A VVivacious Release Day Review: Shaper by Christine Danse

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Rating: 5 Stars out of 5
 
I woke up running through the abandoned streets of Shapertown. I didn’t know who I was, where I had come from or even who I was running from. It was like I had come into this world running with the nebulous command of “Run” ringing through my brain. I hid myself only to be found by a pair of brown boots with red laces and I didn’t know if I should run or not. After all, where do you run when you have nowhere to go?
 
This book is Wow! It tells the story of a planet at the centre of the universe where reality itself is in a constant flux. In this world exist a group of people know as Shapers that can change the very matrix of reality with their thoughts. They are varied, each with specific abilities and the government seeks to control them leading to a rebellion and it is in these dangerous times that our story begins.
 
I loved the premise of this story. It is like the perfect mix of plausible married to boundless imagination and the story is beautifully written. I loved our main character for someone who has no idea who she is she is very balanced individual and I found myself engrossed in her story from the very beginning.
 
This book is a story first and foremost and that is the deepest compliment I can give it. This story is amazing. Some stories really amaze me with the extent of imagination and this was one of them. I am truly mystified by the planet of Mi’hani and the life that exists on it. I am very hopeful for the books that are to follow in this series because if the first book is any indication this is going to be one hell of a ride.
 
Our second main character is Natalia who is lethal in every way. I mean she has some mad skills but for once it was refreshing to meet an assassin, a killer who wasn’t jaded who felt the burden of the path she has led but tried to keep living with it instead of arresting her emotions, while still being a bloody fantastic person to read about. I loved the character of Natalia and I am very excited to see where her relationship with Lark is going to go.
 
This story is a gateway to a bigger picture and I can’t wait for the books that will enlighten that path.
 
Cover Art by Natasha Snow. I loved the colour especially its mix of the shades of blue and green that seem to sum up the universe. All in all it is a fabulous cover.
Sales Links
Book Details:
ebook, 45 pages
Expected publication: March 13th 2017 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781945952715
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Paul B Review: The Chain of Their Sins (Taking Shield #4) by Anna Butler

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I have really enjoyed the Taking Shield series.  Each book draws me in further into Shield Captain Bennet’s world.  While Albion is fighting its hundred year war against the Maess, and struggling to hold on, Bennet tries to live his life as best as he can.  But sometimes the horrors of war interfere with his plans.

During his last year of rotation out of his mandated three years out of Shield, Bennet is assigned to the Gyrfalcon, his father’s ship.  That only would cause headaches for Bennet.  But his assignment as Flight Captain of the ship would mean he is now in the line of command of Flynn, his lover from the ship.  As a result, he must now spend the next year  (10 months or 400 days in Albion terms) being able to look but not touch when it comes to Flynn.  Add in the fact that Flynn has probably had a fling with his sister and his father suspects that he and Flynn are more than just friends makes life even more difficult for him.

As if the romantic entanglements aren’t enough to make Bennet irritable, the fallout from the Makepeace continues to haunt him.  The president is on the verge of being ousted from office, either through impeachment or the next election.  Some members of the intelligence committee believe that while his theories might be correct, there is no proof that the Maess are getting help.  The man behind the political scenes wants to groom Bennet for a political career, much to Bennet’s chagrin.  And the topping of the cake is the treatment of the rescued humans from Makepeace are being kept on a former penal colony with his partner Felix leading the scientific team seeing what the Maess have actually done to them.  Bennet is counting down the days until he can return to his form of normalcy and back in the Shield fold.

Bennet has become a favorite character of mine.  He is trying the best he can for the war effort in a variety of ways.  While he could have taken a desk job at the Strategic unit doing analysis of data for the war, he is out there sometimes behind enemy lines doing what he feels needs to be done.  What really gets to Bennet’s soul is the consequences of those actions that sometimes are unknown to him until two or three years later.  This goes for not only the militaristic side of his life but the personal.  Flynn notes that he and Bennet have spent sixty-four days out of the past five years (2000 days) together.  Yet somehow Bennet keeps going on.  As his year on the Gyrfalcon is finishing, he must once again go home, away from Flynn, and deal with the ramifications of the fallout from Makepeace with the new president.  I wait impatiently for the next book in this saga.

Cover art again is terrific. Lush and dark, just perfect.

Sales Link

Book Details

EBook, 283 pages

Edition Language:  English

Published:  February 13, 2016 by Glass Hat Press

ASIN:  B01MZ9QQYQ

Series:  Taking Shield

Gyrfalcon (Taking Shield #1)

Heart Scarab (Taking Shield #2)

Makepeace (Taking Shield #3)

The Chains of Their Sins (Taking Shield #4)

Adrian Randall on Writing, Characters and his latest novel ‘Countermind’ (author interview and excerpt)

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Countermind by Adrian Randall
D
SP Publications
Cover art by L.C. Chase

Available for Purchase from

dsp-publications-logo

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Adrian Randall here today.  Thank you, Adrian, for sitting in our Interview chair and answering a few questions for us:

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

It’s not really a question of how much as it is which parts. In the case of Countermind, Alan Izaki is a fugitive psychic, hacker, and thief on the run. Jack Smith, a government agent trained in a classified school of “counter-psychic” techniques, is trying to arrest him. The two of them run at very different temperatures: Alan is angry and indignant, whereas Smith is cool and conniving. I’m a pretty mild-mannered guy myself, so both of these characters represent very different extremes from me. But the nice thing about fiction is that you get to engage in behaviors that are a bit more outrageous than anything you’d do in real life.

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

Writers should write what they know, which isn’t to mean that they should play it safe. Rather, they should go out and learn. The benefit of setting your story in this universe (or one close to it) is that you end up learning lots of cool stuff. Writing Countermind meant learning about topics ranging from hacking to spies to quantum physics and even video games. The risk is that you’ll get some details wrong, and actual experts will catch your mistakes and call you out on them, but it’s a risk worth taking.

  • Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

Probably, but I was a well-read kid so it’s hard to know which books influenced my writing and how. It doesn’t help that Countermind is a pretty adult novel, so it’s hard to say it was influenced by anything I read as a kid. I’ll say that one of the most formative books I read early in my life was A Wrinkle in Time. What that book taught me was that science fiction may be crammed full of big, cosmic ideas, but it can still be about the characters and their journeys. It taught me that genre fiction should still be character-driven. So I tried to make sure Countermind’s crazy plot also had a human heart pumping at its center. This weird little paranormal cyberpunk thriller is still, at bottom, a drama.

  • Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?

I had a couple works in progress that I’ve had trouble revisiting lately, just due to the current political climate. I started Countermind at a time when things were, if not perfect, at least more optimistic. It was easier to write dystopian literature without getting too bummed out. When I revisit these other projects, I’m going to try to make them a bit more hopeful, even if just because that’s what I need right now. (I’m also getting interested in the current “solarpunk” fad, for the same reasons.)

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

At the end of Stardust, Neil Gaiman writes that though the heroes were happy together, it wasn’t ever-after, “for Time, the thief, eventually takes all things into his dusty storehouse, but they were happy, as these things go, for a long while.”

But my own opinion is a little less certain. Without spoiling anything, I’ll say that one of Countermind’s characters doesn’t believe in happy endings, either for-now or ever-after, and is very surprised to end up getting both.

  • How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

I haven’t been publishing long enough to have an informed opinion from a business standpoint, but, as a consumer of books, it’s been a godsend. You can read anything anywhere at any time without lugging pounds of paper bricks around with you. That’s revolutionary. But for those particular books that have special sentimental value to me, I do like to buy and display “analog” editions. (On that note, if you order Countermind from DSP Publications’ web site, you can get a free digital copy with the physical version, so it’s the best of both worlds!)

  • How do you choose your covers?  (curious on my part)

Like I said, I haven’t been publishing long enough to have much perspective on this process. I had lots of ideas about what Countermind’s cover look like, and I passed these along to the cover artist, but I mostly wanted them to have the freedom to surprise me with their own vision. And I’m so glad they did. I fell in love with L.C. Chase’s cover as soon as I saw it. The cool tones give the whole thing a very noir feel. Alan’s fixing the viewer with a guarded, wary look that really captures the character’s personality. And the arrangement of the cover’s elements, with Alan’s face, the Hong Kong skyline, and the text all at right angles to each other, puts the reader off-balance before they even open the book. It’s perfect.

  • What’s next for you as an author?

I’m not sure. I have a few ideas in mind, and a few projects in progress, but it’s a matter of deciding which of them needs to be written. We’ll see!

Blurb 

In a postprivacy future, secrets are illegal and all communication is supervised. Telepaths are registered and recruited by a government with no qualms about invading the minds of its citizens. Fugitive psychics are hunted by the Bureau of Counterpsychic Affairs, or Countermind.

Alan Izaki is one such fugitive, as well as a hacker, grifter, and thief.

Countermind agent Jack Smith is hunting him through the twisted underbelly of Hong Kong.

But Alan possesses a secret so dangerous and profound it will not only shake Smith’s loyalties, but the foundations of their society.

And Alan isn’t the only one on the run. Rogue psychic Arissa binti Noor escapes Countermind, in search of brilliant game designer Feng Huang. She hopes that together, they can destroy the government’s intrusive Senex monitoring system.

Their goals seem at odds, and their lives are destined to collide. When they do, three very different people must question their alliances and their future, because everything is about to change.

Excerpt

It was past midnight, and some parts of Hong Kong actually did sleep at this hour. The pawnshop was near Kwai Chung, its customer base mostly local workers pawning valuables just to squander their money on the races, men who wouldn’t have the resources to track down the goods they’d put up as collateral. Alan had chosen the shop for its proximity to a body of water, and it was just a minute’s hard sprint to the nearest container yard, then through that to the channel.

Alan charged downhill on roads still slick from the afternoon’s rain, gleaming with the reflected glow of the city. No neon signs or electronic billboards, just streetlamps and a few lit office windows. Droplets ran in steady trickling streams off the buildings, canopies, streetlights, AC units. Steel shutters of closed storefronts shimmered wet, and Alan’s skin glistened in the damp air. He didn’t hear any pursuing footsteps, didn’t bother turning his head to check.

He’d only gotten a brief glimpse of the attacker in the pawnshop, but that had been plenty. The man looked just a few years older than Alan, Eurasian, tall and lean, hale, clean-cut, clean-shaven. His attire had been dark but utterly nondescript. There was an impression of a black suit jacket, black slacks, and a black button-down shirt (but no tie, and open at the neck). Alan hadn’t the time for more lingering impressions, but the man would’ve been attractive under more civil circumstances.

The man wasn’t the shop owner, and was too well-dressed to be another crook or a triad member. That probably meant law enforcement, ample reason for Alan to make the quickest possible escape without sparing even a backward glance.

Alan vaulted from the sidewalk over a steel railing, dashed across the street, leapt another rail, and charged down a covered stairway, letting gravity lead his charge toward the water, angling toward the red lights atop the cargo-loading cranes just visible over a row of gently swaying palm trees. He hit the next street with such speed he lost some momentum to a brief stumble. A red-and-silver taxicab blared its horn at him, and Alan ducked under the canopy of a shuttered dim-sum shop to get his bearings. He glanced up at the building corners in the nearest intersection and spotted the closed-circuit cameras. He couldn’t see which way they pivoted in their housings, but didn’t think they’d have a clear look at him where he stood. Just to be safe, he’d have to circle around, keeping shy of major streets if he was to stay clear of any more traffic cams, though his pursuer couldn’t be far behind.

