A Free Dreamer Review: Out of Time (Out of Time #5) by C.B. Lewis

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

For Ben Sanders—traitor, thief, and temporal orphan—time is running out.

After three years as a fugitive, with the police task force led by Lysander O’Donohue and Jacob Ofori hot on his heels, Ben has to resort to desperate measures to evade capture and find the key to locating his missing father, lost in time for over two decades. With secrets and conspiracies at every turn, the net grows ever tighter around him.

Haunted by the people he betrayed, the loved ones he left behind, and the lives he ruined, it’s too late to stop now. But no matter what Ben does, there’s no escaping his past.

With this exciting conclusion to the Out of Time series, it is recommended to read the first four books for full enjoyment.

After reading parts three and four, I was really excited about Out of Time. It wasn’t quite as awesome as the other two books, but still pretty good.

Like I said above, I didn’t read part one and two and I think you’re fine without them. But I really think you should at least read part four before you read this final installment, because a lot of what happened in the previous book is important for what’s going on now.

First of all, I want to say that I love how diverse Lewis’ cast of characters is. I mean, where do you find a Muslim woman wearing a hijab in a position of power? I’ve certainly never read about one ever. And it’s all so effortless. Some books have a lot of different sexual orientations in them and they make it obvious that the author tried really hard to make their cast diverse and it just doesn’t feel natural at all. But Lewis is the complete opposite. Of course you need a whole bunch of different people if you’re gonna do time travel, there’s a ton of interesting places to visit, all over the world.

There’s definitely more drama, angst and action than in book four, but somehow it still wasn’t quite as suspenseful. That doesn’t mean it was boring in any way, it was just a tiny bit easier to put the book down when I had to.

After the end of book four, I most definitely didn’t see this relationship coming. I totally bought into the act Ben and Enoch came up with. But it all makes sense now and they worked really well together. Their sex was really hot.

Enoch is so hilarious and such an awesome guy. And he has a great way of handling Ben when Ben needs him. I immediately took a liking to him.

Ben is very different. He’s not in a good place and my heart really went out to him. His life hasn’t been easy and being on the run constantly is certainly taking its toll on him.

There was some time travel, with a few unexpected results, but nothing lengthy. I almost missed it a little bit.

The ending was a bit too much for me. There was this extremely perfect HEA for everybody involved and after everything that happened, it just didn’t seem all that realistic. Well, as realistic as a story about time travel can ever be…

Overall, I’m sad this series is over and I’m glad I still have the first two books that I will need to read eventually. I think Lewis had a really unique approach to time travel and I really enjoyed what I’ve read so far.

The cover by Natasha Snow is essentially the same as the others in the series. The protagonists in front of a modern city background. Still not a huge fan of the concept, but not horrible either.

Sales Links:

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Book details:

ebook, 350 pages

Published January 20th 2020 by NineStar Press

A MelanieM Review: Earnest Ink by Alex Hall

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Rating:: 4.5 stars out of 5

While twenty-year-old FTM Hemingway is making an excellent living as a tattoo artist in a near-future version of Hell’s Kitchen, the rest of the country is splintered and struggling in the wake of a war gone on for too long. Technology has collapsed, borders rise and fall overnight, and magic has awakened without rhyme, reason, or rule, turning average unwitting citizens into wielders of strange and specific strands of magic.

Hemingway’s particular brand of magic has made him a household name. Not only is he a talented artist, but his work comes to life. Literally.

When NYC’s most infamous serial killer—the East River Ripper—abducts Hemingway’s best friend, Grace, he has only days to save her. Hemingway teams up with his stoic cop roommate to hunt for the killer and rescue Grace before she becomes the Ripper’s latest victim. But as the duo chase clues to the serial killer’s identity, Hemingway begins to fear the magic he and the Ripper share might eventually corrupt him too.

I am always enthusiastic about the stories that flow out of the mind of author Alex Hall because I know the tales will be imaginative, with twists and turns, marvelous characters with attention to details in personality and background, and as it demonstrated here, a fabulous ability to deliver a world of magic realism so very believable that i fell into it from the first page.

Earnest Ink by Alex Hall is a story that builds slowly as we get to know the characters and the world they now inhabit, one that changed drastically within their own lifetimes.  Changing their worlds and in some cases themselves fundamentally.  It’s a story revealed in pieces, pulled back in layers, as the current days events take place and our characters rush forward towards mysteries and crises that will have permanent impact on everyone.

