A BJ Review: Wildfire Psi (Guardians of the Pattern #4) by Jaye McKenna


Rating:  5 stars out of 5          ★★★★★

Wildfire PsiThings are finally going well for Luka Valdari. He’s found a home and family at the Institute for Psionic Research, and he has a job he loves. When a training mission takes him back to the streets of downside Riga, he’s got plenty of reason to be uneasy, and when a psionic cry for help leads him to a nightmare from his past, Luka’s ready to bolt.

Things are not going so well for Damon Korsov. He’s got voices in his head, a hole in his memory, and strange dreams that may or may not be glimpses of his past. The one man who might hold the key to Damon’s past is the one man he can never ask. Because somehow, Luka knows Damon, and it’s clear to Damon that Luka hates him.

Unwilling to expose anyone else to the danger Damon represents, Luka volunteers to train him. He wants to hate Damon, but instead finds himself fascinated. Before they get a chance to sort things out between them, the two men are thrown into the middle of a terrifying plot that puts every human life in the galaxy at risk. Can Luka and Damon confront both of their pasts and work together to prevent disaster? Or will all the human worlds burn in the flames of wildfire psi?

This book takes place right after the events of book three. Initially, there are two parallel storylines: one follows Tarrin and Miko as they continue their mission from the end of book three, and the other follows Luka who has returned to his duties at the Institute. I admit that sometimes it can be hard for me to read books that switch around like that, but in this case I was so involved with both storylines and both groups of characters that it never did. I was always eager to get back to the other couple so the switches never pulled me from the story or made me want to put the book down. In fact, one of the things I enjoy about this series is how we get to follow along with all the characters even when the primary focus switches to another couple. But also, the author did an absolutely seamless job of bringing the two storylines together perfectly and naturally at about 60%.

This book’s main couple is a doozy. I totally did not see this one coming. At all. We first met both Luka and Damon in book one, Psi Hunter, where Luka was a central character, but not a romantic lead. And Damon… well, Damon was someone else. I won’t say who as you should read it to find out.

I enjoy a good enemies-to-lovers story, and if you do too, then you should adore the heck out of this book! This isn’t your typical version of that trope. NO generic enemies where the guys are on the opposite sides of something but after getting to know each other as individuals, they overlook that and become loving adversaries. NO personality conflict that’s offset by intense physical attraction and results in lots of hate sex that gradually leads to the real thing. And thankfully, NO simple misunderstanding that could easily be cleared up by talking (those kinds often make the characters seem sort of clueless for me). Nope. None of those. This is the real deal. Two guys with a legitimate “I hate you because of what you did to me” reason to be enemies. No easy fix kind of hate here! And I loved that.

Since I knew these guy’s background from prior books, I just couldn’t imagine how the author would manage to move those two to a place where they could trust and love one another. Heck, I couldn’t even foresee how she’d make me like one of the characters given what I knew of his past. But she did both. Believably and well.

While the plot and action moved along at a satisfying clip, the gradual change in the relationship between Luka and Damon was built on plausible reasons that weren’t based on physical attraction. I enjoyed the natural development of an emotional bond and the slow formation of a tentative, but fragile trust that made it possible to move past hate. But when the past came back to bite them in the ass, could that trust stand up? The way they built that final bridge, an integral piece of the overall story arc, felt natural and right.  A unique and exceptionally well done take on the enemies to lovers trope.

In this series overall, the world-building is complex and exceptionally detailed. While there’s a complex overall story arc running through the series, each book focuses on a new main couple and how their involvement moves everything forward. But past characters aren’t dropped. Nor do the guys from previous books  just make random cameos like in some series. They continue to play their own important roles in the overall arc and to grow while still remaining in character.

Which leads me to mention a favorite character of mine ever since book 0.5, the ever-mysterious Draven. The more I know of him, the more intrigued I am and the more I want… well, more. A few of the scenes he had in this book have me absolutely chomping at the bit to learn more about that illusive man. Mysterious, smart, scheming, a bit broken… rather reminds me a bit of Laurent in Captive Prince. And just like with him, I absolutely cannot wait for more Draven.

The cover by Chinchbug shows Damon with the red crystal artifact and aptly represents this story. Also I’d never noticed until recently when a bundle of the first four came out that each cover fits side by side, half faces with the next. Nice touch.

Sales Links:   ARe | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:  

Published January 27th 2016 by Mythe Weaver Press (first published January 2016)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesGuardians of the Pattern #4.0

Guardians of the Patterns Series (with links to BJ’s reviews):

Guardians of the Pattern is a science fiction series in which the line between science and magic blurs. In the galaxy-spanning Federation, psions are still fighting for basic human rights. Some worlds adopt a live-and-let-live policy, but on others, psions are hunted down and murdered because the public fears their psychic talents. When ancient weapons of mass destruction are unearthed on a planet populated by primitive nomads who still believe in magic, psions may be the Federation’s only hope for survival.

Can the people of these two very different cultures come together to prevent disaster? Or will the Federation’s hunger for power trigger a psionic chain-reaction that has the potential to threaten all of humanity?

A BJ Review: Claimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts (Claimings #1) by Lyn Gala


Rating:  5 stars out of 5   ★★★★★

Claimings, Tails and Other Alien ArtifactsLiam loves his life as a linguist and trader on the Rownt homeworld, but he has ignored his heart and sexual needs for years. He won’t risk letting anyone come too close because he won’t risk letting anyone see his deeply submissive nature. For him, submission comes with pain. Life burned that lesson into his soul from a young age. This fear keeps him from noticing that the Rownt trader Ondry cares for him.

Ondry may not understand humans, but he recognizes a wounded soul, and his need to protect Liam is quickly outpacing his common sense. They may have laws, culture, and incompatible genitalia in their way, but Ondry knows that he can find a way to overcome all that if he can just overcome the ghosts of Liam’s past. Only then can he take possession of a man he has grown to love.

Wow, this story blew me away. Not only is it extremely well-written but also totally original and unique! It was so such fun reading that I read it all the way through in one day without putting it down! I know some people do that regularly, but I seldom can manage it. But watching these two very different men learn to communicate on intimate issues was so thoroughly fascinating.

