Fantasy & Sci-Fi

/Fantasy & Sci-Fi

Review: Foolish Encounters: A Rainbow Gold Anthology

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Title: Foolish Encounters: A Rainbow Gold Anthology
Author: Tali Spencer, Tinnean, Elin Gregory, JC Wallace, Amy Lane, Angel Martinez, and Freddy Mackay
Cover Artist: Wilde City Press
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Reviewer: Monika
Genre: Fantasy & Sci-Fi
Type: Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Long Novel
Heat Rating3 Stars
Book Rating3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review


Blurb:

An accident, a chance encounter, a thought blurted out, a boat blown off course, a change in direction that suddenly runs into the line of fire – the smallest misstep can change everything. These foolish encounters are the moments around which lives pivot and sometimes spin out of control. Join us for tales of imprudent choices and bad decisions that can lead just as easily to hilarity as they can to tragedy.


Review:

Like most anthologies some of these stories worked and a few didn’t. Overall it is a good bunch of short stories, something fun to pick up when you’re just looking for something quick to read that’s out of the norm.

A Message from the Home Office by Angel Martinez

I really liked this one. It’s a sci-fi alien shifter story that made me chuckle. Sissal, a cobra shifter and Rcrred (Richard) a dik dik shifter are great characters and I absolutely loved the two of them together. I enjoyed this story the most it was cute, sweet and funny and I would really have loved for there to be more.

Shredding the Heart by JC Wallace

This is one of the two stories in the anthology that is a contemporary romance. Nicholas is a skateboarder and Quinn is a Financial Adviser two completely opposite men that find themselves attracted to each other. I loved their romance, it was one of those sweet slow burn things unfortunately the ending was just a bit too sappy for me. It was cute though.

The Lunar Imperative by Elin Gregory

This story took me back into the sci-fi world but I couldn’t get into this one at all. For most of the story I was confused and by the time I kind of figured out what was going on and who was who the story was over. I think there was too much of everything in too small a space.

Blue and Green Persuasion by Tinnean

Another story in the sci-fi world and for the most part I loved this one! With Blue and Green Persuasion I got a good amount of history that helped me understand why the characters were in the situation they were in. It’s very different from any sci-fi story I have ever read and I laughed a lot but I was disappointed when it ended and a bit disappointed with how it ends. It didn’t feel quite complete, I’m hoping to see this one in a longer version at some point.

Well Hello, Eight Eyes by Tali Spencer

Spider shifters? Ewwww….but who knew they could be so cute? Well one of them anyway. Main character Tanner goes out on his boat and gets caught in a storm and thrown overboard. He thinks it’s the end but he wakes up on an Island he’s never heard of with people who won’t tell him much of anything. I liked this story! It’s cute, sweet and fun, I’d love for more of this one.

The Fenestra Penetration by Amy Lane

By Amy Lane….need I say more? This is the other contemporary romance in the anthology and I loved this one. The characters are great, the story is steamy and it’s just that tiny bit quirky but that made it all the more fun to read. There is a satisfying happy for now ending but I’d love for these guys to get there happily ever after.

The Nut Job by Freddy Mackay

This story takes place in the same world as Angel Martinez’s story A Message from the Home Office. While I liked that story a lot this one lost me. I couldn’t connect to the main characters or their plight. Maybe it was just too out there for me or maybe because I’d read so many other shorts in between I got confused. I wonder if I would have liked this one more if I had of read it immediately after reading A Message from the Home Office. The story idea sounds great it just didn’t work for me.

October 30th, 2015|Categories: Review|0 Comments

Review: Everyone’s a Casualty by Jaidon Wells

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Title: Everyone's a Casualty
Author: Jaidon Wells
Cover Artist: Aisha Akeju
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Reviewer: Monika
Genre: Fantasy & Sci-Fi
Type: Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novelette
Heat Rating2 Stars
Book Rating2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review


Blurb:

Joel is more in love with a fantasy world, and one of his own characters, than he is with his own life. He spends his days slipping between reality and the world on the other side of his bedroom door, drifting from day to day with no sense of direction.

But something is haunting the world he’s created, and when it slips out into the real world Joel must choose: surrender the world he loves, or tear it down.