The people encountered from the focal person of famous tattoo artist Hemingway are as incredibly complex as Hemingway is.. That extends to the roles they may play in Hemingway’s life, which may change direction or impact in a blink.  Who is trustworthy and who is not is always up for discussion.  Throw in the hunt for a gruesome killer, Jack the  Ripper, along with other mysteries, and you have a gripping thriller with tiny hints of a possible future  romance and an open ended future for all.

And that is the only thing that keeps this book from five stars.  The air of expectation for something more at the end.  A need for continuing on, that so much remains to be done or is left to be finished for everyone here.  I almost felt as though we were at 3/4 th of the story or perhaps that I should be able to sail quickly onto another book.  I was most not ready to leave this world and characters behind.

Love magic realism?  In need of a great new story to read?  I highly recommend Earnest Ink by Alex Hall.  I’m still thinking about the characters and their lives, and hoping that Hall will return to them once more for an update.

Cover art:  Natasha Snow.  A beautiful cover with a major element towards the ending.

Sales Links:    NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published October 14th 2019 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781951057121
Edition Language English

A MelanieM Review: The Hunt for Red Fluffy (Brimstone #6) by Angel Martinez

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Someone abandons a pedigree hellcat right where Shax can conveniently claim her and sets off a cataclysmic domino line of events. It’s time for the other shoe to drop since the Brimstone has a shadow cabal after them—partly due to Shax’s own, er, interesting decisions and partly due to the presence of Agent Julian Parallax onboard.

As ship security officer, Ness has a lot on his mind—a dangerous new pet, even more dangerous criminals tracking the Brimstone, and yet another unexpected rescued guest. The last thing he needs is a distraction and Julian, who confuses and confounds him more every moment, is exactly the distraction he doesn’t need. Between Shax’s reckless gambits and Julian’s disregard for his own safety, how is Ness supposed to keep anyone safe?

The Brimstone and her intrepid crew do all they can to stay one step ahead, but this time the hunters are closing in

Let’s see.  You have giant demon cats, singing millipedes, lost octopi space beings, a drag queen IA, and a freaking spaceship being pursued through the galaxy while a devil prince, a fallen angel, and a intergalactic operative try to figure out their love life?  Yep Angel Martinez and her insanely wonderful Brimstone gang are at it again in The Hunt for Red Fluffy (Brimstone #6) by Angel Martinez .

Am I thrilled?  Why hell yes!

I can not get enough of this series and just plain out there group of characters.  From pink hedgehogs with their futuristic iPads, cowboys and their horses, imps, the aforementioned millipedes, Nephilims, and more demons, cargos of floating cows, squishy frogs, and so much more, each story more indescribably imaginative and mind bogglingly delightful.  Now its demon courser cats.  Of course it is.

Cuz we haven’t had those yet.

And junior lost octopi in space.  I mean.  0.0  Jaw droppingly wonderful how drawn into it/them I was and its plight. And wavy arms.

Plus as all the fast action pursuit is going on, there is hot sex, and relationship dynamics to figure out between Shax, Julian, and Ness.  This is something that has been brewing over the course of the series and the author brings it nicely to fruition here.  Although there is so much more to go with this triad and Julian.  Especially with Julian’s career.  For the heart of these stories remains the characters, their relationships with each other, and the found family aboard  the Brimstone.  That’s the true heart here.  The one that pulls at me time and again.

I adore this author and this is one series I never hope to see of finale for.  May the Brimstone sail on and on and on.

One of my most highly recommended series and definitely this story!

Cover art is perfection!

Sales Links:  Mischief Corner Books | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition
Published September 12th 2019 by Mischief Corner Books, LLC
ASIN B07XJL5DSH
Series Brimstone #6
Brimstone Series
The Brimstone Journals: Collection One

A MelanieM Review: Consorts of the Red King by Eden Winters

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

In deepest space the ruthless Federation lays waste to one rebel colony after another, leaving comrades-in-arms Van Orskey and Tayn Kassik without family, without a home, and without hope.

With nothing left but each other, they run contraband and smuggle fugitives from the safety of their ship, the Cormorant—with the occasional clandestine mission for the rival Coalition thrown in. Their heists have not gone unnoticed, though even the bounty on their heads doesn’t prevent them from being a thorn in the enemy’s side at every opportunity.

Pissing them off? Big mistake.

From the day of his birth Prince Jorvik of Akiak learned duty, wisdom, and honor from his father, leaving him ill-equipped to withstand betrayal by his Federation-puppet uncle. He has no love for the greedy off-worlders who plunder his world’s natural resources and enslave his people. To defeat his foe, he needs the cunning, fearlessness, and touch of treachery only outlaws can offer.