Or was it pursuers? The man had attacked Alan alone, not a standard practice for an officer of one of the world’s most famous police forces. If he was a government agent, he had to know what Alan was, right? And what such agent would be so reckless as to challenge a rogue telepath completely solo? Alan doubted even a state psychic would risk such a confrontation, and this man had given no sign of being a psychic himself, had not attempted any telepathic attacks, relying entirely on physical force. Who was he?

Whatever he was, if he caught Alan, it would mean death or worse. He had no need to know who this man was, only to escape him.

Alan pulled his jacket tight around him and popped the collar up. He turned a corner for a side street with fewer cameras and fewer lights and strolled a leisurely path into the shadow of an elevated highway, traffic rumbling above him. From there, he made his way through a hole in a chain-link fence he’d prepared earlier tonight with the help of his bolt cutters, slipping into the container yard, and then he sprinted across the yard toward freedom.

He ran straight into the agent.

The man stepped around the corner of a container and flashed Alan a razor smile as he kneed him in the stomach, allowing Alan’s own momentum to double him over. Then the man threw Alan into the side of the steel container with a clang that echoed inside his head as his arm was twisted behind his back. Alan was strong for his size, but the agent was using some sort of judo leverage shit. Alan tried to wrench free, nearly succeeded, and then the man compensated for his strength by spinning him into the side of another container.

The man tightened his hold and hissed into Alan’s ear.

“How many counts of resisting arrest?”

Alan gasped, gulped, and tried to talk his way out, forcing the words. “Come on, man. You never said you were arresting me.”

“I thought it was implied. You did flee.”

“After you shot me!”

“With a government-issue ranged electroshock device. Pay attention.”

The agent tripped Alan roughly to the ground and buried his knees in Alan’s back. His hand forced Alan’s face against the concrete, and Alan wheezed as the air was squeezed out of his lungs.

Alan screwed his eyes to the edges of their sockets, trying to see up through the corner of his eye. The light of a passing ship winked between the container towers and slid over the man’s features: dark eyed, dark haired, darkly smiling.

“Resist some more,” the agent said. “I don’t need to excuse brutality, but it helps with the paperwork.”

Alan realized—a bit belatedly and with scant sense of relief—that he was now very much in danger of physical harm.

He expanded his thoughts outward and upward, seeking out the luminescent glow of his assailant’s mind as if reaching for a firefly in the night. He found it, wrapped telepathic fingers around it, and squeezed tight.

There you are, Alan thought at him.

Fleeting impressions of the man’s surface cognitions filtered through the permeable membrane of Alan’s consciousness: mild surprise, then recognition, and then a strange kind of resigned satisfaction.

“And there you are,” the man whispered

.

About the Author

Adrian Randall is a PhD and a dual-class bureaucrat/scientist. A native Floridian, he lives in Alexandria with the love of his life and their many beautiful board games. He has a tenuous grasp on reality, owing to a steady diet of novels, comics, and other distractions. All his ideas start as character backstory for MMOs and RPGs, and he does all his writing while listening to video game soundtracks. So if he’s gaming instead of working on a book, it’s not procrastination, it’s workshopping. He usually spends his free time geeking out about some damn thing or another. You can geek out with him through any of his social media channels. If he doesn’t respond, it means he broke his phone again.

Twitter: @cyberpreppy

Tumblr: cyberpreppy.tumblr.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/cyberpreppy

Of Comfort Reads and Love Stories. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Of Comfort Reads and Love Stories

We’ve been talking about our top books for comfort reading and love stories, some of which have ended up on each list with authors common to both.  I had to admit it got me thinking what makes a ‘comfort read’? What is that indefinable something a story contains or that an author offers that makes us want to read it over and over again.? Is that its a “known quantity”? That we go into that story knowing that the pleasures (and even some pain) it holds are ones that not only have touched us so deeply but that fulfill some hope or want in us?  Tales that reach us in multiple ways?  We love these men, their journey to love and a long term relationship, whether it be a contemporary world or something supernatural or otherworldly.  And we love these authors and their talent to create not only believable, vivid men and beings as well as for their ability in which they pull us into their characters lives and worlds over and over again, making it feel like home every time we read these stories.

That’s a wonderful gift and it shows in how many of the same authors and stories/series show up in list after list, including my own.  My gratitude to them.  And thank you to all our readers who contributed these last few weeks and days, letting us look into your favorite lists and authors too.  You’ve definitely added to my TBR pile and brought back a few books I’ve forgotten. Thank you!

Of course, our lists keep growing as we find new authors and new stories to share with you and hopefully, you our readers to share with us.  I love reading your lists too.

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Here’s some of our readers favorite couples and Love stories/series:

♡H.B. loves:

Jory and Sam from Mary Calmes’ A Matter of Time series
Jin and Logan from Mary Calmes’ A Change of Heart series
Rand and Stefan from Mary Calmes’ Timing Series
Ty and Zane from Abigail Roux/Madeleine Urban’s Cut & Run series
The couples (Dex/Sloane, Ashe/Cael, Calvin/Ethan) from Charlie Cochet’s THIRDS series
Tucker and Elliot from Josh Lanyon’s All’s Fair series
Kit and J.X. from Josh Lanyon’s Holmes & Moriarity series
Gaven and Vlar from J.C. Owen’s Gaven series
Neil and Andrew from Nora Sakavic’s All for the Games series

(I agree H.B.  You  named Tucker and Elliot, 2 I left off of mine by accident, Gaven and Vlar because I had just forgotten about them!  Argh! Thank you for  bringing them back to mind.)

