A Caryn Review: Shadows On The Border (Lost In Time #2) by A.L. Lester

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

It has been a year since I read the first book in this series, Lost in Time.  Long enough that I had forgotten about the cliffhanger ending that irritated me so much!  And although it is clear there will be at least one more book in the series, this one wrapped up the current story arc well – the next book will take off in a slightly different direction, and follow up on the adventures of some of the secondary characters.

Lew – who is from 2016 and got accidentally drawn back in time to 1919 while following his sister Mira – and Alec – the Detective Inspector who was inadvertently drawn into Lew’s world of magic and secrets while investigating a series of grisly London murders – are once again the main characters in this book.  The Creature who left a string of bodies behind turned out not to be fully destroyed as they had all hoped.  It was merely injured, and dormant, and its presence drew a Hunter from the Outlands to draw it back across the Border.

Fenn was the Hunter – a being of considerable power who was clearly more expert dealing with the energy of the Border than anyone in the human world.  To some he appeared male, and to others she appeared female, and they were evasive about their gender – this was just one of many ways they were completely alien to the early 20th century Londonites they came across. Fenn spoke English, reading the minds of those humans he interacted with, and when they were found by Alec’s group of police and discovered that they were also trying to apprehend the Creature (Carnas, to Fenn), Fenn decided to work with them.  The humans were somewhat reluctant to join forces, but could only acknowledge Fenn’s greater power and expertise.  There were secrets on both sides, and it became increasingly clear that those secrets could bring down the entire operation.

This book is once again primarily a fantasy/adventure, and there is even less romance than there was in the first book.  Lew and Alec are an established couple, and I really enjoyed how the focus became more about how they thought about their relationship.  How could it work between them when Lew could only tell Alec minimal amounts about his life before he went back in time?  How could Alec trust Lew, for the same reasons?  How was the fact that Lew was a Worker, and responsible for maintaining the Border, allow him to fully open himself up to Alec?  I also enjoyed the interactions between Fenn – not quite human if you looked closely – and the rest of the group interesting, especially in regards to their gender, or lack thereof.

I still had some quibbles with the writing – this time it was primarily the names and pronouns.  Sometimes first names were used, sometimes last names, and though the distinction made some sense – for instance, they were Lew and Alec when they were by themselves or with close friends, but Tyler and Carter when interacting professionally, or with others.  It did not help that many of the names could be first or last names (Will Grant, for example).  I just found it to be unnecessarily confusing, and it literally took me until half way through the book before I consistently had them all straight!  I do not like working that hard to read for pleasure.

I am really looking forward to the next book, when the focus will move away from Alec and Lew.  I hope it won’t be another full year though…

Cover art by Written Ink Designs fits well with the previous book in the series.  It was easy to imagine the Creature hiding somewhere in this alley.

Sales Links:  Amazon | Kobo | Barnes&Noble

Book Details:

ebook
Published March 9th 2019 by JMS Books, LLC
ISBN13 9781634868716
Edition Language English

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Abundance by Emmalynn Spark

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

This story throws the reader right into the action with an emergency in space, in the first person POV of crewman Alex Harris. He’s part of the bio-tech staff on board the spaceship. Earth was dying so they sent people into space to reach a new planet, New Earth, for a chance to save the human race from extinction. On the way to the planet, something goes horribly wrong, killing almost everyone on board. The only other survivor is Commander Luke Belka.

This is an ARC so these things might not be in the final version, but there were a few inconsistencies that took me out of the story. At one point Alex thinks about waking up from stasis after a hundred years, but later, when he thinks about his mom being dead, the time period seems to be hundreds of years ago. The reader is told Alex hid that he was gay so he could be picked to go on this ship, even using his best friend Eileen as a beard. Yet, he also flirted with Commander Belka previously on Earth. They know nothing about this planet, not even if the air is breathable, yet they didn’t check before they disembarked. They never seem to be worried about any predators or if the plants are poisonous to the touch, only if they are poisonous to eat. Since there were other ships–ten altogether–Alex thinks maybe there will be people there already growing food, but then he is worried about planting anything from Earth that might be an invasive species and hurt the local flora and fauna.

