A BJ Review: The Mermaid Murders (The Art of Murder #1) by Josh Lanyon

Standard

Rating:  4.75 stars out of 5

The Mermaid MurdersSpecial Agent Jason West is seconded from the FBI Art Crime Team to temporarily partner with disgraced, legendary “manhunter” Sam Kennedy when it appears that Kennedy’s most famous case, the capture and conviction of a serial killer known as The Huntsman, may actually have been a disastrous failure.

For The Huntsman is still out there…and the killing has begun again.

Lanyon’s writing was a excellent as ever, dragging me into plot, relationship and setting in no time flat. The mystery in this one was outstanding, and kept me guessing and on the edge of my seat. The chemistry between the two guys also grabbed me by the throat early on. The snappy pace of the mystery and the slower pace of the attraction worked perfectly together and kept me completely enthralled.

Some of the things I enjoyed about this story included the vividly drawn small town setting and its population of characters. The super creepy Rexford ghost town. The spooky mystery woven with elements of not-quite paranormal, with psychos of various types side by side with everyday normal, not evil folks who just make mistakes. The whole atmosphere of the book was so rich and palpable that it gave me that delightfully creepy, unsettled feeling that a few of my favorite movies do. And then there’s not-all-that-handsome, but big, strong, forceful, smart, legend Sam Kennedy who starts out seeming like a total asshat but slowly reveals an absolutely irresistible vulnerable side beneath the gruff exterior. Yum with a cherry on top! Jason is a perfect match for him, very distinct, struggling with his recent past, described as a “pretty boy,” but tough in his own right.

While I adored the events at the end, it had me groaning and turning the page in hopes that it wasn’t really the end. Not a fade to black, not right then! I wanted more. And no more for over a year according to the afterward notation–*heavy sigh* Darn. Josh Lanyon has a bunch of series going right now and, unlike many m/m writers who keep going when they’re on a roll, she keep starting more new one to tantalize us with rather than finishing up the existing ones.

I do love the little tie ins we find in many of them. This one is a bit related to Winter Kill, well, actually according to the afterward, book two will cover that timeframe. I am eager to read on. But hate yet another long wait ahead… hence, the lack of a perfect five stars.

Although I like the guy’s eyes, the cover isn’t a particular favorite since to me it doesn’t convey much of anything about the story.

Sales Links:  ARe | Amazon 

Book Details:

book
Published February 29th 2016 by Smashwords Edition
ISBN139781937909826

A BJ Review: Turbulence (Turbulence #1) by Lyn Gala

Standard

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

TurbulenceCorporal Jacqs Glebov is a simple soldier who wants a bunk, decent food and the company of other battle-hardened men and women who understand the realities of fighting. Instead he’s stuck patrolling a remote corner of the border with cadets straight out of boot camp. They don’t understand him, and he sure doesn’t have an ounce of respect for them.

After a field promotion, Earth sends Commander Zeke Waters to the Candiru for some practical experience in a leadership role. Instead, Zeke falls in lust with the adamantly heterosexual Jacqs. The way Jacqs fights and the way he sees the world draws Zeke closer, even if common sense tells him to walk away.

Even if they can find a way to reconcile their sexual differences, they are both still soldiers. The war will eventually take them away from each other unless they can find a way to escape the rules that have defined their lives.

Let me begin by saying that while I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by this author, no matter the genre, sci-fi is a lifetime addiction of mine and Lyn Gala’s sci-fi has become my new addiction.

Excellent world-building, perfect pacing, all around well-written. This story has it all: spaceships, action, political maneuverings, blazing hot sexy times in just the right proportion to story, AND a society in which one declares their sexuality publicly on their records (but can also change it at any time) and no one looks down on them for it (um… well, unless they are dyssexual).

But it was the characters that truly captivated me. And not only the main characters, but ALL of them were amazingly well-drawn, nuanced, and varied. We get a few strong kick-ass females, a few brainy, brave but fragile females; some wimpy milksops of both sexes, an alcoholic captain who still manages to pull his head out when needed, a hot, smart, skilled long-haired guy with a background as a pirate background (who shows up again in book two, yeehaw!), and I still haven’t gotten to talking about the awesome main characters yet!

Jacqs Glebov doesn’t think of himself as smart, but he has a simple, straight forward way of seeing things, a natural common sense, and top notch skills at his job. He was such an amazing character. None of the usual angst when he figures out after meeting Zeke, the new commander that he’s not heterosexual after all. Not entirely. I’d actually never heard of stenosexual, but it totally makes sense! I love that more than I can say. As someone who has always been attracted to people, not their gender, that makes total sense to me. I don’t understand why its so hard for folks to get that bi/pan does not mean we are sluts or we want both or we are just not ready to come out, etc. Can’t folks just understand that the equipment someone has isn’t what matters for some of us, but rather personality and/or many other attributes. I’ve had a hard time with the way many m/m books that portray bisexual/pansexual characters… so this book was like a breath of fresh air for me. I completely and totally adore Jacqs.

