A Lila Review:Yule Planet: Escape from the Holidays by Angel Martinez

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Sofia Cancino is tired of her mundane life, her artificial environment and her large, boisterous family descending every holiday season. She’s promised herself this year will be different and books a stay on the exclusive—and expensive–holiday-themed resort, Yule Planet. She looks forward to being pampered while reconnecting with Old Earth traditions steeped in the magic and mysticism of nature. Everything will be perfect and she’ll leave as a more authentic human, better connected to her roots.

Naturally, things go horribly wrong. Sofia’s landing pod goes off course and instead of stepping out on the landing pad at the resort, she finds herself in the snow-swept perpetual winter of the planet’s hinterlands. If that wasn’t bad enough, she’s “rescued” by a band of criminals on work release who run deliveries to the resort from far-flung shuttle delivery sites. They refuse to take her, a paying customer, to the resort and insist on dragging her along on their parcel run. Riding giant monsters. In frigid weather. Not to mention, Marta, who handles the monsters, obviously hates her.

If Sofia survives her vacation, she’s definitely yelling at someone’s supervisor until she gets a refund.

Yule Planet is one of those stories in which the romance element seems irrelevant. The world-build for such a short story is amazing, as well as the visualization. It’s easy to feel like part of the action and get involved with all the characters. The relationship between Sofia and Marta would have been better if they have stayed as friends. By the time we get a hint of them looking forward to more, the story is halfway through. I had to re-read the blurb to check if Sofia’s HEA was Marta or Shara.

I did enjoy the amount of diversity in the story and how not all the characters were likable. All their hard backstories added to the overall story. Each individual had a reason to be part of the events, including the chionisaurs. How they related to each other, as couples or co-workers was another unique fact.

This is a very good Holiday story. Very different from traditional Christmas stories, but perfect for the season. Once again, the author shows why she’s one of the best in her genre.

The cover by L.C. Chase goes with the story but feels a bit too contemporary. I wanted a little grit on it.

Sale Link: Amazon | Nook | Mischief Corner

Book Details:
ebook, 154 pages
ASIN: B07LGH3DBT
Published: December 22, 2018, by Mischief Corner Books
Edition Language: English

A Free Dreamer Review : Comply by Lee Manarte

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Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

“The world is a cruel place…”

No one believes that more than I do. My name is Declan Forester, and I am a Zedian. Part of a different species born with miraculous gifts from the gods, only the humans don’t see it that way. They see us as something to be tamed.
After being captured by the humans and stripped of my abilities, I have little left. With my life in shambles, my thoughts are haunted by my human tormenter. Dr. Adam Davenport. A human male that is everything nightmares are made of.
Now, his unwilling captive in a government-run facility, I am forced to obey his every demand, or be punished. Caught up in a web of lies about gods, the push to help a hot redhead, my high running desires and, oh yeah, the pending apocalypse, I find myself falling apart. And Adam may be the only one to save me…if I comply.

Comply is a bit hard to rate, tbh. There were things I quite liked and things I didn’t care for, so I guess “not so great” is my final impression.

The premise itself is interesting, if not entirely unique. There are people (Zedians) who have amazing gifts and the humans hate and fear them because of those gifts. As the blurb implies, this is a very dark story and that’s something I generally like. And an MC trapped in a facility for inhumane experiments is just the kind of thing that sounds promising to me.

The prologue was the best part of the entire book. It starts off with a very strong Fantasy bang, but the rest of the book didn’t quite life up to that. The bits and pieces of Fantasy were definitely interesting, but too few and far between for me. Also, I found the world building to be a bit lacking. Again, there were bits and pieces, but I kind of missed the bigger picture.

My biggest issue, however, were the relationships in this book. There is no build-up to and suddenly there are very strong feelings involved. I kind of got the feeling that Declan’s feelings for Adam were a Stockholm Syndrome thing. Not very romantic, but understandable.

But what really baffled me were Adam’s feelings. I just didn’t get where they were coming from. I think the author did too good a job of making him seem like an evil jerk at the beginning and then he kind of got a complete change of personality, for no apparent reason. I was convinced Adam was just playing with Declan and that he would betray him eventually.

There weren’t many sex scenes and all but one wasn’t very consensual. And the one consensual scene we do get, was a bit odd. I could have forgiven the lack of condoms, given the circumstances and the fact that Declan isn’t human and has very strong healing abilities, but the lack of lube really put me off. And the time and place they chose to have sex wasn’t very nice either.

Honestly, this book left me confused. There were grammatical errors, which really bothered me, an inconsistent plot and the MCs had zero chemistry. There are a bunch of seemingly useless torture scenes and the relationship was very much dubcon. The idea itself was good and there were some elements I liked, but the ones I didn’t like far outweighed the good parts. I think it definitely shows that this is the author’s first book.

I actually quite like the cover by Jay Aheer, it’s nice and dark. Though I am a bit sick of all those ripped, bare-chested cover models…

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UKExclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow in Kindle Unlimited
 

Book details: Kindle Edition, 201 pages

Published November 13th 2018

A Free Dreamer Review: In the Name of Magic by Chris Bedell

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Rating: 1 star out of 5

Non-magical people are being demonized and falsely blamed for Magnifico’s economic problems after Queen Vivian’s bloody rise to power. But politics very quickly becomes more than abstract views to argue when secret police wolves are deployed throughout the country to kill those born without magical abilities.

Seventeen-year-old Maximillian’s best friend Katherine is one such nonmagical person. In a bid to keep her safe, Maximillian turns to the queen’s estranged younger brother, a man thought to be dead until recently.

Prince Stefan is nineteen years old and has been in hiding from his family for years. He has no desire to resurface in the political world, but Maximillian must convince him that the country needs him before it is too late.