This is really a wish fulfillment story with forced proximity. At one point I wondered if Alex was dreaming in stasis. I wanted more than just an excuse for two men to have a lot of sex, hot though it was, after all the world building and tragedy that I had to wade through. It seems terrible to have had so many people die just to set them up. The book is at its best as a crisis leads them to set out to see if there is a settlement on the other side of the mountain. The reader finally gets to see Luke’s POV as he tells Alex what he’s been thinking. All the psychological issues come to a head during an argument and there is finally the real emotional connection that I wanted all along.

I liked the book, I just wanted a bit more emotion all the way through instead of mostly in the last twenty percent. I liked that at a certain point they switched roles. Although Alex was not great in an emergency, he recovered from his overwhelming grief and resignation to find joy in his environment. Luke, who was great in an emergency, couldn’t adapt to the fact they were alone. He ignored anything that meant they might be there a long time right up until he could no longer do it. The book ends with hope, but I can’t help wondering if any of the other nine ships made it or are still coming. Despite their being in love, I can’t help wondering what would have happened to their relationship had they been found.

The cover art is by Natasha Snow and matches the title to show the hopeful, positive side of the story.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 202 pages
Published March 4th 2019 by NineStar Press
ISBN13 9781950412136
Edition Language English

An Alisa Review: The Hands We’re Given (Aces High, Jokers Wild #1) by O.E. Tearmann

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Aidan Headly never wanted to be the man giving orders. That’s fine with the Democratic State Force base he’s been assigned to command: they don’t like to take orders. Nicknamed the Wildcards, they used to be the most effective base against the seven Corporations owning the former United States in a war that has lasted over half a century. Now the Wildcards are known for creative insubordination, chaos, and commanders begging to be reassigned.

Aidan is their last chance. If he can pull off his assignment as Commander and yank his ragtag crew of dreamers and fighters together, maybe they can get back to doing what they came to do: fighting for a country worth living in.

Life’s a bitch. She deals off the bottom of the deck. But you play the hands you’re given.

This was a great story.  I loved the world that the author created and I didn’t feel as if I was missing anything.  Aidan is thrown in the deep end when he is assigned to the Wildcards but it may be the perfect assignment for him and for them.

I loved how different all the team members were, we got to see how different life was depending on where they grew up.  The team is really one extended family which is what people really need in this dystopian world.  They were able to bring another couple people into their team but it gives them even more frustration in some ways but great things in others.

Oh man, I felt for Aidan, he has not been given a good hand in life but it looks like he is finally getting the acceptance he deserves.  I could feel how hard everything was for him and how much he wanted it to work out.  Kevin grew up differently than the other Wildcards but he works himself to the bone for them.  He still has to fight what was drilled into his head growing up but he doesn’t let it affect what he feels for Aidan.

I loved the cover art by Fiverr with the coding visuals and playing cards.

Sales Link: Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 350 pages

Published: September 14, 2018

Edition Language: English

Series: Aces High, Jokers Wild #1

A Free Dreamer Review: Severed (Precinct One #1) by Shona Husk

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Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

Halle Ish, one of Velli’s elite police Arrows, is shot down during a Precinct One riot. Wounded and unable to fly, she tries to hide and avoid capture, knowing that if she is found by the razor gangs or Clipper Sect they will sever her wings. She needs to get out of Precinct One. Avin Lent was once a promising medical student, but he started sniffing Mumble to beat the stress and is now the doctor to one of the biggest gangs in Precinct One—while not part of the Clipper Sect, they are just as dangerous. He knows he is only as useful as his next surgery and they would have no qualms about killing him. Only Jarro is keeping him safe. Jarro Coblic is deep under cover and has been for a year. Immersed in the gang, he suspects his hands will never be clean again. When he finds the wounded Arrow, he knows he can’t turn her over even though everyone is looking for her. With his lover’s help, they hide her and heal her wing. All the while, falling for her. He prays Avin will not crumble and reveal their secret as Jarro tries to figure out a way to get them all out of Precinct One before the Sect and the gangs bring the full wrath of Velli on Precinct One. Tearing the place down can’t come soon enough, but there will be blood before the slate can be washed clean.

