A Free Dreamer Review: Strain (Strain #1) by Amelia C. Gormley

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

In a world with little hope and no rules, the only thing they have to lose is themselves.

Rhys Cooper is a dead man. He’s spent years hiding from the virus that wiped out most of the human race, but an act of futile heroism has him counting down his remaining days. The timely arrival of superhuman soldiers offers some feeble hope–but only if Rhys can reconcile himself to doing what is necessary to take advantage of it.

Sergeant Darius Murrell has seen too much death and too little tenderness. His job is seeking out the infected to put them out of their misery, or sending the uninfected survivors to a safe haven where he and his fellow Juggernaut troops will never be welcomed. Rhys’s situation is different, though. Not only is there an improbable chance that Darius won’t have to put a bullet in Rhys’s head, but he has somehow managed to get under Darius’s skin.

The virus Rhys must infect himself with in order to survive is sexually transmitted, and optimizing his chance of exposure requires him to submit as often as possible to Darius–and the other soldiers. Though the boundaries of morality have shifted in this harsh new world, Darius and Rhys question whether their humanity is too high a price to pay for Rhys’s survival.

A warning before we begin: “Strain” is definitely not for the faint of heart. Aside from lots of explicit BDSM sex with dubious consent and big age gaps, you also find lots of explicit violence and gore and some scenes that would be considered rape under different circumstances.

At first I wasn’t sure if I would like this book. A disease that can only be cured by lots and lots of sex – that sounds a bit like an awfully cheap excuse for heaps and heaps of mindless sex, doesn’t it? Well, “Strain” was a big surprise in that regard. Sure, there’s heaps and heaps of sex. But the author did a great job at explaining everything and once you start, it all makes perfect sense. The whole thing is a clever part of world building that seemed very logical to me – not that I know all that much about medicine.

The world building was excellent and full of interesting details. It’s easy to get caught in this dark, dark future. Since the events of “Strain” aren’t too far into the future, you get a really good explanation for how we went from the world we know now to the world Amelia Gormley created. I’m a sucker for good world building and the author easily satisfied my curiosity.

Rhys’ reactions seemed very genuine to me. While he’s always been attracted to men, he’s never had the chance to explore his sexuality. He spent most of his life isolated from the rest of the world and years of homophobia from the extremely religious preacher and his power hungry son don’t exactly help him feel confident in his sexuality. So when he is forced to lose his virginity to a much older man that only has sex with him out of a sense of duty, he’s less than thrilled. But it’s his only chance at survival, so he doesn’t exactly have a choice. Rhys always remained true to himself; he didn’t just suddenly turn into a mindless sex maniac. The author painted a very convincing picture of his inner struggle and I found myself liking the boy from the start.

Darius was just as interesting. The whole thing isn’t exactly easy on him either. He tends to enjoy very kinky sex, but how could he do that to such a clueless boy? Not to mention he could easily hurt Rhys with his superior strength. He ends up feeling guilty because he just can’t keep his dominant side in check around the boy. And actually forming a real emotional connection terrifies him – if their wild plan doesn’t work out, he’ll be the one that will have to end his misery with a bullet.

The side characters were very well developed as well, with unique backstories and interesting behaviour.

Once Rhys actually started to accept his kinky side, the sex scenes got really hot. The author was very creative in that regard, coming up with lots of interesting little games.

The ending was a little predictable. My suspicions started around the middle of the book, but that didn’t mean I didn’t enjoy every single page till the end. There was plenty of other plot to keep you occupied.

“Strain” is different. It’s dark, it’s kinky, there are some real concerns about consent and it is utterly brilliant and extremely addicting. If you’re in the mood for something dark and kinky with a brilliant plot, then go for it. Just beware of potential triggers.

The cover fits the story perfectly. It’s kind of creepy and makes you curious about the world.

Book details: Kindle Edition, 2. edition, 322 pages

Published April 20th 2018 first published February 15th 2014)

A Free Dreamer Review: Juggernaut (Strain #0.5) by Amelia Gormley

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

They helped destroy the world. Now they have to survive the new one.

For rentboy Nico Fernández, it’s a simple job: seduce a presidential advisor to help cement approval to launch Project Juggernaut. He’s done similar work for General Logan McClosky before, and manipulating people for his favorite client beats the hell out of being trafficked for slave wages in some corporate brothel.

Zach Houtman feels called to work with the most vulnerable outcasts of society. But his father, the Reverend Maurice Houtman, insists that Zach work for him instead as he runs for Senate. Zach reluctantly agrees, but is horrified to see his father leave behind Christ’s mandate of love and mercy to preach malicious zealotry and violence instead. Zach even starts to suspect his father is working with fundamentalist terrorists.

When Project Juggernaut accidentally unleashes a deadly plague that claims billions of lives, Nico and Zach are thrown together, each bearing a burden of guilt. With only each other for safety and solace, they must make their way through a new world, one where the handful of people left alive are willing to do anything—and kill anyone—to survive.

It’s no secret that I have a thing for dark, creepy and apocalyptic books. Juggernaut promised all that and more. And I’m happy to say that I was not disappointed in the least. In fact, I absolutely loved this book. It was brilliant.