Two off-world mercenaries make unlikely partners in Jorvik’s quest for vengeance, but the more he learns of them, the more common ground he discovers. In each other’s arms they find passion, heat, and maybe, a reason for living—until their common enemy threatens to tear them apart.

To survive, they must take on the corrupt Federation.

And win.

I am such a fan of both science fiction and this author so I really enjoyed the  Consorts of the Red King by Eden Winters.  A fast paced novel of political intrigue, intergalactic piracy and interplanetary takeovers, this novel also comes complete with hot sex, even hotter men, aliens, and an intriguing concept of a triad.  All in one story.

The beginning is startling, with an event the reader is not exactly prepared for (and not one I am willing to give away).   But it sets off the series of emotional maneuverings and dynamics to follow between long time partners Van Orskey and Tayn Kassik.  As with all of Winters books, her universe building and back histories are complex and often are revealed in stages.  Here we gradually learn about Van and Tayn, their past, about the ship they inhabit, and the organization they now work for.

It’s a convoluted structure that all starts to unravel for the pair from the first desperate job they take.  Consorts of the Red King is one of those stories that any details mentioned end up being spoilery so none given here.  In fact, the opposite, I wished for more.  Although I could clearly see the world of the Red King, I wanted more of it because from the elements revealed, they enticed mental pictures that craved more definition.

There is a roaring climax here to satisfy anyone.  Powerful, emotional, and yes, so worthwhile.  Loved it.  The perspective of the story is told through the eyes of the three men/beings you see pictured on the cover.  Yes, it works.  It’s needed to pull them together emotionally as a triad, and for you as a reader to accept them as such.

The author states that it took her four years to write this story and it shows it in  the details.  It’s a wonderful, well written, rousing tale.

My only quibble is that ending.  It feels as though you aren’t exactly done.  That you read that last sentence, and expect to turn the page and continue on.   It even sort of states that their journey isn’t complete (I can’t tell you why).  But at the end, the story feels that way too.

According to the author, it might be some time before we see any sequel, so we, and these characters will be waiting on the ending  they deserve.  Until then its a HFN.

If you love Eden Winter and scify, don’t hesitate to pick up Consorts of the Red King! Hot men, fast paced action and love among the stars! Oh my!

Cover art works perfectly for the story.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 364 pages
Published October 26th 2019 by Rocky Ridge Books
ASINB07Y7NKFB3

A MelanieM Review: Earnest Ink by Alex Hall

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Rating:: 4.5 stars out of 5

While twenty-year-old FTM Hemingway is making an excellent living as a tattoo artist in a near-future version of Hell’s Kitchen, the rest of the country is splintered and struggling in the wake of a war gone on for too long. Technology has collapsed, borders rise and fall overnight, and magic has awakened without rhyme, reason, or rule, turning average unwitting citizens into wielders of strange and specific strands of magic.

Hemingway’s particular brand of magic has made him a household name. Not only is he a talented artist, but his work comes to life. Literally.

When NYC’s most infamous serial killer—the East River Ripper—abducts Hemingway’s best friend, Grace, he has only days to save her. Hemingway teams up with his stoic cop roommate to hunt for the killer and rescue Grace before she becomes the Ripper’s latest victim. But as the duo chase clues to the serial killer’s identity, Hemingway begins to fear the magic he and the Ripper share might eventually corrupt him too.

I am always enthusiastic about the stories that flow out of the mind of author Alex Hall because I know the tales will be imaginative, with twists and turns, marvelous characters with attention to details in personality and background, and as it demonstrated here, a fabulous ability to deliver a world of magic realism so very believable that i fell into it from the first page.

Earnest Ink by Alex Hall is a story that builds slowly as we get to know the characters and the world they now inhabit, one that changed drastically within their own lifetimes.  Changing their worlds and in some cases themselves fundamentally.  It’s a story revealed in pieces, pulled back in layers, as the current days events take place and our characters rush forward towards mysteries and crises that will have permanent impact on everyone.

The people encountered from the focal person of famous tattoo artist Hemingway are as incredibly complex as Hemingway is.. That extends to the roles they may play in Hemingway’s life, which may change direction or impact in a blink.  Who is trustworthy and who is not is always up for discussion.  Throw in the hunt for a gruesome killer, Jack the  Ripper, along with other mysteries, and you have a gripping thriller with tiny hints of a possible future  romance and an open ended future for all.

And that is the only thing that keeps this book from five stars.  The air of expectation for something more at the end.  A need for continuing on, that so much remains to be done or is left to be finished for everyone here.  I almost felt as though we were at 3/4 th of the story or perhaps that I should be able to sail quickly onto another book.  I was most not ready to leave this world and characters behind.