“Severed” marks the beginning of a new series and I liked this first part. I avoided anything with M/F in it for a while and only recently discovered that MMF is actually a relationship dynamic I could come to really enjoy.

A little trigger warning before we start: Avin is a drug addict and his struggles with his addiction and being high are a very important part of the story. There’s also quite a bit of violence and some off-screen torture going on.

It’s a bit hard to find the right genre for this book, but I guess it’s a futuristic urban fantasy, set in a completely different world. For quite a while, I thought it was set on Earth, but in the distant future, where something had happened to make women grow wings. It was all a little confusing, since I was always wondering, what could have happened to cause such a drastic change in our anatomy. I think it took too long for the author to establish that, in this world, women have always had wings. If that had been made clear from the get-go, it would have been obvious that this is a completely made-up world, inhabited by humans with a slightly different anatomy.

Once I’d realized that this was a different world, I actually started to find it quite fascinating. Women are physically superior to men, the wings giving them a definite advantage over the land-bound men. The society is essentially matriarchal, but leaning towards equality. Kind of like our own society, but also the opposite, since we come from a patriarchy. Most of the book is set in a crime-riddled slum, with not a lot of normal people left. So we don’t get to see much of the normal society, which was a bit of a shame. From the little that was shown, it seemed really interesting.

Relationships work differently in this universe. It’s perfectly normal for people to be in same-sex relationships or in poly relationships. I found the idea that there were essentially two models of poly relationships. The “famili sect” is made up of two M/F couples, who live together and watch out for each other during reproductive sex, as that can actually get dangerous for the man. Then there’s the “poli sect”, which has one woman in a relationship with two men. I’m not a fan of the “I’ll change one letter and invent a new fantasy word” thing, though. Either come up with a completely new name or leave the normal English one. But that’s just a minor niggle I’ve seen in a lot of fantasy books.

We never really learn how the women’s wings look. Are they feathered? Or skin? What colour are they? The same as the hair or the skin colour or something completely different? That was a disappointing lack of detail.

I really liked the relationship between Jarro and Avin. It’s born out of convenience and lust and has grown feelings over time, though neither is sure if he can trust the other one. That made for some great tension. I did think Avin took the revelation of Jarro being an undercover cop a little too lightly, though. I also liked them as individuals and they had some really hot sex together.

I’m not sure how I feel about Halle and her inclusion into the relationship. The feelings developed very fast and under less than ideal circumstances. I didn’t really feel the love there. But again, the sex was hot. Though there is a bit of a blood kink, which is normal in this universe. Still not necessarily one of my favourite kinks, but it worked well here.

I didn’t quite understand why Jarro was in Velli in the first place. He’s from a different city state and I found it very odd that he’d be doing official police business for a foreign country. Why would the Velli police use a foreigner? They must have their own undercover agents. I kind of missed a proper explanation for that oddity.

Overall, “Severed” was an enjoyable read and I’m definitely interested in the next part. There’s no evil cliffhanger, though the overall story arc obviously isn’t finished yet. You could read it as a stand-alone with a HEA for the triad and HFN for the rest of the world, sort of.

I really don’t like the cover by Natasha Snow. I read the book despite the cover, not because of it. I don’t get why there’s only Halle on it, with odd-looking wings. The guys are definitely missing. And the pink background implies a lighter story. Also, I just generally hate pink, but that’s just me.