Not to say that I don’t also admire Zeke, the new commander. He’s a smart alpha male, an officer/leader who doesn’t let rank/authority go to his head. He’s handsome and competent, but he’s accessible, level headed, and not full of himself. He listens to his men rather than putting on airs. And he is pansexual. Double score!

This book was perfect for me, and I rarely re-read books, but I might just make an exception for this one. Oh, and one more thing this story has done to me. It’s rather made me eager to do something I haven’t done much at all over the last several years…read a M/F romance! Gasp! Because the M/F book two of this series is calling my name, folks!

The cover is hot and screams sci-fi, which I love.


Book Details:  343 pages

Published October 22nd 2013 by Loose Id

A BJ Review: The Sacrifice and Other Stories by Kim Fielding

Standard

Rating:  5 stars out of 5     ★★★★★

The Sacrifice and Other Stories by Kim FieldingA sickly man seeks recovery in a seaside cottage. 
A temple slave tends a man due to be sacrificed. 
A soldier releases a genie.

In seven fantasy short stories and novellas, men find passion with other men in the most unexpected places, and even the gravest circumstances may open the door to hope and love.

This anthology includes two brand-new short stories. In “The Sacrifice,” Rylo is a temple slave tasked with comforting a man who is scheduled to be killed in the morning. In “Chasing Away Cold,” Daku builds an ice sculpture of the god Jarli in order to ensure the end of winter. The collection also includes three novellas and two additional short stories, gathered for the first time in a single volume. “Treasure” introduces Jules, a young man who travels to the quirky seaside town of Urchin Cove to regain his health—and finds an unexpected treasure washed up on the beach. Xolani, a soldier in “Three Wishes,” picks up a small glass bottle and unleashes a surprise. Another soldier, Volos in “Guarded,” will risk everything to save Prince Berhanu. In the sequel, “Mato’s Tale,” an unassuming innkeeper gets a chance for adventure. And in “The Downs,” Enitan is unjustly banished and comes to discover that the demons he must face aren’t the ones he expected.

Join Kim Fielding on journeys through imagined worlds where magic is commonplace and romance lies just around the next bend. All royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontiers.

The Sacrifice – 5 stars

New for this anthology, and oh boy, does it ever kick this anthology off right! This is a lovely dark little gem of just the sort that originally brought this author to my attention. Rylo is a temple slave sold by his own parents. He’s chosen to give comfort to a soldier who’s scheduled to be sacrificed the following morning. The story grabbed me from the first paragraph and reeled me in. I loved it for several reasons. First off, I’m a sucker for long-haired, broken, or scarred guys and it delivered gave me that! Not only that, but in such a short number of pages, the author made me care deeply for both of these guys. I adored the dynamic between these two, the switch up between them given their sizes and role in the story. A most excellent short story that despite a very satisfying ending, still left me wanting more of these two. I will cross my fingers.

Treasure – 4.5 stars

This was previously released and written for the DRitC event in 2013. It’d been on my TBR list for a while, but I’d not gotten to it until now. I’m glad I finally did. Sickly, book-loving Julian comes to the small town of Urchin Cover for a holiday, sent by his family who hopes the sea air will improve his health. He finds that, but also so much more when a storm washes handsome Kit Archer up on his private beach. This one is like a romantic swashbuckling fairy tale adventure! There’s dragons, pirates, imps, sprites, and magic. There’s hurt/comfort, sweet that will make your teeth ache, hot sexy bits, suspense and action. It has al that and more. It didn’t drag me in quite as fast as the previous story, and there is a much slower build between the two MC, which some may actually prefer. Overall, a heartwarming story that left me feeling good.

Three Wishes – 5 stars

After soldier Xolani accidently kicks an old bottle on patrol, picks it up and rubs it to remove the dirt, a genie emerges with three wishes to grant. But wishes granted do come with a price. I won’t reveal much more about this story, as you really should experience it for yourself. It’s quite short, but it’s perfect, too. Touching and sweet and full of hope… an exquisite little story.

Guarded – 5 stars

This was previously released and written for the DRitC event in 2014. I’d already read it when it came out, but re-read to refresh my memory since it’s been over a year. Originally rated it as 4.5 stars but I enjoyed it even more the second time around so I’m bumping that up. This is another dark one, and those are my favorite kind it seems. Prince Berhanu shuns guard Volos because of his Kozari blood, but its Volos who comes for him when he captured by the enemy. This story has some brutal parts, and those who have rape triggers should beware. A story with so many of the elements I love: long-hair, hurt/comfort, UST, hot sex, sweet bits, a harsh past, and much more. The prince’s ordeal was hard to read but this story show love’s healing power.

