A MelanieM Review: Modified and Sacred by Jana Denardo

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Lieutenant Addison Hunt is proud to serve the Confederation even if he still feels like he’s on the outside looking in. Addison was illegally genetically modified as a child, leaving him burdened with a sense of shame. Emotionally isolated from his fellow crewmen and recovering from injuries from his last job, Addison is happy to have light duty transporting an esteemed diplomat to a peace conference.

Deveral is one of the Sacred Kin, possessing a psychic ability that his people consider a spark of the divine. Like all the Sacred Kin, he’s led a sheltered life as a temple priest, but his heightened empathic ability makes him the perfect diplomat. Nervous to leave his home, he’s curious about his new companion, Lieutenant Hunt.

Not everyone wants the diplomatic mission to succeed, and a rebel faction poses a real threat to Addison and Deveral. Finding themselves cast adrift on a “lost” colony, they’ll have to fight to stay alive.

Jana Denardo’s new LGBT science fiction novella, Modified and Sacred, is a enjoyable, imaginative story.  The author has filled the novella full of fascinating elements like stolen or sold children that were then modified illegally for use by trades, businesses like mining because it was cheaper than building machines.  Also aliens that, due to their ancient past as prey, have evolved skins full of chromatophores that allow bursts of color or camouflage as was needed in the past.  So many things about both main characters that just grab your attention and fill your mind with questions, along with the storyline.

The plot is fast moving, along with the immediate attention to detail on the action at hand.  I loved how the relationship developed between Addison and Deveral, especially after the events that happened on the ship.  No spoilers here.

But what keeps this story from a higher rating is that I felt it wrapped up too quickly for as complicated a plot it it was made out to be.  Far too many loose ends floating around that mission and answers we never got behind the rescue or the finalization of Deveral’s peace initiative. I also wished for more background, world building on Deveral’s species, and things that were merely hinted at.  There was enough here to fill a series!  A novella?  Felt a little thin for all the tantalizing information and bits thrown about.

I did appreciate the HFN as that is clearly the only way this could end for this couple given the time frame.  I do hope that the author can be coaxed into revisiting them and this universe in the future.  There’s a story I would be first in line to read.

As for Modified and Sacred by Jana Denardo?  There is still so much here to be investigated and thoroughly enjoyed by science fiction, suspense and action, and romance lovers alike.  I recommend it to you all.

Cover art: Natasha Snow.  While that cover is pretty and all glowy I’m not sure that it’s all that pertinent to the storyline. No globe worshipping going on here.  No blobs.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published April 29th 2019 by NineStar Press
ISBN 139781950412525
Edition Language English

An Alisa Review: Thirst for You (Beyond the Cove #2) by Jaclyn Quinn

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

What happens when thirst becomes an obsession that can’t be quenched?

Forty-year-old Zachariah Taylor prides himself on being the overprotective older brother of seven. He owns a successful bar, Zach’s Bar and Grill, in the quiet town of Riverside Falls and loves the life he’s built for himself. But as his siblings move on and find their forever partners in life, he’s starting to feel less and less needed—not to mention old. Suddenly, he’s finding it even harder to ignore the younger man who has pursued him for years, but the twelve years separating them is something Zach can’t seem to overlook.

Twenty-eight-year-old Drew Belford has been in love with the stubborn Zach Taylor for seven years. Sure, he was a kid when they’d first met, but what Zach is determined to ignore is the man Drew has become. Drew, however, is just as strong-minded and refuses to let Zach use their age difference as an excuse to disregard the attraction burning between them. He doesn’t need an overprotective older brother—he needs Zach.

When Drew begins to get unsettling messages from an unknown person, Zach feels helpless in a way he’s never felt before. How can he protect Drew from someone he can’t find? The thought of anyone hurting Drew unleashes years’ worth of pent-up desire Zach has had for the younger man. Is his thirst for Drew enough to protect him from the danger lurking in the shadows, or will the threat of the unknown be enough to douse the spark of love between them—and silence Drew forever?

I really enjoyed this story and was even thrown for a loop when the stalker was revealed.  Drew and Zach work well together at work, they just need to learn how to do it in their personal lives but once that happens everything isn’t as smooth as they would like.

I loved how Drew would not give up in his quest for Zach but I think that is what Zach needed since he couldn’t seem to work for his own happiness.  Zach sure is stubborn and he’ll do whatever it takes for those around him to be happy even if it’s not what would make him happy and that broke my heart.  I was glad to see him hold on with both hands once he let himself be happy.

This story pulled me from one emotion to the other, I was happy and then worried or scared about what was happening to Drew and back and forth but it sure kept my attention.  I could tell how it hurt the characters for someone they were close with to be the cause of all the problems.  I think I can see who the next relationship will be and I really look forward to it.

