A Lila Release Day Review:Innocence & Carnality by J. Alan Veerkamp

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Innocence is his only currency.

The gilded cage of propriety where Nathan grew up as a member of the Deilian aristocracy became a true prison when, at fifteen, his homosexuality came to light and created a terrible scandal. His parents see only one way to preserve their reputation amongst the other noble families: fit Nathan with a chastity belt to increase his value to a potential partner and marry him off as soon as possible.

The recipient of that prize is Lord Rother Marsh Delaga III. After a hasty wedding, Rother whisks Nathan away to the strange and seductive land of Marisol, where Nathan will begin a new life, free to explore the pleasures of the marriage bed, though his life is still not his own.

But Rother’s Delaga House is a place of secrets, dangers, and depravity Nathan can scarcely comprehend. Where friends are few and peril waits around every corner, Nathan must employ all the manipulation he learned from high society, along with his talent for clockwork. Most of all, Nathan must adapt, compromise to survive, and cast off the preconceptions of his homeland.

Because only he can orchestrate his freedom, and it’ll come at a cost.

Innocence and Carnality is a work of fiction. It’s the perfect combination of drama, intrigue, rawness, sensuality, sexuality, and so much more. Nathan is the embodiment of all of these, and we get to see how he evolves from a pampered aristocrat to a man of his own. He’s a great narrator for the story. It’s easy to get lost in his thoughts, his sadness, happiness, and hopes.

This book is hard to put down. The more you read, the more you want to know. It’s hard to see all the changes coming or to try to anticipate the next twist and turn the author envisioned. The amount of detail and foreshadowing is incredible, as well as the world-build. Everything in the story was necessary.

The mixed of characters, backgrounds, and locations show the author’s knowledge of where he wanted to take the story. In every step of the way, we have Nathan. His life becomes the reader’s guide. The supporting cast is as impressive as Nathan. They all have a part to play, even when isn’t positive for Nathan, I had my doubts about Rother but had to accept that I felt for him just like Nathan. I wanted him to have an opportunity for redemption but in reality, he didn’t deserve it.

This may not be a true romance but it has enough elements to satisfy the readers need for more. Personally, I could have seen the ending go either way. I think Nathan was strong enough to rule his world on his own. This story is perfect for everyone looking for more than a cute story.

The cover by Tiferet Design goes great with the author’s depiction of Nathan. It has all his arrogance on display, as well as the aesthetics.

Sale Links: Amazon | Nook | DSP

Book Details:
ebook, 348 pages
ISBN: 978-1-64405-193-1
Published: April 23, 2019, by DSP Publications
Edition Language: English

A Free Dreamer Review: Priest & Pariahs (Centauri Survivors Second Chance Chronicles #3) by J. Alan Veerkamp

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Costa McQuillen has escaped from Earth, where being para-human—a Pariah—with tech empathic abilities is illegal, and marks him for extermination. Arrogant and standoffish, Costa is unable to trust anyone but is willing to risk everyone’s safety in his desperate effort to reach the planet Omoikane. His best solution, gaining passage on board the Santa Claus.

Arbor Kittering is the crew’s newest coding tech. Having spent a short time in prison for data hacking and falsifying government files, the Santa Claus is his last chance at a new start—if he can decipher the strange malfunctions plaguing the ship.

Eugene “Priest” Jones, the Santa Claus’s Head Pilot, is a bit of a scoundrel. Perpetually single, Priest is attracted to Costa and Arbor. In truth, he’d like to have both, but it’s clear even his grifting and gambling skills can’t make that happen.

Now as they all travel together, it appears Priest needs to make a choice before it’s too late as each of their lives intertwine with potentially dangerous and deadly consequences.

I didn’t realize “Priest & Pariahs” is actually part three of a series before I began reading it. It works perfectly fine as a standalone, though.

After reading the blurb, I’d hoped for a good SciFi story with potentially a MMM dynamic. Those were the completely wrong expectations. This book is mostly porn, with a whole lot of romance drama, and a bit of SciFi to spice things up. Needless to say, I was rather disappointed by that.