I liked Nico from the start. He’s not the kind of poor, helpless rentboy in desperate need of a saviour we usually see in this genre. He’s in the business out of his own free will and he knows how to defend himself when the need arises.

At first, I was a bit concerned about whether I’d like Zach. I’m an atheist and I tend to dislike very religious characters in my books. I just find it very hard to relate to somebody whose main purpose in life seems to be in their faith. But Zach was a pleasant surprise. While his faith is very important to him, it’s not his defining character trait. He never judges people based on their faith or lack thereof. He never tries to play missionary. He just quietly tries to help in whichever way he can. If somebody finds solace in praying together, he’s happy to do so. If somebody doesn’t want to pray, then that’s fine too. I really liked his approach to religion.

Many m/m books that deal with religion in one way or another tend to portray it negatively: Bigots, zealots and generally unpleasant people. “Juggernaut” had both the negative example (Zach’s father is a real jerk) and positively (Zach’s approach is very tolerant). It was very interesting to see the conflict between Zach and his father and their different ideas of what being a good Christian means. It made for an interesting subplot.

The main plot focuses on survival. At times, it gets pretty violent and a bit gory. The tone is very dark. This is not a happy story, at all. The story is incredibly addicting and it was next to impossible to put the book down. There’s lots of action, but the romance is rather slow to unfold. Personally, I liked that. And it fit the circumstances. Zach led a very sheltered life so far and there’s just so much else going on in the lives of our MCs, there just isn’t all that much time for them to develop really romantic feelings for each other.

Nico is a Latino and he’s very conscious of what that means. So racism and inequality added another interesting layer to the plot.

The ending is rather open, but again, that just fit the whole story. I really want to know what happens next. In Nico’s and Zach’s lives and in the entire world.

Long story short, “Juggernaut” is utterly brilliant. If you like dark, apocalyptic stories with a bit of romance thrown in, then this book is a must.

I really like the cover. It’s delightfully dark and violent and fits the mood of the book perfectly.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 2 edition, 320 pages
Published April 20th 2018 (first published August 8th 2015)
Original TitleJuggernaut, A Strain Novel
ASINB07CJQBVFF
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesStrain 0.5
CharactersNico Fernández, Zach Houtman

Book Blast – Survivors by Jessie Pinkham (excerpt)

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BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Survivors

Author: Jessie Pinkham

Publisher: Evernight Publishing

Cover Artist: Jay Aheer

Release Date: May 8, 2017

Genre/s: Romance, M/M Romance, Erotic Romance, Post-Apocalyptic

Length: 62,000 words/190 pages

This is a standalone book.

Goodreads 

Blurb

As a farmer Lee Johnson is well-situated to survive in the aftermath of a plague that killed most of humanity. As a gay man in a small community he’s resigned himself to the probability of lifelong bachelorhood, at least until his sister returns home with handsome Army veteran Nate Schlessinger.

Sparks fly between the two men but nothing is easy following the collapse of civilization. Nate claims to be celibate despite his clear interest, Lee tries to keep his neighbors from starving, and the threat of attack looms constantly. Can love triumph in the ruins of the world as we knew it?

Buy Links

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Amazon (Universal)

Bookstrand

Smashwords

Excerpt

Nate looks skeptically at the carrots he pulled up. “Are these carrots supposed to be yellow?”

“Yes. You’ve never seen yellow carrots? They’re the best.”

“How many colors do carrots come in?”

“We grow yellow, orange, and purple, but there are red and white too. White carrots don’t have much flavor so I don’t see the point.”

It’s a nice morning for harvesting. Nate and I are working on carrots while Lily is one field over gathering onions. Every couple of minutes the wind carries over a few words of whatever song she’s singing to herself. The dogs are amusing themselves playing tug of war with a piece of rope I knotted for that purpose.

My shoulders are a bit stiff from helping Stan move yesterday, therefore I’m not harvesting carrots quite as quickly as I could. The fact that Nate is new to pulling carrots is a convenient excuse to slow down. It’s not a difficult concept to yank carrots out of the soil and Nate’s doing a fine job, though he’s the first person I’ve ever seen harvest carrots with a handgun holstered on.

“Yellow and purple carrots. Orange tomatoes. What next,” he asks, “red pumpkins?”

The orange tomatoes were an heirloom variety Mom decided to try this year which are worth growing again. I’ve saved a good amount of seeds, plenty for us and the neighbors. Genetic diversity in crops will serve us well.

“The pumpkins are all orange.”

“Good. I like some consistency in my life.”

“Getting up every morning to take care of the animals isn’t consistent enough for you?” Livestock guarantees a certain level of routine in our lives.

“I like plenty of consistency.”

“Farming is good for that.” I make sure I’m quiet for my next question, something that’s been nagging me. “Do you think we have a good chance of defending ourselves?”

“It depends on a lot of factors. We have the advantage over a small, maybe mid-sized gang unless they have really impressive weapons, but we can’t hold off an army. Fortunately, I think small gangs are more likely at this point.”

“Have I mentioned that my dad kept his great-great grandfather’s Civil War sword? It’s in the chest in the living room.”

“Let’s hold that as a last resort, okay?”

“Works for me. Damned if I know how to use the thing.”

“Now, a Civil War cannon might have more potential.”

“I think we’re stuck with the bows.”

