Here’s the book trailer for Written In The Snow. Enjoy!
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This story is part of the Love Has No Boundaries event and is available for download here.
Markon is a model owned by the Gonos Corp. who’s suffering terrible nightmares. He’s afraid to tell his boyfriend Rasen because he thinks Rasen only loves his perfection. But sooner or later he’ll have to break down and reveal the truth – that the Gonos Corp is torturing him with a chip in his brain because he overheard a secret that concerns the very fate of the world itself.
I really enjoyed this contribution to the Love Has No Boundaries event. I’m a total sucker for dystopian stories, so this one was high up on my reading list. It certainly didn’t disappoint, even if it ended a little suddenly and uncertainly. I would definitely describe this one as a HFN, so if you absolutely have to know the eventual fate of the characters you read about, this one may not be your cup of tea. There’s room for a sequel and I would certainly read it.
I thought the world was interesting and Markon’s secret definitely turns the whole story on its head in a good way. Rasen turns out to be a lot more understanding than Markon thinks and eventually is the one who guides him through the things to come. I was glad to see Markon was wrong about him. The Gonos Corp. definitely come off as good villains, screwing everyone else over while protecting their own interests.
If you like dystopian stories or are curious about the genre, I highly recommend Falling Apart. It manages to be original while still portraying a vision of a frightening future dominated by a dictatorial world power.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This short is part of the free Love Has No Boundaries event and can be downloaded here.
Surveillance officer Antao lives a lonely existence in Tower-Oh-Seventy-Two, but it’s a step up from the life he had before. He puts everything on the line when he sees an assassin on the video monitor and decides to cover for him. Drawn to the man, he seeks him out in the lower corridors where he finds the man passed out from a seizure. Antao does the unthinkable and takes him home.
“I loved you when you were pixels.”
I think that might be my favorite line all year. Julio-Alexi Genao is certainly a master of the written word. Every line in When You Were Pixels is like poetry, and it was a welcome entry into my library and my soul. I needed this story without even knowing it.
I could relate deeply to Antao’s loneliness, and the way he loves – his own feelings being a source of joy long before needing anything in return. This story reminded me of crushes left in the dust long ago, feelings for people that could never be reciprocated and yet were still wonderful to experience – but inevitably fleeting. His connection to the assassin is eventually mutual, but the only person who gets to remember is Antao.
The ending was sad, though I never felt like Antao really lost. He was stronger for having not been alone, if only for a little while. He was able to make a connection and break through to another person’s heart in a very isolated world, even if the assassin eventually slipped through his fingers like so many grains of sand.
When You Were Pixels is a must read. It’s short, but in an intentional way. This is short story writing at its best. It never feels rushed, nor does it feel like a piece of a story. It leaves you wanting more, but only in a good way.
I can’t wait to see where the Syntax series goes. I will definitely be along for the ride, no matter how long I have to wait. In the meantime, you owe it to yourselves to download this free short and make time to read it. You won’t regret it.
Prisoner 374215 has been conditioned to have no name, no past and no future. He spends his days waiting for the next medical experiment that he knows will eventually lead to his death. There is one recent development in his captivity, however; in the form of a guard who sits and watches him sleep every night. This mysterious figure holds the key to Prisoner 374215’s past… and his future.
Prisoner 374215 is a FREE story offered from the Goodreads M/M Romance Group’s Love Has No Boundaries event. You can read it here.
This story hits all the right buttons for me right out of the gate. Prisoner 374215 is set in a dystopian future prison environment and has a powerful hurt/comfort theme. I couldn’t ask for a story more suited to my tastes. That would be nothing if the author couldn’t deliver, but Martinez certainly does. The writing is rich and detailed, building this torturous world and its characters up perfectly and offering them resolution in just 10,000 words.
The hurt in this story is gut wrenching, which makes the moments of slightest tenderness stand out in contrast. I haven’t felt such powerful emotions about a work of fiction since I read Junction X earlier this year. I shivered right down to my very soul while reading this, feeling for the prisoner and delighting in the guard’s gentle care of him in such a terrible and brutal place. I was afraid to hope for the prisoner and yet I did regardless, feeling immense sorrow every time he expected the guard to hurt him somehow.