Review:

This little fantasy – and I mean 39 pages little – is really out there but what a great premise! Being so out there it’s a difficult story to review, I’m sure my review will end up being just as confusing as the story.

This reminded me of Narnia, instead of a magical wardrobe there is a magical room behind one of the doors in Joel’s apartment that took Joel – the main character – into a magical world. During the day the mild mannered Joel works at a record store but in his spare time he’s a writer, the writer that has written that magical story behind that door in his apartment.

This story starts out gangbusters but as the story progresses it gets more and more confusing. Like the character in Everyone’s a Casualty I got lost between what was reality and what was fantasy. Unfortunately near the end the story goes off the rails completely and it totally lost me but I see a great deal of potential with this premise. With a bit of fleshing out, some work on the pacing and of course adding more to the story this could be a great read.

October 27th, 2015|Categories: Review|0 Comments

Review: Losing Ground by Sasha Miller

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Title: Losing Ground
Author: Sasha Miller
Cover Artist: Aisha Akeju
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Reviewer: Monika
Genre: Fantasy & Sci-Fi
Type: Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novel
Heat Rating2 Stars
Book Rating3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review


Blurb:

Carter Bellwood’s family has Earth-claimed the Bellwood territory for generations and they’ve always had an excess of Earth energy to back it up. Until Carter, whose energy is barely a fraction of that his mother has. But he’s the only Earth wizard in his generation and set to inherit the territory—if there’s anything left of it. The territory is being ravaged by a disease that kills all plant life it comes into contact with. They can’t cure it, can barely contain it, can only watch as their territory turns into a barren landscape. Then a new Earth wizard shows up. Tai is everything Carter is not when it comes to the strength of his magic, and more importantly he knows how to cure the disease. But he’s also terrified and clearly on the run from something, and Carter’s not sure Tai’s help is worth the risk of him trying to stake his own claim on the territory—or the risk that whatever he’s running from finds him…


Review:

I really enjoyed this fast easy little fantasy. I loved the magic and the little mystery surrounding Tai and I especially loved Carter and Tai’s relationship. Tai is hiding but from what? Carter’s family territory is under attack, everything is dying but who is responsible? The mystery in this story is a good one but my favorite thing is the relationship between Tai and Carter. Tai is sweet and somewhat naïve. He has more magical power than he knows what to do with until Carter comes along and asks for Tai’s help in repairing whatever it is that’s destroying the land. Carter is the perfect leading man for Tai, he’s patient, loving and very protective. Sasha L. Miller has written two very special characters that I would have loved to read a lot more about. The pacing was good and I liked the writing style, I can’t say anything was missing. By the end everything was answered but it ended way too fast for me, I would have loved to see a whole lot more…..maybe a sequel?

October 14th, 2015|Categories: Review|0 Comments

Review: Greenleaf’s Blessing by M. King

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Title: Greenleaf's Blessing
Author: M. King
Cover Artist: Wilde City Press
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Reviewer: Monika
Genre: Fantasy & Sci-Fi
Type: Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novelette
Heat Rating3 Stars
Book Rating2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review


Blurb:

In a world where the old ways walk uneasily alongside the new, orphan Rhynn is apprenticed to old Master Wemmick, his village’s Herb Mage. He is tasked with learning the potent craft that blends herb lore and magic, but which also marks him as a pariah. After an unexpected encounter drives away the one person Rhynn considered a friend, he flees into the ancient heart of the forest… only to meet the wood’s guardian spirit, who awakens the dormant power within him.


Review:

Greenleaf’s Blessing is a very short fantasy that read more like a sample than an actual novelette. There just wasn’t enough for me to get attached to any of the characters or get immersed in the plot but I did see potential in this story. The little I learned of Rhynn and Vareth I liked but I needed a lot more. The dream like sequence where Rhynn is in the forest was erotic and sweet but I’m not really sure where that came from or where it was supposed to go. There was something missing and it left me a bit confused. I liked the writing style and I really liked how different this short is from anything I’ve read. There were just a few too many holes for me to feel anything more than like but I would love to see this story expanded on, I’m intrigued.

