An Alisa Review: Love Spell by Mia Kerick

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Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

Chance César is fabulously gay, but his gender identity—or, as he phrases it, “being stuck in the gray area between girl and boy”—remains confusing. Nonetheless, he struts his stuff on the catwalk in black patent leather pumps and a snug-in-all-the-right (wrong)-places orange tuxedo as the winner of this year’s Miss (ter) Harvest Moon Festival. He rules supreme at the local Beans and Greens Farm’s annual fall celebration, serenaded by the enthusiastic catcalls of his BFF, Emily Benson.

Although he refuses to visually fade into the background of his rural New Hampshire town, Chance is socially invisible—except when being tormented by familiar bullies. But sparks fly when Chance, Pumpkin Pageant Queen, meets Jasper (Jazz) Donahue, winner of the Pumpkin Carving King contest. Chance wants to be noticed and admired and romantically embraced by Jazz, in all of his neon-orange-haired glory.

And so at a sleepover, Chance and Emily conduct intense, late-night research, and find an online article: “Ten Scientifically Proven Ways to Make a Man Fall in Love With You.” Along with a bonus love spell thrown in for good measure, it becomes the basis of their strategy to capture Jazz’s heart.

But will this “no-fail” plan work? Can Chance and Jazz fall under the fickle spell of love?

This was quite the story.  Chance refuses to hide who he is, no matter if others don’t like it.  But being a teenager, he is always sure he knows what is best and that’s following his “plan”, even if it goes against what his instincts tell him.

Though we saw the story through Chance’s eyes I was able to see the stress and responsibilities that Jazz has on his shoulders, even if Chance missed every clear hint about it.  Chance is quite self-absorbed as many teens are but his mind is a strange place.  I really think Chance needs to quite steadfastness for Jazz in his life and when he stops trying to push and actually is himself, he gets an even bigger award.  Young adult isn’t really the best genre for me, but this is one that had caught my eye before and I was excited to see it available again.

Cover art by Natasha Snow is great and I love all the color, just like Chance’s personality.

Sales Link: Nine Star Press

Book Details:

ebook, 43,300 words

Expected Publication: 2nd edition, August 27, 2018 by Nine Star Press

ISBN: 978-1-949340-50-1

Edition Language: English

Do You All Read the Whatchamacallit?? This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Do You All Read the Whatchamacallit?

By that I mean the paragraphs or pages the author writes before  you get started into the book?  I’m an avid reader of these things and love them deeply.  I often find that I feel that I know more about why the author felt compelled to write this story or why it’s situated in the location it’s in or even given a more in depth look at a main character because of what an author has written prior to starting their story.

But what the hell is it called?

Most, might have referred to it as The Foreward, myself included.  Wrongo!  That would have had to have been written by someone else, not the author themselves.  For correct usage see the flash fiction anthology Impact with it’s foreward by J. Scott Coatsworth.

So it would be either Introduction or The Preface.  How many of you know the difference?  I needed a refresher course myself so I   went looking for definitions and correct usages for all three.  A lovely blog, BPS Book Blog, supplied this succinct roundup:

From the BPS Book Blog:

… here are some definitions and descriptions – supported by the dictionary and the august Chicago Manual of Styleand proven to be helpful in my work as an editor and publisher ­– that my authors have found of assistance.

THE FOREWORD

A foreword (one of the most often misspelled words in the language) is most often written by someone other than the author: an expert in the field, a writer of a similar book, etc. Forewords help the publisher at the level of marketing: An opening statement by an eminent and well-published author gives them added credibility in pitching the book to bookstores. Forewords help the author by putting a stamp of approval on their work.

THE PREFACE

A preface is best understood, I believe, as standing outside the book proper and being about the book. In a preface an author explains briefly why they wrote the book, or how they came to write it. They also often use the preface to establish their credibility, indicating their experience in the topic or their professional suitability to address such a topic. Sometimes they acknowledge those who inspired them or helped them (though these are often put into a separate Acknowledgments section). Using an old term from the study of rhetoric, a preface is in a sense an “apology”: an explanation or defense.

THE INTRODUCTION

If a preface is about the book as a book, the introduction is about the content of the book. Sometimes it is as simple as that: It introduces what is covered in the book. Other times it introduces by setting the overall themes of the book, or by establishing definitions and methodology that will be used throughout the book. Scholarly writers sometimes use the introduction to tell their profession how the book should be viewed academically (that is, they position the book as a particular approach within a discipline or part of a discipline). This latter material is appropriate for a preface, as well. The point is that it should appear in the preface or the introduction, not both.

What brought all this on?

As I said I  always read them.  To bring me knowledge, insight into the story, what the author was thinking when they were writing it…all sorts of things.  They aren’t always labeled correctly but I love them dearly.

The one that launched this one was the Introduction to Ryan Field’s Pretty Man, a M/M reworking of Pretty Woman.  He writes about the total lack of any happy gay literature in the 20th century and his need to “fill the bill”. Ryan Fields now writes “happy romances” as a gay man for the youth today looking for literature much as he once did. How this got me thinking on so many levels (and researching).

Thankfully, there are so many positive and happy examples to point to from books to movies* these days (not tons amounts true in the movies more much more. Look at  but there are now LGBT movie channels) so progress has been made. Plus there is a veritable flood of Quiltbag fiction out there now to quench the thirst of those looking for happy endings for LGBTQIA couples.  The more writers the merrier I say.

But lets return to gay fiction of the 20th Century.  What books do you find or comes to mind?  Are they all tear fests?

Here are some that I found and the dates they were published:

Tales of the City (Tales of the City Series #1) by Armistead Maupin  1978
Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown   1973
Maurice by E.M. Forster 1913
A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood  1964
Kiss of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig  1976
A Boy’s Own Story by Edmund White 1982
A Queer Kind of Umbrella (Pharoah Love, book 5) by George Baxt  1995

 

I also found childrens books about Daddy’s Roommate (1994) and My Two Uncles (1995) so I was wondering about the author’s timeline.  Some early 20th century classics are devastating certainly (Gore Vidal, James Baldwin to name just two), but a sea change had started with Stonewall and its ripples spread out and impacted everywhere and everything, media included.

Anyhow….see what a Introduction can do to me?  Laughing….

How to you feel about Forewards, Introductions, and Prefaces?  Do you read them? What do you learn, if anything from them?