I liked the slow reveal of who each character was, even their names. As the warmth between the prisoner and the guard grows, we get to know more about who they were before the entered the prison. It’s quite shocking to learn who the prisoner was before he was broken down.
I especially liked the ending. I couldn’t have asked for a stronger, happier ending and yet it is believable for a person who has been through what the prisoner has suffered. His suffering is not just swept under the rug and yet he manages to lead a fulfilling life despite his pain. I had tears in my eyes at the end of the book. They were tears of gratitude that the prisoner was able to find love and a happy resolution despite his ordeal.
I couldn’t recommend Prisoner 374215 more strongly. It’s an emotional roller coaster that will leave you breathless. If you still need further convincing, I would consider Prisoner 374215 to be my favorite read of 2013 so far. That’s how strongly I feel about this story.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Price: FREE on All Romance E-Books
In a post-apocalyptic world where mankind has been inalterably changed, Cam leaves his home to find the elixir that will allow his change into homo avius, a man with wings, so that he might spread stories across the world. But scientists’ darkest accident, the cruel and cannibalistic Ravineux stand in Cam’s way. The world is not entirely without friendly company, though. As Cam meets a strange hunter, he finds himself inexorably attracted to the man. Seth, pleasure giver of his people, is entranced by this young man who would give himself so easily. With the belief that Cam is his mate, he goes forth to rescue him from mortal danger and help him find the elixir so he might become his true form and fly at last.
I loved Flight of Fancy. In a short time, this book built a rich and exciting world which I felt fully immersed in. I couldn’t believe how much action, world-building and romance was present in this story. It was a real page-turner for me. Noel makes use of every word to enrich world-building, character development or plot and the book never plods.
I really believed that Camden and Seth were a loving couple and was rooting for them the whole way. The Ravineux were quite the wicked, inhumane villains and really felt like a real threat to the couple’s safety. I was pretty much glued to this story from beginning to end and I can’t wait to read more from this fresh and unique universe.
If I had any complaints about this book, it would be editing. There were several mistakes that could be weeded out with a bit more attention. In addition, the sex scenes delved into purple prose a few times. I don’t particularly find phrases like “throbbing man parts” to be attractive.
Flight of Fancy is a free read and I wholeheartedly recommend it. This isn’t a free story that feels like a rejected leftover. This book is a great setup for a world that I can’t wait to dip into again, hopefully with a full-size novel.
My rating: 3.5 stars
Noah is an alien who became trapped on Earth in the 1600s. Feeling a connection to a human for the first time in hundreds of years, he seeks out the man, only to find Connor is an agent for Primrose, an alien-tracking agency. Worse than that, Connor is already happy with a boyfriend at his side. But the link is something not easily broken. Will fate pull them together or will their special link fall by the wayside?
I’m a huge fan of the X-Files and had a time in my life where I was practically obsessed with anything alien. So I was quite excited to discover an alien-themed M/M romance novel. I received the paperback for Xmas and was really looking forward to reading Aliens, Smith and Jones.
However, for a novel that is one part mystery and one part romance, it only really succeeds at the romance. The bond between Connor and Noah is deep, intense and quite beautiful. Watching them become closer as they discover the nature of their connection is quite satisfying. The supporting cast is pretty strong and I especially loved Connor’s assistant, Isa, who is always trying to set Connor up with dates. I also liked reading about the work of the Primrose agency as they tracked down aliens.
Sadly, the mystery element of the novel is very predictable. I had figured out who the main villain was barely a quarter of the way into the book, and I was disappointed to discover I was not wrong. The novel lacks the usual misdirection required to fool the reader into believing someone else is possibly the villain. Without that, the answer is pretty obvious from the very beginning. With a limited cast, there are only a few people that could be at fault, and the clues were very easy to piece together.
