A MelanieM Audiobook Review: Day and Knight (Day and Knight #1) by Dirk Greyson and Andrew McFerrin (Narrator)

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

 

As former NSA, Dayton “Day” Ingram has national security chops and now works as a technical analyst for Scorpion. He longs for fieldwork and scuttling an attack gives him his chance. He’s smart, multilingual, and a technological wizard. But his opportunity comes with a hitch. His partner, Knighton, “Knight”, is a real mystery. Despite countless hours of research, Day can find nothing on the agent including his first name.

A former Marine, Knight crawled into a bottle after losing his family. After drying out, he’s offered one last chance: along with Day, to stop a terrorist threat from the Yucatan. To get there without drawing suspicion, Day and Knight board a gay cruise, where the deeply closeted Day and equally closeted Knight must pose as a couple. Tensions run high as Knight communicates very little, and Day bristles at Knight’s heavy-handed need for control.

But after drinking too much, Day and Knight wake up in bed together. As they near their destination, they must infiltrate the terrorist camp and neutralize a plot aimed at America’s technological infrastructure. If they hope to have a life after the mission, one that might include each other, they must learn to trust and rely on each other.

Day and Knight by Dirk Greyson was an enjoyable action adventure story, the first in a new series by this author.  As I write this review, I am well into the third story, so I can happily report that the series and stories gets better with each novel.  I jumped into the series with the audiobook and I’m delighted that I did.  It’s an excellent version because Andrew McFerrin does such an incredible job with the narration that he became an automatic buy based on his superb voicing of the story and characters here.

This is the start of a partnership both on and perhaps off the job for two wounded men,Dayton “Day” Ingram and Knighton “Knight:”.  At some point we will learn his full name but for most of the stories he is referred to as Knighton or Knight.  It’s a cute concept and works well, except that  nobody ever makes a crack about their names.  Which seems exceedingly odd to me.  I think the puns and wise remarks would be flying all over the place but nope, not at all.

Knight has just climbed out of the bottle after losing his wife and child to an assassin, the result of a job he did for the Agency. Day lost his parents when he was young and was raised by his older brother, a fact that left deep marks on him. Both men are marred by loss and grief, neither has moved on completely from their pasts when they are paired together, Day for his first time as a field agent for Scorpion.

Day is here and remains throughout the stories my favorite character.  Knight feels the most “hidebound”, least disciplined, and so bogged down that I found it hard to believe that he was the Marine the author said he was.  It took a while for the whole Day/Knight combination to win me over.  The strength was in the working together on board to piece together the case that helped cement their partnership for me (and them).

The use of a gay cruise both highlighted the strong and weak points of this story.  I thought the idea of traveling undercover using a gay cruise great.  It was done perfectly by Ty and Zane on Fish & Chips (Cut & Run #3)
by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban.  Day and Knight don’t quite live up to that here.  For one,  Knight is on a loop of guilt about his wife and son.  And for every step forward he makes, he takes 20 back, which gets extremely tiresome here.  We are supposed to empathize with him but after a while it just gets old.

Day is a delight of enthusiasm, smarts, and sexiness.  He’s loving being in the field and eventually wins over his partner in multiple ways.

While the cruise works for many reasons (constant proximity to each other, launching pad to romance, gay identity), the idea of side trips to the ruins and the rest has a great deal of holes.  I hate to say more because of spoilers but all that action taking  place so close to the ship and within Mexican heritage sites?  Well, I think more of the story went towards fast paced action thriller there towards the end and perhaps less on the well pulled together geographical, researched side.  On the high side again?  Lots of fast paced high action adventure!  And another mystery to solve at the end.

This is going to be one of those slow, slow, slow burn romances.  Sex is not equating with love here because of tons of guilt and lost family.  Remember I said all those steps back, right?  And both men are firmly in the closet with their families and at work and intend to stay that way.  So Knight and Day aren’t so different after all.  It will be a long haul for them both.

Which brings me to….