This is a sweet, gentle romance with a unique take on submission/dominance that I just adored. I enjoy sci-fi and one of my fav tropes is alien lovers—however, so very often the alien’s anatomy disappointingly similar to human. That’s one of the things I adored about this book–Ondry is truly alien in that his physiology is completely different from our. Thus their lovemaking is unique… tender, sensual, but also hot.

But don’t read it just for that. The plot is outstanding and tightly drawn, the love story is sweet and beautiful, the characters are nuanced and easy to connect to. And the structure of Ondry’s world and social system is outstanding and complex. Ondry’s Rownt world is a matriarchal society governed by older/wiser women called “grandmothers.” The way the males are treated as their seed is um… taken, is quite harsh. But overall this is absolutely stunning world building, just beyond awesome! For anyone who enjoys hot m/m sci-fi, this is highly recommended.

The cover has all the elements to mark it as sci-fi as well as its hot (and I love the tail!)

Sales Links:  Loose id LLC | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:  

ebook, 104 pages
Published January 29th 2013 by Loose Id
original titleClaimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts
edition languageEnglish
seriesClaimings #1

A MelanieM Review: Corin’s Chance (Avanti Chronicles #1) by Hannah Walker


Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Corin's Chance coverPosted to some stars awful cruiser, Dr. Corin Talovich hoped to serve his time quietly and get on with his life, but fate stepped in and decided otherwise.

Crashing into an unknown planet was the last thing Corin expected. With only his friend, Lieutenant Commander Tate Riven, by his side, they face the unexplored world and new enemies bravely, leading them to the Derin Clan, where they’re welcomed by the leader’s son.

Kel isn’t sure about the strange men, but he isn’t about to send them away, especially when the bond between Corin and himself is something he can’t ignore.

When another clan wages an attack, Kel is forced to make some hard choices which nearly costs him everything he holds dear. Together, with their allies, Corin and Kel fight, focusing on the future they desire, knowing failure not only dooms their love, but also those around them. Side by side, they work to destroy the evil threatening to keep them apart and becoming the family both men desire.

I have to admit that when I was finally finished all 424 pages of Corin’s Chance (Avanti Chronicles #1) by Hannah Walker I was still wavering between 2 and 3 stars, depending upon what I was remembering about the story and how I felt about it.   There are so many things to consider when writing a review about this novel, not the least of which is the ambitious plot and intentions of the author, who intends to carry on into another story and a series.

I have finally decided that, no matter its many (many, many) faults, I am rather fond of this story. For me it falls along the lines of a space bodice ripper, complete with purple prose, main characters who are at turn weepy, furious, torn, overprotective and yes, pregnant (still male), all while being warriors from space.  You just got to roll with it, even while rolling your eyes.

Honestly, I think Hannah Walker is got a really good story here but everything around it needs work.  The Avanti which are these mega space warriors  from many galactic races.. a small group of them is aboard a space cruiser which is attacked.  They all end up in separate space pods that crash land on a planet that seems to be inhabited by The Society for Creative Anachronism.   Everyone on the planet is all big on kilt-like garb, swords (she uses the word claymore,  a specific Scottish weapon), knives, and ride animals that seem to be a lion/zebra hybrid.  Compelling true but these same clans also have in-depth knowledge of The Alliance, space and galactic technology!  So…a whole planet of Luddites?  Its never quite explained.  From the planet, the various cultures and social structures to the galactic Alliance that everyone is fed up about, Walker has failed to lay out a firm foundation for her story, an essential element considering everything she is trying to accomplish here.   Which is tell the story of every member of the Avanti crew that lands on this planet.  A book a crew member.  If each character gets 400 plus pages each, this will be a magnus opus indeed.

Second thing that will stick out immediately is the language or more importantly, several things about the language of the story.  Walker has her character using modern sayings in their dialog with no attempt to show any evolution through centuries of use.  Yes, its been centuries.  One character uses the phrase “When you assume you make an ASS out of ME and YOU!” Really? One of the most feared space  warriors says that to another? Its Baby this and Babe that as they twinkle at each other.  Another notices and drools over a man’s “chiseled face”, then blushes?  He actually says the words “chiseled face” out loud.  Here people are “over the moon” about each other among other cornball descriptions.  These characters never talk as though they have been in battle, although they do sound as though they have been reading romance novels all their lives and that is the only way in which they can communicate.  After a time I got so used to it that it became quite fun.  But I was really missing just one person who acted and sounded like a real soldier and an adult.

There is an evil doer, you will know him because all he does is screech and foam and spittle at the mouth. Yes, those are his only descriptions.  You will know him by his foam.

There is an mpreg element which I found interesting but the author lost several points there as well when she lost track of what one of the most experienced and renowned of all Alliance doctor’s would have knowledge of.  Either have a storyboard, notes or a editor should have stepped in here to point that out and make a change.  Actually a editor should have stepped in quite a few times to cut away extraneous plot minutiae, details, and  whole pages of just stuff that didn’t matter.   And then started in on the dialog.

The characters.  I think that’s where Walker’s story holds its own.  People will like these characters, they are interesting and endearing in a goofy sort of way.  I truly mean that or I wouldn’t have  continued all the way through 424 pages.  We don’t know all their histories and now that they are all back together on the planet, we will want to know what happens to them.  Corin got his mate.  Tate is set up for the next story. Commander Dax, Hunter, Bell, and Bray have some clues laid out here as to how their stories might go.  The next title?  Tate’s Torment.  Doesn’t that just cry out for a return of the greatest of all of the bodice ripper models…Fabio in space?  Since I love Fabio that was not meant to be sarcastic or mean spirited.

What I would love to see happen is for the narrative to tighten up, the purple prose to become less so, for Hannah Walker to decide if her people use technology or not and in a logical manner. And really give some thought about how speech patterns, culture, things would exist thousands of years in the future.  Take whats present now and evolve them. The weird combination here makes little sense, culturally speaking.  In short, a strong editor is needed to see this series forward.  The bones are good.  So are some of the secondary work.  And really perhaps a teensy bit less weeping. Just a bit.

