There’s More to Romance and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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There’s More to Romance …

The last couple of weeks we’ve been discussing the elements that “break” our romance books.  The things that stop the reading cold or leave us with a DNF.  Cheating is up there on the list.  And at the end of today’s blog hand out a few gift certs and post the last of the comments on the subject.

But what about the opposite?

What in our romance stories gladdens our hearts?  Makes a story jump out of the ordinary?  Widens our outlook?  Let’s us perceive something special about a piece of the world or aspect of falling in love that we hadn’t seen or thought of in the same way before?  That in some way the author dug a little deeper into your heart with their tale, that some element that connected you so completely to the characters and their relationship hooked you, that even now, you can’t forget their love story.

Something that made that story magic beyond your expectations.

I was thinking Shelter the Sea (The Roosevelt series) by Heidi Cullinan , Clear Water by Amy Lane, and RJ Scott’s the Texas series (and attached Legacy group),  Watermelon Kisses by Freddy MacKay,Antisocial by Heidi Cullinan,Tales From Verania series by T.J. Klune just for starters.  Those are a few that leapt to mind in seconds.  Can you guess what elements in each might have made them memorable?  Have you read the stories?

Of course my list stretches for far longer.  That’s merely a tease.

But each of those grabbed at my heart while stretching my mind and horizons in some way. They made me cry and laugh and fall in love. Over and over.

Quickly now…which books popped into your head?  Let me know…let all of us know and why.  And then I’ll fill you in  next week on more of my choices and why they made my list as well.

Now let’s put a close to our Romance No’s:

From P.R.:

I’ll chime in here – so busy couldn’t comment last week but agree with most everything. My perspective is that I understand why folks can not like cheating – ONE reason folks can like rom is for escapism, and they don’t like RL intruding b/c they already have too much of that. In that way, I think rom is a type of fantasy, and I can relate. Been there. But I usually appreciate more where MCs have RL flaws, and that’s reality, which includes in a majority of straight & gay relationships, “cheating,” (I love the Boystown series). And my being a cis gay male amongst other gay guys, let me tell you – I know there is much more diversity there than depicted in m/m rom, that it’s part of the culture, and frankly that’s why many guys think gender makes a difference among authors b/c one does not often “get it.” I think personally it has more to do with targeted audience, experiences, preferences, empathy, deep understanding … and it’s all good. You said it best “Life is messy and its always been about how the author has handled the subject.” A WELL-WRITTEN TALE TRUMPS A TROPE EVERY TIME (pun intended).

Ami:

Holy! EXCREMENT!?!? WTH!!! Okay, that will be a HUGE NO for me

Furthering my comment from last week in which I can still tolerate cheating but getting really pissed off when it comes to threesome, or ‘forced’ threesomes brought me to a couple of books. “A Vintage Affair” by Josh Lanyon made me VERY angry because the love-interest suddenly brought a woman to sleep with the MC because he wanted to “challenge” the MC that sex is just sex. Then I also DNF “My Heartache Cowboy” by ZAM who also introduced threesome scene in the middle.

I guess i’m good if the threesome is stated in the beginning, or the book is marketed as threesome. But if it somehow introduced in the middle, without any warning, it’ll be huge NO for me.

And H.B. with a no on poo, “Blood play and humiliation would also bother me.”

Yep, poo is a big no for lots of us.

Very enlightening!  And while cheating still remains a big no, it still comes down to the author and great writing.

Winners Announcement!

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is handing off $10 gift certs to: Chris Tharrington and ashleyomelia

Please contact Stella at scatteredthoughtsandroguewords@gmail.com and she will get your gift cert to you.  Congratulations!

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, July 8:

  • There’s More to Romance and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Release Blitz – Riza Curtis – The Dragon’s Thief
  • The Pet Stylist and The Playboy by Rebecca James Release Blitz

Monday, July 9:

  • DSP Promo Scotty Cade
  • Release Blitz for Tight Quarters by Annabeth Albert
  • BLITZ – Nectar and Ambrosia by E.M. Hamill
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: WITH A KICK Collection #1 by Clare London
  • A MelanieM Review: Hard Contact (Guild Enforcer, #1) by Ali Atwood
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: Familiar Angel by Amy Lane and Narrator: Gomez Pugh

Tuesday, July10:

  • Leaning Into Forever by Lane Hayes Blog Tour
  • DSP Dreamspun Promo j. leigh bailey
  • BLOG TOUR The Wulf Chronicles by Wulf Francu Godgluck
  • A Caryn Review: Love Me Louder by Christina Lee
  • An Alisa Review A Desperate Love by J.D. Walker
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Leaning Into Forever by Lane Hayes

Wednesday, July 11:

  • Review Tour – Garrett Leigh – Believe (Skins #3)
  • Temple of Time by Geoffrey Knight Blog Tour
  • RELEASE BLITZ Love it Like You Stole It by Ki Brightly
  • A Jeri Review : Believe (Skins #3) by Garrett Leigh
  • A MelanieM Review: Bloodlines (Boystown #7) by Marshall Thornton
  • A MelanieM Review: Born of Air (Dragon Soul #4) by Sean Michael

Thursday, July 12:

  • Harmony Promo Annabelle Jay
  • Release Blitz – The Omega’s Second Chance by Kenna Grace
  • DSP Promo Andrew Grey
  • An Alisa Review: Discovery (Kinky in the City #3) by Quinn Ward
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Camwolf by JL Merrow
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: Family Man By Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton/Colin Darcy (Narrator)

Friday, July 13:

  • DSP Promo Z. Allora
  • BLOG TOUR for Badlands by Morgan Brice
  • 99c Book Blast – Double Dare by Jeanne St. James
  • A MelanieM Review: Ground of Insurrection by Mell Eight
  • A MelanieM Recent Release Review: Galaxies and Oceans by N.R. Walker
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Balefire (Whyborne & Griffin #10) by Jordan L. Hawk

Saturday, July 14:

  • BLOG TOUR (Exclusive Post) Pursuing Happiness by Jessie Pinkham
  • Release Blitz – To Love & Protect His Omega by Quinn Michaels
  • A MelanieM Review: The Wolf at Bay by Charlie Adhara

Hello July. More On Romance Don’ts For You. This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Hello July.

