A Sammy Review: The Right Time (Right and Wrong #3) by Lane Hayes

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

“Nate, you’re a control freak with illusions of grandeur. Bad things happen sometimes. Thank you for sharing your confession. I absolve you. You can go on with your life now, and let go of your guilt.”

I chuckled humorlessly. “That easy, eh? Where have you been all these years?”

“Right here waiting to be your hero and set you free. It all comes down to being in the right place at the right time.”

The Right Time coverNate’s always been the one to run from things. He buries himself in work and deals and things that are easy to separate from emotion. This time he runs to Santa Monica, where with the help of his friends, he rents a beautiful apartment. What he doesn’t expect is for a loud neighbor slash landlord to be anything but annoying. Sweet, funny, endearing, so full of life. Everything about Alex pulls Nate in, and like a spark it lights and sets flames.

But if it were all about the fire and passion, life would be easy. That’s not the case. Nate has his own demons to deal with and Alex has to work his way around a religious father and navigating coming out. But there’s something to be said for finding each other at the right time, and their time is now.

“I want to give you something. A song. A piece of music. Something for you to remember me. I don’t want you to hear Beethoven and feel sad about things that never could be. I want to give you… hope.”

OH GOD. First off, let me just put it out there that this book was like a slow serenade for me. It took me a bit, but I began to slowly fall in love with it and then all at once I crashed and was completely and totally infatuated. Kind of like Alex and Nate’s journey. Slow and tentative at first and then BAM.

Where do I even start? Well, I guess the beginning is as good a place as any. This took me a bit longer to get into, but I think that may have had to do with some life stresses more than the story itself. I found Alex completely charming and authentic and though Nate was completely different from him, I was equally enamored with him and the rawness to his character. It may be cheesy, but they just fit together so well. Nate – who is serious and needs help to let loose, Alex – who is so free but needs someone to ground him, to be there and live in the moments with him. They were each others people. Simple as that.

We had gotten glimpses of them in the past, and it all led very nicely into this one. For those who are wondering, we do get some lovely guest appearances from the other boys (including Mack!) It was really a perfect balance of giving the readers some older favorites but building these great new favorites too (but who am I kidding, they’re all favorites).

I also have to say that I think Lane took the thermometer and cranked that puppy up. This was sizzling. I literally heard it crackling as I was reading! From sex in the dark hallway of a club to a jealous encounter in the gym leading to a sexy laundry room encounter and the truly passionate exchanges in between. There were some simple details that really pulled me in, like when one character would frame the others face with his arms and lean forward. It was just so smooth and wonderful.

And then there was the humor, which wasn’t as rampant as one may be used to with Lane’s books, but was still there and had me smiling (like how there’s no real loser in a bet where a blowjob is being exchanged.)

It was like getting a glimpse through thick fog of something profound, something just out of reach. I was so close. And this time, I wasn’t alone.

When it comes to the conflicts that they were dealing with, while the issue between Nate and Julie isn’t revealed until close to the end, I had a good idea of what it was. As a social worker, I see a lot of things, and how they were feeling was so palpable to me, even without the words behind it. I want to make a note that this does not necessarily mean that things were dealt with in the healthiest of ways, but that’s just so human and so real that it touched me. And really, who prescribes how you deal with that situation? I cannot imagine the heavy burden that comes with it. It, like the rest of the story, felt authentic.

My heart felt this story in the last fifty percent like a consistent beat weighing heavily on it. I felt for the characters in my gut and even teared up when that feeling became so incredibly intense (paired with classical music). In a word, this book left me utterly charmed.

I certainly hope it’s not the last we see of these characters. There’s still more to know and learn. But still, thank you Lane for another great story.

The cover by Aaron Anderson is nice and simple. It easily flows with the other covers in the series. I do have a bit of an issue with the placement of the white and how it makes it look like he has a vanishing arm, but it’s still a nice cover.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press |  All Romance (ARe) |  Amazon  |   Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 220 pages, also in paperback
Expected publication: June 26th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781634762175
edition languageEnglish
url https://lanehayes.wordpress.com/coming-soon/
seriesRight and Wrong #3

Series: Right and Wrong

Author Spotlight: Meet Liz Boreno, Angel’s Truth Author

Standard

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

ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords is happy to welcome Liz Boreno, author of the Angel series, here to talk about heroes and her latest release Angel’s Truth (Angel,#2):

Angel's Hero coverAngel's Truth cover

Flawed Heroes


Remember the days when the knight in shining armor came galloping in on his white horse and saved the heroine from all that was wrong in her world? Sexy, right?