Ninestar Press has a lot of brilliant LGBT+ Fantasy books, so I was really excited about “In the Name of Magic”. Sadly, it was a huge let-down.

The only interesting thing in the entire book was the idea that it was non-magical people being persecuted by magicals. Usually, it’s the other way round. But I still don’t know why the non-magicals were so hated. It takes only a few months till they’re held in concentration camps and killed quite openly. But why??? The whole story about the hatred of non-magicals essentially read like a badly written historical novel about WW2, with “Jews” swapped for “people without magic”. It doesn’t help that I really don’t like books about WW2.

Since this was obviously inspired by WW2, some pretty horrible things happened. But the characters were all extremely blasé about it. I mean, Katherine finds the bodies of her gruesomely murdered parents. Her reaction? “Oh dear.” A few pages later, she’s busy thinking about whether or not to dump her boyfriend. Seriously?

Maximillian was horrible. He keeps insisting how he’s a good son and always obedient and so on. All the while, he’s lying to his parents, sneaking around, drinking alcohol, and some other pretty horrible stuff, and he never ever has to face the consequences of his actions.

Stefan was just a poor little rich kid. We are told he had a horrible childhood and decided to run away from home. And the most horrible thing we learn is that his sister got more presents than he did. Oh, woe me.

There is zero world-building. All we learn about magic is that it exists. It’s sort of implied that it’s hereditary, I guess, but that’s it. How does it work? Do you need somebody to teach you? Do you learn this stuff at school? The magic seemed to have no influence on the world itself. Not that we learn all that much about that either. Big chunks of the plot just didn’t make sense. If you can teleport, why do you need cars?

And oh my gosh, the writing style. It was just so weird. “He elevated his eyebrows.” “He beamed his eyes.” Really? This was practically screaming for an editor. After a while, I just skipped paragraphs and only read the dialogue, which was tolerable.

When I told a friend about this book, she said, “So, essentially, the very first idea the author had for this book had potential, but the whole rest was just plain bad?” And that’s a pretty adequate summary. I suppose the ending (which I thought made no sense) calls for a sequel. But not with me, thank you very much.

The cover by Natasha Snow is a bit generic and doesn’t really fit the story. It looks more like a post-apocalyptic setting.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 185 pages
Published October 22nd 2018 by NineStar Press
ISBN 139781949909005
Edition Language English

A VVivacious Review: Spare Parts by T.J.Land

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Rating: 2 Stars out of 5

Meteor, Gloss and Spike are slaves to a technologically superior species but they manage to escape from their owners, masters and creators. In a bid to win freedom for all tools, Meteor hatches a plan, an ingenious but extremely foolhardy one. Along with his companions, Meteor is going to find out just how difficult and distracting Earth and its inhabitants can be.

This book is a science fiction space odyssey with a group of sentient beings fighting for freedom from their oppressors. It mostly details the struggles of the tools (or scavengers as they later decide to call themselves) as they attempt to escape the control of the Gentle Folk, the technologically advanced species. Though it does feature a tentative romance between a human and a tool and a maybe developing one between two tools (the human identifies as male and all other tools involved in said relationships refer to themselves as he), this book’s primary focus is not the romance and it gets little development in the grand scheme of things. If you haven’t thought it already, think Westworld and you will have a general idea where this story is going. The rest of this review has my views on the book and it’s definitely me, not the book.

This book started out amazing, with three robots on a mission to free their fellow beings from service under the “Gentle Folk” by hatching a plan so far-fetched it might just be brilliant. I loved how the book tried to incorporate how bizarre humans would appear to any intelligent being not familiar with us and it was amazing that the author was able to depict just how difficult it will be to do anything in a world you know very little about, like just finding a place to start would have you tearing your hair out and I loved that part of this story. Meteor, Gloss and Spike’s struggles to make head or tails of humans led to some interesting developments which I enjoyed thoroughly. The story has really organic developments that help make it more than just the narration.

But then the Gentle Folk themselves made it down to Earth and things just changed perspective in my mind. All of a sudden that fight for freedom that Meteor, Gloss and Spike were pursuing that seemed mostly benign became dangerous enough to destroy humankind. I could imagine being in the place of the humans in this story and I could imagine being in place of the Gentle Folk but all of a sudden, the slave-master analogy that I was applying to explain away the tools feelings blew up in my face because they aren’t master and slave, they are creator and created. This blew up this story to the realm of metaphysical debate in my brain and it literally became Westworld for me which I didn’t like for similar reasons. Do we need to have such debates when we are nowhere near creating a true AI and secondarily do we really have to think about what species that as of yet remain undiscovered might be doing on their home-worlds? Maybe but we would be having those debates in a safe cocoon where either thing though not impossible is still pretty distant. I feel like when these debates are anywhere near affecting our reality we will hopefully have better tools to deal with them, or we won’t and we will screw it up like science fiction has me believing because truly what is the right way? I found myself exceedingly worried about the fate of the Earth. Here were these super-robots inhabiting Earth who were quick to pull the trigger and capable of vaporizing any evidence thereafter, free to terrorize humans for all eternity. If they decided to wipe us out a millennium from now we would all be dead and they would still be here and that made me vulnerable. The third point of view that I couldn’t find myself taking to was the point of view of the tools because that would bring up some serious questions about God and well do we really want Gods like the Gentle Folk? Will there come a time when the tools, who rebelled and killed their creators, will worship those very same Creators and what about our creator if there indeed is a being that created us?