Mato’s Tale – 3.5 stars

This is the sequel to Guarded in which we get to see more of Mato, the lonely but brave innkeeper that assisted Vollos and Berhanu. This was released as a freebie some time ago but I hadn’t yet got around to reading it. While I didn’t really connect very much to the couple in this, I was glad to see Mato and his mother both find their someone special and for Mato get his adventure. Also pleased to find out that Volos and Berhanu were to wed. All around a bunch of lovely HEAs.

The Downs – 4 stars

A dark fairy tale set in a fascinating dystopian world where those convicted of a crime are taken from the city, across the Reach and pitched over a cliff into the Downs where they are told they are being given to the demons for their pleasure.

Entian, a criminal who has been wrongly judged wakes to find himself in the tender care of a scarred giant named Rig. Both of the main characters were intriguing, and their backstories are very developed for a story of this length.This story had many elements I enjoy: dark, dystopian, hurt/comfort, scarred/broken characters, and a sweet love story. This one isn’t only a romance, but a fable-like tale of betrayal, second chances, and vengeance. Little truths sneak out from its pages.

Chasing Away Cold – 5 stars

New in this anthology. Daku creates an ice sculpture of the god Jarli which his tribe will sacrifice in order to ensure the end of winter. Oh my, what a perfect little parable. Had the tears falling down my cheeks as I read. Am I an emotional sap? Maybe, when reading Kim Fielding. Sigh. What’s the magic more powerful than Gods… love, courage… and what this says to me, hope. This is a perfect little gem of a story, and just the right ending for this anthology.

If I figure out the exact stars for this anthology based on the numbers, it comes to something around 4.57. But I’m giving it a big, firm five stars, because very rarely have I ever enjoyed an anthology so completely. Each story is a gem for different reasons, but together they are an impeccable whole.

COVER: I really admire drawn covers done specifically for a story, and this cover captures the feeling of the first story, The Sacrifice, perfectly. Love the dark in the background to the portrayal of Rylo with his attire and tattoo, and long hair, which always, always grabs my attention. But also that outstretched hand that invites the sacrifice in for his last night of pleasure but at the same time invites us readers in to join them. Worked for me!

Sales Links:  Amazon | Buy It Here


Book Details:  

Kindle Edition, 404 pages
Expected publication: November 27th 2015
ASINB0180W71RY
edition languageEnglish404 pages

Published November 27th 2015 by Kim Fielding

A BJ Review: Claimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts (Claimings #1) by Lyn Gala

Standard

Rating:  5 stars out of 5   ★★★★★

Claimings, Tails and Other Alien ArtifactsLiam loves his life as a linguist and trader on the Rownt homeworld, but he has ignored his heart and sexual needs for years. He won’t risk letting anyone come too close because he won’t risk letting anyone see his deeply submissive nature. For him, submission comes with pain. Life burned that lesson into his soul from a young age. This fear keeps him from noticing that the Rownt trader Ondry cares for him.

Ondry may not understand humans, but he recognizes a wounded soul, and his need to protect Liam is quickly outpacing his common sense. They may have laws, culture, and incompatible genitalia in their way, but Ondry knows that he can find a way to overcome all that if he can just overcome the ghosts of Liam’s past. Only then can he take possession of a man he has grown to love.

Wow, this story blew me away. Not only is it extremely well-written but also totally original and unique! It was so such fun reading that I read it all the way through in one day without putting it down! I know some people do that regularly, but I seldom can manage it. But watching these two very different men learn to communicate on intimate issues was so thoroughly fascinating.

This is a sweet, gentle romance with a unique take on submission/dominance that I just adored. I enjoy sci-fi and one of my fav tropes is alien lovers—however, so very often the alien’s anatomy disappointingly similar to human. That’s one of the things I adored about this book–Ondry is truly alien in that his physiology is completely different from our. Thus their lovemaking is unique… tender, sensual, but also hot.

But don’t read it just for that. The plot is outstanding and tightly drawn, the love story is sweet and beautiful, the characters are nuanced and easy to connect to. And the structure of Ondry’s world and social system is outstanding and complex. Ondry’s Rownt world is a matriarchal society governed by older/wiser women called “grandmothers.” The way the males are treated as their seed is um… taken, is quite harsh. But overall this is absolutely stunning world building, just beyond awesome! For anyone who enjoys hot m/m sci-fi, this is highly recommended.

The cover has all the elements to mark it as sci-fi as well as its hot (and I love the tail!)

