A BJ Review: F.I.S.T.S. Handbook For Individual Survival in Hostile Environments by Bey Deckard

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5        ★★★★★

Sarge (F.I.S.T.S #1) – 5 stars

FISTSSergeant Wilkes has had a long and prestigious military career. When he’s injured on the front, Murphy brings him in. Murphy is the opposite of Sarge… big, tattooed, and delightfully submissive. Can a couple space marines stationed on an alien planet where an endless war rages on find something special in each other?

Gritty, violent, somewhat gory short novella. Its kinky, smoking hot and romantic almost in spite of itself. This story made me bawl like a baby, and I loved it!

Sarge is an older, hardened officer Dom; Murphy a younger 6ft 8in quiet, muscular, tattooed, sweet enlisted sub. Murphy also has the ability to see psychic/emotional colors (auras?). The two come together when Sarge is injured   fighting on the front line, and Murphy uses his special talent to help him. Right there on the battlefield, wounded and in pain, Sarge propositions Murphy:

“You’re a good boy, Murph,” he says softly to me. “You get me home, get me patched up, and you’ll see what good boys get.” 

At first it’s just an interesting diversion for Sarge, but that changes as he comes to realize what he’s found in Murphy.

Murphy is intelligent, but he doesn’t talk much. And damn it, he doesn’t need to because the nuance of communication between him and Sarge is exquisite. When it comes to D/s, one thing that fascinates me is when the physically larger guy is the submissive/bottom. And my goodness isn’t Murphy an enticing one.  But it’s more the two together that really gets me about this story. They’re perfect together. Such devotion. I was seriously holding my breath and biting my nails at the end.

Speaking of the ending, it felt a bit abrupt at first. But the more I thought on it, the more I realized that wasn’t the case–the ending is perfect. I would love to explain that specifically, but don’t want to spoil it. Just read this little gem. I highly recommend it and cannot wait for the next in this series to come out.

Murphy (F.I.S.T.S. #2) – 4.75 stars

Sometimes when it seems like it’s too late, the right person comes along and opens your eyes…

Murphy is the continuing story of the D/s relationship between two Space Marines who found each other in the midst of hopelessness and misfortune.

Sarge and his newly minted squad travel across the galaxy on a top-secret mission that could help win the war. However, to Murphy something about the mission stinks, and it’s not just the planet they’ve landed on.

After the events of book one ends with a semi-cliffie where we aren’t sure if one of the MC survives, I was very happy when this book came out! It shows us the guys have both survived and gotten off that godforsaken planet. Yes! Not only that, they’ve been promoted and are heroes of a sort.

I enjoyed getting Sarge’s point of view here–enjoyed watching the veteran soldier trying to keep his growing feelings for Murphy in check (and sometimes failing); enjoyed the chance to view Murphy from someone else’s perspective; and enjoyed that even though it’s Murphy who can see the colors of other people’s emotions, Sarge is so keyed in to Murphy that it’s nearly the same for him even without a special sense. I just love how neither of these guys really have to vocalize much because they are just so perfectly in tune to each other.

Must admit that getting to read from his own POV how the crusty old career solider goes all gooey and vulnerable over his big moose of a soldier boy was a delightful treat. And this about sums it up in Sarge’s own words:

“My career has always come first. Always. What the hell are you supposed to do when something else becomes more important?”

This short story serves up kinky, raunchy sex, hurt/comfort, sweet love, a bigger bottom/sub and a smaller top/Dom, and a dangerous mission gone wrong that offers up a good helping of plot and action.

The Missing Reel

A short scene from Sarge (F.I.S.T.S #1) which the author left out in order to keep the nature of their relationship somewhat ambiguous.

It takes place a week after the explosion that took Sarge’s eye and shows their first encounter after Sarge’s comment about seeing what “good boys get.” Perfect little scene that I’m glad the author decided to give us the opportunity to read the first time these guys interacted in this dynamic and felt it gave an insight that set the tone for the rest of the relationship. Since this is a deleted scene from the first story, I’m not going to rate it separately.

The cover on this anthology is pretty plain, meant to emulate a must used/stained field manual.

