A Stella Review: Butterfly Hunter (Butterfly Hunter #1) by Julie Bozza

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RATING 4,5 out of 5 stars

It started as a simple assignment for Aussie bush guide Dave Taylor – escort a lone Englishman in quest of an unknown species of butterfly. However Nicholas Goring is no ordinary tourist, his search is far from straightforward, and it’s starting to look as if the butterflies don’t want to be found. As Dave teaches Nicholas everything he needs to survive in the Outback he discovers that he too has quite a bit to learn – and that very often the best way to locate something really important is just not to want to find it…

I read the previous edition of this title in the 2015 and I gave it three stars. I’m not sure how much this just released second edition of Butterfly Hunter is different, from what I understood the author made just minor editing. That said, I’m surprised to say I quite enjoyed the novel and I upgraded my rating at four stars and a half. It totally deserved them.

I was very happy to meet Nicholas and Dave again, I remembered their story and the particularity of the plot caught my attention at the time. Yes, the plot is curious, I never heard or read a story like this one, but what perfectly worked here was the writing. It was so easily for me to be lost in the Outback with these men, to discover new butterflies, to fall in love. Every scene was so well depicted, I missed nothing, every new detail was mine to be seen. Moreover, I’m not sure how to describe it, I felt the magic, the sounds of the the words, a positive and luminous melody that lighted my spirit. I was gone.

And I was conquered by the characters too. Both Nicholas and Dave were so good in their souls, there wasn’t a single hitch that can’t be overcome, their actions and thoughts flew easily. Even the fact that Dave has never been attracted to another man, and then he finds in the englishman the love of his life, it was not an issue (as it should be). The new attraction was considered and processed, not a little drama done. And you could think it’s not real, but you would be so wrong. In the extraordinary on the plot, the story sounded to me real, simple and sweet and powerful.

I think it’s pretty clear I loved Butterfly Hunter a lot and it’s all Julie Bozza fault.

The cover art by Gayna Murphy of Mubu Design is lovely, I like the colours and the style. Cute.

SALE LINKS  Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, second edition

Published September 15th 2018 by LIBRAtiger (first published August 1st 2012)

ASIN B07GZ3GPJR

Edition Language English

Butterfly Hunter series #1

A MelanieM Audio Review: When Everything is Blue by Laura Lascarso and Michael Mola (Narrator)

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

When they were kids, Chris Mitcham rescued Theo from the neighborhood bullies and taught him how to “be cool.” Now, years later, Theo’s developed feelings for his best friend that arise at the most inopportune times. Theo hates lying to Chris, but in coming out, he might lose the one person who understands him best, a risk he’s not willing to take.

When a relationship with another young man goes south, Theo is forced to confront his own sexuality along with his growing attraction to Chris and his stunted, tenuous relationship with his father. Will Chris abandon Theo when he learns the truth, or will he stand by him in this tumultuous season of self-discovery?

In this quirky coming-of-age romance, Theo’s path to manhood is fraught with awkward firsts and a few haters, but also the unexpected comfort of a friend turned lover.

I fell hopelessly in love with this story, with Theo from the moment narrator  Michael Mola ushers  us into his gentle, brilliant interpretation of Laura Lascarso’s teenage character discovering his love for his long time best friend just before his birthday and beginning of school.

From the accent, to the confused musings that sound exactly like they would come from a teenager, When Everything is Blue by Laura Lascarso is that new adult coming out story that hits every high mark you expect in such a novel and rarely get.

The characters are beautifully nuanced, believable, and ones that grab at your heart.  Theo’s home situation rings especially true where the father has a new younger family (also a layered portrait where the new wife is struggling and deserving of our compassion), a twin sister desperate for her father’s approval, and a quietly supportive mother whose Puerto Rican culture has contributed so much  to who Theo is becoming as an adult.  It’s understated in some ways and so much of the character’s foundation at the same time.  A beautiful job by the author and the narrator as seen by the gorgeous accent given to Theo in the audiobook.

In tandem with Theo is Chris, Theo’s best friend,next door neighbor, and the boy he’s in love with.  They’ve been joined at the hip for years, surfing, skateboarding, just being with one another, until now Theo has his “sexual awakening” and knows that it’s Chris that he’s not only attracted to but in love with.  His straight best friend and that causes all sorts of confusion and heartache.

There is so much here in this story much of which I can’t relate without venturing into spoiler territory.  And that would be unfortunate for this is a journey I recommend readers take for themselves as I’m putting this book (and this audio version) on my Best of 2018 List.  The beauty of the friendship and support between Theo and Chris is one to be remembered and treasured.  The strength of Theo as a young man finding his way through coming out and establishing himself as a gay youth to his family, friends, and community is also not to be missed.

