Anne Reviews: Knight of Sherwood by NB Dixon

Title: Outlaw’s Legacy, Book 2: Knight of Sherwood

Author: N.B Dixon

Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing

Pages: 365

Characters: Robin of Locksley/Will Scathlocke

POV: 3rd

Sub-Genre: Series, Historical

Kisses: 5

Blurb:

Robin returns to England after four years fighting in the Holy Land. On arriving at Locksley, he discovers that Guy of Gisborne, his most hated enemy, has been made Sheriff of Nottingham. Forced to flee into Sherwood, Robin sets himself up as champion of the poor.

But Robin has a secret. His feelings for his friend Will Scathelock have deepened, but to acknowledge the truth would mean facing up to his past. Meanwhile, Lady Marian Fitzwalter, heiress to the vast Huntingdon estate, is determined to claim Robin for her own.

Review:This is the second book I’ve read in this series, and I’m totally hooked. Robin Hood has long been a favourite of mine, and I think this series does him justice.

Knight of Sherwood picks up at the tail end of the Crusades, which Robin and Will left for at the end of book one. I thought the imagery of the post battle ravaged land, and the comparison with the jackal was very powerful. I liked that the author didn’t shy away from the horror of the Crusades, and that it wasn’t romanticized.

Back in England, and the story catches up with what happened while Robin has been away. Robin and Will’s relationship has shifted too, but Robin wrestles with his demons, which I thought were realistic given the time period.  He has been raised a noble, so it makes more sense that he’d struggle with his sexuality and the expectations of his position more than Will would.  He’s also haunted from his experiences in the Crusades, and I thought the way the author wrote them felt very authentic. I also appreciated the way the author wrote King Richard—although he’s not very likeable in places his actions are realistic for the time, and for a man in his position.

Guy shows no signs of the boy he once was in the first book, and he more than deserves his fate.  Sadly several other characters do not deserve theirs, and I liked that the author didn’t pull any punches as Guy’s part of Robin’s story plays out.

As the story progresses more familiar faces from the Robin Hood stories make their first appearance, as do some other original characters. I liked the women in the story, and the way they took their place among the bandits of Sherwood.  Although Marian wasn’t very likeable, she acts as she does because of the impossible situation she is in. I didn’t agree with her choices, but it’s very clear why she chooses the path she does. I liked that way the author showed took the time through her POV to show her motivations.  I also thought her reaction to her discovery about Robin was realistic. Unfortunately that is one of the harsh realities about historical fiction, and having all the characters react with modern day sensibilities would have felt like an anachronism. In saying that, though, I really hope fate deals her the hand she deserves as the series continues.

While I enjoyed the first book in this series, Heir of Locksley, I thought the author did a fabulous job with this story, and lifted the bar still further. I sat up late reading several times as I had to find out what happened next. Although Robin’s story is a well known, the twists in this series meant that I couldn’t predict the plot.  Although this part of Robin’s story has finished, the author hasn’t left him—or Will—in a good place, so now I’m holding out for book three, although I suspect they still have a rough road ahead.

I’d recommend Knight of Sherwood to readers who enjoy well researched historical fiction. An interest in the stories of Robin Hood isn’t necessary though I did enjoy the easter egg references throughout the book.   This story is action-packed, easy to get caught up in, and has interesting three dimensional characters. More please, and soon.

Highly recommended.

Reviewed By: Anne

BUY LINK: http://www.beatentrackpublishing.com/knightofsherwood

 

 

 

Gabbi Reviews: Chilling with Max by Bonnie Dee

Title: Love Off Leash, Book 3: Chilling with Max

Author:  Bonnie Dee

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages: 85

Characters: Grant Edgerton, Max Thompson

POV: 3rd

Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance, Series

Kisses: 4

Blurb:

High tension meets laid back in a collision of opposites.

Grant Edgerton hasn’t had free day in years. From overachieving student to workaholic real estate developer in a high-pressure firm, he’s striven for success to the point of developing a stomach ulcer. When he literally crashes into a dog walker and his charges, it’s time to let loose the hounds of change. After failing to land a very important client, Grant takes an afternoon to play.

Max Thompson rolls through life’s curves with easy grace. Dog walking supplements his gigs as a musician, and he’s content with his easy come, easy go existence. He’s fluid to the point of not standing firm for anything, until an eye-opening encounter with an uptight businessman shakes his cool.

As lust stirs, then love grows, Grant begins to reevaluate what it really means to be successful in life. And as Max teaches Grant to chill, he learns some things are worth making an effort to hold on to.