♡From Didi:

Jonty and Orlando, and Ty and Zane by Abigail Roux (and by Madeleine Urban)
Here’s my addition favorite couples to the above:
– Kit and JX from Holmes & Moriarity series by Josh Lanyon
– Tucker and Elliot from Fair Game by Josh Lanyon
– Mark and Stephen from I Spy series
– James and Sedgwick from the Dickens with Love
– Lucien and Stephen from A Charm of Magpie series
– Whyborne and Griffin from Jordan L. Hawk’s Whyborne and Griffin series
– David and Murdo from Enlightenment series

Again, thanks, Didi, I see  some I’ve been meaning to get too.  This is a wonderful reminder!

♡And from Jen:

Some of my favorite couples are:
Whyborne and Griffin from Jordan L. Hawk’s Whyborne and Griffin series
Jonty and Orlando from the Charlie Cochrane’s Cambridge Fellows series
Cole and Jae from Rhys Ford’s Cole McGinnis series
Charlie and Travis from NR Walker’s Red Dirt series
Laurie and Sasha from Harper Fox’s A Midwinter Prince series
Gray/Caleb & John from Jordan L. Hawk’s SPECTR series
Crick and Deacon from Amy Lane’s Promises series

Crick and Deacon were on my Comfort list, Jen, but I so agree with you!  So were Charlie and Travis, Cole and Jae, love them!  Do you know there are series here I need to add to my list?  Yay! Thank you all to add to my staggeringly high TBR pile!

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Winner Announcements!

♥︎Winners of our Comfort Story Reads are:

Purple Reader
Shirley Ann

♥︎Winner of our Love Story Read/List is:

Didi

 

Congratulations to you all.  Stella will be in touch with you about your prizes.  Now all our readers keep you eyes turned to us for more giveaways coming soon!  Meteorological Spring is within 2 weeks.  I’m sure we’ll think of some way to celebrate new beginnings and the coming of Spring!  Give me your suggestions and stay with us!

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Now for this week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.   We handed out a new list of questions to authors for our author interviews and the results have been wonderful.  Everything from how they feel about their covers to what they think about ebooks and Gary Stu writing.  Don’t miss out on those.  Plus we have plenty of Release Day Reviews and audiobook reviews for those who  love to listen as well as read!  Something for everyone!

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This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Sunday, February 19:

  • Of Comfort Reads and  Love Stories
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, February 20:

  • Release Blitz – Find Me (Rent Me Series #5) by Brina Brady
  • Release Day Blitz College Discipline by Caitlin Ricci
  • Release Day Blitz Unzipping 7d by J.C. Long
  • A Jeri Review: Down By Contact by Sloan Johnson
  • A Lila Review: A-dork-able by J.D. Walker
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Tropical Depression by BA Tortuga
  • A PaulB  Review: Dead Camp book 3 by Sean Kerr

Tuesday, February 21:

  • Review Tour – NR Walker’s Imago 
  • Jared’s Family Blogger Tour and Giveaway
  • DSP GUEST POST Andrew Grey on Poppy’s Secret
  • Review Tour – Lyssa Dering’s fangjunkie27
  • A MelanieM Review:  Imago by NR Walker
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Leaning Into Love (Leaning Into #1) by Lane Hayes
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Unzipping 7D (Unzipped Shorts #2) by J.C. Long

Wednesday, February 22:

  • DSP GUEST POST: Catt Ford on Cross My Heart
  • TWO NATURES* by Jendi Reiter 4 Tour
  • A Caryn Review: Unspoken by R.A. Padmos
  • A Jeri Release Day Review: Off Stage (Off Stage #1-2) by Jaime Samms
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Rushing Love (States of Love) by Meg Bawden
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: Murmuration by T.J. Klune and Kirt Graves (Narrator)

Thursday, February 23:

  • DSP GUEST POST Meg Bawden on Rushing Love
  • Release Day Blitz Justin’s Season by S. M. Sawyer
  • RIPTIDE BLOG TOUR Dating Ryan Alback by J.E. Birk
  • An Alisa Review: Dating Ryan Alback by J.E. Birk
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Open Road by M.J. O’Shea and Robbie D (Narrator)
  • An Ali Audiobook Review:  Everything Changes (Resilient Love #1) by Melanie Hansen and Robert Nieman (Narrator)

Friday, February 24:

  • DSP GUEST POST Matthew Lang on Better with Bacon
  • Book Blitz: Fallen Angel by Eden Winters
  • Release blitz: AFTER THE FIRE by Felice Stevens
  • Release Blitz & Review Tour – Goodnight My Angel by Sue Brown
  • A Stella Release Day Review:  Ringo and the Sunshine Police by Nick Wilgus
  • A PaulB  Review: Max (Demon Elite 7) by April Kelley
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Kieran: The Atherton Pack 4 By Toni Griffin
  • A PaulB  Review: The Chains of Their Sins (Taking Shield #4) by Anna Butler

Saturday, February 25:

  • 3 day release blitz: *Snapshots by Addison Albright*
  • DSP GUEST POST Ariel Tachna on Talking in Code
  • A MelanieM Review: Man and Tree by Wayne Mansfield

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A Paul B Release Day Review: Skythane by J. Scott Coatsworth

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

skythane8-1With each book I read from J. Scott Coatsworth, the more I want to read.

His latest book, released today, tells the tale of two young men from different backgrounds, an older woman who serves as a mother figure along the way, and a boy that the three find along their way. 

Xander’s life on Oberon has not been easy.  He is a Skythane, a winged being, among the Lander, humans.  His foster parents were murdered by the Syndicate, the local crime organization.  He was “adopted” by the crime boss, which meant Xander servers a sex slave for him and his friends.  He is rescued by a man named Alix who takes him to Oberon City.  He is getting by and that is good enough for him.  His friend and surrogate mother Quince asks him to pick up a corporate representative wanting a tour of the mines.

Jameson has had a far more comfortable life.  Adopted by one of the founding families of Beta Tau, he has been pampered.  He has followed his family’s Christianist values and it due to be married next year.  He studies to become a psych and has last worked at a mining outpost.  He has been sent to Oberon to meet with representative with OberTech, the company that basically runs the planet of Oberon.  Little does he know he is going to go  for the adventure of his lifetime.