This book was really interesting. Initially, while I found it intriguing, I was a bit reserved about if I would like it but I was surprised by just how well written it was and how it was able to truly get me to sympathize and appreciate it’s characters. I didn’t like the violence in this book and not because I am squeamish because frankly it isn’t like graphic violence where you can feel the blood dripping but I just resented that it was there because it had me acutely aware of exactly how defenseless we, humans, are. In fact, towards the end of the book, I was glad that the story was going to end on a debate with the fate of the tools/scavengers somewhat settled as their journey for freedom continues when Bam! Violence. I mean how stupid are these Gentle Folk that they have absolutely no idea what their creations have become but I guess, that is the whole idea that they have no idea.

I didn’t enjoy this book much so I am not going to give it a high rating but this one was definitely a case of it’s me not you because I am pretty sure people who don’t have my hang-ups are sure to enjoy this one and maybe even have answers to the various questions this book poses.

I would definitely like to mention some things I liked. The moment when they decide not to torture Bek because Gonzalo thought they were impressive was an amazing moment which kind of lost its shine in face of the casual speciesism that the tools/scavengers threw out but it remains a pretty splendid moment despite the dings. Also, I loved how these three had their personalities change organically throughout the story despite having nothing organic about themselves to boot.

One thing I definitely didn’t like was that all the tools became more human. It would have been nice if they could have introduced the gender concept of their owners instead of just their technology because I am sure that the Gentle Folk definitely will have some novel concepts that can help mankind.

I guess the reason I really didn’t like this book was that in the end no one in this book really cares about your fate, the fate of human beings and that was just unsettling because by the end of the book they are the only beings I could identify with.

Cover Art by Natasha Snow is beautiful as always but it gives kind of a horror-suspense feel which doesn’t gel well with the feel of the book.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published October 22nd 2018 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781949909012
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Review: The Rising Tide (Liminal Sky #2) by J. Scott Coatsworth

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Liminal Sky: Book Two

Earth is dead.

 

Five years later, the remnants of humanity travel through the stars inside Forever, a living, ever-evolving, self-contained generation ship. When Eddy Tremaine and Andy Hammond find a hidden world-within-a-world under the mountains, the discovery triggers a chain of events that could fundamentally alter or extinguish life as they know it, culminate in the takeover of the world mind, and end free will for humankind.

 

Control the AI, control the people.

 

Eddy, Andy, and a handful of other unlikely heroes—people of every race and identity, and some who aren’t even human—must find the courage and ingenuity to stand against the rising tide.

 

Otherwise they might be living through the end days of human history.

When I finished The Stark Divide, the first novel in J. Scott Coatsworth’s science fiction trilogy, I knew I was into something extraordinary.  Not only was it highly imaginative, but the science was there as well as the emotional, mental, and physical elements from the characters (and  pulled from the readers) that went along with the death of a home world and the launching of a vessel for space exploration and the saving of the human race.  That story has it all.  Intrigue, AIs, a magnificent space vessel  called Forever that was home to the remnants of humanity and at the end the introduction of a familiar villainy.   I was hopelessly lost  and hopelessly addicted.  There was  romance in a place where gender plays an increasingly lesser role. But romance is not the main factor here.  It’s the survival of Forever and humanity that’s at stake and that’s where we pick up in The Rising Tide.

As I have stated before, I’m prone to reading author’s introductions so you all know that I started with J. Scott Coatsworth’s here.  He tells the story of the titles of the novels, how they came about as well as the overall one for the trilogy, Liminal Sky.  In The Rising Tide we dive into the true meaning of that in epic proportions!

There is not any way to discuss individual characters within this novel in a review, especially for The Rising Tide.  There are simply far too many important main characters, scads of them really.  Each and every one has a different, startling role to play within this mind boggling science fiction tale.  How do you highlight Andy and leave out Marissa?  You don’t.  To discuss how beautifully each character is created would take up gobs up space and quite frankly I’d rather you all read the book.  There are simply no throwaway characters here, even ones that make brief appearances are used to high emotional impact.

There are also some very dark moments for the people here and that comes through science and it’s misuse, something they thought they had left back on Earth.

There are moments when I wept, pages of high anxiety and suspense, times when I went as limp as a noodle when momentarily the action went slack, and yes, sniffled again when it all came back together in an astonishing climax!  What a wild narrative ride this was!  I loved every word of it.  The author did an immaculate job here and I applaud him.

The Rising Tide is the middle or transitioning story of the Liminal Sky trilogy.  The term liminal can mean occupying both sides of a boundary or a threshold, the initial stages of transitioning which is what is happening here.  The people are transitioning away from the Old Earth ways and heading finally towards whatever future lies ahead, what they find, what they make as they voyage through space on Forever.  Through a journey of adventure, horror, love, sacrifice, science, even death,  J. Scott Coatsworth delivers an epic tale of transition.

There’s one book left to go.  I cannot wait to read it.

Earth is dead.   Let’s find out what J. Scott Coatsworth has in store for humanity in the last story in the Liminal Sky trilogy.    What a magnificent two novels to date!  I highly recommend them both.  They must be read in the order they are written.  Then meet me here as we eagerly await the release of the third.

Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson.  I love these cover.  This  one is absolutely gorgeous and is a great representation of an element of the story.

Sales Links: DSP Publications | Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Goodreads

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 388 pages
Published October 30th 2018 by DSP Publications (first published October 16th 2018)
ASINB07D8GFSJW
Series Liminal Sky :

The Stark Divide

The Rising Tide

In the Science Fiction Spotlight: The Rising Tide (Liminal Sky #2) by J. Scott Coatsworth (exclusive excerpt and giveaway)

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The Rising Tide

The Rising Tide

(Liminal Sky #2)

 

 

J. Scott Coatsworth has a new queer sci fi book out: “The Rising Tide.”

Earth is dead.

Five years later, the remnants of humanity travel through the stars inside Forever, a living, ever-evolving, self-contained generation ship. When Eddy Tremaine and Andy Hammond find a hidden world-within-a-world under the mountains, the discovery triggers a chain of events that could fundamentally alter or extinguish life as they know it, culminate in the takeover of the world mind, and end free will for humankind.