Lascarso has done a tremendous job in creating not only a compelling story of teenage young love and relationship dynamics (between love lovers, siblings, and family) but also in making a realistic unfortunate use of the media part of her storyline.  That is something teenagers deal with every day.  It’s almost routine and here the consequences have the same devastating effects.

Reading it?  Brings the issue vividly to life.  Hearing it?  The emotional toll becomes so cuttingly real, so heartbreaking that you immediately think of all the others dealing with the same issues in schools everywhere.

Never fear, the ending is as remarkable as the rest of this story.  How I love it so.

After having listened to the marvelous voice of  Michael Mola, his range of diversity when it comes to the cast of characters of this novel, I can’t imagine just reading When Everything is Blue by Laura Lascarso.  I highly recommend you listen to the audiobook version and settle in for an outstanding evening of contemporary listening pleasure.  As I said this one is high on my list for Best of for 2018.  After you listen, I believe you will agree as well.

Cover Artist: AngstyG.  Along with the perfect of the writing and the narration, we have the great cover which has major elements from the storyline and is just beautiful to look at.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audio, Length 07:01:00

Published August 13th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published March 6th 2018)
Original TitleWhen Everything Is Blue
ASINB07G9RJBB7

A Lila Release Day Review: Dragonslayer (Twitterlight #1) by Matthew Lang

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Rating: 3.5 stars

Kill the dragon, marry the princess, and rule the kingdom. It’s a fantasy come true… if you’re straight.

Adam is a chemistry student and martial artist, active in his local chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism. But none of that prepares him to be the savior of a faraway land locked in perpetual dusk.

In a world of shape-shifters, necromancy, and religious politics, Adam is fated to slay the golden dragon, Khalivibra, and defeat its mind-controlling sorcery to help Princess Esmeralda of Aergon retake her city. Tradition dictates he’ll rule by her side—but Adam is much more interested in Duin, a warrior who changes to beast form in the light of the sun… or fire.

Adam hopes he and Duin might end up together when their ordeal ends. But first, the reluctant hero, the spell-casting heir to the throne, the beast-shifting object of Adam’s desire, a six-legged cave lizard, and any allies they can gather must do the impossible… and live to celebrate their victory.

Dragonslayer is a mix of high fantasy,  humor, and romance. Some parts are more interesting than others, but the author did well building the world for this series to flourish. Perhaps it takes most of the story, but after a while, the reader gets used to the elaborate descriptions and details in the story.

I loved Duin and the way he saw his world, himself, and Adam. He is the connection between reality, fantasy, and the need to see the romantic arc come to fruition. I wanted him to be happy and find his place in a world that seems to push him aside every time he did well. I’m glad Adam understood him and did all he could to help him grow. I was scared for their HEA but the author delivered. I only wanted a little bit more; to see how he experience the new world ahead of him.

There are a lot of elements, characters, cultures, and traditions within this book. It can’t be read all at once even when it’s hard to put down in some areas. Others ran slow and get the reader to take a break to read something else. Some balance is achieved later on, just in time to entice the reader to wait for the next book.

Overall, this is a good start to a new series. I hope there are some resurrection powers somewhere because is a character I would be glad to see again.

The cover by Tiferet Design has the perfect blend of characters, settings, and elements present in the story.

Sale Links: DSPAmazon | Nook

Book Details:

ebook, 258 pages
Published: September 25, 2018, by DSP Publishing
ISBN: 9781644051054
Edition Language: English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: That Feeling When (#lovehim #1) by S.M. James

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Rating: 2 stars out of 5

That feeling when…you realize you need to read the blurb to figure out what’s going on.

I may be in the minority, but I just didn’t care for this book. It was okay at best. Partly, because of the use of present tense and first person POV, but mostly, I didn’t get the attraction between a movie star of unknown age and a 17-year-old camper.

I finally read the blurb after I was over a quarter of the way through because I just didn’t get why an actor, whose age is never mentioned, would fall for a teen. According to the blurb, Landon Summers is a teen heartthrob, but his age is never mentioned in the story. He does state, at one point, that legal age for drinking in Australia is eighteen so when he offers a drink to the 17-year-old he has a crush on, he jokes that his trailer can be the Australian embassy. To me, that means he’s over eighteen.

The story also indicates he’s done three seasons on a teen show and he’s doing the movie for a teen audience and it’s filming at the camp where 17-year-old Archie and his twin are attending. We know Landon is on his own in Hollywood as his parents and siblings are still down under. Correct me if I’m wrong, but my math brain makes him a minimum of eighteen or nineteen, more likely twenty or twenty-one. And that just doesn’t float for me with his crush on and “insta”love for the formerly straight, now questioning, teen. More food for thought: Archie and his sister are there to improve their SAT scores but have apparently applied for colleges already because Archie has received a rejection from the dance academy he wanted to attend. That makes me believe they are going to be high school seniors. If true, I just don’t get this “romance” at all.