October 5th, 2015|Categories: Review|0 Comments

Review: Last Communion by Ingela Bohm

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Title: Last Communion
Author: Ingela Bohm
Cover Artist: Ingela Bohm
Publisher: Self-Published
Reviewer: Monika
Genre: Fantasy & Sci-Fi
Type: Non-Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novel
Heat Rating3 Stars
Book Rating2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review


Blurb:

A worldwide disease has all but wiped out humankind. Only a few people survive, the doctor’s son among them. But there’s something wrong with him: he no longer wants to eat. Is he finally dying too?

The answer is as unexpected as it is horrible: one night, he discovers a new hunger – a mindless craving for blood. Horrified at himself, he flees into the night, but when he tries to find sanctuary, he ends up almost getting killed. As he starts to realize that even a predator can become prey, he runs into Garangjas – another man who drinks blood. Irresistibly drawn, he follows Garangjas to his flock of ‘Confirmands,’ a weird group of people who might just be his ticket to survival.

There’s just one problem: how can the Confirmands stay alive if the rest of humanity dies out?


Review:

I’m at a loss as to what to say about this story. I’m a huge fan of this author and the books I’ve read by her so far. I’m also a huge fan of scifi and books that contain vampires so this should have been a match made in heaven seeing as it contained everything I love, but I struggled with it. The story is hard to follow and most of the time I felt like I was in the dark as to what was going on. I just didn’t get it. Even some of the word choices threw me. For example, I’ve read other vampire stories that use the word wine for blood but for some reason I couldn’t wrap my head around it here it just felt off.

The premise is a really good one, but that feeling of being left in the dark throughout the whole story as to what caused the ‘Condition’ that’s been effecting people and not being able to connect to any of the characters left me with a story I really struggled to read. There were times I almost gave up but I loved the other books I’ve read by this author and I know she can write some really awesome stories so I continued. I kept hoping at some point it was all going to come together and I’d get my “aha!” moment but it wasn’t until the very end that I got it and by that time it was too late.

Also there isn’t a romance although I kept waiting for there to be one between the main characters. Maybe the author never meant for there to be a romance but the story does lead you to believe one is in the works it just never materializes. I don’t need all my stories to have a romance but I’m left wondering if this story had one would it have saved the read for me?

October 1st, 2015|Categories: Review|0 Comments

Review: Malrith’s Shield by Azalea Moone

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Title: Malrith's Shield (Dreamtide, #)
Author: Azalea Moone
Cover Artist: N/A
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Reviewer: Monika
Genre: Fantasy & Sci-Fi
Type: Romance
Pairing: Queer
Length: Novel
Heat Rating2 Stars
Book Rating5 Stars (5 / 5)

This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review


Blurb:

Forced into exile for being a dragon summoner, Kohaku’s problems only worsen when his dragon becomes inexplicably dormant. In attempt to find the reasons why, he runs into Sawyer, the handsome dragon hunter who freed him from persecution two years ago, and winds up awakening something very different—a love like no other he’s experienced before.

Sawyer’s never forgotten about the gorgeous red-haired summoner. He sets out to prove he’s no longer interested in slaying dragons. Instead, he wants to gain Kohaku’s trust, and his affection, while he helps search for the key in the dragon’s recovery.

However, there’s another frightful magic at play, and suddenly things are starting to fall apart around them. Can they maintain this forbidden love while facing the evils coming their way?


Review:

Malrith’s Shield is a wonderful fantasy about Kohaku, a dragon summoner that has lost his dragon and Sawyer a slayer/hunter who – after meeting Kohaku – no longer hunts dragon summoners. The two run into one another 2 years after the night Sawyer let Kohaku go free and together they search for the reason Kohaku can no longer summon his dragon.

I thought this story was really unique, something I’d never read before. I was completely taken in by these two and their exciting adventure. Kohaku is childlike at times, he’s completely lovable and I loved how totally smitten Sawyer is with him. I couldn’t help but fall in love with them. They are the perfect pairing and the chemistry between them is off the charts. There is a romance but it’s not the focal point of this story.

I thought Maltith’s Shield was a bit of a departure from a lot of fantasies. It has all the elements of your average fantasy a dragon, an adorable fairy, a witch, an evil sorcerer and of course the two perfect main characters. But there is something very different about this book that I can’t quite put my finger on. I wasn’t ready for Kohaku and Sawyer’s adventure to be over, thankfully it’s not, this is the first book in a series.