I know some of you are shaking your heads that I gave this 3 stars.  At  times I find it hard to believe as well.  That dialog is a hard thing to overlook as are the characterizations.  These men just don’t read as fierce battle hardened warriors, especially of Galactic renown.   But Hannah Walker has a huge tale to tell.  A band of brothers crash land on foreign soil and decide to make it their home.  Each gets a story as they find love and make a family.  Its that basic.  She has the right elements and sometimes it all comes together and it creeps right into your heart unexpectedly.  It happened enough here to warrant 3 stars.  And it will make me pick up Tate’s Torment.  Ah, me. The Avanti Chronicles will continue.

Sales Links:  ARe | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 424 pages
Published September 20th 2015 by Hannah Walker
edition language English


In our Science Fiction Corner: Author Interview with Chris T. Kat of Battle Stations (Alliances #2) (excerpt and giveaway)



Battle Stations  (Alliances #2) by Chris T. Kat
Release Date: October 12, 2015

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain

Buy the book: Dreamspinner e-book & paperback |Amazon | All Romance Ebooks | 

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Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Chris T. Kat author of Battle Stations (Alliances, Book 2). Hi Chris, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

• What is your least favorite part of the publishing/writing process?

A couple of years ago I’d have said it’s the editing process, but that has changed. I’ve got an awesome beta reader (Julie Lynn Hayes) and my senior editor, Erika Orrick, is awesome as well. My least favorite part is probably the promotion. I know it’s necessary, and I really don’t mind talking to readers, but I’m not keen on tooting my own horn and hoping someone will buy my books.
• As an author, is there one subject you would never write about? What would it be?

I’m fairly open and I wouldn’t say there’s one subject I’ll never write about. However I don’t think I’ll write a book that includes rape or child molestation. These things disturb me as a reader, and since I don’t like to read about it, why should I write about it?
• When did you first realize you wanted to write?

That was when I couldn’t find a certain type of story when I still read fan fiction. Since no one was going to write what I wanted to read, I decided to give writing my own story a try. I haven’t stopped since then.
• How long did it take to write your book?

I wrote Breeding Stations and Battle Stations back to back. Both books took about five months together. Usually it takes me three to four months to write one novel, but these two books flowed and made it very, very easy for me.
• For Fun: Where is one place you’d like to visit you haven’t been before?

I’d like to visit Italy, specifically Rome, one day. There’s so much history in that city, and I’d love to explore the old buildings and sink my teeth into the rich history.

Thanks, Chris.  Now on to more about the second book in the Alliance series, Battle Stations.




The fight to eradicate the Tash’Ba breeding stations continues, with spunky Commander Berit Turner and his Nadisc mate, Tom, in the thick of things. Sometimes it seems as though they’ll never locate and destroy them all. And there’s always the fear that the Tash’Ba have something else, something worse—if that’s even possible—lurking ahead.

As if things aren’t bad enough, Berit’s less than stellar past is threatening to bite him in the ass, and they’ve received alarming new information. The Tash’Ba Queen needs to use Earth as a place to hatch the egg of her successor. And if what she says is true, the new Queen will be even more voracious and cruel than her predecessor.

Berit, along with his team—Tom, Carson, Niyara, and Fleur—must do everything in their power to stop her. If they fail, Earth will be lost forever.


Pages or Words:
Categories: M/M Romance, Science Fiction



Veering to the left, I allowed myself a quick glance over my shoulder. Not that I saw any chance of the elgoth having lost interest in me, because those fucking beasts never lost interest once they’d set their sights on prey, but sometimes a new prey might attract them more, which I’d have welcomed right then.

My lungs burned and my leg muscles smarted like hell from running like a rabbit through thick brushes and overgrown ferns. I even zigzagged around. Too bad I couldn’t find a rabbit’s hole to hide in.

I had no idea where Tom, Carson, and the rest of the team were, either.

We’d been separated before—it happened when gigantic Tash’Ba war beasts decided we looked good enough to eat—but I’ve never liked it. No, scratch that. Every time it happened, it put the fear of God in me. A gust of warm breath, mingled with some spittle, sprayed my neck. I squeaked and swerved to the right, vaulting over a stunted tree trunk. Seconds later, wood splinters sped past my head, and I lost my footing on the vibrating ground.

I sprawled facedown in the mud, panic sending bolts of confusing messages through my body. Maybe… maybe if I kept completely still, the elgoth wouldn’t touch me? The first time I’d made the acquaintance of one of these towering forty-foot-tall creatures, Tom had instructed me not to move, because they wouldn’t be able to locate us.

It had worked on Ligador and a couple of other breeding stations, but last time a team member tried this approach, the elgoth had roared and ripped him apart. All Tash’Ba war beasts seemed to be altering their tactics, making them even more unpredictable than before.

The mud around me sloshed, almost causing me to inhale some of it. I suppressed the urge to cough and kept my mouth shut as tight as I’d ever done, even though a whimper threatened to spill over my lips any second.

Another gust of foul breath struck my neck. My hair stood on end, my muscles locked in some kind of rigid stupor. That was it. I’d end my life as a morsel for an elgoth.

A blast echoed from the south, and the beast’s breath vanished from my neck. Gunfire followed the blast, and voices filtered through my terrified haze. They’d run right into the elgoth if I didn’t warn them. But… if I moved, or raised my voice, the elgoth would bite my head off. Literally.


About The Author


Meet Chris T. Kat:

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

Where to find Chris T. Kat:


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Its SciFy Friday with Chris T. Kat! Author Interview , New Release Breeding Stations (Alliances #1) and a Giveaway!



Breeding Stations (Alliances #1) by Chris T. Kat
Release Date: July 27, 2015

STRW In The Spotlight Header

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain


Sales Links: Dreamspinner eBook & Paperback | Amazon | All Romance (ARe) |

My Interview with Chris T. Kat On Pets!

Hi Chris, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

Tell us about your pets – past or present. Pictures are a must! (Not really, but they would be welcome.)

Do you know those kids that always wanted to have pets, but the parents didn’t allow it? Yep, I’m one of those, although it was only my mother who was against it. My stepfather simply bypassed her by bringing me a pair of SL271818guinea pigs one day. Of course, my mother wasn’t happy at first, but at least she tolerated them. I’m not sure I still have pictures of them, but their names were Ricky and Domingo. Since then, I’ve had guinea pigs pretty much all the time. For the past 13 years, we always had two boys. At the moment, we only have one guinea pig named Sam.sam He’s an old fellow now, and loves to cuddle and sleep in the curve of our arms. As soon as he needs to go pee, he alerts us by pulling at our clothes—that can get a bit painful during summer months, when he nips at our skin.

SL271828As I said we usually had two guinea pigs, and whenever one of them died due to age or illness, we got a new one. But after our Sky died last year, our kids didn’t want a new one. Sky had been very friendly to everyone: he came when you called him, and he always hopped and ran around. He was a real character, and we still miss him. We still have our Sam, and hope he’ll be around for some time in the future.

STRW Author BookSynopsis

Spunky commander Berit Turner is known for two things: his huge libido and his lack of a filter—he says what he thinks. Berit sets his mind on being part of the mission to Ligador, to make sure the planet is habitable for humans. He’s ecstatic when his team is assigned to the task force. A delegation of Nadisc, a humanoid alien race, accompanies them, and passion ignites between Berit and their commanding officer, Tom. But Berit is determined that Tom is just another notch on his bedpost, as he doesn’t do relationships.

The excursion to Ligador goes wrong from the beginning, when they discover Ligador has been established as a breeding station by their worst enemy: the Tash’Ba. Dinosaur-like creatures become the team’s worst nightmare, and staying alive is going to take everything they’ve got… and then some.

Pages or Words: 204 pages or about 65,000 words


Categories: M/M Romance, Science Fiction

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

Excerpt from Chapter Two

Several alarmed shouts warned me of something going on, but I had no time to process what happened. Something roped around my waist and yanked me over to the side. I crashed into Tom’s chest as a harsh growling sound erupted from his throat.

I tried jerking myself free, but he held onto my wrists with one hand, while his tail kept me tethered to his body. “What the hell?”

Niyara squared off in front of Tom, her dark eyes gleaming with an eerie, demonic red glint where her pupils should’ve been. Her long tail swished from one side to the other and her arm muscles flexed.

“What the ever-loving fuck is going on?” I asked.

“Quiet!” Tom hissed.

My mouth fell open, and I gaped at him. Okay. Enough was enough. I caught the tip of his tail in my hand and pinched it—hard. He roared, but I used the chance to slip free. A Nadisc’s tail tip was the most sensitive part, which came in handy during sex but was a real disadvantage in a fight. Or maybe not. I’d never heard of someone winning a fight against a Nadisc when—

Niyara’s fist closing around my shirt stopped all my pondering. She lifted me off my feet, hissing and boring her eerie gaze into mine. Maybe I should’ve stayed with Tom. He’d felt slightly less dangerous than she did.

Carson appeared next to Niyara’s side, eyes as large as saucers but an equally determined look on his face. He reached out. As soon as he touched her arm, her head whirled around. I held my breath. Would he be able to save me from Niyara’s wrath? She’d seemed rather taken with him earlier. What the hell had I done, anyway, to agitate her?

As I wracked my brain, Carson and Niyara gazed at each other. The next instant he rose on tiptoes and placed a gentle kiss on her lips.

She let go of my shirt, and I would’ve landed flat on my ass if Tom hadn’t snatched me around the waist. Niyara rested her head on Carson’s shoulder, which meant she had to stoop because of her height. No one said anything, and no one moved for what seemed like a long time. When she lifted her head, several people—including me—hissed, afraid of what she’d do next.

Niyara bowed her head toward Tom. “I apologize for my outburst. I’ve never encountered a jealousy spell before.”

“Jealousy spell?” I echoed.

She gazed at me, suddenly looking sheepish. “Feeling such a strong connection is new to me, and I didn’t like Carson using an endearment toward you.”

I blinked, then looked over at Carson. He gawked, and his eyes were the same size as before. Would they stay like that forever?

Niyara swept an arm around to include everyone in her proclamation, which resulted in startled jerks and coughs.

“I’m claiming Carson as my mate. Anyone who’d like to object has to fight me.”

No one objected. Everyone seemed busy inspecting their boots or the ceiling. I never noticed before how very ugly the hatch’s ceiling was.

“Berit!” Carson wheezed out.

I sighed and transferred my gaze from the ceiling to Carson. “Congrats?”

Someone cheered and the others followed suit, clapping their hands to add to the noise. Carson was so pale I feared he’d faint, but Niyara cupped his face in both hands and kissed him. After that, he didn’t seem to mind that much, not anymore.

Chuckling, I told the others to open the hatch and take up their position. The hatch opened with the usual buzz, but when I started to walk, Tom’s arms around my waist tightened to an almost painful level.

“Tell them to secure the area and wait for further instructions,” he whispered into my ear.

“Dream on. I won’t do—” My words ended abruptly when the steel bands around my waist left me no room for breathing.


Tom allowed me more breathing room, and I gave the desired order. No one looked twice or questioned my instruction, for which I’d have been grateful on any other day, just not today. Ticking off a Nadisc was a bad idea. One of the worst, really.

We waited until everyone had cleared the hatch’s area. Tom spun me around in his arms and lifted me up until we were face-to-face.

“You accepted me as your leader on this mission, remember? That means no punching me,” I said, “or doing anything that would harm me.”

Tom’s gaze intensified, and my mouth went dry when he spread out a red and orange speckled frill around his neck. I’d read about this display, but had never seen it before. Only a few Nadisc still had those frills—most opted for surgery because it gave away their emotions too easily—and those that did had a very tight control over it.

“But it’s okay for you to hurt me?” he rasped.

I tried to reason with him. “I… look, I’m the commander here. You can’t just order me around or hold me captive, okay?”

“Niyara could’ve killed you.”

I shrugged. “She didn’t, and she’ll just have to get used to the way Carson and I talk to each other.”

The frill around his neck unfolded even more. He said, “I’m not fond of the way you talk to each other.”

I had an inkling where this conversation was headed. I had an even bigger inkling that I’d panic if Tom said anything, so I closed my eyes, wrapped my arms around his neck—over the frill, which was kind of awkward—and sought his mouth with mine.

He opened up immediately, and I dipped my tongue into his mouth, licking along his teeth and eliciting an approving hum from him. Somehow I ended up with my legs wound around him and one of his hands steadying my ass.
When we broke apart for air, he said, “I won’t forget what you did.”

“I’ll make it up to you,” I replied. His eyes lit up with interest, so I added, “Deal?”


STRW Author Bio and Contacts

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

Where to find the author:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ChrisTKat
Twitter: http://twitter.com/christi_kat
GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/ChrisTKat
Blog: http://christikat.blogspot.com
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Chris-T.-Kat/e/B008FQQH2Q

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A BJ Review: Gremlin’s Last Run (Guardians of the Pattern #2) by Jaye McKenna


Rating:  4.75 stars out of 5

Gremlin's Last Run coverCaptain Rhys Tyler is so sensitive to the feelings and pain of others that it’s impossible to be around them without drugs. A simple human touch can send him into a seizure. As the Captain and sole crew of the Gremlin, he hauls cargo through the emptiness of interstellar space. His ship, left to him by his deceased uncle, is all that’s allowing him to survive… and now the Gremlin is coming to the end of her useful life.

Alek McKinnon is a Federation agent whose latest mission has gone terribly wrong. He’s managed to escape after being kidnapped and used for illegal psi experimentation, but the after effects have left him psi crippled, in pain, and with very limited options available to get home and report to his superiors.

Alek stows away aboard the Gremlin and is surprised when the Captain turns out to be another psion, a powerful empath that has no idea what he is. As the two men struggle to keep themselves (and each other) alive, they form a bond much deeper than either had expected.

This story grabbed me by the throat from page one and would NOT let me go, something I cannot honestly say about very many books. The pacing is outstanding, enough so that it was hard for me to put it down.

Alek and Rhys are nuanced, real, and vividly alive. I’d already met Alek in a prior book, and I adored Rhys from the start. When faced with a stowaway, Rhys’s initial response was to either send him into space or return him to the authorities, but one look at the man’s face as he pleas for his help chances his mind. Not enough that he isn’t still careful though. When Alek discovers that Rhys is an psion and explains it to him, offering him a way to finally live a more normal life, Rhys understandably doesn’t immediately believe him, which I’d expect from his background. But as they work together to help each other, the development of the feelings and trust between them seems natural and right. I adored Rhys. He grew so much, going from being almost suicidal due to his lonely and hopeless existence, to learning to trust and love. And I adored his voice in this story.

By the way, for those who find series in which many people who know each other are gay to be unrealistic, then please read this book. Because yeah, there are a large number of gays in this particular organization, but this author tells you exactly why in a totally believable way that I just adored.

This series continues to draw me deeper and deeper into a fascinating world and the characters that populate it. I’ve read other series that concentrate on one couple in each book with nearly the entire focus being on the main couple and others just cameos, but that isn’t the case in this series. In each book, I’m getting to know new guys, but there are also the old favorites that are still growing and changing. No little snippets thrown in just as an update here. It’s a richly interwoven world where everyone we keep seeing nuances of character revealed that we didn’t see before.

For example, I enjoyed book one, but Kyn was quite an asshat at times and hard for me to love. In this book, I can see the growth in him that has come from accepting himself as he is and also from being in a stable loving relationship over the few years since the prior book. And Luka… wow, he has matured and is now a teacher who is a far cry from that frightened lost boy. Yet he’s the same in all the ways that make him uniquely him. Two of my favorite characters have yet to have their own story, and I can’t wait. One of them was a very bad boy in this book, which gave me some grief, but only intrigues me more. I adore anti-heroes and cannot wait to see the world through his eyes.

The cover shows Rhys on the Gremlin and does a good job of setting the tone of the story.

Sales Links:  All Romance (ARe) |  Amazon |Buy It Here

Book Details:
ebook, 299 pages
Published October 20th 2014 by Mythe Weaver Press (first published October 19th 2014)
edition languageEnglish
seriesGuardians of the Pattern #2.0

Guardians of the Pattern series

4 works, 4 primary works

Guardians of the Pattern is a science fiction series in which the line between science and magic blurs. In the galaxy-spanning Federation, psions are still fighting for basic human rights. Some worlds adopt a live-and-let-live policy, but on others, psions are hunted down and murdered because the public fears their psychic talents. When ancient weapons of mass destruction are unearthed on a planet populated by primitive nomads who still believe in magic, psions may be the Federation’s only hope for survival.

Can the people of these two very different cultures come together to prevent disaster? Or will the Federation’s hunger for power trigger a psionic chain-reaction that has the potential to threaten all of humanity?

Guardians of the Pattern Series:

  • Facing the Mirror (Guardians of the Pattern  0.5)
  • Psi Hunter (Guardians of the Pattern, #1)
  • Gremlin’s Last Run (Guardians of the Pattern #2.0)
  • Ghost in the Mythe (Guardians of the Pattern, #3.0)


Review: Dominant Predator (The Borders War #2) by S.A. McAuley


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Dominant Predator coverIt’s the year 2558 and the various governments that rose after the last world war (also known as the Borders War) had come together at their first attempt to revive the Olympic Games.  But instead of peace,  a revolution was started. With one bullet Merq Grayson both assassinated the Premier of an opposing nation and ignited the Borders War once more.  Merq was prepared to die in the aftermath of the assassination, instead, to his shock, the one man who has been both his lover and his enemy for 14 years saves him.  Armise Darcan,  the Dark Ops officer from the People’s Republic of Singapore and the only equal Merq has ever known, defects in order to save his lover and enemy from death.

Now on the same side for the first time, Merq and Armise work together at the behest of the President. Their mission? To save Merq’s parents from the forces of the Opposition and assassinate those on the Committee who have defected to the Opposition’s side. But the Revolution is taking extreme losses from the forces of the Opposition and neither man is sure who to trust even within the Revolution itself.

Merq is also seeing first hand the effects of a stratified population, the extreme poor and the extremely wealthy.  Always so focused upon his missions, Merq had never really seen what the years of fighting had done to the people outside the political bunkers and now he is horrified by the blinders he so willingly wore.  Merq is evaluating not only himself but Armise too.  Armise gave up everything for Merq but is Merq prepared for what that means emotionally as well as physically?  Can two dominant predators come together, trusting each other fully in order to survive the Revolution and the resurrection of the Borders War?

What an incredible series and group of characters S.A. McAuley is giving us.  First introduced in the brutal story, One Breathe One Bullet, Merq Greysonand Armise Darcan are two black op snipers who have been going at each other head to head for over fourteen years from two opposing  countries.  Merq Grayson is a Peacemaker from the Continental States and Armise Darcan, a Black Ops from the People’s Republic of Singapore. In a beautiful twist, McAuley also makes them lovers for most of their careers as well as enemies.  Even when slicing each other open, they harbor intense feelings for each other that they are afraid to name.  I love the manner in which the author delivers this intense, intimate battle between Merq and Armise to the reader in scenes so vivid, so animalistic that they almost explode off the page one incendiary line after another.   It’s white hot, elemental and oh so sexy.

In Dominant Predator, S. A. McAuley also starts to flesh out the back histories for Merq and Armise that had been mostly absent in the first novel. Here we learn for the first time that both men have been genetically modified, something that had been only hinted at before.  But now we learn that the modifications are not only extreme but their nature is also unknown to the men they were made on.  Neither Merq or Armise realize the full extent to which their bodies have been modified, they don’t know exactly how they are affected and what all the modifications can and will do to them.  Merq, in fact, was modified while in the womb, an outlawed procedure.  And both men don’t know how and where the modifications were made.  The knowledge raises more questions about the two men than are answered by this installment.  And that is something this author does again and again.  McAuley dishes out information like specialized ammunition, in small increments and only when it will be the most explosive to the narrative, upping the level of anticipation and anxiety at the same time.

Both the plot and the characterizations are each others equal, much like Merq and Armise.  McAuley lays a web of deceit over all that transpires here, leaving the men to navigate a labrynth of intrigue so convoluted that everyone Merq and Armise is working for and against may change sides and loyalties almost instantaneously.  We as well as Merq and Armise are never sure who is the good guy and who is bad or if there is even such a thing anymore.  It is all dissolving before their eyes, all the rationale they were given, the certainty that the answers they had were real, nothing is as it seems.  Really, McAuley has created a world of smoke and mirrors  that will confound all who walk in it, including two “genetmod” snipers who find they only have each other to trust and rely on.

But the true heart of this story (and series) is the bond between Merq and Armise.  It’s a bond so strong, so magnetic that even the men don’t understand it and never have.  Even when the sex between them was as much a weapon as it was a release, the connection between the two continued to grow in strength and depth.  And now they are both on the same side, fighting for the Revolution, because Armise won’t be denied his spot at Merq’s side any longer.  Both men must move forward into the future together if they are to have one.  And that’s powerful stuff, indeed.

S.A. McAuley has promised five books for this series and is currently working on the third.  But will it be enough?  Merq and Armise are mesmerizing, larger than life personalities. In the past both men have also felt invulnerable but that is fading away along with Merq’s certainties about the men who have commanded his loyalties and the missions they sent him on.  Reality is setting in and I can’t wait to see where it takes Merq and Armise.  What a journey it has been already and the promise of much more to come from this amazing author will be worth the wait. Here is a taste of what to expect:

“You’ll never be stronger than I am, Merq,” Armise stated, the movement of his throat causing the blade to cut in farther. I eased the steel just a fraction away from his skin. He pressed his neck into the blade—with each centimetre of movement I was forced to either move the knife with him or to deepen the mark where his blood beaded—until his lips were nearly on mine. I relented, letting the steel fall away from his neck, but I spun the handle and gripped it in my fist.

Armise dipped his head down and rubbed his freshly shaven cheek over my lips and along my jaw. The feeling of it was foreign, his scent familiar, the desire now thrumming through me unavoidable.

“But,” he whispered against my skin, “that is why I’m here. We fight together and the world has no choice but to drop to their knees and beg for mercy.” I arched into him, and inhaled the fading scent of Singaporean balms, of him. I bit at his earlobe and scratched my jaw along his. “Mercy which neither of us is likely to give.” Armise dragged his lips across my neck and down to my collarbone and nipped at the fabric of my T-shirt. “Put the knife down, Merq,” he urged. His hands tugged at the hem of my shirt. “And take this off.”

If you are not familiar with this series, start at the beginning.  That’s a must if you are to understand the universe  McAuley is building and the men that stride across it like giants.  It’s compelling, it’s addictive and a must read on every level.

Cover art by Posh Gosh. This cover is just incredible, including the tattoo that has so much meaning for Merq and Armise.  It will be in my list of Best of 2013 this year.

One Breathe One Bullet (The Borders War #1)
Dominant Predator (The Borders War #2)

Book Details:

ebook, 137 pages
Expected publication: September 20th 2013 by Total-E-Bound
ISBN13 9781781844588
edition language English
series The Border Wars

September 2013 Summary of Reviews


September and Fall

September 2013 Book Review Summary

What a wonderful month it was for books and reviews!  Most of the books I read fell into the 5 and 4 star category, a few into the  3 star and none below that.  Series predominated the ratings this time.  Most notably the series offerings from the Pulp Friction authors. There 3d-person-sit-pile-books-reading-book-26141531were new books in well established series such as Katey Hawthorne’s Superpowered Love series as well as followup stories and new series  from such talented authors such as Kendall McKenna (The Tameness of the Wolf series) and Aleksandr Voinov (Memory of Scorpions series).

Other new series includes Poppy Dennison’s Pack Partners , Cat Grant’s Bannon’s Gym) and Harper Kingsley’s Heroes and Villains series too.  My cup (and yours) runneth over with series, all promising more great stories featuring characters we have come to love. And believe it or not, October is starting the same way!  What a fall!

So grab a pen or notebook and jot down those books and authors you may have missed the first time around.  I have linked my review to each one listed.  Happy Reading!