And how do you feel about the 20th Century’s lack of feel good romantic gay fiction?  True or False?

As to Pretty Man…well, that review will come up and it caused me to do some thinking as well.  More on that later.

Now here is what our upcoming week is looking like.  Happy Reading and Listening!

 

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, August 19:

  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Do You All Read the Whatchamacallit?
  • Release Blitz – In The Shadows – TL Travis

Monday, August 20:

  • Cover Reveal – Marina Vivancus – In This Iron Ground
  • Release Blitz – RJ Scott – Last Chance
  • Review Tour – Bitten By Her (Regent’s Park Pack #4.5) – Annabelle Jacobs
  • An Alisa Review : Love Spell by Mia Kerick
  • A MelanieM Review : Bitten By Her (Regent’s Park Pack #4.5) by Annabelle Jacobs
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Threepeat by KC Wells and Parker Williams

Tuesday, August 21:

  • Book Blast – A Thread in Time by Jess Thomas
  • SERIES REVIEW TOUR – Directions by Jena Wade
  • DSP Cover Reveal Heart of a Redneck by Jodi Payne/BA Tortuga
  • An Ali Release Day Review: Hex and Candy (Strange Bedfellows #1) by Ashlyn Kane
  • A Jeri Release Day Review: Rocking the Cowboy by Skylar M. Cates
  • A Lila Release Day Review: Art House (Buchanan House #6) by Charley Descoteaux
  • A Lucy Release Day Review: Wanted Bad Boyfriend by TA Moore

Wednesday, August 22:

  • Audio Review Tour – Changing Lines – RJ Scott & V.L. Locey
  • Blog Tour Circle of Trust by Aimee Nicole Walker & Nicolas Bella
  • Riptide Tour Shelter from the Storm by Kate Sherwood
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Bones and Bourbon by Dorian Graves
  • A MelanieM Review : Dark City by Sarah Kay Moll
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Shelter from the Storm by Kate Sherwood

Thursday, August 23:

  • DSP Cover Reveal Femme Faux Fatale by Susan Laine
  • Of Princes False and True” by Eric Alan Westfall
  • Harmony Promo Beau Schemery
  • An Ali Review Death Days by Lia Cooper
  • A VVivacious Review Of Princes False and True by  Eric Alan Westfall
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Last Chance by R.J. Scott
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review Sweet Nothings (Amuse Bouche #1) by T. Neilson and Simon Ferrar (Narrator)

Friday, August 24:

  • Book Blast Born to be Wild by A.L. Simpson
  • DSP Promo Remmy Duchene on Tempt Me
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Midnight in Berlin by JL Merrow
  • An Alisa Review: 2230: The Perfect Year by CM Corett
  • An Alisa Review Up to Code (Directions #1) by Jena Wade
  • A MelanieM Audiobook Review: Sun and Shadow (Day and Knight #2) by Dirk Greyson and  Andrew McFerrin ( Narrator)

Saturday, August 25:

  • Looking Forward by Michael Bailey Release Blitz
  • Media Blitz – FINDING MY WAY HOME BY KENDEL DUNCAN
  • A MelanieM Review: Pretty Man by Ryan Field

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Gay Movies with Happy Endings!

Love, Simon
Big Eden
Jeffrey
Touch of Pink
Boys (Jongens)
Maurice
The Birdcage
The Way He Looks
Shelter
Beautiful Thing
Were The World Mine
G.B.F.
Kinky Boots
Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

And wait there’s more!

1) All Over the Guy
2) Boy Culture
3) East Side Story
4) Fourth Man Out
5) Friends & Family
6) God’s Own Country
7) Long Term Relationship
8) Latter Days
9) Salt Water
10) Save Me
11) Trick
12) Yossi

 

 

 

 

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Escaping Exile (Escape Trilogy #1) by Sara Dobie Bauer

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Robinson Crusoe meets Dracula in this outstanding paranormal adventure. There are even cannibals as the innocent man who washes ashore on the island, Edmund Baines, is dragged away from danger to his “home” on the nearly deserted island. The problem is, as Edmund discovers when he awakens, that he may have been saved from one danger to be plunged into another.

It’s amazing to me that the author was able to create a world where vampires could be banned to exile for killing one too many innocents, and then she created an unforgettable character in Andrew, who was turned vampire by an Elder in the year 1066. And though he’s starved for human blood, he holds off on killing Edmund, or drinking from him, because there’s something about the fearless young man that piques his interest. Fascinated, intrigued, and finally caring for Edmund, it isn’t until he must drink from the young man to save him from the cannibals who have arrived at Andrew’s house to claim the human-scented new arrival that he finally breaks down and takes what he needs.

But their adventure is hardly over. The head vampire who originally sentenced Andrew to solitude on the island has arrived to mete out a new punishment, or will it be a reward? To find out, simply hit your one-click button. This story doesn’t take long to read, but it’s fascinating, interesting, and all-round fun entertainment for a few hours of your day.