Sales Link:  Amazon


Book Details:  

143 pages

Published July 7th, 2015 by Bey Deckard

Kindle Edition
Published June 8th 2015 (first published June 1st 2015)
ASINB00ZA9T6WE
Edition LanguageEnglish

A BJ Review: Prelude to Claimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts (Claimings 0.5) by Lyn Gala

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5               ★★★★★

Prelude to ClaimingsBefore Liam had a new commander who openly distrusted him, before Ondry earned his ka status, there were two traders. Ye Ondry wants to earn status, and he is curious about this new human. Liam has just arrived on the planet and he’s trying to figure out these aliens who supposedly have good metals to trade. Neither of them suspects that a chance trade and a few pots knocked off a table could lead their lives and their fates to intertwine.

Note: This free story is a prequel to the story of Ondry and Liam that details how they met. As such, it’s not a romance.

Despite the note, I did find this very romantic and sweet. No sex, yes, but there is budding feelings and loving care enough to make me swoon. The book includes the following stories, some which have been published elsewhere (web) and some new. We get Liam’s POV, Ondry’s POV, and even one from a Grandmother’s POV. All of which give extra depth and dimension to the beginning of an already awesome story.

Even though this is a prequel, I think it’s best read after having read book one of the series at least… although it was just as good for me having read the complete series already. I absolutely adored the addition insights into Liam and Ondry’s. The first and longest story in the anthology is aptly titled “The Beginning,” and it shows us their initial meeting! This one shows Liam as he was when he first arrived on the planet and began to learn about Rownt and trading. I adored the way the trading worked, and the details of it we are given fascinated me to the point I wanted more. Plus the words Liam used to describe Ondry phyiscally the first time he met him were quite enlightening. I won’t say more on that, but if you are as curious about Ondry’s appearance as I am, I highly suggest you read this now.

The next story, “First Sight,” we get cover the same time period and, indeed, some of the same events, but this time from Ondry’s POV. I found this perfect. Even though the same things were going on, seeing them from the other side gave the scenes so much more depth and understanding. Reading these back to back also made it very clear the difference in these two’s thinking, and in Rownts and humans. Explanations of why Ondry reacted as he did to what Liam said and did in the first story, as well as the difference in language between what Liam thought he was saying in Rownt to the way Ondry actually heard it. And nuances of both Ondry’s action and the reactions of those around them of which Liam was only vaguely aware. I loved this so much.

Story three, “Slow Attractions,” shows an integral event from book one which was written all from Liam’s POV now in Ondry’s POV. Again, the amount of additional depth and understanding this gives is phenomenal, and I loved it. Despite the note on the blurb, I felt like in this one we do see romance… not sex or even a touch, but the caring that Ondry displays touched my heart big time. Oh to have someone take note of feelings and moods and to just care that much. Perfect and a must read for fans of book one.

The final short is from a Grandmother’s POV and is titled “Headstrong.” Again this goes over events from the first book but from a different POV that adds depth. The title itself refers to how the grandmother thinks of Ondry, and we learn early on that this particular Grandmother really is Ondry’s genetic grandmother and gain insight into Ondry though knowing something of his mother’s personality which he has obviously inherited. This is short, but yet it let me see how the Grandmothers think of both themselves, their duty, and how they see humans. Her wisdom and caring came across quite clearly. And the whole scene was so very touching that it had me in tears. No romance? I beg to differ with that statement.

If you’ve read any of this series before, I cannot recommend this free anthology more. It adds so much depth, and I adored each and every story. Five stars across the board.

I adore what we see on this cover… never all of Ondry, but the delicious peeks this time of that tail and his neck tie in wonderfully with the additional insights into him we get in the book.

Note:This free story is a prequel to the story of Ondry and Liam that details how they met. As such, it’s not a romance

Free at:  Loose id


Book Details:

ebook, 79 pages
Published February 9th 2016 by Loose Id
ISBN139781682520888
Edition LanguageEnglish

SeriesClaimings 0.5

A BJ Review: Wildfire Psi (Guardians of the Pattern #4) by Jaye McKenna

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5          ★★★★★

Wildfire PsiThings are finally going well for Luka Valdari. He’s found a home and family at the Institute for Psionic Research, and he has a job he loves. When a training mission takes him back to the streets of downside Riga, he’s got plenty of reason to be uneasy, and when a psionic cry for help leads him to a nightmare from his past, Luka’s ready to bolt.

Things are not going so well for Damon Korsov. He’s got voices in his head, a hole in his memory, and strange dreams that may or may not be glimpses of his past. The one man who might hold the key to Damon’s past is the one man he can never ask. Because somehow, Luka knows Damon, and it’s clear to Damon that Luka hates him.