Control the AI, control the people.

Eddy, Andy, and a handful of other unlikely heroes—people of every race and identity, and some who aren’t even human—must find the courage and ingenuity to stand against the rising tide.

Otherwise they might be living through the end days of human history.

Series Blurb: Humankind is on its way to the stars, a journey that will change it forever. Each of the stories in Liminal Sky explores that future through the lens of a generation ship, where the line between science fiction and fantasy often blurs. At times both pessimistic and very hopeful, Liminal Sky thrusts you into a future few would ever have imagined.

DSP Publications | Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Goodreads


Giveaway

Scott is giving away two prizes with this tour – a $25 Amazon gift card, and a signed copy of “The Stark Divide,” book one in the series (US winner only for the paperback). For a chance to win, enter via Rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d4734/?


Excerpt

The Rising Tide Meme

Unique Excerpt

Zombie Mountain

Eddy led them down the tunnel toward the enemy’s lair. Or at least that’s how he pictured it—like something from an old superhero tri dee. The mountain they were walking under would have a huge cavern entrance in the shape of a skeletal maw, jagged teeth above and below dripping with water—or maybe blood—threatening anyone who dared enter. Dead eye sockets peering out at the world.

That’s how one always knew it was the villain’s lair.

The reality seemed a lot more mundane. There were no markers, other than the subtle bits of world crafting they had found when they entered the tunnel.

He was a little worried, though. This cavern had no side branches either. While that was good for them, assuming the marauders hadn’t sealed them off after they passed like they’d done at the cavern entrance, it also made them easy targets. There was nowhere to hide if they should run into enemy forces coming from the other direction.

The weight of the rock above them weighed heavily on him, as did the oppressive silence.

Something shifted.

It took him a moment to figure out what it was. Eddy pulled the others to a halt and pointed to his ear. There it was again. A definite clang clang clang.

They moved more slowly.

Soon the tunnel brightened. A soft glow came from up ahead, lighting their way. After another three or four minutes, he could see the end of the tunnel at last, but his eyes hadn’t adjusted to the new light yet.

They edged up to it. As they got close, he gestured for them to get on the ground and crawl the last bit of the way.

Colin grimaced.

Eddy mouthed, “Sorry.” It was probably hard on the old man.

He moved forward on his hands and knees and peered over the edge. “Holy shit.”

The inside of the mountain was hollow, or had been hollowed out. Someone had filled it with glowing plants, creating a virtual Vernian jungle underground.

Huge stone columns reached up from earth to sky—or in this case, from Forever to cavern ceiling. Above, the vault of it glowed in bright blue patches… moss? Or something else?

In the middle of the jungle stood several enormous trees and a wide lake.

Eddy halfway expected to see a brontosaurus lift its head from the water, or to look up and see pterodactyls flying overhead. There were some birds—seagulls, like the ones they’d recently introduced over Lake Jackson a couple years ago. Strange.

In the middle of it all, near the lake, was a village, if you could call it that, made up of primitive wooden huts with thatched roofs.

There were several hundred people down there in the cavern too—adults and children—each one working industriously and silently, harvesting fruit, trimming plants, building dwellings.

“There’s something wrong,” Andy whispered.

“You mean besides there being an entire hidden world under this mountain?”

She nodded. “Look closely at the people.”

He watched them for a while. Sure, they were industrious. There was nothing wrong with that.

“No one’s talking.” It was Shandra, who had edged up on his other side.

He looked around. She was right. Not a word was said by any of the people he could see close by. Not only that, but they hardly interacted at all.

Eddy shivered, and his hand slipped unconsciously to the hilt of his long knife. “It’s Zombie Mountain.” The weekly tri dee serial had run for almost a decade and was eerily similar to the scene in front of him now. Except the zombies hadn’t been particularly good builders or gardeners. “What the hell’s going on?”


Author Bio

Scott lives between the here and now and the what could be. Indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine, he devoured her library. But as he grew up, he wondered where the people like him were.

He decided it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at Waldenbooks. If there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.

His friends say Scott’s brain works a little differently – he sees relationships between things that others miss, and gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He seeks to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.

A Rainbow Award winning author, he runs Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction reflecitng their own reality.

Website: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth

Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworthauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jscoatsworth

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8392709.J_Scott_Coatsworth

QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/J.-Scott-Coatsworth/e/B011AFO4OQ/

LOGO - Other Worlds Ink

A Free Dreamer Review: Siege Weapons (The Galactic Captains #1) by Harry F. Rey

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Captain Ales is a lonely smuggler at the galaxy’s Outer Verge, and the last of his people. He’s been trying to move on from a life of drugs and meaningless sex, but finding love in this forgotten corner of the galaxy is difficult.

When he’s sent on a mysterious smuggling mission to a world under siege, he’s enticed by promises of the domination he craves. But soon Ales finds himself entwined in a galactic power struggle that could cost him everything.

I don’t know what exactly I expected after the blurb, but “Siege Weapons” definitely surprised me. 

This is one of the publisher’s “literary/genre” titles, so this is more Sci Fi with a gay MC than anything else. Which is something I’m always on the lookout for, so yay. There are several explicit sex scenes, with pretty heavy BDSM in the second half, but no real romance to speak of. The sex was hot but I can see how the BDSM elements might make some people uncomfortable. They aren’t really of the “safe, sane, consensual” sort, even if there’s no rape in this story – past or present.

Ales is a complicated man. I think we barely touched the surface of his personality. There were so many layers of him and new sides kept popping up that I really didn’t expect. I’m not sure I actually liked him in a traditional way, though I certainly cared for him. He’s the most important person of the story and we don’t learn much about the other characters, which don’t get much on-page time.

I like my books to be angsty, so I’ve read some pretty dark stuff. But “Siege Weapons” is a whole different kind of heavy. The flashbacks to Ales’ past really made my hair stand on end. And even though this is set in the distant future, it reminded me a great deal of how our world works atm. I was close to choking up once or twice, which very rarely happens.

The world building was really interesting. We meet all kinds of aliens or “homos”, as they’re called in this universe. Ales could probably called a racist, so a lot of that experience is coloured by his rather negative emotions. We also get a lot of space travel and intergalactic politics. It’s a wonder how the author managed to fit all of those elements into such a short book and make it all seem so natural.

The plot has a pretty good balance between fast-paced action scenes with a fair bit of violence and quiet introspection. There were quite a few twists and turns and that epilogue was very unexpected.

Overall, I really, really liked “Siege Weapons”. It’s solid Sci Fi with a gay MC with a lot of issues. There’s sex, but no real romance. If that’s the sort of thing that makes you sit up and pay attention, then I believe this book is for you. If, however, you’re on the hunt for a solid romance set in space, then this you’ll want to keep looking.

Personally, I’m really looking forward to the next part in the series. I want to know what happens next!

The cover by Natasha Snow is pretty cool and gives you the right idea about the contents of the book.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press |Kindle  |  Amazon

Book details: Kindle Edition, 143 pages

Published September 24th 2018 by NineStar Press

A Chaos Moondrawn Prerelease Review: The Bones Beneath My Skin by T.J. Klune

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

After the death of Nate’s parents, he takes the truck he inherited to the cabin they left him in order to take some time to grieve. The drive to the cabin lets us get to know Nate and his family history; it should come as no surprise it is gut wrenching stuff from this author. If possible, Nate’s night is about to become a whole lot worse, or better–at least interesting.

When he encounters the man and girl at his cabin, the series of events are strange. The main question I think anyone would have is, why does Nate go along with everything happening? There is his curiosity, of course. He is a journalist, so it’s in his nature to dig and want information. There is shock, and sometimes you just go along with what is going on around you and do what you’re told. Sometimes when you have nothing to lose, you make different decisions than you normally would. But if he thought his life was toast before, it is really crispy now, and there is no turning back into bread ever again (read the book.)

The thing is, even in a book full of strange and impossible things, these characters are more real than the characters in most stories. Art is that child that is too knowing, yet is still excited about every new thing. Nate is that man who has lost faith in the world and himself, but he can still surprise himself. Alex is the man who is resurrected from the ashes of his own life with a new purpose. The forced intimacy of them staying alone in an isolated place, and then being on the run together, works well. The slow burn finally gets kindled when everything snaps into place–when we know they are there by choice, rather than just letting events carry them. The author set this book in the 1990’s, so the use of political events, news, and pop culture help keep it grounded in the period.

The story is told from Nate’s POV, so it’s easy to sympathize with his emotions: as he gets attached to Alex and Artemis Darth Vader, as he has his existential crisis, as he experiences things so foreign to the way his neat ordered world was before. I laughed and cried reading this. There are times we do get to see other points of view that I enjoyed and added to the emotional impact of what was happening. It’s very difficult to review without spoilers, and really her name should tell you all you need to know. The genius of this book is not that I didn’t see what was happening beforehand–it is that I was still shocked and horrified when things happened. Then, I had no idea how the story was going to get out of the walls it had built; don’t worry, it walks through them.

The ending does go to an omnipotent observer POV before switching back to Nate’s POV and that annoyed me for a second. The epilogue was the best ending I could have hoped for, the one that made sense. There is a lot to be said for people being fearful of those different, of fear turning to violence, but there is more to be said for love and hope, of building the family you choose. What sets it apart from other science fiction in a similar vein, is that it focuses on the heart and mind of the characters, so this is not hard science fiction, more of a character study. I would recommend it.

The cover art is by Reese Dante and has a “so above, so below” feel that works well for the subject matter and the idea of how we are all stardust.

Sales Links on 10/26:
Book Details:
ebook, 385 pages
Expected publication: October 26th 2018 by TJ Klune
Original Title The Bones Beneath My Skin
ISBN139781732399914
Edition Language English
setting Oregon (United States)

Blog Tour for Euphoria by Jayne Lockwood (author interview, excerpt and giveaway)

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Euphoria

Euphoria by Jayne Lockwood

DSP Publications

 

Jayne Lockwood has a new queer sci fi book out:

Six random questions for Euphoria author, Jayne Lockwood

Hi everyone, and very many thanks for featuring my book, Euphoria, on your blog. What follows are six questions, chosen at random, that I was asked to answer, with subjects including leading men, scaring children and having a tail. It’s a sort of interview roulette, as it were. So here goes.

If I were a Hollywood producer about to put your book on the big screen, who would you want me to cast as the leads? Why? And can we have pictures to drool over?

A Hollywood producer would fire me on the spot if I told him who I wanted to be in the film of Euphoria.

Vardam would probably be CGI, if I’m honest. They are nearly seven foot tall and iridescent, so I can’t see how that could translate. With the current demand for superheroes, all the guys seem to be beefed up and they’re just not like that. I can’t think of anyone around at the moment who would play them, but maybe someone else can.

For Kurt Lomax, that’s a lot easier. In my world anyway. There’s only one man suitable for the job and that’s Guy Henry (yes – he’s the guy that played Grand Moff Tarkin.) I know, not everyone’s idea of a pin-up, and certainly not Hollywood A List material, but I don’t write my books for that. To be honest, I didn’t write the character with him in mind. I just happened to discover him on a long-running BBC hospital drama (Holby City) and thought, “that’s Kurt.” So yeah. The Guy stays in the picture….

For Tom Soames, it would have to be Ben Wishaw, who has the right balance of grunge and sweetness. Again, not a conventional pretty boy, but who cares? The clue is in the word “character.” I’ve tried to make these real people, not fantasy figures. Tom is cute and vulnerable and more intelligent than he or anyone else thinks he is, and I know Ben would be able to nail the sloppy Buckinghamshire accent. I’ve given him a handsome doctor to fall in love with (Rashad) and a strong sense of loyalty. He’s a good foil for Kurt, who needs someone to tell him a few home truths.

How would you describe your writing style/genre?

Diverse. Under my name and my pseudonym I have variably written M/F erotic romance, MM erotic romance, fantasy, sci-fi, noir, dart erotica, trans romance, horror…. At my heart I love a romance with a good, old-fashioned happy ending, and I believe that everyone, no matter which gender, sexuality, race or religion, deserve to have their stories told.

Were you a voracious reader as a child?

Yes, annoyingly so, probably. My father used to buy me books of poetry and anthologies, all kinds of things to feed my reading habit. I still have some of those books now as they remind me of him. One of my favourites is thick tome of four Daphne due Maurier novels. Through them I gleaned my first ideas of love, lesbianism, lust and obsession, though I’m sure that wasn’t Dad’s intention. And another favourite book of mine when I was eight was Marianne Dreams, by Catherine Storr. Basically, it’s about a sick girl who draws pictures and then dreams about them, befriending a boy she creates in her daytime doodlings. When they fall out, she draws huge stones with eyes that surround his house and gradually move closer…

That’s really creepy now I think about it. I gave the book to my daughter when she was eighteen and it frightened the shit out of her. I think I must have been a weird kid. And a bad parent.

What fantasy realm would you choose to live in and why?

Pandora from Avatar! Because the Na’vi are stunningly beautiful and at one with a gloriously lush natural world. I want to be tall, slender and have a tail. Wouldn’t you like a tail? It would be long, flexible and have a mind of its own so I could use it as a fifth limb. I’d also have a close relationship with a dragon thing that would allow me to travel on its back (not ride it – an important distinction…)

I’d also use my tail for mischief, playing tricks, helping people get top things off shelves and smacking assholes upside the head if needed. I’d be a menace with a tail. No doubt we would fall out with each other at some point. In fact, I feel a story coming on with a character whose tail goes rogue…

What do you do when you get writer’s block?

I write something else. A stupid poem to put on my blog, or a scene between two totally unrelated characters. Or fan fiction! I’ve written some on Wattpad just for a bit of fun (I’m Lady Jaguar) and it’s surprising what can transpire.

And exercise always helps. It’s definitely a good idea to remove yourself from the plot knot or whatever you’re struggling with and put it to one side for a while to concentrate on something else. And for a decent amount of time, whether half a day, or a week if you’re able to. Just give it time and it will sort itself out eventually.

Do you reward yourself for writing, or punish yourself for failing to do so? How?

I believe strongly that writing is a passion, and yes, you can punish yourself if that’s how you roll, but I don’t because for me passion=pleasure, not tearing my hair out and getting stressed. I don’t rely on my writing to put food on the table, so possibly it would be different if I did, but no, I don’t punish myself if I have a crap day. Rewards are chocolate though. Yeah, I deserve a lot of rewards, and they all take the form of chocolate or lattes….

Thanks for reading this far. If you have any other questions for me, the more bizarre the better, shoot them my way!

Jayne x

About Euphoria…

It might take the arrival of an alien being to remind an isolated man what it means to be human.

With a stressful job, his boss breathing down his neck for profitable results, and an estranged wife and daughter, scientist Kurt Lomax doesn’t think life can get much harder. Until a nonbinary extraterrestrial with an otherworldly beauty, captivating elegance, and a wicked sense of humor inconveniently shows up at his apartment.

Vardam watched the destruction of their own world, and they don’t want to see the same thing happen on Earth. They are lonely, and feelings soon develop between them and the supposedly straight scientist—feelings Kurt reciprocates, much to his confusion.

The arrival of cheery interpreter Tom Soames—whose Goth appearance belies a gentle heart—is like a ray of sunshine in the somber lab. He acts as matchmaker for man and tentacled extraterrestrial, unwittingly instigating a national crisis when the news breaks out.

But will a misunderstanding ruin Kurt and Vardam’s chances for happiness together—along with the hope for peace between humanity and the Var?

DSP Publications | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon Canada | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Goodreads


Giveaway

Jayne is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card with this tour – enter via Rafflecopter for a chance to win.

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Excerpt

Three hours later, they were still none the wiser.

“Any joy with communications?”

Nic shook her head. “None. They don’t seem to respond to any spoken language. I’ve tried binary code, sonar, whale music, radio waves. Not a flicker. I’m not sure how well they can see or hear. They won’t let me near enough to do any examinations. They just keep staring at me like I’m the one who isn’t getting it. It’s really frustrating.”

When Kurt looked again, Vardam was there. With a graceful tilt of the head, they watched him as he approached the glass.

“What about the forensics on that note?”

“Just got them,” Troy said, looking up from his computer. “The note was written with an old-style Bic ballpoint pen by a human female….”

“Human? Are you sure?”

“I can’t argue with the evidence. There was a trace of fingerprint on the paper but nothing I can analyze. The paper looks like any A4 copy from a twentiethcentury printer or photocopier. The only thing is, I think it might have been written by someone in distress. The handwriting is very jerky, like they weren’t sure what to write and then just dashed it down. But….” Troy shrugged his wide shoulders. “That last bit’s a hunch. Could be totally wrong. Still waiting on the DNA.”

“Thanks, Troy. Let me know as soon as you get it.”

He turned back to where Vardam was standing, staring at him with those unnerving gemstone eyes.

“Who are you?”