Sales Links:

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble

Book details:

ebook, , 281 pages

Published February 25th 2019 by NineStar Press

A Free Dreamer Review: Empire of Light(Voyance #1) by Alex Harrow

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Damian Nettoyer is the Empire’s go-to gun. He kills whoever they want him to kill. In exchange, he and his rag-tag gang of crooks get to live, and Damian’s psychokinetic partner and lover, Aris, isn’t issued a one-way ticket to an Empire-sanctioned lobotomy.

Then Damian’s latest mark, a suave revolutionary named Raeyn, kicks his ass and demands his help. The first item on the new agenda: take out Damian’s old boss—or Raeyn will take out Damian’s crew.

To protect his friends and save his own skin, Damian teams up with Raeyn to make his revolution work. As the revolution gains traction, Damian gets way too close to Raeyn, torn between the need to shoot him one moment and kiss him the next. But Aris slips further away from Damian, and as Aris’ control over his powers crumbles, the Watch catches on.

With the Empire, Damian had two policies: shoot first and don’t ask questions. But to save the guy he loves, he’ll set the world on fire.

Buckle up and hold on tight, you’re in for one hell of a wild ride with “Empire of Light”. And don’t forget the hard hats and bullet proof vests! Oh, and do take a look at the trigger warnings on the publisher’s website, there’s a lot of violence and other stuff going on.

Usually it’s a bad sign when a book makes me wince. That means the writing is so bad, it physically hurts. But here I was wincing in sympathy with poor Damian, who’s constantly getting beaten up or shot. Not that he’s an innocent victim, he doles out his fair share of violence as well. Now, I’ve never been beaten up or shot, but the author did such a brilliant job at describing it all, I could almost feel the pain.

The plot is full of action and leaves you kind of breathless. There’s always something happening and our heroes never get to really catch their breath. This makes for an extremely addicting read. I had to force myself to put the book down and get some sleep.

The setting is quite dark, very much a dystopia for adults, with plenty of blood, sweat and tears. And some sex, but no romance in the traditional sense. Honestly, the romance kind of broke my heart.

But despite the action packed plot, there was a lot of feeling as well. It really affected me and I had to swallow back tears once or twice. And I really rooted for the three MCs. They probably don’t qualify as nice guys and they did some pretty bad stuff, but it made sense in the context.

I enjoyed the world building, I think it was really well done and made a lot of sense.

Honestly, I loved everything about this book. And the best part: This is the start of a new series, so there’s more to come! The ending definitely left potential for more, but there’s no cliffhanger. I still can’t wait for book two.

The cover by Natasha Snow is aesthetically very pleasing, but I’m not sure it quite fits the story. I’d expect a space opera, not a dystopia set in a futuristic New York.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book details:

Published February 25th 2019 by NineStar Press

Kindle Edition, 350 pages

Cover Reveal and Giveaway for Shadows on The Border (Lost in Time #2) by A.L. Lester

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Release Date: March 9 2019
 
Publisher: JMS Books
 
Lost In Time Series
 

The Gate (a FREE short story introducing the characters from Lost In Time)
Amazon US | Amazon US | JMS Books


Book #1 – Lost In Time – Amazon US | Amazon UK | JMS Books
 
Blurb
 

Newspaper reporter Lew Tyler and his lover, Detective Alec Carter, are working out the parameters of their new relationship. Meanwhile, time traveler Lew is trying to decide whether he wants to stay in the 1920s or find a way to get back to 2016, and Alec doesn’t know if he can bear the vulnerability of being in love with someone who uses such dangerous magic.


Fenn is a Hunter from the Outlands, come through the Border to search for the murderous Creature and its offspring at the behest of the Ternants, who maintain the balance between Fenn’s world and ours. Fenn strikes a bond with Sergeant Will Grant, Alec’s second in command, who is keen to learn more about his own magical abilities. As time goes on, Will grows keen to learn more about Fenn, as well.