An element I want to address that bothers me. Not just in this story but appears in the second one as well (yes, I’ve listened to that one too).  That’s the consistent use of outdated phrases that are, for the lack of any other term, sexist and  demeaning to the women/the female gender. I know that they are/were overused stereotyping phrases heard growing up but to hear them here? Its disappointing and a little shocking.  Listening to them  come out of the mouth of an excellent narrator made it all the worse because I haven’t heard them in a while. All those “scream like a teenage girl, run like a girl, act like a….” Today if  actually said in a crowd would get you stares and maybe an actual “asshole” or two.  So what are they doing here in an LGBT series?  Is the writer so out of step culturally or so insensitive that he can’t understand why such phrases should not only be left out but decried?  Maybe I’m being overly sensitive here but I don’t think so.  If you can’t go up to a little girl or teenage girl and say something like this to their face (and I don’t think you can), then it doesn’t belong here.  In this book, spoken by LGBT characters who know what its like to be mocked.  Maybe in a book, I could have glossed over it, but the narration highlighted it.  Here Andrew McFerrin did too great a job.

And yes, that brought my total enjoyment of the story down each time a phrase popped up and I cringed in disbelief.

I don’t remember such  glaring sexism in Dirk Greyson’s/Andrew Grey’s other works so I’m at a loss as to why they appear here.  It turns out that Dirk Greyson is another name that Andrew Grey writes under, something that was recently brought to my attention.  It did surprise me because I know he does research his stories and travels extensively, both of which aren’t really reflected here.

So without those elements, this story would have gotten a much higher rating. I really was into it and then kicked right out again.  I liked it enough to head over to the next in the series and the one after that.  It gets better.  Enough to recommend the first in the series.  I definitely recommend you seek out Andrew McFerrin’s other audio narrations.  What an outstanding job.  I will be doing the same.

Cover art: L.C. Chase. The models work well for the two characters and sets the tone and branding for the story and series.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Listening Length: 7 hours and 22 minutes

Audible Audio, 8 pages
Published April 12th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published May 4th 2015)
Original TitleDay and Knight
ASINB07C3CCLCR
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Day and Knight :

Day and Knight

Sun and Shadow

Dawn and Dusk

A MelanieM Review: Alpha Delta by R.J. Scott

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

 

alpha-delta-by-rj-scottOfficer Finn Hallan has never run from a fight. With Niall’s life and love at stake, he’s not about to start now.

N.B. Originally published with All Romance, this edition features the same story with new cover art

Finn Hallan is a member of the elite Norwegian Emergency Response Unit, code name Delta. When the team is sent to respond to a hostage situation on an Oil Platform, he has to face demons he thought he had buried a long time ago.

Scottish engineer Niall Faulkner’s skills in oil platform decommissioning takes him to the Forseti platform at the worst possible time. When he’s captured by terrorists, his only thought is that he will never get to tell his lover how he really feels.

Can Finn keep Niall alive? Or will they both die at the hands of hijackers in the frigid waters of the Norwegian sea?

Word Count: 21,000

Alpha Delta by R.J. Scott is an enjoyable action/adventure yarn for all of its short pages.  In short order, Scott sets us  up with the couple, Finn Hallan and Niall Faulkner in meet and set off sparks situation and then waits for the explosives to go off. Literally. Finn, the tough op and Niall, the engineer who decommissions oil platforms is an unusual couple to begin with so I liked them immediately. I don’t know where Scott gets her idea for their professions (and then sticks them together) but I like it.  Both men are skilled and smart and that’s alluring to them and myself as a reader.