Landon is an okay character, but his decisions and worries seem rather childish. Most of his friends and family know he’s bi but coming out for someone has the potential to ruin his career. His behaviors in those instances are teen-worthy, but again, no age is specified. Archie, however, is worse with his worries about his father’s ambitions for him and his statements about not wanting to be both gay and a dancer. And he’s totally clueless as to why he’s attracted to Landon. Honestly, given the first person present tense of the story, I felt as if I were reading a girl’s diary.

I honestly don’t have anything good to say about the story, though I made a commitment to go to the end, where we discover the guys are finally going to spend some time together as more than friends. There were so many holes in the story and so much of it made me squeamish about Landon’s age that the most I can say is it was okay. Two stars.

The cover was cute—an attractive light blue color with a sketch of a man falling from the clouds toward another peeking out over the bottom frame.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 343 pages
Published September 16th 2018 by May Books
ASINB07DTB7MJ4
Series#lovehim #1

John Inman on Writing, Research, and his new release Nightfall (author interview and giveaway)

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Nightfall by John Inman

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Tiferet Design

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host John Inman back again, talking about his latest release Nightfall. Welcome, John.

♦︎

~ Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with John Inman ~

Q.–Does research play a role in choosing what genre you write.
A.–Well, research certainly had a lot to do with writing NIGHTFALL.  One of the reasons I had never tried writing science fiction before was because I knew that to write about a scientific subject, you have to know a little bit about it. Even with science fiction where the plot may not be exactly realistic, you still have to have a basic knowledge of the real subject before you can start skewing the facts.  Even so, I’m sure I made a few factual goof-ups.  So if there are any scientists out there looking to read a gay romance, you might want to pick up SHY instead.  In that one, at least, I knew what the hell I was talking about.  Haha.
Q.–How do you choose your covers?
A.–I’m glad you brought up book covers, because I think the cover for NIGHTFALL is absolutely beautiful.  It was done by Anna Sikorska at Triferet Designs.  I love the colors, the panorama of the red sky, and the two characters in silhouette are perfect.  The way I choose a cover is just try to pick a moment from the story that will maybe translate visually.  I give the idea to the incredible artists at DSP, and they come up with a few choices for me to pick from.  I’ve been happy with all my book covers.  Some are memorable, some are just nice, but I really have liked them all.  I’ve often thought how hard it must be for writers who self-publish to find the artwork for their stories.  I’m so glad I have a publisher behind me to make that job so much easier.
Q.–Do you have a favorite among your own stories, and why?
A.–I think some of my best stories are SHY, THE HIKE, LOVING HECTOR (love the donut fight) and the Belladonna Arms series, all five of them.  But my absolute favorite is THE BOYS ON THE MOUNTAIN.  That’s the book that got me to New York City with a nomination for the Lambdas, and that’s the book I fought hardest to write while my lover at the time was dying of cancer and my business was going to pot.  Everything at that point in my life was falling apart except for that book.  It’s my longest novel and it took me a flat year to write it, but that’s the one I’m most proud of.  I know it’s horror, but I love it anyway.  Maybe just because it was so hard to finish.  But most definitely because of the Lambda nomination.  That meant everything to me.  Even losing didn’t hurt.  Getting there was the main thing.  A highpoint of my life.  And having my husband there with me made it even better.
Q.–Why do you write?
A.–That’s the $64,000 question, isn’t it.  I think I write just because it’s something I’ve always had to do.  It’s like a compulsion.  Even when I was a kid I was writing stories.  I don’t remember exactly, but maybe even with crayon, haha.   I’m happiest when I’m writing.  I love the solitude of it.  I like the fact that I can go anywhere I want and I can bring anybody in the whole wide world of imagination along with me when I go.  Some people talk about how they struggle to write.  Not because of the turmoil going on in their lives, but just the simple problem of putting down one word after another.  I get hungup sometimes in the middle of a story, but I never come to a screeching halt.  Knock on wood, not yet anyway.  I just plod along, move the story forward a little bit to get away from the problem area, and go back later to repair the damage.  Stopping is the worst thing a writer can do.  I think basically, the main reason I write is because I have never found anything else that makes me happier.
Q.– If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write where would that be, and why?
A.–I think the best place for me to write is right where I am right now.  I have my own office overlooking a birdbath and fir trees in the backyard.  I have the beautiful weather of Southern California shining down on the house.  I have a cat sleeping on either side of me.  I have total silence except for the sound of birds outside, and I have my husband piddling around in some other part of the house, humming to himself sometimes but always trying to be quiet about it.  I think if a writer is happy with himself inside, it doesn’t matter where he is physically when he tries to write.  The real story comes from the heart.  If he has peace and happiness there, then he’s got it made.  Nothing else should be a problem.
Q.: Any last words about your new release, NIGHTFALL?
A.: I just hope a decent percentage of the people who read it, enjoy it.  Book releases are always a little nervewracking.  A few reviews will hurt, a few others will make you feel good.  Then one day you get an email from some farm kid in Podunk, Arkansas, telling you how much your book meant to him, and all the other stuff is forgotten.
I want to take a minute to thank everyone at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for letting me spend a few minutes talking about my new book.   I hope NIGHTFALL finds a welcome home in a few laps and I hope everyone who gives it a chance will find a smile or a gasp here and there as they travel through the pages.
Keep reading, everybody!
John
_________

About Nightfall

Joe Chase and Ned Bowden are damaged men. They each bear scars from surviving the world they were born in. Deep scars, both physical and emotional.