The cover art by Cate Ashwood is great, I love the visual of the characters and Drew’s signature shirt *wink*.

Sales Link: Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 258 pages

Published: April 8, 2019

Edition Language: English

Series: Beyond the Cove #2

A Stella Review:Top Shelf (Seacroft #1) by Allison Temple

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RATING 3,75 out of 5 stars

Martin is a ghost. Well, not really, but he might as well be. Job gone, home gone, self-respect gone, and no one even seems to notice. The only person who really sees him is Seb, the artist who lives above the used bookstore.

Seb haunts the edges of Seacroft in search of beauty. He knows how to excavate the hidden value in abandoned things–whether it’s in the pages of forgotten books or in Martin’s stuttering attempts to rebuild his life–and transform them into works of art.

Two lost souls, Seb and Martin discover the strength they need to face eccentric townies and their dysfunctional families together. But as friendship sparks toward something more, neither man wants to risk what they’ve only just found. It takes two to fall in love, but it will take the whole community to bring their beauty to life.

Top Shelf is an 81k slow burn friends-to-lovers MM romance. It features an anxious professor, a drama queen artist, a bookstore that might be haunted, and a full-blown heart-eyes HEA.

Top Shelf was a lovely reading, I soon fell in love with Martin, perhaps because I knew what he was going through. I could feel him struggle but he was so brave to try and start again, in a different and easy environment. He found a new life in his brother’s house, in a new town, with a new job at a little bookstore and new people like Penny and Cassidy. And then there was Seb, the artist who carved books. When Martin first discovered it, he felt it as a sacrilege, books couldn’t be destroyed like that, but the masterpieces Seb worked on were too precious to be offended by. Little by little they became friends and more, until when things went really bad, they were there for each other. I loved how they took their time although the  strong chemistry.

I liked the plot and the writing a lot, the novel was easy and quick to finish. The only reason why I didn’t give Top Shelf an higher rating was due to the ending part. Without spoiling anything I think Seb acted a little too much childish and forgot how supporting Martin was, sure he  maybe wasn’t thinking clearly, still I didn’t like him at all.

Top Shelf is the first title in a new series by Allison Temple, I can’t wait for the next installment, maybe abou Seb’s brother?

The cover art by Cate Ashwood is lovely, I like this artist style a lot.

Sales Links:  Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 302 pages

Expected publication: May 20th 2019 by Allison Temple Books

ASIN B07R81RWV4

Edition Language English

Series Seacroft #1

Marie Sexton on Romance, Characters, and her new release Promises (author guest blog)

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Promises by Marie Sexton
Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: May 14, 2019

Cover Artist: Tiferet Design
Sales Link: Dreamspinner Press

Includes the Coda series prequel novella, Meant to Be

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to interview Marie Sexton, here today on tour for her re-release of her novel Promises. Welcome, Marie!

 

STRW Interviews Marie Sexton!

 

Hello, everybody! I’m Marie Sexton, and I’m here today celebrating the re-release of my very first novel, Promises. Promises was first released back in January of 2010. The new version has been re-edited, features one expanded scene, and also contains a brand new Coda short story called Meant to Be.

How much of yourself goes into a character?

Not a ton, but there’s certainly a little bit of me in each of my protagonists. Probably Angelo from the Coda series, Cody from Trailer Trash, and Trey from Family Man are the most “me.”

Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

Well, any character based on my life experience probably wouldn’t be a Mary Sue (or a Gary Stu). I make way too many mistakes and bad decisions for that. LOL.

Does research play a role in choosing which genre you write? Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

I hate research. As an author with a degree in history, I probably shouldn’t admit that, but it’s true. I find it mind-numbingly boring. Which is why most of the time when I start out writing historical, I end up with some kind of weird AU. (My Oestend series being the primary example.)

Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

Nope. Didn’t read them back then and I don’t read them now. I always felt like a fraud at romance conventions because I had no idea who any of the other authors were.

Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing? Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up?

Yes and no. I read SFF almost exclusively in my teens, and yet I mostly write contemporary. But I think I always gravitated towards stories with quirky characters and questionable narrators. One of my favorites as a kid was the Great Brain series, where the reader watches a young genius/con-man through the eyes of his adoring (and naïve) little brother. I love the idea that the exact same story can be vastly different when seen through the eyes of a different character, which is probably why most of my early books were written in first person. 

Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

I have a few, actually. First and foremost, I love my Oestend series (Song of Oestend and Saviours of Oestend). These books have everything I love to write — opposites attract, friends to lovers, redeeming a bad boy, macho cowboys, role reversal, and BDSM — all with an AU, paranormal twist. I love Trailer Trash, because it captured so much of the joys and heartaches of my teen years. I love Winter Oranges for being outlandish and yet (hopefully) believable. And as far as complexity, I think Release is probably my best work.