I also enjoyed the “green factor” here behind decommissioning the oil platforms, Nice to get some facts and background behind such an huge endeavor even in such a short story.  There are some narrative holes here.  Alpha Delta was a part of a series originally published by the now gone ARe and its other stories presumably carried some of the information needed about the “villain” of this story and the back history with Finn Hallan.  We get some of it, true but more is clearly needed. So while its listed as a stand alone, that’s not entirely true.    This edition does suffer from the same ARe faults that I found as other ARe stories.  A lack of thorough editing.  In one instance, one character name was continually used in a scene in a hospital bed when another was clearly meant.  One man’s name was used throughout the scene instead of bringing in Niall’s when needed.  A good editor or any editor would have caught that, an problem that pops up less here than in other ARe stories but still it rendered what should have been a tender scene into a confusing one.

That aside, there’s some wonderful suspense-filled and thriller moments here.  I wish the story had been enlarged and revised.  Its worth it.  As it is, I enjoyed it but it could have been a terrific RJ Scott book, and maybe even a series.  These two make quite the duo.

Cover art works for the story and character.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 63 pages
Published January 2nd 2017 by Love Lane Books Ltd (first published February 2nd 2015)
ASINB01NBQZ7HE
Edition LanguageEnglish

Cordelia Kingsbridge has 5 Fun Facts and a Riveting Romance with ‘Can’t Hide From Me’ (blog tour and giveaway)

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Can’t Hide from Me by Cordelia Kingsbridge
R
iptide Publishing
Cover by: G.D. Leigh

Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Cordelia Kingsbridge here today on tour with Can’t Hide From Me. Welcome, Cordelia!

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Hi! I’m Cordelia Kingsbridge, and I’m pleased to welcome you to the blog tour for my novel Can’t Hide From Me. Thanks so much for checking it out!

Five Fun Facts About Can’t Hide From Me

1. The novel’s original title was From the Ashes. This is why Ángel’s codename is Phoenix, and by extension, why the rest of the San Diego team has codenames sourced from various mythologies.

2. I first started thinking about this novel in the summer of 2012. I still have the Word document of the original outline and character sketches, which are interesting to read now after so much time has passed. The vast majority of CHFM turned out very different from that early conception – for example, the team was once going to be FBI instead of ATF, and Charles’ name used to be Alexander. I even have the research that I did into the inner workings of the FBI back then, which I’m saving in case I need it for future projects.

3. I struggled with the plot for at least a year before I finally figured it out. Believe it or not, I came up with the basic framework for CHFM – the beginning and ending, as well as a few big moments in the middle – without actually knowing who Ángel’s stalker was. But of course it was impossible for me to move forward or get the plot to gel without that information. It wasn’t until I realized who I wanted the villain to be that the entire plot clicked and fell into place like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. After that, CHFM flowed more smoothly for me than anything I’d written before.

4. I had to do some very interesting research along the way. Among the highlights: which firearms are popular with Mexican cartels, what polygraph examinations look like, how guns are hidden inside cars for smuggling purposes, how a person could introduce a suspect package into a federal building without raising red flags, what it feels like to be tasered, and other things I can’t reveal without major spoilers. I hope whichever NSA agent is monitoring my internet searches enjoys the man-on-man erotica!

5. I changed some of the major relationship moments based on feedback from my readers. I first posted From the Ashes online as a WIP (work-in-progress), as I had with my previous novels. One of the advantages of this approach is that it gives you real-time feedback on which aspects of the novel are coming across the way you want them to – and which really aren’t. In this case, I realized along the way that the conflict between Charles and Ángel was weighted too much in Ángel’s favor. Without meaning to, I’d been presenting Ángel’s side of things in a more sympathetic light and leaving out or glossing over Charles’ own very valid grievances, and the relationship came off as unbalanced in a way I definitely hadn’t intended. Seeing this, I went back through the novel once it was complete and changed a lot of the conversations and other details to balance things out before I even submitted it to Riptide for consideration. Feedback from my readers has always been vital to my writing process!

About Can’t Hide From Mecanthidefromme_600x900

Charles Hunter’s team is on a mission to extract an unidentified ATF agent from an undercover job gone wrong. All they’ve got to go on is the rendezvous location—until Charles recognizes the ex he hasn’t seen in years. Their “simple rescue mission” is about to get a lot more complicated.