If I had one complaint it would be that the story is short—a little over 20K words—but one would never know it by how much adventure and romance is packed in those words so it’s only a minor concern. Plus there’s a sequel on the horizon. Yay! I highly recommend this to all who enjoy a daring adventure reminiscent of the classics we read (and watched) as children. Add in a touch of MM romance and some smokin’ hot scenes and it’s a sure win.

~~~

The cover by Natasha Snow depicts a moonlit lagoon superimposed by a long-haired man with naked torso. I’m not sure whether the man or the lagoon is more gorgeous but it’s the perfect cover for this story.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published August 13th 2018 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781949340433
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Escape Trilogy #1

An Alisa Review: Exercising Restraint (Different Dynamics #2) by Tamir Drake

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Pierce may have a crush on Steve, his sweet, funny personal trainer, but he doesn’t plan to act on it. They have a great relationship in the gym but are also friends outside of it, and Pierce has no intention of jeopardizing that. Besides, he may be an omega, but he’s got a good handle on his body’s biology. He’s not worried he’ll accidentally take things too far.

Steve may have a crush on Pierce, his smart and incredibly hot client, but he’s definitely not planning to say anything anytime soon. Pierce can do way better than Steve, and anyway, Pierce is a pretty casual dater. What Steve wants is anything but casual. And that’s not just the alpha in him.

When Pierce goes to Steve’s gym one snowy afternoon to work out, he thinks nothing of the fact that he’s in heat. He’s taken his libido inhibitor and is wearing his odor blocker, so there’s no chance of bothering Steve. Except, then the blocker wears off.

Steve wants nothing more than to keep himself under control, keep himself from doing something Pierce might not want. But Pierce might have something else in mind…

I really liked this story just as much as the last one.  We get a small chance to see Richard and James from Different Dynamics but there is no requirement to read that book to enjoy this story.  Steve is completely oblivious to Pierce’s flirting and doesn’t think that anyone would really want him.  Pierce feels safe with Steve and when they get snowed in together finally lets Steve know how he feels.

Pierce and Steve have really been dancing around each other since Pierce became Steve’s client this situation just gave them the push they needed.  We see mostly Pierce’s point of view and a little bit of Steve’s too.  Pierce doesn’t want to make Steve uncomfortable while Steve is worried about making Pierce uncomfortable so they have been dancing around each other.  Once they both let their guards down they are perfect together.  As always I wish the story would have been longer but know what to expect with this story length.  I like their HFN ending and can see them solidifying their relationship in the future.

Cover art by Natasha Snow is great and I love the visual it gives.

Sales Links: Nine Star Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 16,800 words

Published: July 30, 2018 by Nine Star Press

ISBN: 978-1-949340-32-7

Edition Language: English

Series: Different Dynamics #2

New Release Blitz for 2230: The Perfect Year by CM Corett (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: 2230: The Perfect Year

Author: CM Corett

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: August 6, 2018

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 30600

Genre: Science Fiction, time travel, research lab, scientist, aliens, fated mates

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Synopsis

Alex Coulson spends his days as a lowly laboratory assistant. At night, he watches movies in his lonely apartment and dreams of exciting adventures and handsome leading men.

When an electrical fire breaks out in the lab, an experimental machine malfunctions and Alex is caught in the explosion. He awakens, injured and confused, to learn he has traveled two hundred years into the future—to the year 2230. Under the care of the gorgeous Doctor Baylin Davies (a definite contender for a leading man) Alex recovers quickly, and his feelings for Baylin deepen each day. Baylin is handsome, sexy, caring, and a verified genius—everything Alex could ever dream of. Add in the whole concept of living in the future, and Alex soon decides the year 2230 is the perfect year to begin his new life.

But then there’s the major…

Whenever the intimidating military man, Major Marcais, is near, a strange power overcomes Alex’s senses, clouding his mind and weakening his desire to be with Baylin.

When the major reveals he is an alien and declares Alex to be his life mate, Alex must find the strength to resist him. And while fighting for the man he truly desires, Alex just might discover he’s the leading man in his own adventure.

Excerpt

2230: The Perfect Year
CM Corett © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
Alex Coulson’s sports shoes made a loud squawk on the polished floor. His step faltered. Had anyone heard? He scanned the cavernous office foyer. With gray marble floors and clusters of expensive couches, it looked nothing like a scientific research center and more like an exclusive hotel. An empty hotel. Of course it was empty; only the truly dedicated work on Sunday. Actually, the dedicated and people like him—sad, pathetic losers without a life. He shook his head.

Okay, Alex, quit the self-pity party. No one likes a whiner.

After another quick glance around the foyer, he strode forward and headed down the long corridor lined with identical doors. The small panes of glass in each one allowed him a glimpse inside the research labs—all empty. He appeared to be the sole, sad, pathetic person here today. At the end of the corridor, he stopped in front of the door labeled “Authorized Personnel Only.”

One wave of his security pass over the sensor and the lab door slid open. The sharp smell of smoke and plastic invaded his senses. His nose twitched. Crap! Electrical fire! No doubt about it. As the wire’s plastic coating melted, it gave off a distinct smell. He scanned the room, searching for the source, but everything appeared normal. He dashed through the main room and into the smaller lab.

Like an early morning fog, a veil of smoke hovered near the far wall, centered over the control panel. In seconds, his heart rate hit full throttle. “Crap! Crap! Crap!” The Accelerator control panel! His focus flicked to the partition wall protecting the experimental machine from prying eyes. Good. No sign of smoke there. That would be bad. Very bad. He dashed into the thickening cloud of smoke and headed toward its source.

With short, gasping breaths, he swallowed and choked on the thick acrid air. What about the fire alarm? Why hadn’t it triggered yet? He slammed his hand onto the control-panel power button and then stepped back. No shutdown. Nothing. Like ocean buoy lights viewed through the fog, the faint glow of backlit buttons and switches remained. He blinked rapidly as his tear ducts reacted to the invasive smoke, creating a torrent of tears. From beneath the watery veil, he focused on the computer screen embedded in the wall. What the hell? Why was the program running? Had he forgotten to close it the previous night? His boss would have his—

A flame erupted behind the control panel.

“Oh, God!” Coughing, he stumbled backward. What should he do? Brave the flames and try to turn off the program? Call the fire department? Fire extinguisher?

Yes! Fire extinguisher.

He spun around and grabbed the red cylinder hanging on the wall. Maybe he could put the fire out before it caused too much damage. Maybe it wouldn’t even come to the attention of management. He ripped off the safety guard thingy, pointed, and pulled the trigger. The white substance spewed out toward the flames, dousing them in a cozy blanket of white powder. “Ahhh, yes. Against all expectations, Alex Coulson saves the day!”

His boss would be pleased with him. Okay, not pleased exactly because he had most likely left the Accelerator program running, but pleased because a major fire would have brought their unauthorized work to the attention of management. “And that would be bad.”

With a few short blasts of the fire extinguisher, he completed the blanket of white over the control board. He frowned and contemplated the scene. A little more wouldn’t hurt. Better to be safe than sorry. Crouching down, he directed the nozzle under the desk and pulled the trigger. Just in case.

He stood up and surveyed the room. Okay, it could have been worse. The whole lab could have gone up in flames, destroying countless hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment. Not to mention the oh-so-secret data his boss guarded as if it held the answers to the universe. Yes, it could have been much worse.

He drew in a deep breath…and doubled over with the force of a violent coughing fit.

Crap. Smoke. Not a good idea to take deep breaths.

Fire extinguisher still in hand, he stumbled back to the main lab. His breath rasped in his throat, forcing its way past raw, inflamed flesh. At least the air in the main lab remained relatively smoke-free. In a few minutes, he would re-enter the inner lab and clean up the mess. With a bit of luck, the damage would be minimal. Maybe he could fix it himself. Clean up the fire retardant, replace a few wires, and—hey presto! Good as new with no evidence of the program he left running—no cause to fire him.

The shrieking of an alarm pierced the air, assaulting his eardrums with shrill vibrations. He closed his eyes and mouth, scrunching and squeezing his face as if trying to block the sound from entering any other orifice. A millisecond later, a deluge of water erupted from the ceiling sprinklers like an unexpected shower of summer rain. The muscles in his jaw slackened, and his mouth fell open.

Oh, crap!

Water drummed on his head and shoulders, seeping under the collar of his jacket. Mini rivers flowed across computers and desks before cascading to the shallow lake forming on the floor. The fire extinguisher hit the ground beside his foot with a waterlogged clunk.

I’m a dead man. Not to mention fired!

His shoulders slumped. Could his life get any worse?

The floor shook, sending vibrations up his legs and into his queasy stomach. Oh shit. Rule number one: never ask if it could get any worse. What the hell? An earthquake? Light exploded from the inner lab, propelling bright sparks through the doorway like tiny shooting stars. Water sloshed around his feet as he stumbled backward. The Accelerator! “Oh, shit, shit, shit!”

So. Not. Good.

A loud humming joined the vibrations. It pulsed through his body, loud enough to be heard over the sprinklers and fire alarm, shaking him to the core. Paralyzed, he stood transfixed. The inner lab glowed with a pulsating green light, matching its beat in harmony with the tremors running through the building and his body.

The vibrations were so intense he couldn’t move his legs. His head hurt and numbness crept over his face. He clutched his head and squeezed his eyes shut. Vibrating, pulsating, and humming. Could his brain explode? Would they find his gray matter splattered all over the lab and floating in the newly formed lake?

As he opened his eyes, a fresh shower of sparks shot toward him. Burning! His arm burned, stinging like the devil at a precise spot on his forearm. He slapped the sleeve of his jacket like a maniac until the pain receded to a dull ache.

Okay, time to run.

In his mind, he stumbled toward the door, but his body refused to cooperate. He looked down. His legs were—

What the hell? His body appeared pixelated and a few sections were…missing? Whoa! There was some weird, scary shit happening.

The humming intensified, sending a wave of nausea through his stomach. He couldn’t feel his legs. Were they still attached to his body? The world tipped and then faded around the edges. No, no, no! He’d seen the experiments, and he had no way to stop the Accelerator from frying him—like those rats.

So. Not. Pretty.

At least no one would miss him.

Oh, God, that’s a sad and pathetic fact.

Searing hot pain exploded in his head like a—

“Ahhhhh!”

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

CM Corett is an Australian author of M/M romance who has given up on trying to limit herself to one sub-genre. She writes contemporary, historical, sci-fi, and time travel… and she may have a few paranormal drafts hidden under the bed! An avid writer and reader of love between men, she has lived in the USA and traveled the world gathering inspiration for her stories. She loves movies, superheroes, and video games with awesome graphics. She hates housework and anyone who expects her to notice (or care about) the dust on top of the fridge.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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New Book Release Blitz for Death Days by Lia Cooper (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Death Days

Author: Lia Cooper

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: August 6, 2018

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 70000

Genre: Paranormal, college, teaching, magic, dark, slow burn, age gap, vampires, shifters

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

By day, Professor Nicholas Littman works as an itinerant professor at a small college in the Pacific Northwest. He teaches seminars on mythology and the intersections of folklore and magic in the ancient world. By night, he’s the local necromancer, a rare magical talent that has left him alienated from other practitioners.

All Nick wants from life is to be left alone to run his magical experiments and teach kids the historical context of magic without anyone being the wiser. Unfortunately, his family is sworn to sit on the council of the Order of the Green Book—a group of magicians dating back to the Crusades—and they aren’t willing to take Nick’s no for an answer.

As though that wasn’t bad enough, a coven of Night Women has arrived in town, warning Nick that there are wolves at his door he had better take care of. But what can one necromancer do when every natural and supernatural card seems stacked against him?

Excerpt

Death Days
Lia Cooper © 2018
All Rights Reserved

One: The Professor
“Today we’re talking about the elision that occurs between Thoth worship in pre-Ptolemaic Egypt and early Greece. Let’s break into four groups for seminar,” Professor Nicolas Littman said, eyeing the half-empty teaching theater. He divided the room with a sweep of his arm and glanced at the clock on the back wall.

“We’ll meet back here in thirty minutes to discuss your thoughts as a group. And I want every small group to come up with a question to pose to the rest of us.”

He felt gratified at the way they began shuffling together into little clusters without further prompting.

“One of you should go use the lounge outside,” he said, waving absently at the small group at the very back of the room.

He didn’t care if they took the direction or not. He trusted in every student’s desire to escape the four walls of the classroom given a millimeter of freedom. All that mattered was that he now had thirty minutes of his own time in which to play hooky.

Nick grabbed a book and the vape out of his bag, and slipped out of the left-hand exit.

Why someone in the administration had decided to give him a corner theater for this class was beyond him. Four credits on Hermetic Mythologies and Cosmologies was hardly in demand. Especially when it was offered as a four-and-a-half-hour option on Saturdays. But if it meant they got a spacious room and the otherwise empty SEM II C building to themselves, he shouldn’t complain. His students could spread out to their hearts’ content, leaving him to steal outside to smoke without anyone around to gripe at him.

“Not even a proper smoke,” he muttered, flicking the round silver device on, warming the metal under his hand.

Nick sat on the concrete with his back to the building’s cement exterior and his knees bent, pressed the tip of the vape between his lips, and held down the button for a long, comforting drag. He closed his eyes to the bright sun and tipped his head back against the wall. Vapor streamed out of his pursed lips in a thick, fragrant cloud and pooled in the air above his head.

“Hiding from the students again?” an amused voice asked from above.

“I’m not hiding,” Nick grumbled.

A thin body lowered itself down onto the ground next to him, all long spidery limbs that folded with the kind of soft careless agility Nick hadn’t felt in a decade or two.

He looked over at his—teaching assistant wasn’t the word. Technically, Josiah didn’t work for him at all. He was just an independent contract student working on an eight-credit history project, but he let Nick use him like a TA so that’s how he always thought of him.

“What do you call this?” Josiah asked, knocking their shoulders together.

“Seminaring.”

Josiah’s face crumpled up with amusement. His flexible mouth stretched into a laugh while his shoulders shook. Nick held out the vape on offer and waited for Josiah to notice.

“Is it peppermint?” he asked.

Nick nodded.

“No thanks.”

“I’m not buying cake or whatever it is you like.”

“Are you trying to say there’s something wrong with cake?” Josiah returned Nick’s stony look with a nonplussed expression.

“It’s unna—”

“First of all: I don’t remember tobacco ever coming in ‘peppermint flavor’ before, and second: everything you do is unnatural, so that’s not a valid argument coming from you, Professor Littman.”

Nick grimaced. “Don’t call me that.”

“Nick.”

He sighed and took another long drag off his vape, waiting for the nicotine to soothe the flutter in his heart that Josiah’s words had kicked up. Nothing he did was natural. The kid had no idea just how right he was. Nick glanced down at his empty hand, automatically checking his nails for pesky traces of dirt, but there was nothing unusual to see. He’d scrubbed up hard the night before. Done a thorough job not to leave any of those unnatural traces that might have given Josiah a better-formed picture of what his professor and academic adviser got up to in his free time.

Shit, even in his head, he sounded like a pervert.

“You’re wrong. Some things I do are perfectly natural.”

“Like what?”

Nick gave the young man a slow look. “You have a very active imagination, Mr. Wexler.”

“The imagination is a hungry organ, seeking perpetual nourishment. I like to think that it’s not so much I’ve got an active imagination, but rather a well-fed one.”

“That you feed on thoughts of me?” Nick smiled, playing the comment off as a joke even though it left something low and hot in his body to sit up with interest. A curl of amused interest that quivered at the thought of a bright young man captivated by thoughts of him, even if they were merely frustrated or prurient or the passing whim of childish fancy, as he suspected was the case.

“Sometimes,” Josiah admitted, looking away.

The two of them sat in companionable silence until the phone in Nick’s pocket hiccupped its alarm to let him know that the requisite thirty-minute small group had passed, and he had to return again to face the lethargy of his classroom.

“Did you need something?” he asked, using the wall to push himself to his feet, and slipped the vape back into his pocket.

Josiah pulled out a sheaf of printouts from his backpack and held them up for Nick to take. “Two new chapters. I wanted to get your thoughts on them before I continue. It took a—the narrative took a direction we haven’t discussed before.”

“All right. I’ll see what I can do.”

“Thanks.”

“Do you want to come in?”

“Nah, I’ve got to meet Jen. Talk to you next week?”

Nick nodded.

Above them, the sky had dimmed as sure as if someone had taken a dimmer switch to the sun. Dark clouds cast a clear, watery gray light over campus, the edges of the quad hemmed in on all sides by towering dark trees that only helped to feed into the illusion of night creeping over them. The air smelled as though it were about to rain, bitterly cold and damp.

“Do you think it’s going to snow?” Josiah asked, climbing to his feet.

Nick shook his head. “Not a chance.”

He filed back into the teaching theater behind the stragglers. Sixty minutes for discussion and in-class readings, and then he’d be free for the rest of the weekend. Nick perched his feet on the edge of his desk, saw the streaks of mud clinging to his shoes, and dropped them again. He cleared his throat and looked out at the crowd for the first person to meet his eyes.

“Ah, Amelia, why don’t you start us off with a brief summary of what your group discussed.”

He folded his arms over his chest and listened with half an ear while his focus strayed repeatedly to the darkening sky and the promise of rain.

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

Lia Cooper is a twenty-something native of the Pacific Northwest, voracious reader, pop-culture addict, and writer. She cultivated an early interest in writing through fandom and completed writing her first full length novel with the help of NaNoWriMo.

In the years since, she’s dabbled in catering, barista-ing, and working as a pastry chef before finally returning full time to the thing she loves most: storytelling.

When she’s not glued to Scrivener, Lia enjoys playing video games with friends and reviewing books for her booktube channel.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

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How Did It Get to August? This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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How Did It Get to August?

Truly, how did it get to be August already?  It seems to be that only a short while ago I was writing about the 4th of July and July topics and here we are tumbling into the first week of August.  Oh the dogs days of summer are upon us and I hadn’t even realized it.

Of course, that could be because it’s been pouring and flooding it instead of the heat beating down on us like the Dog Star Sirius is supposed to do.  Oh I know its doing that out west and I’m sorry.  But here in Maryland we are drenched as July was the wettest one recorded in history.

So this week we finish up with our Romance Do’s and Don’ts.

What Makes a Book Magic List Giveaway Concludes…..

So let’s make this official with a What Makes a Book Magic List Giveaway.  Send in your comments, it will run til the end of the month and we will giveaway 2 gift certificates to 2 lucky readers.  Leave your name and email address where you can be reached if chosen.

Wonderful comments and we decided to reward them both with gift certificates.  Are winners are HB and Ami!  Here are the winning comments:

From Ami:

Ami on what makes a story a success:

Hmmm, this is very subjective question… because every “successful” romance book can speak to me in a different way. It can be interesting places, or family of choice, or simply popular trope done right.

But I think if I truly think about the books that I love, it will ALWAYS return to characters. I have to feel invested to the characters development, themselves or the relationship. The trope can be hashed and rehashed, the setting mundane, the story simply about day-to-day life, no spectacular thing happen to them (except maybe falling in love). But once the characters hook me, THEN, it becomes magic.

What deflates the romance quicker than you can say boom <<

Well, I always love that “wooing” part of romance, you know? Where the characters take time to know each other, and try to romance one another. What deflates romance quicker for me is the instant-love or well, the instant-lust/instant-attraction. I am a sucker for slow burn. Anything quick just kills the book for me most of the time.

From H.B.:

Do’s: Well this isn’t really an easy question to answer this week. I have a tendency to like a majority of the books I give a read. I think the major draw of a book for me is the character building, their personality and development. Great banter and world building are a plus

Don’t’s:

Like Ami, I too, love to see the wooing part but I’m not adverse to seeing a instant love or instant attraction read. For me, I think that finding out the that one of the characters isn’t being sincere with their feeling or is willing to humiliate/isn’t willing to stand up for their love interest to save themselves is a turn off.

Next week we will start talking about what topics or elements you feel get great coverage from publishers  and which you think are still overlooked.

Until then. Have a great week, congratulations to our winners, and happy reading!

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, July 29:

  • How Did It Get to August? This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Audio Tour Love in Spades by Charlie Cochet and Greg Boudreaux (Narrator)

Monday, July 30:

  • Blog Tour Imperial Stout by Layla Reyne
  • Cover Reveal – Melanie Hansen – Loving A Warrior
  • Release Blitz – Dawn by T.A. Creech
  • Blog Post for DJ Jamison’s Hearts & Health Volume 2
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Blood and Eternity (Blood #3) by Shira Anthony
  • A MelanieM Review: Hammer of the Witch (Repeating History #2) by Dakota Chase
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: Suspicious Behavior (Bad Behavior #2)  by L.A. Witt and Cari Z. with Michael Ferraiuolo (Narrator)

Tuesday, July 31:

  • RELEASE DAY BLITZ LOVE LETTERS by Anyta Sunday
  • Release Day Blitz: The Case of the Sexy Shakespearean by Tara Lain
  • Release Blitz – Won’t Feel A Thing by CF White
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Blood and Eternity (Blood #3) by Shira Anthony
  • An Ali Release Day Review: Ravensong (Green Creek #2)  by T.J. Klune
  • An Alisa Release Day Review:  The Case of the Sexy Shakespearean (The Middlemark Mysteries #1) by Tara Lain

Wednesday, August 1:

  • DSP Promo BA Tortuga
  • BLITZ Push Me Pull Me by Amanda Rhodes
  • Book Blitz – Sandine Tomas – The Music Of Love
  • A Lucy Review Admiring Ash (LOVE LETTERS #1) by Anyta Sunday
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady  Review: Just Julian (Romeo & Julian) by Markus Harwood-Jones
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Romeo for Real (Romeo & Julian) by Markus Harwood-Jones

Thursday, August 2:

  • DSP Promo Chris T. Kat
  • Blog Tour – Finding My Way Home – Doyle Global Securities #2 – Kendel Duncan
  • A Lucy Review Begging Ben (LOVE LETTERS #2) by Anyta Sunday
  • An Alisa Review: Blackbird Fly Home– Doyle Global Securities #1 – Kendel Duncan
  • An Alisa Review: Finding My Way Home – Doyle Global Securities #2 – Kendel Duncan
  • A MelanieM Review:  Haka Ever After (The Sin Bin #7)  by Dahlia Donovan

Friday, August 3

  • Cover Reveal RJ Scott’s Second Chance Ranch
  • Review Tour – Fusion by Posy Roberts
  • DSP Promo Shira Anthony on Blood and Eternity (Blood #3)
  • A Lucy Review: Challenging Chance (LOVE LETTERS #3) by Anyta Sunday
  • A Stella Review :Fusion (North Star #2) by Posy Roberts
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: The Alpha Prince (Kingdom of Askara #3) by Victoria Sue  and Michael Pauley (Narrator)

Saturday, August 4:

  • Book Blitz: Be Still My Heart by Charlie Cochet
  • A MelanieM Review: The Gallery: The Special Exhibits (The Gallery #2) by Megan Derr

 

Cover Reveal for Love Spell by Mia Kerick (giveaway)

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Title: Love Spell
Author: Mia Kerick
Re-Release Date: August 27th 2018
Published by: Ninestar Press
Genre: Young Adult, LGBT

Sales Link:  NineStar Press

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Having come to terms with being gay, Chance César is still uneasy with his gender identity, or, as he phrases it, “being stuck in the gray area between girl and boy.” This concern, however, doesn’t stop him from strutting his fabulous stuff on the catwalk in black patent leather pumps and a snug-in-all-the-right (wrong)-places orange tuxedo as the winner of this year’s Miss (ter) Harvest Moon Festival at the local Beans and Greens Farm’s annual fall celebration, serenaded by the enthusiastic catcalls of his BFF, Emily Benson. Although he refuses to visually fade into the background of his rural New Hampshire town, Chance is socially invisible—except when being tormented or beat up by familiar bullies. But when Chance, the Harvest Moon Festival’s mockingly-elected Pumpkin Pageant Queen, meets Jasper Donahue (Jazz), the legitimate winner of the Pumpkin Carving King contest, sparks fly. Chance wants to be noticed and admired and romantically embraced by Jazz, in all of his neon orange-haired glory.

And so at a sleepover, Chance and Emily conduct intense research on their laptop computers, and come up with an article in an online women’s magazine called “Ten Scientifically Proven Ways to Make a Man Fall in Love with You.” Along with a bonus love spell thrown in for good measure, it becomes the basis of their strategy to capture Jazz’s heart.

Quirky, comical, definitely “sickening” (this is a good thing), and with an inner core of poignancy, Love Spell celebrates the diversity of a gender-fluid teen.

 

What reviewers are saying about LOVE SPELL ~

“Kerick devotes most of the book to sassy fun and first-love desire, but her depiction of the loneliness caused by apathetic parents, the insecurity of extra pounds, the stress of college applications, the meanness of bullies, the importance of forgiveness, and especially the uneasiness of being “stuck in the gray area between girl and boy” make this novel thoroughly enjoyable. The book not only hits upon all manner of teenage angst, but also on the significance of true family values and on the joys of such simple pleasures as high–thread-count sheets, sharing homemade pizza, and playing card games instead of “head games” on a Friday night. The characters are memorable and the dialogue is consistently bright and believable, featuring authentic-sounding teenspeak. The author even defines Chance’s invented vocabulary words (such as “Randatorbs” and “Dooza-palooza”) in a back-of-the-book glossary for readers who can’t keep up.

A comical, thought-provoking YA novel for those who believe in the magic of love without all the hocus-pocus.” – Kirkus Reviews (2015)

GIVEAWAY: WIN $5 Amazon Gift Card

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About the Author

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—a daughter in law school, another in dance school, a third studying at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son still in high school. She writes LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing English papers. Her husband of twenty-four years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on emotional growth in turbulent relationships. As she has a great affinity for the tortured hero, there is, at minimum, one in each book. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of said tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press and Harmony Ink Press for providing alternate places to stash her stories.

