A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Mercs and Strippers (Ore 5 #3) by Meraki P. Lyhne


Rating: 3 stars out of 5 

This is the third book in the series, and they should be read in order. This starts right where book two ends, with Ethan and Ryder running into Ethan’s father Gregor, who is the attorney hired by the Corporation to help stop the Mob from infiltrating Ore 5’s entertainment businesses. The only reason to know this happens in space, is because the reader is told it’s in space. There is nothing science fiction about this, except the one alien creature. I kept hoping, but it just never happened. The big secret about Uncle Bob and why Ryder came to Ore 5 is revealed, which immediately becomes a red flag for a plot twist that never materializes. Was it planned for another book that isn’t going to happen? I have no idea. It’s the perfect way for the mob to get revenge. However, this book really does have an ending that feels like the series is done. The story arc of Ethan finally getting the respect he deserves from his father is complete. The theme of Ethan letting go of the past to see how people really treat him, what they really think of him, has played out.

As suspected, Brutus’s character is a surprise twist…and I think this was really not plotted out from the beginning but added later, or there is just no foreshadowing. There is plenty of foreshadowing about everything else, so it seems odd. BTW, I had no idea Brutus is black until 77% of the way into this third book. I would have liked to have known that in the first book so I could have been picturing him properly. Brutus and Hayden’s story just isn’t given any time to grow. There is a convoluted message about Brutus not wanting to date Hayden while he is a client in need of protection, not wanting Hayden to feel like it’s a quid pro quo. Yet as soon as the Corporation is no longer paying Brutus to watch Hayden, how is it any different? Hayden has no money or any place to stay except with the man who is giving him a free place and promising to protect him. Brutus and Hayden talk about contracts and their relationship in front of Ryder, Tommy, and Ethan…but there wasn’t a scene where they talk about it themselves, until after that. They are all of the sudden in a relationship after having a few breakfasts together as soon as Brutus is no longer his bodyguard. I did like the message that saving Hayden isn’t enough, that they could help the others exploited by the mob. I also liked the message that saving them did not mean stopping them from being rent boys if they wanted to–that was their choice. Safe. Consensual. Legal.

I don’t think this is an ARC, since the book was already published, so it upset me that the writing declined: “It made for a sense of important belonging in Ryder’s life. Like it gave Ethan a spot that no one had ever been able to fill out in his life.” There are many sentences like this that have mistakes like verb tenses, typos, or just feel grammatically awkward. In fact, this book seemed really long, it dragged on and could have been much shorter and have told the same story without all the repetitive thoughts. There is a heavy hand in guiding the reader through Ethan working out his insecurities and how to think about each situation. I think book one had promise, and I liked book two. I think you can read book one and stop. If you read book two, you will have to read book three for the conclusion and I’m not sure it’s worth it. Even the sex scenes are not that exciting anymore, and much is made of Ryder spontaneously climaxing on stage while dancing. I think this book needed better editing and some rewrites before it was released. I am disappointed the series got weaker, rather than stronger at the end.

The cover art is by Angela Waters. I’ve liked all the covers in this series and they form a cohesive look for the series.

Sales Links: eXtasy Books Inc  | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 306 pages
Published May 17th 2019 by eXtasy Books Inc
SeriesOre 5 #3

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Ledgers and Rent Boys (Ore 5 #2) by Meraki P. Lyhne


 Rating: 4 stars out of 5 

This is book two in a series and they would be best read in order as this starts the day after the last book ends and has an overarching plotline. The bump in their relationship has passed with Ethan deciding to stay instead of returning to Earth. Although Ethan and Ryder are now a couple, with Ethan’s insecurities, he convinces Ryder not to let people know he’s off the market, saying it would hurt his business. They are now working together, neighbors, and lovers. The inventory issues, theft, and prostitution issues have gotten even more involved than they thought. It will take Ryder’s connections and Ethan’s accounting skills to save them from a hostile takeover by the Eastern European mob back on Terra.

For an erotic romance, I actually like the plot. I’d like to see more of it. I rarely say this, but I’d like less hot sex and sweet romance, and more of the politics and alien life featured. With the addition of some new characters, like the rentboy Hayden and Ryder’s friends from outside the club, this is starting to round out nicely. Hayden is integral to the story moving forward; I’m glad he’ll be in the next book as I became attached to him. Brutus, the bouncer, is more than he seemed, so I expect his character to continue to be expanded, but this was an unseen plot twist. I am left wondering if I missed some foreshadowing from the first book.

My favorite parts about this book are the same as in the first book: Ryder dancing, the discussions of the rule of law on Ore 5, the likeable secondary characters, and Ethan and Ryder together. My criticisms are the same also. What is with the Scyphoes–poisonous sea-life-like creatures? It is obvious Ethan is going to get stung at some point. This isn’t even a spoiler, just a foregone conclusion. But, is that the only reason for this alien lifeform to exist on this planet in this story? Because that is such a missed opportunity. The first book seemed like more of a complete story, while this is a go between…with a huge cliffhanger. That made me want to stab things. The author keeps throwing in plot twists and my concern is that this will turn into a longer soap opera than I personally have patience for. I’ll give book three a try because I want to see the conclusion of this story arc.