For Ángel Medina, adjusting to life after his cartel nightmare is hard enough without confronting memories of a failed relationship. All he wants is a fresh start. But when a violent stalker lashes out from the shadows, Ángel realizes his nightmare is far from over.

As the stalker’s obsession escalates and bodies start dropping, Charles and Ángel are thrown together in a desperate search for the culprit. Tempers flare and old passions reignite, drawing them back into the same turbulent relationship that once ended in disaster.

But the stalker isn’t letting go—and the next strike might hit straight through the heart.

Available from Riptide Publishing: http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/cant-hide-from-me

About Cordelia Kingsbridge

Cordelia Kingsbridge has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Pittsburgh, but quickly discovered that direct practice in the field was not for her. Having written novels as a hobby throughout graduate school, she decided to turn her focus to writing as a full-time career. Now she explores her fascination with human behavior, motivation, and psychopathology through fiction. Her weaknesses include opposites-attract pairings and snarky banter.

Away from her desk, Cordelia is a fitness fanatic, and can be found strength training, cycling, and practicing Krav Maga. She lives in South Florida but spends most of her time indoors with the air conditioning on full blast!

Connect with Cordelia:

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Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Can’t Hide From Me, one lucky winner will receive a $15 Riptide Publishing gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 8, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: The Last Enemy (Agents of Influence Book 1) by Christian Beck

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

The Last EnemySimon Monk was raised to follow in the military footsteps of his father and all the males in his line. Highly decorated for his time in Delta Force and his five tours of duty in war zones, Simon expected to serve in the military until he could go no further. But his lover betrayed the US by defecting to Beijing with Intelligence secrets and that not only ended their relationship but Simon’s life in the military as well. After he ruthlessly hunted the man down and executed him, he served out the remainder of his time and quietly retired with an honorable discharge.

Recruited by the CIA into a largely unknown group within the organization, Monk is sent to Cairo when the head of station there and his husband disappear suddenly. Knowing the man well, Monk realizes Jack would never just abandon his post, and he’s determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. He and his team, which includes a man he not only highly respects but who happens to be his sometimes lover, manage to discover the remains of the couple, but it turns out Monk and his team have only scratched the surface of the mess going on in Egypt.

As the mystery gets deeper with each layer Monk peels off, he and his lover, Ben, become more involved with each other at the same time they are falling further in danger from unknown powers. The story is very, very full of graphic violence, including torture and descriptions of executions and fight-to-the-death battles. But it’s also full of political intrigue, Middle Eastern culture, and quite fascinating facts about Intelligence forces.

I found it to be an amazingly complex, action-packed, and gritty drama. When I finished the story and read the author notes about his fascination with Doctor Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia, I instantly recalled having the same feelings he described as I sat in the theater watching those big screen movies for the first time. And I’m happy to say the author absolutely nailed that sense of an epic saga with this story.

The book wasn’t something I originally planned to read, but an opportunity to read it for review came up and I’m so glad I took it! If you like very complex, action-packed, intriguing mysteries, heavy on the military and paramilitary action, and you don’t mind blood and gore, by all means don’t hesitate to read this book.

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The cover by Reese Dante shows a silhouette of a man’s torso and head done in sepia tones on which is superimposed pyramids, a golden fox head, two military men in full gear, and a band of desert fighters on camels. All are symbolic of the content of the story, and it’s very well done; however I had no idea of the significance of the cover until I completed the story. So the bottom line is that the cover didn’t attract me to the book but I can see the significance now that I’ve completed it.