Love magic realism?  In need of a great new story to read?  I highly recommend Earnest Ink by Alex Hall.  I’m still thinking about the characters and their lives, and hoping that Hall will return to them once more for an update.

Cover art:  Natasha Snow.  A beautiful cover with a major element towards the ending.

Sales Links:    NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published October 14th 2019 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781951057121
Edition Language English

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Starlight (Dark Space #3) by Lisa Henry

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

This is the third book in the series. While there is recapping through memories, I still think it would be difficult to start here. Without the emotional attachment to the characters built through books one and two, I don’t know why anyone would want to just jump into book three. Having said that, as much as I loved books one and two, this is really for those who wanted more closure than book two provided. The story drops the reader right into the action on Kai-Ren’s spaceship. The psychic connection is there between all the humans and Faceless onboard, but muted. All seven of the humans have been on the ship three months, sharing a room, and have still learned nothing about the Faceless. The ship is humid, damaging their equipment, their batteries are draining, and human food is running out. Just when I was wondering why this would be interesting, it got really interesting.

Chris and Brady have their moments of understanding. When disaster strikes, Chris really steps in as the leader here, which is understandable as he has always had an endgame, likely ordered by his superiors. Cam and Brady have their lovely intimate moments. Harry seems to spend the most time with Lucy, but I don’t feel like I know him any better. Andre is barely in this at all. Brady’s point of view is still fearful, angry, and anxious, but tempered from the previous books as he actively tries to be more grateful. His love for Cam and his growing belief in Cam’s love for him makes him less nihilistic. He wants to grow, to be a better role model for Lucy. His relationship with Doc has given him a father figure. He finally even has friends. This is a little repetitive, Brady’s thoughts looped into themselves and his existential crisis, his hatred of space, and his nostalgia. Still, if you are a Brady fan already, you should like this as he finally sees his own worth and what he brings to the table.

For me, the fear (terror really) of the Faceless seemed removed. Even though plenty of horrifying things happen, I didn’t feel it like I did in the other two books. Because of the Faceless that were not part of the hive they share with Kai-Ren, there were few moments the humans were safe, yet everything here felt muted, like their psychic connection. I don’t want to spoil the plot at all. I will just say that traveling on an alien ship in the hopes of learning about the universe and finding some weakness out about the aliens to give humans any sort of chance to not be decimated…didn’t go to plan. By the time they figure out anything useful, the book has turned into a disaster movie in space. The point of this book seems to be to give humanity some sort of triumph and to allow Brady to be brave, in many ways, in a totally Brady way. As much has been made about Kai-Ren and his rape of Cam, I feel like I need to say that it almost happened again…and I am not sure how to feel about it. Some people expressed that after the slow build of book one, the ending seemed rushed for a forced HEA; one could level the same criticism at this book also. I think everything happened exactly the way it needed to for the ending it had, even if beating all the odds was completely unlikely. Kai-Ren doesn’t control or rule all Faceless; he also is obviously not the only Faceless curious about humanity, so I am unsure about the ending provided. I enjoyed the book, but this is the weakest of the three, like watching Return Of The Jedi after The Empire Strikes Back.

The cover art by Mayhem Cover Creations matches the other two covers in the trilogy.

Sales Links: Universal Link: https://books2read.com/darkspace-starlight

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 197 pages
Published December 1st 2019 by Self-Published
Original TitleStarlight
ASINB07YN2GHWP
Edition Language English
SeriesDark Space #3

Love Sci Fi? Check Out the Blog Tour for Starlight (Dark Space #3) by Lisa Henry

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Starlight Tour Banner

Starlight

Dark Space Series Book 3

Lisa Henry

M/M Sci-Fi

Release Date: 12.01.19

Starlight

Cover Designer: Mayhem Cover Creations

Blurb

Brady Garrett is back in space, this time as an unwilling member of a team of humans seeking to study the alien Faceless and their technology. It’s not the first time Brady’s life has been in the hands of the Faceless leader Kai-Ren, and if there’s one thing Brady hates it’s being reminded exactly how powerless he is. Although dealing with the enigmatic Faceless might actually be easier than trying to figure out where he stands with the other humans on board, particularly when one of them is his boyfriend’s ex.

Cameron Rushton loved the starlight once, but being back on board the Faceless ship forces him to confront the memories of the time he was captured by Kai-Ren, and exactly how much of what was done to him that he can no longer rationalize away. Cam is used to being Brady’s rock, but this time it might be him who needs Brady’s support.

This time Brady is surrounded by the people he loves most in the universe, but that only means their lives are in danger too. And when Kai-Ren’s fascination with humanity threatens the foundations of Faceless society, Brady and Cam and the rest of the team find themselves thrust into a battle that humans have very little hope of winning, let alone surviving.

