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3 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Angst Level Arranged Marriage Bodyguard Book Contemporary Dreamspinner Dystopian Established Couple Friends to lovers Gay Heat Index Hidden Lovers Hopelessly Crying m/m Mid level steam/heat Morgan mpreg Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Speculative Fiction

Mending the Rift by Chris T Kat

release day review

 

Dreamspinner Presents

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7448

29068902Blurb

In a future where man’s ability to reproduce is severely compromised, humanity has adapted to survive. Breeders—male and female—have become precious commodities, and they are strictly guarded and subject to limitations.

Luca Walker is a breeder. Though he knows what’s expected of him as the youngest son of the Northern Confederacy’s vice president, he’s held out against the pressures of an arranged marriage because he longs to marry for love, not duty. But he’s been promised to Colonel Liam Smith and there’s little he can do about it, no matter that Luca is secretly in love with his bodyguard, Marcus Gray.

When Luca finds himself pregnant with Marcus’s baby, Smith is furious and vows to take what is his—by force, if necessary. Now Luca must fight for his life and the life of his unborn child… as well as the love of Marcus and the happily ever after he’s always dreamed of.

Review

I am a fan of Chris Kat and I love mpreg. I am not normally a fan of dystopian stories – but I figured I’d give this a shot because of the other two things going for this story.

Well… I think the dystopian part overrode my abilities to like this story. It was so depressing. I hate thinking about a future like that and it colored my enjoyment of this story.

Luca is a “breeder” which is a coarse way of saying he can become pregnant in a world where that is a commodity – bought and sold in the form of arranged marriages.

As a result he doesn’t get to choose who he loves, even though he’s fallen for his bodyguard. His fathers – who had a similarly arranged marriage – don’t see the problem but do (strangely) interfere in the process once it’s found that Luca is in love.

** Mild spoiler – I really didn’t like how Luca got pregnant and it really bothered me throughout the rest of the story.**

Since the story started out so rocky for me – it was definitely hard for me to push through.

In the end, I was never really enthralled with the relationship or the world in which Luca and Marcus live. I wasn’t sure what to make of the “intended”- Liam – and his role in the drama and I wasn’t even sure Luca’s father was “a good guy”.

I think that for fans of dystopian romances this will appeal but I’d stay away from it if you’re looking for shiny and happy.

3 of 5 stars for the writing and creativity

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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Categories
4 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Alternate World Angst Level Book Dreamspinner Exploration Heat Index m/m Mid level angst Mild/low level heat Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal second chance at love Speculative Fiction Virgin

Song of Song by LJ LaBarthe

 

Dreamspinner Presents

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7332

 

SongOfSongLGBlurb

It is the year 2275, and though some consider Earth a paradise, for most people on the planet or her outer-world colonies, it’s anything but.

Dex is a Boxie—a genetically engineered human created for the sole purpose of caring for wealthy bio-humans. His best and only friend is an AI cat named Manx, a secret Dex keeps from all around him. While he knows little about his sexuality, he’s attracted to Song.

Song designs ships that traverse deep space and has created the first fully sentient vessel called Fa’a. When he hears of a plot to capture Fa’a for nefarious purposes, Song flees Earth with a small band of misfits. Meanwhile, Dex’s fear of losing Manx drives him to take the cat and escape on a transport.

Song and Dex are brought together by chance. Just as their relationship blossoms from cautious and shy to romantic and erotic, new dangers threaten to destroy not only their love but also Fa’a, their friends, Manx, and all they care about.

Review

Dex is a human, but he’s been scientifically created and bred specifically to do a certain task – in this case repair space ships. Recently these robotic humans were given AI pets to “give them a taste of compassion” and Dex fell in love with his cat AI – Manx. (Not “in love – but totally devoted to, his only friend type love.)

When the government wants to take back these AI pets because they seem to be too much of a distraction for the workers Dex decides he’d rather risk everything than give up his one and only piece of love in this world.