Sales Links: DSP Publications | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 200 pages
Expected publication: July 5th 2016 by DSP Publications
ASIN B01HM8F1RO
Edition Language English

Review: In Discretion by Reesa Herberth

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

InDiscretion_500x750Discretionary Thanson Nez is in trouble.  He is just ended his contract with his Guild’s client and the secret he is carrying is so huge, so explosive that he needs to hand it over to his Guild immediately.  But there are obstacles blocking his way, including being attacked by the son of his last client who felt he had as much right to Thanson as his father did, another reason Thanson ended that contract. Now he is stranded at some space station on the outskirts of the Empire with no way back to the Guild while carrying the most dangerous secret of his career, a secret he can tell to no one outside his Guild. The last person Thanson expected to run into on the space station was the boy he loved and left on his home world.

Kazra Ferdow, Station 43’s communications officer, is stunned to see  Thanson Nez in his office asking for a secure channel to his Guild.  It’s been years since he last saw Thanson and now his ex lover stands in his office asking for a secure direct line to his Guild.  It all spells trouble to Ferdow but just how much trouble will shock him.

The space station is rocked by an explosion, and suddenly its inhabitants start to go crazy, killing all around them.  With all communication lines down, failing life support, Thanson and Kaz are just trying to survive. And on top of everything, they are being stalked with Thanson as the target.  Kaz wants answers, Thanson can’t supply them upon pain of death.  Amidst bitterness, injury, and a space station in shambles, love still finds a way back to the men who thought they had left it behind them.   But can they survive long enough to see if they still have a future together?

I love it when I get a new author and a new series to explore and with In Discretion by Reesa Herberth, I get both.  Science fiction is a favorite genre and when paired with romance, it’s certainly doubles the reading pleasure for myself and many others.  Reesa Herberth has done a remarkable job in combining both elements within a taut, highly suspenseful story that pulled me into a new exciting universe full of characters that enthralled me.

Discretionaries are highly regulated, highly paid prostitutes/spies, think Mata Hari in a way.  They gather information, secrets from the people who employ them and turn that information over to their Guild for its own use.  They are bound to secrecy not just by their word but by a far more lethal instrument that insures their silence and loyalty.  They are highly trained, intelligent and of course, attractive beings.  What a great idea for a character, what imaginative possibilities exist for plots for such a creation.  I think I enjoyed speculating over Thanson’s job requirements as much as I did the world building that includes such a Guild in it.

In Discretion’s plot includes a  deadly virus gone wild, killers on the loose, a space station breaking apart, and two ex lovers reuniting under the worse possible circumstances, and somehow it not only works but is a  such a compelling piece of fiction that I couldn’t put it down. I am unfamiliar with the Ylendrian Empire novels, so I am not sure where this fits into that series, but this story will certainly send me running to read the other novels.  Reesa Herberth’s characters were intriguing, entertaining, and so nicely layered that I had not trouble at all in believing in them both.

As Thanson and Kaz proceed through the rapidly failing space station, fighting off infected virus produced killers at every turn, their intertwined past histories and old love is revealed. With bitterness, humor and a pain neither man has been able to discard no matter how many years have passed, Kaz and Thanson relive their first love and the events that separated them.  Between their memories and the heart pulsing excitement of being hunted through the station wreckage, Herberth builds a portrait of  two complicated men still in love but faced with the reality that neither might make it out alive.  It’s thrilling, it’s action packed and so rewarding at every level.  Had I been reading an actual book instead of my Kindle, you could have felt a breeze as the pages flew by.

Herberth ends her story as it realistically should, with the men deciding to try again for a future together.  With this ending, she leaves open the possibility that this couple can be revisited in another adventure just as action packed as this one.  I certainly hope that such a novel is in our future.

As I said before, I have not read any of the other books by this author or stories in the Ylendrian Empire series.  I intend to remedy that as soon as possible.  But this story can stand on its own legs, without the others to support it.  I highly recommend this story to all readers, lovers of science fiction and romance alike.  It has something for everyone.  Grab it up now and begin your adventure.

Cover Art by Simoné, http://www.dreamarian.com.  Just a gorgeous cover.  It will be on my Best of Covers for 2014.