When fate offers its first kind act by bringing the two together, suddenly their scars don’t seem so bad, and their lives don’t feel so empty.

Yet that kindness comes at a price.

Just as Joe and Ned begin to experience true happiness for the very first time, the world turns on them again.

But this time it turns on everyone.

_________

About the Author

John Inman is a Lambda Literary Award finalist and the author of over thirty novels, everything from outrageous comedies to tales of ghosts and monsters and heart stopping romances. John Inman has been writing fiction since he was old enough to hold a pencil. He and his partner live in beautiful San Diego, California. Together, they share a passion for theater, books, hiking and biking along the trails and canyons of San Diego or, if the mood strikes, simply kicking back with a beer and a movie.

John’s advice for anyone who wishes to be a writer? “Set time aside to write every day and do it. Don’t be afraid to share what you’ve written. Feedback is important. When a rejection slip comes in, just tear it up and try again. Keep mailing stuff out. Keep writing and rewriting and then rewrite one more time. Every minute of the struggle is worth it in the end, so don’t give up. Ever. Remember that publishers are a lot like lovers. Sometimes you have to look a long time to find the one that’s right for you.”

Giveaway

John has generously agreed to giveaway with this post, a book from his DSP backlist to whichever reader we choose.  So leave a comment for John, along with your email address should you be chosen.  And  may the force be with you!  Happy Reading!

Check Out the New Sci Fi Release: grydscaen: Beginnings by Natsuya Uesugi (special ficlet excerpt and giveaway)

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grydscaen: beginnings

Natsuya Uesugi has a new queer sci fi book out:

Faid Callen is tired of life on the run in the Echelons trying to keep his psychic power in check. He founds the Packrats, a group of cyberterrorist hackers. A young powerful Psi Faction operative, Lino Dejarre, is sent on a mission to capture Faid. Wanting to keep Lino under control, the Psi Faction kidnaps his half-brother, Riuho, and they take him prisoner, experiment on him, train him, and subject him to mind control.

When Lino is assigned to a high stakes diplomatic mission to reveal a traitor, he finds another psychic operative in play, causing him to question the Psi Faction’s motives. Can Lino rescue his brother before more blood is shed or will Faid step in and destroy the Psi Faction’s plans?

About the Series:

Lino just wanted peace. All he got was war.

In After Colony 2055, the Atlantea Federation, a draconian power had taken over 75% of the world’s territories and launched a nuclear attack, the Dionysis Effect against the insurgent Pacific Territories. In a single brave act, the Pacific Territories retaliated in a battle known as the Blood Red Incident. The untested weapon’s radioactive fallout created Codess which manifested as psychic powers.

After the initial destruction, people struggled to survive and some developed psychic powers as others fell to the pervasive radiation sickness. Civil war ripped at the heart of society with cyberterrorist hacker groups rising up to fight the government. The son of the Viceroy, Lino Dejarre had psychic power. He joined the Psi Faction as a clandestine psychic operative tasked to capture Faid Callen the leader of the Packrat hackers.

Separated at age nine and banished from the royal family, Riuho Dejarre’s hatred for his brother Lino grew as he tried to scrape out a life in the slum level Echelons. Stripped of his citizenship, Riuho vowed to get revenge and thwart Lino’s every move as the young operative tried to govern and keep his people safe. With Faid and Riuho using the Packrat cyberterrorist hackers to attack the government even as the Atlantea Federation increased the threat trying to destroy the remains of the Pacific Territories and their allies, the war took a dire turn.

The Atlantea Federation attacked brutally on the ground and threatened the Pacific Territories’ space colonies. Lino and his Psi Faction team were roped into global diplomacy, inter-colony politics, covert missions, battleship scurmishes, jet fighter sorties, and space battles facing the Atlantea Federation head on. When Riuho once more entered the fray, his high stakes game of manipulation and lies threatened to destroy everything for which Lino had worked.

With threats to the fragile Pacific Territories coalition and the fate of the world at stake, can Lino, the Viceroy of the City, the Echelons and the Zone lead the Pacific Territories to a victory? Intrigue, fast-paced action, clandestine psychic operatives, hackers, the oppressive Zone Police, and shadowy government conspiracies, the situation couldn’t be riskier. Will Lino ever see peace and an end to war? Find out in the dystopian grydscaen series. Whose side are you on?