He escapes his little town and ends up on a ship that takes him in the path of the Earth’s most wanted fugitive, Song. Song’s posters are up all over earth and Dex has been secretly attracted to the fugitive – both for his face and his cause – ever since he saw him.

Song is a genius and eccentric, fighting for freedom and building a sentient, feeling, AI ship Fa’a. When Fa’a gets injured in a fight he needs someone who can repair her and enlists Dex for the job.

Though they’re relationship is awkward at times – Dex has never even had a human friend, much less a relationship and Song is just brainy enough to not be very good at the social part of things – they end up making it work and finding success on their journey for freedom.

**

I love doing reviews and running my blog site because I get the chance to read different authors and styles of writing and genres I might not normally be willing to take a chance on.

The blurb/premise totally captivated me even though I am NOT a sci-fi fan and usually shy away from anything dystopian, in space, futuristic, etc.

Well… in this case I was both really pleased I had taken the chance and also somewhat reminded why I don’t like this genre.

The author did a TREMENDOUS job of world building. The sentient ship and the crew and Manx – wildly creative and fun. Then there was the “adventure” the fight for freedom and all that entails. Finally, the romance. Since both characters really had NO CLUE about romance, that was a hoot! (Fa’a and Manx were my favorites!)

It’s hard to rate a book like this (for me) because it was really quite good, just not quite “my thing”. I just think it’s a matter of taste. I got caught up in all the new words, and there was quite a bit of time devoted to their purpose rather than their romance and though I would absolutely call this a “romance”, it didn’t always take the front seat in the story.

So, from a writing-creative-world-building standpoint I’d rate this very high, for a romance a bit lower. Overall, I’d average it to a 3.75 of 5 and recommend it if you’re a sci-fi fan (I think you’ll LOVE this), but if you’re like me – more of a romance “purist”- you might not be satisfied with this story.

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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Alternate World Angst Level Book Contemporary Cop/Crime Dreamspinner Enemies to Lovers Established Couple Gay Heat Index Hopelessly Crying m/m Mild/low level heat Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Paranormal Part of a Series Purchased Speculative Fiction

Judgment by Mary Calmes

judgmentBlurb

Jeritt Troy is a Scourge, a guardian tasked with patrolling cracks in time and righting the unspoken wrongs in history. His next task is a killer-not just for him, but for his husband and partner, Frost Ramsey, because Jeritt’s not just tracking a bad guy; he’s tracking his previous partner-his best friend. Brekin Creed is as deadly as he’s ever been, and when Jeritt finds himself both abandoned and stranded in time, he has only a handful of years to figure out what went wrong with Brekin and, in doing so, save Frost’s life. Is there time enough for Jeritt to save Frost, or will he be locked in the judgment of his mistakes for eternity? A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2012 Daily Dose package “Time Is Eternity.”

Review

This is a little space drama/time travel story involving a space police officer – in charge of fixing things in the future by travelling back in time and his partners (both life and on the force).

Jeritt and Brekin were partners until suddenly Brekin up and disappears. Now, with a new partner (who happens to also be his lover) Jeritt must find Brekin and bring him to justice.

What we don’t know is why Brekin disappeared. When Jeritt finds out, he has some tough decisions to make – including one that might end up with him having his arm permanently amputated.

**

In this short story we get two tales. One – in the future – between Jeritt and his lover Frost. It’s hot and full of Alpha moves and growly possession.

Second- Jeritt is on his own – making huge life changing decisions and waiting for the repurcussions.

It’s not a typical Mary Calmes story – I’m not sure I’ve seen anything else by her set in outer space – and it’s not my favorite of hers – but it makes you think. It also still provides that warm glowy feeling she’s so good at providing because Frost and Jeritt are so damn cute together. Like best friends who become lovers but still tease one another.

I loved their relationship, thought the twist/morality of the story was fascinating and though I’m not a big space opera fan, thought her take on futuristic time travel was interesting too.

