A Caryn Review: Safety Protocols for Human Holidays by Angel Martinez

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Highly recommended as the cutest, funniest bit of holiday fluff I’ve read in a long time!

This sci-fi story is set on an interspecies ship traveling in the distant universe.  For the most part, there is only one of any individual species on the ship.  There is only one human, Jen, and the captain is concerned that she is broken, because she is not “behaving within previously observed species parameters”.  The captain is concerned about the safety and well-being of everyone on the crew, and so he assigns Security Officer Raskli, a Growlan, to investigate the change, to see if she can identify the problem, and fix it.  Why was Raskli chosen for this task?  Because the ship’s doctor said “you are both members of lactating placental species”.  Ha!

Raskli’s investigation into humans, and Jen in particular, is laugh out loud funny.  One of her first observations:

[Humans] ate everything.  It was a wonder than any other life on the planet had survived.

When she thought she had sufficient background, Raskli decided that she should become “friends” – a somewhat unusual concept to ritualistic Growlans – with Jen, and looking for a friendship ritual, followed the interspecies manual instructions for “dating”:

The initiator of the date will sometimes bring a small offering to the domicile of the acceptor.  Angiosperm blooms or boxes of sugar-and-cocoa-bean globs appear to be traditional for one-on-one dates, while offerings of substantial, meal-oriented food or fermented drink are more common for group dates.

This was the most adorable little meet-cute you can imagine.  Raskli’s heart was in the right place despite her awkwardness, so Jen accepted her friending request and the two proceeded to get to know and like each other despite the huge cultural differences.  Since the story is told from Raskli’s point of view, we get the outsiders perspective of humans and their quirks, and the author did a fabulous job of making fun of all the crazy things we do.

When Raskli was able to identify that the holiday season was exacerbating Jen’s feelings of homesickness and loneliness, she decided to put on a ship-wide celebration, and started researching.  In addition to our Western standards like Christmas, Hannukah, and Kwanzaa, she also found references to solstice, yule, saturnalia, rohatsu, and others, and decided to just use them all.  In addition to the “traditional large sacrificial plant” that was “large, possibly radially symmetric, sloping limbs with many sharp spikes.  Looks fierce”, there were “shining spheres” and “glitter snakes”.  I was having so much fun reading how the decorations that have become so commonplace to us might be described by an alien who has never seen anything like them before!

The romance between Raskli and Jen was perfectly sweet.  No other word to describe it!  The story was just the right length, the various alien crew members all existed in almost perfect harmony, and at the end of the story I just couldn’t stop smiling.  I’m going to keep this around to re-read when I need a little happiness!  Brava, Angel Martinez!

Cover art by Freddy MacKay was exactly how I pictured Jen, sitting in front of a window that looked to be straight out of Star Trek:  The Next Generation.  Very appropriate!

Sales Links: Mischief Corner Books | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, First
Expected publication: December 9th 2017 by Mischief Corner Books, LLC
Edition LanguageEnglish

Love Vampires & M/M Romance? Check Out Alex’s Surprise & Saving Alex (Unexpected Series #1 & #2) by Chris McHart (excerpt & Giveaway)

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Alex-Print-Cover1

Alex’s Surprise & Saving Alex (Unexpected Series #1 & #2) by Chris McHart
Series should be read in order
Release Date: Alex’s Surprise – June 26

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Publisher: Alex’s Surprise – M/M Romance Group on Goodreads. Saving Alex – Chris McHart
Cover Artist: Meg Bawden of Bawd Designs

Sales Links:  Amazon DE | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon US

Saving Alex Sales  Link:  Barnes and Noble |Alex’s Surprise Sales:  Barnes and Noble  | Amazon Print (both)

 Alex’s Surprise is a free story! You can download it on Goodreads, Amazon and ARe

STRW Author BookSynopsis

Alex's-Surprise---pdf-cover---jpeg2Alex’s Surprise: Alex wanted a night of hot passion with Gerome, but he gets more than he ever bargained for. His life will be changed forever in a world where he’ll be thrown in jail— or worse— for being pregnant.

Alex’s best friend, Sam, has been acting strange ever since he met Alex’s one-night stand, but now Alex needs help in order to hide, and Sam is his only hope.

Saving Alex: Not only is Alex pregnant, something punishable by jail time, but Gerome, the father of the baby, is a vampire Saving Alex2aaprince. When strangers invade Alex’s home and kidnap him, he doesn’t know who is responsible, if he’ll ever see the man he loves again, or even get to see the child growing inside him.

Considering himself the father of his lover’s child, Sam has a hard time standing around and letting others plan Alex’s rescue. But when the Prince and his trackers find an important clue, the race to save his beloved is on. Now all he can do is cross his fingers that the scheme they’ve devised will work.

When Prince Gerome receives ransom demands, the instructions are clear: mate a complete stranger or he’ll never see Alex or the child he carries again. Will he be able to convince his newly intended to help, or will those seeking to dethrone his family win this evil game of blackmail?

Caution: Contains a kidnapping, unwanted matings, a scheming king, way too many people that follow their own plans and a highly pregnant Alex (mpreg)

 

  • Goodreads Link
  • Pages or Words: Alex’s Surprise – 27,000 words, Saving Alex – 33,000 words
  • Categories: Alternate universe, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Mystery, Paranormal, MPREG

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

Alex zapped, annoyed, through the channels. He lounged on the couch, bored out of his mind. Sam, his best friend and roommate, had taken up the recliner, reading something. Maybe Alex should do that as well? Watching TV wasn’t going to keep him entertained, since nothing caught his interest, no movie, no documentary, nothing. He zapped on, but stopped at a news report showing a pregnant man. He sat up a bit straighter. What was up with that?

The man’s stomach was swollen, showing he was at least five or six months along. His hands were cuffed in front of his baby bump and tears were streaming down his face. The camera showed a courtroom full of people, slowly sweeping over the interested men and women watching the process.

Alex turned up the volume. What had the man done? And why was he pregnant? He’d heard it was possible, but he’d never encountered someone who’d actually experienced that.

The reporter’s voice came up. “Robert B. was tried for violation of the racial laws. Today’s sentencing was long awaited. No one had heard of pregnant men for years, and there had been uncertainty about the actual jurisdiction in such cases. B., who is, according to doctors, six months along, was sentenced to five years in jail. His child will be put in an orphanage until he is released. The fathering sire has no legal claim over the child. He will be able to visit his child, but he can’t get guardianship over him or her. The child and the carrier will be outcasts of society after that.

“B. broke down after hearing the judge’s decision. Even though it’s forbidden, he clearly hoped the old laws would be overturned. Instead, the judge confirmed that male breeding between the races is still forbidden and punishable. With that, back to the studio.”

The picture changed, now showing a woman in a suit, smiling at the camera. “Thanks to our reporter in Berlin for a summary of today’s events in court. Now to the weather…”

Alex turned down the volume, muting the forecast. He turned to Sam, who had apparently put down his book to watch the news as well. “Did you hear that? How can they judge someone because he got pregnant?”

“I have no idea? Maybe because it’s wrong? Are these children dangerous? I’ve never met one, or heard of one, for that matter, but I guess there’s a reason it’s forbidden. The whole pregnant man thing is so strange, no wonder it’s against the laws. Who knows what’ll come out of such breedings.”

Alex frowned. A new life was precious, not wrong. He couldn’t imagine a child being dangerous, even if it was mixed. Children born from interracial relationships were allowed, as long as one of the parents was female and the other male. Why this didn’t apply to children born from a same-sex relationship was beyond Alex. Even if it was unusual for a man to be pregnant, he shouldn’t be put in jail for something like that.

This was the first case in a long time, according to the reporter, but he’d not given a reason why the laws were upheld. “It’s still wrong to judge someone for getting pregnant.”

“I don’t know. Like I said, there must be a reason why it’s forbidden.” Sam picked up his book again, ending the conversation.

Alex took a moment to study his friend’s features as he buried himself in yet another sci-fi book. He was quite handsome with his blond, unruly hair and his strong jaw. The gaze of the piercing blue eyes that never seemed to miss anything flew over the page, pulling Sam into yet another outlandish adventure.

Maybe Sam was right. There had to be a reason it was against the law. Alex was kind of sorry for the man who now faced five years in prison, but then, the man knew what he risked with getting pregnant in the first place.

Alex settled back and focused on the TV again. Sam was not in the mood to discuss the matter anymore, his mind clearly on the story he was reading. As if they’d need sci-fi to experience something unusual. Ever since paranormals had come out of hiding back in the 1980s, going to certain clubs could be more adventurous than anything an author could come up with.

Maybe he should go out today? Blowing off some steam wouldn’t hurt. He’d not gotten laid in quite a while, and a night in one of the mixed clubs sounded too good to resist. It was better than staring at a rerun of a movie.

Alex switched off the TV and stood. “I’m going out, do you want to come with me?”

“What do you have in mind?” Sam looked up from his book. “Dancing? I thought of going to the Downtown.”

“Na, go without me. I’m not in the mood for that crowd.”

“You sure? It’s been months since you’ve been out.” Alex wasn’t surprised, Sam wasn’t one to go out much, and he despised big crowds. The Downtown is a huge mixed club, catering to all kinds of paranormals and humans. Not that paranormals were forbidden anywhere, but they, as well as humans, preferred to stick with their own kind. One of the exceptions was a club like the one Alex was going to visit. A night of dancing, and maybe getting laid, sounded better with every second.

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

Chris McHart is from Germany and, while an accountant, writing is Chris’s real passion.
Chris likes to spend time with family and has way too many animals that demand constant attention. Chris also enjoys landscaping and cooking.
Whenever Chris has a free minute, it’s spent writing on a laptop, a cup of coffee in hand, deeply lost in the worlds Chris’s muses have created.
When coming up for some air, you’ll find Chris on a lot of social networks. Check out Chris’s website to see where you can find out more. Chris looks forward to hearing from you!

Where to find the author:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008256641886
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chris-McHart/326380184192029?ref=hl
Twitter: https://twitter.com/chris_mchart
Blog: https://www.chrismchart.com

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Tour Dates & Stops: July 6, 2015
Parker Williams, The Fuzzy, Fluffy World of Chris T. Kat, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, BFD Book Blog, Dawn’s Reading Nook, Bayou Book Junkie, Velvet Panic, Bike Book Reviews, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, The Hat Party, MM Good Book Reviews, Jessie G. Books, Inked Rainbow Reads, Molly Lolly, Amanda C. Stone, Rainbow Gold Reviews

 

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Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: 3 print copies of Alex’s Surprise/Saving Alex.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

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A MelanieM Review: Mythica by L.J. LaBarthe

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Rating:  4.25 stars out of 5

MythicalgishHalf selkie Caiden is unhappy that as a Mythica he is unable to serve his country as his father had done.  In fact all Mythicas are banned from service because they might not be able to handle the stress, changing forms in combat.  While Caiden agrees intellectually with that assessment, emotionally he’s frustrated and taking his discontent out on those around him.  Its even affected his viewpoint of the  sy’lph, an alien race that arrived on Earth seeking sanctuary and a home after their galaxy was destroyed in a war.

But when a minotaur goes wild at the government offices of the Bridging Lives agency (a sort of  Social Security other being checkpoint and social agency), Caiden jumps in to stop the minotaur and his world changes forever.   First he is rescued by Gray, a sy’lph who is the local liason between humans, mythica and the sy’lph.  Gray is gorgeous and Caiden is overwhelmingly attracted to a being he has resolutely disliked.  Secondly, the minotaur had been poisoned.

Soon all the mythicas are under attack.  And Gray and Caiden take their first steps towards understanding and a relationship just when everything starts to fall apart around them, putting themselves and Caiden’s family in danger.

Mythica by L.J. LaBarthe is a book that defies categorization, something that surely thrills its author.  How to describe a beautifully written story that encapsulates human mythological creatures come to life, along with an alien race fleeing galactic genocide and bringing inhuman technology with them.  Then throw in a interspecies romance, racial purity rights terrorists, and much, much more and you have Mythica – scify, supernatural, paranormal, action, suspense, mystery romance!  I would expect nothing less from L. J. LaBarthe.

From the opening lines, the author pulls you into the joy of Caiden’s life as a half selkie!  He is frolicking in the ocean waters near home which is Broome in Western Australia:

Dolphins swam up to join him, and he grabbed the dorsal fin of the nearest one, laughing when he surfaced and breathed in air again. The dolphin dragged him along through the water at a rapid rate, making him whoop with delight, a sound echoed by the raucous cries of the seagulls hovering overhead. Schools of fish swam below him, sometimes their silvery bodies brushed against his toes, and Caiden loved that too, the feeling of being so free, so connected to all the elements—water, air, light, earth. The dolphin that pulled him along through the water brought him close to shore, and Caiden felt the soggy roughness of sand beneath his feet. He let go of the dorsal fin, calling a thank you and goodbye to the dolphins as they swam on.

LaBarthe conveys the lightness of being and the spontaneity of Caiden’s selkie behavior in the waters.  And just as quickly, the author is able to ground Caiden in his human half, complete with his discontent and unhappiness at leaving the watery haven behind as he reluctantly arrives at the Bridging Lives agency.   LaBarthe has created with her “mythicas” a fascinating new group of beings (albeit from an ancient beginnings).  The mythicas are

“Mythica were the descendants of all mythological creatures of antiquity—the pixies, fairies, selkies, minotaurs, dragons, and more—who lived and worked alongside humans.”

Caiden himself is half mythica, his father human and his mother a selkie, a human/mythica pairing not uncommon in this story. The author is quick to give Caiden a  painful past made bearable by a supportive, loving family, only some of which are mythicas.  Broome is pictured as normally as is possible when mythicas and aliens such as the sy’lph casually walk about its facilities and streets.  There is an authenticity to each scene that is wonderful considering who and what is appearing throughout each description and event.

Also marvelously imagined are the sy’lph.  Alien beings of mallable metal (think mercury) whose real shape and body is confined within a synthetic humanoid shell.  Just seeing their true shape/body is enough to blind any human.  Their back story and natural history is as complex and captivating as everything else that LaBarthe has created here.  But while all the outside elements are fantasical in nature, inside there exists a lovely romance between two beings/people trying to learn about each other and work their way towards something more lasting and real.

Interspersed throughout the myriad of plot threads is the threat to Caiden, his family and all mythicas.  It isn’t long before the villain of the pieces appears  and the uncertainty and dread that comes with this nasty little storyline

is yet one more element that will keep the reader engaged and deeply involved in Mythica until the ending.  Which I was sorry to see arrive.

Mythica has such a wide appeal and such a ingenious universe, that I hope to see LaBarthe revisit it again in another story.  Both the mythicas and the sy’lph deserve to have their stories told.  But while we are waiting for that to happen, pick up Mythica and see why I recommend it so highly.  Never has such a concoction of genres been so appealing.

Cover by Mumson Designs is lovely, and captures the joy of Caiden perfectly.

Sales Links:      Bottom Drawer Publications   All Romance (ARe)          Amazon          Buy it here

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 217 pages
Published September 18th 2014 by Bottom Drawer Publications
ASINB00NQA0FV0
edition languageEnglish

 

Review: Aria of the Eclipse by Vivien Dean

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Aria of the Eclipse coverFor over 20 years Dek has lived in captivity, caged like the songbird he is presumed to be.  Captured and sold to various buyers since the age of 13, Dek has long given up trying to speak and now the only sounds he makes are songs, music that he is prized for.  His owners call him an “it”, and treat him as a highly expensive and desired pet.  His current owner, the Regent, houses him in a gilded cage, brought out to sing to his guests or for his own amusement.  Now the planet Ymoro and its ruler, the Regent prepare for a momentous occasion, one that has not happened in their lifetime, a total solar eclipse.  And Dek’s life is about to change forever.

Tylen Merodine and his older brother Dourack have been invited by the Regent to observe the solar eclipse in the special solarium built for this incredible event.  Tylen has just come to age and unlike his more conservative and stolid older brother, is excited by all the sights and sounds around him.  Then he hears music so painfully beautiful it moves him to tears. Its source astonishes him.  A slender alien singing from a golden cage in the Regent’s quarters, intelligent dark eyes that watch his every movement, pulling Tylen forward towards him.  The Regent tells him it is an Astinian songbird, but Tylen looks at Dek and knows that is wrong, Dek is sentient and wrongfully caged.  When Tylen breaks all the rules and sneaks into the room that holds Dek’s cage at night, and Dek speaks to him , Tylen knows he has to do something but what?

As the eclipse draws closer, all becomes chaos around Dek and Tylen. As events threaten to pull them forever apart, can Dek and Tylen find a way to break Dek out of his cage into a future where they can be together?

I loved Aria of the Eclipse.  Vivien Dean’s incredible imagination and vivid descriptions brings to life an alien unlike any I have met before.  Dek and his race of Astinians captured my heart and mind immediately from the opening paragraphs:

As much as I crave my freedom, I’ve lived so much of my life in a cage that I’m not sure what I’d do with it once it was mine. I have fantasies of mocking those men who think me some stupid animal, but sometimes, when the night is deep and I’m curtained away from any glimmer of civilization, I wonder if I’m becoming what I fear most, if the lack of true companionship is molding me into the creature they profess me to be.

These are my nightmares. These are what force my hand when my cage is on display and I’m instructed to sing. I will not succumb to complacency, no matter how impossible my circumstances seem.

I cannot.

The powerful emotions that ring out from Dek imprisoned in his cage bring the reader intimately into his mindset and we are ensnared along with him.  Dean has created a magical, shadowy world as Dek’s birthplace.  As Dek starts to relay his history to Tylen, we get glimpses of Astinia, filled with his species that migrate, and sing and fly across the waters.  A sentence here and there, they only serve to stimulate our own imaginations to fill in the blanks she has so artfully left for us.  Instead of missing a backstory, Dean has given the reader a wealth of clues from which we can extrapolate a world far more extraordinary than might have been created by words.  Dek is as beautifully crafted, and as imaginative an alien as I have come across.  Just the manner in which Dek creates his music is spellbinding, just as his history is heartbreaking.

This story is told from two points of view in alternating sections, that of Dek and Tylen,an endearing exuberant young man.  While the transition between povs is not always smooth as it should be, the power of the narrative and the reader’s desire to know Dek’s future drives the story forward, along with the author’s lovely way with the language and descriptions of the events unfolding.  Here we listen to Dek as he “sings” his music:

I was lost in the music when the doors swung open and Johaf, the porter, announced the Regent’s first guests. Their approaching footsteps added an unwanted bass to the music, so I closed my eyes and concentrated inward, on the way I tipped and tilted my hands to stir the webbing into the proper notes, on the vibrations in my vocal folds as I sang the lower line. Like most of my songs, this had no words, nothing to distract from the purity of the music. Everyone could understand. Everyone could appreciate.

Everyone listened.

From that passage, we start to get an understanding of some of Dek’s physiology but we don’t really see him until Tylen does, then it all comes together.  This method both stirs our  imagination, and leaves us satisfied with substance.  I won’t spoil the surprise of Dek but leave that to this marvelous story.

Everything works here, from the settings to the characterizations.  But even more amazing is the “aha” moment at the end with the eclipse and Dek as its stars.  I was not prepared for the inspired idea that culminates the story, almost visionary.  It delights me each time I think about it. So too is the ending.  There are two issues for me where I had to suspend that part of me that asks down to earth questions.  One would be how does someone so humanoid be mistaken for a non-sentient being for over 20 years.  The other cannot be asked without giving away a major spoiler for the story.  But my love for Vivien Dean’s tale outweigh such pragmatic issues.

If you love science fiction, this story is for you.  If you love music, all aspects of music, real and imagined, Aria of the Eclipse is for you.  It is magical, conceptually stirring and still full of romance.  And all of that is accomplished in 120 pages.  I wanted more, so much more but am happy with those that I got.  You will be too.  Grab this one up as it is highly recommended to all.

Cover Art © 2013 Trace Edward Zaber.  Just absolutely gorgeous.  One of the best I have seen.

Book Details:

ebook, 120 pages
Published 2013 by Amber Allure
ASIN
B00CIYSG2U
edition language
English

Review: Fragile Bond by Rhi Etzweiler

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Rating: 5 stars

Fragile BondSniper Sergeant Marc Staille and his trusty rifle, Mat are on duty, taking down the tawnies, the native dirt-colored predators that live on the on the desert planet of Horace Deuce-Niner targeted for mining by his employer.  His job is to go in and take out any non sentient indigenous creatures that might threaten their mining operation.  Everything seems normal until his group of snipers is ambushed by the same tawnies they have been hunting, and Marc is taken captive. To Marc’s anguish and surprise, the so called “tawnies” are sentient natives, not mere “fauna” as had been determined, and he is now seen as a murderer as well as invader.

Commander Hamm Orsonna, leader of the fefa clan, had a desperate mission.  Take one of the invaders alive so it could be interrogated and that mission had to succeed at all costs.  Hamm found it hard to believe that such hairless, frail creatures could be the cause of so much death and destruction, mostly from those little metal sticks they carried.  At the high cost of the death of most of his squad, Hamm captured an invader, and found a surprise for both of them.  The furrs as Hamm’s species are called use pheromones (along with fang and claws) to control and dominate others, and when Hamm uses it on Marc, the results are quick and effective submission.  But there is surprise on Hamm’s side as well.   Marc smells different from the other invaders, a smell that compels Hamm to protect him even from other members of the fefa clan.

It soon becomes clear to Marc and Hamm, that the future of both their species might lie in their hands. it will depend on their communication skills and the fragile bond they have established with each other if they are to find a way for them to find a lasting peace and perhaps even love.

What a stunning book!  Fragile Bond is a science fiction tour de force from author Rhi Etzweiler, an amazing example of world building and character development.  Usually I start by breaking out the components of the book that I liked best but that won’t work here.  I found every aspect of Fragile Bond to be just superior, from the tight, suspenseful narrative to the superlative “alien” voice and mind set created for Hamm and his race.  I save my 5 star rating for books I want to gush over and reread often.  I want to do both for Fragile Bond.

Since we have to start somewhere, let’s start with Etzweiler’s world building.  So many things can go wrong when an author starts to create an alien world that will seem both familiar and alien at the same time.  The world must pull in the reader by its believable aspects yet still make us feel as though we are on an alien planet.  And we totally get that here.  When we first meet Sniper Marc Staille, he is on on the desert planet of Horace Deuce-Niner killing tawnies with amazing accuracy, watching them explode in a pink mist one after the other.  He is dispassionate, a soldier doing his duty, pleased with his marksmanship and his weapon, Mat.   We see the planet and its flora and fauna through his eyes, an important viewpoint because he gives the reader the story’s “human” voice.  He is, at first, our most identifiable connection and his horror at finding out that the “beasts” he has been killing so unmercifully are sentient beings becomes our horror too.  It is also his first step away from the soldier/mercenary life and mindset he has been living.  The more that Marc (and the reader) learns about the race that has captured him and its culture, the more growth he shows as an individual. This journey adds such depth and soul to the story that it alone would make the story memorable.  But Etzweiler goes further, taking us into the minds and culture of the fefa clan.

Commander Hamm Orsanna is another outstanding creation.  A race of felines or furrs, their culture is both advanced enough to have implanted linguistic translators and primal still to use pheromones to control and dominate other members of the clan, and claws and fang when pheromones aren’t sufficient.  They are a race trying to move beyond their animalistic behaviors and this first “meeting” will place untold stress and loss on beings already under duress.  Added to the anguish of the fefa clan, is the huge loss of life that Marc and his group have inflicted with their weaponry, picking them off with the ease shooting tin cans off a fence.  Etzweiler does a fantastic job of giving Hamm and his clan an alien voice and a language not always translatable, even by their own devices.  The author flips the point of view back and forth between Hamm and Marc in a necessary interplay of cultures, mission goals and racial outlook.  We are given an event or situation and then see it from both points of view, a neat balancing act that works to connect us intimately with the characters, all of the characters, and invest us emotionally in the precarious outcome on planet Horace Deuce-Niner.

And thanks to a tightly woven narrative, the suspense and anxiety levels continue to build throughout the story, the outcome is never assured of a happy ending.    Marc has a huge human contingent behind him, and although he says that the fact that an indigenous culture exists on the planet will halt things, the reader also has a vast store of knowledge of situations where that fact has rarely stopped humans at all.  Etzweiler uses this human history to ramp up the tension, as misunderstandings and events start to escalate things out of control.  I love that Etzweiler consistently uses our own knowledge of human history to increase our anxiety over the outcome of the clash of cultures and material needs while bringing us into the side of the race being invaded and exploited.

There are some wonderful secondary characters on both sides who enriched the story by their  presence and made me want to know their  history too. The author gives us at least one more indigenous races while hinting of others, that live on the planet that I wanted to know more of as well. And finally,we had a glimpse of a fascinating backstory of Marc’s employers, the trace supplied had me craving more and speculating wildly on their origin.  But did I feel that I needed any of that to fill out Fragile Bond? No, it wasn’t needed, and might have distracted us from the focus of the story.

Should this story be classified as a m/m romance?  Perhaps. There is a m/m romance here but as part of a larger story and with little sexuality attached to it.  It doesn’t need it.  This is powerful storytelling.  We have two races and two male beings meeting under the worst of circumstances.  That most primal of influences,pheromones,  will bring them together and start them on a path to mutual understanding and perhaps even love.  The story is told concisely, beautifully, and in such a way that this world and everyone you will meet on it will linger in your minds and hearts for some time to come.  Does something this great really need a category?  I don’t think so.  But it does need readers, lots of them to pass the word along.  Pick it up, immerse yourself in this world, and become a fan yourself.  I remain one and hope that someday the author will return to this planet for another walk on the alien wild side.

Cover art Petite-Madame VonApple is gorgeous and subtle.

Book Details:

ebook, 175 pages
Published February 18th 2013 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN 1937551911 (ISBN13: 9781937551919)
edition languageEnglish
url:http://www.rhianonetzweiler.com/fragile-bond.html

Riptide Publishing buy link