More On Romance Don’ts For Readers

Welcome to July! The month that means the halfway point of summer, the week of the beginnings of many celebrations for Americans in the States and abroad as we celebrate our Independence Day on the 4th with fireworks and parades. and just a flood of people heading out for summer vacations (beach, mountains, tourist destinations) or good old staycations.

It’s also a time for tons of summer reading which is why I’m still talking about those  Romance Don’ts or at least one of the reasons.  I don’t know if you all caught Kate Sherwood’s blog last week here but she was talking about an early story of her’s where she had her mc’s cheat and the readers wrote in disgusted with her.  And she felt she had broken an unwritten bond with them. The title of her guest blog?  The Romance Taboo by Kate Sherwood.  You can find it here.   I was totally intrigued although not surprised.  Its something I’ve heard over and over myself.

Another reason I’m still inquiring?  That would be the Boystown series written by Marshall Thornton.  Several novels in this series have either won the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Mystery  or been a finalist.  And deservedly so.  But I wonder how many have started these stories and ended up with a DNF.  And the reason being that the main character,  PI Nick Nowak, rarely turns away from a hookup (underage the only exception), despite being in a relationship.  Yes, its the 80’s and gay sex/monogamy was admittedly looked at differently then.  But, and let me know if I’m wrong here, I get the feeling that context doesn’t come much into play when the  element is cheating with regards to the main character or couple.  it’s simply “no, not in my story”.

Which is a damn shame because these books and this series is simply brilliant.  I’ll be reviewing more of them this week. And  I’d like to know what I can possibly say to change readers minds.  For me this subject hasn’t been an issue.  Life is messy and its always been about how the author has handled the subject (as with any other element in their story).  But this is an emotional issue in RL and it carries over into our reading.  Can it ever be separated?  Not sure.  I hope you all will continue to chime in here.  I will be handing  out gift certificates next week.

And yes, I’ve been reading and loving everyone’s comments.  Here is what some of you have had to say on the subject:

On Readers Romance Don’ts:

H.B.

I think it depends on how the characters are portrayed. I can sometimes stand cheating characters but it has to be under certain circumstances (abuse, loveless marriage where spouse is cheating already, open relationship where both characters know and is okay with it). I really don’t like politically or religiously driven stories. Regarding sex scenes I like them enough just to spice up the read but not overtake the entire book. One every chapter is too excessive in my opinion I think maybe for a full length story I would like just maybe 2 to 4 sex scenes. Of course no sex scenes and more intimacy scenes are okay too. I think the one thing a book can’t come back from is if it kills off an important character (I’m going to exclude Andrea Speed’s Infected series from this even tho I didn’t complete the series I have plans to go back and read it after I heal from the lost of Paris). I once read a book where a main character in the earlier series was killed off in the sequel that featured new main characters. Luckily the series only had two books and there were no plans for more because I was completely turned off from it and resented that I had wasted time reading it.

Chris Tharrington

I can tolerate cheating if it advances the storyline while leading to the MCs having an HEA. Regarding sex scenes, I don’t need one every chapter. The first sex scene is the most important, because that sets the foundation for future exploration, especially if one character is primarily a top or bottom. The only things that turn me off in a book are domestic abuse, child abuse, rape, and mpreg storylines.

ashleyomelia

I agree. I hate it when they kill off the pets! [my pet peeve] I just finished reading a short story this morning where a cat got thrown of a building. I was so mad!
As for romance, I’m not sure. I do a lot of ghostwriting, and my clients are often very specific that they don’t want the main characters to have sexual involvement with anyone else. Must be a big rule!

Ami 

In terms of cheating. it depends on my mood — I mean, I’ve read when cheating happened, and I was okay with it as long as there’s SIGNIFICANT GROVELING happened in the book.

My romance No No are mostly about tropes… I don’t read Mpreg, I don’t read M/F/M or F/F/M. for example, rather than something in the plot.

I will have to tell you all I didn’t even mention last week one of my biggest bugaboos.  A  romance book where one of the MC was intensely involved with his own excrement. I believe that was my very first DNF story and it was years ago.  And yes, I found my limit on kink in that novel as well.  Another romance don’t for me.  So let’s hear from you all.  More on this cheating element and any other Romance Don’ts!

Lucky readers will be chosen next week to receive gift cards.  Now on this our week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, July 1:

  • RELEASE BLITZ – Leaning into Forever by Lane Hayes
  • Hello July. More On Romance Don’ts For You.
  • This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, July 2:

  • Release Blitz for Nobody Else’s by Nell Iris
  • Release Blitz Badlands by Morgan Brice
  • Release Day Blitz Magic or Die (Inner Demons #1) by JP Jackson
  • A Lucy Review: Nobody Else’s by Nell Iris
  • An Alisa Review: Challenge (Kinky in the City #2) by Quinn Ward
  • A Jeri Review: Wash Out (Anchor Point #7) by LA Witt
  • A MelanieM Review:  A Time For Secrets (Boystown #4) by Marshall Thornton

Tuesday. July 3:

  • BLOG TOUR TIGHT QUARTERS by Annabeth Albert
  • DSP Promo Rhett Heath
  • Release Blitz  Play it by Ear by KM Neuhold
  • A VVivacious Release Day Review:  Stranger in a Foreign Land by Michael Murphy
  • A MelanieM Review: Tight Quarters (Out of Uniform #6) by Annabeth Albert
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: From a Jack to a King by Scotty Cade
  • A Caryn Review: Finn (Endangered Fae #1) by Angel Martinez