4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Dreamspinner Presents

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2980

Categories
adult - 18+ Alternate World Angst Level Bi-Sexual Book Contemporary Exploration Fantasy Gay GFY/OFY Homophobia Hopelessly Crying m/m Mid level steam/heat Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Purchased Riptide Publishing Shifter Speculative Fiction Trans Virgin

Static by LA Witt

Static_500x750Blurb
After two years together, Alex has been dreading the inevitable moment when Damon learns the truth: that Alex is a shifter, part of a small percentage of the population able to switch genders at will. Thanks to a forced implant, though, Alex is suddenly static—unable to shift—and male. Overnight, he’s out to a world that neither understands nor tolerates shifters . . . and to his heterosexual boyfriend.
Damon is stunned to discover his girlfriend is a shifter, and scared to death of the dangers the implant poses to Alex’s health. He refuses to abandon Alex, but what about their relationship? Damon is straight, and with the implant both costly and dangerous to remove, Alex is stuck as a man.
Stripped of half his identity and facing serious physical and social ramifications, Alex needs Damon more than ever, but he doesn’t see how they can get through this.
Especially if he’s static forever.
Review

WOW!

This ranks as one of my all time favorite books in this genre.
I can’t say enough good things about this – but I’ll try!

First – it’s sort of a unique shifter book. Instead of shifting into animals, in this world that LA Witt has created, some people can change their sex at will. Not just the important pieces, but their entire bodies. So they become more masculine, larger, muscular, etcetera for male and smaller, more delicate, etcetera for female. But like fraternal twins, they still retain that look about them so you can see the resemblance.

In this case Alex (both female and male version) is dating Damon as a woman. Damon doesn’t know about the male Alex and this causes a lot of worry as to how to go about telling him. The point becomes moot when Alex’s parents decide to force her to stay permanently male, or “static” by injecting an evil chip into her spine. Of course they have no knowledge of Alex’s female love-life, only a desire to have a son and NOT to have someone who can shift genders.

There is the possibility of removing the chip but it has the potential for disaster, paralysis, death, dismemberment – ok not really – but also continuing the static state. Some people choose this treatment voluntarily but not Alex. S/he has always enjoyed the huge freedom allowed by being able to be one then the other gender. And since she thinks she may be in love with her straight boyfriend, being stuck as a man is particularly harsh.

But… the time comes when Alex must show Damon the truth of the situation. And here is where things really get to be interesting on both a plot level and a sociological level. (This is what makes this book spectacular IMHO – the bringing in so flawlessly the social construct of gender identity and the breakdown of what it means to be woman or man – especially when – in this case – it’s the same person wearing a different “skin”.)

Damon really does care for – maybe even love Alex – so he’s willing to at least try to work through this crisis and see it through. He doesn’t know what he wants. For Alex to go through with the reversal surgery? To try to be with a man when he’s only ever identified as straight? To give up and let Alex do this alone? But no, he’s an amazing person and sticks with it.

The story is so full of social questions. There’s prejudice. There’s the discussion of what if feels like to be in the “wrong body”. There’s the gay/straight/person centric version of sexual attraction. There’s – Gah! So much!

In the end the two lovers must make a decision. Should Alex attempt the surgery and is the risk worth it.

I won’t tell you the final decision but it is thought provoking – to say the least.

LA Witt won some awards for this – as she should have – and I can see why. It’s so amazing, her ability to hit you with these social question while still weaving a beautiful and touching and sometimes erotic love story. Superb!

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RainbowWinner

lambda finalist

 

 

 

If you have any interest in transgender and gender fluidity or gender ID this is right up your alley. It also fulfills something for those GFY fans. But it’s still, at it’s heart, a love story and a story of knowing one’s heart – so truly, any fan of romance will be entranced.

I can’t recommend it highly enough!

6 of 5 stars

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Copy purchased for review

To Buy

Riptide Presents

http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/static