Vardam raised their hand, running the back of it down the glass close to Kurt’s face. He jerked away. It was too close for comfort, even with three inches of glass between them. Vardam backed away as well, as if alarmed by his sudden movement. For reasons he didn’t understand, he was irritated beyond measure by their wounded expression.

“Talk to me, damn it! What do you want with me?” He smacked his hand against the glass. The sharp slap shocked Vardam into stepping back. They bared gold teeth at him and made a gesture that looked almost obscene. Then they dropped into a crouch. Immediately, a smooth iridescent shell closed over their hunched body, covering it completely.

Kurt and Nic exchanged glances, then looked back at the pod. It was completely smooth, devoid of any seams or openings. Every few seconds it quivered. Kurt could almost feel the waves of disapproval emanating from the gleamingsurface.

“Well, that’s new,” Nic said. “Get some rest. I’ll babysit until ten. Troy will take the graveyard shift.”

Kurt tore his angry gaze away from the strange pod. The way it hunched reproachfully in the corner didn’t improve his mood one bit. He knew he was more than tired. He felt emotionally and physically drained and couldn’t remember the last time he had eaten a proper meal. Not that he was hungry. He just wanted sleep.

In his apartment, he lay naked in his wide bed. He was thinking about his continued feud with James Dyer. The issue dangled over his career like a sword of Damocles but all he could see was the beautiful creature. Those eyes, staring into his ragged soul. What did they want?

The telephone by his bed rang, waking him from an unnerving dream. Glancing at the clock, he saw it was 6:15. The last eight hours had passed frighteningly quickly.

“Hello?” His voice sounded faded.

“Sorry to wake you, Professor, but I’ve got the DNA results back. You need to see them.”

“I’ll be right down.”

He stumbled out of bed and into the shower. Twenty minutes later he was down in the lab, a fresh white coat over his shirt and tie.

In the isolation room, Vardam had emerged from their shell. The melon had been eaten, apart from the rinds, neatly scalloped with teeth marks.

“What’s happening?”

“It was just as I thought it would be. There’s human DNA on that note. Female. I took the liberty of cross-checking it against the National DNA Database and found a match. Whoever wrote this note is related to you. Not just distantly, but directly of your bloodline.”

Kurt looked closer at the screen. It was policy to hold the medical details of everyone at the Bunker, including himself. Even so, he wondered why he wasn’t more surprised.

It was impossible but saying so would have been redundant. The evidence was right there in front of him. He walked over to the glass and beckoned to Vardam. They gave him a withering look and turned away, presenting a bony back to the window.

“I think we’re going to have to use the softly-softly approach,” Troy said. “They’re not going to tell us anything until they’re ready. And I’ve got another hunch. I think they’re using BSL.”

“British Sign Language?” Kurt was skeptical.

“I know it sounds weird, but there’s a guy who works at Tesco in Wycombe. He uses it with some of the customers. It looks the same. It’s worth a try, isn’t it?” Troy prodded buttons on his iPad. The official website came up with a finger-spelling option. “Not all words have signs, obviously, so each letter has a sign, right?”

“I know the principles of sign language,” Kurt said irritably. The alien was an inconvenience, however beautiful they were.

“You write in your name, and the finger shapes come up.” Troy typed rapidly. Kurt’s surname appeared on the screen in sign.

Troy gently tapped on the glass. “Hello?”

Vardam turned around, saw it was Troy, and ambled over. Troy showed them the diagrams on the iPad screen. The alien nodded, repeated the signs, and pointed at Kurt. Then it signed, “I am….”

“I can’t tell what they’re saying,” Troy said. “They’re too fast. Hang on.” He typed again. “I’ve found a YouTube video for learning phrases. Ah! This one is easy.” He put the iPad down and signed, making a sad face, swirling his fist on his stomach, then raising both hands over his head, shaking it at the same time.

“What are you doing?”

“Telling him I don’t understand. It’s ‘way over my head.’ Get it?”

Vardam seemed to. They signed “okay,” then turned to Kurt and made another gesture, flattening one hand and punching up into it with the other.

“My instincts are telling me that isn’t good,” Troy said. “Looks like we need to find ourselves a sign language expert.”

“We can’t bring anyone else in at the moment. Certainly not in a professional capacity. The government will be all over us before we know it.” As Kurt said it, the seed of an idea was forming in his mind. “Where did you say that BSL user worked again?”


Author Bio

Jayne Lockwood

 

Jayne Lockwood has always wanted to learn to fly. Spending free time honing her Peter Pan skills on an aerial hoop, she also creates flights of fancy in her books, mingling sex and romance with angst and a healthy dash of dark humor.

Since she was a small child, Jayne has always sympathized with the villain. It all began with Alice Cooper, even though she was banned from listening to his music by her mother. From wanting to sail away with Captain Hook or redeeming the Child Catcher, the antihero has been an enduring fascination ever since.

After a two-year sojourn in New Jersey and two decades of child-rearing, Jayne is an outwardly respectable member of an English village community. She also is one of the founder members of WROTE podcast, which is dedicated to showcasing LGBTQA authors and their work, and now writes book reviews as well as diverse fiction.

She is also in a sub/dom relationship with a cat called Keith.

Website: http://hollowhillspublishing.blogspot.co.uk

Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/jayne.lockwood.71

Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/hollowhillspublishing/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ladyjAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6893372.Jayne_Lockwood

QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/jayne-lockwood/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Jayne-Lockwood/e/B00AAXXA6I/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

 

Release Day Blitz for To See the Sun by Kelly Jensen (excerpt and giveaway)

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To See the Sun by Kelly Jensen

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Release Date: August 13, 2018

Length: Print – 243 pages. Ebook – 295 pages.

Subgenre: Science fiction, western

Reader warnings: past and present violence, and references to past abuse.