*Starlight can be read as a standalone but probably words better with knowledge of the first two books in the series.

Universal Link: https://books2read.com/darkspace-starlight

6 (1)1

Excerpt

The Faceless ship was silent, but the anger and the adrenaline rush of the battle ran on a constant feedback loop in our skulls. Spikes of pain, of fear, were like blasts of static in our heads. And sometimes, more than once, we felt that same dizzying sensation of sudden loss—and of that hole immediately being filled in again. The Faceless felt no grief for the fallen. The hive barely even noticed the loss of one drone.

I thought of my dad and how acutely I still missed him and how his loss was written in my bones, and in everything I did. A day didn’t go by when I didn’t think of him. And I thought of how my grief and my fear for Lucy had captured Kai-Ren’s attention in the first place.

I wondered which one of us was the most incomprehensible to the other. The most alien.

We made our way carefully down toward the core of the ship. Everything seemed dimmer. There were fewer lights drifting in the walls, and the fluid itself seemed darker than usual. The ship was hurt. Was she dying too?

Chris and Doc carried the hybrid between them, his thin arms held across their shoulders. His pale feet dragged more than stepped, but his eyes were open now. They were dark and wide and fearful, just like mine.

Cam and Harry led the way, and Andre and I brought up the rear. I held Lucy’s hand tightly. It was warm and damp with sweat. She was quiet. Her face was pinched. But she didn’t even stumble as we moved forward through the dimly-lit curving passageway of the ship.

As we moved toward the fighting.

“If anything happens,” I whispered to her, “run back to where we just were, okay?”

She nodded, and squeezed my hand more tightly.

We kept moving, right up until we didn’t. Cam and Harry had stopped, and I craned my head to see.

“It’s okay,” Cam said. “Keep moving.”

There was a dead Faceless lying in the corridor. His mask had been removed. His eyes were covered in a white film. His yellowish skin was stained black around his throat, and over one cheek, like someone had spat ink over him. And then I realized that no, it wasn’t a stain. It was necrosis, or something like it. His skin had been ruptured in several places, punctured, and the flesh around it had turned black.

Venom. It had to be venom.

I looked at Doc and Chris, and at the way the hybrid was slung between them. The hybrid’s fingers curled around their shoulders, and I thought of claws digging into their flesh and wondered how long it would take Faceless venom to kill a human. And then I thought of every time that Kai-Ren had run his hands over my skin, and of how the Stranger had prodded my stomach, and how each time I’d been staring death in the face. I’d thought of Kai-Ren as a god once, hadn’t I? A god who could strike any one of us down on a whim.

I held Lucy’s hand tightly as we passed the dead Faceless.

There was a voice in the back of my head—mine, for once—that told me we weren’t going to make it to the pods. That told me we’d be caught here, in a curving corridor with nowhere to take cover and that the Stranger’s Faceless would kill us, but whatever was happening in the rest of the ship was keeping all the Faceless busy.

My heart was beating out of my chest by the time we descended to the bay where the pods were kept, and the doors shut behind us, the sticky seams sealing closed.

There were six pods here, and seven of us plus the hybrid. It didn’t matter, because Cam and I had shared a pod before anyway. There was plenty of room. But mostly it didn’t matter because we had no way of getting the pods to work, let alone launching them.

And then it really didn’t matter, because we wouldn’t be launching them into some tranquil sea anyway.

“Holy fuck!” Harry exclaimed from the one of the windows that looked out into the nebula.

I look past him just in time to see a Faceless ship being torn apart by a massive explosion. It was colossal. It was blinding.

And it was close enough that the shockwave hit us like a tsunami.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lisa likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.

Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.

She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.

She shares her house with too many cats, a dog, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.

Lisa has been published since 2012, and was a LAMBDA finalist for her quirky, awkward coming-of-age romance Adulting 101.

Website: lisahenryonline.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lisa.henry.1441

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LisaHenryOnline

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/5050492.Lisa_Henry

Instagram: lisa_henry_author

Email: lisahenryonline@gmail.com

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New Release Blitz with Excerpt for Starlight (Dark Space #3) by Lisa Henry

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StarLight RDB Banner

Starlight

Dark Space Series Book 3

Lisa Henry

M/M Sci-Fi

Release Date: 12.01.19

Starlight

Cover Designer: Mayhem Cover Creations

Blurb

Brady Garrett is back in space, this time as an unwilling member of a team of humans seeking to study the alien Faceless and their technology. It’s not the first time Brady’s life has been in the hands of the Faceless leader Kai-Ren, and if there’s one thing Brady hates it’s being reminded exactly how powerless he is. Although dealing with the enigmatic Faceless might actually be easier than trying to figure out where he stands with the other humans on board, particularly when one of them is his boyfriend’s ex.