Get it on Amazon


Giveaway

Natsuya is giving away an eBook copy of his grydscaen: rogue book with this tour – enter via Rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d4728/?

—————-

A “Special” for Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

 

FicLet – “Darklight Time” – grydscaen: beginnings by Natsuya Uesugi

The neon night screamed into the darkness. Signs hocking sex, technology, software glared at Naito as he walked. His dark hair shined in the lights, the glare making the tech fabric of his blue jacket sparkle. The buildings slammed up against each other as he weaved through the crowded streets in the Echelons, the Red Light District. The seedy shops and sex establishments lined the walkway as he passed young male hosts and female prostitutes going about their livelihood, the signs blaring their wares out to the populace.

As he walked the night he felt eyes on him. He passed a line of prostitutes casing the sidewalk. Their pimps at the corner overseeing their work. A woman walked up to him and engaged putting her hand on his shoulder in her red latex mini dress and high heeled stilettos. She tracked to him matching his gait as he walked down the sidewalk.

“Fancy a date? Hey honey, you look like you need a little love tonight. Felicia can give you some love right good…” she said, her voice sultry. Her hair was bushy, a bad perm and it was dark down to her shoulders, her skin tan, eyes bright. Her leopard print heels garishly screamed on her feet, fishnet stockings gracing her legs. Her voice was low, a little too low for a woman. Naito realized he was dealing with a Lady Boy the minute she opened her mouth. He didn’t take the bait.

“Not tonight, gorgeous,” said Naito and kept walking.

She kept pace with him, continuing her pitch.

“What, no love for Felicia? You know I can give you love more than Omnibus. I’ll treat you right. Not her…” she said grabbing Naito’s arm and pulling him to a stop. Naito decided to entertain her for a moment.

“What do you know about Omnibus?” he asked. Naito was a Waste, a drug addicted psychic that played ware games and worshipped gaming culture. A host knowing about Omnibus Darklight was rare.

Felicia brought her hand up to a silver bangle at her right wrist. She pushed the large button on the bangle and suddenly she was surrounded by a hologram. The hologram for Omnibus was standing in her place, the avatar for the Darklight virtual reality online game. The white and blue dress, the long white hair, six arms folded in different poses and the hover board under her feet. Her top two hands with a large holo globe leveled about her head.

Naito took a step back shocked.

“Omnibus?” he questioned.

The prostitute pushed the button on her bracelet and the hologram of for Omnibus disappeared.

“Felicia knows what you want honey. Warehouse 2. Don’t be late now…” She kissed him on the cheek.

“Did the data messenger send you?” asked Naito.

“No honey, check your profile baby.”

Naito quickly went into his pocket and pulled out his handheld and checked his avatar profile. There was a message on the screen. He had done a search for Omnibus on the gridscan. The AI program logged the inquiry sending his unencrypted search to the Zone Police government database. Darklight was an illegal online game. Tournaments that popped up randomly at locations in the Echelons were trolled by the Zone Police and shut down. The game was dangerous. Players who lost were rumored to have died while playing. He hadn’t been masked when he did the search. That had been careless. He knew better.

“I can sort that for you, honey. Give it here…” said Felicia and moved in.

Naito hesitated not wanting to give his handheld to a prostitute to steal it or get into his business. She leaned in and whispered in his ear.

“There is a data sale at the warehouse. That what you after, honey?”

“How did you know that?”

“Same as I know who you are Naito, baby. Just let Felicia fix you up right. You have a stop before you get to where you need to be…”

Naito was on a mission for the Wastes. He did have to get data at the warehouse. This prostitute must have been put on his path to give him intel. He handed her the handheld as they stood on the sidewalk. Naito watched her closely as she engaged the device. She took two minutes with it then handed it back.

“All set, gorgeous. New map for you. Now get on your way,” Felicia smiled and patted him on the backside.

“Thanks,” said Naito.

“Any time, gorgeous. Stay out of trouble…”

Naito continued down the street and took a left into the warehouse district. His meet up would get him the data he needed for the Packrat hackers to continue their push to take down the Elite government.

 

——————-

 

Excerpt

“Why is there a child here?” asked Jai.

“He will be staying here now. He has psi potential. We are giving him to Dr. Ren as a test subject,” said Gailen as they walked down the hall to the Controlling Chambers in the Psi Faction building.

“Where did he come from?” asked Jai.

“His mother sold him to the Psi Faction for a cit card,” informed Gailen.

“People actually do that?” choked out Jai.

“His mother was a prostitute. She sold him and was paid a hefty sum and given a cit card. The child has very high psi potential. We would have requested him if she had not offered.”