If you write contemporary romance, is there such a thing as making a main character too “real”?  Do you think you can bring too many faults into a character that eventually he becomes too flawed to become a love interest?

I think this is more about the reader than the writer. Some readers can’t stand to read about characters who make choices they wouldn’t. For example, if the character smokes, or if he and his partner aren’t monogamous, some readers will immediately DNF the book. I can’t really do anything about that. I have to write the character the way he is, smoking and all.

  Have you ever put a story away, thinking it just didn’t work?  Then years/months/whatever later inspiration struck and you loved it?  Is there a title we would recognize if that happened?

Yes. I did this with Trailer Trash. I originally started it way back in about 2011. Then I realized I was writing about the AIDS era, and I knew the story was going to get heavy and angsty, so I put it aside until 2015 or 2016, I think. But I did finally finish it, and I personally think it’s one of my better books.

I also kind of did this with Damned If You Do. I originally had the idea for that story when I heard the song “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” and I started wondering what would happen if, after that first duel, the devil became a bit obsessed with Jonny and kept going back for more. But my original idea for the story would have stepped all over copyright, so I kind of put it away until a new idea came to me about a year later.

And I guess The Well was also similar. I knew for several years that I wanted to write about a group of teens who spend a night in a haunted house and wake up to find one of them has disappeared without a trace. But it took me several years to figure out what exactly had happened to Elise.

 

Have you ever had an issue in RL and worked it through by writing it out in a story?  Maybe how you thought you’d feel in a situation?

I’ve probably done this to lesser degrees multiple times, but the one instance that was HUGE was when I wrote Family Man with Heidi Cullinan. I wrote Trey’s POV, and I dumped every bit of my rage at growing up with an alcoholic parent into that book. It was awful and painful and raw, but when it was all said and done, it was incredibly cathartic. That being said, I tried doing the same thing recently with a different issue in a different work in progress, and it’s a hot, unpublishable mess. It’s been anti-cathartic, if that’s a thing. It left me even more frustrated than I was before. So… time will tell how that situation works out.

  

What’s next for you as a writer?

I’m still trying to finish book three in my Heretic Doms Club series. And I have a Tucker Springs novel to wrap up. (And because Tucker Springs and Coda are now with the same publishing house, Matt and Jared might drop in for a visit.) 😉

That’s it for today. Don’t forget to check out the re-release of Promises. You can also join my private Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/MarieSextonFans/

Thank you to Scattered Thoughts for having me here today.

Blurb

Can a man who loves his small hometown trust it to love him back?

Jared Thomas has lived in the mountain town of Coda, Colorado, his whole life. He can’t imagine living anywhere else. But Jared’s opportunities are limited—the only other gay man in town is twice his age, and although Jared originally planned to be a teacher, the backlash that might accompany the gig keeps him working at his family’s store instead.

Then Matt Richards moves to town.

Matt may not be into guys, but he doesn’t care that Jared is. A summer camping and mountain biking together cements their friendship, but when Matt realizes he’s attracted to Jared, he panics and withdraws, leaving Jared all too aware of what he’s missing.

Facing Matt’s affair with a local woman, his disapproving family, and harassment from Matt’s coworkers, Jared fears they’ll never find a way to be together. But for the first time, he has the courage to try… if he can only convince Matt.

About the Author

Marie Sexton is the author of over thirty published works. She’s written contemporary romance, science fiction, fantasy, dystopian fiction, historical short stories, and a few
odd genre mashups. Marie lives in Colorado , where she recently fell head – over – heels in
love with the Colorado Eagles. She’s happily married, with one teenage daughter, one adorable dog, and one very stupid cat.
You can find Marie on Twitter (@mariesexton, where she mostly talks about sports), at
http://www.MarieSexton.net , or in her private Facebook group,
https://www.facebook.com/groups/MarieSextonFans/
.

RELEASE BLITZ for By Way of Pain (Criminal Delights:Assassins) by JM Dabney

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ReleaseBlitz-ByWayofPain

By Way of Pain

Criminal Delights Series, Book 11

J.M. Dabney

M/M Dark Romance

Release Date: 05.20.19

BY Way of Pain Cover

Blurb

Double lives were just the way it was for a man like me. By day I was a man with a reputation above reproach. Even assassins needed backup plans. For fifteen years, life was going without a hitch until I had to take out a witness. When it was time to kill him, beautiful eyes filled with fear urged me to do something else. Yet, in order to do that, I had to break him, and by way of pain, my captive would experience pleasure he’d never dreamed.