Her books have won a Best YA Lesbian Rainbow Award, a Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, an Indie Fab Award, and a Royal Dragonfly Award for Cultural Diversity, among other awards.

Mia is a Progressive, a little bit too obsessed by politics, and cheers for each and every victory in the name of human rights. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Contact Mia at miakerick@gmail.com. Visit her website for updates on what is going on in Mia’s world, rants, music, parties, and pictures, and maybe even a little bit of inspiration.

Links: Facebook | Twitter

Release Blitz for Cold Like Snow by Sita Bethel (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Cold Like Snow

Author: Sita Bethel

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: July 23, 2018

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male, Male/Male Menage

Length: 65400

Genre: Paranormal, paranormal, ghosts, established couple, musicians, mild BDSM, ménage

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Synopsis

When René moves into his new home, he didn’t expect it to come with roommates. Two handsome roommates, to be precise. Too bad they’re ghosts.

The fact that they’re dead doesn’t stop them from running their fingers through René’s hair or tackling him onto the bed. It’s not long before things escalate and René finds himself with two ghost lovers that treat him better than any living partner ever has.

However, they can’t eat, can’t go far from the house where they died, and their fingers feel like icicles against René’s skin. The longer René is with them, the more he can sense them, but nothing can reduce the chill of their bodies against his. Still, it might be worth the hypothermia.

Excerpt

Cold Like Snow
Sita Bethel © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
René stood in front of the doorway and ran his finger over the outline of the key’s metallic surface before wedging it into the lock and stepping inside his new house. The cold air puckered the skin of his arms and neck. He rubbed his shoulders to keep them warm as he looked around. The flooring throughout the house was black-and-white linoleum. A wide living area faced him—to his left was a fireplace, straight ahead stood double glass doors leading to a small garden, and to his right a half bathroom, dining area, and kitchen. Between the dining room and the glass door, a staircase with a thick cherrywood banister curved up to the three bedrooms and a full bathroom.

René walked to the staircase and stopped short of the first step. He examined the black-and-white squares. They looked clean at first glance, but since he was searching, René noticed the thin rust-colored lines between the tiles. It was why he had bought the house. He’d heard the two previous owners had died after falling down the stairs. Afterward, the old building fell victim to exaggerated ghost stories. True, it did make the building more affordable, but the real reason it appealed to René was because he loved ghost stories and all things macabre. Ever since he was a child, tales that made others grimace had made René smile. He squatted to the floor and reached out to graze his fingertips against the tiles.

A long sigh escaped from between René’s lips. He stood and headed to his moving truck. After several hours of carrying boxes in, he decided to save the larger furniture for the next day. René lit a fire; orange light crawled across the floor and walls. He unrolled his sleeping bag near the hearth and slipped inside. The old house creaked. The silence in the house amplified every other noise, which echoed like a lullaby and soothed René into a hard sleep.

At dawn, before René was fully awake, he dreamed someone dragged their fingers through his hair. He rolled on his side, muttering, “It’s too cold to get up.” The next time he opened his eyes, sunlight brightened the room through the garden doors. He sat up, rubbed his face, and remembered the odd dream of being petted. He smiled at the dream as he stretched and moaned. René slipped out of the sleeping bag and shuffled toward the kitchen to make coffee.

The day labored on as René set upon the tedious mission of dragging his furniture inside his house by himself. Most items—the bed, the office desk, his baker’s rack—he had dissembled before loading into the rental truck, but a few pieces—the washer, dryer, and sofa—he had to strap to a dolly with bungee cords, making it slow to get them inside the house. There was nothing better to do during the constant back and forth than think. He’d spent most of his thirty-four years of existence rushing past his own life. He’d sped through junior high and high school as fast as he could, desperate to get away from the small-minded town where his aunt and uncle had raised him after his parents died of heat exhaustion during a camping trip. After he graduated, René fled to the nearest city, waiting tables to scrape up enough cash for a small apartment while he earned his associate degree. He jumped into a relationship with the first guy who openly pursued him, infatuated by the bold, flirtatious attitude that René never experienced from any of the guys back home. Even after his heart broke, René hurried straight to the next boyfriend, who ended up being much worse than the first.

He learned his lesson after that one, sticking to casual hookups as he focused on work and his studies. Once he finished school, René was desperate to find a job where he could afford more than ramen noodles and dollar-store socks. Now he was at a point in his life where he wanted nothing more than to appreciate everything he obtained and accomplished over the years. He escaped the small town. He made enough money to pay his bills. He finally bought a house. René wanted a chance to breathe and enjoy it. Perhaps find a decent partner who wanted to settle down, or at least get a dog.

He went through an entire box of granola bars and a pot of coffee before he decided to go to the store for groceries.

When he returned, René made a sandwich for lunch and then continued to set everything in order. By the end of the day, each stack of boxes sat in the correct room and the furniture was more or less placed where he intended to keep it. Too exhausted to assemble the bed, René spent another night in his sleeping bag near the fireplace, feeling like a strange post-modern male Cinderella.

In the early gray dawn, he had the same dream. Fingers, barely felt, ran through his hair and gingerly touched his cheeks and collarbone. René exhaled with content at the soft, misty caresses, and he wished ghosts were real before sinking into a deeper sleep.

In the morning, he started unpacking in the kitchen until he found the toaster and a skillet. After eating breakfast and unpacking the kitchen, he assembled the bed. Two nights on the floor had his shoulders stiff. René cursed as he balanced the sideboard of his bed frame in his lap and worked the first screw in one turn at a time. For the cost of a six-pack of beer and some pizza, May would have been more than happy to help René both move his furniture and set up the bed, but René relied on his best friend too much already. The next time May visited, René wanted to go out and have fun, not unpack a mountain of boxes, so he finished tightening the first screw and wondered where his bag of extras had disappeared. René groaned when he saw them on the other side of the room. He would have sworn he’d set them beside his lap when he started, but apparently he hadn’t. By the time he pushed the box spring and mattress onto the completed frame, René was worn out. He dropped onto the bed and made snow angel motions with his arms and legs before resting.

“Forget unpacking. I should just go to sleep,” René spoke to the bed, having no one else to talk to.

