Review: Possibilities by Nicole Field, A King’s Council 1

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I would rate this 4.75 stars.

This is a new to me author and I bought this based on the blurb. I would say this takes about 90 minutes to read. The writing syle is crisp and focused. It’s the story of a king who doesn’t want to be, was never intended to be, actually king. Hiring his jester is one of his many new duties, but it’s the one that ends up being his most personal. I love the idea of the King’s Jester being a trusted friend and confident. This author is great at building tension: court politics, longing for someone, establishing trust, and navigating power dynamics (not BDSM). Fairy tales can get away with many things that other books can’t. For instance, yes I did find it shocking they were left alone so soon. What if they were an assassin? What if they were a spy? But in this world, the jester school is well respected and trusted. This is meant to be a sweet fairy tale, so there is no room for that here. It’s a personal tale between two people based on mutual respect, a peek into their bubble. I am torn about whether I want another book, because this is perfect as it is in my opinion.

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A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Rook by T. Strange — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 Rook is sent to the alien prison planet B-226 for twenty three years for killing his husband. The average life span on the hostile planet is three weeks. His plan is to live as long as possible to honor his husband’s wishes, and then die and join him. Upon landing […]

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Rook by T. Strange — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Kanaan & Tilney: The Case of the Man-Eater by Jenna Rose and Katey Hawthorne — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5 This book is the second in the series and it would help to read them in order, but there is enough subtle recapping to read this alone. The series has a fun modern noir vibe. Be aware they describe brutal murders and this case deals with cannibalism. Lowell is […]

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Kanaan & Tilney: The Case of the Man-Eater by Jenna Rose and Katey Hawthorne — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Dangerous Times by Isobelle Winter — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5 This book starts out with a civil war started by King Taen by appropriating the lands of Lord Mavren, making him an enemy. Really there are huge ideological differences between the two and Mavren speaking out against what they see as issues in their society has lead to this. […]

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Dangerous Times by Isobelle Winter — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sometimes, I get it wrong. I couldn’t decide if I was going to try to use the author’s pronouns for this review (ne/nem/nir) or use they/them. I wrote it with masculine pronouns because it was easier for me, meaning to switch it later, but the review was due and I forgot why I hadn’t sent it in yet. I had been out of town for two weeks and was rather sleep deprived. So, yes, I think I messed up. It was not my intention to upset anyone. Here is the review rewritten with more neutral pronouns.

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I would rate this 4.25 stars.

This book starts out with a civil war started by King Taen by appropriating the lands of Lord Mavren, making them an enemy. Really there are huge ideological differences between the two and Mavren speaking out against what they see as issues in their society has lead to this. Lord General Aiomonni is the head of King Taen’s military and Lord Mavren’s previous lover. Mavren becomes King of their own rebel Catalyst forces. The reader is thrown into the mind of a Soldiercaste of the Augment Empire during a battle in which they are captured by the enemy. The Augment are a cybernetic species that need organic tissue for digestion, or a host body to assimilate. They are bipedal, yet insectile. This soldier becomes Nact of Quen and the reader will follow them as they raise up in the Catalyst army after their defection. When Nact and Aiomonni engage in battle beyond the charted galaxy to land on a hostile planet, their only hope of survival lies in cooperation, and maybe more.

I would recommend reading an excerpt to see if this book appeals to you. It is written with agender pronouns (ne/nem/nemself/nir). What makes this so compelling is that Nact’s POV shows what freedom and choice look like to someone who’s never had it. It takes six years for Nact to become a general, due to their skills, not because they were born into it. They channel their anger for how their caste was deprived and ill treated into battling King Taen’s forces. By the time they are sent to capture Aiomonni, my sympathies were engaged with them. But for all their privilege, Aiomonni is as much a captive of the system, of convention, as Nact was. The crash shows Aiomonni that their crew have skills beyond their caste. Alive on a populated planet named Colti, being Augment seems more important than their civil war. Showing Aiomonni’s POV makes them extremely sympathetic. At one point they have a common enemy, Plackart, who the author gives a moment of his own: a chance for the reason to see and understand who he is. (I used the he pronoun here because I have no idea if this species is agender also.) This would have been more poignant and heartbreaking than it is, if it had been explored more so my sympathies lay with him also, but that opportunity passes–it is an intellectual scene showing the psychology of his character rather than an emotional scene where I felt his pain and loss.

I feel like the whole book takes the first 25 percent to set-up until they crash land. Then, it gets really interesting. There are so many ethical issues raised throughout the book: the caste system, ruling by fear, being a parasitic race, acceptable behavior during war, what makes a person a person, the parameters of loyalty, etc. This is obviously not a traditional romance. Intimacy is earned by respect or allegiance, but there are layers to the intimacies they grant and even having larvae together doesn’t guarantee anything approximating love. There is never any doubt that these are alien creatures. The sex is completely alien. The sex scenes show aspects of their culture and personal characters as a normal part of life, however, at least for me, they weren’t terribly erotic. This book captures that forbidden feeling of wanting your political enemy whilst being stuck by duty of birth, oaths, and family obligations. This book is so intriguing because the characters are acting honorably–in their own fashion. Their temporary alliance for the greater good allows them to live in a bubble and indulge themselves, but it is temporary and the vanities of others await–continued war still awaits.

I would have liked to get to know some of the other passing characters more. At first I was not sure about the purpose of the character of Feylc, but they become a good foil and I realized it is something I’ve missed in other books as it’s an underutilized tool these days. Still, they are the only other Augment with a real personality here.