“On the plus side those don’t run the risk of blowing up in our faces.”

“That’s a very big plus,” I say. Nate has his first homemade bow complete now, though it doesn’t shoot very far.  

“Our biggest advantage, I think, is that I can probably shoot people as they approach. The military helmets will help a lot there.” He ignores the carrots in favor of looking at me, all weighty responsibility. “I’m going to do everything I can to protect us, to protect you and Lily.”

I demonstrate my appreciation with a kiss. “Thank you. Just remember you’re not doing it single-handedly, okay?”

“You’re a decent shot. That will help.”

He’s being generous. I’m a decent shot at close range with a slow-moving target, and my abilities degrade from there. Like I said, I went bird hunting with my dad sometimes, but it was never my favorite and that shows in my skill level.

“Lily can shoot too,” he says. “Even if she’s not a great shot it will create more chaos and give them more bullets to dodge.” Guns aren’t her favorite, but there’s no doubt she’ll do whatever is necessary. “I think we’ll be alright, barring some property damage.”

“I hope we’re alright. And that any property damage is minor.”

“I’m not going down without a fight,” he says, which I already knew. Nate’s just like that. “I’m happier than I thought I could be after Severny destroyed everything. Not that it isn’t hard, and I don’t miss people all the time, but somewhere along the way I realized I need to let myself be happy, you know?”

“Yes.” I really, really do. It’s easy to fall into survivor’s guilt until you realize that nobody who died would want us to spend the rest of our lives miserable. That doesn’t mean I don’t have my bouts of survivor’s guilt all the same. It does make it easier to move forward and feel okay about it when I smile and laugh.

“You’re a big part of my happiness. You do know that, right?”

“I know.” I kiss him again. “And I feel the same way. You’re awesome like that.”

“Keep throwing around adjectives like awesome and I’m gonna get a big head.”

“Which head are we talking about?” I ask with an unsubtle glance at his crotch.

“I was talking about the one on my neck.”

“Past tense. I can work with that. Let’s hurry up and get these carrots harvested so we can go inside, where I can admire your other head.”

“If I didn’t know better I’d say you only want me for my body.”

“Since you do know better there’s nothing wrong with heartfelt appreciation.”

Nate raises his eyebrows. “Sure, pretend your heart is in charge at the moment.”

“You say that as though it’s a bad thing, but you’re picking carrots faster.”

About the Author

Some kids have imaginary friends. Jessie grew up in rural Maine where she needed to entertain herself, so she created an imaginary village and she has been dreaming up stories ever since. These days she writes romances which reflect her love of hot guys and a good happy ending.

Married to her own Mr. Right, Jessie gratefully acknowledges his support and encouragement. She enjoys exploring the diversity of the universe and therefore cannot commit to a single subgenre of male/male romance. She’s also a chocoholic, avid reader, and travel enthusiast. Too often she rushes out at the last minute because she lost track of time while writing.

Social Media Links

Blog/Website

Facebook  

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An Ali Review: The Perfect Whore (Storm and Lightning #1) by Josephine Myles

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Being the object of everyone’s sexual fantasies ain’t all it’s cracked up to be…

On a mining colony planet a long way from Earth, bandit Jedd Lightning dreams of making enough money to get his ship spaceworthy again. During a robbery at a high-class brothel, he meets gorgeous alien rentboy Storm and is instantly smitten—but the heist goes south and Jedd has to high-tail it out of there with only half the loot.

Enslaved by a fierce Madam, Storm’s shapeshifting talents make him the most sought after whore on Talmak. He literally can’t stop himself becoming his client’s fantasy lover. Sick of enforced transformations, he wants to escape, but he’s closely guarded and has no experience of the unfamiliar city outside the brothel.

Storm is willing—and eager—to do anything to persuade Jedd to break him out of his gilded prison. Lucky for him the arrogant outlaw needs Storm’s help to free his crewmate, held as hostage by a vicious mob boss who wants Jedd to complete the theft he was hired for. Storm keeps blowing away Jedd’s expectations—but with both the law and the mob against them, they could end up with nowhere left to run.

This was a really unique story.  I’ve read a lot of this author’s books in the past but nothing like this.  Even the writing style seemed different.  I wasn’t sure what to think of this at first.  I didn’t care for Jedd until mid way through the book.  He was a bit obnoxious but he grew on me as the story progressed.  Storm was was engaging from the beginning.  I think my favorite part was the snarking at each other that they did.  There were some pretty funny exchanges between the two.
This is pretty fast paced and it ends with nothing resolved.  It is obvious that this is the first book in the series.  I know that is bothersome to some readers but I didn’t mind how it ended.  I’m curious as to how their story and relationship will progress.
My biggest complaint was I would have liked more world building.  We’re thrown into the middle of a world that’s not really explained.  I had a lot of unanswered questions.
 Overall though, it was a very enjoyable story and it was different which is always a positive thing for me.  I will definitely be reading the next book in the series.

This cover was done by Lou Harper and I like it.  I think it is a good representation of how the two MC’s are described and it perfectly captures the vibe of the story.

Sales Links:

Universal Buy Link

Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 201 pages
Published April 26th 2018
ASINB07C7H5ZBX
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesStorm and Lightning #1

Release Blitz for Machine Metal Magic by Hanna Dare

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Cover Design: Nastasha Snow
 
Length: 65,000 words approx.
 