There was a maintenance crew in the hall. They were fixing up a room in the back of the Controlling Chambers to make a day care center, a playroom. It was to ensure there was some age appropriate place for the child to be kept during the day. Dr. Ren was in the Controlling Chamber area when they got there.

“How is it going?” asked Gailen coming up to him.

“Oh Gailen. Come in. Come see. It is going rather well. I think this room will be adequate,” said Dr. Ren.

There was an electrician at the wall installing an electrical panel and he handed Dr. Ren a remote control. The electrician finished up and placed the face plate of the panel at the wall and told Dr. Ren the panel was all set.

“The room has a damper, a psi shield and other features that will help to control the child. He has been here for almost six weeks now. We have just started the first level of his psi conditioning. He has been very receptive so far. Would you like to see him?” said Dr. Ren.

Dr. Ren walked with Jai and Gailen to the living quarters. They went to the main observation room with four rooms along the wall with glass windows. Each room had a bed and a dresser and a chair. There was a child in one of the rooms sitting in a chair. Gailen, Dr. Ren and Jai came into the main room with the lights out. The child could not see them through the one way glass.

The child had dull ash brown hair that kind of looked like it was blue since the colour was washed out. The child was rocking back and forth in the chair with his hands on his head.

“What is he doing?” asked Jai.

“We gave him an initial dose of nanomachines to see how they would take. He is reacting to that,” said Dr. Ren.

“Is it a girl or a boy?” asked Gailen.

“It’s a girl. But when I ask her she says she is a boy,” said Dr. Ren.

“She is transgender then?” asked Gailen.

“Yes, that is what it looks like. I did a whole psychological work up on her. We should start calling her he and just get used to that. She also refuses to wear dresses. One of the nurses in the infirmary tried,” said Dr. Ren.

“What is her name? I mean his name,” said Jai.

“Julian Iskafiin,” said Dr. Ren. “But he said he wants to be called Blue.”

“He is only five. How does he know what he wants to be called?” asked Gailen.

“Julian said his mother called him Blue.”

Jai looked over at Blue in the chair. The child stood up and went to the wall and started banging his head on the wall. Dr. Ren lifted up his arm and tapped out some buttons on a metal arm band he had on. A nurse came into the room and started comforting Blue.


Author Bio

Natsuya Uesugi

Natsuya Uesugi is a systems analyst and white hat hacker who has worked in the design of aerospace, semiconductor and financial systems. With an MBA in International Management and a minor in Japanese, Natsuya uses his Japanese, Black and Native American heritage to paint his stories, keeping an eye on diversity.

By night, Natsuya is an author and manga artist weaving stories in his cyberpunk grydscaen world, his dark fantasy universe The Seer of Grace and Fire, and his contemporary yaoi graphic noiz which takes place in New York City. He studied animation and game design at the Art Institute of Phoenix where he learned sequential art and traditional animation that fueled his childhood dream of creating manga and anime.

To date he has created four manga and two episodes of the short anime grydscaen: A Storm’s Coming based on the teenage hacker Rom. He enjoys skydiving, cosplay, manga, World Cup futbol, watching French news, eating ramen and anything with matcha, watching anime in Japanese, and writing poetry.

Author Website: http://www.grydscaen.com

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/natsuya.uesugi

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/Grydscaen/

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/natsuya_uesugi

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4558587.Natsuya_Uesugi

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/natsuya-uesugi/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Natsuya-Uesugi/e/B00J6EDQQ6/

In the Spotlight Tour and Giveaway: Running Blind (Havoc #2) by S.E. Jakes

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Running Blind (Havoc #2) by S.E. Jakes
Riptide Publishing
Cover Art: L.C. Chase

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

About Running Blind

An ATF agent who lives for danger finds what he craves from an outlaw biker.

It’s impossible for a one-percenter motorcycle club member to simply walk away—and no one knows that better than undercover agent Bram, who’s almost killed for trying. His cover isn’t blown—yet—but it’s only a matter of time. The Heathens won’t be satisfied until he’s dead, so he decides to lay low and heal.

But when his younger brother’s disappearance throws a wrench into his plan, Bram ends up in Shades Run, a town ruled by the notorious Havoc MC. In less than twenty-four hours, Bram finds himself at the mercy of Sweet, Havoc’s president, as he throws himself into the undercover role of a lifetime: himself. A man who’s never belonged anywhere, and who will do anything to protect his younger brother.

When finding Linc seems impossible, Bram is torn between Sweet, Linc, and revealing his true identities . . . and there appears to be no way out. Once again, he risks it all trying to save it all. Only this time he’s got no backup to save him if he falls.

 

Running Blind is available from Riptide.
And don’t miss book one in the Havoc series, Running Wild!

About SE Jakes

SE Jakes writes m/m romance. She believes in happy endings and fighting for what you want in both fiction and real life. She lives in New York with her family, and most days, she can be found happily writing (in bed). No really…

SE Jakes is the alter ego of New York Times bestselling paranormal and romantic suspense author Stephanie Tyler.