Quince, unbeknownst to Xander, is from Titania.  Titania and Oberon were one planet until the great divide.  Every 750 years, a solar flare from the sun threatens the population of the planets.  Her mission is to guide the two young princes whom she has watched over to help reunite the planet.  So she has arranged for Prince Davyn (Xander) and Prince Lyrin (Jameson) to meet so she can take them from Oberon to Titania to prevent both worlds from being destroyed by combining the two halves of the planet together again, as told by the ancient prophecy.  Along the way, they meet a young boy they name Morgan.  Xander feels he cannot leave the boy behind as he was so many years ago.  Quince thinks he is a demon and should be left behind if not killed.  Only time will tell which of them is correct as they journey against time, corrupt companies, and crime syndicates in order to complete their mission.

Once again Coatsworth has built an entertaining world for his story to take place in.  The idea of a planet being split in half with each behind a veil to the other is interesting.  The only way to get from one side to the other is a portal opened only one time a day.  The relationship between Xander and Jameson is helped along the way by Quince with use of an agent that brings about romantic desire.  Jameson, whose world is basically turned upside down acclimates himself to his new situation well enough.  The ending provides lots of opportunity for a sequel, which I hope there will be. 

The cover by Anne Cain has a young Skythane with his wings hovering over his world.  It fits the book well. 

Sales Links

Dreamspinner – eBook | Dreamspinner – paperback | Amazon – kindle |Amazon – paperback

Barnes & Noble – paperback | Kobo | iBooksGoodreads 

Book Details

Ebook, 244 pages

Edition Language:  English

Published:  February 17, 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN:  978-1-63533-404-3

In Our Science Fiction Spotlight: Skythane by J. Scott Coatsworth (guest post and excerpt)

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Skythane by J. Scott Coatsworth
D
reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain

 

Available for Purchase by

Dreamspinner – eBook | Dreamspinner – paperback | Amazon – kindle |Amazon – paperback

Barnes & Noble – paperback | Kobo | iBooksGoodreads 

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host J. Scott Coatsworth here today talking about writing and his newest science fiction release, Skythane. Welcome, Scott.

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Writing the Perfect Story by J. Scott Coatsworth

As a writer, you are just one part of the wide and diverse community that makes a book actually happen. Once you type those last two words “the end”, it takes a village to transform your little manuscript into the finished work of art that your readers will hold in their hot little hands.

Chief among these villagers are your alpha and beta readers.

These are both now typically conflated under the title of “beta reader”, but they do mean fairly specific things. An alpha reader is usually the first peson who reads the book after you finish it, and may send you back to the drawing board for things like problems with the overall structure of the book or the storytelling, whereas a beta reader typically gives you a critique that is more limited in scope.

Both of these types of readers are critical to the process – they can help you catch things you are too close to the story to see.

For Skythane, one of my dear writer friends played the role of alpha reader. Her conclusion? That I had the bones of a cool story, but I had to figure out a lot more of the science and background to make it a great one.

Her critique set me back a few months, but in the end it made Skythane a much better story.

It’s a good thing when a pre-submission reader helps you catch errors before the publisher sees your work, but just once, I want to write a story that even my harshest reader thinks is perfect. Or at least in decent enough shape for submission.

The consolation? Once a story has run the gauntlet, it is pretty damned near perfect. And that’s gotta be worth something.

——————

My new novel, Skythane, is just out – and it combines my love of sci fi and secret reveals and MM romance. I hope you enjoy it!

Blurb

Jameson Havercamp, a psych from a conservative religious colony, has come to Oberon—unique among the Common Worlds—in search of a rare substance called pith. He’s guided through the wilds on his quest by Xander Kinnison, a handsome, cocky wing man with a troubled past.

Neither knows that Oberon is facing imminent destruction. Even as the world starts to fall apart around them, they have no idea what’s coming—or the bond that will develop between them as they race to avert a cataclysm.

Together, they will journey to uncover the secrets of this strange and singular world, even as it takes them beyond the bounds of reality itself to discover what truly binds them together.

Excerpt

Rain hit the plas and ran downward in little rivulets, separating and rejoining like branches of time as the storm whipped itself into a frenzy over Oberon City.

Xander Kinnson lay on his bed, head thrown back, watching the tempest with a laziness that belied his inner turmoil and pain. Alix had left him and gone missing. A year had passed, and still he had a hard time accepting that simple fact.

His dark wings with their jet-black feathers were stretched out lazily to each side of his supine form, their tips extending past the edge of the bed. His chest heaved slowly up and down, and he breathed easily, as if he were utterly relaxed.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. Below the surface, under the deception of skin and sinew, his heart beat at a thunderous pace, and his mind raced for answers to Alix’s fate that slipped beyond his grasp.

The handsome trick he’d brought home rested his warm hands on Xander’s thighs, his hot mouth engaged elsewhere. Xander smelled the deep, masculine musk of him, slipping a hand absently through the man’s dark, tousled hair as the rain increased to a thundering downpour against the plas. The drops glistened, each an individual universe of shimmering light before running quickly out of sight.

A flash of lightning illuminated the room, thunder indicating how close it had been. As the heavy rain pounded against the arco’s walls, Xander rode the wave of pleasure higher and higher. Despite himself, he rose quickly toward climax, drawn up on the tide as the trick worked his cock. Unable to stop himself, he thrust his hips almost angrily upward into the man’s willing throat. Closer, closer….

He reached the crest, a pleasure so intense it burned through him like phosphorous, a white-hot fire.

Lightning flared again across the wet, black sky, followed by thunder so close it shook the bed. The storm had reached a fever pitch outside, and he arched his back in the air one more time, his wings rustling beneath him. As if in concert with the storm, Xander came, the release of his orgasm radiating from his hips along his spinal cord and down through his toes and the tips of his wings.

