A MelanieM Review:The Deafening Silence (The Yakuza Path #4) by Amy Tasukada

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

An unproven alliance. A broken promise. A mafia boss must shed blood to secure peace…

Nao Murata is on the verge of brokering peace between his syndicate and the rival Mafufgumi mob. To seal the deal, he’ll need to pick up Russian prostitutes to appease his newest ally. When the exchange goes sour, both sides draw blades and Nao has no choice but to care for a blood-soaked enemy. If the man doesn’t make it through the night, Nao and his crew will pay with their lives.

Outnumbered and stranded in enemy territory, Nao is forced to fight his way out before the Mafufgumi Godfather takes the deal off the table. As his wounded enemy’s heartbeat slows, Nao must act fast or condemn his syndicate to a brutal war.

The Yakuza Path: The Deafening Silence is the third book in a series of Japanese mafia thrillers. If you like twisty action, authentic settings, and a touch of gay romance, then you’ll love Amy Tasukada’s pulse-pounding series.

Since my first introduction to Nao Murata in the bloody and absolutely brilliant first story in this series, Blood Stained Tea, I’m almost confounded by my deep emotional involvement in the welfare of someone who is admittedly a murderous psychopath, one who’s barely contained rages have seen him want to spill the blood of dozens, often by his bare hands or any implement nearby.

But this is Japan, centuries old with ancient traditions and a culture to match. All built with such subtle nuances and  layers that can shield or hide behind.  Just as its many characters  demonstrate with their personalities.  Tasukada clearly loves and understands Japan in all it’s natural and historic beauty to the gritty darkness of the Yakuza underworld.  It has all  figured in greatly in this series as both the foundation, setting, and emotional framework for it’s characters.  Kyoto, Nao’s personal passion can stand in as another character all its own.

All those layers are built into the labyrinth personality of Nao as well.  Part of the reason for his murderous rages and psychotic breaks?  That can be found in the horrendous death of his first lover, perhaps his only love, at the hands of a rival gang boss.  It broke him, and whatever way he mended was not rational.  Of course, it doesn’t help that he was the son of the rival Yakuza gang and was already familiar with a brutal way of life.  But the dichotomy here is that the author shows us repeatedly another man.  One who loves his cat, and his tea, and who once wanted only to flee with his lover….

That is the one still seen occasionally, one the reader is still privy to his thoughts, when the rages are quiet.  Nao is a narrative tour de force.  Scary, memorable, everchanging, especially since he become the head of the family.  He needs to navigate the Korean crime families constant infiltration of Kyoto, manage his Yakuza’s many businesses and shaky alliances, all while reporting to the very top of the Yakuza boss who doesn’t trust him.  All while his mind seethes and surges like a red tide within him calling him to kill.

And at his side is another character who has shown incredible growth over the series,Aki Hisona, Nao’s personal secretary.  Aki loves Nao, a terrible fate as everyone who has cared for Nao has died, horribly. The reverse has also held true.  Everyone Nao has loved has died as well.  Nao has become convinced that the city of Kyoto has killed them.  A jealous mistress indeed.

This is not a romance.  Don’t even begin to look for one.  This is a brutal, bloody, gritty tale of crime, murder, culture, and a Yakuza crime family you can’t turn away from, starting at the top.

Amy Tasukada writes so beautifully, so skillfully here that just a twitch, a slip in a conversation sets off an avalanche of foreboding.  Everyone here is playing a game, some are merely good at it, some are masters, you have to read the story to find out who is playing the long game.  There is betrayal, untold amounts of bloodshed, and complexities beyond belief.  I expect nothing less from Nao and his gang and from this author.

I was astonished at Aki.

The author informs us at the end it will be a while until the next release as she wishes to “get it right”.  She has never, ever, gotten it wrong yet.  I would wait years for the next in this series if I had to.  It’s troubling, brilliant, and there’s no way I can predict the path going forward.  For any of them.  So yes, I’m obsessed.  So hopefully it won’t be terribly long for the next installment, maybe end of next year.