Blurb



The galaxy’s a dangerous place. Best not to travel it alone.


It’s been over a century since the AIs rose up and attacked, driving humans from Earth and leaving them scattered across the galaxy. Humanity survives, but always fearful of the technology that allows them travel among the stars, never knowing when it may turn against them once more.


An interstellar fugitive.


For Jaime Bashir, born with the ability to communicate telepathically with computers, his gifts are more of a curse. They also make him a target. On the run, he finds himself among a starship crew, one transporting a mysterious cargo. Even more intriguing is Rylan, the muscled guard watching his every move. Jaime has no reason to trust him, but nowhere else to turn.


A disgraced ex-soldier.


Rylan Slate is looking to leave his past behind. Joining a crew of smugglers is one way to do it. But capturing Jaime is both an opportunity and a danger. He starts out as a prisoner, but then becomes something more, testing loyalties in ways Rylan never expected. Will regaining his honor mean betraying Jaime?

A writer-for-hire for more than ten years, Hanna Dare now writes what she loves to read: well-written, character-driven stories of men exploring their identities and discovering their own unique kind of happily ever aftersů usually through sexytimes.


Find Hanna on the internet enjoying pretty pictures, procrastination and caffeinated beverages!

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Release Blitz for The Perfect Whore by Josephine Myles (excerpt and giveaway)

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Cover Design: Lou Harper
 
Length: 58,000 words approx
 
Blurb
 

Being the object of everyone’s sexual fantasies ain’t all it’s cracked up to be…

On a mining colony planet a long way from Earth, bandit Jedd Lightning dreams of making enough money to get his ship spaceworthy again. During a robbery at a high-class brothel, he meets gorgeous alien rentboy Storm and is instantly smitten—but the heist goes south and Jedd has to high-tail it out of there with only half the loot.

Enslaved by a fierce Madam, Storm’s shapeshifting talents make him the most sought after whore on Talmak. He literally can’t stop himself becoming his client’s fantasy lover. Sick of enforced transformations, he wants to escape, but he’s closely guarded and has no experience of the unfamiliar city outside the brothel.

Storm is willing—and eager—to do anything to persuade Jedd to break him out of his gilded prison. Lucky for him the arrogant outlaw needs Storm’s help to free his crewmate, held as hostage by a vicious mob boss who wants Jedd to complete the theft he was hired for. Storm keeps blowing away Jedd’s expectations—but with both the law and the mob against them, they could end up with nowhere left to run.

Excerpt

“Stick ’em up, people. This is a raid. I want all your valuables, right now…” The last words trailed away as Jedd took a really good look at the naked, sweaty couple on the bed. His target, the Right Honorable Senator Artaxico Thrublet, was on his knees behind one of the most gorgeous bodies Jedd had ever clapped eyes on. A body on hands and knees. A most decidedly human and male body…

Shit, had he gotten the wrong room? Jedd squinted at the client, trying to work out if it really was the senator. ’He was definitely Talmaki, with his lizard-like body, orange, hairless skin and bulging eyes . But no, he’d studied footage of Artaxico and recognized his large nose and the ridiculous looking rows of diamond studs up both his pointed ears.

“Hold on, just let me finish. Uh!” Artaxico shuddered to a stop, his belly wobbling as he panted obscenely. Jedd winced at the sight. He knew interspecies mating went on—everyone had heard the tales—but intellectual knowledge wasn’t the same thing as having it thrust in your face. Talmaki just weren’t his idea of sexy. Okay, there had been that one time he’d got drunk enough for a fumble in an alleyway, but the alien’s cock had been kind of scary, and things hadn’t got very far. But maybe the gorgeous young whore was used to those luminous, scaly shafts of meat. Maybe he even enjoyed them. Was he enjoying Talmaki cock right now? He was certainly hard enough.

Right now Jedd couldn’t see the expression on the whore’s face as it was buried in the mattress, but maybe that was for the best. There was no way he could be handsome enough to do that incredible body justice. No wonder the senator had decided to try him as a change from the celebrated Divine. The rentboy moaned through his own orgasm, just moments after the senator, and drenched the sheets below him in spunk.

Artaxico withdrew, revealing an intimidating length of glowing scarlet cock, then collapsed back onto the bed. He reached out to pat a perfectly formed buttock. “Run along now, sthweetie. I wouldn’t want you to get caught up in any of this nasty business.” The lad scooted down to the end of the bed facing Jedd, exposing an equally impressive prick which was filling up again in what must be a record-breaking time.

And as for his face… Suns above! Those were lips Jedd would give anything to see stretched around his dick. But no, he had a job to do, and he wasn’t about to get sidetracked by some hyper-sexed rentboy, no matter how astoundingly gorgeous he was.

“The boy stays,” Jedd ordered. Artaxico gave him a puzzled look, but Jedd pressed on. “I want your datapod and passcode, now!”

“Not a chance in hell. That passcode is top level sthecurity,” Artaxico lisped. “I really don’t imagine there’s anything an ignorant monkey like you could do that could force me to sthpeak.”