Review:

As many of you know probably know by now, it is no secret that I’m a fan of Bonnie Dee. There is something special about her stories. They are always well-written, romantic and sexy as hell.

I was anxious to read Chilling with Max. I’m a sucker for a good opposite attract story and throw in a dog or a cat and I’m all in! I’m pleased to say that this story has everything I love when it comes to reading a heartfelt romance and I enjoyed every minute I spent reading it.

Grant and Max are polar opposites. Grant is an overachiever who needs to relax and Max is a free-spirit who needs to take some things a little more seriously. What I liked about these two is how they seemed to fit together. They seemed to bring out the best in each other and I was totally on board with them from the first moment they met until the end.

The story itself is a fast paced one. Their relationship moves at a quick and steady pace without a lot of drama and over the top angst, in which this reader did appreciate. My only tiny niggle was the ending…I wish it had been a little more fleshed out, it felt a little rushed, BUT it is a very satisfying one that left me with a smile on my face.

Chilling with Max is a quick and satisfying sexy and sweet read which is easy to recommend. Fans of Ms. Dee will surely love these men as much as I do and highly enjoy their story.

Chilling with Max is a stand-alone book in the Love Off Leash series.

The Love off Leash books are:

Caring for Riggs by Bonnie Dee

Hot Under the Collar by Summer Devon

Chilling with Max by Bonnie Dee

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE to purchase Chilling with Max by Bonnie Dee

Lydia Reviews: You Never Know by Mary Calmes

TITLE: You Never Know

Author: Mary Calmes

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages: 200

Characters: Hagen Wylie and Mitch Thayer

POV:  1st POV

Sub-Genre:  Contemporary

Kisses: 4

Blurb:

Hagen Wylie has it all figured out. He’s going to live in his hometown, be everybody’s friend, explore new relationships, and rebuild his life after the horrors of war. No muss, no fuss is the plan. He’s well on his way—until he finds out his first love has come home too. Hagen says it’s no big deal, but a chance encounter with Mitch Thayer’s two cute sons puts him directly in the path of the only guy he’s never gotten out of his head.

Mitch returned for three reasons: to raise his sons where he grew up, to move his furniture business and encourage it to thrive, and to win Hagen back. Years away made it perfectly clear the young man he loved in high school is the only one for him. The problem? He left town and they have not talked since.

If Hagen’s going to trust him again, Mitch needs to show him how he’s grown up and isn’t going to let go. They could have a new chance at love… but Hagen is insistent he’s not reviving a relationship with Mitch. Then again, you never know.

Review:

You Never Know is a fast-paced read by author Mary Calmes, and one her fans are sure to enjoy.  The story is told in the first person by Hagen Wylie and is a story about second chances.  Hagen, and our other m/c, Mitch, were high school sweethearts with their lives planned.  Mitch would head off to college where he would hopefully catch the eye of an NFL recruiter, while Hagen would catch up to him later.  But as things have a way of working the boy’s plans fall apart and so does their relationship.

Fast forward to the present and Hagen has a successful construction company and a secret, friends with benefits relationship with a well-known actor.  He is also living with the after-effects of his time in the military.  As for Mitch, he went on to find his fame and fortune in the NFL.  He married, had two children, and divorced.   Then he returned to his hometown to raise his boys and win back Hagen.

I liked Hagen from the beginning and his reaction to finding out Mitch was back as the book starts had me laughing.  I loved how he acted as if it was no big deal while those around him were spazzing about it.  Even those new to town seem to know the men’s history together and wonder how Hagen is going to react.  When the two do meet up again it is done in a way that readers will not expect and lets you see just how strong a connection the two men still have.

Hagen, however, is reluctant to get involved with Mitch again and rightfully so.  I liked that the author did not have them start over as if nothing had ever happened.  Instead, she makes Mitch work for his chance with Hagen and he even acknowledges that he has a lot to make up for.

While I did enjoy this story, and will be reading You Never Know again in the future, there is one point in the story that I wish would have been different.  Although the story covers a short period of time, the story is to the halfway point before Mitch shows up.  I would have liked to have seen him and Hagen spend more time together, yet in some ways, it seems that Hagen spends more time with Ash, his friend with benefits than he did with Mitch.  While that was a bit of a sore point for me, it did not keep me from giving this book a 4, as the time Hagen and Mitch do spend together was well done.

Those that like Ms. Calmes books are sure to like this one, and for those who have not yet tried any of her books I recommend you give this one a try.

Reviewed By: Lydia

Click HERE to enter the Dreamspinner Press Homepage

 

 

 

Gabbi Reviews: Stitch by Kim Fielding, Eli Easton, Jamie Fessenden and Sue Brown

Title: Gothika, Book 1, Stitch

Authors: Kim Fielding, Eli Easton, Jamie Fessenden and Sue Brown

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages: 294

Characters: Multiple Heroes

POV: Varies

Sub-Genre: Paranormal, Anthology

Kisses: 4.5

Blurb:

Gothika: Volume One

When a certain kind of man is needed, why not make him to order? Such things can be done, but take care: Much can go wrong—but then, sometimes it can go wonderfully right. Imagine…

In The Golem of Mala Lubovnya, a seventeenth century rabbi creates a man of clay to protect the Jews, and the golem lives a life his maker never imagined, gaining a name—Emet—and the love of a good man, Jakob Abramov. But their love may not survive when Emet must fulfill his violent purpose.

In Watchworks, Luke Prescott lives as a gentleman in a London that never was. His unique needs bring him to famed watchmaker Harland Wallace. Romance might blossom for them if Harland can come to terms with loving a man and keeping him safe.

In Made for Aaron, a young man in an asylum for being gay met the love of his life, Damon Fox. Twenty years later, Aaron thinks his life is over when Damon dies and then disappears from the hospital. Aaron is determined to find the truth, but secrets hide the unthinkable.

Reparations unfolds on the harsh planet of Kalan, where weakness cannot be tolerated. When Edward needs help, his life becomes entwined with exceptional cyborg slave, Knox. But when Knox remembers things he shouldn’t know, the two may pay a blood price for their taboo alliance.

Review:

Stitch is a Multi-Authored Anthology that left this reader yearning for more! Each and every story was intriguing and filled with plenty of romance with unique and well-written characters. I was quickly swept up into the addictive storylines these authors’ created and loved every minute I spent reading it.

One of the things that I’ve come to expect when it comes to reading Anthologies is that there are going to be some stories that I’m going to love and some that don’t resonate with me as a reader. I was floored by all of the creative storytelling abilities each of these authors have and enjoyed the stories they had to tell.

I can’t really pick a favorite story or a least favorite because I loved them all. Each and everyone brings something special to the anthology and if you like plenty of romance and even some nail-biting gothic suspense, this is definitely the book for you.

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE to enter the Dreamspinner Press Homepage

Check out J. Scott Coatsworth has stopped by to show off his AMAZING newest release, The Stark Divide and to give us some insider information on his Writing Cave!

My Writer Cave

Every writer has a place they feel comfortable writing. Mine is my writer cave, where my computer monitor is like a window into other worlds.

But I’ve also surrounded myself with other things that help inspire me, and I thought it would be fun to give you a little tour.

There’s my Buddah Board, a cool paint with water thing that I use when I need a little Xen in my life.

There’s my little Marvin the Martin (who doubles as a secret flash drive).

There’s also this really cool graphite filled hour glass that Mark got me last year for my birthday.

And on the walls, some of my favorite sci fi art – the cover from Guy Gavriel Kay’s Tigana, a LOTR cover, and one of my newest acquisitions, a painting by a local Sacramento artist that reminds me of Mars.

Each day, I sit down at my desk and these things help me as I plug on trough my writing. Any writer will tell you that writing is a solitary sport, that we spend months plugging away on a novel all alone, only to come out for a few brief moments into the sunlight when the story is finally published.

Thank God for a comfy, familiar, inspiring writer cave. 🙂

The Stark Divide

Publisher: DSP Publications
Author: J. Scott Coatsworth
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson
Length: 284 Pages
Format: eBook, Paperback
Release Date: 10/10/17
Pairing: MM
Price: 6.99, 16.99
Series: Liminal Sky (Book One)
Genre: Sci Fi, Space, Gen Ship, Apocalypse, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer

Blurb:

Some stories are epic.

The Earth is in a state of collapse, with wars breaking out over resources and an environment pushed to the edge by human greed.

Three living generation ships have been built with a combination of genetic mastery, artificial intelligence, technology, and raw materials harvested from the asteroid belt. This is the story of one of them—43 Ariadne, or Forever, as her inhabitants call her—a living world that carries the remaining hopes of humanity, and the three generations of scientists, engineers, and explorers working to colonize her.

From her humble beginnings as a seedling saved from disaster to the start of her journey across the void of space toward a new home for the human race, The Stark Divide tells the tales of the world, the people who made her, and the few who will become something altogether beyond human.

Humankind has just taken its first step toward the stars.

Book One of Liminal Sky

Excerpt:

“DRESSLER, SCHEMATIC,” Colin McAvery, ship’s captain and a third of the crew, called out to the ship-mind.

A three-dimensional image of the ship appeared above the smooth console. Her five living arms, reaching out from her central core, were lit with a golden glow, and the mechanical bits of instrumentation shone in red. In real life, she was almost two hundred meters from tip to tip.

Between those arms stretched her solar wings, a ghostly green film like the sails of the Flying Dutchman.

“You’re a pretty thing,” he said softly. He loved these ships, their delicate beauty as they floated through the starry void.

“Thank you, Captain.” The ship-mind sounded happy with the compliment—his imagination running wild. Minds didn’t have real emotions, though they sometimes approximated them.

He cross-checked the heading to be sure they remained on course to deliver their payload, the man-sized seed that was being dragged on a tether behind the ship. Humanity’s ticket to the stars at a time when life on Earth was getting rapidly worse.

All of space was spread out before him, seen through the clear expanse of plasform set into the ship’s living walls. His own face, trimmed blond hair, and deep brown eyes, stared back at him, superimposed over the vivid starscape.

At thirty, Colin was in the prime of his career. He was a starship captain, and yet sometimes he felt like little more than a bus driver. After this run… well, he’d have to see what other opportunities might be awaiting him. Maybe the doc was right, and this was the start of a whole new chapter for mankind. They might need a guy like him.

The walls of the bridge emitted a faint but healthy golden glow, providing light for his work at the curved mechanical console that filled half the room. He traced out the T-Line to their destination. “Dressler, we’re looking a little wobbly.” Colin frowned. Some irregularity in the course was common—the ship was constantly adjusting its trajectory—but she usually corrected it before he noticed.

“Affirmative, Captain.” The ship-mind’s miniature chosen likeness appeared above the touch board. She was all professional today, dressed in a standard AmSplor uniform, dark hair pulled back in a bun, and about a third life-sized.

The image was nothing more than a projection of the ship-mind, a fairy tale, but Colin appreciated the effort she took to humanize her appearance. Artificial mind or not, he always treated minds with respect.

“There’s a blockage in arm four. I’ve sent out a scout to correct it.”

The Dressler was well into slowdown now, her pre-arrival phase as she bled off her speed, and they expected to reach 43 Ariadne in another fifteen hours.

Pity no one had yet cracked the whole hyperspace thing. Colin chuckled. Asimov would be disappointed. “Dressler, show me Earth, please.”

A small blue dot appeared in the middle of his screen.

“Dressler, three dimensions, a bit larger, please.” The beautiful blue-green world spun before him in all its glory.

Appearances could be deceiving. Even with scrubbers working tirelessly night and day to clean the excess carbon dioxide from the air, the home world was still running dangerously warm.

He watched the image in front of him as the East Coast of the North American Union spun slowly into view. Florida was a sliver of its former self, and where New York City’s lights had once shone, there was now only blue. If it had been night, Fargo, the capital of the Northern States, would have outshone most of the other cities below. The floods that had wiped out many of the world’s coastal cities had also knocked down Earth’s population, which was only now reaching the levels it had seen in the early twenty-first century.

All those new souls had been born into a warm, arid world.

We did it to ourselves. Colin, who had known nothing besides the hot planet he called home, wondered what it had been like those many years before the Heat.

Buy Links Etc:

DSP Publications (paperback): https://www.dsppublications.com/books/the-stark-divide-by-j-scott-coatsworth-416-b

DSP Publications (eBook): https://www.dsppublications.com/books/the-stark-divide-by-j-scott-coatsworth-415-b

Amazon:

Barnes & Noble:

Kobo:

iBooks:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35834187-the-stark-divide

Author Bio:

Scott spends his time between the here and now and the what could be. Enticed into fantasy and sci fi by his mom at the tender age of nine, he devoured her Science Fiction Book Club library. But as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were in the books he was reading.

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

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

Starting in 2014, Scott has published more than 15 works, including two novels and a number of novellas and short stories.

He runs both Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction that reflects their own lives.

Author Links:

Website: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

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

Facebook (author page): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworthauthor/

Twitter: https://www.facebook.com/jscoatsworth/

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

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

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

Anne Reviews: The Stark Divide by J. Scott Coatsworth

TITLE: The Stark Divide
Author: J. Scott Coatsworth
Publisher: DSP Publications
Pages: 269
Characters: various LGBTQ/straight. Although there are relationships, the focus of this story isn’t a romance.
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Series, Science Fiction
Kisses: 5

Blurb:
Some stories are epic.