Sales Links:  Loose id LLC | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:  

ebook, 104 pages
Published January 29th 2013 by Loose Id
original titleClaimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts
ISBN139781623001926
edition languageEnglish
seriesClaimings #1

A BJ Review: Dark Space (Dark Space #1) by Lisa Henry

Standard

Rating:  5 stars out of 5   ★★★★★

Dark Space coverBrady Garrett needs to go home. He’s a conscripted recruit on Defender Three, one of a network of stations designed to protect the Earth from alien attack. He’s also angry, homesick, and afraid. If he doesn’t get home he’ll lose his family, but there’s no way back except in a body bag.

Cameron Rushton needs a heartbeat. Four years ago Cam was taken by the Faceless—the alien race that almost destroyed Earth. Now he’s back, and when the doctors make a mess of getting him out of stasis, Brady becomes his temporary human pacemaker. Except they’re sharing more than a heartbeat: they’re sharing thoughts, memories, and some very vivid dreams.

Not that Brady’s got time to worry about his growing attraction to another guy, especially the one guy in the universe who can read his mind. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s just biochemistry and electrical impulses. It doesn’t change the truth: Brady’s alone in the universe.

Now the Faceless are coming and there’s nothing anyone can do. You can’t stop your nightmares. Cam says everyone will live, but Cam’s probably a traitor and a liar like the military thinks. But that’s okay. Guys like Brady don’t expect happy endings.

Lovely sci-fi story. Intriguing premise, wonderful writing that dragged me right into the action and didn’t let me go. Awesome world-building. But overall it was the characters that blew me away. Such nuance! The telepathy between the two main characters was handled beautifully. Cam’s face and reputation had drilled into Brady’s mind. But everyone had given him up for dead. Now he’s not only back among the living, but connected to Brady. In his head. Heart beats synced. But really… imagine having to share your head with a sexy, poster boy soldier emerging from a traumatic experience that you yourself could never have endured.

For me, this story showed so clearly how two people often react so completely differently to the same experience. How they handle it and deal with it in ways that the other may even find hard to understand. While one person may come through an event mostly unscathed and may even look back and see the positives that came from it, another may come away severely damaged.  Cam came through the traumatic events with Kai-Ren and the faceless, but Brady clearly would not have been able to do the same.

Despite the dark elements of this story (prior non-con for both main characters, scary, no terrifying, aliens, and even the death of secondary character) and the dismal dystopian world in which it’s set, the relationship that develops between these two MCs is amazingly sweet and their sex nurturing as well as sizzling hot. The angst was handled perfectly.

For those who don’t believe in gay-for-you, give this one a try. It might change your mind. That element was excellently handled. I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that Brady didn’t have any lengthy self-hating, but analyzed and accepted what he was feeling. Heck, every element was excellently handled. This was a stunning story—I couldn’t have asked for anything more. Well, yes, I could. I want more! And luckily, the author seems to have heard our cry as book two, Darker Space, is out now. Look for my review here soon.

The cover set’s the theme perfectly as m/m sci-fi… the darker, muted colors work perfect for the novel’s tone. The model is exactly how I had pictured the main character Brady.

Sales Links:   Loose id LLC | ARe | Amazon | Buy It Here


Book Details:

ebook, 216 pages
Published December 4th 2012 by Loose Id, LLC
original titleDark Space
ISBN139781623001124
seriesDark Space #1

Dark Space
Darker Space (Dark Space)

Cover Reveal for Leythe Blade by Jaye McKenna (cover reveal and excerpt)

Standard

LBlade_600x900

Leythe Blade by Jaye McKenna
Book Release Date: October 26, 2015
Cover artist: Chinchbug

A Guardians of the Leythe Universe story

 Leythe Blade Goodreads Page

Jaye McKenna is here to reveal her gorgeous new cover for Leythe Blade, a new story in her Guardians of the Leythe Universe series.  Luckily for us, a mini interview ensued.  Welcome, Jaye.

  • Fans who’ve read more than one of your series have noticed that they actually all tie together. You recently posted a timeline on your website, but could you talk about how the series fit together? How does Leythe Blade specifically fit in with the others?

The Guardians of the Leythe series, which at the moment contains only two books: Human Frailties, Human Strengths and Human Choices, take place in the earliest period of Aion’s history that I’ve written about so far, a thousand years or so after humans first arrived on Aion. These stories take place in the Westlands, the lands west of the mountain range called the Dragon’s Spine.

Burn the Sky takes place a few hundred years after the Guardians of the Leythe stories, in the years leading up to the first cataclysmic event in Aion’s history, the Wytch War, a conflict between the Westlands and the Kingdoms of Skanda. The story is set in Altan, a small mountain kingdom located east of the Dragon’s Spine.