Okay, just as he’d feared, but Jedd had his back-up plan. “Oh yeah?” Jedd strode over to the bed and grabbed the lithe young man under the arm. There was a brief moment where he was distracted by the sensation of naked skin against his own, but he couldn’t afford to lose any time so he pulled the whore upright, holding the charge gun to his temple. “Your strumpet gets it if you don’t talk. And don’t think this is a bluff. I never bluff.” He pulled the lad tighter to him for emphasis, but this had the unfortunate effect of bringing more of his own body in contact with those taut muscles, and his face even closer to the thatch of chestnut curls. His nose was on a level with the top of the whore’s head, and he pulled in a lungful of the most divine, arousing musk. Feeling a familiar tightening in his pants where he brushed up against those pert buttocks, Jedd cursed his over-active libido. “I’m warning you! The code, now!”

Artaxico just laughed, a mocking bray that wound Jedd up worse than finding a firebug had crawled into his beer. “Utter nonsense! I’ve stheen killers before – by the sthuns, I employ enough of them, and you really don’t have that look in your eyes. You’re just an overgrown wassat, aren’t you?” The senator twitched his nose in a near perfect imitation of one of the pesky rodents.

Jedd fumed. First a monkey, now a wassat. He turned the gun on the senator. “Okay then, if you don’t give me that passcode this instant, you get it. I mean it!”

“Like you’ll ever be able to get it off me if I’m dead. Does that antique piece of crap even have the power to kill? Looks more like something my wife would carry to stun any overconfident admirers.”

Goddammit, how could the man tell? Jedd waved the gun as threateningly as he could. “You willing to take that risk?”

Artaxico laughed again, getting up to his feet. “What risk? There’s security everywhere in this place, you know? I’m just going to stroll out of here and call the guards, and you’re not going to do a thing to stop me.”

Oh, wasn’t he? Jedd aimed at Artaxico’s head and pulled the trigger. “Ha! Not so clever now, are you?”

“Is he going to be all right? That was just a stun, wasn’t it? “ The godlike young man had a voice to match his physique—a rich and sultry baritone that rumbled against Jedd’s breastbone.

The senator snored before Jedd had a chance to answer, and the lad melted back against him, sighing with what sounded like relief. Their close contact made a certain part of Jedd’s body grow stiffer while the rest seemed to want to melt into a puddle.

Would the rentboy mind sneaking in a quickie? Jedd would even pay if he had to, the lad was that gorgeous. Or would the stun charge have set off the internal alarm system? Probably best not to risk dawdling too long.

Still, seemed a shame to waste a moment like this now that Artaxico was unable to interfere. Jedd loosened his hold and let the young man turn in his arms. Holy fuck, Jedd could feel the whore’s massive erection prodding his thigh.

He took a deep breath, forced it out. Focus. Not here. Not now. Just gather information. “Captain Jedd Lightning, at your service. And who might you be, gorgeous creature?”

The man chuckled, stepping away from him and turning to fix him with a pair of intensely soulful deep green eyes. “My working name’s Divine, but you can call me Storm.”

“Divine? But… You’re meant to be a girl!” Jedd spluttered.

The young man gave a maddening, secretive smile. “Divine can be whoever you want, Captain. Divine is simply the title of your ideal lover.”

“So they swap you around depending on what the johns want? There are other Divines?”

“Something like that. But please, call me Storm.” A plaintive note sounded in his voice and his lower lip jutted in an almost-pout. “No one ever does these days.”

Storm. It suited him, as there was a wildness in those eyes that Jedd thought he recognized, something he glimpsed in his own reflection every morning. Focusing on Storm’s eyes proved a challenge, though, when there was all that naked flesh to feast his gaze on. Smooth, bronzed skin, with just enough hair between those dark nipples to make him want to run his fingers through it. Jedd’s gaze followed the trail down all the way to the most majestic cock he’d ever seen. It reached up invitingly, as if seeking Jedd’s hand.

“You have quite an imagination, don’t you?” Storm said, staring down at himself as if in fascination.

English through and through, Josephine Myles is addicted to tea and busy cultivating a reputation for eccentricity. She writes gay erotica and romance, but finds the erotica keeps cuddling up to the romance, and the romance keeps corrupting the erotica. Jo blames her rebellious muse but he never listens to her anyway, no matter how much she threatens him with a big stick. Sheís beginning to suspect he enjoys it.

Joís novel Stuff won the 2014 Rainbow Award for Best Bisexual Romance, and her novella Merry Gentlemen won the 2014 Rainbow Award for Best Gay Romantic Comedy. She loves to be busy, and is currently having fun trying to work out how she is going to fit in her love of writing, dressmaking and attending cabaret shows in fabulous clothing around the demands of a preteen with special needs, an incessantly curious pre-schooler, and a bun in the oven!

Website and blog: josephinemyles.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/josephine.myles.author
Twitter: @JosephineMyles
Newsletter: eepurl.com/hrQ4s
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=8383406

 

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An Alisa Review: Oliris by S. Neff

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

Senana Saz Rays has been sentenced to four years of slave labor on prison planet Indiku after assaulting his state appointed psychiatrist. Leaving his lover Rhyan behind on earth, Sena spends his time on the planet Indiku working with the coveted medicinal leeri flowers. Although a slave, he can’t help but find peace in the mundane life he’s lived on the alien planet and the wondrous sightings of the indigenous Zanzi that look so much like mythical earth dragons. Senana is just one year shy of going home and being with Rhyan again when all thoughts of freedom are swiped away as a massive Zanzi takes him from the leeri fields and back to the mountains it calls home.