I absolutely recommend this   story and all the others in the series but they must be read in the order they were written.  Line them up like the narrative finds they are, and then devour them.  Just don’t expect any romance, unless it’s Nao’s love for Kyoto and even that comes with it’s own layer of pain and angst.

Cover art by Natasha Snow.  I’m in love with these covers.  Simple, bloody, perfection.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Buy Link


The Yakuza Path Series


Book #1 – Blood Stained Tea – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Better Than Suicide – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – One Thousand Cranes – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 228 pages
Published December 1st 2018 by Macarons & Tea Publishing
ASIN B07KKFK1XB
Series The Yakuza Path #4 setting Hokkaido, 2015 (Japan

Blood Stained Tea

Better Than Suicide

One Thousand Cranes

The Deafening Silence

J. Johanis Brings Sex, Dragons, and Darkness with Slash OP Series: Toy Soldier #2 (Character Interview, Excerpt and Giveaway)

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Slash Op by J Johanis 800x1250

Slash Op (Toy Soldier #2) by J. Johanis
Release Date: February 29, 2016
Publisher:  Self-Published

Goodreads

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to  welcome a different perspective on J Johanis’ new novel, a video conference with author J. Johanis and character character, dragon insurgent leader, Zeki Shaytan.    Welcome to our blog, JJ and Zeki, this is a first for us…

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Video Conference Character Interview with dragon insurgent leader, Zeki Shaytan

JJ: Thank you so much for meeting with me Mr. Shaytan. Though I was hoping we could meet face to face, I understand your concerns with security. I want to start off asking you about your rank and responsibilities in the dragon insurgency.

Zeki: I’d be glad to tell you, but first I need to make one thing clear. There’s no insurgency in the dragon territory! When the imperialists Earth Forces colonized our home planet, they slaughtered millions of dragons. Then they brought some of us here to Earth and put us in reservations. Since our population has grown, we’ve moved out in the surrounding areas. It’s called the dragon district because we’re the only ones living there. So, the fact that we govern ourselves and defend against Earth Forces aggression does not make us insurgents.

JJ: Okay, well can you tell me more about the conflict?

Zeki: Earth Forces continues to harass us. They come into our district and conduct assassinations and kidnappings, so when we fight, it’s to defend ourselves. It is our right and duty to kill any Earth Forces soldier that dares enter our territory.

JJ: This is my first time hearing the dragon perspective, so there is something that I find difficult to understand. If every dragon in the district can shift into a full sized dragon, don’t you have an advantage over humans? Why would you even need guns or explosives? Plus, how would it even be possible for Earth Forces to kidnap a dragon?

Zeki: There’s a variety of reasons. First of all, Earth Forces have developed armor penetrating bullets. So in our dragon form, we’re a larger target. As for capturing dragons, the imperialists have a long history of drugging and raping dragon captives, which they do because their sperm keeps our kind from shifting. Additionally, the Earth Union is responsible for developing the Persuasion drug in order to use it against the dragon population. Since Persuasion makes someone crave sex so bad that they can’t go without it, dragon’s injected with the drug become easy targets.

JJ: If that’s true, it’s unfortunate. Well, I wish I had all the answers, but I hope that you all can find a way to live together peacefully.

Zeki: That’s not going to happen. We will exterminate the human race just like they exterminated us. They took our planet, so we are going to take theirs!

JJ: Right, well, thank you so much for the interview.

Purchase it at All Romance | Barnes & Noble

Blurb

The White House has ordered the execution of a highly sensitive covert operation in dragon-occupied territory. Though a Slash Op has a zero percent survival rate, the commanding general is forced to enlist his most prized officer for the task.

Major Gideon is embarking on his first mission in the dragon district. Yet Gideon has hardly recovered from all that Drago made him endure. For the past three months, Gideon has been plagued with dreams of dragons terrorizing him, but his dreams have gradually turned into sexual fantasies. Despite coming to terms with his longing to have Drago in bed, Gideon cannot suppress his desire to beat Drago’s face in. When Gideon is called for a mission in the most dangerous district on Earth, what freaks him out the most is the prospect of seeing Drago again.