Cameron Rushton loved the starlight once, but being back on board the Faceless ship forces him to confront the memories of the time he was captured by Kai-Ren, and exactly how much of what was done to him that he can no longer rationalize away. Cam is used to being Brady’s rock, but this time it might be him who needs Brady’s support.

This time Brady is surrounded by the people he loves most in the universe, but that only means their lives are in danger too. And when Kai-Ren’s fascination with humanity threatens the foundations of Faceless society, Brady and Cam and the rest of the team find themselves thrust into a battle that humans have very little hope of winning, let alone surviving.

*Starlight can be read as a standalone but probably words better with knowledge of the first two books in the series.

Universal Link: https://books2read.com/darkspace-starlight

Starlight Teaser 5Starlight Teaser 4

Excerpt

That night I woke up with a start.

Cam made a soft noise beside me, and kept sleeping.

I sat up and swung my legs over the side of the bunk. The floor was damp and sticky against my bare feet. I didn’t care. Barely noticed it anymore. I just reached under the bunk and dragged my footlocker out. Opened it and found my cigarettes.

“Bad dream?” Chris Varro asked in a low voice from the bunk on the opposite wall.

I hadn’t known he was awake.

I lit my cigarette. “Hot dream,” I lied.

“Was I in it?”

“Fucker.”

He laughed quietly.

I’d had my fair share of wet dreams about Chris. And they weren’t just when I’d shared dreams with Cam. Pretty sure I’d come up with some all on my own. And I wish I could say that was the weirdest thing about my life, but it barely made the list. And if it was weird for me to be sharing a room with my boyfriend’s ex, how fucking weird was it for him to see us together? At least he didn’t try to pull rank on me anymore, and I didn’t try to stab him in the throat with a screwdriver. We were a work in progress, Chris and me.

Chris’s bunk creaked as he rose to his feet. He walked to the doorway, and beckoned me to follow.

I did.

“Those damn bunks,” he said, rolling his shoulders as he led me down the slope of the corridor towards Doc’s medbay. “I don’t know how you and Cam can fit in a single one.”

“We make it work,” I said. Cam slept in the bunk next to mine in theory, but in practice we usually ended up wedged close together in the one. I wondered if Chris was jealous. I would have burned with it if I’d had to see Cam with another guy. It was bad enough I’d seen it in his memories.

Chris regarded me silently for a moment, a sort of half smile on his lips, and I remembered—I felt—exactly why Cam had fallen in love with him. Chris was a good-looking guy, but more than that, he was smart and he was ambitious, but not in the way a lot of military guys were. Chris didn’t give a fuck about rank or prestige or how many medals they gave him. He was driven by something outside of all that. Chris wanted to unravel all the mysteries of the universe. No wonder that Cam, chasing starlight, had fallen so easily into his orbit.

They’d been perfect together, at least for a while.

“I like you, Brady,” he said. He reached forward and plucked my cigarette from between my fingers. Took a drag on it, and gave it back. “You don’t like me, but I like you.”

“You steal my fucking cigarettes and of course I don’t like you.”

His smile widened. “We both know that’s not the reason why.”

I shrugged, because there was no point denying it.

“You’re good for him,” Chris said at last. Glowing platelets slid past in the wall behind him and illuminated his face for a moment. “You’re good for each other.”

“I know we are,” I said, trying not to bristle, because I couldn’t quite read him. I couldn’t tell if he was being friendly, or if he was being a condescending prick and implying Cam and I needed his fucking approval or something. Usually I thought the worst of people and usually I was right, but lately I was trying to, I don’t know, be a better person or some bullshit. I at least wanted to set a better example for Lucy, so that she didn’t have to look at me and then look at all these other guys and wonder why I wasn’t like them. I didn’t want her to like them more than me because they weren’t angry and afraid all the time.

Chris stared at me for a long moment, and I wasn’t sure what he was looking for. “Whole universe out here,” he said at last, “just like Doc says, and you’re still living in your own head.”

“So what if I am? No fucking law against it.”

His mouth turned up in a faint smile. “Don’t forget I’ve been inside your skull, Brady. How do you even stand it? It’s so loud in there.”

I blew smoke in his face and ignored the way my stomach twisted.

He smiled again and shook his head. When he spoke his voice was tempered with sympathy, and that’s what made me hate him the most. “Whole universe out here, Brady, right in front of your eyes, and you’re still too afraid to look at it, aren’t you?”