I’m not going to say this wasn’t sometimes a little difficult to fully picture, because it was. I’m not going to say the non-binary language wasn’t sometimes confusing (even having read many non-binary characters previously), because it did get awkward in places since the author still uses we and they. What I will say is that for me the effort was worth it. I liked that the world building was character focused and driven without all the extraneous descriptions of things that have no real bearing on the story. There is little attention placed on the various home worlds, which may annoy readers who expect and enjoy that type of detail. While there is tech involved, this is not hard science fiction in any way. The reader is told that things work, not how they work. The end wraps up in a satisfactory way with a (mostly) HEA, although it was startling to be narratively told, like a voice over, after living in the character’s heads for so long. I have to say I really enjoyed this book. If you like things that are different from the norm, give this a try.

The cover was designed by Aisha Akeju. I suppose it shows the ship going through the wormhole. It really isn’t intriguing enough for this book.

 

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Lord Seabolt (Four Families #2) by Megan Derr — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 4 stars out of 5 I think this could be read on its own without missing anything, but the emotional impact would be greater if Finder Tolan was read first. This takes place eighteen years later. Goss is now twenty. His father Tolan is now Master Mage for the Crown. His other father Shaw […]

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Lord Seabolt (Four Families #2) by Megan Derr — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: The Case of the Arms Dealers (Kanaan & Tilney #1) by Jenna Rose and Katey Hawthorne — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5 This is urban fantasy with Elementals, Beasts, Psychogenics, Necromorphs, and Terrans living alongside humans without them knowing. John Tilney is an author wanting to shadow the PI, Lowell Kanaan, for help with research for a book. Lowell is willing to have a free office assistant, but is slow to […]

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: The Case of the Arms Dealers (Kanaan & Tilney #1) by Jenna Rose and Katey Hawthorne — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Broken Alpha (The Alpha/Omega Verse #1) by D.C. Juris — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 Korden finds out his brother Rennett has been found alive after being missing for a year. They had searched for Rennett’s trail after he went missing, but it had gone cold. Korden’s suffered the loss of access to his sibling link, which is limited by distance. His friends and […]

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Broken Alpha (The Alpha/Omega Verse #1) by D.C. Juris — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Boxing Day Sales 2018

SOME OF THESE SALES END TODAY SO PLEASE READ THE DATES.


Here is a list of authors that have books on sale TODAY provided by R.J. Scott:

http://rjscott.co.uk/boxing-day-sale-2018


 

DSP Holiday 2018 sale

Dreamspinner Press, Harmony Ink Press, and DSP Publications are still having their Holiday sale through December 28th.


 

JMS Books logo

JMS Books has a sale that ends TODAY on with 50% off ebooks and $8 paperbacks.


 

HolidayMadness Enspire Sale 2018

Enspire Publications has ebooks 25-50% off until December 30th. Click coupon box in cart at check-out or enter: HolidayMadness2018.


 

extasy books sale 2018

Extasy Books and Devine Destinies is having a sale until December 31st.


 

Anna Butler has put her Taking Shield series on sale for 25% off, on Smashwords only, until January First. The first book is free to suck you in.


Kris Ripper has put her Queers of La Vista series on sale for .99 each until New Years.

GAYS OF OUR LIVES: https://books2read.com/u/3kravg

THE BUTCH AND THE BEAUTIFUL: https://books2read.com/u/4Ey6xz

THE QUEER AND THE RESTLESS: https://books2read.com/u/b625kE

ONE LIFE TO LOSE: http://books2read.com/u/mVBorM

AS LA VISTA TURNS: https://books2read.com/u/mvKk5j


 

Mischief Corner Books has all holiday books published before this year on sale until December 31st.


 

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Less Than Three Press has 20% off all books including on pre-orders and a contest that runs through December 31st.

Review: Diplomacy Squared By Sydney Blackburn

Diplomacy Squared Cover
Cover designed by Aisha Akeju

Diego has been the Captain/Fold Pilot on the commercial starliner Caravan for the last four years. Nineteen months ago humans made first contact with a humanoid species called Antho. Diplomats and scientists have been sent to live and work on the space station Mikesi orbiting their world Beresh. Upon arrival, he finds out they are to be posted there indefinitely and he and his crew are encouraged to interact with the Antho so they can get to know regular humans. There is a whole lot of getting to know each other.

The first problem is communication as the station Administrator, Portya, doesn’t have the best grasp of the Earth language, Syncrete, and humans apparently have a hard time learning how the Antho communicate since they have a complex nonverbal component of their language. Diego and Portya jump into sex without even understanding the differences in their species and cultures.

The book blurb says it all so there’s not really spoilers to worry about. This book is all about the telling and how well that’s done. I have to say, I think it’s done pretty well. The author starts out with everyone more formal in work situations, but once we start to see some of the characters on downtime, and Diego and Portya start dating, everything is more relaxed. We see a few other Earth and Antho characters, but this is mainly about our two MCs. There is some subtext going on: Portya’s public displays of affection are not making the other Antho happy. They encounter some prejudice from both sides about their relationship–either they want salacious details or are disgusted.

When Portya gets sick, Diego is kept away, unsure of what is going on. By the time everything is figured out, Diego reacts very badly. He thought he was in a relationship with a male, so he feels tricked and upset. We are dealing with aliens who are nonbinary–this could easily read as Portya being a hermaphrodite or a transgendered person. Although sexual orientation is not discussed per se, other Antho seem to be pansexual. They do not have gender pronouns on Beresh and have settled on the pronoun he in regards to Syncrete language for dealing with humans.

As I have previously stated, I am not a fan of mpreg. This was so sweet that by the end, I was just happy about it all. We get the wedding and all the feels. The epilogue does contain the birth, so I did have to read about a baby, but I came out unscathed.

I would rate this 4 stars.

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