This book is part of CRIMINAL DELIGHTS. Each novel can be read as a standalone and contains a dark M/M romance.

Warning: These books are for adult readers who enjoy stories where lines between right and wrong get blurry. High heat, twisted and tantalizing, these are not for the fainthearted.

Trigger Warnings: Title contains the following possible triggers. Humiliation, Violence, Master/slave elements, Male Chastity, Murder, Imprisonment, Dub-Con, and Brief Torture.

Universal Link: books2read.com/CriminalDelights-Pain

By-Way-of-Pain-Teaser-Because-I-Can

By-Way-of-Pain-Teaser-Cowen-Abnormal

Excerpt

It was a place created for a hunter. Big, sprawling and dirty—victims roaming the streets unaware of their status as prey. They all felt they were safe from the monsters because they were all easily spotted, but they knew nothing about my kind. We were just an abstract concept on some true crime show they watched in the middle of the night—evil reduced to caricature. My reputation was above reproach, but I was the most prolific killer of my kind.

In moments of respite where I hid away in my cabin, I’d analyzed when I’d become broken. I believed my sociopathy was a result of conception. Maybe something as damaged as I shouldn’t have survived to birth. A shell without a soul. I’d attempted suicide a time or two, and I bore the marks from years of self-harm. I’d hoped to feel something—pain proved you were alive—and yet the more I cut and burned, it became nothing more than a minor inconvenience—wounds to heal.

I closed my eyes, drew oxygen in through my nose and pushed it slowly past my lips, repeated until I opened my eyes. As with any normal person ending work, I gathered up files and my laptop, stowing them inside my satchel briefcase. Everything in my life was routine and repetition, nothing deviated. I arrived at my office at six in the morning and promptly left at six at night. Meetings were scheduled as needed. I appeared in court. I was successful at my chosen cover, but as with all aspects of my existence, they were disguises.
JM logo

J.M. Dabney is a multi-genre author who writes mainly LGBT romance and fiction. They live with a constant diverse cast of characters in their head. No matter their size, shape, race, etc. J.M. lives for one purpose alone, and that’s to make sure they do them justice and give them the happily ever after they deserve. J.M. is dysfunction at its finest and they makes sure their characters are a beautiful kaleidoscope of crazy. There is nothing more they want from telling their stories than to show that no matter the package the characters come in or the damage their pasts have done, that love is love. That normal is never normal and sometimes the so-called broken can still be amazing.

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/J.M.DabneyAuthor/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/jmdabney_author

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/authorjmdabney/?hl=en

Reader Group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/585182991553194/

Amazon Author Page – https://www.amazon.com/J.M.-Dabney/e/B006QZIFLE

Website – www.jmdabneyauthor.com

Mailing List – http://eepurl.com/dzWnIn

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Review Tour and Giveaway for Love Kills (Criminal Delights:Serial Killers) by Michael Mandrake

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited.
 
Length: 56,600 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Natasha Snow
 
Blurb
 

Deranged birds of a feather flock together… leaving trails of blood in their wake.


Holland has fantasies most can’t accept. When potential mates discover Holland’s bloodlust, it’s too late for them to refuse. Determined to get what he wants, Holland continues to seek a man to fulfill his deepest desire and he won’t stop at anything


Archer is inspired and aroused by the tales he’s heard from his boyfriend. Still, he’s greedy for something that pushes him over the edge. Although this might drive him and his partner apart, Archer’s dark want won’t disappear.


Clint’s love for his job has slipped for years, and he’s pondered change. These days he’s cared more about how to please his man, than the rigorous position of solving murder cases. Clint thinks his attitude will eventually get better, thus prompting him to stay aboard. Still, the constant worry of Archer finding someone new niggles at him.


Putting sketchy characters behind bars had always been Clint’s forte, but when new feelings arise, Clint’s conscience is tested. Furthermore, what will happen if Clint is forced to choose between the love of his life, his career, and his morality?


This book is part of CRIMINAL DELIGHTS. Each novel can be read as a standalone and contains a dark M/M romance.


Warning: These books are for adult readers who enjoy stories where lines between right and wrong get blurry. High heat, twisted and tantalizing, these are not for the fainthearted.


 

About the Author
 

Michael Mandrake pens complex characters already comfortable with their sexuality. Through these, he builds worlds not centered on romance but rather the mainstream and/or obscure plots we might encounter in everyday life and beyond.


Website: https://michaelmandrake.wordpress.com/
FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMichaelMandrake/
FB Profile: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004610177001
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/MichaelMandrake
Follow me on Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/michael-mandrake
Triad Newsletter – https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/z7f2c7
Triad Fangroup – https://www.facebook.com/groups/275083546529760/

 

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