 

La’el is a proud Zanzi. His only wish was to find a life mate and experience the bond his parents share. When he finally finds him in the leeri fields he doesn’t hesitate to take Sena— even their vast physical differences won’t dissuade the young Zanzi. La’el will do anything to prove to Sena that they are meant to be together, even if he’s unsure how to convince his human mate.

 

Both La’el and Sena are about to find out that there is more between them than either of them could ever imagine. Their bond affects more than just their fate, but also reveals a true evil buried in the heart of Indiku, and all the way back to Earth.

 

This story sucked me in at the very beginning and I loved learning about Indiku from Sena and La’el’s eyes.  However, there was no real indication of the love triangle that would come into play near the end of the book or the large cliffhanger the story ended on.  It wasn’t complete and there isn’t any other indication that there will be another book and if it will come when.  The writing in this story was very well written, it’s just path the story took that I have a problem with.

 

La’el is so happy to find his mate and doesn’t understand why Sena doesn’t feel the same way.  Sena feels a connection to La’el but still thinks about his lover from earth, Rhyan.  When they seek shelter it is Rhyan Sena turns to.

 

I liked the world building in Indiku near the beginning though I didn’t feel like I really learned much about their culture.  La’el wasn’t right just taking Sena the way he did but I could see he was young and very impulsive.  I felt sorry for La’el once they got to earth because now he has to compete with Sena’s previous lover while trying to navigate this new world that Sena has brought him to.  I can’t say I ever really liked Sena, he came off very brash and I never felt he redeemed himself.  Protecting La’el if about the only good thing I felt he did.  We didn’t see much of Rhyan but what I see I didn’t like and then the whole selling dragons thing that was apparently going on, I didn’t learn enough about it but obviously this goes into more problems that are beneath the surface.  I was so upset by the end of the book I’m not sure I will even read it if a follow-up book comes out.

 

The cover art by E Keith and S Neff is nice and I love the two visuals of La’el.

 

Sales Links: Painted Hearts Publishing | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 226 pages

Published: March 1, 2018 by Painted Hearts Publishing

Edition Language: English

A Free Dreamer Review: Dusk (Expedition 63 #1) by T.A. Creech

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

When contact is lost with Mission Control, Commander John Dennington isn’t overly concerned. Such hiccups in communication are common. The first inkling of the larger problem occurs when he sees the very shape of the world change before his eyes.

John must ease his crew into a new mission and keep the Station together by any means necessary. The crew jeopardizes their chances by fighting his orders, but Jason Weiss, his mission specialist and the light of his life, makes John’s situation more bearable.

The smallest malfunction to Station or crew would spell the end for six astronauts trapped high above a ruined Earth. It’s their mission to carry on. Random chance of the universe hasn’t operated in their favor so far, but John is determined to see them all safely home.

I’ve read plenty of books set in space but I’ve never read one that’s set on a space station in this day. I think it makes for a very interesting setting.

The blurb made me expect lots of action and suspense. It’s the end of the world, after all! But the plot is very slow to unfold and not all that much actually happens. There was one suspense-filled scene toward the end, but that’s about it.

I really enjoyed that scene but I did wish for some more action and a little more detail. We never really get to see how the six of them make this mess work. There’s quite a big time skip, so we are presented with the final solution very soon.

I didn’t expect a lot of romance from this book. And there wasn’t. That was mostly fine by me, though I would have liked a little more detail again. How John and Jason met, how they came to love each other, how they spent their lives before they went to the space station.

Having said all that, “Dusk” did have a certain kind of pull. It was quietly addicting and I found it very hard to put down. It was a very fast read and I quite enjoyed it. I was sad that it ended so soon.

If you find yourself between two books and need a quick read, “Dusk” might just be the book for you. If, however, you want an action-packed romance with lots of world building, you will probably be disappointed.

Usually, I don’t read sequels of a book that I’ve given less than 4 stars. There are too many potentially brilliant books out there to spend time on a book I’m pretty sure will only be average. However, I do want to find out how this whole mess ends, so I’m definitely interested in the next part. I think this has potential to be really awesome.

The cover is a bit of a mixed bag for me. I do like the general look of it and the colours are really pretty, but I’m not so fond of that man in the stars hovering behind the space station. I think it would look better without him.

Sales Links:  JMS Books LLC | Amazon

Book details: ebook,135 pages

Published March 17th 2018 by JMS Books LLC

Fresh Starts and Into April We Go. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Fresh Starts and into April We Go

Here it is April 1st and I’m full of plans and hopeful for fresh starts as I sip on my coffee as gaze out into the disaster that’s my backyard.  That’s right you heard me, a mess of a backyard. So why so hopeful?  Because now instead of dwelling on that huge old white pine that crashed during that last Nor’easter, taking down fences, crushing gardens and things, I’m looking at planning new ones, planting new storm resistant trees, and having a ball.  I’ve got a clean slate to start over.  Do things differently, better hopefully.  Maybe try new plants that are more in accordance with my changing climate and planting schedule.  Who knows?  It will be fun figuring things out and seeing what my blank slate brings….