The rush of elation washed away his cares for a few brief moments. Xander shuddered, shivered, and shuddered again, and it was over.

For a while, he drifted in an oblivion that was blessed in its emptiness. The rain fell in a steady beat against the window, and he forgot to wallow in his pain. His mind floated free, with no responsibilities, nothing to worry about for those brief moments between sex and real life. This was what he needed. This lack of thought, this pleasurable oblivion where he could just be.

When he opened his eyes at last, the nameless trick was staring down at him, expectant.

“You’re still here.”

“I can do more, if you’d like,” the man said with a grin. Like Alix, he had no wings—a lander man.

Xander glared at him, annoyed. He was handsome enough, tall, dark-haired, with blue eyes and a light complexion. Strangely, he reminded Xander of Alix. The hair and eyes were wrong, but there was something about him, and that annoyed the hell out of Xander, for reasons he didn’t care to examine too closely. “Get out,” he said with a dismissive wave.

The man frowned. “I thought—”

“Oh right, your pay.” Xander took the man’s arm and slitted him a hundred crits from the wrist reader embedded in his own. Then he waved the trick away. “We’re square. Now get the fuck out of my flat.”

The man gathered his own clothes, but Xander didn’t give him time to put them on. Instead he hustled the trick out of the irising door, palming it closed on his hurt and angry expression.

I really have become a bastard, he thought, staring at his dim reflection in the shiny black door. It had been a long year.

He tapped the cirq in his temple with his left hand, and called out to his PA. “Ravi, any messages for me?”

 

About the Author

j-scott-coatsworth

Scott has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.

Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”

Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way. He has sold more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before. He is currently working on two sci fi trilogies, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a group for readers and writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and paranormal fiction.

Website: http://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jscoatsworth

Its Valentine’s Week and Love is In the Air! This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Its Valentine’s Week and Love is In the Air!

Tuesday is Valentine’s Day and surely Love is in the Air!  All those hearts, balloons, and boxes of chocolates and other signs of romance all around are making me think of so many things, like the best love stories in movies and of course, in books (cue the soundtrack to Doctor Zhivago)!  We can all remember the traditional love stories, meaning het of course! I’m sure they are popping into mind even now.  Romeo and Juliet, Lancelot and Guinevere (Arthur got a raw deal I think), Mark Anthony and Cleopatra, Paris and Helena,Tristan and Isolde…most ended unhappily I know.  But ah,  how bright their love and passion burned!  We can even think of our happy love movies.  Love Actually is played constantly during the holiday season (love has so many faces).

But how about LGBTQIA love?  Is Brokeback Mountain the first movie that comes to mind?  How about Shelter or Big Eden or Latter Days?  They didn’t have big names attached to them but the romance and love left you smiling instead of feeling torn apart.  Perfect for Valentine’s Day watching!  What’s your recommendations for Valentine’s Day binge watching?

I can remember my very first novel, outside of fanfiction (K/S among others) that was not only M/M but had a happy ending.  That was The Catch Trap by Marion Zimmer Bradley.  I still have my hardback copy.  It was a revelation.  The idea of m/m romance and love with the possibility of a future in some way. The Catch Trap was published in 1979 which was when I first read it so a future then is markably different then the way in which LGBTQIA romance (and marriage) is regarded today (bigotry not withstanding).  Some of my comfort reads are also my favorite love stories but not all. Some of my favorite couples also had pain, loss and suspense attached to their stories as well.  Here are some of those.

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Some of My Favorite Couples and Their Series in no particular order:

Ty and Zane of Abigail Roux’s Cut & Run series (some written with Madeleine Urban)

Lucky and Bo of Eden Winter’s Diversion series

Jory and Sam of Mary Calmes’ A Matter of Time series

Jin and Logan of Mary Calmes’ A Change of Heart series

Adrien and Jake from The Adrien English Mysteries by Josh Lanyon

Jonty and Orlando from Charlie Cochrane’s Cambridge Fellows Mysteries

Jim and Griffin as well as Evan and Matt from Tere Michaels’ Faith, Love & Devotion series

And this is without adding in those couples from my comfort list books!  There’s more as well.  Do you have your favorite couples?  Tell me which ones I missed!

Goodreads has its own Listopia: Best Gay/Lesbian Fiction With Happy Endings (140 books).  You might check out this list too.    But back to your favorite couples and your favorite love stories.  What love stories jump into your mind when I say  “Romance”!  That love with a capital L story where “one swims the oceans, fights all the fights, does everything they must to be with the one they love” story.  Give us your list and see if you come up with Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Valentine’s Day gift card!

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Valentine’s Day Love Story Challenge.

Yes its time for the Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Valentine’s Day Love Story Challenge.  Give us your list of either top couples and their story or top love stories with your email address. One random reader will be chosen to receive a $10 gift certificate by midnight next Sunday, February 18th.  This is a quick contest so get your lists in this week.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

And as a reminder, our Comfort Reads Giveaway also closes on the 17th.  So here is two chances to win a gift certificate.

📚Comfort Reads Giveaway from Last Week!

Send us your List of Comfort Reads!  Your Snuggle Up To, Comfort Blankey Books!  One random reader with a List will be chosen to receive a $10 gift certificate from Dreamspinner Press.  Contest ends February 17 at midnight.  Please leave your name and email address where you can be reached if chosen.

Now for this week’s schedule.