Fenn has their own painful secret, and when they appear to have betrayed the team and goes missing in London, Will is devastated. He has to choose between following his heart or following his duty.


Moving through the contrasting rich and poor areas of post-First World War London from West End hotels to the London docklands, the men need to work together to capture the Creature … and choose who – and what — is important enough to hold on to and what they may need to give up to make that happen.


Author Bio


A. L. Lester likes to read. Her favorite books are post-apocalyptic dystopian romances full of suspense, but a cornflake packet will do there’s nothing else available. The gender of the characters she likes to read (and write) is pretty irrelevant so long as they are strong, interesting people on a journey of some kind.


She has a chaotic family life and small children, and she has become the person in the village who looks after the random animals people find in the road. She is interested in permaculture gardening and anything to do with books, reading, technology and history. She lives in a small village in rural Somerset and is seriously allergic to both rabbits and Minecraft


Website: http://www.allester.co.uk/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CogentHippo
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ALLesterAuthor/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cogenthippo/
Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/A.-L.-Lester/e/B01MZ6R1QR/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/allester

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A VVivacious Review: Snowed In: Nen and Anani by Nell Iris

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Rating: 2 Stars out of 5
“Anani and Nen are residents of Elemiis where love between two men is forbidden. The Vasilissa banishes her son, the Vasilieu, Anani from her kingdom which leads to a Terrible Snow Rotation as Anani’s powers spiral out of control.
When after fifteen rotations they are re-united it leads to a snow storm and Nen and Anani are stuck together in close quarters but where will they find themselves and their relationship when the storm breaks.”
The story had a very rich background and exquisite world building. The author creates quite a bit of a world which I would have loved to stay in more. The characters had quite a rich back story which didn’t come much in use in this short story. I expected to find more details focusing on the elements and their transfer especially considering how unique Anani’s birth is as the only male child born ever to be borne by a Vasilissa. At one point in the story I was sure we would get more about Anani’s powers when Nen comments about Anani’s power feeling like more than what anybody thought they would be. Also, this world would have contributed more to a longer story where there could be some focus on the powers the Vasilissa and her children have.
There are quite a few loose ends in this story because it really feels like the story wanted to tackle more than it could owing to the length of the story.
The whole story is a build-up to the coming together of Nen and Anani. The whole scene of them having sex should have been the highlight of the story instead it was a scene completely missing from the story with the story just picking up after the fact. So the build up ultimately amounts to nothing.
This book had good bones but it wasn’t very well fleshed out.
Cover Art by Written Ink Designs. The cover is the standard across all Snowed In titles but considering the setting of this story it doesn’t fit very well.
Sales Links:  JMS Books LLC | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 1st edition, 73 pages
Published February 16th 2019 by JMS Books, LLC
ISBN 139781634867993

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Broken Alpha (The Alpha/Omega Verse #1) by D.C. Juris

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Korden finds out his brother Rennett has been found alive after being missing for a year. They had searched for Rennett’s trail after he went missing, but it had gone cold. Korden’s suffered the loss of access to his sibling link, which is limited by distance. His friends and crewmates Sebastian and Sorkel have helped him survive by linking with him in his mindscape. The trust and loving friendship has been a balm to the Captain. Sebastian is a Creole Human and Sorkel is Malorcian. They have been mates for 10 years. Sorkel is the ship’s doctor and Sebastian is the ship’s navigator. Korden will need them more than ever when Rennett is found with permanent physical and mental damage suffered whilst in captivity. There have been Alphas who went mad and reverted to beta or omega status before.

I have read about communication between mindscapes and visible bonds before, but I feel like this was very original in the details. Controlling the mind link with someone is complicated. Obviously eveyone’s mindscape is different. I loved the idea of memories in different boxes, marked by color as accessible or off limits. There are also different colors for the links. I enjoyed the bonding ceremony that changed Korden and Kennett’s bond from siblings to mates; they merge their mindscapes, share memories, and partially heal Renny. But, he’s not completely healed and may never be. The angst of dealing with a mentally ill loved one is difficult for Korden and their friends.