Same with reading.  Of my last ten books, most of the the authors have been new to me.  I have liked that.  Not all have sowed roots in my library garden of books.  Some I will gladly return to because I thoroughly enjoyed their stories, others showed promise even though I thought their books more outline than finished product.  I like finding authors with a fresh approach to writing and stories.  I like finding new authors period.  Several of them I will be reviewing this week.  So many of our reviewers are wonderful about bringing new authors to my attention.  I love it when that happens.  There can never be too many books or too many new authors to my mind.

That’s why I’m so happy to announce we are adding a new reviewer here at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.  Please be on the look out for review from Lucy. Here’s an introduction:

Lucy

HI! My name is Lucy and I’ve been an avid reader since I was a kid.  I was the one taking a book everywhere and then missing what I was supposed to be doing.  Still that way, I think.  My iPad is always in my purse and my commute to work as a teacher resource specialist is filled with audiobooks.  I read a variety of works but MM remains my favorite.  I am a big fan of super sweet and gooey and I love novellas and short stories.   I am sort of wimpy when it comes to heavy angst  – reading is my escape.  I live in the Midwest, where we have two seasons – hockey and baseball!

Welcome, Lucy!

**************

And with everything that went on during the last few months that opened up much needed dialog about racism, books featuring POC and change within the publishing community, I would like to think we are moving forward here as well.  A fresh outlook, a fresh perspective on publishing, covers, and even widening our own outlook on books we read, myself included.

 

Several of our readers chimed in with suggestions which I’m including here. I have linked all the story suggestions for you. Plenty of time to get your own suggestions in:

From Steve Wroten:

Thanks, so true about how spring has sprung.
Nice way to bring in spring. Sorry for this long comment, and I don’t know if this is what you had in mind for “What’s New,” but it spurred these thots:
After the previous two weeks of high winds, I took a week off and didn’t respond to last week’s post yet, but wanted to. And this week’s topic is a nice segue. I had previously given my thots in your Mar 11 post; and just wanted to say I appreciate your keeping that, while some other bloggers deleted my similar posts. I think it’s improving that we can talk about these issues. As another example, I think I see increased representation of people of color, and I thought I’d suggest some recent books I found to be good stories:
A Love Like Blood, by Victor Yates (powerful YA that won Lambda debut novel)
Nobody’s Son, by Shae Connor (two strong black leading men)
Asylum, by Robert Winter (just finished ARC, about illegal immigrant from El Salvador finding love)
Cut Hand series, by Mark Wildyr (nice Native American perspective)
Southernmost Murder, by C.S. Poe (I’m becoming a fan of Poe – Asian FBI agent helps soon-to-be boyfriend with a cozy mystery)

From jen:

I think there are more books with diverse characters – sexuality, ethnicity, culture etc. And I hope that trend continues, both because these types of stories are needed and because I like them. 🙂 Some of my recs from recent reads are:
Wildflowers by Suki Fleet (the love interest is mute & middle-eastern)
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue (audiobook) by Mackenzi Lee (historical adventure/love story with a theme about race, class & a person’s “worth”; plus awesome narration)
Throwing Stones (Glasgow Lads on Ice #1) by Avery Cockburn (One of the MCs is demi-sexual, the other one has ADHD and there is curling)
The Long Past & Other Stories by Ginn Hale (Cool steampunk AU with an ex-slave MC & the love interest is an amputee plus there is magic)
I second the rec for Southernmost Murder by C.S. Poe.

Soooooo……

What new things have you all noticed, if anything?  New issues that the authors have incorporated?  New ways in which they’ve kept it real (if contemporary) and fresh (no matter the genre).  So this is the start of ….

What’s New In LGBT Romance Fiction Giveaway?

Give us your thoughts.  Maybe tell us ways in which you think it can be improved or that it has improved over the last few years.  What stories have made you think?  Stopped you with elements so current and relevant that it resonated with you?  Leave your comments with you email address.  Giveaway will continue until April 14th.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

 

Meanwhile, happy April, happy Eostre or Easter, whatever you may celebrate.  Spring is here and with it new beginnings.  Let’s celebrate that. I’m a true gardener and forever hopeful and yet pragmatic.  Garden catalogs and new stories await me.  What’s waiting for you?  Have a wonderful week.  Here’s what’s ahead for you here at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

 

Sunday, April 1:

  • A Free Read Alert from Jay Northcote ~ International Transgender Day of Visibility and Starting from Scratch
  • Fresh Starts and Into April We Go. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, April 2:

  • Harmony Promo Julie Aitcheson on First Girl
  • BLITZ Bank Run by Alli Reshi
  • Release Blitz – Garrett Leigh – Soul To Keep (RH #2)
  • A Caryn Review: The Moth and Moon by Glenn Quigley
  • A Lila Review: Promise Me We’ll Be Okay by Nell Iris
  • A MelanieM PreRelease Review: Magic Runs Deep by Alex Whitehall

Tuesday, April 3:

  • BLITZ On a Summer Night by Gabriel D. Vidrine
  • BLOG TOUR Nobody’s Prince Charming by Aimee Nicole Walker
  • Eyes Wide Open by V.M. Sanford Blog Tour
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: No Tears for Darcy by Vicki Reese
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Kiss Me Forever by M.J. O’Shea
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review:  Sweet Nothings (Amuse Bouche #1) by T. Neilson

Wednesday, April 4:

  • Release Blitz: Midnight Twist by Rian Durant
  • TOUR Tested in Fire (Art Medium #2) by EJ Russell
  • A Caryn Review: Tested in Fire (Art Medium #2) by EJ Russell
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Vice Enforcer (Vice City #2) by S.A. Stovall
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review:  The Ballerino and the Biker (The Hedonist #1) by Rebecca James

Thursday, April 5:

  • BLOG TOUR Syncopation by Anna Zabo
  • DSP Dreamspun Promo T. Neilson on Sweet Nothings
  • RELEASE BLITZ for Omega Shadow (Book 3 of the Pine Creek Lake Den series) by Quinn Michaels
  • A Stella Review :Wheels and Heels (Stories from the Hen and Hog #1) by Jaime Samms
  • An Alisa Review: Kept in the Dark by H.L Day
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Heart Unheard (Hearts Entwined #2) by Andrew Grey and Greg Tremblay ((Narrator)

Friday, April 6:

  • DSP Publications Promo S.A. Stovall on Vice Enforcer
  • Inked in Vegas by K.M. Neuhold Release Blitz and Giveaway
  • Release Blitz and Giveaway for Captain Merric by Rebecca Cohen
  • A Jeri Release Day Review: Roses in the Devil’s Garden (Fallen Rose #1) by Charlie Cochet
  • A Stella Review: The Little Library by Kim Fielding
  • A Lila Release Day Review: Roses in the Devil’s Garden (Fallen Rose #1) by Charlie Cochet

Saturday, April 7:

  • Austin by Felice Stevens Release Day Blitz
  • Campus Life by TC Orton Blog Tour
  • A MelanieM Review: Murder Takes the High Road by Josh Lanyon

 

 

 

 

 

Blog Tour for Bones of Belief (The Chronicles of Darius #13) by Jess Thomas (excerpt)

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BLOG TOUR

Book Title: Bones of Belief (The Chronicles of Darius, Book 13)

Author: Jess Thomas

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Jess Thomas

Genre/s: M/M Romance

Length:  111,215 words/645 pages

Release Date: March 1, 2018

Goodreads 

Blurb

The Jewel has many protectors and a large family, but it still isn’t complete. Trend, a white wizard, is in limbo and can be seen only by Vega, Enif, and Darius. Dorian, one of the newest clan members, can only hear him and none of them are able to tell anyone else about him. Darius knows he needs Trend to help complete the family and fulfill his destiny. He desperately wants to have him home, but there is a major problem, Hippson’s timeline. Meanwhile, Trend’s mate, Grendolin, has searched everywhere he knows in order to find him, including some very dark places, with no luck, but he never lost hope, never lost his belief that he will be with his true mate one way or another.

Can Darius beat the timeline? Must he follow the wishes of those in power who think they know better?

Darius’s quest of self-discovery continues as his talents grow to astounding proportions. Even the mighty Hippson and Bunthar don’t know what to make of Darius’s abilities or what the dreaded timeline holds for the Jewel, his mate, and the rest of the clan.

Become part of Darius’s clan and share his continuing journey in Bones of Belief.

Excerpt

For so long, I’d seen myself looking like a gray and leathery alien. In fact, I’ve seen myself looking like this since I was nineteen when I was part of a distant nightmare simply called The Pits. There, Cold Ones lived alongside dark wizards and all manner of evil things that destroyed planets for their own needs. Cold Ones enjoyed destroying anyone with strength and just for the sake of killing generally.

Although the Eiravian people were more advanced, they had sent me to a time on Earth when we lived and died by the sword, where gladiators and slaves had the misfortune to be simply entertainment. My appearance had drifted away to the point that I didn’t know it anymore. Now I tended to look at my appearance as I walked down the hall, the man who walked in the mirror’s reflection wasn’t someone I knew. It had been a long, long time since I’d seen who I really am. I was skinny, but the muscles and weight were coming back on, and the peach skin of my brothers and sisters had replaced the gray skin. My leathery appearance had disappeared in my reflection. The only thing that seemed the same was my blue eyes that appeared to glow power and a large scruffy beard.

Sometimes as I was walking down the hallway, I’d step backward and then forward, to actually see if my appearance stayed the same in the mirrors. The spell was breaking, and we would soon celebrate Finnal’s birthday. I always asked him what he wanted, and he’d always reply he got what he wanted. Therefore, this year I was going to give him what he asked for…me.

Buy Links – Available on KU

Amazon US

Amazon UK 

About the Author 

Author Bio: Jess Thomas was born in the mid-west and she has a natural love for nature and animals. A gentle creature born to loving parents who believed in seeing the world for all its beauty, she learned the imperfections in life were something to be treasured and seen as a learning experience. An artist from an early age, she went to art school where she got a degree in drawing and painting, photography, and in Art Education. In 2009 she laid down her paintbrush and she picked up writing and channeling her creative energy in a fresh direction. A new writer, she pours sensitivity and her love of the world she has created into her emotions and the characters who live there.

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