from hardcore porn to softcore, Liam switched off the water and pushed the doors aside on their track. “Towel?”

Robert stepped forward with it, stopping just out of Liam’s reach. “Come here and I’ll dry you.”

“Oh, special.”

Robert started with his head, scrubbing the red hair that had turned nearly black in its wetness, then worked his way down—quickly, because Liam was shivering.

He finished with Liam’s feet, then folded the towel and set it on the floor.

“What are you—ah,” Liam said as Robert knelt upon the damp towel. His next utterance was a gasp, in response to Robert nuzzling his balls. “Okay, this is seriously hot with me naked and you completely dressed.”

Robert drew his nose against the right side of Liam’s sack. “You smell good. I wonder how you’ll taste.”

Liam gripped the sink to his right. “Gonnae find out?”

“Aye,” Robert said with a heavy breath against this most sensitive skin. Liam’s cock jerked, begging for equal time.

Robert licked a line up the center of Liam’s sack, then flicked his tongue back and forth between his balls, as though deciding which to try first. He chose the left one, wrapping his lips carefully around the warm mass that seemed to half-melt in his mouth, suspended in a state between solid and liquid.

He lifted his chin to watch Liam, whose lips and cheeks were flushing pink, just as they’d done when he’d come in from the cold at the Tesco. Liam’s chest began to heave with his quickening breath, ribs expanding and contracting the solid planes of his torso, the planes that always made Robert’s palms warm and tingly.He reached up now with his right hand, his left steadying Liam’s trembling thigh. He slid two of his fingers round one of Liam’s scarlet nipples and squeezed.

“Och.” Liam leaned back, bracing himself against the wall. “God, look how hard you’re making me.” He touched his other nipple, mimicking Robert’s tweaking fingertips. “I could almost come like this.”

Robert shook his head slowly, maneuvering his tongue over the contents of his mouth.

“Aye, I could,” Liam replied. “Unless you do something different.”

Robert pulled away enough to say, “Turn around.”

 

 Read Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words 5 star review here.

About The Author


Hiya, I’m Avery Cockburn (rhymes with Savory Slow Churn). Under my real name (Jeri Smith-Ready) I wrote over a dozen novels for major publishers. As an indie author, my days are filled with beautiful men who play beautiful games in the most beautiful place in the world. Thanks to my pure awesome readers, it’s pretty much the best job ever.


I live in the United States with one infinitely patient man and two infinitely impatient cats. Join my quarterly-ish newsletter at www.averycockburn.com/signup to receive a free book plus loads of exclusive bonus material. Cheers!

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Looking for a New Love Story? Check Out the Release Blitz for Mud & Lace (Rainbow Place #4) by Jay Northcote

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Length: 240 pages
 
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
 
Rainbow Place Series



Book #1 – Rainbow Place – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Safe Place – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – Better Place – Amazon US | Amazon UK

 
Blurb



When Wicksy falls for drag queen Charlie, they discover that both sexuality and gender can be fluid.


Simon Wicks—Wicksy to his rugby teammates—has only ever been interested in women. But when he sets eyes on Lady Gogo, a drag queen who performs at Rainbow Place, he can’t stop thinking about her. He knows there’s a guy behind the fishnets and make-up, but he’s ready to explore his fantasies, and Lady Gogo is game for making them come true.


Charlie adores performing in drag. It allows him to indulge in his love of cross-dressing while earning some extra cash. Fooling around with a mostly straight guy in secret seems like a fun diversion, and gives him the chance to explore his feminine side. He feels safe wearing the mask of his confident alter ego, because the real Charlie is hidden from view.


When Wicksy sees more of the guy behind the make-up and glitter, his attraction to Charlie persists, and he realises he’s bisexual. In turn, Charlie begins to understand and accept his gender fluidity. As their mutual journey of self-discovery brings them closer, the secrecy becomes increasingly hard to deal with. If they’re going to have a future together, they both need to find the courage to show people who they really are.


Although this book is part of a linked series, it can be read and enjoyed as a standalone.

Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.


One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.


Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.


Website
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Facebook profile
Facebook author page
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Newsletter
Jay’s books

 

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