*Crickets*

Yeah. I don’t think so, either. But sexy or not, the trope doesn’t work for M/M romance. We’ve now got two heroes. Are they both supposed to be wealthy, funny, self-reliant, confident, chiseled, sensitive, yet macho? …I’m bored. Are you? Good. Let’s move on.
The question becomes why are we bored? I’ve heard many theories on the root of reader preferences, but I’ve always ascribed to the school of realism. Readers, and therefore writers, need to believe in their characters to invest the time with them. If we can’t see their humanity on the page, we’ll struggle to get lost in the world. So, how do we do this?

~ Think about the heroes you know in your real life, best friend, spouse. Are they flawless? No, likely not… even if they disagree. More likely, they have just the right characteristics – good and bad – to complement yours. So too is it with your characters. That means, if you have one hero with OCD who absolutely must control everything, his partner should probably be laid-back.

~ Every good quality has its drawback. Exploit both. Hero ambitious? He probably doesn’t have much time for his personal life or workout routine. Something has to be sacrificed.

~Most important, remember that what you see as a flaw might be someone else’s idea of perfection. Someone’s got to be buying all the white knights.

CIA Agent Aaron “Angel” Collins doesn’t take many things on faith. He trusts his gut, his eyes, and his husband, Jordan, an Army Captain. When his commanding officers deliver news of Jordan’s death, Aaron needs proof. The facts don’t add up, and Aaron must decide if he can trust Major General Troy Hart to assist in his quest to discover the truth.

Captain Jordan Collins is battered and disheartened in an Afghanistan prison, but definitely not dead, though he learns his own government believes he is. His only mission now is to stay alive and make it home to Angel, if he can find an ally among the enemy. But someone in the US government will stop at nothing to make sure he never leaves that prison, And Jordan must reevaluate the lines between friend and foe if he is ever to return to his Angel.

Angel's Truth coverAngel’s Truth (Angel #2)
Angel Series
ebook, 64 pages
Published March 14th 2014 by Lazy Day
(first published March 10th 2014)

ISBN 1612581250 (ISBN13: 9781612581255)

Sequel to Angel’s Hero (Angel, #1)
!*Please Note: These Books Must Be Read In Order*

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

Angel’s Truth Blurb: “Freeze or I’ll shoot!” Aaron yelled and aimed the gun at Jordan’s chest.
“Angel, no, please.” Hacking fluid-filled coughs broke up Jordan’s words.
“Jordan?” Aaron whispered his name as recognition painted a mural of memories of their life together on his face.
“Yes.” He coughed red into his dirty hand. “Please help.”
So begins Angel’s Truth, the sequel to Angel’s Hero. Army Captain Jordan Collins arrives home, only to find the man responsible for his imprisonment, torture, and near-execution with his husband. Had his Angel moved on without him?
Aaron “Angel” Collins has driven his family and friends away in his quest to learn the truth of Jordan’s fate, leaving only Major General Troy Hart willing to help him. When Jordan miraculously returns, with a spirit more broken than his body, Aaron realizes Hart was really a liar with an agenda of his own. Aaron is unable to take time to heal his own emotional wounds, because he and Jordan learn Hart’s betrayal is even greater than they originally believed, threatening the entire nation. Now the reunited couple must race against time to keep a promise to Jordan’s savior and prevent Hart from bringing terrorism once again to American soil.

Bio: Liz Borino transcribes the world inside her head onto the page, and share it with the people who are stuck in the “real world” to makes their lives a little more interesting. Because in her world, heroes fall and stand up again with the help of their partners and friends. Liz’s world is littered with formidable obstacles, which her heroes overcome with a fire of courage and passion. The beauty of love between two men is celebrated. Who wouldn’t want to live there?
 When not with her heroes, Liz enjoys exploring cities, working toward social justice, and editing for other authors. Liz is less than three months from obtaining her Masters’ degree in English and published nine books since 2010.

Author Links:

Tour Stops:

Review: Scorpion (Memory of Scorpions #1) by Aleksandr Voinov

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Scorpian 2nd edition coverKendras is quite possibly the last surviving member of the only family he’s ever known—the elite fighting force known as the Scorpions. Gravely injured and left for dead during the conflict between the city states of Dalman and Fetin. Kendras has no choice but to accept the coin and offer of service to the mercenary who finds him severely wounded outside the city.  All the mercenary called Steel demands is nothing less than Kendras’ total submission and acceptance of a secret task to carry out.  With no where else to turn and no money to buy medicine, Kendras resignedly accepts.

But Kendras has his own hidden agenda, that of finding if any of his Scorpion brothers survived and bringing the elite team back together again.  It also includes finding the man who holds Kendras’ heart and soul, that of the officer who leads the Scorpions.  But first, Kendras must heal.  His shattered foot and other wounds need time.  Complications arise when Steel becomes possessive of Kendras, wanting more than just his body.  But Steel’s too late, Kendras’ love and loyalty lie elsewhere.  When that becomes apparent, what will Steel do when he realizes Kendras will never be his?