Content Advisory: Graphic violence, dragon sex, & non-con.

Excerpt

Gideon squeezed his dick through his jeans and groaned. How the hell was he going to handle seeing Drago the next day? Gideon had been dying just thinking about him.

When he opened his eyes, he spotted a familiar face moving through the crowd. Sergeant Talon, in skintight jeans, a black tank top, and sporting a military haircut was walking straight for him. He was hotter than Gideon had ever seen him before. Gideon rose to his feet as he approached.

“Hey, Major,” Talon said, taking Gideon’s hand and pulling him into a hug. Talon smacked Gideon’s ass and stepped back to check him out. “You’re so fucking hot!”

Gideon’s face warmed. Talon was out of line, but it was what he’d grown to expect from him.

“Uh, okay…” Gideon said, stepping to the side in an attempt to put more distance between them, but Talon put his hand on the wall, preventing his retreat. Gideon furrowed his brow, wondering what kind of game he was playing. During their captivity, Talon had always taken liberties. When Stella said the first man to make Gideon come would get to fuck him, Talon had gone down on him like he’d meant it.

“You know, I heard you were returning to Fort Hood, and I was hoping I’d find you here,” Talon said, pushing Gideon’s back to the wall. Gideon opened his mouth to protest, but before he could say a word, Talon slid a hand down the front of Gideon’s jeans and grasped his erection.

“What the…?” Gideon’s protest was cut short when Talon’s hot lips pressed into his own. Gideon groaned into Talon’s mouth, but inside he was screaming. This was wrong! Talon was his soldier—he couldn’t let him do this. He tried to pull back, but Talon held him in place, jerking him harder and faster while deepening his kiss. Gideon felt his climax coming, and before he could collect his thoughts, his body flushed with heat and he came in Talon’s hand.

Gideon broke their embrace, struggling for breath while his body quaked. What the fuck was he doing? Everything had happened so quickly, yet he had no desire to push Talon away. He needed this. Talon’s rough hands on him, forcing him to his will.

Title: Slash OP
Series: Toy Soldier #2Slash Op 3D both large
Author: J. Johanis
Length: 95 pages
Genre:  M/M Dark Erotica, M/M Sci-fi

About the Author

J. Johanis writes m/m dark erotica and enjoys creating worlds that are myth-based or futuristic.

Author Links

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | FACEBOOK PAGE | TWITTER | PINTEREST
GOODREADS | BLOG | NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP

Slash Op TOUR BANNER

Giveaway

One winner will receive a $30.00 Amazon gift card and five more winners will receive an ebook copy of Drago Star, book one in the series. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.Drago Star - Book #1

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Slash OP Blog Tour

29 February – The Novel Approach, Attention is Arbitrary, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

1 March – Jena Wade, TTC Books & More

2 March – Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Scott Coatsworth

3 March – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

4 March – Love Bytes

7 March – Book Lovers 4 Ever

8 March – Divine Magazine, Hearts On Fire Reviews

9 March – Diverse Reader

10 March – MM Book Escape, Emotion in Motion

11 March – The Dark Arts

A Lila Review: Pretty Human by Kayleigh Skye

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

 Pretty HumanSeeking absolution for his past in a fiery death, a young space force pilot crashes his ship on a desert planet.

 When Ellis Ligoria, King of Xol, witnesses a space ship hurtling to the planet’s surface, he rushes to the scene of the crash and joins the search party for survivors. As night descends, a strange compulsion leads him to the site of an underground city. Here he rescues a badly injured Jem. During his recovery, it is discovered that Jem is part Xolan. Not only that, but he’s a genetically submissive variation called a Xolani. Ellis has no desire to care for a Xolani but cannot resist his desire for Jem. Taking him under his protection, he brings him home to his family.