This story is very well done so that I felt the love and bond were already there and mean to be–like all of this was inevitable. Tortured physically and mentally, with permanent damage to his body and mind, no one would take Kennet as a mate. He needs a mate now that he is an omega and may have heats. His mind is already unstable and he’ll need an anchor to help moor him. As Kordan tries to keep Rennent calm, all these memories of their childhood flow through them. It’s clear Rennent has only ever been bonded with Kordan, that they likely would never have mated with anyone else. It is very clear that this is everything Renny has ever wanted, and is done with his consent. Although, it’s also clear due to his status and situation, it could have been done without his consent also. Having Renny’s POV is vital to making this whole book work. Mating links between siblings only seem to be taboo for Alphas of their status, but not unheard of in the rest of the general population on their planet.

Since Renny will need full time care, the four of them move in together on Presidian. Rennent feels overwhelmed that everyone is giving up space travel and changing their careers for him. The author makes it plain that the shared love and need for family drives them all together. With Sorkel being a healer, and having already established trust with Korden and Renny, this also seems meant to be. I should be clear that these are two mated couples who are friends and (at least in this first book) there is no sharing. All of this is well established before Renny experiences his first heat near the end of the book. I feel like this was all a natural progression. By the time it sinks into the start of a power exchange, it seems inevitable. But this hurts Kordan as it’s not in his nature and Renny is terrified his needs will be too much for Kordan. The thing that holds this whole book together is the love and communication between them. So many books use lack of communication as the obstacle. While it’s difficult to be vulnerable and share completely with someone, it’s necessary to explain why particular emotions exist–yes, even when these couples can be in each other’s minds. While this book is complete and could stop here, it does say book one and I have to admit to wanting to see them work out all of their doubts and fears and be more stable and settled. Also, there are other species and worlds to explore, not to mention politics and trade agreements. With Kordan now an Ambassador, there could be more adventures.

The cover was designed by Aisha Akeju. I would guess this is Rennett. While the stars communicate space travel and the inner turmoil as Rennett battles his shame at what has happened to him, and the birth of stars are like a new beginning…I still feel Korden should have been on the cover too. They are a unit.

Sales Links:  Less Than Three Press | Amazon

Book Details:ebook, Second Edition
Published January 9th 2019 by Less Than Three Press, LLC (first published January 16th 2016)
ISBN 139781684314126
Edition Language English
Series The Alpha/Omega Verse #

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Diplomatic Relations (The Sci-Regency Series #4) by J.L. Langley

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

A Sci-Regency Novel: sequel to My Regelence Rake

Opposites don’t just attract… they sizzle.

A lusty special forces soldier who lives by his own set of rules, Dalton Fairfax decided long ago to stop wishing for his father’s love, and he found his calling. Now that he’s back home and between assignments, he finds himself at loose ends. When the opportunity arises to play bodyguard and help out his country, Dalton jumps at the chance. Not only does it keep him busy, but it just so happens that his charge is the man he saw on leave last month and hasn’t been able to get out of his head.

Heir to a dukedom and a conservative politician, Blaise Thompson strives to prove himself worthy of carrying on the family legacy as the next IN Councilman. However, his closest competitor keeps getting in the way and taking credit for Blaise’s ideas. Maintaining his stellar reputation isn’t easy to do while keeping his outrageous younger brother in line and foiling his rival’s personal attacks. He has no time for a guard and even less time for romance.