“Fuck you,” I said. “I’m going back to bed.”

I left the asshole standing there, wreathed in the pulsating lights of the Faceless ship.

Starlight Teaser 1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lisa likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.

Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.

She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.

She shares her house with too many cats, a dog, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.

Lisa has been published since 2012, and was a LAMBDA finalist for her quirky, awkward coming-of-age romance Adulting 101.

Website: lisahenryonline.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lisa.henry.1441

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LisaHenryOnline

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/5050492.Lisa_Henry

Instagram: lisa_henry_author

Email: lisahenryonline@gmail.com

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Blog Post and Giveaway for Taking Shield Series by Anna Butler

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Penny Plain

I’m a bit of a nerd, really. I like knowing stuff. I like details and fun facts, and, well, I am a bit of a control freak. I have to have things sorted. Docketed. Filed away for future reference.

No, really. When it came to Taking Shield, I was looking up such wonderfully esoteric things as interferomatic dispersion, what actually happens if an airlock blows out in a vacuum, and sketching out on paper how the Gyrfalcon’s hangars and launch tubes work.

I love research.

Partly for its own sake, because it’s innately satisfying to learn how a naval flag office works or browse through the SF writing handbooks gawking at the inventive methods people have come up with (fictionally, I mean) to overcome Einstein’s pesky limitation that nothing can travel faster than light. But mostly I love it because it helps me visualise and describe the world I’m building, and because I think those worlds are stronger and more vivid from the details I’ve been able to add to them.

This isn’t about that old chestnut of ‘suspending the reader’s disbelief’. It’s quite the opposite: it’s about getting them to believe. There’s far more to being a writer than just sitting down to the keyboard and letting rip – you have to seed that urge to write with research. And then you have to look at all those lovely, juicy things you’ve learned and prune them away, despite the ache in your heart and the tears, to leave just the right amount to thread through your story to make it come alive. To make it tuppence coloured, rather than just penny plain.

The trick is to know what to put in (only just enough) and what to leave out (probably most if it, but I had fun researching). Feed through enough detail to give the created world completeness and coherence and make the narrative three dimensional and rich. Do it right and the little gems of knowledge inform the story, catching at the reader’s attention—hopefully subtly and naturally. It makes the world live. It’s all about balance: blend imagination with all that stuff so painstakingly collected together, and seed the details through the story so quietly and seamlessly the reader just sees the whole, complete world and never has to worry about things like the scaffolding holding it all up in the background.

For me, half the fun is sharing research with readers. I use glossaries, author’s notes, Pinterest, blog posts, website background notes… If I were a little less technologically challenged, I’d probably include animated slideshows and book trailers, too. But I am, so I don’t. The ways of sharing these fascinating world-building snippets have gone well beyond the old days when all a reader got was a fold-out map at the end of a book, if they were lucky.

You’ll find extra snippets of information on Taking Shield at my website. Do explore them to find out fascinating things such which dreadnought heads up the Ninth Flotilla, or how the chain of command of the Albion Defences work, what the medals for valour are and what colour uniform an Infantryman wears. I hope you enjoy reading it all as much as I enjoyed putting it together.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link


Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas


Hate buying books in a series until the whole thing is done? Then check out the Rainbow Award-winning Taking Shield series, just released as an e-book boxed set. Not only do you get the entire series, there’s a very nice saving on the cost of the individual books! Anna’s dropped in today to tell us more.


About Taking Shield


Earth’s a dead planet, dark for thousands of years; lost for so long no one even knows where the solar system is. Her last known colony, Albion, has grown to be regional galactic power in its own right. But its 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 that’s dragged on for generations.


Taking Shield charts the missions and adventures of Shield Captain Bennet, scion of a prominent military family. Bennet, also an analyst with the Military Strategy Unit, uncovers crucial data about the Maess to help with the war effort. Against the demands of his family’s ‘triple goddess’ of Duty, Honour and Service, is set Bennet’s relationships with lovers and family—his difficult relationship with his long term partner, Joss; his estrangement from his father, Caeden, the commander of Fleet’s First Flotilla; and Fleet Lieutenant Flynn, who, over the course of the series, develops into Bennet’s main love interest.


Over the Taking Shield arc, Bennet will see the extremes to which humanity’s enemies, and his own people, will go to win the war. Some days he isn’t able to tell friend from foe. Some days he doubts everything, including himself, as he strives to ensure Albion’s victory. And some days he isn’t sure, any longer, what victory looks like.

Anna 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. She’s 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.