Another drawback was how much of the action seemed to take place in the last five minutes. Everything wraps up at such breakneck speed that it’s almost impossible to process all of the required emotions at the huge events that unfold.
Despite my drawbacks, I still enjoyed Aliens, Smith and Jones. It just didn’t quite live up to my very high expectations for a novel of this type. It’s still a very good alien-flavored romance, and if that’s what you’re looking for you won’t be disappointed.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Vin and Jali have been paired up to shoot a pornographic movie for a high-paying customer, the only problem is that Jali is an alien of a species that Vin has never seen before… and that the customer wants him to bottom, something he doesn’t do on camera. Will Vin and Jali figure it out or will Vin have to negotiate an escape clause and take a penalty?
I was very excited when I read the blurb for this story. Sci-fi? Futuristic pornography? Alien sex? Sold. However, while the setting of this story was interesting, I felt a little disappointed when I actually got around to reading it. It’s still an interesting, well-written story with developed characters that’s worth reading, especially as it is free. However, it comes with some drawbacks that keep it from earning a higher score in my opinion.
Jali was probably my favorite character in this book. He’s an interesting alien with blue skin and the power to project thoughts. He’s pretty matter-of-fact about his job and doesn’t seem to be shy about being on film at all. Vin was a little more reluctant but by the end of the book I had warmed more to him as well, especially when he finally stands up for himself and what he wants.
While I’d hoped for Vin and Jali to film the vid and find a deeper connection, this story actually takes place before the shoot and ends at the very start of it. I was fine with that because I figured it would help Vin and Jali find a deeper emotional connection, but certain things about their relationship fell flat for me regardless. I felt that Jali jumped the gun, so to speak, on announcing that they might be able to share a permanent bond. The sex lacked intimacy for a private act in my opinion and would have been better suited to being in front of the camera. When we finally got to the shoot, the story abruptly ended with a hazy HFA.
My other complaint is that some consent issues made me feel a little uncomfortable at the beginning. While Vin is understandably under a contract, it seems at the start that he is almost being coerced to co-operate. He’s scared by the size of Jali’s dick. He’s being forced to wear a cock ring that penalizes him for taking it off. Top it off with the fact that he’s being asked to participate in a sex act he’s uncomfortable with and can’t just walk away from killed some of the hotness for me. I don’t really enjoy fear or reluctance in a sexual relationship that’s supposed to be a HEA or HFN. When Vin does come around to the idea of sexual congress with Jali, it turns out that Jali is emitting pheromones and I really did wonder how much of their connection was real and how much was Vin under the influence of that. Jali did seem like a nice, interesting guy and I didn’t think he was taking advantage of Vin at all, but I really did feel that Vin was a reluctant porn star who shouldn’t have been in the business in the first place. The ending did resolve a lot of that but at the start I was mentally begging Vin to just break his contract and leave. I know it wasn’t really intended to be read that way, but my mind does go to dark places occasionally. Perhaps I was just in a dark mood when I read this and I’d say that if you’re interested in reading it, please don’t let my review put you off.
Now in a revised second edition, Heart Of The Sun is absolutely FREE! Download the e-book at All Romance.
A war based on cultural misunderstandings with the alien Karalian race has plagued Humans for over two hundred years. Thrust into this war is Alan Watson-Karvakian, a patriotic fighter pilot who fights in the war to protect his family back on Earth. He believes with all his heart that he’s defending Earth from a wicked alien race hellbent on its destruction.
Everything’s about to change for Alan. When his ship crash-lands on contested planet Rinax One, he meets Karalian Vash Zor’Vina, who rocks Alan’s expectations by saving his life. Vash is being pursued by Karalian commandoes determined to execute him, and Alan finds himself mired in complex Karalian social issues. He’ll have to re-evaluate his views if he wants to save Vash, and come to the understanding that not everything he’s been told by his government is the truth.
Add the fact that Vash is attractive and stirring in a way that Alan hasn’t felt in years, and the stage is set for an internal struggle that will take both of them past differences, politics, and personal doubts into a romance that will change their lives forever.