Unwilling to expose anyone else to the danger Damon represents, Luka volunteers to train him. He wants to hate Damon, but instead finds himself fascinated. Before they get a chance to sort things out between them, the two men are thrown into the middle of a terrifying plot that puts every human life in the galaxy at risk. Can Luka and Damon confront both of their pasts and work together to prevent disaster? Or will all the human worlds burn in the flames of wildfire psi?

This book takes place right after the events of book three. Initially, there are two parallel storylines: one follows Tarrin and Miko as they continue their mission from the end of book three, and the other follows Luka who has returned to his duties at the Institute. I admit that sometimes it can be hard for me to read books that switch around like that, but in this case I was so involved with both storylines and both groups of characters that it never did. I was always eager to get back to the other couple so the switches never pulled me from the story or made me want to put the book down. In fact, one of the things I enjoy about this series is how we get to follow along with all the characters even when the primary focus switches to another couple. But also, the author did an absolutely seamless job of bringing the two storylines together perfectly and naturally at about 60%.

This book’s main couple is a doozy. I totally did not see this one coming. At all. We first met both Luka and Damon in book one, Psi Hunter, where Luka was a central character, but not a romantic lead. And Damon… well, Damon was someone else. I won’t say who as you should read it to find out.

I enjoy a good enemies-to-lovers story, and if you do too, then you should adore the heck out of this book! This isn’t your typical version of that trope. NO generic enemies where the guys are on the opposite sides of something but after getting to know each other as individuals, they overlook that and become loving adversaries. NO personality conflict that’s offset by intense physical attraction and results in lots of hate sex that gradually leads to the real thing. And thankfully, NO simple misunderstanding that could easily be cleared up by talking (those kinds often make the characters seem sort of clueless for me). Nope. None of those. This is the real deal. Two guys with a legitimate “I hate you because of what you did to me” reason to be enemies. No easy fix kind of hate here! And I loved that.

Since I knew these guy’s background from prior books, I just couldn’t imagine how the author would manage to move those two to a place where they could trust and love one another. Heck, I couldn’t even foresee how she’d make me like one of the characters given what I knew of his past. But she did both. Believably and well.

While the plot and action moved along at a satisfying clip, the gradual change in the relationship between Luka and Damon was built on plausible reasons that weren’t based on physical attraction. I enjoyed the natural development of an emotional bond and the slow formation of a tentative, but fragile trust that made it possible to move past hate. But when the past came back to bite them in the ass, could that trust stand up? The way they built that final bridge, an integral piece of the overall story arc, felt natural and right.  A unique and exceptionally well done take on the enemies to lovers trope.

In this series overall, the world-building is complex and exceptionally detailed. While there’s a complex overall story arc running through the series, each book focuses on a new main couple and how their involvement moves everything forward. But past characters aren’t dropped. Nor do the guys from previous books  just make random cameos like in some series. They continue to play their own important roles in the overall arc and to grow while still remaining in character.

Which leads me to mention a favorite character of mine ever since book 0.5, the ever-mysterious Draven. The more I know of him, the more intrigued I am and the more I want… well, more. A few of the scenes he had in this book have me absolutely chomping at the bit to learn more about that illusive man. Mysterious, smart, scheming, a bit broken… rather reminds me a bit of Laurent in Captive Prince. And just like with him, I absolutely cannot wait for more Draven.

The cover by Chinchbug shows Damon with the red crystal artifact and aptly represents this story. Also I’d never noticed until recently when a bundle of the first four came out that each cover fits side by side, half faces with the next. Nice touch.

Sales Links:   ARe | Amazon | Buy It Here


Book Details:  

ebook
Published January 27th 2016 by Mythe Weaver Press (first published January 2016)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesGuardians of the Pattern #4.0

Guardians of the Patterns Series (with links to BJ’s reviews):

Guardians of the Pattern is a science fiction series in which the line between science and magic blurs. In the galaxy-spanning Federation, psions are still fighting for basic human rights. Some worlds adopt a live-and-let-live policy, but on others, psions are hunted down and murdered because the public fears their psychic talents. When ancient weapons of mass destruction are unearthed on a planet populated by primitive nomads who still believe in magic, psions may be the Federation’s only hope for survival.

Can the people of these two very different cultures come together to prevent disaster? Or will the Federation’s hunger for power trigger a psionic chain-reaction that has the potential to threaten all of humanity?