Azalea Moone has written a truly wonderful fantasy that had me hooked from page one and wouldn’t let me put it down until I’d read ‘the end’. I can’t wait I want more!

I highly recommend this story!

September 4th, 2015|Categories: Review|0 Comments

Review: The Memory of Mermaids by Spencer Dryden

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Title: The Memory of Mermaids
Author: Spencer Dryden
Cover Artist: Brenna Lyons
Publisher: Fireborn Publishing
Reviewer: Sean
Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy & Sci-Fi
Type: Romance
Pairing: Heterosexual
Length: Novella
Heat Rating3 Stars
Book Rating4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

This book was provided by the Promoter/Marketer in exchange for a honest review.


Blurb:

After he rescues a mermaid from a sea monster, Max Weiss falls into a world of pirate treasure, dolphin whisperers, murderous mobsters, and a forbidden love.

Problems multiply in the already-troubled life of Max Weiss after he rescues a mermaid from the clutches of a sea monster. Drawn by the allure of the enchanting mermaid, Azzaria, Max agrees to help her find her lost mermaid sister. Max is pulled into a world of missing drug money, pirate treasure, murderous mobsters, dolphin whisperers, and a forbidden love.


Review:

I was in the mood to read something related to mermaids and I was being offered to review The Memory of Mermaids in exchange for an honest review. I really enjoyed the novella. It was original story as well, but I could be wrong since I didn’t read a lot of mermaids’ stories. Nevertheless, I liked the world the author created in such a short story. The length actually worked well for me. There were plenty of developmental in both characters and plots. It included a brief background of how mermaids appeared in the book and I liked it. Max Weiss was an interesting character and surprisingly a calm one when he witnessed something he never thought they would exist. As we were introduced to Azzaria, the mermaid, I enjoyed the story much more. Azzaria was an awesome straightforward type of person. She said what she wanted to say whether Max liked it or not. So, it was cool to see a strong woman character in the novella. The whole point of the book was to seek for Azzaria’s sister. There was some actions involved, hot scene between Max and Azzaria as well as neat plots to make story as whole. I definitely highly recommended you to give this one a shot.

August 31st, 2015|Categories: Review|2 Comments

Review: Between the Lines by J. Scott Coatsworth

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Title: Between the Lines
Author: J. Scott Coatsworth
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Reviewer: Sean
Genre: Contemporary
Type: Non-Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novella
Heat Rating2 Stars
Book Rating3 Stars (3 / 5)

This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review


Blurb:

What if you could hear the words behind the words?

Brad Weston’s life seems perfect. He’s GQ handsome, the chief of staff for a Republican California state senator, and enjoys the power and the promise of a bright future. And he’s in a comfortable relationship with his boyfriend of six years, Alex.

Sam Fuller is Brad’s young blond blue-eyed intern, fresh out of college, running from a bad breakup, and questioning his choices and his new life in politics. To make things worse, Sam also has a thing for the boss, but Brad is already taken.

While looking for a gift for his boyfriend, Brad wanders into a curiosity shop and becomes fascinated by an old wooden medallion. Brad’s not a superstitious man, but when he takes out the medallion in his office, he sees the world in a whole new light.


Review:

This was a really quick read. Less than an hour I’d presumed. The story itself wasn’t too bad. The writing style fit to my liking so I was able to enjoy the novella. For this type of story, it needed to be longer. It needed time to develop a feeling between two characters.

The part I loved about this novella was the medallion he’d found in a small shop. It gave Brad a gift that made a big life changing for Brad. So, that was the cool part about the story. The relationship developmental wasn’t there at all. That disappointed me a bit. I enjoyed the part where he did something insane at his work, so that was cool.

Overall, there weren’t enough plots to make the story completed so it felt unfinished. It wasn’t a waste of my time to read it because I still find a way to be able to enjoy the book. I’d say it was harder to me to be able to write a better review for this novella because there wasn’t much to say. I think this book needed to be expanded so badly.

August 26th, 2015|Categories: Review|0 Comments

Review: Off-World by Jonah Bergan

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Title: Off-World
Author: Jonah Bergan
Cover Artist: Michelle Fairbanks
Publisher: Booktrope
Reviewer: Monika
Genre: Fantasy & Sci-Fi
Type: Non-Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novel
Heat Rating3 Stars
Book Rating5 Stars (5 / 5)

This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review


Blurb:

What really brought Taine to that backwater little world? Taine’s a hunter. He’s a red-skinned and black-eyed Lowman by nature, and a hunter by trade. Some hunters work in flesh, others in secrets, and some few work to set right what’s been set wrong. It’s a big galaxy and there’s always plenty of work for a hunter like Taine, so you got to wonder, what with all that at his feet, what really brought Taine to that backwater little world?

Off-World is a M/m science fiction action/adventure set in F/m dominated space. The story takes place in an arm of the galaxy where slavery (sexual and otherwise) is legal and commonplace. Strictly speaking, it is not a BDSM novel in that consent is not a matter of concern for the characters, but those with an interest in BDSM should enjoy the story. Due to explicit content, Off-World is not recommended to readers under eighteen years of age.


Review:

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVED THIS!!!! Sci-fi at its finest, but please tell me there is going to be more. I don’t feel the ending was enough of an ending and I want MORE!!!! I could not put this story down! It’s adventurous – it had me on the edge of my seat – and it’s weird – as good sci-fi should be – it’s also full of angst it had me near tears a lot and of course the characters were out of this world, in more ways than one.

In the blurb I was given there is a BDSM tag but I never felt any of what went on was BDSM. There is a master/slave ownership thing, complete with collars and leashes but in the world where the story takes place this is how things are. The main characters didn’t follow the usual rules of ‘normal’ BDSM stories so don’t be put off if BDSM isn’t something you read.

There isn’t a romance but there is love story of sorts even if the characters don’t know it. The relationship between Taine and Sunshine made me smile, Sunshine is the sweetest character but I have a feeling there is a lot more to him. And poor Tanner, he’s a work in progress he’s not really ‘sweet’ but I loved him all the same. As for Taine, well, I’m not sure what to think of him. One minute he’s terrifying when it came to protecting what’s his and the next he’s this big ball of mush when he’s watching Tanner and Sunshine together.

I think the author did an excellent job with this complex story there is so much to it but I was never lost or confused. The writing is smooth, the pacing is perfect and the descriptions were so well done they had the story playing out in my head like a movie. I have one tiny little complaint and that’s there wasn’t enough, I WANT MORE!!…. I think I’ve said that already!

August 20th, 2015|Categories: Review|0 Comments

Review: The Homecoming by J. Scott Coatsworth

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Title: The Homecoming
Author: J. Scott Coatsworth
Cover Artist: London Burden
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Reviewer: Sean
Genre: Paranormal & Sci-Fi
Type: Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novella
Heat Rating2 Stars
Book Rating4 Stars (4 / 5)

This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review


Blurb:

When his own world is destroyed, Aldiss and his crew barely manage to escape, leaving friends and lovers behind. What was meant to be an exploratory trip back to the home world turns into a mad dash for survival.

When they awaken from stasis on Earth, which was abandoned by humanity five centuries before, they must quickly learn about their new home. While exploring the region around the ship, Aldiss meets Hari, a shape-changer, whose people harbor secrets that might cost the crew their lives.


Review:

This was the first book I’d read written by J. Scott Coatsworth and most certainly won’t be last. The author had a good creativity when it came to storytelling. This novella was a mix of sci-fi and paranormal. It was based in the future and the main character was coming back to Earth from his home out in the space, which made it sci-fi. The people on Earth were shape-changer, which made it a paranormal.

The characters were pretty developed, but it wasn’t long enough for the characters to be completely developed. That was what I was looking for in the novella. But the author was off to a great start I was able to enjoy the characters very much. I even was able to connect to some characters even though we didn’t get full background on some of them. The plot itself was perfect for its length, although, I’d preferred much longer. In this case, it worked. Describing how the shape-changer occurred was well defined, so I was completely satisfied with how the book was written.

I really loved the world the author created and wanted more out of it. If the author ever decided to write a sequel or even an expanded version, I’d pick it up in a heartbeat. The writing style was well and an easy read. I definitely can recommend you to check this one out if you want to read something by a new author. It was good balance between sci-fi and paranormal. It loses a star because I felt it can be fleshed out a bit longer, but that was just my opinion. It was also a quick read as well.

August 18th, 2015|Categories: Review|0 Comments