Tag Archives: alternate universe

New Release: Obsidian Sun by Jon Keys #AlternateUniverse #Fantasy @Jon4Keys @Dreamspinners

ObsidianSunFS

Title: Obsidian Sun
Author Name & Publisher: Jon Keys (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: July 10, 2015 – 200 pgs

Synopsis

Differences must be put aside when vengeance becomes all-consuming.

Anan, a spellweaver of the Talac people, returns from a hunting trip to find his village decimated, his mate dead, and everyone else captured by Varas slavers. The sole survivor is Terja, a young man without the velvet that covers most Talac, marking him as a spellspinner. Since Talac magic requires both a weaver and a spinner, Anan and Terja must move beyond their ingrained mistrust. All that remains is revenge and a desperate plan to rescue their tribesmen before they are sold to Varas pleasure houses. A goal Anan and Terja are willing to die for.

With the blessing of the Talac gods, they discover new and surprising ways to complement each other’s power. But as they race through terrain full of enemies and dangerous creatures to reach their people before they pass into Varas lands, they must take drastic steps to face the overwhelming odds against them. Understanding their connection might be their only hope.

Excerpt

ANAN EASED into bow range. He’d been hunting for a fingercount of days and stalking this daggerhorn since the early gray of predawn. He waited until the animal turned away before rising to a crouch. The lethally armed grazer would feed him and his mate for days. He brought his bow up slowly and drew the bowstring to his cheek.

His body convulsed with pain that felt as if he’d been stabbed with a red-hot iron blade, and his arrow shot several lengths above his quarry, which disappeared into the deep grass.

In the next instant, Anan knew. His mating-bond with Silbre had snapped. Agony filled him, sending him to his knees as the bow slipped from his numb hands. Gasping for air, he dropped forward onto his hands as waves of loss and pain overwhelmed him.

I have to find Silbre. What happened? Our mating-bond can’t be broken. Unwilling to believe the horrible truth, Anan had to find his mate.

He staggered to his feet, looping the bow over his shoulder as he took the first stumbling steps toward home. The surety of his pace came back to him, and he gained speed until he was sprinting toward the clan’s encampment. Time became irrelevant. He walked when his legs refused to run and ate when his body demanded it.

Dusk came on him stealthily, but he refused to stop. Silbre can’t be gone. We’ve been together since our adult velvet. Anan’s chest tightened at the thought of losing his mate. His mind swirled with fear, horror, and anger. If their teachers hadn’t sent him on yet another hunting trip, maybe he could have saved Silbre. No, he refused to believe he’d lost Silbre. There must be another explanation. He pushed down the rush of emotions and focused on the run as night deepened. With the rise of the moons, he picked up speed, desperate to reach home.

Anan neared the last of his endurance when he saw the familiar featherleaf trees that lined the river bend where the Kuri clan spent its summers. He topped the river embankment and dropped to his knees at the sight before him. Complete devastation. The warm morning breeze carried the scent of death. The raucous voices of carrion birds as they fought over bits of his clan reinforced his horror.

He struggled down the steep embankment to splash through the shallow river that circled most of what had been the Kuri’s summer encampment. As he waded to shore, he found the eyeless face of a childhood friend. Anan stumbled to one side and emptied his stomach. He retched again and again as he surpassed the limit of his emotional endurance until each twist of his stomach yielded nothing.

Silbre! Where’s Silbre? Anan renewed his headlong flight to find his twining mate.

He ran through the devastation, sending flocks of birds into the air. With each heartbeat his desperation grew as he ran to their tent. He has to be alive. I can’t survive without him. He rounded a pile of debris and found the familiar woven pattern of their summer lodge. His world died. Entangled in the remains, Silbre’s body bristled with a fingercount of crossbow quarrels. Varas slavers. Those are their bolts. The iron heads and spiral fletching left no doubt. But they had never come this far into Talac territory.

Anan dropped to his knees and pulled Silbre tight against him. Anan’s breath rasped between clenched teeth, his chest tight with grief as he rocked with his mate in his arms. A freshet of tears rolled over the plush hair covering his face. The dull drone from hordes of green burrowing flies and the cries of carrion birds surrounded him. But grief paralyzed Anan.

His sorrow merged with anger, and he screamed toward the implacable sky. “Why have you let this happen? Why did you cut his threads so short?”

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5 Stars for BOTH Alex’s Surprise & Saving Alex by Chris McHart #AlternateUniverse #MalePregnancy @chris_mchart

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Title: Alex’s Surprise & Saving Alex (Unexpected #1 & 2)
Author Name: Chris McHart
Publication Date & Length: June 14, 2015 – 87 pgs & July 6, 2015 – 90 pgs

Synopsis

Alex’s Surprise: Alex wanted a night of hot passion with Gerome, but he gets more than he ever bargained for. His life will be changed forever in a world where he’ll be thrown in jail— or worse— for being pregnant.

Alex’s best friend, Sam, has been acting strange ever since he met Alex’s one-night stand, but now Alex needs help in order to hide, and Sam is his only hope.

Saving Alex: Not only is Alex pregnant, something punishable by jail time, but Gerome, the father of the baby, is a vampire prince. When strangers invade Alex’s home and kidnap him, he doesn’t know who is responsible, if he’ll ever see the man he loves again, or even get to see the child growing inside him.

Considering himself the father of his lover’s child, Sam has a hard time standing around and letting others plan Alex’s rescue. But when the Prince and his trackers find an important clue, the race to save his beloved is on. Now all he can do is cross his fingers that the scheme they’ve devised will work.

When Prince Gerome receives ransom demands, the instructions are clear: mate a complete stranger or he’ll never see Alex or the child he carries again. Will he be able to convince his newly intended to help, or will those seeking to dethrone his family win this evil game of blackmail?

Caution: Contains a kidnapping, unwanted matings, a scheming king, way too many people that follow their own plans and a highly pregnant Alex

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Review

FiveStars

Alex’s Surprise

For a first time author, Chris McHart did pretty awesome! I love M/M genre, and adding an “alternative” aspect, grabbed my attention when reading the synopsis. I enjoy love stories, but adding something a little different amped up my curiosity.
Chris McHart’s writing is pretty flawless. The story is fast-paced, smooth and flows easily. It was a subject that I have not read before, but the author’s words were believable and exciting to experience!!!
The chemistry between the main character’s is intense and felt through the pages. I laughed and snorted out loud a few times at the main Hero’s side-effects of pregnancy. I have been there, and they were totally relate-able. For a short story, the “sexy-time” was hot, and not over-done, but important and captivating!
The end isn’t really a cliff-hanger, but you will want to read the next book!

I have the next book, Saving Alex, and I think I could tolerate a bit of drama. About to jump in to it!!!

Reviewer: Kimberley
FiveStars
Saving Alex
I read the first one, Alex’s Surprise, and I recommend you read that one first. It is a heart-felt, quick read that captivates your attention.
I can’t believe this is the author’s second book!!!!!!! The writing is perfectly filled with beautiful, intense Hero’s.
Now, on to Saving Alex. This author grabbed my attention from Page 1, RAWR!! Hot stuff and then proceeded in a heart-pounding pace to pull me in with her words. I loved the dual POV from both Hero’s of the story. They capture your heart with their intense, heart-felt emotions. It might be a quick read, but there is a lot of activity going on to keep your attention.
Gerome is a big part of this story, and I enjoyed seeing him in it. I really enjoyed the aspect that Gerome’s parents are fully on board with their son loving men and being with one. It does my heart good to see parents fully invested in their child’s life, no matter who they love!!!!!!!
Reviewer: Kimberley

Excerpt

Alex zapped, annoyed, through the channels. He lounged on the couch, bored out of his mind. Sam, his best friend and roommate, had taken up the recliner, reading something. Maybe Alex should do that as well? Watching TV wasn’t going to keep him entertained, since nothing caught his interest, no movie, no documentary, nothing. He zapped on, but stopped at a news report showing a pregnant man. He sat up a bit straighter. What was up with that?

The man’s stomach was swollen, showing he was at least five or six months along. His hands were cuffed in front of his baby bump and tears were streaming down his face. The camera showed a courtroom full of people, slowly sweeping over the interested men and women watching the process.

Alex turned up the volume. What had the man done? And why was he pregnant? He’d heard it was possible, but he’d never encountered someone who’d actually experienced that.

The reporter’s voice came up. “Robert B. was tried for violation of the racial laws. Today’s sentencing was long awaited. No one had heard of pregnant men for years, and there had been uncertainty about the actual jurisdiction in such cases. B., who is, according to doctors, six months along, was sentenced to five years in jail. His child will be put in an orphanage until he is released. The fathering sire has no legal claim over the child. He will be able to visit his child, but he can’t get guardianship over him or her. The child and the carrier will be outcasts of society after that.

“B. broke down after hearing the judge’s decision. Even though it’s forbidden, he clearly hoped the old laws would be overturned. Instead, the judge confirmed that male breeding between the races is still forbidden and punishable. With that, back to the studio.”

The picture changed, now showing a woman in a suit, smiling at the camera. “Thanks to our reporter in Berlin for a summary of today’s events in court. Now to the weather…”

Alex turned down the volume, muting the forecast. He turned to Sam, who had apparently put down his book to watch the news as well. “Did you hear that? How can they judge someone because he got pregnant?”

“I have no idea? Maybe because it’s wrong? Are these children dangerous? I’ve never met one, or heard of one, for that matter, but I guess there’s a reason it’s forbidden. The whole pregnant man thing is so strange, no wonder it’s against the laws. Who knows what’ll come out of such breedings.”

Alex frowned. A new life was precious, not wrong. He couldn’t imagine a child being dangerous, even if it was mixed. Children born from interracial relationships were allowed, as long as one of the parents was female and the other male. Why this didn’t apply to children born from a same-sex relationship was beyond Alex. Even if it was unusual for a man to be pregnant, he shouldn’t be put in jail for something like that.

This was the first case in a long time, according to the reporter, but he’d not given a reason why the laws were upheld. “It’s still wrong to judge someone for getting pregnant.”

“I don’t know. Like I said, there must be a reason why it’s forbidden.” Sam picked up his book again, ending the conversation. Alex took a moment to study his friend’s features as he buried himself in yet another sci-fi book. He was quite handsome with his blond, unruly hair and his strong jaw. The gaze of the piercing blue eyes that never seemed to miss anything flew over the page, pulling Sam into yet another outlandish adventure.

Maybe Sam was right. There had to be a reason it was against the law. Alex was kind of sorry for the man who now faced five years in prison, but then, the man knew what he risked with getting pregnant in the first place.

Alex settled back and focused on the TV again. Sam was not in the mood to discuss the matter anymore, his mind clearly on the story he was reading. As if they’d need sci-fi to experience something unusual. Ever since paranormals had come out of hiding back in the 1980s, going to certain clubs could be more adventurous than anything an author could come up with.

Maybe he should go out today? Blowing off some steam wouldn’t hurt. He’d not gotten laid in quite a while, and a night in one of the mixed clubs sounded too good to resist. It was better than staring at a rerun of a movie.

Alex switched off the TV and stood. “I’m going out, do you want to come with me?”

“What do you have in mind?” Sam looked up from his book. “Dancing? I thought of going to the Downtown.”

“Na, go without me. I’m not in the mood for that crowd.”

“You sure? It’s been months since you’ve been out.” Alex wasn’t surprised, Sam wasn’t one to go out much, and he despised big crowds. The Downtown is a huge mixed club, catering to all kinds of paranormals and humans. Not that paranormals were forbidden anywhere, but they, as well as humans, preferred to stick with their own kind. One of the exceptions was a club like the one Alex was going to visit. A night of dancing, and maybe getting laid, sounded better with every second.

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5 and 3 Stars for Mythologically Torqued Anthology by Alisha Monroe, Alyx Shaw, Angelique Voisen, Carol Tierney, Delilah Storm, Eva Lefoy, Jacey Mills, L.J. Hamlin, Leigh Ellwood, Logan Zachary, Max Wilde, Salome Wilde, Shiloh Saddler, T. Strange, V.L. Locey

1.4

Title: Mythologically Torqued Anthology Volume 1
Author Name: Alisha Monroe, Alyx Shaw, Angelique Voisen, Carol Tierney, Delilah Storm, Eva Lefoy, Jacey Mills, L.J. Hamlin, Leigh Ellwood, Logan Zachary, Max Wilde, Salome Wilde, Shiloh Saddler, T. Strange, V.L. Locey
Length: 106, 000 Words

Synopsis

Torquere’s largest anthology to date features a total of 15 authors pleased to bring you 15 unique tales from when gods and goddesses ruled the world. This collection features both m/m and f/f content for your reading pleasure. Dare you enter this realm of Mythologically Torqued fantasy? Be on the lookout for Volume 2 summer 2015.

Mythologies from around the globe receive a happy little twist in this first volume of Mythologically Torqued. A Scottish kelpie, Greek gods and goddesses, a Japanese princess, and demons delight and intrigue in these stories, each containing LGBT elements.

OR…

Whether it’s Greco-Roman gods and goddesses or heroes from tales around the globe, Mythologically Torqued, volume 1 brings together not-so-classic lovers with a Torquere twist.

OR…

Eros finds his soul mate in the arms of a demigod friend in L.J. Hamlin’s In Love with Zeus’ Son. In Shiloh Sadler’s Clipped Wings, two men on a plantation find love under the most unusual circumstances in 1842 Missouri. V.L. Locey’s Back to the Garden, Pan hits up Woodstock with the sun god Apollo—sex, drugs, and rock and roll take on a whole new meaning. In Brísingamen, Carol Tierney offers us the story of a magical necklace, and the payment goddess Freyja delivered to four dwarven sisters for it’s creation. Delphinos, by T. Strange, is a modern-age retelling of Dionysus’ creation of dolphins. In Angelique Voison’s version of the Japanese Moon Princess myth, Reiko is tasked with bringing the Emperor’s future bride, the fabled Moon Princess to court, and complications arise when Reiko falls head over heels for Kaguya. Charged with ensuring Sisyphus fails, Hercules is conflicted by his feelings for the former ruler in Angelique Voison’s How Hercules Got His Bruise. In Leah Ellwood’s Styx and Stone, Ferrying souls across the Styx is a lonely business, but Charon doesn’t mind—newly arrived Stone is more than willing to keep him company. No one believes in the Greek gods anymore, and Apollo is in a rut, Ganymede—cupbearer to the gods— tries to get Apollo to see what’s in front of him in Jacey Mills’ Another Night at the End of the World. Salome Wilde’s Eternal Grind offers a corporate take on Christian Hell, populated with horned and hoofed demons inspired by medieval monks’ fertile imaginations, which follows a pair of lesbian demon baristas, determined to find their own happily-ever-after. In the distant past, Ero was the god of desire, but in present day, he looks for love with Psy—a peerlessly gorgeous mortal man—and needs to keep a secret, in Alisha Monroe’s The Myth of Ero and Psy. Bound by chains and defenseless, Thor is being held captive by Garrick, a young man also forced to service until demands are met in Logan Zachary’s Bound by Desire. Together, attraction ignites between Thor and Garrick—can love grow if it is bound by desire? In Delilah Storm’s The Golden Balls, true love’s kiss is powerful, and Jasper’s sexuality awakens—will Anur be able to keep Jasper in this sleepy little kingdom? A spurned lover, mythical horse, and a public official walk into a pub—murder, mayhem, and everlasting love result in Alyx Shaw’s The Kelpie.

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Review

FiveStars

5 stars for the whole anthology

This is a terrific collection of retold myths and fairy tales. Many are based on Greek mythology, though there are a few from other traditions. The stories are erotic and sensual, ranging from romantic to scorching. It’s one of the best collections I’ve ever had the pleasure to read.

Styx and Stone (Leigh Ellwood)

A funny, sweet story about the ferryman of the dead. I enjoyed the light fun and the cute happy-ever-after. A well-written and unusual take on the Underworld.

How Hercules Got His Bruise (Eva Lefoy)

This one is hot as Hades. I’m not usually a fan of muscly studs getting it on, but this one was done just right. Hercules and Sisyphus make one gorgeous pair, and the writing is fantastic.

In Love with Zeus’ Son (L.J. Hamlin)

This one was a little lacking for me. It was a bit cookie-cutter for my taste, and it wasn’t especially memorable. However, I think it would work well as part of a larger story, as there was some interesting world-building.

Clipped Wings (Shiloh Sadler)

This was an exceptional concept. A retelling of the Swan Princes set in 1840s Missouri is a bold undertaking. What a beautiful, happy-sad story. My only hesitation was that some of the dialog sounded too contemporary and it pulled me out of the story a bit. Otherwise, this was excellent.

The Kelpie (Alyx J. Shaw)

This one was eerie and mysterious, yet it also had a sense of playfulness. Norman, the kelpie, seems to possess my own somewhat snarky sense of humor. This was the best shivers-up-my-spine story for more than one reason. Another very well-written and unique tale.

Eternal Grind (Salome Wilde)

I loved the concept of this story, about a hellish (literally) coffee shop. However, it ended up being a bit too cynical and anti-religious for my taste. I did enjoy the payoff at the end.

Another Night at the End of the World (Jacey Mills)

Although I didn’t feel there was a whole lot that stood out to me in this story, I thought the idea of love creating new perspective was lovely. There was also quite a bit of humor and fun along the way. This was a well-written tale with a very sweet, magical ending.

The Fifth World (Max Wilde)

This was one of my favorites. Photographer Maggie discovers wolf-woman Yara in the snowy wilderness. The love that grows between them is tender and deep, and it creates a beautiful sense of longing. This is another one on the theme of love changing one’s perspective. What a treasure.

Bound by Desire (Logan Zachary)

I really enjoyed this story. Both Garrick and Thor are prisoners, and Garrick is in charge of holding Thor hostage while also being forced to serve his basic care. It does skirt the bounds of consent, but it never breaks them. Very well-written, both suspenseful and erotic.

Brisingamen (Carol Tierney)

This is another one of my favorites. It is everything from softly sensual to scorching hot. At first, I wasn’t sure about the idea of Freyja trading sex for the necklace, but it turned out to be really beautiful and passionate. The story is marvelous, and there were moments that brought me to tears.

Delphinos (T. Strange)

On the surface, this seems like a story about somewhat odd people meeting each other. Underneath, I loved the way longing and sadness were woven through the story. The end was a complete surprise, and it left me with the best kind of happy-sad feeling.

The Myth of Ero and Psy (Alisha Monroe)

I’ll be honest, this wasn’t one of my favorites. I’m not sure if it’s just my non-interest in the club scene or that I’m a bit tired of this myth being retold, but I thought it was just okay. There was plenty of passion, and I liked the characters all right, I just didn’t find it overly memorable. Still, it was well-written; it’s more personal taste than that the story was flawed in any way.

The Golden Balls (Delilah Storm)

I loved this one from the very beginning. I’ve never read an m/m telling of the Frog Prince, and this was so wonderfully done. I’m partial to pretty men and gingers, so Jasper utterly delighted me. I found it suspenseful wondering who was telling the truth and whether love would win out in the end.

Kaguya (Angelique Voisen)

I’ll admit I’m not familiar with Japanese mythology, so I’m not sure if there’s something I missed here. I didn’t quite understand the story. It mostly seemed like an excuse to have Reiko and Kaguya have sex with a little magic thrown in to fit the theme. It was passionate, but I prefer a bit more story to hold it together. Still, I liked the setting, and I was glad for a non-western myth.

Back to the Garden (V.L. Locey)

Another favorite of mine. This one had me laughing out loud. Woodstock is absolutely the perfect setting for a gods-descend-to-earth Greek myth tale. What better place for Pan to meet his lover? Witty and wonderful, sexy and sweet, this one charmed me from beginning to delightful end.
Amy

ThreeStar

An interesting collection of novellas, covering a wide variety of situations and characters from historical settings to the contemporary. Others just relying and succeeding with the humorous approach.
Many well written, some however, relying more on unusual names to context. However a very entertaining anthology that gives the reader the choice of dipping in to what ever subject they feel compelled to read at any given time.
The short biography of each author was quite educative.
Disappointed that there were not more lesbian episodes.
This anthology is ideal for those who wish to explore a variety of genres and sexuality.
Chris

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3.5 stars for A&A Salvage by Lucy Kemnitzer @LucyKemnitzer @LT3Press #FF #AlternateUniverse

A&A Salvage

Title: A&A Salvage
Author Name: Lucy Kemnitzer
Publication Date & Length: December 10, 2014 — 70 pages

Synopsis

Elisabeth and Melissa live a quiet life, running their mechanic shop together. The biggest drama in their life is Melissa occasionally having to remind men that she’s happily taken.

Then they’re called to pick up an abandoned car that proves to be unidentifiable and without an owner. It also has a strange radio that plays music both strange and familiar, stirring up memories and longings Elisabeth believed long buried.

Then a mysterious, beautiful woman arrives to claim the car and threatens to draw Elisabeth into a world far beyond the happy, stable life she’s built…

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Review

 ThreeandHalfStarsThis book has taken a lot of thought into how I should rate it. I do feel as though it needs two ratings. One for the first 75%-80% and one for the last 20%. I almost put this book down many, many times throughout my reading it. The only thing that kept me reading was because I felt obligated to finish it. It’s for a review blog, right? If I had bought it, I probably would have put it down and not looked back.It wasn’t until I got to about 80% of the book when there was finally a plot and something finally made sense and there were scenes with conversation and showing and not telling. This is when the story actually took off, and there wasn’t just a random car and some mechanics who live a blissfully unattactive and unexciting life with no personality.

The lack of story-telling and showing in the beginning is really what put me off. Then the randomness of what was happening that had no sense and no characterization to keep it interesting. If this story had started maybe 70% in, I would have loved it. If that extra 70% had shown up at the end of the story and been about the after discovery, this book could have been 5 stars.

Unless this is part of a series, I almost fail to see the point of it. A great series about everything that is going on (which I can’t say because SPOILER!). I would love to read a series about the rest of it, but just reading about these two women at A&A Salvage was rather boring in comparison to what else was going on.

The last 20% of this book saved it from being a DNF and a 1-2 star book for me. Finally there was plot and personality and story-telling. But it wasn’t able to redeem it enough for me to really recommend it to anyone.

~AJ

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AuthorBio

I also write fiction under the pseudonym plumblossom.

I write science fiction and fantasy stories and novels. Sometimes I also write contemporary friendship romances of the lighter sort.

My stories are about decent, imperfect people, trying to do the right thing in difficult circumstances while generally lacking the best equipment. Sometimes that’s pretty dramatic, sometimes it’s just kind of funny. Or both. I like to write about culture clash and crossed wires. My imagination might take me out among the stars or it might take me down the street.

I hope you’ll like peeking into the worlds where my stories go.

My photo was taken in Berlin, at the public park dedicated to Bertolt Brecht. The words are from his magnificent poem “To Posterity.”

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