A story written for the Goodreads Gay Science Fiction Group’s 500 Member Challenge, based on the following prompt from user Bluesky39:
“I would like to read about a future human race at war with an alien race. Two soldiers, one from each side, are the only survivors left on an alien planet and have to work together to survive. They should fall in love and have an HEA but the conflict between the races doesn’t have to be resolved. Maybe our heroes escape to another galaxy or find asylum on a neutral planet. The military aspect and the clash between the differing races and cultures are key to the story.”
Visit the prompt thread at: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/998902-story-prompts-writers-come-pick-a-prompt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
In this sequel to Opening Worlds, we continue following Jason Kim as he goes to live on Perelan with his new husband Ferran. Jason will have to face culture shock, homesickness, misunderstandings and political intrigue as he struggles to reconcile the things he believes in and his feelings for Ferran with strange alien traditions and a people divided as to whether they want him there at all.
Changing Worlds builds on the strong relationship of Jason and Ferran while introducing conflicts and external pressures that test the strength of their bond and even their very lives. Even though Ferran’s family is very accepting of Jason, other houses are not and he has to struggle with a language barrier and an isolationist society that is leery of outsiders. Jason and Ferran show their inner strength as they face these trials, proving their love over and over again. I really felt that I was reading about the best of marriages as the two prop each other up and care for each other’s safety and well-being. They have misunderstandings too, like any married couple, yet they communicate like adults and settle their problems.
Changing Worlds struck me on a personal level as well. As an ex-pat, I have had to deal with feelings of homesickness and adapting to a different culture. The way Jason’s feelings are portrayed in Changing Worlds is one-hundred-percent accurate. I actually felt tears roll down my face as Jason grew frustrated and yearned for the simple trappings of home in one scene. Yet, like my real life, the love he left his home for is worth more to him than anything and his determination to see it through for Ferran means he earns every drop of love that comes his way. The best relationships, real and fictional, are earned through struggle and personal growth, sacrifice and shared experience and I really felt that between Ferran and Jason.
Cari Z has also created an incredibly rich world with Perelan. Everything from the acid humidity of the air to the rituals of the culture are shown to the reader in vivid detail, bringing Perelan and its people to life. Sometimes these details are unflinching and somewhat disconcerting, but that only adds to the richness of the story. The supporting characters are strong as well, the twins as well as Matriarch Grenn and Giselle in particular, though I found Penelope’s backstory intriguing as well. The internal politics of Perelan feel real and believable, the kind of schemes and machinations that would happen in a society like this struggling to define itself and the direction it wants to take in a larger universe.
This novel is ripe for a sequel as well. I would love to go back to Perelan or even just visit Jason and Ferran out in the universe someday. I hope Cari Z considers it as I really love the universe she has created here and recommend it to everyone.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Jason Kim is a captain of a merchant starship which takes on board all kinds of passengers, including the mysterious and outgoing alien Perels. He’s a little less than happy to be taking three of them back to their home planet, especially as he’s still stinging over the end of a previous relationship. However, one of the Perels, Ferran, proves to be different from the others and seeks out Jason’s company. These two lonely souls find they have a lot in common, but Ferran’s obligations to duty and family back on Perelan make any lasting relationship impossible. Falling for Ferran despite his reservations, Jason must make the most of his time with Ferran… but will a few moments be enough to last for a lifetime?
Opening Worlds is a fantastic short story that is the prequel to (and included with) the full novel Changing Worlds, which takes place directly after.
Opening Worlds is a story filled with emotion. I felt warmth, love, desire, yearning, loss, sadness and joy all in the space of a few thousand words. Cari Z’s intricate details and deliberate pacing build not only a believable relationship between Jason and Ferran, but a mutual bond built on friendship and working on both a physical and intellectual level. Not only was I rooting for the couple to end up together, I felt that they belonged together and brought something valuable into each other’s lives. The ending was satisfying either as a prequel or stand-alone, though I can’t imagine not wanting to read more after this. Highly recommended.