Book Details:

ebook, 109 pages
Published December 30th 2013 by Riptide Publishing

Contest and Shock & Awe Blog Tour with Abigail Roux

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Good morning all.  Today ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords is happy to play host to the Shock & Awe Virtual Book Tour featuring one of our favorite authors, Abigail Roux and her new Sidewinder series.  I am so excited about this book and the new couple of Nick and Kelly.  They won my heart immediately and they will win yours too.  Shock & Awe is one of Scattered Thoughts Best Novels of 2013.  You don’t want to miss this one.  And here is bunch more reasons to acquaint yourself with Nick, Kelly, and the rest of the Sidewinders:

Hello everyone! Welcome to the Shock & Awe blog tour! Thank you to ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords for hosting today. If you’re following along, you might find this handy dandy schedule of use, and you might be interested in keeping up with me each day, because I’ve got a couple goodies to give away. In celebration of Nick and Kelly’s coming out, so to speak, I’ve got three of their Heart and Clover T-shirts for three lucky commenters. And I’ve got five sets of trading cards with original artwork and character work-ups, something I intend to add new cards to every year, which makes this first year’s cards pretty important if you’re an obsessive collector like I am.

Author Bio: 

Abigail Roux was born and raised in North Carolina. A past volleyball star who specializes in sarcasm and painful historical accuracy, she currently spends her time coaching high school volleyball and investigating the mysteries of single motherhood. Any spare time is spent living and dying with every Atlanta Braves and Carolina Panthers game of the year.
Abigail has a daughter, Little Roux, who is the light of her life, a boxer, four rescued cats who play an ongoing live-action variation of Call of Duty throughout the house, a certifiable extended family down the road, and a cast of thousands in her head.
Connect with Abi:

Shock & Awe Blurb:

Shock & Awe CoverAfter barely surviving a shootout in New Orleans, Sidewinder medic Kelly Abbott has to suffer through a month of recovery before he can return home to Colorado. He’s not surprised when fellow Sidewinder Nick O’Flaherty stays with him in New Orleans. Nor is he surprised when Nick travels home with him to help him get back on his feet—after all, years on the same Marine Force Recon team bonded the men in ways that only bleeding for a brother can. He’s very surprised, though, when Nick humors his moment of curiosity and kisses him.

Nick knows all of Kelly’s quirks and caprices, so the kiss was a low-risk move on his part . . . or so he thought. But what should’ve been a simple moment unleashes a flood of confusing emotions and urges that neither man is prepared to address.

Now, Kelly and Nick must figure out what they mean to each other—friends and brothers in arms, or something even deeper?—before the past can come back to ruin their tenuous future.

You can read an excerpt and purchase Shock & Awe today from Riptide!

Contest Giveaway:
Abi is giving away some great goodies along the tour, including three of their Heart and Clover T-shirts for three lucky commenters and five sets of trading cards with original artwork and character work-ups. Just leave a comment at any of the stops along the tour to enter. The contest closes on November 25th.

Contest Rules:

  • By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
  • Please note that the contest is open worldwide, winners will be chosen tour-wide and comments left with an email address will be entered to win.
  • Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
  •  Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords.
  • Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway Riptide Publishing..
  • By entering you are agreeing to hold ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
  • Readers may only enter once for each contest. Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
  • Void where prohibited by law.

 

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Review: Something New Under The Sun (Falling Sky #2) by L.A. Witt

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Rating: 5 stars

Something New Under The SunLiam  Lansing is a genetically modified vampire who makes his living as a contract killer but once lived as a favored scion in his wealthy family’s compound in The Sky.  Daniel Harding, heir to  Cybernetix, hated the modifications his father’s corporation built and loved one person, Liam.  Their relationship cost Liam everything as his family disowned him for loving Harding and cast him into The Gutter.  Daniel remained behind working surreptiously to bring his father down, imprisoned in an ivory tower and thinking his former lover was dead.

Former lovers and antagonists, Liam Lansing and Daniel Harding have been reunited and resumed their relationship under the most traumatic events.  Daniel’s father, head of Cybernetix a modification empire, hired Liam to kill his son but had  laid a trap for Liam as well. But the father’s plans backfired when the men united to escape into The Gutter where they schemed to destroy Daniel’s father and his corporation along with him.  But there are more things at stake than Liam is aware of.  Hidden secrets hold the key to the destruction of their plans and the future of their relationship. Can Liam and Daniel put aside the past to maneuver through the obstacles looming before them?  Or will the forces combining against them bring them down once and for all?

Something New Under The Sun picks up right after the events in A Chip In His Shoulder.  I loved reading one book right after the other and felt that it maximized my enjoyment of this intense, suspenseful series. Not necessary but it satisfied my impatience to more forward after the events that occurred in the first book.  Over twice as long, this second book achieves everything L.A. Witt set out to accomplish with her first story.  We are back in The Gutter, that distempered landscape of grimy factories and downtrodden workers, the unholy existing along side the broken. It is a hellish place that L.A. Witt brings to life and where we meet up with Liam and Daniel once more.

In a neat twist, the pov switches from Daniel Harding to Liam Lansing at the beginning of the story and more of Liam’s back history is revealed to the readers. Witt outlines enough of her previous book that any reader fresh to the series is not totally confused by the events of this story.  From the beginning, the author starts to build the suspense and reader anticipation as we watch Liam and David weave together their plans for retribution and the destruction of Cybernetix.  As they cobble together the plans and equipment, more of The Gutter and its inhabitants are revealed.  We traverse the filty, narrow alleys and meet up with Gizmo, a modifications wizard who has been helping Liam, for a price of course, with his own “enhancements”.  Gizmo is quite a wonderful character and I could see him so clearly in my mind, from his dialog to his physical form.  Gizmo made such an impact on me that I hope to see more of him in the coming installments.

And this brings me back to the marvelous characters that L.A. Witt creates for her stories.  Daniel and Liam, larger than life in the first story, have been given additional depth and dimension here in the second.  We learn more about what drove Daniel to take the actions that set in motion Liam’s fall from grace and his own isolation.  And even more of Liam’s past seeps out to tease the reader further about those first years of survival in The Gutter.  I cannot help but think that more will be forthcoming in future stories to flesh this out this part of Liam’s past.  Even though we still have gray areas with respect to their backgrounds, these are beautifully realized people, flawed and determined to regain what was once theirs.  I loved them more as I discovered the basis for the hurt and pain their past has cost them.

The author, after establishing characters that grasp at our hearts and minds, proceeds to set the reader on a thriller of a ride when Daniel and Liam actually set their plans in motion.  Quickly upping the suspense and anxiety we feel for our heros, Witt moves the action along at a fast pace as they set out for The Sky and the Cybernetix building.  Really, the events escalate so rapidly that it is breathtaking.  We barely get through one nasty surprise, then another is quickly upon us. And neither the reader and the two men we have come to care are allowed a moments rest.  This is a A Ticket white knuckle ride and I loved every hair raising minute of it.

The dystopian society L.A.Witt has created for her Falling Sky series is a vividly realized world populated with people I cannot get enough of.  The ending came a little too soon and perhaps too easily for me but I am greedy like that.  I would have wished for a more drawn out resolution to Liam’s family issues.  Perhaps that is coming in the next books in the series and I still want to hear more of Gizmo, he deserves his own story within this remarkable framework.

After finishing this book, I immediately wanted more, a testament to the author’s power to create a world easy to escape into and dwell for a while.  I absolutely recommend Something New Under The Sun.  Buy it and settle down for a wild ride of action, adventure and romance as lovers reunite in the Gutter and aim high for The Sky.

Cover art by LC Chase is lovely with its easy to read titles and dark towers behind the model.  Again I only wished that there had been a way to put some of the physical modifications on the model that are so important to the plot.

Books in the Falling Sky series:

A Chip In His Shoulder (Falling Sky #1)

Something New Under The Sun (Falling Sky#2)