His muscles ached from carrying boxes and furniture, and the bed was firm but soft enough for him to sink a little. René shut his eyes and pulled a deep, intentional breath into his lungs. Daydreams played out behind his closed eyelids. It’d been awhile since anyone else had been in his bed with him, and he imagined a mystery lover sneaking to his bedside, sitting beside him, and kissing his stomach as he unzipped René’s pants. His fantasy spun out of control. The mattress felt like it really did shift with the weight of another person sitting close. René sat up and shook his head to rid himself of the ridiculous daydream. He made the bed before going downstairs to finish unpacking the living room.

By the third night, the house resembled a home. René examined his progress in the living room and nodded his head in satisfaction. As he stood in place, René’s hair slid against his shoulders, as if someone had brushed the long strands away from his face. He froze a moment, wondering if his imagination played tricks with his mind again, but the distinct pressure of a hand lighted on his shoulder and fingers ran down his cheek. He blinked, trying to process the strange sensation of being touched by invisible hands.

“Hello.” René’s voice sounded loud in the visibly empty living room.

The touching stopped after he spoke.

“Wait, don’t leave,” René said, afraid he’d somehow startled whatever had interacted with him. René’s gaze darted across the living room, searching for any indication that he wasn’t alone. Nothing was out of place. René sighed, his shoulders slumping forward. “I didn’t imagine that,” he whispered, to convince himself he hadn’t daydreamed the experience.

An idea drifted into René’s head. He spoke to the air in a bashful tone. “If you can hear me, would you follow me. Please?”

He walked up the stairs and opened the door to his office. Stacks of boxes lined the walls and surrounded the desk like strange cardboard obelisks. René pilfered through the boxes until he found one labeled office odds and ends.

He pulled the tape from the top of the box and set aside small statues of gargoyles, skeletons, and imps. With both hands, René removed the old Ouija board from the cardboard box. He’d never used it before and only owned it for the aesthetic, but now he sat on the tiled floor with the board in his lap and the heart-shaped planchette under his fingertips.

“I know this is dumb,” he said. “I know this is a stupid toy, but why not use it? Crap, I hope I’m not talking to myself. I just want to—” A breath hitched in René’s throat as the planchette scrawled across the wooden surface of the board.

“Oh good! I was hoping you’d want to talk. Hold on. Let me get a pen.” René rummaged through another box until he found a pack of pens and a notebook. He held the paper in his lap so he could write down the letters. “What’s your name?” René asked, but to his disappointment, the planchette only swerved in between the yes and no options at the top of the board. He frowned, thinking of what he might be doing wrong. Another question came to mind. “How many of you are here?”

The pointer swerved to the number two on the board.

“What are your names?” The planchette moved without him touching it, freeing up his hands to write each letter.

Marcus.

Bastion.

“Really?” René raised an eyebrow. It was a rhetorical question, but the heart planchette spelled another sentence.

“You have a problem with our names?”

“No.” René smiled. “My name’s Rembrandt. Our mothers should be slapped. Call me René, though.” A nervous chuckle slipped past René’s lips. “Not that I can hear you say my name.”

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble

Meet the Author

Sita Bethel obtained a B.A. in Creative Writing at Arkansas Tech University; however, she learned how to write fiction on sites such as Archive Of Our Own and fanfiction.net. She keeps coloring books near her computer for when she’s “writing,” and owns an awful lot of dice for someone who’s never played a tabletop RPG. Sita Bethel currently lives in Arkansas, teaches Zumba Fitness and Salsaton classes at a local gym, and hopes to someday own a fortress of solitude staffed with incompetent henchmen.

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A Free Dreamer Review: Ardulum: First Don (Ardulum) by J.S. Fields

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

 Ardulum. The planet that vanishes. The planet that sleeps.

Neek makes a living piloting the dilapidated tramp transport, Mercy’s Pledge, and smuggling questionable goods across systems blessed with peace and prosperity. She gets by—but only just. In her dreams, she is still haunted by thoughts of Ardulum, the traveling planet that, long ago, visited her homeworld. The Ardulans brought with them agriculture, art, interstellar technology…and then disappeared without a trace, leaving Neek’s people to worship them as gods.

Neek does not believe—and has paid dearly for it with an exile from her home for her heretical views.

Yet, when the crew stumbles into an armed confrontation between the sheriffs of the Charted Systems and an unknown species, fate deals Neek an unexpected hand in the form of a slave girl—a child whose ability to telepathically manipulate cellulose is reminiscent of that of an Ardulan god. Forced to reconcile her beliefs, Neek chooses to protect her, but is the child the key to her salvation, or will she lead them all to their deaths?

“Ardulum: First Don” is a very hard book for me to rate. I guess I just had the wrong kind of expectations. It just wasn’t for me.

I really liked Neek and her crew. They’re quite an interesting band of people. It was fun to watch them interact.

It does get a bit violent at times, so beware. I didn’t mind, as it didn’t get too gory. There was lots of action and you certainly never find yourself bored.

The publisher has this tagged as a FF pairing. That’s a bit misleading, I think. There is no romance at all in this story. We do have a very strong connection between two women, but it’s not romantic. Not yet, at least. Personally, I don’t always need a romance in my books, but I think the FF tag raises the wrong kind of expectations.

It’s no secret that I’m a sucker for well-written Science Fiction with good world building. To me, world building isn’t that cherry on top, but the very essence of any good SciFi story. And Ardulum does not disappoint in that regard.

But the thing is, there was just too much world building, in a way. What I didn’t realize is that this is a hard SciFi story. So lots of science and technology and hundreds of different aliens and epic space battles and the like. I’m not good with technology or science stuff, so I found it a bit tedious at times. It felt unnecessarily complicated.

There was also bit of too much telling and not enough showing going on. I mean, the Neek need three genders to reproduce. And then there’s species that seem to have only one gender and go by “they” or “xir”. If you’re gonna tell me you don’t need a man and a woman to make a baby, then I want to know just how that works. I don’t need explicit sex scenes, but I want to know just how reproduction works.

The author most certainly has a very creative mind. I’m really impressed with the sheer amount of detail J.S. Fields came up with is astonishing.

Long story short, I think “Ardulum: First Don” just wasn’t my genre. While I love Science Fiction, hard Science Fiction has never been my thing. I’m not good at any kind of natural sciences and I tend to get bored by too many facts.

I’m still a little torn on whether or not I want to read the rest of the series. I did enjoy the general idea and I really quite liked the MCs. And I do kinda want to find out what happens next…

The cover by Natasha Snow is gorgeous. I love the colours.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 248 pages
Published February 27th 2017 by NineStar Press (first published February 22nd 2017)
ISBN139781945952647
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Ardulum