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Sunday, February 12:

  • Its Valentine’s Week and Love is In the Air!
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • A MelanieM Review:  Flaunt by E. Davies

Monday, February 13:

  • DSP GUEST POST Ari McKay on Letters from Cupid
  • DSP GUEST POST Tara Lain on Fire Balls
  • Release Day Blitz The Start of Something New by Tamryn Eradani
  • A Caryn Review: Too Soon For Love by Kimberly Gardner
  • A Lila Release Day Review: Jerricho’s Freedom by Jake C. Wallace
  • A VVivacious Review: The Start of Something New by Tamryn Eradani
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: Empty Net (Scoring Chances #4) by Avon Gale and Scott R. Smith (Narrator)

Tuesday, February 14 (Valentine’s Day):

  • DSP GUEST POST Evelise Archer on Jaeger
  • DSP GUEST POST Lila Leigh Hunter on Dating in Retrospect
  • Jared’s Family by VS Morgan Release Blitz and Giveaway
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Yes, Professor by Renae Kaye
  • A PaulB Review: The Atherton Pack 4 by Toni Griffin
  • A Stella Release Day Review:  Letters from Cupid by Ari McKay
  • An Alisa Releases Day Review: Warlock in Training by TJ Nichols

Wednesday, February 15:

  • DSP PUBLICATIONS GUEST POST TJ Nichols on Warlock in Training
  • Release Blitz Clare London – How The Other Half Lives
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: The New Wolf (Building the Pack #1) by RJ Scott
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Blossom of the Samurai by Sedonia Guillone
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review:  Poppy’s Secret by Andrew Grey
  • A Stella Release Day Review:  Dating in Retrospect by Lila Leigh Hunter

Thursday, February 16:

  • DSP GUEST POST Remmy Duchene and BLMorticia on Wounded Pride
  • Release Day Blitz Learning to Want by Tami Veldura
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: Where There’s Smoke by Cari Z and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)
  • An Alisa Review: What the Cat Dragged In by Kate Steele
  • A Lila Audiobook Review: Hanging The Stars (Half Moon Bay #2) by Rhys Ford and Greg Tremblay (Narrator)
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Behr Facts (Foothills Pride #3) by Pat Henshaw and David Ross (Narrator)

Friday, February 17:

  • Suki Fleet – Foxes Tour and Giveaway
  • RIPTIDE TOUR and Giveaway: Half by Eli Lang
  • A Stella Review: Half by Eli Lang
  • A Paul B Release Day Review: Skythane by J. Scott Coatsworth
  • A Caryn Review: How The Other Half Lives by Clare London
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Foxes by Suki Fleet

Saturday, February 18:

  • A MelanieM Review:  Necessary Medicine by M.K. York
  • A MelanieM Review: Danced Close (Portland Heat, #6) by Annabeth Albert

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An Ali Review:They Walk Among Us by T.A. Chase

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

they-walk-among-us-by-ta-chaseZach agrees to help Raven and finds himself drawn into a world he never knew existed.

 

Zach Harleigh was a baby when the aliens arrived. He doesn’t remember much about those months, except his parents fighting and his dad leaving. His father died, destroying the aliens, and his mother died when Zach graduated from medical school. He’s alone in the world and working hard to get his career going leaves no time for any kind of relationship.

 

One night, a beautiful man is brought into the ER. Raven Sanderson has been severely beaten and seems unsocialized. Raven and Zach hit it off when Zach takes over his care. Raven can’t speak but writes notes to Zach, letting him know the man is in the city to find his sister.

 

Zach agrees to help Raven and discovers a world he never knew existed. A world full of alien creatures that read minds and heal with a simple touch. He realizes there is more to the world around him, and the aliens he thought were destroyed weren’t. Their offspring walk among us.

 

Zach has always been interested in the aliens that were around when he was a baby, but never thought he would actually see one as they were said to have all been killed.  He doesn’t hate them, far from it, he has spent a lot of time researching and trying to find the truth.  When he meets Raven he is fascinated with him and wants to do anything he can to help him.

 

Raven is intrigued by the intriguing doctor, but doesn’t want to get anyone involved in his mission, let alone he isn’t sure about trusting a human.  He quickly learns there are a lot of layers underneath the surface and nothing about the doctor is quite what it seems at the beginning.  Both of these characters have been longing for someone to love and someone they can let into their lives without reservation.

 

We see how open Zach is to Raven, even showing him things that he has never shown anyone else.  Raven is so reserved at the beginning, but eventually opens up and really begins to hope for a future with Zach and his people.  I loved seeing them fight together to overcome the things standing in their way to get Raven’s sister and then for their future.

 

The cover art by Posh Gosh is wonderful and perfect for this story.

 

Sales Links: Pride Publishing | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 168 pages

Publication: February 7, 2017 by Pride Publishing

ISBN: 9781786515346

Edition Language: English

An Alisa Review: They Walk Among Us by T.A. Chase

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

they-walk-among-us-by-ta-chaseZach agrees to help Raven and finds himself drawn into a world he never knew existed.

 

Zach Harleigh was a baby when the aliens arrived. He doesn’t remember much about those months, except his parents fighting and his dad leaving. His father died, destroying the aliens, and his mother died when Zach graduated from medical school. He’s alone in the world and working hard to get his career going leaves no time for any kind of relationship.

 

One night, a beautiful man is brought into the ER. Raven Sanderson has been severely beaten and seems unsocialized. Raven and Zach hit it off when Zach takes over his care. Raven can’t speak but writes notes to Zach, letting him know the man is in the city to find his sister.

 

Zach agrees to help Raven and discovers a world he never knew existed. A world full of alien creatures that read minds and heal with a simple touch. He realizes there is more to the world around him, and the aliens he thought were destroyed weren’t. Their offspring walk among us.

 

Zach has always been interested in the aliens that were around when he was a baby, but never thought he would actually see one as they were said to have all been killed.  He doesn’t hate them, far from it, he has spent a lot of time researching and trying to find the truth.  When he meets Raven he is fascinated with him and wants to do anything he can to help him.

 

Raven is intrigued by the intriguing doctor, but doesn’t want to get anyone involved in his mission, let alone he isn’t sure about trusting a human.  He quickly learns there are a lot of layers underneath the surface and nothing about the doctor is quite what it seems at the beginning.  Both of these characters have been longing for someone to love and someone they can let into their lives without reservation.