Connect with SE:

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Running Blind, one lucky person will win an ecopy of Running Wild, the first book in the Havoc series! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 29, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Counterpoint (Twisted Wishes #2) by Anna Zabo

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

I honestly didn’t think it would be possible for a sequel to be better than the first story in this series, Syncopation, but I was wrong—very, very wrong. This book exceeded all my expectations and effortlessly moved to my top five of 2018.

Adrian Doran heads out to dinner one night in his Brooklyn neighborhood and happens to be seated next to a stunning, nerdy looking guy who returns his casual perusal with one of his own. Adrian is a computer programmer for a NYC bank by day and a Dom by preference in the rest of his life. When the guy accepts Adrian’s offer of a bite of his lemon meringue pie and then proceeds to moan and make subtle orgasmic facial expressions, Adrian knows what, and who, his next goal is going to be.

Dominic Bradley is a quiet, unassuming bookworm, who enjoys reading most genres of literature, visiting museums, playing his guitar, and being an all-around geek. With Adrian he discovers his submissive side, but he suffers from social anxiety, especially when he needs to take the stage with his bandmates in Twisted Wishes, a well-known rock band. To do so, he dons a new personality, Domino Grinder, a rock god who wears leather, has an upper body covered in tattoos, wears makeup, and throws the finger at the world. The lead guitarist takes bull from no man. But Dominic and Domino can’t coexist and as Dominic succumbs to the allure of a new relationship with Adrian, he’s going to have to hide Domino or risk losing the man.

As their relationship grows and Dominic discovers rope play really cements his submissive role with Adrian, he despairs of ever being able to let Adrian in on who he really is. He desperately wants to introduce him to his bandmates, and he wants to find a way to merge his two sides but backs away from any confrontation until it’s almost too late. When Adrian spots Dominic’s tattoos on the arm of the lead guitarist for Twisted Wishes on a magazine cover, he loses hope for a future with the man he loves. Can these two continue their D/s relationship and continue to grow their love if one can’t trust the other completely?

I love this author’s writing style and creativity. Caught up and totally immersed in the relationship between Adrian and Dom, I rooted for both men equally and was captivated by each page-turn as their lives took new twists and turns. Adrian was being undermined at work in a job that provided no satisfaction. Dominic was playing as Domino all day while the band practiced or did promo events, yet he couldn’t let in the one man who’d make his life even better so switched to Dominic the moment Domino was no longer needed. The dynamic of the two men in both their private D/s lives and their “out in the world” lives was comfortable, strong, balanced, in sync, and loving. But their secrets nearly broke them apart.

I accidentally discovered this author last year, but I am 100% on board as a fan. I have yet to read something that isn’t top quality and I highly recommend this story. In fact, I highly recommend this series to fans who enjoy books featuring musicians, domination/submission, great plots, interesting deep characterizations, and MM romance. 

The gorgeous, attractive cover features a handsome, bearded, dark-haired guitarist—complete with the tattoo described in the story, set against a bright turquoise background, the bottom border of which shows fans at a rock concert. It’s perfect for this story.

Sales Links:  Carina Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 1st edition
Expected publication: September 24th 2018 by Carina Press
ISBN139781488089374
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Twisted Wishes #2

Syncopation

Counterpoint

A Lucy Review: Hard Truths by Alex Whitehall

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Isaac really drew the short straw in the family lottery.  He has a wonderful sister, Sue, and bigoted, selfish and homophobic parents.  They constantly barrage Isaac and Sue with demands to get a partner, marry and produce grandchildren.  Since they don’t appreciate or really seem to love their own children, the odds of them being any better with grandchildren is low. Isaac always tries to see the best of them.  “They lived in a closed-off little world, but they weren’t bad people.  Or rather, I liked to think they weren’t.”  Isaac is very firmly in the closet with his parents, not wanting to lose  his family. Luckily Isaac has an amazing group of friends who support and love him.

To combat this parental nightmare one Christmas, Sue brings a fake boyfriend, Logan.  Logan is tattooed, pierced and definitely puts on a bad-boy wastrel attitude.  Of course, Isaac is seriously attracted but doesn’t realize the boyfriend is fake.  So when Logan hits on him in the hallway, he is aroused and appalled.  Being a good brother, he hides in the bathroom to text Sue a warning, which Sue pushes off.  In a phone call, Sue tells Isaac about the fake, and gives her go-ahead for Issac to date Logan.  Since Isaac didn’t realize Sue even knew he was gay, he is shocked.  “So, Isaac, I love you and it doesn’t matter if you’re gay.  If you are, I want you to know that I’m a safe space.”  Sue is a great sister.