Leythe Blade takes place perhaps another thousand years after that, when the Wytch War is a distant memory and the Middle Kingdoms have arisen in the lands that were laid waste to during the Wytch War. Leythe Blade takes place in the Middle Kingdoms, and I have a fantasy trilogy planned that takes place only a few years after Leythe Blade. The characters from Leythe Blade all have important roles to play in the Kingmakers trilogy, so you’ll be seeing them again.

The Guardians of the Pattern series takes place some six hundred years after Leythe Blade, after a second cataclysm has pretty much destroyed the population of Aion.

  • How many more books will be in the Guardians of the Pattern series?

The Guardians of the Pattern series will be six books long, so there are three more to come. Wildfire Psi, book 4, should be out in early 2016.

  • Will there be a sequel to Burn the Sky? Who will be featured?

Yes, the Burn the Sky sequel is my next project. I have already outlined the story and I’m planning to write the first draft for NaNo (National Novel Writing Month) in November. This story will feature Kian, Garrik’s close friend from Burn the Sky, and you’ll be seeing Garrik, Ilya, and Prince Jaire again, as they all have important roles in this story. It will take place in the late winter/early spring following the events of Burn the Sky.

LBlade_600x900

Blurb

Sasha is a healer forced to take on the role of a warrior when his clan is attacked. Trapped in his caravan, the only weapon he can lay hands on is Ryka, the sword that was once wielded by his great, great grandmother. To Sasha’s horror, the blade takes control of his body and turns him into a ruthless killer. Worse, Ryka sets in motion an irreversible process that will bind them together for life — if he can survive the bonding.

Jace is a mercenary soldier, charged with protecting his commander’s brother, Eredwyn, on a journey through the Middle Kingdoms. When Eredwyn’s sometimes-prophetic visions lead them to the dying Sasha, Eredwyn insists that they must save him.

As Sasha struggles to come to terms with Ryka and his need to avenge his clan, Jace finds himself torn between his orders to protect Eredwyn and his growing feelings for Sasha. Can Jace walk the fine line between duty and desire, or will Sasha’s plans for vengeance lead all three men to their deaths?

Excerpt

Jace’s cheeks burned until he was nearly halfway to the lake, and the words he’d said to Sasha wouldn’t stop bouncing around in his head.

I’d like to see you dance, Sasha.

Where the hell had that come from?

No, he knew where it had come from. Right from his heart, without passing anywhere near his brain. He would like to see Sasha dance, but he’d never meant to say so, and certainly not within Sasha’s hearing. The young man had quite enough to deal with as it was.

Still, it pleased Jace to see him beginning to take an interest in things. The air of grief was still there, but since the day they’d taken Sasha to the massacre site, there had been a subtle change in him. He’d started to help with some of the chores, and even joined in when Jace and Eredwyn talked, offering the occasional quiet comment.

Sasha still whimpered in his sleep, though, and Jace wished he could wipe the sadness from those mesmerizing violet eyes, and put a real smile on Sasha’s face.

No, he couldn’t deny — not to himself, at least — that he would very much like to see Sasha dance. And laugh. And he’d most definitely like to see the man smile…

Shaking his head, Jace continued on down the path until he heard something large moving near the shore. He stopped, crouched down, and peered through the underbrush. In the spaces between the leaves, he could just make out a light-colored shape by the water’s edge.

He crept forward and breathed a quiet sigh of relief when the shape resolved itself into a horse, not a soldier or a predator. The white mare stood with her head lowered to drink. Her mane and tail were rough and tangled, but there were a few scattered braids and beads left in both. An Ajhani horse, then, which meant she belonged to Sasha.

“Easy, lady, Easy.” Jace used the same soothing tone he used when speaking to Rakki as he approached her. “I’m not going to hurt you.”

The mare turned her head and gave him a look that Jace chose to interpret as sorrowful.

“Been out here on your own for too long? Would you like to come back with me, pretty one? I can get you fed and get all these dried weeds brushed out of your hair. Come on.”

She snuffled at Jace and allowed him to guide her down the trail toward the shelter. In the stable, he settled her in the empty stall next to Rakki and prepared some feed for her. After she’d eaten, he brushed her down and groomed the tangles and remnants of beaded braids from her mane and tail.

“That’s better,” he said as he stood back to look over his handiwork. “You look like a proper lady now.”

When Jace entered the shelter, Eredwyn looked up from his seat on the floor, where he was sorting bundles of herbs. “That was quick. Did you find us some dinner already?”

“No, something better than dinner. Come, Sasha, come see.”

Sasha gave him a questioning look, but got slowly to his feet. “What did you find?”

“I’ll show you.” Jace led him around the back of the shelter to the stable.

Sasha’s face lit up when he saw the mare. “Dena!”

A long string of soft, lilting words followed. Jace understood none of it, but the mare apparently did. She nickered softly, and when Sasha drew close, she hung her head over his shoulder. Sasha put his arms around her neck and reached up to scratch her, fingers tangling in her blond mane.