 

We see how open Zach is to Raven, even showing him things that he has never shown anyone else.  Raven is so reserved at the beginning, but eventually opens up and really begins to hope for a future with Zach and his people.  I loved seeing them fight together to overcome the things standing in their way to get Raven’s sister and then for their future.

 

The cover art by Posh Gosh is wonderful and perfect for this story.

 

Sales Links: Pride Publishing | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 168 pages

Publication: February 7, 2017 by Pride Publishing

ISBN: 9781786515346

Edition Language: English

What Are Your Comfort Reads and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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 book-blanket

What Are Your Comfort Reads?

I know, I know.   Its February and I could have so much more to talk about.  Its Black History Month, Valentine’s Day and Love Stories and so much more. And I may get to those next week. But the truth of the matter is that I’m heart sore these days.  With all the news and politics and a President determined to see us and our rights thrown back to the fifties and nations at war, my heart and head feels like its being plundered, torn into pieces daily.

You do what you can, you speak up, sign petitions, march. But at night or whenever you need it, I know that I need to escape into my books and my comfort reads.

I’ve been falling back into some of my early stories from many authors, ones that have remained my “go to books” when I need that instant book blankey.  Don’t tell me you don’t have those.  A story that means an instant smuggle for you.  So you tell me yours, I’ll tell you mine.  Let’s see how they mesh if at all.  Some of mine include an entire series:

MelanieM’s Comfort Read’s (partial and constantly growing)

  • Amy Lane’s Keeping Promise Rock
  • Red Dirt Heart Series by N.R. Walker
  • Faith, Love & Devotion Series by Tere Michaels
  • Change of Heart series by Mary Calmes
  • Collision Course by K.A. Mitchell
  • The Shearing Gun by Renae Kaye
  • Frog by Mary Calmes
  • No Going Home (Home #1) by T.A. Chase
  • Home Series by T.A. Chase

I think B.A. Tortuga’s new series, The Release, may find its way onto this list.  Too soon yet. But I wouldn’t be surprised.

That’s for starters, ones that just popped up without giving it any thought.  I know there’s more to come.  So pull up yours.  I want to know the stories you reach for when you want to feel good, happy.  We certainly can do with so much more of that these days.

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📚Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Giveaway!📚

Send us your List of Comfort Reads!  Your Snuggle Up To, Comfort Blankey Books!  One random reader with a List will be chosen to receive a $10 gift certificate from Dreamspinner Press.  Contest ends February 17 at midnight.  Please leave your name and email address where you can be reached if chosen.

A young girl reading a book under the covers with a flashlight

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Sunday, February 5:

  • A Free Dreamer Review: Wasted Youth by H.B. Kurtzwilde
  • A MelanieM Review: Calling His Bluff (Club Raven #3) by B.A. Tortuga
  • What Are Your Comfort Reads?
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, February 6:

  • INTERLUDE PRESS TOUR Storm Season by Pene Henson
  • Cover Reveal for No Regrets by Nicky James (excerpt and giveaway)
  • RIPTIDE TOUR Working It by Christine d’Abo (giveaway)
  • A Paul B Release Day Review: Wolfmanny by Julia Talbot
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: What Remains by Garrett Leigh and Craig Beck (Narrator)
  • An Ali Review: Working It (Ringside Romance #1) by Christine d’Abo
  • An Alisa Review:  They Walk Among Us by T.A. Chase

Tuesday, February 7:

  • HARMONY INK PRESS GUEST POST: Sherrie Henry on Flag on the Play
  • RIPTIDE TOUR Embers by Kate Sherwood (giveaway)
  • DSP GUEST POST Ingela Bohm on The Seventh Flower
  • A Stella Review: Storm Season by Pene Henson
  • A VVivacious Review: The Puritan Pirate by Jules Radcliffe
  • An Ali Review:They Walk Among Us by T.A. Chase
  • A VVivacious Review: THE MUTT: AN ORDER SHORT STORY by Kasia Bacon

Wednesday, February 8:

  • DSP GUEST POST: Julia Talbot on Wolfmanny
  • HARMONY INK PRESS GUEST POST: Jo Ramsey on Midnight Chat
  • A Jeri Release Day Review: Fire Balls by Tara Lain
  • A Jeri Review: Off Base by Annabeth Albert
  • A Stella Release Day Review: The Seventh Flower (World of Love) by Ingela Bohm
  • An Alisa Release Day Review:  Buyout by Dev Bentham

Thursday, February 9:

  • DSP GUEST POST: Jake C. Wallace on Jerricho’s Freedom
  • DSP GUEST POST:  Dirk Greyson on Darkness Rising
  • A Lila Review:  Tempted to Taste by Shawn Lane
  • A PaulB  Review: Descent of Kings: Books BUNDLE by Maria Albert
  • A Caryn Review: When Irish Eyes Are Smiling by Matthew Robbins
  • An Alisa Review: Fire Triangle by Iyana Jenna

Friday, February 10:

  • *FLAUNT by E Davies 2 week blog tour and giveaway
  • DSP GUEST POST Dev Bentham on Buyout – A Love Story
  • DSP GUEST POST Mason Thomas on The Shadow Mark
  • Release Day Blitz: Leaning Into Love by Lane Hayes
  • A Paul B Review: Sealed With Acceptance (Signed, Sealed, Delivered #5) by Caitlin Ricci and A.J. Marcus
  • An Ali Release Day Review: Jaeger (Order of the Black Knights #4) by Evelise Archer
  • An Ali Release Day Review:  Shifting Views (The Carlisles #4) by Meg Harding

Saturday, February 11:

  • A MelanieM Review: At Attention (Out of Uniform, #2) by Annabeth Albert
  • A MelanieM Review:  Necessary Medicine by M.K. York

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