 

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A MelanieM Review:The Shoreless Sea (Liminal Sky Book 3) by J. Scott Coatsworth

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

Liminal Sky: Book Three

As the epic trilogy hurtles toward its conclusion, the fight for the future isn’t over yet. It could lead to a new beginning, or it might spell the end for the last vestiges of humankind.

 

The generation ship Forever has left Earth behind, but a piece of the old civilization lives on in the Inthworld—a virtual realm that retains memories of Earth’s technological wonders and vices. A being named Lilith leads the uprising, and if she succeeds in setting its inhabitants free, they could destroy Forever.

 

But during the generation ship’s decades-long voyage, humanity has evolved. Liminals with the ability to connect with the world mind and the Inthworld provide a glimmer of hope. They’ll have to face not only Lilith’s minions, but also the mistrust of their own kind and persecution from a new government as homotypicals continue to fear what they can’t understand.

 

The invasion must be stopped, the Inthworld must be healed, and the people of Forever must let go of their past and embrace what they’re meant to become.

I have been waiting to see how this very talented author was going to wrap up his  Liminal Sky trilogy.  The preceding stories (The Stark Divide #1 and The Rising Tide #2) were both marvelous feats of LGBTQIA science fiction, carrying me along a journey of epic proportions.  So what would the conclusion bring?  A finale to a story that, for the author, has really been decades in the making (read the author’s note).

So into The Shoreless Sea (Liminal Sky Book 3) by J. Scott Coatsworth I dove!

Well, this is one of those circumstances where I wish I could leave a rating off.  Why?  Because 3/4 of this novel is brilliant, living up to its predecessors.  For the majority of this story, Coastworth has a clear vision, moving his narrative smartly forward towards a highly passionate, suspenseful, action-packed climax.  New characters are introduced, indeed entire new revelatory elements have been brought in, layered and over layered to the existing foundation of the seed ship Forever and its inhabitants moving through space. Past history is reintroduced, skillfully I will add, for those that might have forgotten some of the past.  And new horrific villains have risen.

The author had me hooked.  I was turning those pages, needing to know what was happening next, so thoroughly in the moment with those people, from Destiny (the author’s binary character), to Andy, Gordy, Aine, and all the rest.  They were, and are magnificent, and perfectly realized.   The sciences behind the workings of Forever is still just as fascinating and incredibly visualized as anything I’ve read.  All the people and their various gender identities were handled just as one would hope for a society that advanced. Or should I say a world trying to be a society to be more advanced.

I just loved this story.  Especially that climax!  Just outstanding?  So what is my issue here?

Well , after I got through cheering and thinking about just how perfect I thought that climax was and how neatly I thought Coatsworth had tied up the ending of his story and the trilogy, I noticed something.  And my heart sank a little.  I wasn’t finished yet.  There was more to read.  Sign.  I was, facing more chapters…after a perfect ending.

That’s the hardest thing for authors.  How to let a story go, knowing when to release your characters and say goodbye.  Especially when you have lived with them in your head and your heart for such a long time.

There was another chapter, another villain, another smaller, less effective denouement, just to give a beloved character a send off.  One that, in my opinion, she had already received prior with her partner and heartmate.  This one?  Sort of diminished that which had gone before. So very anticlimactic.  And it also muddled the waters of the fantastic  ending/send off Coatsword had written in the other chapter as well. Just didn’t make as much sense.

And then there was yet another chapter after that.  One that could have easily been set aside as one of those side stories the authori talked about when he said he might be revisiting this universe in the future.  You could also feel the author just not wanting to let go of this trilogy….not yet…just one more paragraph….one more line.

So how to rate this?

The Shoreless Sea (Liminal Sky Book 3) by J. Scott Coatsworth was mostly a magnificent finale.   Full of passion, great characters, wonderful science, and imaginative plot, and suspenseful ideas and plot, I enjoyed it right up to the first climax and ending.  That was the perfect story for me.  It was there I should have stopped.  And taken the rest as additional short stories later on.

But that’s not how the author wrote it and that’s not his vision.  His vision includes all the chapters and for me, that’s several too many.

I still think the Liminal Sky trilogy is a remarkable series and this was author’s loving tribute to his characters and a story that he’s loved and now finished.  I think he did a rmarvelous job and highly recommend it.

Cover art: Aaron Anderson.  I have loved all the covers for this series and this one is no different.  Just outstanding.

Sales Links: Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play | QueeRomance Ink

Book Details:

Kindle Edition
Published October 15th 2019 by DSP Publications
ASINB07T5C8DWY

Liminal Sky Trilogy:

The Stark Divide
The Rising Tide
The Shoreless Sea