January 2014 Summary of Books Reviewed

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Winter trees longs

The new years has started with an explosion of wonderful books and new authors for me.  SE Jakes and two of her marvelous series dropped into my hands and heart so I will be passing those recommendations on to you.  SA McAuley released a new contemporary fiction novel, Treadmarks and Trademarks, the start of a new series.  Ditto Susan Laine with her Sparks & Drops.  LA Witt inspired with her gender shifter novel Static, a must read for all.  Shira Anthony’s Symphony In Blue brought her Blue Notes characters together for a series holiday story, perfect reading for all lovers of romance and music.  Horror, fantasy and comedy are all represented here as well as a great non fiction tale by Joel Derfner, Lawfully Wedded Husband:How My Gay Marriage Will Save The American Family, a must read.

So many great books, see what stories you have missed, and make a list.  And don’t forget to check out the best book covers of the month at the end.
*Key:Winter_2
S series
C contemporary
F-fantasy
SF-science fiction
PN-paranormal
SP-supernatural
H-historical
HR-horror
N-Nonfiction
YA-young adult

Rating Scale: 1 to 5, 5 stars is outstanding
5 Star Rating:

Catch A Ghost by SE Jakes C, S
Long Time Gone by SE Jakes C, S
Static by LA Witt, SF
Symphony In Blue by Shira Anthony, C, S
The Engineered Throne by Megan Derr, F
The Fall by Kate Sherwood C. S

4 to 4.75 Star Rating:

A Small Miracle Happened by Mari Donne, (4.5 stars) C, holiday
Dirty Deeds by SE Jakes (4.75 stars) C, S
Home for the Hollandaise by BA Tortuga,Julia Talbot *4.5 stars) C
Horsing Around by Torquere Authors, (4.5 stars) A, C
In Discretion by Reesa Herberth (4.5 stars), SF
Lawfully Wedded Husband by Joel Derfner (4.75 stars) N
Refined Instincts by SJ Frost, (4 stars) SP, S
Serenading Stanley by John Inman (4.5 stars), C
Sparks & Drops by Susan Laine (4.5 stars), P, S
Texas Christmas by R.J. Scott (4.75 stars), C, S
The Dreamer by M. King (4 stars), HR
The Lightning Moon by Sylvia A. Winters (4.75 stars) SP
Tread Marks & Trademarks by S.A. McAuley (4.5 stars) C, S

3 to 3.75 Star Rating:

Ashland by Lynn Lorenz (3.5 stars) SP, S
The Actor and the Thief by Edward Kendrick (3.75 stars) C, S
Tor by Lynn Lorenz (3.5 stars), SP, S

2 to 2.75 Star Rating:

Dime Novel by Dale Chase (2.75 stars) H

1 to 1.75 Star Rating:  None

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Best Book Covers of January 2014

This month includes just an overall gold star to LC Chase whose great covers include the Hell or High Water series and Dirty Deeds.

InDiscretion_500x750Mindscape_500x750Sparks & Drops cover

Tread Marks and Trademarks cover

Static coverCatch a Ghost cover

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In Discretion by Reesa Herberth, Artist Simone’
Mindscape by Tal Valante, Artist LC Chase, who is having an incredible year
Sparks & Drops by Susan Laine, Artist Brooke Albrecht
Static by LA Witt, Artist LC Chase.  A Stunner with it’s Shifting Gender Person
Tread Marks & Trademarks by S.A. McAuley, Wilde City Press, no artist credited

Review: In Discretion by Reesa Herberth

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Details:

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

Reesa Herberth’s In Discretion Blog Tour and Book Contest

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InDiscretion_TourBanner
ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords is happy to welcome Reesa Herberth, author of In Discretion, a wonderful story in the Ylendrian Empire series.  She has brought with her a fun trivia contest (details included at the bottom of the post).
Good morning, Reesa!
Hello out there, humanoid creatures of above-average intelligence and taste.  I’m Reesa Herberth, and this fine establishment InDiscretion_150x300has seen fit to let me mingle with you on my release day!  I brought a party hat, a trivia contest, a silly interview, and a special, exclusive excerpt, just to thank you all.  I’m on tour all week, and you can check out my schedule here
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I’m running a trivia contest throughout the tour, with a winner to be drawn from the entries on Friday, January 10, 2014.  I’ll be giving away the winner’s choice of any e-book in my backlist, plus a reading gift pack featuring books and treats!  The contest is open to U.S. and International entrants.  In the event that a winner outside the U.S. is chosen, a gift certificate to Riptide Publishing or Amazon will be substituted for the physical prize.  To enter, email me the answers to the following trivia questions (answers to all questions can be found in In Discretion):
 
1.      What is the name of Thanson Nez’s father?
2.      Who is Tynna?
3.      What item did Thanson steal from Kazra the last time they saw one another?
 

All you need to do email me the answers to be entered to win.  I can’t promise I’ll be wearing the party hat when I reply, but if it makes you feel special, I can be talked into it.

I enjoyed this book so much that  I had a few questions for Reesa Herberth about the series.

 STRW: How many titles are there in this universe?

RH: There are three published books so far in the Ylendrian universe: The Balance of Silence (m/m, novella, aid worker finds mute man in the jungle on a hostile planet), The Slipstream Con (m/f/m, novel, married bounty hunters capture the con man they’ve hunted for 3 years and find themselves on the wrong side of a nanotech heist gone wrong), and In Discretion.
The fourth book, Peripheral People, (m/m, novel, Imperial law enforcement and psychic cops on the trail of a psychic serial killer) is due out this summer from Riptide Publishing.

STRW:Are there plans for more?

RH: We currently have plans for several more Ylendrian books, including sequels to The Slipstream Con and Peripheral People.

Thank you again, Reesa, for being here today!

About In Discretion:

InDiscretion_500x750Thanson Nez thought his career as a Discretionary would take him to the stars, not strand him on a space station at the ass-end of the Empire. Thanks to his last client, he’s carrying a secret he can’t get rid of fast enough, but his oath to the guild means a swift, painful death if he shares it. Already desperate for help, he runs into yet more trouble: his ex, and an explosion that paralyzes the station moments after their uncomfortable reunion.
Kazra Ferdow, Station 43’s communications officer, is almost as blindsided by the return of his first love as he is by the sudden loss of power and life support. The station is a floating graveyard in the making, and something is turning its inhabitants into savage killers. Fighting human monsters and damaged tech, Kazra and Thanson must put aside their past long enough to  try to save everyone.
The more light they shine into dark corners, the more Thanson realizes how many people might die for the secrets locked in his head—and what he’s willing to sacrifice to make sure Kazra isn’t one of them.
Buy Link here.
About the Author:
Reesa Herberth is the co-author (with Michelle Moore) of the Ylendrian Empire series.  She can often be found tweetingblogging, and messing around onFacebook when she should be writing.  Likewise, she is easily distracted by the sound of new email, and encourages you to contact her atylendrianempire@gmail.com

Out With The Old and In With The New and the Week Ahead in Reviews

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New DirectionAnother year is almost gone, another is almost here.  Past regrets, future hopes, memories made and memories waiting to be formed.  It is a time of celebration and reflection.  A time to mourn those we have lost and be grateful for those still with us.  One Winston left me, another found his way home.

For many 2013 was a year in turmoil, the government closed, money was tight, and so many I know had  health issues.  But there was also plenty of reasons to rejoice.  DADA and DOMA fell, and there are 16 states and Washington, DC that have same sex marriage equality laws.   And when Russia outlaws gays just before the Winter Olympics , then gay athletes come out of the closet, meeting Putin’s challenge with their own courage.

There were so many great books published this year in every genre that it was hard to narrow down the lists.  Book covers too were over the top stupendous, that was a  hard list to compile as well.  Last year ScatteredThoughts had a list of resolutions.  I think I am going to let that pass this year.  I am both replete of energy yet so full of emotion that I hate to think what might tumble out.  Best let those dragons lie.

I did attend GRL this year in Atlanta.  Oh, what a time I had.  The authors, bloggers, readers, publishers…..what a treasure trove on every level.  I loved meeting so many people I had only talked to through emails and FB.  It was wonderful and I still didn’t get to meet everyone I wanted to.  I was turned on by listening to authors  read their own stories, listen to how they got their start in writing, met  readers and fans who sparkled with energy and love for the fiction and author of their favorite books.  What an amazing time and I hope 2014 sees me flying to Chicago for GRL once again.

So I want to thank all those authors whose books made me dance with joy  and bite my nails in suspense this year, from the Pulp Friction gang to Shira Anthony and Venona Keyes. Thanks to Abigail Roux and Amy Lane who never fail to make me cry in happiness and sob  buckets of tears with their angst. Thanks to Andrea Speed who writes with humor and ferocity, to John Inman who made me laugh hysterically, and Ariel Tachna who took me to Australia and a sheep station I love.  Thanks to Mary Calmes, Charlie Cochrane and RJ Scott for their series and novels and thousands of hours lost in the worlds and characters they created.  And a welcome return to Josh Lanyon and LB Gregg, who returned with a bang and a giggle and love found once again.   Thanks to Kendall McKenna and her extraordinary Marines (wolf shifters and human alike).  Thanks to Sarah Black for her General series and the soldiers so close to her heart.  Thank you, ZAM, thank you, Tere Michaels, KA Mitchell  for her twists and turns, thanks to Astrid Amara and Nicole Kimberling and more, so many more that I need a couple more pages here.  Thanks to Rowen Speedwell, Jessica Freely, BA Tortuga, Missouri Dalton, Theo Fenraven…..see its hard to stop. Thanks to Riptide Publishing, Less Than Three Press, Wilde City Press, Dreamspinner Press, MLR Press, Loose id, Torquere Press  and all the others I am just getting to know. Your hard work is appreciated in getting those authors and their stories to us.  Thank you to the cover artists.  Wow what great covers came out of 2013. I loved those too.

I know I have left a ton off but now my brain hurts and I have to close it off.  You know how it is. You are all such gifted writers and have brought so much joy.   I can’t wait to see what you all come up with in 2014. I will be waiting in anticipation.

And a special shout out to Eric Arvin and TJ Klune.  They both gave us memorable books in 2013, but the best gift was the gift of themselves.  We shared their joy, their engagement and their sorrow and tough times with Eric’s illness.  May 2014 see them happy, content and together.  There will still be plenty of medical bills to come and donations welcome.  A link to the Eric Arvin Support Fund can be found on my website.

Monday, Dec. 30:      STRW Best Books of 2013Year of the Horse 2014

Tuesday, Dec. 31:       STRW Best Covers of 2013

Wed., Jan. 1,2014:     Reese Herberth’s In Discretion Blog Tour and Contest

Thurs, Jan.2:                STRW Summary of December 2013 Reviews

Friday, Jan. 3:              In Discretion by Reesa Herberth

Sat., Jan 4:                     Symphony in Blue by Shira Anthony

Happy New Year, Everyone! Best wishes and joy from ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords!blue new year 2014