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

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sales Links

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

Barnes & Noble – paperback | Kobo | iBooksGoodreads 

Book Details

Ebook, 244 pages

Edition Language:  English

Published:  February 17, 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN:  978-1-63533-404-3

A Paul B Release Day Review: Love in the Line of Fire by Michael Murphy

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Rating:4.5 out of 5 stars

love-in-the-line-of-fireSpecial Agent Jonah Pratt heads the security detail for First Gentleman Dr. David Hammond.  Basically his work is his life.  His private life, what there is of it, is just that, private.  Nobody in the Secret Service knows he is gay except his supervisors and one agent he began with years ago.  Protecting the husband of the first gay president comes first in his life.  Or so he thought until an assassination attempt on his protectee changes things.

Benji Campbell is a student at Georgetown University.  Having served a couple of terms in Iraq, he has been trained to handle dangerous situations.  Having been in the Middle East for most of the past ten years, he has hardly had time to find a one night stand, let alone something long term.  When someone starts taking shots on campus, his training kicks in and subdues the shooter.  What does he get for his trouble?  He gets punched in the jaw by a Secret Service agent.

Jonah realizes that his friend was killed in the line of duty.  Benji, having lost men in his missions in Iraq, tells Jonah that he knows what he feels and offers to listen to Jonah.  Jonah shows up one night at Benji’s apartment and gets drunk while telling his tale.  Benji feels something for Jonah but as neither have had any real experience in dating, things start awkwardly.  However, the two men find a groove and things are going great until Benji has a flashback in a restaurant.  Benji feels that Jonah needs someone whose head is screwed on right.  He also realizes what it is like now that he is the one waiting for someone with a dangerous job to come home at night.  His fears come true as there is another assassination attempt on the First Gentlemen.  He must find out if Jonah is alright but will he be able to?

I found this book more enjoyable than the Michael Murphy’s previous book The President’s Husband, which shares some of the same characters.  The slow developing romance between Jonah and Benji worked well as neither man had been in a relationship before.   After Benji has his panic attack in the restaurant, his sense of foreboding seems to telegraph future events in terms of the second attempt on the First Gentleman.  You can almost feel what every spouse or partner of a law enforcement official goes through every day they send their love one to work.  I thought that David Hammond worked better in a supporting role rather than as a primary character as he was in Husband.  Having read that book does provide some insight into his actions in this book.  However, Love can be read on its own. 

The cover art by L. C. Chase is outstanding.  It has images of Jonah (in a suit you find Secret Service agents usually wear) and Benji (in a muscle shirt with dog tags around his neck) in the top half of the cover with a photo of the National Mall on the bottom half. 

Sales Links

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Book Details

EBook, 200 pages

Edition Language:  English

Published:  January 23, 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN:  978-1-63533-207-0

A Paul B Review: Beautiful Goodbyes (The Connelly Chronicles #2) by N.J. Nielsen

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

beautiful-goodbyesRay Connelly and Christopher “Viv” Vivvens Connelly are living their life with their extended blended family.  Ranging from Ray’s grandmother Catherine down to the toddlers, life is full for the two men.  However, they wish that they could have one day without some stress invading their lives.  From finding Viv’s brother Declan to the custody fight over Jaime’s boyfriend Bear, life has been chaotic the last several months.  All told, taking care of ten “children” along with balancing work and school takes a lot of work for the two men.

Ray and Viv are most worried about their adult “children” who are really siblings that they are responsible for.  Girly is having relationship problems with Dan, who happens to be interested in Girly’s brother Nate.  When Girly breaks things off with Dan, Dan runs to the family retreat to have time to think.  Declan was found with Nate in a house where the “landlord” decides to take rent out on the young men living there by having sex with them.  This prompts the family to establish a safe house for young men who have nowhere else to turn.  Viv meanwhile has turned the running of his club over to the older children while he concentrates on running the Connelly business and going to university to further his education.  Ray contents himself in managing the household with five youngsters, one of which seems to never be able to shake off ear infections.  The men must also deal with someone from the past who has not learned his lesson yet that he and alcohol do not mix. 