5 Star Rating:

Crucify (Triple Threat #4) by L.E. Harner
Defiance (Triple Threat #3) by L.E. Harner
Re-entry Burn (Superpowered Love #5) by Katey Hawthorne (supernatural)
Retribution (Triple Threat #2) by L.E. Harner (contemporary)
Scorpion (Memory of Scorpions #1) by Aleksandr Voinov (fantasy)
Strength of the Wolf (The Tameness of the Wolf #2) by Kendall McKenna

4 to 4.75 Star Rating:

Accidental Alpha (Pack Partners #1) by Poppy Dennison (4.5 stars)(supernatural)
Black Dog (Bannon’s Gym #1) by Cat Grant (4.5 stars)(contemporary)
Blessed Curses by Madeleine Ribbon (4 stars) (fantasy)
City Knight (City Knight #1) by T.A. Webb (4 stars out of 5)(contemporary fiction)
Heroes and Villains (Heroes and Villains #1) by Harper Kingsley (4 stars)(supernatural)
Sonata by A.F. Henley (4.5 stars out of 5)(contemporary fiction)
Summer Lovin’ Anthology (4.75 stars out of 5) (contemporary)
The Crimson Outlaw by Alex Beecroft (4 stars)(historical)
Triple Threat (Triple Threat #1) by L.E. Harner (4.5 stars)(contemporary)

3 to 3.75 Star Rating:

Coliseum Square by Lynn Lorenz (3.75 stars)(historical)
Roughstock: Blind Ride, Season One by BA Tortuga (3 stars) (contemporary)

2 to 2.75 Star Rating: none

1 to 1.75 Star Rating: none

Review: Scorpion (Memory of Scorpions #1) by Aleksandr Voinov


Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Scorpian 2nd edition coverKendras is quite possibly the last surviving member of the only family he’s ever known—the elite fighting force known as the Scorpions. Gravely injured and left for dead during the conflict between the city states of Dalman and Fetin. Kendras has no choice but to accept the coin and offer of service to the mercenary who finds him severely wounded outside the city.  All the mercenary called Steel demands is nothing less than Kendras’ total submission and acceptance of a secret task to carry out.  With no where else to turn and no money to buy medicine, Kendras resignedly accepts.

But Kendras has his own hidden agenda, that of finding if any of his Scorpion brothers survived and bringing the elite team back together again.  It also includes finding the man who holds Kendras’ heart and soul, that of the officer who leads the Scorpions.  But first, Kendras must heal.  His shattered foot and other wounds need time.  Complications arise when Steel becomes possessive of Kendras, wanting more than just his body.  But Steel’s too late, Kendras’ love and loyalty lie elsewhere.  When that becomes apparent, what will Steel do when he realizes Kendras will never be his?

Kendras faces layers of political intrigue, and tests that will strain his loyalties and test his physical prowess as a warrior.But nothing will stand in the way of Kendras achieving his goals, not even the Empire itself.

Scorpion is such a powerful book.  Brutal, grimly realistic in its portrait of a warrior’s life, depicting the violence to body and soul that is the by product of such a life.  It is also equally honest in its scenes of casual everyday brutality that is a way of life for those less fortunate and lacking in status or wealth.  Rape, humiliation, slavery and death lie in wait for all but the most noble or well connected. And even then assassination and mutilation are possibilities for those who would rule.  Aleksandr Voinov has created a universe of exceptional cruelty, where casual viciousness and political maneuvering are daily occurances. Yet it is also a world where love and loyalty cannot be bought and the possibility of  redemption and love is a treasure to be fought for.

In Voinov’s world, a devastating war in the empire of Shara has left the former dynasty broken into three city kingdoms.  In the three hundred years since the sundering of the empire of Shara, the three cities have maintained a delicate balance of autonomy between them.  The author reveals the political tactics within each city and the wars that the failed policies and negotiations have brought to the kingdoms themselves. Kendras and his fellow Scorpions are the latest casualties of a war between Dalman and Fetin, two of the city kingdoms.  From the start, the author brings us into the conflict at the bottom level.  The consequences of the war is everywhere, from the dead to the dying and mutilated.  The mercenaries, needed to fight are just as quickly discarded by those who hired them.  It is a rough, cruel life and Voinov depicts it honestly with gritty descriptions that are almost to vivid to bear.

Equal to Voinov’s world building is his characterizations.  Every character found within this novel is meticulously created from Kendras to Steel to Widowmaker, the assassin whose loyalties are hidden beneath layers of guile.  These are  also not men for the fainthearted.  They take what they want regardless of the frailties and consent of others. In fact, kindness and passivity is looked down on, it will get a person killed or enslaved on this world. Loyalty and brotherhood are to be treasured and love is so rare that it is not easily identifiable.

At the heart of this story is Kendras, an orphan discarded on the streets of Fetin to fend for himself at an early age.  An oddity because of his black skin and blue eyes that mark him as a pureblooded Jaishani (a noble race), Kendras has no idea as to his lineage or history.  A petty thief and sometime killer, Kendras’ life was changed on the day he was set to die, saved by the officer who would train him to be a  Scorpion.  I loved Kendras.  He is such a remarkable character, he perseveres, he is loyal, and amidst his pragmatism, there is an unquenchable desire to love and be loved in return.  Equal in complexity is the officer (his name is revealed later on in the story).  Who and what he is slowly comes to the surface over the course of the story.  While the novel unfolds through the eyes of Kendras, the officer becomes a man who both Kendras and the reader commit to emotionally and intellectually.  But every character Voinov has created has multiple layers, from Selvin a Scorpion who chooses to remain a sexual slave to Steel and Widowmaker, mercenaries with pasts as complex as their characters.   Every one of these damaged people enrich the story with their realism and singular personalities.

I found no quibbles with this incredible story but I must make an admission.  The opening pages are as brutal as any you will find throughout Scorpion.  Initially, I had a hard time with them, especially the non con elements involved.   But they also ring with a terrible authenticity and you will understand why the author not only included them but started off in such a manner as you delve further into the book and Kendras’ life.  It is cruel and sets the tone for the reality of the life Kendras lives and the events that will occur down the line.  Kendras does what he has to in order to stay alive.  It’s a pragmatic outlook and it certainly is one that belongs to a war hardened mercenary.