“I found her having a drink on the shore,” Jace said. “I wondered if you two might know each other.”

Sasha turned his head toward Jace, still smiling. “She was my Da’s favorite. He’d ride her up and down the caravan line, making sure everyone was all right. She’s the sweetest of all of them.” He frowned then, fingers still working the mare’s mane. “I don’t suppose you’ve seen any more of them?”

“No, I’m afraid not.”

“She would have been tied separately. Da—” Sasha stopped for a moment, and Jace saw his throat working. “He… he kept her by the wagon when we were camped, in case he needed her in a hurry.” He turned back to the mare and murmured softly to her in Djhara.

Jace hung back, taking the opportunity to observe the man. Sasha was slender, and not particularly tall, although he was perhaps a finger’s width taller than Jace. It was his coloring that fascinated Jace, though. The golden skin, violet eyes, and pale, silver-blond hair were an unusual enough combination to make him worth a second — and perhaps a third — look.

Unaware of Jace’s scrutiny, Sasha continued crooning softly to the mare. Jace could have listened to the sound of that deep, husky voice wrapping around those lyrical sounds for the rest of the day.

He didn’t get nearly that long. All too soon, Sasha pulled away from the horse and approached Jace. “Thank you, Jace,” he said softly. “This… it means so much to me. Thank you for bringing her to me.”

Mesmerized by those beautiful eyes, Jace could only stare. When he realized he was staring, he looked away quickly, face flushing. “I… what else would I do?” He swallowed hard, then added quietly, “It’s good to see you smile.”

Sasha didn’t say anything, and when Jace looked up again, his attention was on the mare.

“With her along, we won’t need to limit our baggage quite so much,” Jace said, more to fill the silence than anything. “Maybe… maybe you can pack some of those pretty clothes you set aside this morning.”

When Sasha turned his head and gave him an unreadable look, Jace muttered a curse under his breath and fled.

He should have just kept his mouth shut, and wished he had.

 

 

About the Author

Jaye McKenna icon

Jaye McKenna was born a Brit and was dragged, kicking and screaming, across the Pond at an age when such vehement protest was doomed to be misinterpreted as a “paddy”. She grew up near a sumac forest in Minnesota and spent most of her teen years torturing her parents with her electric guitar and her dark poetry. She was punk before it was cool and a grown-up long before she was ready. Jaye writes fantasy and science fiction stories about hot guys who have the hots for each other. She enjoys making them work darn hard for their happy endings, which might explain why she never gets invited to their parties.

You can contact Jaye McKenna at     Goodreads| Twitter| Website

A BJ Review: The Complications of T (The Actor’s Circle #1) by Bey Deckard

Standard

Rating:  4 stars out of 5

The Complications of T coverStuart Leandro is a movie actor who has been taking roles for money rather than art and has recently faced that his marriage is breaking up. One night on the road in a foreign country, he winds up drunk in the gutter. Lucky for him, there’s someone’s there to rescue him before his face ends up plastered all over the tabloids. But is his rescuer male or female? His drunken senses aren’t at all sure, especially after a semi-coherent kiss enters the mix.

When he wakes in a strange apartment the next day, his rescuers gender still isn’t clear. Wary of the motives of the reclusive stranger, Stuart nonetheless can’t deny his curiosity or his attraction. He’s surprised when beneath the mystery, he discovers someone whose life has actually been intertwined with his own for years. But Tim White is unlike anyone Stuart has met before.

Tim’s simple act of kindness soon leads the two men into one of the most intense encounters of both of their lives—but are these two very public individuals willing to weather the media storm their extraordinary relationship will cause?

This story is a bit different than what I’ve come to expect from this author; less dark, lighter and most definitely sweeter. But I enjoyed it immensely.

Stuart and Tim’s romance moved from a strong attraction to sex that sent sparks flying and quickly coalescing into insta-love. It was Stuart’s first gay experience, yet he took it very much in stride. I admired his acceptance and open-mindedness, and the hesitant but determined way he dealt with discovering Tim right alongside experiencing emotions and attractions that were new to him. The sex was light rather than detailed, which actually disappointed me since unlike other trans books I’ve read, it was clear that Tim didn’t eschew taking pleasure by using his remaining female parts.   

After its breakneck start, the relationship slowed down (actually came to a rather screeching halt) at Tim’s request. And I actually liked that. I was enthralled with the hopeful direction it was heading, and then it ended.

Yep, it ended way too abruptly for my liking. I wanted to experience those absence-made-the-heart-grow-fonder moments, wanted their physical reunion right there on the page, wanted to know if the reactions of others that they’d both worried over and dreaded turned out as expected, and if so, how they handled it together. Wanted more.