This wonderful family story is the second in the Connelly Chronicles series.  With such a large, blended family, I will admit I was a little lost at times having not read the first book in the series, which is now on my to be read list.  I had a bit of a difficult time figuring out exactly which character belonged to which branch of the family for a bit.  But in the end it really did not matter as it is never a case of yours or mine but our family.  While Ray and Viv form the center of this extended family, its heart and soul is Catherine.  Always seemingly one step ahead of things, she is always there with sage advice, even if the recipient does not want it.  Ray and Viv obviously love each other and their large family and are learning how to deal the different personalities within it.  They feel that if life could just let them breathe for a day or two without the seemingly constant drama, things would be just a bit better.  But they keep marching on, trying to make their family as happy as possible given the relationship dynamics in the family.

The cover art by Posh Gosh has our two protagonists above superimposed above a view of an Australian coast.  It is a fitting cover for the book.

Sales Links

Pride Publishing

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Book Details

EBook, 237 pages

Edition Language:  English

Published:  October 2016 by Pride Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-78651-485-1

Series:  Connelly Chronicles

  • Family Connections (Connelly Chronicles #1)
  • Beautiful Goodbyes (Connelly Chronicles #2)

A Paul B Review: Gyrfalcon (Taking Shield #1) by Anna Butler

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

gyrfalcon-by-anna-butlerMany centuries have passed since a part of Earth’s population has settled on the planet Albion.  It has only been just over a century since the war with the Maess started.  While the population of Albion deals with fighting the war, the Maess use drones to do their fighting.  In fact, no one has ever seen someone from Maess.  The creepiest thing about the drones is that as the war continues, the drones begin to look more and more humanoid. 

Against this background, Shield Captain Bennett tries to negotiate his life.  As part of the reconnaissance unit of the war effort, his mission is to get in behind enemy lines, find information about the enemy and if possible, destroy outposts to cripple the enemy’s operation.  Not bad for an academic whose family has had a long line of military service.  But the fact he is not in active duty in the military and the fact that Bennett is gay and in a relationship with a man almost twice his age has caused a rift with his father.   Add in that his partner for the last seven years is tired of Bennett going off on dangerous missions and not satisfied with his academic position makes life tense for Bennett.

Called in from his break after his last assignment, Bennett must once again go behind enemy lines.  When his own starship gets called to replace a damaged vessel, Bennett is transferred to the dreadnaught Gyrfalcon.  Not only is the dreadnaught probably the wrong type of ship for his mission, its commanding officer is none other than his father.  His hope is to keep things civil until the end of the mission.  Then there is flight Lieutenant Flynn who captures Bennett’s attention.  Flynn is not only cocky, but has the flight skills to back it up.  A love them and leave them type guy, Flynn sets out to make the Shield captain his next conquest.  That is if this mission doesn’t get them both killed first. 

The world Anna Butler has created is both simple and complex at the same time.  Set several centuries into the future, Albion is made of Earth refugees.  The governmental order has ten national governments and one planetary government.  There is a pantheon of gods that are worshipped but they are not discussed in detail.  What was meant as a simple expression of friendship was taken as an act of war by the drones of the Maess.  Then there is the life of Bennett.  His home life is screwed up in all different ways.  He would like nothing more than do research but knows he needs to contribute to the war effort, even though it’s not the type of help his father expects of him.  He has been with his partner Joss for seven years but he begins to have feelings for Flynn that he hasn’t had for Joss in a long time.  This is a great start to this series.

Cover art by Wilde City Press is outstanding, brands the series and is a eye-catching cover.

Sales Links

Wilde City Press

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Book Details

EBook, 317 pages

Edition Language:  English

Published:  February 18, 2015 by Wilde City Press

ISBN:  978-1-925180-84-8

Series:  Taking Shield

A Paul Review: The Wolves of Daos 5 by Rebecca James

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

the-wolves-of-daos-5-by-rebecca-james“As difficult as it was to wrap his mind around, Michael couldn’t deny that it all felt like the truth.  He was half-alien, living in an alien civilization, mated to an alien, had an alien inside of him, and evidently other aliens were trying to kill them.  In other words, his life was now a bad sci-fi movie”

Luckily for us readers, The Wolves of Daos 5 is a well-crafted science fiction novel.  Let’s start with the main characters.  Michael has believed he was human all his life.  His mother died in childbirth.  His father left when he was six.  He was raised by his maternal grandmother according to his mother’s wishes.  Through his life, he has suffered from social anxiety.  At his grandmother’s insistence, Michael goes to college but lives outside the city in a cabin in the woods so he does not have to deal with the other students in a dorm. 

Quinn is an alpha werewolf out on a run with a couple of his betas.  He smells what he knows is his mate on the wind.  He goes to investigate.  He sees a young man trying to repair a roof in a driving rain storm.  He howls at his mate, who is startled and falls off the roof.  Quinn goes to check on the man and bring him in the cabin.  When the man wakes up, Quinn tells him that not only is Michael his mate, but also an omega werewolf.  Michael disbelieves the story he has been told as a symptom of a concussion.  That is until Quinn morphs into his wolf.  Michael asks for time to process this and Quinn agrees.  Thus begins Michael’s journey into what he terms a bad sci-fi movie. 

I found Michael charming as he navigates into this alien world into which he is brought into by Quinn.  As with anyone new to a society, he makes occasional social faux pas.  The whole checking out another man’s crotch as a way of greeting just puzzles Michael.  Michael is also introduced to Ezzy, another omega who must be somehow related to Lucy Ricardo.  The schemes that he drags Michael into makes him comment that he shouldn’t be his Ethel.  Author Rebecca James builds an interesting world where Daos 5 is actually superimposed on Earth’s reality through magic.  One of the more interesting beings in the book is that of the doctor that is taking care of Michael.  People who are averse to slimy things will know where Michael’s apprehension with the doctor comes from.  This is an excellent start to what I hope will be a long series of books.

The cover by Brandyjo Newton is gorgeous.  It fits the book well.

Sales Links

Rebecca James | Amazon | Smashwords | ARe

Book Details

EBook, 195 pages

Edition Language:  English

Published:  September 24, 2016 by Rebecca James

ASIN:  B01M0WFAUV

A Paul B Review: Third Mate (River Wolf Pack #3) by Rebecca James

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Third MateThe third book in the River Wolf series is crafted into a well written episode of what could be a popular soap opera.  Ms. James has expanded the role of minor characters from her previous books while still weaving in the major characters from them as well.  If you are looking for romance, jealousy, triangle romances, office politics and strong family ties, this book has it for you.

The main focus of the book is the romance and friendships between Leo, an alpha wolf shifter trying to get ahead in pack hierarchy, Sam, a rogue omega wolf who lost his pack due to hunters, and Foster, a coyote shifter who has gotten separated from his pack.  Leo really does not want to be bothered with taking on an omega as a mate.  However, his hormones seem to be telling him otherwise when he is around Sam, the rogue omega he has been assigned to assimilate into the pack.  Sam meanwhile enjoys his friendship with Foster while secretly wanting Leo.  But Sam thinks Leo is into Foster.  Foster is under the assumption that Leo lusts after Sam and is trying to do everything to get Sam to realize it.  If he cannot have the hunky alpha wolf, he wants his best friend to have a shot at him. 

Meanwhile Stone is causing all sorts of trouble in the pack, as usual.  He is trying to mate as many pack members as possible and has his eyes set on Sam.  Jax is beginning to realize that he will never want to convert to a werewolf and fears his time with the pack second David is coming to an end.  Elsewhere, pack members are grumbling that First Alpha River and his half werewolf First Omega Josiah had twin girls six months ago, the first girls to be born to werewolves at least in recent memory.  River ignoring the complaints have only made the matter worse.  While the main antagonist in the werewolf-human congress is gone, relations between the two species are still tenuous at best.  Can River keep his new family and his pack from forces both inside and outside the pack?

I love the characters in this series.  Josiah being half were and new to the pack leads to his continued insecurity.  His focus as lead omega, his mate and his young girls are the only things that ground him.  But they also feed his insecurity because of the looks he gets.  Sam and Foster are trying to make new starts for themselves but some inside the pack do not like strangers, whether were or human.  Foster still longs to find his true mate.  This affects his relationship to not only Sam and Leo but also to the pack as a whole.  The decisions made at the end of the book serve as a conclusion and a new beginning for the men (and girls) of River Wolf pack.  I highly recommend this book and the previous books as well. 

The cover by Written Ink Designs serves the book well.  It has three shirtless men on the top half while a pack of wolves dominates the bottom half.  The only quibble I have with the cover is that one of the main characters in the book is a coyote shifter.  I know wolves and coyotes probably would not peacefully coexist in the real world, but there might have been a way to represent Foster’s other half.

Sales LinksJMS Books | ARe | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords |Bookstrand | Kobo | iTunes

Book Details:

ebook, 176 pages
Published July 16th 2016 by JMS Books
ISBN139781634861205
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series:  River Wolf Pack

First Omega (River Wolf Pack #1)

A Paul B Review: Enemies of the State (The Executive Office #1) by Tal Bauer

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars       ★★★★★

Enemies of the StateEthan Reichenbach is the lead agent in the President-Elect’s Secret Service detail.  He expects to spend the next four or eight years being shadowing the man just elected to live in the White House.  What he did not expect is to become the new President’s friend. Nor did he expect to develop a crush on the man in the first few months after they move to Washington. Doing so would break so many Secret Service rules and would be grounds for dismissal.  Not to mention that the President is straight.  This breaks Ethan’s personal rules of never getting involved in a relationship and never falling for a straight man.

Jack Spiers has spent the fifteen years since his wife’s death in combat in public service.  Focusing on veterans and their families, he has held several posts in Washington.  Having been elected President should be the pinnacle of his career.  But having lost his wife a long time ago, Jack finds the office lonely.  He turns to his lead Secret Service agent for friendship, which Ethan is hesitant to give at first.   However, as their friendship develops, Jack is surprised when one night Ethan kisses him.  To say that Jack is surprised would be an understatement.  As the two put distance between them, Jack still wants Ethan to be his friend.  But Jack begins to realize that he has feelings for Ethan as well.  He wants to find a way to make this work.

Against this backdrop, Jack is still President.  He must deal with a world that has basically gone to hell in a handbasket the last ten years.  With China and Russia both occupying countries and the Islamic Caliphate causing trouble both in the Middle East and around the world through terror attacks, Jack has his hands full.  However, the real trouble might be right under Jack’s nose.  An American general is working with agents in the Middle East to bring about even more instability to a region already at war.  As Jack works toward bringing peace to the world, there are others who are trying to insure that he does not succeed.  Ethan must work to protect the man who is not only the President but also his lover.

In order for a political thriller to work, the premise behind the book must work.  Set approximately 10-30 years in the future, Enemies of the State describes a world that could possibly exist at that time.  The Islamic Caliphate (ISIS/ISIL) has grown bolder with the passage of time, as has Russia with their land grabs.  The English, French and Germans are battle weary after numerous terrorist attacks.  Into this world, Jack must try to bring all sides together to prevent the start of World War III.

The other part of a good political thriller is the romance.  I loved the slow building romance between Ethan and Jack.  Ethan, the gay Secret Service agent, knows that a relationship with Jack is wrong on so many levels.  But are the signals the President is sending him real?  Jack is alone in the White House and needs a friend.  What could be wrong with that?  They begin to learn about each other as they work through their own problems with this relationship.  I look forward to see where the next book goes with both this relationship and the various subplots that are left unresolved.

The cover art by Aria Tan shows Ethan and Jack above the Washington skyline.  It is a fitting cover for the book.

Sales Links:   NineStar Press | Amazon |  ARe

Book Details

ebook, 324 pages
Published February 15th 2016 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781911153337
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series:  The Executive

Enemies of the State (The Executive #1)