For a full list of tags, visit: https://riptidepublishing.com/titles/to-see-the-sun and click on “Additional Details”

Links:

Riptide Publishing: https://riptidepublishing.com/titles/to-see-the-sun

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/829052

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/to-see-the-sun-kelly-jensen/1128691285?ean=2940162126768

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/to-see-the-sun

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/to-see-the-sun/id1383776817?mt=11

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/See-Sun-Kelly-Jensen/dp/162649830X/

Book synopsis:

Survival is hard enough in the outer colonies—what chance does love have?

Life can be harsh and lonely in the outer colonies, but miner-turned-farmer Abraham Bauer is living his dream, cultivating crops that will one day turn the unforgiving world of Alkirak into paradise. He wants more, though. A companion—someone quiet like him. Someone to share his days, his bed, and his heart.

Gael Sonnen has never seen the sky, let alone the sun. He’s spent his whole life locked in the undercity beneath Zhemosen, running from one desperate situation to another. For a chance to get out, he’ll do just about anything—even travel to the far end of the galaxy as a mail-order husband. But no plan of Gael’s has ever gone smoothly, and his new start on Alkirak is no exception. Things go wrong from the moment he steps off the shuttle.

Although Gael arrives with unexpected complications, Abraham is prepared to make their relationship work—until Gael’s past catches up with them, threatening Abraham’s livelihood, the freedom Gael gave everything for, and the love neither man ever hoped to find.

Excerpt:

Bram pushed up from the table. “I’m going to make tea. Want some?”

“I can make it.”

“Sit. I didn’t ship you all the way out here to wait on me.”

“What did you ship me out here for?”

Bram didn’t answer, and the question burned the back of his neck as he performed the mundane task of making the tea. He selected an herbal blend, his favorite, and spooned desiccated leaves, fruit peel, and flower heads into the diffusing chamber at the center of a battered metal pot. He could program the beverage machine, but he preferred to make tea the old-fashioned way. Leaves and hot water. Sometimes the process of a thing was as important as the result.

He reached toward the shelf of mugs and stopped as a hand touched his shoulder. Warm breath ghosted across the cooling skin at the back of his neck, reigniting his blush. Bram let his fingers catch on the edge of the shelf and rest there, and tipped his head forward. Gael moved closer, the heat of his body evident now as he leaned in.

Lips met the back of his neck in a soft kiss. A small quake shifted the muscles beneath Bram’s skin, his body making ready to turn. He held still a moment longer before following another long-held urge, turning slowly—so slowly—until they were face to face. Well, until his mouth was level with Gael’s forehead. Bram pressed a kiss there, one as gentle as the touch of lips to the back of his neck.

“I didn’t bring you out here for this, either,” he murmured.

“Yes, you did.”

Bram took hold of Gael’s slim shoulders. “Not just this.” And not like this.

In answer, Gael lifted his face, offering up his mouth. Bram’s resolve lasted about a second longer than he thought it might before he bent to taste those lips. They’d been interrupted twice now. No longer.

Gael’s lips were so soft, melting beneath his, opening—though Bram didn’t take the invitation right away. He kissed both lips, together and separately. He tasted them, the scent of Gael mingling with the bitter tang of the outside air. Gael made a small sound: a whimper or a moan. Bram deepened the kiss, still resisting the temptation of Gael’s tongue. He didn’t want to fall all in, lose himself.

Then he was there, falling, his lips and hands operating independently of thought. He craved the warmth of Gael’s skin and wanted to compare it to the feel of his tongue. See if he moved the same way—gently, teasingly. Gael seemed as wrapped up in the kiss as Bram. He shifted, constantly, swaying into Bram, hooking his hands into the back pockets of Bram’s work pants.

Blood shot south to pulse in his cock, leaving Bram in that almost-forgotten state of arousal—somewhere between thought and thoughtlessness. He teetered there, reveling in the anticipation, and let his imagination roam. Oh, to touch Gael’s skin, to taste him. To hear the sounds he’d make when aroused, when brought to climax, when drifting in the aftermath. Would he be loud? Would he be shy and sweet?

A soft click sounded behind him. The tea. Blinking as though roused from a dream, Bram pulled back. Gael leaned in immediately, following him. He kissed Bram’s neck and ground his hips forward. Bram tugged Gael’s hands from his pockets, regret making his movements clumsy.

Gael tipped his head back. “What are you doing?”

“The tea is ready.”

One long, slow blink. “What?”

“The tea.” Bram was still holding Gael’s hands, and stupidly, he didn’t want to let go. But he did so he could turn and collect the mugs. Pick up the pot.

“Did I do something wrong?”

“No.”

“Then why did we stop?”

Bram had to consider his answer because he didn’t really know, not in a way he could express in words. It would have been so easy to keep going. To have had something fast and dirty in the kitchen, or to have picked Gael up and carried him to the bedroom.

Gael followed him into the HV room and sat beside him on the couch. Waited quietly while Bram poured the tea and handed over one of the mugs. Picking up the other mug, Bram thought a little more. Wrapped his fingers around the warm composite of ceramic and plastic and searched for just the right words.

“We’ve got time.” Bram raised the mug to his lips, but decided the tea was still too hot to take a sip. “Doesn’t all have to happen in one night.”

About Kelly Jensen:

If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories of the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.

Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, co-written with Jenn Burke. Some of what she writes is speculative in nature, but mostly it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.

Connect with Kelly: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Author Blog | Author Website | Pinterest | Tumblr | Join the newsletter

 

Giveaway

 

Enter the Giveaway:

Prize: Enter to win any back catalog Chaos Station ebook by Kelly Jensen and Jenn Burke or paperback of Always and Forever: A Chaos Station Collection by Kelly Jensen and Jenn Burke. Open internationally.

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