Sometimes life is all about being in the right place at the right time. Tim White was there just when and where Stuart needed him to be. How he came to be there wasn’t quite clear to me. Coincidence? Or was Tim stalking his favorite actor?

Despite all those nit picks, I couldn’t rate this less than four stars, because I enjoyed Tim’s character so much. His wit, intelligence, self-assurance and strength and low angst level were perfect. And his reclusive lifestyle rang very true to me. And then there’s this:

“You want to know if I have a penis?”

“Yeah,” I confessed, a little embarrassed.

“I do!,” said Tim, but when he saw the look on my face, he just tugged my hair again with a playful smirk. “I was, however, unfortunately born without it, and seeing as what science can offer really, and I mean really, doesn’t appeal to me, I’m forced to keep it in the top drawer of the bedside table. Why? Do you want to see it?”

So yeah, I love Tim, and really, really hope there will be a second book that’s from Tim’s point of view… just as in the F.I.S.T.S. series we got the second from Murphy’s. Please, with puppy dog eyes, can you give me that dear author?

The lovely and sensual cover does this story justice. Love it.

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


Book Details:

ebook, 53 pages
Published August 20th 2015 by Bey Deckard (first published August 18th 2015)
ISBN13 9780994790026

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Author Discovery: BJ on Author Lia Black

Standard

authdiscorange copy

BJ on Author Lia Black

With the plethora of competent m/m authors around these days, we fans have a daunting variety to choose from. I’ve sampled and enjoyed a book or two from hundreds of authors, but there’s only a handful whose books I just can’t seem to get enough of. Their books call my name the second they’re released. Lia Black is one of those authors.

She’s published five m/m novels to date, and I’ve devoured every single one with relish. All were five star reads with one exception that I rated 4.25, not because of the writing… oh, wait a minute, maybe it was the writing. Because what else was it but her brilliant writing that got me so thoroughly invested in (or should I say in love with?) the two main characters that I just couldn’t stand it when they were separated for a portion of the book? The frustration of that separation made me want to scream. And that right there is a key to why she’s one of my favorite authors.

Lia Black’s storylines suck me in; her characters fascinate me; and her writing always works its way deep down into the recesses of my neglected, dusty, middle-of-nowhere heart and plucks at my emotions. Hard.

Lia’s writing is a bit hard to pigeonhole. Her goodread’s author page states that her work is fantasy, sci-fi, LGBT romance. But that doesn’t quite tell the whole story. You see, Ms. Black does tend to live up to her name. There are dark parts in each and every story I’ve read by this author. Sometimes very dark indeed. So, if you want light and fluffy with a cherry on top, you should probably look elsewhere. But if you’re okay with a story that can make you gasp, that can smash your heart into the gutter and step on it, then ever so tenderly and exquisitely rip it to shreds before putting it back together—read on. You won’t be disappointed.

This author’s characters are sometimes broken yet not angsty, glamorous yet sad, weird yet beautiful, extreme and even gross yet still awesome and cool in their own right. Some of them even have long hair (well, what can I say, long-haired men are a thing for me so I had to mention that!)

And her writing makes me feel… a lot. Sometimes that means quivering in disgust and wanting to roll into a ball like a pill bug and hide but being too entranced to put the book down and do it. Sometimes it means aww moments when my heart wants to melt in my chest cuz I’ve just fallen in love with a character she breathed such life into that I have a clear picture of them in my head, not of a generic sexy man that could fit for a character in any number of stories I’ve read, but someone I feel like I could pick out in a crowd… one I could pick up my paint brush and paint a portrait of except I usually don’t, because I wouldn’t do him justice since I paint dogs and not people.

Lia Black’s stories leave emotional paper cuts on my heart. They’re by turns exhausting, frustrating, horrifying, amazing, fascinating, and touching. But always riveting, and always, in the end, healing. Deliciously dark stories that somehow light me up inside.

I think this excerpt from my review of Fidelity sums it up well: “Not for the faint-hearted, one particular scene at the beginning took my breath away with its grisly, shocking cruelty. But amidst the bloody battle scenes, there is humor, small joys, and sweet tenderness. Amidst the dismantling, I was put back together. The ride to get there was gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, and painful to read. I absolutely loved it.”

So if you’re looking for something different, something to expand your boundaries or to touch on places that maybe you haven’t explored, something to make you feel and not always in a fluffy, sweet way—look no further. Read Lia Black. And if you need help picking which of her books to start with, check out the links to my full reviews below.

Oh, I have one other thing to say about her writing, and I really hope she’s reading this. I desperately need to read more.

About The Author

Lia Black tends to do everything the hard way; beginning with being born backwards into the world and now Lia Black Iconraising a teenage daughter by herself in conservative Upstate NY. Her career choices are no less extreme, including occupations of fine artist, computer geek, firefighter, and mortician’s assistant— just to name a few.