Wednesday, July 4 (Happy Independence Day!) 🇺🇸

  • AUDIOBOOK TOUR – WITH A KICK Collection #1 by CLARE LONDON
  • Review Tour for  Rainbow Place (Rainbow Place #1) by Jay Northcote
  • REVIEW TOUR for Daniel (The Third Legacy) by RJ Scott
  • A Barb the  Zany Old Lady Review:  Daniel (The Third Legacy) by RJ Scott
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Rainbow Place (Rainbow Place #1) by Jay Northcote
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Treasure for Treasure (Being(s) in Love #7) by R. Cooper and Dominic Carlos (Narrator)
  • A Lucy Review: Play It By Ear by KM Neuhold

Thursday, July 5:

  • In the Spotlight Tour and Giveaway:  Cinderella Boy by Kristina Meister
  • BLOG TOUR fo My Crunchy Life by Mia Kerick
  • DSP Dreamspun Promo Michael Murphy on Stranger in a Foreign Land
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Armistice (The Amberlough Dossier #2) by Lara Elena Donnelly
  • A Lucy Audiobook Review: Bromantically Yours by K.C. Wells and Narrator: Daniel Henning
  • An Alisa Review:  That’s My Ethan by Tarian PS
  • A MelanieM Review: Murder Book (Boystown 5) by Marshall Thornton

Friday, July 6:

  • Cover Reveal for Curl Around My Heart by Londra Laine l
  • Review Tour and Giveaway for Stag and the Ash (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #5) by Sam Burns
  • Review Tour for Spark (North Star #1) by Posy Roberts
  • Blog Tour for  Magic or Die (Inner Demons, Book One) by JP Jackson
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Stag and The Ash (Rowan Harbor Cycle #5) by Sam Burns
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Knitting a Broken Heart Back Together by Ari McKay
  • A Stella Review: Spark (North Star #1) by Posy Roberts

Saturday, July 7:

  • BLITZ – Leaning Into the Look by Lane Hayes
  • Release Blitz for  Knitting a Broken Heart Back Together by Ari McKay
  • A MelanieM Review: From the Ashes (Boystown #6) by Marshall Thornton

 

 

 

 

Blog Tour for Love’s Magic (Revolutionary Heart #1) by Janice Jarrell (guest blog and giveaway)

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I’ve been writing gay romance since I was twelve years old, only back then it wasn’t called ‘gay romance’. In fact, it had no name at all. It was the fifty’s, and it was worth your life to admit to being gay, let alone confess to being a girl who constantly fantasized about relationships between gay men. Hell, I didn’t even know what a homosexual was. I lived on a farm out in the sticks in a tiny Michigan village and I’d never, to my knowledge, even heard the word. I just knew I loved the thought of boy on boy romance. I just knew that there was something hot going on between Tom Corbett and his Space Cadets and all those guys on ‘Combat’.

Naïve as I was, I still recognized that I’d better not say anything to anyone about my weird-ass proclivities. And I didn’t. For many, many years I scribbled out my ‘gay romance’ fantasies then immediately ripped them up. For many, many years. I believed there had to be something wrong with me to be so obsessively fascinated by the idea of men loving men.

Fast forward to 1999 and the dawning of the Internet. I still hadn’t shared my love for gay romance with another living soul, and I remained convinced that there had to be something wrong with me because of my passion for gay love. I knew no one else, at that time, who shared my passion for gay passion.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered Kirk/Spock slash! I had, of course, known there was a passionate romantic link between those two. Who didn’t? But discovering the slash community, beginning with the Kirk/Spock fandom, was like a lightning strike to my mind and heart. My god! There were other women who felt as I did! And not only were they were actively writing the kind of stories I’d been ripping up for years, they were admired for doing so!

For the next twenty years I wrote slash fanfiction, mainly in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ fandom. Overall, I wrote over 337 stories, some as short as 100 words (a drabble) some as long as a series which was over 119,012 words. I enjoy writing my stories. I enjoyed the feedback I received from my readers. It was a creative release I’d been searching for my entire life and I blessed the Internet for leading me to this artistic oasis for my spirit.

But after a while it just wasn’t enough. Writing stories about other people’s characters begin to grow tiresome and repetitive. My first book, Love’s Legacy, began as an AU fanfiction story. I wrote my fandom characters in an alternative universe simply to try to extend my reach. But it fell flat.

Love’s Legacy is the story of how David Gardener and Nate Reese met and fell in love. I actually went so far as to publish it on Amazon. But it just wasn’t good enough, and eventually I withdrew the book from publication. I was still writing fanfiction and it showed. I was writing with someone else’s voice.

Love’s Magic was my very first step into writing my own characters. David and Nate are still there but they are now fully realized individuals rather than existing as a reflection of someone else’s thoughts. Colin and Josh sprang from my brain like a fiery eruption and immediately captivated my soul. Of all my characters, those two are the ones who most completely reflect my ability to step forth as a creative author, freed from any ties to the work of another.

I will always be grateful the slash fanfiction community for nurturing the budding author until she was ready to blossom into a fully realized novelist. It’s been an amazing thing to watch the gay community’s growth over these past twenty years. My own journey has echoed theirs in many ways, and I’m grateful to all those gay activists who fought to give the gay community the rights and privileges they always deserved.

And I’m grateful to the gay romance community, readers, authors, publishers and promoters, who are making these, my retirement years, the most creative ones of my life.

I hope you’ll read Love’s Magic. I hope you’ll meet David and Nate… Colin and Joshua. These dynamic, sexy, and totally adorable men carried me into a whole new world of love, romance, joy, and happily-ever-after’s. I hope they’ll do the same for you.


Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 82,406 words
 
Blurb
 

If you love gay romance that contains both heated passion and steadfast love, Love’s Magic is for you! Professor Nate Reese rushes to protect a female student and is severely injured at the hands of her assailant. Traumatized by the attack, Nate sets his feet on a no-holds-barred path of activism designed to force university officials into addressing the issue of on-campus assault. At the same time, terrified of losing his hard-won status at the university, his partner, David Gardener, a veteran of 12 years as a very popular Professor, is reluctant to support Nate’s militant efforts. Seemingly abandoned by his partner, Nate sees David’s aversion to his activism as indifference to the trauma he suffered. Day by day they watch as their relationship disintegrates, while still struggling to resolve the disruptive issues engulfing the school they love.


In the meantime, Irishman Colin Campbell, handsome and charismatic Sergeant for the campus police force, fights his own on-going war against campus assault. But behind his obsessive desire to gain justice for victims lies a devastating secret which could forever destroy his fiercely independent facade and expose his deepest fear. Ultimately, it is Colin’s powerful connection to a steady, dark-eyed Title IX consultant which threatens to tear down his defenses and shatter the barriers protecting his heart.


Cocky and irresistible, the dynamic police officer was everything Joshua Abrams had ever longed for in a man, but Colin simply didn’t ‘do’ relationships. Unless Joshua would settle for a one night stand, or a very short-term liaison, there was no room for him in Colin’s life. Yet even knowing this, he couldn’t keep himself from falling hopelessly in love with his ‘magic man’. Despite the passion between them, he knew his quiet, reclusive nature could never hope to entice the vibrant, freedom-loving Irishman, so eventually he begins to back slowly away.


Eventually, a disagreement over an oddly disturbing case causes Colin’s hot Irish temper to erupt and their relationship is irrevocably shattered. Heartbroken, and convinced that Colin is gone forever, Joshua flees Charlottesville without a word, leaving Colin adrift and inconsolable.


But Joshua Abrams hadn’t merely stepped over the indelible line Colin had drawn between his heart and the dangers of real love, he had burned through it like hot lava. Finally forced to acknowledge his love for Joshua and his desperate need to have the quiet, Jewish man by his side, Colin must now face the dark and long-suppressed memories which are irrevocably linked to his love for the handsome consultant. Without even a forwarding address to guide him, he vows to find Joshua and bring him home. Colin’s struggle to conquer his pride and fear in order to find the love of his life and achieve their happily ever after will touch your heart.


Four lives in turmoil fighting for the relationships they cherish, and at the heart of the struggle, a great university struggles to survive its most harrowing challenge.

June 25Mirrigold, June 26Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, June 27MM Good Book Reviews, June 28Bayou Book Junkie, July 2Love Bytes, July 3Two Chicks Obsessed, The Novel Approach, July 4Joyfully Jay, July 5Drops Of Ink, Sarandipity


About The Author


My name is Jan Jarrrell. I am a 74 year old retired grandmother who lives in Seattle, WA. I have been a writer of Lord of the Rings slash fan fiction for almost twenty years under the name Rakshi. I have written both RPS fiction and FPS and my list of works stands at three hundred and thirty seven, including stories as short as drabbles (stories of 100 words) and a series entitled ‘Time’ that was 119,012 words long. I have never had a work officially published, though two of my stories, Char ar’ I’ear (Earth and Sea) and ‘To The Distant Shore’ were included in the Vilya II fanzine. You can find my works on Archive of our Own and on LiveJournal under the username Rakshi.


I began writing original character fiction about a year ago and found I love it more than anything. I tend to fall in love with my characters and always want to give them that happy ending that I just know they deserve.


Reach me at: jjarrell@lovesmagic.online
Facebook: Revolutionary Heart- Love’s Magic
Goodreads Author Profile Page
Follow me on Twitter @Revolut35174972

Giveaway

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What Are Romance Don’ts For You? This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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What Are Romance Don’ts For You…in Stories of course?

I’m always interested in what turns readers on, makes them keep searching out certain authors, certain types of stories and series.  The reverse is also true.  I’m curious to know whats the turnoff for readers.  What will kill a story faster than a full moon can make a were all fluffy?

I’m not talking about simple bad writing, paroxysms of purple prose (I sorta love those…I giggle away), and cardboard characters and unintelligible plots.  No I’m talking about something that while you are reading along, the book is going fine and all of a sudden, there it is.  The thing that has you going “nope, not reading further”, and you are done.

I have to admit the one I hear the most is that people don’t want their main characters to cheat.  At all. It doesn’t matter whether they haven’t even met the guy they are going to have their HFN or HEA yet.  They don’t want to see them with anyone else in the story.

These are readers who place a strict moral behavior line on their mcs and expect it to be adhered to.

Some readers  want light, sweet romances (which does not necessarily exclude depth in storyline or characters). Others place a limit on the amount of violence or types of sex or kink they may want in the novels. Do you exclude anything other than a typical M/M coupling from your reading lists?  Not judging, just curious.

And how much sex is too much?

I actually went to a couple of How to Write Romance sites to see if they addressed any of this and the answer is not really.One said not to have a sex scene in every  chapter.  Many recommended no instant love but to build it up gradually. Many said to learn how to write “good” sex scenes. Under one site with 5 Mistakes to Avoid with Romance novels:1

  • : Avoid immediate, total attraction between your story’s lovers (guess they never met Grindr or instant lust) Really

But specifics like cheating never come up.  That they leave up to each individual author and their  tastes.

I personally avoid novels that kill off the pets and other animals.  That’s one of my things (looking at you and that horse, Amy Lane).