 Desperately wanting this new life, Jem claims to be a solitary Vagabond, a loner without family or home. A man nobody wants or is looking for. Safe for the first time in his memory, Jem has hopes for a happy future. He is falling in love with Ellis and adores his new family. All he wants is to live a quiet life as Ellis’ consort, but as his secrets sink him deeper and deeper into a prison of lies, he knows that he cannot hide his true identity forever. Marrying Ellis is a dream come true, but he’ll never escape the brutal man he is running from.

 Soon called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice, Jem must fight to stop a powerful monster bent on revenge

 Pretty Human is a hard book to read. It’s agonizing from the very beginning. All the events are wrap-up in darkness and only little rays of light show through the story. It’s not until the end that the characters find some redemption. The story does have a HEA, but it cost them a lot to get there, and we don’t get too much time to enjoy their happiness.

 The main plot is described well in the blurb, and it stays on point throughout the story. The secondary events, however, are all over the place. The story is somehow linear, but we get events from Jem’s past weaved in the dialogues and as flashbacks that take complete chapters. They aren’t hard to follow, but they bring the reader out of the story. There are many twists and turns, mostly wrongdoings against Jem, taking place during the book.

 The first twenty-five percent of the story was confusing. I had to re-read some passages to get back on track because of the amount of information provided and the cruelty of some of the events. After this, the book had a better pacing.

 The author did an excellent job creating a world for her characters to live and other planets in the galaxy to interact with the book events. We get to see a difference between humans and the many other alien species, as well as their technological capabilities and everyday activities. There’s enough information, sometimes too much, about the surroundings to be able to feel like part of the story’s setting. We get to see what they do and enjoy their awe about it.

 The story has great characters with great qualities and real relationships. There’s only one character, who played an important part of the story, that only gets mentioned quickly and we don’t get to see the complete implications of his relation with Jem, but the reader can infer. Ellis family took a central part in their relationship and helped Jem find himself and the love he longed for. Their support is an important component without being invasive.

 The antagonist in the story is a true villain and even when a softer side of him is shown, it’s not enough to hope for him to have a happy outcome. As the blurb mentions, the man Jem is running from is brutal and the scenes are very graphic and accurate. The reader feels for Jem as if they were experiencing the pain with him. And the inaction displayed by one of Jem’s relatives is heartbreaking.

 Now, to Jem and Ellis. I loved Ellis, most of the time. I like how much of a dreamer he was and how much of a connection he got with Jem from the get-go. And I especially enjoyed how he learned to love Jem. I really like that Jem was thirty-three-years-old by the start of the story. His life story is the main reason for this book, and we get to see more than one side to him. There’s more to him than a Vagabond or a Xolani. Jem is a complicated being, whose growth we get to be part of. He’s indeed an interesting character, stronger than any other I had read about before.

 Don’t get me wrong, the story is well-written, and it’s worth reading. You just need to take the time to read it. It’s not a quick and easy to read all at ones. This story needs to be pay attention to, it has details that would be significant as the events develop. I think, it’d be a great story to get as an audiobook.

  The cover goes perfectly with the story– from the handsome human to the world build and the colors & elements described in the story.

 Sale Links: Pride | Amazon | ARe (not available)

 Book Details:

ebook, 255 pages
Published: Early download – January 26, 2016; General release – February 23, 2016, by Pride Publishing
ISBN: 9781786513762
Edition Language: English

A Free Dreamer Review: Song of the Navigator by Astrid Amara (Double Review*)

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5 ★★★★★

Worst Possible Birthday: Being sold into slavery by none other than your lover.

Song of the NavigatorTover Duke’s rare ability to move anything instantly across light-years of space makes him a powerful, valuable asset to the Harmony Corporation, and a rock star among the people of the colonies. His life is luxurious. Safe. Routine.

He has his pick of casual hookups passing through Dadelus-Kaku Station. His one brush with danger of any kind—the only bright spot in his otherwise boring life—is Cruz Arcadio, a dark-haired, hard-bodied engineer whose physical prowess hints he’s something much more.