The narrative of Scorpion was smooth and thrilling.  I couldn’t put it down. The ending of the story was satisfying while leaving the way open for the next book in the series.  Its with anticipation and a little fear that I await the next installment.  Don’t pass this  story up..

Cover art by Reese Dante is gorgeous in the 2nd edition.  The model is perfect for Kendras and the design works in tone and graphics.  Great job.

Book Details:

2nd edition from Riptide Publishing
eBook ISBN: 978-1-62649-013-0

eBook release: May 27, 2013

eBook Formats: pdf, mobi, html, epub
Print ISBN: 978-1-62649-014-7
Print release: May 27, 2013
Word count: 71,000
Page count: 274
Type: Part of a Series
Cover by: Reese Dante
This title is #1 of the Memory of Scorpions series.
– See more at: http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/scorpion-memory-scorpions-1#sthash.UsSFLbL9.dpuf
Rewritten, enlarged and redited
First edition 242 pages from Dreamspinner Press 2011

Review: The Astral Mage (The Captains Of The Wolf #1) by Hurri Cosmo


Rating: 2.75 stars out of 5

The Astral Mage coverKyruis has had a life full of woe.  Shuffled from one foster family to the next, unwanted because he is different, a freak of nature, Kyruis has never felt safe, never been safe a day in his life. Kyruis a wanted man. He’s an Astral Mage, better known as a “Soul Giver”, a race of people who can bring people, animals, things back to life by reattaching their energy or souls.  Now most people believe that Astral Mages are but a myth so few exist in the galaxy.  But for those who know better,  the Astral Mages are captured and traded for the highest fee and that is Kyruis’ current fate.

Kyruis is a prisoner on a spaceship, captured and sold to the highest bidder when pirates attack the ship he is on.  Captain Tilbarr of the spaceship Wolf brings Kyruis on board his ship, he has no idea that not only has he found a true Astral Mage but also the one person who makes him feel alive and in love.  But the Confederated Authority, the governing body for planets, is hot on their trail and it wants Kyruis at any cost.  Just as Tilbarr realizes how much he has come to care for Kyruis, Tilbarr also realizes that he might have to give the Astral Mage up or lose his ship and his friends in the bargain.  When the Captain must choose between love and loyalty to his crew, can there be any winner?

The Astral Mage is the first book I have read by this author and it appears to be the first in a science fiction series.  However, I think that although this book shows some promise, I will be stopping here with The Astral Mage.  Let’s go over some of the more winning aspects of the story.  Cosmo works very hard at building a detailed and interesting universe in which to place the story.  At the end of the book, the author has placed a  complex and lengthy Terms and Definitions section that covers construction  elements and minerals, names of the Wolf’s crew to extinct bird species and insects.  One glance at this part of the book and you have the pros and cons of this author’s writing.  Hurri Cosmo is so absorbed in her world building that minutiae that is not relevant to the story basics is included but not a lot of information about the titular race of the story. For example, here is her entry for Screaming Vulture Beasts:

Screaming Vulture Beasts: They are large birds that live in several of the extremely deep craggy valleys that exist on Velel. They are brutal beasts that rip apart their living prey when they capture it, usually in flight. Ancient history of the planet denoted tribes would throw livestock off the cliffs to keep the beasts fed so they would not feed on the people. In modern day, though, the beasts have become wary of the people knowing they can and will kill them if they come close. There are warning systems in place that warn the towns and cities as well if the birds approach. They have become more of a tourist attraction although to get close enough to watch them feed is still considered very dangerous and ultimately stupid.

To be honest, I don’t even remember them in the story as interesting as they sound. But this story is so jammed packed with “stuff” that the important facts and issues are overlooked. There are pages of entries like this. But her entry for the Mages? This is the sum total, already given in the same words in the story:

Astral Mage: The Soul Givers. There are also “carriers”, who are the only ones able to give birth to an Astral Mage. The blood line started to dissipate due to inter-relations with other species. A full-blooded carrier is rare and full-blooded Astral Mages are even rarer.

The author gets so lost in the extraneous details that she forgets the focus of her story is that of the Astral Mages and that happens from the beginning.  We begin the story of The Astral Mage with Kyrius a prisoner on a spaceship rocketing to a destination where he is to be handed off to some unnamed buyer.  Kyruis is a rare almost mythical creature but the Captain of that ship treats him as he would a whore.  This makes no sense considering the fees that are being paid for Kyruis and has been inserted to bring a prurient angle to the story.   You know the author is in trouble when things so south right from the beginning.  Then the story switches focus from Kyrius to Tilbarr, the Captain of the Wolf who attacks the ship Kyrius is on and the book becomes The Captain of the Wolf (The Astral Mage #1) instead of the other way around.  And once the attention is on Tilbarr and his feelings about the mage, it remains there for the rest of the story.  While the reader is patiently waiting to learn more about the Mages, their history, genetic makeup, anything about mages, we get more information about cargos, and metals, and insects and things we really don’t care about.   One of the first things I wanted to know was why only one type of mage?  That doesn’t make any sense either.  Surely if there is one type of gift or magic, there are others.  But as we are given absolutely no information, who knows?

Then there are the characterizations.  Cosmo can’t decide if Kyruis is a young, innocent victim in need of a savior or a sexually experienced being with hidden resources and strengths, wounded faun or clever mouse, child or sex object.  Cosmo swings back and forth between the two with a rapidity that will give the reader whiplash.  The same divided characterization haunts  Tilbarr as well, seasoned pirate or gullible sailor with a need for love?  Honestly, the wavering characteristics make it hard to believe in any of the characters you meet while reading this story. That lack of believability has always meant a lack of connectivity for the reader as well and it shows here.

So while there are some nice points and creative aspects to The Astral Mage, in the end it is overwhelmed by too many extraneous details, weak characters, and a missing focal point.  I would give this a pass, there are better m/m science fiction stories out there.

Cover design by Lee Tiffin doesn’t make any more sense than the book does.

ebook, 243 pages
Published March 16th 2013 by Silver Publishing
ISBN 161495903X (ISBN13: 9781614959038)
edition languageEnglish
seriesThe Captains Of The Wolf