One recent story that I gave low ratings to didn’t even introduce the one main character’s “true love” until the last couple of pages of the story.  For most of the book he was involved with a lovely intelligent man who most readers, including myself thought he would end up with, until surprise!  He runs off back to Canada leaving the nice guy in Scotland and us with our jaws on the floor.  Because there was no set up in the narrative and we had no idea who this person was.  Stunningly awful.

So while the mc’s don’t have to be together (letters written, two povs), I must actually know who he is. Smh.

And finally, if you have a narrative bugaboo, is there a author or book that convinced you or was so well written that they made you overlook it?

Write in and let me know….there might be gifts ahead for those that chime in.

 

 

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, June 24:

  • Book Blast Witchbane by Morgan Brice
  • A MelanieM Review: A Time For Secrets (Boystown #4) by Marshall Thornton
  • What Are Romance Don’ts For You? This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, June 25:

  • RELEASE BLITZ Daniel (The Third Legacy) by RJ Scott
  • Release Blitz – JM Snyder – Commanding Officer Thomas
  • Release Blitz – Speed Dating the Boss by Sue Brown
  • DSP Promo EJ Russell
  • An Alisa Review: Commanding Officer Thomas by J.M. Snyder
  • A Jeri Review: Something About You by Riley Hart
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Cash Plays (Seven of Spades #3) by Cordelia Kingsbridge

Tuesday, June 26

  • Release Blitz – Spark by Posy Roberts
  • Release Blitz – Nic Starr’s Lies & Deception
  • My Crunchy Life by Mia Kerick Release Blitz
  • Release Blitz and Exclusive Guest Post forJanice Jarrell’s Love’s Magic
  • An Ali Release Day Review: Lies & Deception by Nic Starr (
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Speed Dating the Boss (Cowboys and Angels #1) by Sue Brown
  • A MelanieM Releases Day Review: All That Glitters by Kate Sherwood

Wednesday, June 27:

  • Cover Reveal for  Second Chance Ranch (Montana #5) by RJ Scott
  • Kate Sherwood on All That Glitters (guest post)
  • Review Tour – Tarian PS – That’s My Ethan
  • Series Recap Blitz/Tour – RJ Scott – Montana Series
  • A Caryn Review: Cinderella Boy by Kristina Meister
  • A Stella Review Home Skillet (Culinary Kings #1) by Cate Ashwood & Sandra Damien
  • A MelanieM Audiobook Review: Love Me Tomorrow by Ethan Day and Jason Frazier (Narrator)

Thursday, June 28:

  • Release Blitz – Believe (Skins #3) by Garrett Leigh
  • Release Blitz – Day Of Wrath (Taking Shield #5) – Anna Butler
  • Release Blitz for  Date Discovery by Quinn Ward
  • DSP Promo Nic Starr on LIes & Deception
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Amberlough (The Amberlough Dossier #1) by Lara Elena Donnelly
  • An Alisa Review: Jordan and the Secret Pack by Sam Magna
  • A MelanieM Review Learn with Me by Kris Jacen

Friday, June 29:

  • Review Tour – Love’s Magic by Janice Jarrell
  • Release Blitz – Sam Burn’s  Stag and the Ash
  • DSP Promo Louise Collins
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Unfit to Print by KJ Charles
  • A Caryn Review: Fourteen Summers by Quinn Anderson
  • A MelanieM Review: Love’s Magic by Janice Jarrell
  • A Lucy Audiobook Review: A Full Plate by Kim Fielding and Narrator: Kenneth Obi

Saturday, June 30:

  • RELEASE BLITZ Love Me Louder by Christina Lee
  • Release Blitz + Giveaway – A Dance For Two by Colette Davison
  • A Lucy Review A Dance For Two by Colette Davison

More June Romance. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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More June Romance

 

We are still merrily swinging along mid June with our romances and  finishing up with our Royals….recommendations of course!  Cheeky!  More below from our wonderful readers who came up with some simply great books for everyone to read. I put my own recs back in as well and hopefully by the end of the month will merge of all them into one big royal recommendation list for one and all.

I read and reviewed a story this week which fits in perfect with our romance theme, Made in Portugal by Ana Newfolk.  Two men, who had their first kiss as teenagers and best friends and then were abruptly separated for years meet once again when one returns to the land of his birth.  Its lovely, layered, and romantic.  I loved it.

Then  oddly enough, a series which is the antithesis of romance.  Gritty, noir, the sex impersonal, the mc often unlikable, and yet the writing is  so well done (as are the mysteries) you just have to keep reading…yes, that would be Marshall Thornton’s award winning Boystown Series.  What was thinking putting them here? I definitely need a Noir Month.

Do we even have enough LGBT Noir Books?

There’s a question for you!

But the sun is shinning on our romance stories, so let’s concentrate there.  More  stories to come as June contineues.  In the meantime.

Here is another winner of our Royal Recommendations Contest:  Purple Reader.  Please contact Stella for your gift card at scatteredthoughtsandroguewords@gmail.com

 

 

 

Royal Recommendations and Love Stories – Part II

 

Historical

Crofton Hall series by Rebecca Cohen (with some contemporary stories too)

Contemporary:

Wake Up Married Series by Leta Blake and Alice Griffiths
Suddenly Yours by Jacob Z. Flores
Marriage of Inconvenience by M.J. O’Shea
The Greek Tycoon’s Green Card Groom by Kate McMurray
First Comes Marriage by Shira Anthony
Tall, Dark, and Deported by Bru Baker

Science Fiction:

Mate of the Tyger Prince series by Shannon West (shifter aliens, humans, mpreg)

Supernatural/Paranormal:

Mage of Inconvenience by Parker Foye

Fantasy:

The Gryphon King’s Consort by Jenn Burke

Purple Reader:

There’s already some good recs here. Like H.B., I don’t keep track of weddings in books, but I did remember a few that I thought were good … they aren’t all just about the wedding, but it does figure into the story:
– Fantasy:
THE LAST GRAND MASTER by Andrew Q. Gordon
THE LODESTAR OF YS by Amy Rae Durreson
THE ENGINEERED THRONE by Megan Derr
– PNR:
TRIED & TRUE by Charlie Cochet
GUNS N’ BOYS: HE IS MINE by K.A. Merikan
– Sci-Fi/Futuristic:
MY FAIR CAPTAIN by J.L. Langley (the original unless you want yours kink free then go for the 2018 version)
IMPERFECT MATCH by Price, Jordan Castillo
Oh, I thought of a few more, so why not add several to our list 🙂 … (again, good stories where even if it’s not all about the wedding, it plays a part):
– Historical:
INTO DEEP WATERS by Kaje Harper
DAYS WITHOUT END by Sebastian Barry
– Contemporary:
A MORE PERFECT UNION – Anthology by B.G. Thomas, Coatsworth, Fessenden, Michael Murphey
WILL & PATRICK WAKE UP MARRIED by Leta Blake
PIECE OF CAKE by Mary Calmes
THE HEART OF TEXAS, and TEXAS WEDDING by R.J. Scott
THE MARRYING KIND by Jay Northcote
– Mystery/Suspense:
CRASH & BURN by Abigail Roux
HERE COMES THE CORPSE by Mark Richard Zubro
ALOHA CANDY HEARTS by Anthony Bidulka
– Purple Reader, TheWrote [at] aol [dot] com

From Ami:

TAMING GROOMZILLA by E.N. Holland (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6931204-taming-groomzilla)

and

SIX NECKTIES by Johnny Diaz (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35061750-six-neckties) which revolves around wedding and wedding preparation

Now on to this week at our blog!

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, June 10:

  • A MelanieM Review: Bones and Bourbon by Dorian Graves
  • More June Romance. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, June 11:

  • SERIES REVIEW TOUR for Shoes and Ties by JENA WADE
  • BLOG TOUR George Loveland – Up In The Air #2: West Coast
  • Review Tour – Ari McKay – Blood Bathory: Absence of the Sun
  • A MelanieM Review: Ari McKay ‘s Blood Bathory: Absence of the Sun
  • A Stella Review: My Anti-Valentine (My Anti-Series #1) by DJ Jamison
  • A VVivacious Review: Flowers for the Gardener by Sharon Maria Bidwell
  • An Ali Review Behind the Lights (Social Sinners #1) by T.L. Travis

Tuesday, June 12:

  • Release Blitz Twenty-One Arrow Salute by Kasia Bacon
  • Release Blitz – George Loveland’s Up In The Air 2: West Coast
  • Review Tour –  Made In Portugal by Ana Newfolk
  • A Lucy Review: Whatever Comes First by MK Lee
  • A MelanieM Review: Made in Portugal (Made In #1) by Ana Newfolk
  • A Stella Review:  My Anti-Boyfriend (My Anti-Series #2) by D.J. Jamison
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review:  Staggered Cove Station (Coast Guard Rescue #1) by Elle Brownlee and Colin Darcy (Narrator)

Wednesday, June 13:

  • BLITZ – To Have and to Hold by Tamryn Eradani
  • DSP Promo Sean Michael
  • River City Tour (Other World Tour)
  • Release Blitz – Overtime by V.L. Locey
  • An Alisa Review:  Wrenching by Deirdre O’Dare
  • A MelanieM Review: Overtime (Cayuga Cougars #4) by V.L. Locey

Thursday, June 14:

  • TOUR INSIDE DARKNESS by Hudson Lin
  • Release Blitz – DJ Jamison’s My Anti-Marriage
  • A MelanieM Review: Robby Riverton: Mail Order Bride by Eli Easton
  • A MelanieM Review: Three More Nick Nowak Mysteries (Boystown #2)  by Marshall Thornton
  • A MelanieM Review: Three Nick Nowak Mysteries (Boystown #1) by Marshall

Friday, June 15:

  • Ardulum Series (Other World Tour)
  • Release Blitz Catch Me by Beth Bolden
  • Release Blitz Rainbow Place – Jay Northcote
  • A MelanieM Review:Two Nick Nowak Novellas (Boystown #3) by Marshall Thornton
  • A Stella Review My Anti-Marriage by DJ Jamison
  • A MelanieM Review: ​Silent Hearts by Cameron D. James.

Saturday, June  16:

  • Blitz Tour (Lori)The Recruit by Addison Albright
  • A MelanieM Review: Murder Book (Boystown #5) by Marshall Thornton

 

A Stella Review: Out, Proud, and Prejudiced by Megan Reddaway

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RATING 4,5 out of 5 stars

One’s proud, one’s prejudiced, and they can’t stand each other.

Quick-tempered Bennet Rourke dislikes Darius Lanniker on sight. Darius may be a hotshot city lawyer, but that doesn’t give him the right to sneer at Bennet, his friends, and their college. It doesn’t help that Bennet’s restaurant job has him waiting at Darius’s table. So when his tutor recommends him for an internship at Darius’s Pemberley estate, Bennet isn’t sure he wants it. He’s also not sure he can afford to turn it down.

Darius is a fish out of water in the small college town of Meriton, but something keeps pulling him back there. He’s helping out a friend with business advice, nothing more. If he’s interested in Bennet, it’s not serious. Sure, Bennet challenges him in a way no other man has. But they have nothing in common. Right?

Wrong. Their best friends are falling in love, and Bennet and Darius can’t seem to escape each other. Soon they’re sharing climbing ropes and birthday cake, and there’s a spark between them that won’t be denied. But betrayal is around the corner. Darius must swallow his pride and Bennet must drop his prejudices to see the rainbow shining through the storm clouds.

A modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

I’m a huge fan of Jane Austen and in general of that era literature. Pride and Prejudice is one of my all the time fave books. I saw and read everything related to the novel. More or less I liked them all. That’s why of course I had to read this new release by Megan Reddaway, a new to me author. I thought I could enjoy the story but I wasn’t expecting to love it so much. It was a lovely surprise.

I’m not going to focus my review on the plot cause the blurb tells you what you have to know and well, since it’s about Pride and Prejudice, you know what to expect. That said, the book is really well done, written so well my reading flew easily, and to me, being English is not my first language, this happens only when the writing is great. The greatest surprise were the characters, apart from the fact I adore coral stories like this one, when there are quite a few characters to meet and love, the author did a good job and she let me know a little about all the second characters, some of them I loved, others I despised as I did in the original novel. Some true gems like Giorgio and Jamie caught my heart deeply with their pureness. And then Bennet and Darius with their parts followed  the enemies to lovers trope and made my heart beating like Elizabeth and Darcy always do.

I want to highly recommend Out, Pride and Prejudiced, it’s not just a simple retelling, through all the reading I felt connected to Jane Austen’s work, I could find all the elements I needed and everything was just right and fitting. I loved it.

The cover art by Natasha Snow is not a favorite of mine among the artist works, it is nothing special and in my mind is doesn’t fit the story, I don’t know why.

SALE LINKS:  Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 270 pages

Published June 4th 2018

ISBN13 9781912735006

Edition Language English

Release Blitz – Ice Fairy 3: Coming Together by S. L. Danielson (excerpt)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Ice Fairy 3: Coming Together

Author: S. L. Danielson

Publisher: Self Published

Cover Artist: Dan Skinner

Genre/s: contemporary m/m, new adult, romance, swapping partners

Length:  55,551 words/166 pages

Release Date: May 25, 2018

Goodreads

Blurb

Sexy sparks fly when four best friends become roommates… and more

With Olympic Gold in his possession, Sam is the newest darling of the skating world. Brett does his best to be supportive but the brighter the light shines on his boyfriend; the more he is left in the shadows. Cracks appear and the relationship begins to break down.

Their friends try their best to assist however they can. Their advice and support is crucial when Brett suspects Sam’s creepy agent is up to no good; and even more so when a dastardly plot by Sam’s own father is uncovered.

Can this couple finally come to terms with fame and find the peace they crave? An offer by Ryan and Caleb might provide the answers they seek…if they’re brave enough to take a leap of faith.

Is it too late for Brett and his precious Ice Fairy or can they come together?

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US 

Amazon UK 

Excerpt

Chapter One

Brett curled up on the couch in the basement; waiting for Sam to return from the bathroom. He’d muted the movie they were watching, “Star Trek; Into Darkness.” It’d become one of their new favorites in the very brief hours that they usually had together now. It was the only saving grace for Brett, who felt not only very left out of Sam’s newly found fame; he felt cracks forming in their nine month old relationship.

He had to chide himself for feeling and sounding like a woman to himself; a woman who missed her man more than anything and wished that they could have a lot more time together. But that just wasn’t happening. Not with how things were now. Brett was in college and was luckily on spring break. But it was only a week. What was a week in the life of his now very famous lover? The one that people called incessantly, especially his agent, or was it his accountant? Maybe his now very famous coach too? Or was it a reporter again?

Whoever the fuck it was, Brett wished they would vaporize. He wanted Sam to himself this evening, if they didn’t mind, thank you very fucking much!

After a grunt of a breath, Brett tried to stave off the headache that gnawed at every muscle and nerve in him. Why did it have to be this way? Everything before the Olympics had seemed so simple. They were a couple of guys in love, just living happily, going to college, skating, having some laughs, seeing their friends, and having sleepovers.

In fact, things had been awesome with Sam’s life; his father had apologized for all that he’d done and said; which wasn’t taken very seriously at first, but he’d convinced them and was back living at home with his wife and daughter. His now very famous son, Sam, was able to buy his own place if he wanted to. He stayed with his folks on a limited basis; the rest was traveling, making appearances, etc. But they weren’t with Brett at his side.

That, worst of all, tore at Brett’s heart. Jealousy. Suspicion that someone else would get to Sam’s heart the way he had, but maybe just did it way better, sans the teasing and tripping and bullying. Would he lose Sam to his newly found fame? It was heading straight to his beautiful head; and Brett hated every bit of it.

With every second that Sam was away from him lately, even though it’d been only two months since the Olympic win and their lives had changed forever…Brett missed his boyfriend. Even now, he wished they could spend the whole week together, uninterrupted; but he knew that was a pipe dream.

He grabbed a throw pillow and leaned his jaw on it, waiting for Sam’s return. As if he’d wished for it, he heard the door close and felt Sam’s strong arms around him once again.

“Hey, handsome.” Sam straddled over Brett’s lap, after he’d ditched the pillow of course, and they kissed deeply.

Now this was more like it! Holding Sam, getting to touch him, kiss him, taste his lips and his face, feel his body, and savor every cell of him.

“Mmm, there’s my Sam. I get to have you in my arms for more than a few minutes.” Brett was trying to be a good sport about all of this and to take his lover’s fame in stride. It was still tough, though.

Sam sat back and pouted. Boy, did that guy have such adorable expressions even when he was pouting. “I’m here right now, Brett. No one’s calling or bugging me. You have me all to your heart’s content.” He leaned in and kissed Brett again; they hung on for a long time after.

Well there was a small blessing anyway; not once had he heard Sam’s phone. Of course, it was likely on silent after the looks he got last time. They’d been interrupted no less than a dozen times on their last date. He could see a few; but that much? Hell no. He figured Sam likely took care of the messages while he was in the bathroom for almost ten minutes.

Putting aside his harsh thoughts on the whole situation, Brett just wanted to soak up all he could of his love. He held Sam close. “Stay with me? My folks are good about us being here; you know that. Hell, they buy breakfast for us sometimes.” He’d do anything to keep Sam there with him just that much longer.

“Brett…”

Shit, not this again. The now famous “I’d love to but I’ve got a…” fill in the blank from there. Photo shoot? Interview? Public appearance? This has gotten too old too fast.

“I know, I know,” Brett digressed. “We can be quick about it though; or just sit down here and hold each other under the blankets.” He waggled his brows. “Naked of course.” He held his lips open, so unsure of what Sam’s reaction would be, he wasn’t sure if he should smile or frown at this point.

“Brett… you know I want to…” Sam responded slowly, his dark eyes just peeking out from under his dark hair. There was a ‘but’ coming though; Brett knew it and he expected it. Sam had not been the same since his glorious win and the gold medal that had hung around his neck now dangled between them; not literally, but metaphorically. Though he wouldn’t be at all surprised if Sam wore the damn thing all the time.

“Sam, we don’t have to be out in the open here, we could go to the back bedroom or my room…” he was desperate just to hold his lover again. It’d been nearly three weeks since they’d been together sexually and he was about at the end of his rope. “Dammit, Sam. I need you, alright? I want to make love with you again; it’s been way too long.” He didn’t want to beg; but the situation was that bad.

At first, it looked like Sam would turn him down again, because he didn’t respond. But as the seconds passed and their eyes met, it looked like comprehension finally took hold. Sam nodded.

“Okay. I miss you too, Brett. Very much. Don’t you think I do too? I love sleeping with you and being naked together; it’s one of my favorite things. Time just…”

Brett held up his hand. “I know, baby. I know. But right now we’re here, and we’re good, and I want you.” He held Sam tighter and massaged his tight body. “Damn… am I ever ready.” He smiled and felt his cock pushing on his jeans. “Upstairs or here?”

They kissed deeply and savored each other’s mouths for a long moment before they answered that. It was more of a test to see just how horny the other one was. The answer was: very horny. Sam bucked against Brett and started to unbutton his shirt. “Down here. I couldn’t run all the way to your room.”

About the Author 

S. L. (Stephanie) Danielson began writing at the tender age of five. She knew it was her calling from the moment she put pen to paper. In her teens she began writing alternative works and the genre stuck. She created ever more elaborate tales and finally in her early 20’s years began to create works with her new love; male/male romance. She has since written more than 30 works (both solo and collaborations).

Stephanie is classically trained in business, accounting, and HR/training, possessing both an undergrad and graduate degree. She also owned and operated Romance First Publishing where the ultimate goal was to help other unknown, as well as known authors get their start in the publishing world.

Beyond writing, her other hobbies include: painting, gaming, and spending time with her husband and two cherished cats.

Social Media Links

Blog/Website

Facebook   

Twitter

Google+

Pinterest

RELEASE BLITZ SCHEDULE

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A Free Dreamer Review: Bane (Strain #2) by Amelia C. Gormley

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

The weapon that nearly destroyed humanity may be their only salvation. 

Rhys Cooper once thought he was a dead man. Instead, he’s proven immune to the virus that nearly wiped out humanity.

Now the Clean Zone’s scientists want to know why. Summoned for testing, Rhys is about to learn first-hand why his Juggernaut partner, Sergeant Darius Murrell, and the rest of his superhuman comrades in Delta Company don’t trust the uninfected survivors in the Clean Zone–or the remnants of the government that unleashed the epidemic in the first place.

For a decade, Zach Houtman has yearned for his lover, Nico Fernández, but fear of infection has kept them apart. Separately they keep tabs on the last vestiges of the corrupt government, particularly the head of the Clean Zone’s virus research division. Secretary Littlewood seeks to unlock the secrets of the Bane virus. But Nico knows how dangerous Littlewood will be if that ever happens.

Zach and Nico now have the perfect bait to draw Littlewood out: Rhys. But Delta Company isn’t about to let Rhys walk into hell alone. They’ll take Littlewood down together, or not at all. Even if they succeed, however, for Zach and Nico one question remains: can infected and uninfected people ever be together safely?

Bane is the second and final installment in the Strain series. As such, it really doesn’t work as a stand-alone. I would recommend you to read the prequel “Juggernaut” as well. Both couples from book 0.5 and book one are back in “Bane” and I think you really need to get to know all four of them to really enjoy this book.

It’s been years since I read “Strain” but it’s a very memorable book and I absolutely loved it. It’s very, very different. “Bane” is much more mainstream. It’s still dark, but there’s no dubious consent. The sex scenes between Rhys and Darius are fewer and not as explicit as in book one. While I’m glad that Rhys has found his peace and is starting to feel more self-confident, I just kind of missed the spark I remember from book one.

Zach made me really angry at times. I kind of understood why he didn’t want to infect himself with the Alpha strain all those years ago. The whole “it’s God’s will” pissed me off. I thought it was really cruel of him to do this to Nico.

The author definitely knows how to write sex scenes. And while it is far tamer than book one, the sex was still really hot.

Once again, the book was incredibly addicting. I just could not put it down and it really had me emotionally invested. While I did have my issues with Zach, it’s always a good sign when I get so emotional over a character’s choices.

There were so many twists and turns and intrigues and secrets, it really had my head spinning. I really did not expect some of these things. I’m actually quite satisfied with the ending. I often have issues with how books end, but this really worked. It’s not exactly a HEA but it does leave you hopeful.

Overall, “Bane” is a great read. While it’s not quite as good as the first two books, I still really enjoyed it. It’s tamer and more mainstream, but still pretty good. If you liked the first two books, I’m sure you’ll like this one too.

The cover matches the other two in the series perfectly. It’s just as dark and creepy and gorgeous.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book details:

Kindle Edition, 2 edition, 240 pages

Published April 20th 2018 (first published September 19th 2015)

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