When a terrorist abducts Tover, hurling him into a world of torture, exploitation and betrayal, it’s with shattering disbelief that he realizes his kidnapper is none other than Cruz. As Tover struggles to find the courage to escape his bondage, he begins to understand the only way to free his body, his mind—and his heart—is to trust the one man who showed him that everything about his once-perfect life was a lie.

Warning: This story contains descriptions of extreme violence and assault. It also contains graphic sexual depictions. It also has a lot of birds. And pirate movies from the future. And romance.

 I didn’t read the blurb all that carefully and thus went into this expecting something much lighter. Song of the Navigator is definitely not light. At times, it’s very dark and violent. The slavery here is real. Tover really does get tortured and there’s no redeeming the slavers. I was positively surprised, to be honest.

Cruz sells Tover into slavery. To me, that seemed like something you can’t possibly forgive anybody and thus a credible romance between Cruz and Tover seemed completely impossible to me. The author works with that expectation. Tover is furious with Cruz, hates him, even, and spends a lot of time thinking about how he’ll kill the man he once loved. I was right there with Tover, absolutely hating Cruz. There is no excuse for betraying anybody like this, even a casual hook-up. But Astrid Amara managed to convince me, and Tover, to slowly forgive and understand Cruz. It took time and there was a lot of hurt for a very long time, but it worked out eventually. That was incredibly well done. Somehow, I went from hating Cruz to really liking and understanding him.

Tover was instantly likeable and I found it very easy to relate to him throughout the many things he experiences. At first, he’s carefree, a bit superficial and also quite vain. He’s cocky and self-assured, which is to be expected. Improvisational navigators are revered. There’s even a bunch of people who think he’s a god. That’s the world he’s lived in since he was a little child. But then he gets kidnapped and sold into slavery. He’s tortured and treated like a tool. Suddenly his world comes crashing down and Tover changes. What follows is some really excellent character building.

The world the author created in this book was intriguing, with lots of creative ideas and enough world building to satisfy even me. The world building was cleverly woven into the plot, without any info dumping whatsoever.

The plot was addicting and full of surprising twists and turns. The end was unexpected and very satisfying. Overall I just absolutely loved Song of the Navigator. If you’re looking for some good sci-fi with real world building and don’t mind a bit (or a lot) of violence, then I’m sure you’ll love this. If you’re looking for a fluffy romance with a dash of sci-fi, however, keep looking. This is not the book for you.

Personally, I’ll definitely check out the author’s other works. Astrid Amara has some serious world building skills.

Cover: The cover by Kanaxa is great. The dark brownish red somehow really fits the tone of the story.

Sales Links:  ARe | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book details:

Kindle Edition, 224 pages
Published May 26th 2015 by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
ASINB00SB49GJ8
*Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Note: This is the 2nd Review of this Book: When F. D. said she finished reading this story and wanted to write a review, I knew that BJ had already read and written her review which we posted here.  But I was curious, how would F. D. view Astrid Amara and this story?  Too dark?  I should have known better.  Consider this a double recommendation for this amazing author and novel.

A Stella Review: Red Hot – Coffin Nails MC California by KA Merikan

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RATING 3,25 stars out of 5

— Live fast. Die young. Fuck hard.—

Red Hot Coffin Nails CoverRed Jack. Rude. Crude. Horny ginger mess. In love with… himself.
Loki. Deadbeat. Volatile. Stalker. Terminally ill. Fatally in love.

When it comes to men, Red Jack has three rules. The guy has to be hot, out of town, and not up for repeats. It’s a good way to keep the gay flings far away from the eyes of his brothers in the Coffin Nails Motorcycle Club, and he will make damn sure it stays that way. When a hookup takes an ominous turn, and the sexy stranger turns up at his house, the heat is on. Loki invades his life and just won’t leave, wreaking havoc wherever he follows Jack, but getting rid of him becomes harder with every kiss. 

The world crumbles around Loki when he finds out he has cancer. As if his life wasn’t shit enough already. With only a few months left, he decides to live to the fullest and get every last wish on his bucket list fulfilled. One of those is fucking the hot bearded biker he meets the same night he got the bad news. Big, confident, and dangerous, Red Jack is all Loki ever wanted in a man. After all, he deserves one last shot at love. Who cares if Red Jack is a stubborn, closeted asshole? Loki knows what he wants, and he won’t settle for anything less. Even if it kills him. 

 

I’m a huge fan of KA Merikan work. I said too many times, I’m amazed how these two girls can write so beautifully together. This new installment in the Sex & Mayhem series disappointed me a little. There were too many little details that bothered me. First of all I can’t stand to read het sex in my m/m books and here we got a very explicit one. Moreover I don’t like hitting, and I’m not talking in general, because this series is so violent. I knew I should expect some really heavy scenes and there were some. I didn’t like the hitting between MCs, it was harder to take than those other scenes. It’s something I really can’t accept.

The style is the same, hard and harsh language, too much too many times even for me and I’m used to it, so it’s important you read the warnings. I found Red Hot crazier that the other books in the series. It’s one of the authors traits, but here the  MCs are really out of their freaking mind, not sure which one more.

The writing was really good, the characters well defined, even  the secondary ones, but in the end, I so missed a true connection between Red Jack and Loki and this little disconnection made it hard to me to love them. I pretty much didn’t care at all about them, or about Loki’s illness. Of course Loki isn’t going to die, and it’s not a spoiler I’m saying, you can’t expect otherwise. Point was to see how KA decided to resolve it. And again I didn’t like it at all, it was really messed up, unbelievable and I’d have totally appreciated something different.

I’m giving this book 3,25 stars because it wasn’t a bad book at all, I can’t skip a well written book with a well developed story. I can’t give it lesser rating . Still, it wasn’t what was I was waiting for. It left me with a bitter taste in my mouth

COVER ART by Natasha Snow. The cover is simply amazing and hot like pretty much everything Natasha does. Loved it!

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

Book Details:

Published July 16th 2015 by Acerbi & Villani ltd.
Kindle Edition, 312 pages
ASIN B011T3WKFY
Edition Language English

Themes: Outlaw motorcycle club, criminal activity, hurt/comfort, abuse, sexual orientation issues, stalking, revenge, bucket list, coping with illness, first love

Genre: M/M erotic dark romance, suspense, drama
Length: ~105,000 words standalone novel (HEA

Series Sex & Mayhem

  1. Road of No return
  2. The Devil’s Ride
  3. Stripped Raw. Coffin Nails MC California (mf)
  4. No Matter What
  5. Red Hot . Coffin Nails MC California

Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: Anchored by Rachel Haimowitz

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Anchored Riptide CoverDaniel Halstrom was born a slave, brutally indoctrinated into sex slave behavior before he even reached puberty, and then sold by his master to NewWorld Media at the age of ten. Fortunately, they wanted him for a different role and now, twenty-five years later, the handsome, blond news anchor who began his climb to fame as a field reporter is fairly secure in his role in the newsroom—or so he thinks. When NewWorld informs him that he’s been leased to Carl Whitman, a talk show host on a rival network, for the amazing sum of $6 million for the year, he’s seized by total and complete panic and frozen by fear as old memories of what it means to be a sex slave come back to haunt him. So much so, that he doesn’t recognize Carl’s attempts at being friendly and compassionate and it causes much unnecessary angst and frustration for the both of them.

Carl seems determined to include Daniel at the dinner table and as a companion while he watches television in the evenings. He doesn’t order Daniel around and fails to give Daniel the direction he’s come to expect from his masters. In fact, Daniel really isn’t capable of making his own decisions, having been born a slave and punished severely all his life for any attempt to do so. When Daniel fails to engage in any conversation with Carl, remaining mute and remote, in frustration, Carl reports his disappointment to the brass at NewWorld.

Once his bosses learn that Carl is not happy with him, they take Daniel to their punishment room. Spoiler alert. Continue reading