The setting baffled me. The Santa Claus seems to be a sex cruise, essentially. Only gay men are allowed, be it staff or passengers. And everybody’s having sex with everyone, pretty much, which is very much encouraged by the Captain. That seems a bit unrealistic, sexual and romantic relationships inevitably lead to conflicts and when you’re stuck on a spaceship for weeks on end, that really doesn’t seem like a good way to keep a ship running.

Costa was the most interesting of the three MCs. Sadly, he also got the least on-page time. He remained pretty flat and a lot of questions about his past were left unanswered.

Arbor was a bit annoying. I get that he was feeling very insecure, given his past. But it seemed over the top.

Priest was boring and horribly insensitive. I could have done without him. The book would probably have been much more interesting, had it been about Arbor and Costa.

The romance was quite rushed. I never really felt the spark between Arbor and Priest. Especially Priest gave me whiplash with his change of attraction. There’s a ton of relationship drama that frankly got old fast. I don’t have patience for this stuff.

What really bothered me were the very demeaning reactions to Arbor. I can see how he would draw a lot of attention in a world where disabilities are essentially non-existent. But calling somebody “dwarf” or “midget” is just not okay and it’s not funny either.

There was no world building to speak of. Maybe there was a bit more ground work in the previous books, but “Priest & Pariahs” was pretty much a porny romance drama set on a spaceship, with some other SciFi elements thrown in for the heck of it.

Overall, “Priest & Pariahs” just wasn’t for me. I’m still not a traditional romance reader and I need more than sex scenes and relationship woes to keep me engaged. As it is, the book left me cold and kinda “meh”.

The cover by Natasha Snow is a bit boring. The blue is pretty but I’m not a fan of covers with some random guy and nothing else.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book details:

ebook, Second Edition
Published September 24th 2018 by NineStar Press (first published July 29th 2016)
ISBN139781949340761
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Centauri Survivors Second Chance Chronicles #3, Ship Logs of the Santa Claus #3

A MelanieM Advent Review Day Calendar:Salvaging Claus Day (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by J. Alan Veerkamp

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

For three years, Filo has reveled in silence and solitude as the sole occupant of a space station, where he maintains the communication satellite.

Everything changes with the appearance of Luz Espina’s lifepod. Filo shares many interests with the flirtatious Luz, though Filo’s isolation has strained his communication skills. Still, Luz pushes all his buttons… and reminds him of the last man he was attracted to—an attraction that ended in disaster because the man was straight. When Luz learns Filo has never celebrated a holiday, he vows to cobble together a Claus Day celebration for them to share. But is it merely a friendly gesture… or something more?

Salvaging Claus Day by J. Alan Veerkamp is not the type of story you normally think of when you conjure up your idea of M/M Holiday Romances.  Its neither contemporary or even that romance with a touch of fantasy. No, this is straight up science fiction with an HFN ending that you sort of have to decide for yourself what you think is happening within the story.

The starting point is typical hardcore syfy.  Filo is a genetically engineered human being, designed for warfare but oddly ill prepared temperamentally for the job.  In this universe, that means he finds he has another aptitude (IT software) and follows that into a job in space.  Here he’s been living by himself since most of the previous crew left for various reasons.  The scenario is real, the descriptions of Filo and his job suitably science worthy and believable.  It feels isolated, scary, and tough.

Until you realize that Filo has a visitor on board…Lux Espina.  Luz came aboard after an accident and they’ve been dancing around each other the entire time he’s been on the station.

The rest of the small story concerns their evolving relationship, Lux helping Filo celebrate Claus Day, something a genetically modified human doesn’t understand, and watching them come together with hot sex, warm sympathetic emotions and much more.

Then the small twist appears.  Such a lovely little thing that sits there evilly daring the reader to keep processing this new thread further in their minds, extrapolating all the possible endings, unable to leave it alone at the simple way the  story closes.  At least it worked that way for me.

It irritated me in the  best way.  So yes, definitely not your typical Christmas romance, but a  terrific one just the same.  I liked it and recommend it as wonderful holiday reading.

Cover art by Paul Richmond is humorous, romantic, and fun as well as being the generic cover for the series.  Loved it.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 34 pages
Published December 1st 2017
ISBN139781640802926
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers