Series Recap Blitz/Cover Reveal – Taking Shield Series by Anna Butler

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The award-winning Taking Shield series comes to an explosive conclusion in the fifth book, Day of Wrath, to be published on 28 June 2018.

First that cover. Designed by Adrian Nicholas, whoís been responsible for creating the Taking Shield brand, this cover features a faceless drone, one of the cyborg soldiers sent against humanity by the Maess:

About Day of Wrath

In less than a week, Bennet will finally return to the Shield Regiment, leaving behind the Gyrfalcon, his father, his friendsÖ and Flynn. Promotion to Shield Major and being given command of a battle group despite the political fallout from Makepeace the year before is everything he thought he wanted. Everything heís worked towards for the last three years. Except for leaving Flynn. He really doesnít want to leave Flynn.

Thereís time for one last flight together. A routine mission. Nothing too taxing, just savouring every moment with the best wingman, the best friend, heís ever had. Thatís the plan.

Bennet should know better than to trust to routine because what waits for them out there will change their lives forever.

Pre-order Day of Wrath

Want to win some loot? Pre-order The Day of Wrath at a digital store (Amazon, Kobo, Nook etc) and send a copy of the email confirmation (or a screengrab of it) to annabutlerfiction@gmail.com and

(i) Anna will send you the first chapter and some deleted scenes by email. The deleted scenes will be exclusive until the end of the year;

(ii) the first twenty to respond will get a little bag of Taking Shield loot; and

(ii) your name will be entered in a draw to win one of seven signed first edition paperbacks of Taking Shield 02: Heart Scarab. Winners will be announced on publication day.

Preorder here: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Kobo | Smashwords

 

Excerpt from Day of Wrath

As Bennet angled over to starboard, Flynn gave his own Hornet a metaphorical boot in the backside, and tagged along faithfully at Bennetís port wing. He stayed close and tight. Pity the ensigns werenít there to see how it was done. With finesse. Panache. And sheer, mind-boggling talent.

The Hornetís navigational computer helpfully overlaid a representation of Aglaia with the usual spherical latitude-longitude grid, pulling the planetary data from the database. At least they had the figures for known planets logged and stored and the nav-com didnít have to make it up. Which it could, of course, by designating the poles with an arbitrary north and south label, locating the equator, and inventing an arbitrary prime meridian to work with. According to legend, the system originated on Earth before man took to the skies, so old it was invented for sailing ships. Given Earth was ten thousand years gone, Flynn put a lot of emphasis on ëlegendí. Their flight navigation systems were built on bloody folklore.

Madness.

Still, at least he couldnít get lost.

He followed Bennet into a high orbit along Aglaiaís equator, skimming along for a moment before going down into the atmosphere. And by skimming, he meant they bounced along like stones skipping over water before they burst through into a storm system. A big storm system. The air roiled in great waves and billows, buffeting the Hornets, and lightning cracked and sizzled off their hulls. The flow of the clouds was fierce, the turbulence greatest at the boundaries between cloud layers. And the winds! More than fierce. They were a howling, raging, relentless savagery that threatened to overwhelm even the Hornetís engines. The Hornet bucked and balked against the winds, and it took every ounce of skill Flynn possessed to fight her into obedience, to keep her flying in the direction he wanted. He couldnít rely on relaxed experience here. This was active, constant readjustment to make her respond. He dropped back a trifle, giving Bennet and himself room to ride out the bucking and bouncing. He wasnít so much flying through Aglaiaís skies, as cavorting through them.

Gods, it was fun!

Anna : what you, dear reader, might expect from the Taking Shield series

Gay literature is a growing genre. And the biggest element of that, just as itís the biggest element of literature generally? Romance. Love, hearts, kisses, and happiness. M/M romance, in particular, is booming.

Now then, if Iím reading a romance, I have certain expectations. I want to see two people attracted to each other, overcoming some obstacle to being together, being faithful and loving. And at the very least, the book must close with a Happy-For-Now ending even if the story canít quite make it Happy Ever After. En route they can have all sorts of things happen: murders, mystery, mayhem. Doesnít matter. What matters is theyíre together and I can put the book down feeling good about the outcome.

But this is where things get a little sticky. Because if youíre looking for pure romance, then I have to confess that the Taking Shield series wonít deliver it. Shield isnít romance. It is a love storyóa very deep and, at times, intense love storyóthat covers five or six years of interstellar war and billions of miles of space travel. This is a classic space opera. All the staples of old school sci-fi are here: big spaceships, infiltrations of enemy bases, cool Shield suits, and lots of people running around shooting their lasers.

And it has two men in love. Oh wait. Not as old school as all that, then.

Across the whole of the series, there are two main story themes, intertwining with each other: the war against the Maess and, set against that, the relationship between Shield Captain Bennet and Fleet Lieutenant Flynn. The Maess war and everything Bennet has to do there gets equal billing with the slow unfolding of his relationship with Flynn.

So something of a niche appeal, here! But if you like sweeping sagas and big love stories where the obstacles the heroes face are big and sweeping too, I do hope youíll give Bennet and Flynn a try. They arenít perfect, but a couple of guys with all their warts and faults, all their brilliance and intelligence, all their courage and loyalty and great hearts, all their beauty and all their uglinessóand they love each other. They love each other a great deal, despite every parting, and every reverse and upset in their relationship. And now, at the end of the series, perhaps theyíll get their chance.

Do come on the adventure with them. I donít think youíll regret it.

About the series

Taking Shield started out as a simple set of ëwhat ifí questions. What if, in some AU universe, Earthís been a burnt out dustball for the last ten thousand years? What if thereís a riff on the Exodus and remnants of humanity escape, but led by Pharaohs? What if the new world they found, Albion, is at war with an enemy no one has ever seen? What if the hero is a member of Albionís special forces and the Military Strategy Unit? What if he finds something that seriously threatens Albion? What if he falls in love with a Fleet pilot and has his life turned upside down?

Earthís a dead planet, dark for more than ten thousand years; lost for so long no one even knows where its solar system is. Her last known colony, Albion, has grown to be regional galactic power in its own right. But Albionís drive to expand and found colonies of its own has threatened an alien race, the Maess, against whom Albion is now fighting a last-ditch battle for survival in a war thatís dragged on for generations.

The Taking Shield series charts the missions and adventures of Shield Captain Bennet, scion of a prominent military family. Over the Taking Shield arc, Bennet will see the extremes to which humanityís enemies, and his own people, will go to win the war. Some days he isnít able to tell friend from foe. Some days he doubts everything, including himself, as he strives to ensure Albionís victory. And some days he isnít sure, any longer, what victory looks like.


Note: the novels are not standalones and should be read in order.

 

Taking Shield 01: Gyrfalcon ó Earthís last known colony, Albion, is fighting an alien enemy. In the first of the Taking Shield series, Shield Captain Bennet is dropped behind the lines to steal priceless intelligence. A dangerous job, and Bennet doesnít need the distractions of changing relationships with his long-term partner, Joss, or with his fatheróor with Flynn, the new lover who will turn his world upside-down. He expects to risk his life. He expects the data will alter the course of the war. What he doesnít expect is that it will change his life or that Flynn will be impossible to forget.

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Taking Shield 02: Heart Scarab ó Shield Captain Bennet is on Telnos, an unpleasant little planet inhabited by religious fanatics and unregistered miners running illegal solactinium mines. Itís about to be about to be overrun by the Maess. Bennetís job is to get out as many civilians as he can, but the enemy arrives before the evacuation is complete. Caught in a vicious fire fight, Bennet is left behind, presumed dead.

His family is grieving. Joss, his long-term partner, grieves with them; lost, unhappy, remorseful. First Lieutenant Flynn has no official ërightsí here. He isnít family. He isnít partner or lover. Heís just broken

Available at Payhip | A digital bookstore near you

Taking Shield 03: Makepeace ó Returning to duty following his long recovery from the injuries he sustained during the events recounted in Heart Scarab, Shield Captain Bennet accepts a tour of duty in Fleet as flight captain on a dreadnought. The one saving grace is that it isnít his fatherís shipóbad enough that he canít yet return to the Shield Regiment, at least he doesnít have the added stress of commanding former lover, Fleet Lieutenant Flynn and knowing the fraternisation regulations will keep them apart.

Bennetís new mission takes him behind the lines to Makepeace, once a human colony but under Maess control for more than a century. The mission goes belly up, costing Albion one of her precious, irreplaceable dreadnoughts and bringing political upheaval, acrimony and the threat of public unrest in its wake. But for Bennet, the real nightmare is discovering what the Maess have in store for humanity. Itís not good. Itís not good at all.

SECOND PLACE WINNER 2016 Rainbow Awards for Best Sci/Fi Futuristic book

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Taking Shield 04: The Chains Of Their Sins ó Shield Captain Bennet arrives on the Gyrfalcon to take up his final year’s posting before returning to the Shield Regiment.

On the Gyrfalcon he faces up to the fallout from Makepeaceóethical, political and above all, personal. Will he be able to accept necessity: that knowing what the Maess are up to outweighs the humanitarian issues surrounding the prisoners he rescued from Makepeace? Can he ride out the political furore that follows the loss of the dreadnought Caliban? How will he cope with an entire year of serving under his father, Caeden? And worst of all, how in the name of every god in the Pantheon can he stand to see Flynn every single day, with the Fraternisation Regs standing between them and keeping them apart?

It will be an interesting year. Bennet can hardly wait for it to be over. Of course, things never really do go to plan…

FIRST PLACE WINNER 2017 Rainbow Awards for Best Sci/Fi Futuristic book

THIRD PLACE WINNER 2017 Rainbow Awards for Best Gay Book

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Anna Butler was a communications specialist for many years, working in various UK government departments on everything from marketing employment schemes to organizing conferences for 10,000 civil servants to running an internal TV service. These days, though, she is writing full time. She lives with her husband in a quiet village tucked deep in the Nottinghamshire countryside. Sheís supported there by the Deputy Editor, aka Molly the cockerpoo, who is assisted by the lovely Mavis, a Yorkie-Bichon cross with a bark several sizes larger than she is but no opinion whatsoever on the placement of semi-colons.

Website and Blog | Facebook | The Butlerís Pantry (Facebook Group) | Twitter | Sign up for Annaís occasional newsletter

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A VVivacious Review: Fire Up My Heart by Asta Idonea

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Rating: 5 Stars out of 5                    ★★★★★
 
Fire Up my HeartFane Maddox works in a rundown gay bar and battles loneliness. His life has been the same for ages but one flickering, neon sign and two legs hanging out of a dumpster are going to change his life forever.
 
Jo-E is one in a line of top-notch service bots but with a fried wiring, but when Fane fixes the glitch and wakes Jo-E up something is different. Jo-E realizes that ever since Fane woke him he has been different, for one he now has opinions and… emotions?
 
As Samuel Yapp the robotics engineer who discarded Jo-E realizes the discovery he trashed, he can’t wait to get his hands on Jo-E again but what will Fane decide to do – give Jo-E up or fight for him?
 
This story is set in the year 2045 where service bots are common and the race to the creation of strong Artificial Intelligence to the extent that it mimics humanity is on.
 
This is a short story/novella but it packs a punch. The author has a really awesome ability of investing the reader in the fate of the characters of the story from very early on. I read this story in a single sitting and the read was most enjoyable.
 
We have Fane Maddox who is lonely and his loneliness is tangible but Fane is a really nice person, I loved his personality, his humanity. He is one of those characters you like just because they are human and all humans deserve to be loved even if they are nothing extraordinary. I actually loved the character of Fane he came across as a really simple and straightforward human being.
 
Jo-E on the other hand is inching ever closer to humanity but his every human emotion seems tied to Fane. Like every robots take over the earth movie fan out there I am a bit scared of his abilities especially towards the end but what I loved about this story was that we got a look-see into Jo-E’s wiring and how he sees the world and how he figures out what is happening to him.
 
This story is fantastic on so many levels. The best part of the story was that how invested it had me in its characters and their happiness. Also I loved how the romance between Fane and Jo-E is handled, so carefully and slowly and plausibly. The author gives generous times to both characters to work out their feelings for each other and the plot which heightens their emotions for each other works out very well and gives the story the right push at the right time.
 
This story is sweet and has you thinking a lot and I am awfully intrigued about knowing more about these two characters also about the implications of having such strong-AI on a rogue bot because seriously remember every book and movie that has robots take over the world and enslave the human race.
 
This story has it all and is a must read. This is my second book by this author and from what I have deduced so far this author is really good.
 
Cover Art by AngstyG. That cover is just beautiful and along with that blurb I don’t think anyone in their right mind can resist being intrigued by this book.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:
ebook, 67 pages
Published May 25th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634773330 (ISBN13: 9781634773331)
Edition Language English
URL

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

Cover Reveal for Chris T. Kat’s ‘Mending the Rift’ (excerpt and giveaway)

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MendingTheRift-Preview

Mending the Rift by Chris T. Kat
Release Date: March 14, 2016

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: AngstyG

Blurb

In a future where man’s ability to reproduce is severely compromised, humanity has adapted to survive. Breeders—male and female—have become precious commodities, and they are strictly guarded and subject to limitations.

Luca Walker is a breeder. Though he knows what’s expected of him as the youngest son of the Northern Confederacy’s Vice President, he’s held out against the pressures of an arranged marriage because he longs to marry for love, not duty. But he’s been promised to Colonel Liam Smith and there’s little he can do about it, no matter that Luca is secretly in love with his bodyguard, Marcus Gray.

When Luca finds himself pregnant with Marcus’s baby, Smith is furious and vows to take what is his—by force, if necessary. Now Luca must fight for his life and the life of his unborn child… as well as the love of Marcus and the happily ever after he’s always dreamed of.

 

Pages or Words: 68,000 words
Categories: M/M Romance, Science Fiction, MPREG

Excerpt

Excerpt from Chapter Two:

Marcus rappelled off and stepped onto the ground with a crunch of his boots. Pointing at the opening with the askew ladder, he asked, “Don’t tell me you seriously considered climbing down this way.”

Luca shrugged. “I’d have preferred spontaneous levitation, but it didn’t happen.”

He yelped when Marcus put an arm around his torso and lifted him to his feet, as if he weighed nothing. “Hey!”

Marcus silenced him with a glare, and Luca gritted his teeth while Marcus thumped dust off his clothes. “Your father is livid.”

Luca swallowed. He’d expected worried, maybe a bit mad, but livid? His father never got furious at him. Not for long, anyway. Being the baby of the family had its perks. “Why?”

Why? Seriously, Luca, you have to ask why?” Marcus patted Luca’s behind more firmly than was strictly necessary.

Luca shifted, trying to get away from Marcus’s arm. When that didn’t help, he slapped Marcus’s hands away and stepped aside. He couldn’t think when he was so close to Marcus—when the man touched him, he sent shivers up and down his spine. He ignored the glower Marcus directed at him. “Yes, seriously. He knows I don’t want to marry Smith. I don’t want anything to do with all that shit. I want to decide what I’m going to do with my life.”

Marcus shook his head. “Smith is a good man. My brother Kyle worked for him. He said he always treated his people well. If you want I could try to get Kyle on the phone so you can talk to him. That is, if I can get a hold on him. Trust me, you’ll be in good hands.”

“You don’t get it! I don’t want to be in good hands!”

“No?” Marcus raised an eyebrow.

Luca huffed, a small smile forming on his lips. “Well, yes, of course I want to be in good hands. But I want someone to love me, and not just for my ability to become pregnant. I want… you.”

Luca’s heart thundered in his rib cage. There, he’d said it. The ball was in Marcus’s court. Sure, it had only been one night, and Marcus’s reaction afterward hadn’t been promising, but maybe he’d just been scared? Maybe he feared to lose his job? Nonetheless, there was more going on between them, and they both knew it. That one night had just been the last logical step. Luca regretted nothing.

For a moment Marcus seemed startled, and there was a softness in his eyes that was solely reserved for Luca. The softness vanished too quickly for Luca’s liking.

Instead, Luca was greeted with Marcus’s usual, scrutinizing gaze. “You don’t want me, and you better never mention this again. It was a mistake. Now get it out of your head and be a good boy.”

Buy the book

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Meet the Author

Chris T. Kat lives in the middle of Europe, where she shares a house with her husband of many years and their two children. She stumbled upon the M/M genre by luck and was swiftly drawn into it. She divides her time between work, her family—which includes chasing after escaping horses and lugging around huge instruments such as a harp—and writing. She enjoys a variety of genres, such as mystery/suspense, paranormal, and romance. If there’s any spare time, she happily reads for hours, listens to audiobooks or does cross stitch.

Where to find the author:

 


Tour Dates & Stops:

Parker Williams, Divine Magazine, Love Bytes, My Fiction Nook, Bayou Book Junkie, Full Moon Dreaming, A.M. Leibowitz, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Man2ManTastic, BFD Book Blog, V’s Reads, The Blogger Girls, Molly Lolly, 3 Chicks After Dark, Louise Lyons, Mikky’s World of Books, MM Good Book Reviews, Alpha Book Club, Bonkers About Books, Bending the Bookshelf, Nephy Hart, Dawn’s Reading Nook, Velvet Panic, The Hat Party

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Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: A book from Chris’s backlist or an audiobook copy of ‘Despite the Odds’.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prize provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

 

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