So Isaac does call Logan and off on a date they go.  Isaac is less the buttoned down prep he presents for his parents and more his hoodie and jeans wearing, tattooed and pierced real self.  Logan is also his real self, a graphic designer who owns his own company.  Since Logan was at Christmas he knows Isaac isn’t out and asks, “So no plans to tell them?”  Isaac replies that he won’t tell them until there is a significant other important enough to come out for.

As Logan and Isaac begin dating, they get to know each other, they take things pretty slow and talk.  I liked that about them.  Isaac meets Logan’s chosen family of friends (and this concept is a big one through the story).  Isaac doesn’t warm up to Logan’s friends, he always feels like an outsider and as if they don’t like him.  He takes this as proof that friends aren’t your family, because they could leave at any time.  He believes you only get one shot at family, even if they are horrible, and they are connected to you in a way no one else can be, “They’ve been with you from the beginning, for better or worse.”  Get a clue, Isaac!  When his amazing friends try to remind him they love him and they are his family, he upsets them.  “You have us.” “Yeah, but you’re not family.”  He hurts his friends so much with that, and he continues to do so, not understanding their point at all.  He won’t even accept the term “chosen family”, instead repeatedly saying they are friends.  “I wanted my family, blemishes and all.”  I wanted to smack him for being so obtuse.  I couldn’t for the life of me understand his view on this.  It irked me because the things he was throwing out there weren’t true even for him.  “Family wouldn’t break apart over something as small as this.  Because family loves you no matter what, because you’re bound by blood.”  Except that wasn’t true.  “Well, no matter what, unless you’re gay and your parents are homophobes.”

Logan really is patient with Isaac but he also knows his own self worth.  He is badly hurt when Isaac repeatedly won’t even mention Logan to his parents, pretending he is seeing no one and going to see them alone.  When Isaac suggests they move in together, Logan is so happy.  Except Isaac still doesn’t want to tell his parents.  So Logan would be the “roommate” or the “good friend”, or some other lie to explain away why they were living together.  But it’s been six months.  What happened to ‘I’ll tell them when it’s serious’?”  I couldn’t blame him for thinking Isaac wasn’t as invested as he was. Even Isaac knows.  “It’s not like that.”  But it was like that.  Exactly like that.”  And yet he still puts his nasty parents ahead of the man he claims to love, as well as his friends.

His parents, particularly his father, are so loathsome.  Racist, bigots, homophobes all, but also just rude and nasty.  I hated them even more knowing that way too many real life parents are just like this.  Made me angry and so sad.  Isaac has a lot of growing to do and I didn’t understand his willingness to put up with everything they spewed at him but I also could see the steps he was slowly trying to take.  And there is a point where he and Logan are fighting, and it is Logan who uses the, “Isaac, it’s not like that”, and this time I could see Isaac’s point.  He is made to feel he over-reacted but I could see how it would hurt.

I liked this story even as Isaac made me want to scream at times.  There are solid positive secondary characters in Sue and Isaac’s friends, Jackson, Emmett, Roe, Jenna, Marc and Laura.  I’d love to say Isaac’s parents were over the top but unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, there are too many families that are just like this.  I would love to know what happens to Logan and Isaac in in the future and I was so happy when Isaac finally, finally got the true meaning of family. 

Cover Art: L.C. Chase.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 248 pages
Expected publication: October 1st 2018 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleHard Truths
ISBN139781626498464
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Darcy (Boyfriend for Hire #1) by R.J. Scott and Meredith Russell

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Darcy works for Boyfriends for Hire and his newest assignment is to play the role of boyfriend to a wealthy socialite who happens to be a scientist with no time for men. He never expected the intense attraction to his date’s brother, Adrian.

Adrian has been as unlucky in love as his sister, but he doesn’t approve of hiring a boyfriend, whatever the reason. Until he meets Darcy. Then he comes to realize that love can happen in the most unexpected of ways.

This story had a nice premise and I really liked Darcy’s character. He was everything a mother would want in a boyfriend for her daughter or son. Honest, a veteran, polite, handsome, and well-spoken with a calm demeanor. Unfortunately, though he’s hired to be Abby’s boyfriend, his heart is grabbed by her brother, Adrian.

To be honest, this story progressed as you’d expect this trope to go. It was very light and fluffy. The guys were honest enough to hold off until the boyfriend contract ended before they hit the sack, and they ended with a HEA and everyone happy, including Abby and the guy she really wanted and her parents who now see that both their children are settled.

If you are looking for light reading, this should satisfy your sweet tooth.

Cover by Meredith Russell depicts two men holding hands, dancing against a backdrop of a wedding. The washed out and faded look of the cover isn’t very appealing.

Sales Links:Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:

ebook
Published September 10th 2018 by Lane Books Limited
ISBN139781785641398
Edition LanguageEnglish
URLhttp://rjscott.co.uk/darcybfh
SeriesBoyfriend for Hire #1