The Earth is in a state of collapse, with wars breaking out over resources and an environment pushed to the edge by human greed.

Three living generation ships have been built with a combination of genetic mastery, artificial intelligence, technology, and raw materials harvested from the asteroid belt. This is the story of one of them—43 Ariadne, or Forever, as her inhabitants call her—a living world that carries the remaining hopes of humanity, and the three generations of scientists, engineers, and explorers working to colonize her.

From her humble beginnings as a seedling saved from disaster to the start of her journey across the void of space toward a new home for the human race, The Stark Divide tells the tales of the world, the people who made her, and the few who will become something altogether beyond human.

Humankind has just taken its first step toward the stars.

Review:
When I read a book by J. Scott Coatsworth I know I’m going to be treated to a story with fabulous world building, and interesting characters. The Stark Divide has all of that and more. One thing I really loved about this story is that although there are romances, they don’t drive it. Also it is populated by diverse characters with differing sexualities IE gay, straight, bi, and trans, which is accepted by this society in the future. The issues here aren’t that, but how mankind has ruined the Earth, both ecologically and because of war. The author has done a great job in taking current concerns and extrapolating where they might lead the future human race if we continue on our current course. The tent city for refugees in one part of the story echoed current news stories scarily well.

I loved the nods to other SF authors, such as Asimov and McCaffrey. Some were direct mentions, others more subtle.

The world building is interesting, and different to anything I’ve read before. Although the ship-mind has echoes of Anne McCaffrey’s ship series, Coatsworth uses it as a springboard, and flies. The ship-mind, world-mind, and station-mind are interesting, developed characters, as are the humans who take centre stage in this story. The idea of growing a planet using biological technology is brilliant, and it was obvious the more I read that it is very well thought out. I also liked how the author split the book into three different time periods, each one jumping forward from the previous. It gives the story an epic feel, which is perfect for what it is—the rebirth of the human race on another world told through the perspective of not only those who are key players in that journey but of the world itself, and the generation ship it becomes. The linking of time periods through both older versions of already familiar characters, and the introduction of the next generation was nicely done, as was the expansion of the planet-mind.

I liked too, that the characters are very human, and take the time to cry, whether in relief or grief. I felt as though I was reading about real people. Not all of them have the greatest of intentions, they make mistakes, and are often driven by emotions that are a mix of good and not so good.

The descriptive of space is wonderfully emotive—“the stars poking brilliant holes in the firmament above.” The descriptions of Forever—the name given to the world by the colonists—are not overdone as to bog down the story, yet make the setting very easy to visualise. I spent several evenings getting lost in the story and staying up far too late in order to read just one more chapter.

I’d recommend The Stark Divide to readers who enjoy science fiction with detailed world building, interesting characters, and an epic story. Highly recommended.

Reviewed By: Anne

Click HERE to purchase The Stark Divide

Get into the Halloween Spirit! Check out the release day blitz for a collection of stories by NineStar Press!!

Get in the holiday spirit with the Halloween collection of stories from NineStar Press

Releasing between October 9th and October 23rd, don’t miss a single one!

Available October 16th 

Synopsis

Danton is a 1200-year old vampire, blinded by the Medieval Church, who makes his life as a paranormal romance novelist. He writes about a vampire detective and “pretends” to his fans to be a vampire himself. But book sales are down because he has been without love for over 30 years and just doesn’t have that spark of romance left in him. Until he meets Kevin, a disbelieving young man, desperate for a job, who is brought in by Danton’s agent to try to lighten up his life and heat up his prose.

Purchase

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

Available October 16th 

Synopsis

Drew hates labels, but loves Halloween and he wants a trick-or-treat of his own. At his mother’s to deliver emergency candy, she has him get the door in his gender-bending costume. The handsome man with the little trick-or-treater would be Drew’s perfect treat.

David’s attraction to Drew is no trick. He wants the whole Drew, in all his unlabeled glory, making Drew think this could be a treat that lasts long past the holiday.

Purchase

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

 

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Blog Button 2

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

<span style="border-radius: 2px; text-indent: 20px; width: auto; padding: 0px 4px 0px 0px; text-align: center; font: bold 11px/20px 'Helvetica Neue',Helvetica,sans-serif; color: #ffffff; background: #bd081c no-repeat scroll 3px 50% / 14px 14px; position: absolute; opacity: 1; z-index: 8675309; display: none; cursor: po