This cover art is by Angela Waters. I love all three of the covers (so far) in this series. They match, show key characters how I pictured them, and show a science fiction background. The colors remind me of cities at night or Las Vegas–places you expect neon signs to flash, which is very fitting for the setting.

Sales Links: eXtasy Books Inc  | Barnes & Noble  |  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 242 pages
Published June 22nd 2018 by eXtasy Books Inc (first published June 15th 2018)
Edition Language English
SeriesOre 5 #2

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Concatenation (Lost in Translation #1) by Catherine Lievens


Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

Dorran finds a dead body in his new apartment building. Turns out the lead detective on the case is his ex-boyfriend Eli whom he hasn’t seen since high school, more than ten years ago. The dead guy turns out to be John, the person Dorran bought the apartment from. John’s uncle Francis had owned the apartment before he died–not too long ago either. As Dorran is cleaning out Francis’ belongings so he can move in, he starts to feel a kinship with Francis. Suddenly things are out of place and he feels like he’s being touched, but no one is there. Then, there are his neighbors, all gossips and in everyone’s business. While they may not tell the police investigating John’s death everything, they seem to want to tell Dorran. As Dorran gets dragged into the case through no fault of his own while trying to do the right thing, his own curiosity gets engaged. Eli warns him to stay out of it as it’s police business. They also have their own personal issues that need to be resolved if Eli is going to keep coming around.

This story has a lot going for it, but it didn’t quite come together for me. I felt removed from the characters and not emotionally invested in their second chance romance. There is some contradictory information as Dorran thinks about Eli and their history. The reader is told Dorran loved Eli, but his thoughts about the Eli he knew aren’t very flattering. The reader is also told Eli runs from confrontation and his problems. Yet Dorran is the one who left Eli because he wouldn’t come out. Eli keeps saying he forgives Dorran, but Eli is still bitter about this even though he admitted it was his own fault. Dorran is still beating himself up over his decision. I think this conflict as a plot point could have been better written. There is also some repetition.

The neighbors are all somewhat interesting. There could have been more done to make them be creepy, invasive, and meddling in a way the audience could treat them all with suspicion. They are all supposed to be suspects. There was a murder in the building, possibly two, and yet this is not atmospheric at all. The reader is told Dorran is upset at finding the body, having nightmares, and feels uncomfortable as the neighbors all want to talk about it. The guy is having stuff move around in his apartment! Yet, I didn’t feel that fear at all. In fact, he decides having a ghost is just fine and no big deal. I did guess who was responsible for John’s death, but the details of why are revealed only at the end. This story didn’t grab my attention or emotions as much as I had hoped it would.

The cover art is by Angela Waters. I’m not sure this conveys anything about the story. It has a noirish quality in the background and this is a who-done-it. This is not how I pictured these guys.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 168 pages
Published June 1st 2018 by eXtasy Books Inc
ISBN 1487419724 (ISBN13: 9781487419721)
Series Lost in Translation #1

A Chaos Moondrawn Review :Royal Guardian (Rise of the Symbionts #1) by Jo Tannah


Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Lando is a man genetically bred by machines for security purposes. By the age of 12, he is one of the top 20 security specialists on the planet Oryon based on his intelligence and skill. He is training to be a Royal Guardian assigned to Prince Kallen, a powerful technomage. Prince Kallen was born sickly and is dying. When unknown inhabitants of the planet Nigul sent a distress call to Oryon, they arrive too late to save anyone while the planet is destroyed. Lando finds an egg with a sentient being inside that seems to have empathic abilities. The symbiont, Bobik, attaches itself to the Prince after it hatches, healing him.

There is an eight years age gap between the Prince and Lando. While Lando is in love with his prince, he never thinks anything will come of it. Kallen has other ideas–though he waits until his 18th birthday to make his feelings known. When Kallen names Lando Prince Consort, Lord Commander Militant Cheol, unhappy with the union and the symbiont, resigns his position and leaves with fifteen thousand guardsmen. While Lando hunts Cheol, Kallen leaves for Vespa to study magical protocols for two years. Lando becomes Lord Commander Militant, security and advisor to the King. When the Prince is kidnapped and Bobik is not with him, they fear the worst. Is Cheol involved? Are there other enemies they don’t know about? Many fear the alien Bobik and Kallen is such a powerful technomage already.

Although this was slow to get going, I actually enjoyed this. The love scene is strange as Bobik is involved. Part two will undoubtedly take up the search for Cheol. Lando also found a new egg as part of a mission assigned him by the King. I expect this is how the rise of the symbionts (the subtitle) will happen. I would have preferred this to be a long novel rather than having the story broken up into three novellas. Now I have to know what happens. This was an easy enjoyable read with likeable characters, low angst, and palace intrigue.

I like the cover art by Angela Waters, which communicates the story is science fiction and shows Lando.

Sales Links:       Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 76 pages
Published March 31st 2017 by eXtasy Books Inc
ISBN 1487412029 (ISBN13: 9781487412029)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesRise of the Symbionts #1