When a priceless antique goes missing, Blaise and Dalton discover that Regelence has larger problems than just IN plots. Now the only way to stop a scandal that threatens both of them is to compromise, and they are forced to confront the risk of losing everything… even each other

Diplomatic Relations (The Sci-Regency Series #4) by J.L. Langley marks the first departure from the original stories already published and for me that’s a plus here.  I’m not a fan of the new versions of the original stories.  I’ve done side by side comparisons with the beloved originals and the revised stories are pallid substitutes, imo, for the robust novels they replaced. Everything from the loss of the bdsm element in Aiden and Nate’s relationship in My Fair Captain to the revisionist aspects of the personalities of major characters, I have found these new revised stories to be very flawed for those of us who loved the original novels, characters and their relationships.

But I’m also addicted it seems to the series and need to see how the overall story arc plays out and what happens to various other characters.  So onward I plunge.

Diplomatic Relations is focused on Dalton Fairfax, nephew to Raleigh (aka Cony) consort to King Stephen , which gives readers more insight into that side of the Royal family.  Dalton is or was high society’s black sheep.  Always at the center of scandals, always the rakehell.  His last one gets him a ticket into the Navy and an admonition to grow up and take hold of himself, courtesy of his Uncle Raleigh.

Meanwhile, planetside, there’s Blaise Thompson, brother to the irrepressible Bannon (who appears in multiple stories), trying to adjust to his future as heir to a dukedom and as a politician.
The two become reacquainted when the treacherous plot between Regelence and the IN brings them together when Blaise needs a bodyguard.  That’s a huge simplification of a Intergalactic plot that has been unfolding through four novels, and shows no end in sight.  I really have enjoyed watching this complicated suspenseful, and action-packed element thread through every story.  There have been kidnappings, murder, IT shenanigans, and, high rescues in space.  It’s been grand and shows no sign of letting up.
But let’s trot back to Regelence.  There’s some elements here I liked and some where the continuity again is severely lacking.
That continuity.
In the first three books, the Regency society culture, especially the Ton and High Society was rigid over its rules where its young men are concerned.  Chaperones are a must.  No public displays of affection, even among those affianced.  Three dances at a ball?  That is an announcement of an intent to wed.  Bannon and Trouble’s  (as well as Aiden’s ) in getting rid of their dance cards, while funny, was also running on the edge of ruinous.  The previous books all took note of that… all it took was being “alone” in a room with another man in order to be compromised.   That’s how innocent most of these young men were.  Cloistered and insulated by Regelence’s culture to be virgins until married.  That typified both Aiden and  Payton’s background and attitude.  Plus it’s standard “Regency” fair, whether M/M or  M/F.
But here standards are relaxed to include kissing, PDA, and more which given no declaration of intent, meant that a reputation could or was on the way to be ruined (intentional or not).  This book, unlike the others, doesn’t seem to take seriously the universe in which it’s situated.  The other novels and characters within them understood the gravity of their actions,, said so, and then moved forward.  There is none of taking responsibility here should they get caught. That whole aspect of virtue and its importance in Regency culture is ignored.  Which is curious because the author uses the strictness of Regency morality when she needs to in another part of the story. Just not here. No, the ramifications of one’s actions in this society are intense and swift.  Whether it plays out in the gossip column or in the government.  But Langley applies that when it suits her, in scenes and to certain characters here and there.  And the entire story suffers in my opinion from such an approach.
That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy Dalton and Blaise’s relationship, because I did. I liked that they balanced each other in their personalities.d But, the shaky framework it exits within is noticeable. Here there are women employed as man servants, something brand new and not brought up as a possibility in the other stories.  One hand, it makes sense in a homosexual society, to include those of the opposite sex as butler etc.  But in the previous stories, they were all men, no mention of women even attaining the roles.  It would have been great to have some groundwork or foundation laid for women in these roles before seeing it here.  It brings up so many questions.  How widespread it this practice.  Is it only in the Thompson family that it occurs?   Like I said…questions.
The ending will make everyone happy, well except for Bannon who has the next story coming out.  There is a excerpt for that after the ending.  I am looking for it it.  Especially as its off planet. What could go wrong?
I’m recommending this story.  Those of you reading it as a new series are loving it as you have nothing to compare it to.  Those of us who love the first series still need to know what’s happening to all the characters and the overall arc.  This does both and gives us a lovely romance to boot.
Meet you all at Bannon’s story.  See you then.
Cover Artist: Tiferet Design: This is a very nice cover.  Brands the series and its bright and light.
Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 288 pages
Published February 19th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 164080692X (ISBN13: 9781640806924)
Edition Language English
Series Sci-Regency #4