A fellow Author describes Black’s mind as “a glorious kaleidoscope of f*ckeduppery”; she loves the challenge of writing about people who probably have no business being together on the same planet, and who occasionally deal with questionable sanity/morality. It’s fun to glue broken things together and try to make something interesting and new.
–She especially loves broken boys who have lots of fascinating pieces.

Her characters often suffer through the worlds she creates for them, which leaves them a little cranky and sometimes less lovable than others in a romance genre. Yet Black swears that someday, “there will be comedy.”

Follow Lia Black at:  Goodreads | Website | Twitter |

BJ’s Reviews of Lia Black’s Novels

Spiretown coverFidelity coverA King's Ransome coverWhere The Willows Won't Grow cover

Goodreads Link                          BJ Review Link

A King’s Ransom                              BJ’s Review

Spiretown                                           BJ’s Review

Fidelity                                               Link to BJ’s Review

Where Willows Won’t Grow          Link to BJ’s Review here

A BJ Review: Astounding! by Kim Fielding  

Standard

Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5

Astounding coverCarter Evans’ dream was to found a magazine that would change the world. He’s been editor-in-chief of Astounding!, a popular spec fiction magazine, for many years… but things aren’t going well. Now Carter lives in a dumpy apartment with little funds, few friends, an estranged family, and dreams dying with a magazine. Depressed and drinking too much, he snaps one night when he receives yet another terrible story submission from a writer named J. Harper. In a drunken haze, he sends out a scathing rejection letter.

As regret settles in, Carter sets out to find the writer and apologize. J. Harper turns out to be John, a sweet man who resembles a ’50s movie star and claims to be an alien. Carter doesn’t believe John’s delusions, but that doesn’t keep sparks from flying between them. The two lonely men form a powerful connection and Carter invites him along on a road trip with two other friends. But Carter is in for a surprise when he discovers that John isn’t as delusional as he’d thought.

A fun and unusual read, with some nice touches of humor and the well-written, flowing prose that I’ve come to expect from this author. The story drew me in very quickly and while there were a couple sections where it read slow for me, these didn’t detract too much from an overall excellent story. The characters were wonderfully drawn. Carter wasn’t perfect, had a bit of softness around the middle at the start and did some stupid things—in other words, someone very easy to relate to. And John was just so sweet, as well as strong and determined which we see later in the story. The sparks that flew between them was hot, but also tender and sweet. And at times, bittersweet, because Carter and John encounter some road bumps along their journey.

Beyond just John and Carter, this story had some intriguing characters. Freddy, also known as Fred C. Morgan, is a famous writer, Carter’s ex-boyfriend, and also his closest friend. Now in a relationship with Keith, the love of his life, Freddy is an awesome character—the best friend we’d all love to have and a wonderful example of someone who is rich and famous but hasn’t let it go to his head or change him. Loved how the side relationship between Freddy and Keith evolved in this story. And the backstory of Freddy and Carter founding the magazine together and going on to become close friends after drifting apart. Also loved that while Freddy was awesome in so many ways, he wasn’t any sort of Adonis. In fact, this quote I loved sums up not only Freddy’s looks but also his personality perfectly. It also illustrates how skillfully this author seems to be able to do that in so few words:

“Freddy looked the same as he had for years: short, round, hairy. A particularly nasty reviewer had once referred to him as a troll who baited his slavering followers by murdering their favorite characters. Freddy had written in response, I am deeply offended by your assertions, sir. I identify as a gnome.”

There are also guest appearances by three other couples: Travis and Drew from the Speechless series, Karl and Ery from Dry Bones, and William and Colby from The Tin Box. I’ve read the first but not the other two, and the small taste of them makes me want more. I admire how the author weaves her stories together in what seems to be such an effortless and natural way.

The story had many things I enjoy: sci-fi, characters that are writers or artists, and road trips. The road trip element is well-done, taking us to various cool places like Yosemite but never letting the trip overwhelm the story. I also found it interesting how the author related John ‘coming out’ as an alien to coming out as gay.

In fact, in most of the books I’ve read by this author, she brings out little truths in unusual. I’m beginning to think of her as the fable-master in my head. Just one of the little things I loved in this one was how when we love someone, they tend to rub off on us in most unusual and unexpected ways. Or as it was said in the story: “when two people fall in love, they exchange a little of their energy.”

There are exclamation points after each chapter title in this book, and I’d say the story earned each one. Plus, the ending was wrapped up beautifully.

The cover by Paul Richmond is perfect the way it harks back to the old-style sci-fi book and magazine covers. All the elements, the RV, the stars, the guys and the retro feel blend wonderfully!

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

Book Details;

book, 210 pages
Published June 26th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN13 9781634762212

Book Details:  210 pages
Published June 26th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press