Kendras faces layers of political intrigue, and tests that will strain his loyalties and test his physical prowess as a warrior.But nothing will stand in the way of Kendras achieving his goals, not even the Empire itself.

Scorpion is such a powerful book.  Brutal, grimly realistic in its portrait of a warrior’s life, depicting the violence to body and soul that is the by product of such a life.  It is also equally honest in its scenes of casual everyday brutality that is a way of life for those less fortunate and lacking in status or wealth.  Rape, humiliation, slavery and death lie in wait for all but the most noble or well connected. And even then assassination and mutilation are possibilities for those who would rule.  Aleksandr Voinov has created a universe of exceptional cruelty, where casual viciousness and political maneuvering are daily occurances. Yet it is also a world where love and loyalty cannot be bought and the possibility of  redemption and love is a treasure to be fought for.

In Voinov’s world, a devastating war in the empire of Shara has left the former dynasty broken into three city kingdoms.  In the three hundred years since the sundering of the empire of Shara, the three cities have maintained a delicate balance of autonomy between them.  The author reveals the political tactics within each city and the wars that the failed policies and negotiations have brought to the kingdoms themselves. Kendras and his fellow Scorpions are the latest casualties of a war between Dalman and Fetin, two of the city kingdoms.  From the start, the author brings us into the conflict at the bottom level.  The consequences of the war is everywhere, from the dead to the dying and mutilated.  The mercenaries, needed to fight are just as quickly discarded by those who hired them.  It is a rough, cruel life and Voinov depicts it honestly with gritty descriptions that are almost to vivid to bear.

Equal to Voinov’s world building is his characterizations.  Every character found within this novel is meticulously created from Kendras to Steel to Widowmaker, the assassin whose loyalties are hidden beneath layers of guile.  These are  also not men for the fainthearted.  They take what they want regardless of the frailties and consent of others. In fact, kindness and passivity is looked down on, it will get a person killed or enslaved on this world. Loyalty and brotherhood are to be treasured and love is so rare that it is not easily identifiable.

At the heart of this story is Kendras, an orphan discarded on the streets of Fetin to fend for himself at an early age.  An oddity because of his black skin and blue eyes that mark him as a pureblooded Jaishani (a noble race), Kendras has no idea as to his lineage or history.  A petty thief and sometime killer, Kendras’ life was changed on the day he was set to die, saved by the officer who would train him to be a  Scorpion.  I loved Kendras.  He is such a remarkable character, he perseveres, he is loyal, and amidst his pragmatism, there is an unquenchable desire to love and be loved in return.  Equal in complexity is the officer (his name is revealed later on in the story).  Who and what he is slowly comes to the surface over the course of the story.  While the novel unfolds through the eyes of Kendras, the officer becomes a man who both Kendras and the reader commit to emotionally and intellectually.  But every character Voinov has created has multiple layers, from Selvin a Scorpion who chooses to remain a sexual slave to Steel and Widowmaker, mercenaries with pasts as complex as their characters.   Every one of these damaged people enrich the story with their realism and singular personalities.

I found no quibbles with this incredible story but I must make an admission.  The opening pages are as brutal as any you will find throughout Scorpion.  Initially, I had a hard time with them, especially the non con elements involved.   But they also ring with a terrible authenticity and you will understand why the author not only included them but started off in such a manner as you delve further into the book and Kendras’ life.  It is cruel and sets the tone for the reality of the life Kendras lives and the events that will occur down the line.  Kendras does what he has to in order to stay alive.  It’s a pragmatic outlook and it certainly is one that belongs to a war hardened mercenary.

The narrative of Scorpion was smooth and thrilling.  I couldn’t put it down. The ending of the story was satisfying while leaving the way open for the next book in the series.  Its with anticipation and a little fear that I await the next installment.  Don’t pass this  story up..

Cover art by Reese Dante is gorgeous in the 2nd edition.  The model is perfect for Kendras and the design works in tone and graphics.  Great job.

Book Details:

2nd edition from Riptide Publishing
eBook ISBN: 978-1-62649-013-0

eBook release: May 27, 2013

eBook Formats: pdf, mobi, html, epub
Print ISBN: 978-1-62649-014-7
Print release: May 27, 2013
Word count: 71,000
Page count: 274
Type: Part of a Series
Cover by: Reese Dante
This title is #1 of the Memory of Scorpions series.
– See more at: http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/scorpion-memory-scorpions-1#sthash.UsSFLbL9.dpuf
Rewritten, enlarged and redited
First edition 242 pages from Dreamspinner Press 2011