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Ithani (The Oberon Cycle #3) by J. Scott Coatsworth

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

The Oberon Cycle: Book Three

Time is running out.  After saving the world twice, Xander, Jameson and friends plunge headlong into a new crisis. The ithani—the aliens who broke the world—have reawakened from their hundred millennia-long slumber. When Xander and Jameson disappear in a flash, an already fractured world is thrown into chaos.  The ithani plans, laid a hundred thousand years before, are finally coming to pass, and they threaten all life on Erro. Venin and Alix go on a desperate search for their missing and find more than they bargained for. And Quince, Robin and Jessa discover a secret as old as the skythane themselves.  Will alien technology, unexpected help from the distant past, destiny and some good old-fashioned firepower be enough to defeat an enemy with the ability to split a world? The final battle of the epic science fiction adventure that began in Skythane will decide the fate of lander and skythane alike. And in the north, the ithani rise….

After finishing the book, I knew writing this review was going to be frustrating.  Why?  Because it’s going to be hard to find the words to describe just how incredible Ithani, the final story in The Oberon Cycle truly isJ. Scott Coatsworth left himself quite the task in pulling together all the plot threads and overall monumental trilogy arc and bring them all to all rousing conclusion that not only is beautifully imaginative, but thoroughly satisfying.

But the author accomplished that task and then went further.  This book is magical in its reach and edifying in the joy and depth of its conclusion.  It stretches out past time and space,  it encompasses the past, present, and future with equal verve, heart-stopping action and suspense. It brings to many a deep abiding love in so many forms, a search for self and what that means and, oh, yes the astonishing winged aliens of several species.  Plus the probable end of not one but two worlds.  There are multiple cultures, languages, sciences to understand and embrace along with all the characters that Coatsworth has created.

It’s an absolute tour de force.

I am certainly not giving out any details.  Even now, thinking back on elements and tiny narrative jewels the author will deliver to the reader, I remain so grateful and stunned at the twists and turns he built into Ithani.  Ones that even now continue to astound and delight.  I’m a fan of Coatsworth’s science fiction series the Liminal Sky and, here we find a major storythread that links this trilogy to that one.  For a reader that is not familiar with the Liminal Sky Series, will they feel lost?  Not at all.  This element is beautifully explained and threaded into the plot line, it’s important and as vital as any element in the narrative.  But that it’s linked to another series altogether?  Only those who know and adore the Liminal Sky  will be dancing in dazed joy over this narrative inclusion.

That’s just the way this whole novel goes…like dancing lights above a lake.  It will entrance you, pull you in, leave you to wonder at it all.  And then make you want to take the journey all over again.

I highly recommend the entire Oberon Cycle trilogy, starting with Skythane, then to Lander, and finally to this magical, incredible conclusion Ithani.  It’s February and I already have an addition to my Best of 2019 list this year.  That would be Ithani and the Oberon Cycle.

Cover Artists: Anna Sikorska.  I love the drama and eyecatching colors of this cover.  Great job.

Sales Links:

Buy Now: Dreamspinner Press Buy Now: Amazon KindleBuy Now: AmazonBuy Now: Barnes and NobleBuy Now: KoboBuy Now: iBooks

Book Details:

Paperback and eBook 290 pages
Expected publication: February 19th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press LLC
ISBN 1644051125 (ISBN13: 9781644051122)Available on: February 19, 2019
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genres: Romance, Sci Fi
The Oberon Cycle:

Skythane

Lander

Ithani