A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Nuts (Ace’s Wild #2) by S.E. Jakes — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5 This series takes place in the same town, though each book is by a different author. Jagger and Preston meet on the first day of junior year after Preston gets punished for flunking out of several private schools and sent to a rough Boston public school. Although Jagger is […]

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A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Space Train by David Bridger — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

 

Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5 The blurb says this is like Firefly meets Wagon Train and that is accurate. This is the best world-building I have read in a long time that wasn’t contained in a bubble: meaning the reader isn’t just given enough to advance the plot at that moment, and that not […]

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A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Hearts Under Fire (New Amsterdam #1) by Kelly Wyre — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5 When two Doms meet in a bar and are enamored with each other…someone has to submit or they need a third. There are plenty of books like either of those scenarios, but this is something more nuanced. Clark owns a Bar named Glow, but is also part owner of […]

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A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Ignite (Unbreakable Bonds #7) by Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5 In this series the first four are a unit with a shared plot, the fifth is a wedding, the sixth is a misstep adventure (in my opinion), and this one is more related to the spin-off, Ward Security. In fact, if you haven’t tried the spin-off series, this might […]

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Review: Love Is All: Volume 2 edited by Xio Axelrod

LoveIsAllVol2
Copyright © 2019 by Xio Axelrod LLC

I would rate this whole collection 3.75 stars.

This is a charity anthology, so I tend to think of the stories as a thank you for donating money. All anthologies are a mixed bag and people will like different stories than I do, but here are a few of my favorites from this collection. There is a variety of combinations (M/M, F/F, M/M/F, M/F) with bisexual, trans, and ace represented. They are all contemporary except for the one historical, paranormal romance. The foreword by Roan Parrish is quite eloquent.

R.L. Merrill, Pinups and Puppies (F/F, 4 stars)

This is told from the first person POV of Marianne, who is struggling with grief and reintegration after her retirement from the Air Force. She owns a vintage plane and volunteers to transport dogs to help shelters who find them homes. That’s how she meets Dinah, who co-owns the shelter. They both seem to have great support systems filled with family and friends. With great chemistry, their lives and interests slot nicely together, making them a cute couple.

Susan Scott Shelley, Sugar Crush (Bliss Bakery Series) (M/M, 4.5 stars)

Jack, a horror novelist, gets to know a baker named Gabriel when he joins a softball team to help his friend Shane. This has an opposites attract trope with great sexual tension and friends as extended family. This is about fitting into someone’s life and making room for them to fit into yours–giving each other a safe space and carving out shared time, while still having their own interests. Also, not letting fear or the past get in the way of the future.

Xio Axelrod When Frankie Meets Johnny (M/M, 4.25 stars)

DJ meets contractor/teacher in this hurt/comfort tale with an age gap. This story is what you make it. I highly recommend listening to all the songs that he plays for a hell of a good time. If an artist is mentioned, but not a song, pick one that has a title that fits the scene. I would have rated this higher, but I couldn’t tell if this was Johnny’s first time with a man or he was demisexual? There is certainly a misunderstanding I think could have been handled better, but the story is charming.

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A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Fire on Ice by Deirdre O’Dare — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 3 stars out of 5 Bard has been the Captain of the Unit for the last two years. Gordon has become his de facto second in command, even though there seems to be no such designation in this military. The Universal Council is constantly conquering other worlds for their galaxy spanning empire. With the […]

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A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Keeping Cade (Crave Club #1) by S.E. Jakes — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 3 stars out of 5 Related to the Men Of Honor and Phoenix Inc. series, you can read this without reading the other seven books, as there is plenty of recapping, (over two dozen characters are mentioned in the first few chapters alone), but be prepared for the plot to be connected. I picked […]

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Review: Rough Terrain by Annabeth Albert, Out Of Uniform 7

Rough Terrain Cover
Carina Press does their covers in house.

I would rate this 4 stars.

This is the last book in the Out of Uniform series, but this will read fine as a standalone. Canaan is studying to be a geriatric nurse and working at a smoothie place by the base. When his friends and former band members pressure him to bring someone on their camping trip since everyone is coupled up, he invites his SEAL crush Renzo. The thing is, the plot is not that complicated. As always with Annabeth Albert, it’s the attention to detail and the skill put into making the audience care about her characters that elevates the book. They are both real, awkward, and honest–to a point as they both guard their hearts. Their interactions show how they fit together in both mundane and extreme circumstances. Seeing them deal with the outside pressure of others while they are on uneven footing was interesting, but the novel takes off when they get seperated from the group in a camping adventure gone wrong. The forced proximity and emergency bring them closer.

You have to admire Canaan for taking a chance and putting himself out there. He never lies to Renzo about who he is, his past, or what he wants. He usually instigates some pretty frank sex talk. I agree completely: if you can’t talk about it, you probably shouldn’t be doing it. The love scenes are steamy and sweet as they work out what works for them. Renzo took longer for me to know with all of his layers, and compartmentalizing. It’s not that Renzo can’t feel sexual attraction without an emotional connection, he just doesn’t want to. He’s also had some negative sexual encounters that gave him some hang-ups.

I think the strong ties that both guys have to their family ultimately help them to realize they could have those ties to each other if they take the chance. Relationships are work and compromise. With Renzo being away for long periods of time for military service, the commitment and trust have to be there. This is a good addition to the series, which I have really enjoyed. I would recommend them all, but my favorites are At Attention and Wheels Up.

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Review: Better Not Pout by Annabeth Albert

Better Not Pout Cover
Carina Press does in house covers.

I would rate this 4.25 stars.

When I read the blurb that a military policeman and an elf get caught in a snowstorm, I knew I had to read the book. I’d read anything by this author anyway, but that’s just too much fun to pass up, right? The Sergeant Major is doing a favor for his CO by playing Santa for a charity event. Teddy is the director of a charity resource center for low income people and volunteers to be an elf. As Nick and Teddy get thrown together, they’re acting like more than a hookup, but there is a short timeframe on this romance as Nick is about to retire in a month and move away from base.

There’s a bit of an age difference here with Nick the grumpy “old man” in his forties and Teddy as the enthusiastic, sweet guy in his late twenties, but this is not Daddy kink. While you might expect this to be fluff, the characters are people who know life is not all fluffy. The connection Nick fights is real, the sex hot. I found them both cute in their own way. I enjoyed the alternating POV. I wanted these guys to get their happily ever after, and yes I could see all the ducks lining up in a row to make that happen, but it was no less charming. There was some angst to get there, not because anything awful happens, but because sometimes things don’t work out because people decide they won’t, rather than deciding that they will. That’s what made me cry.

The author does a good job of making me feel like I was watching all this, like I was at all the events. There are a few family members or friends highlighted–nothing that stands out a lot, but enough that the story feels three dimensional. People say you can’t fall in love in a month, but I was engaged a week after I met my spouse. This isn’t instalove; Nick and Teddy know everything they need to know about each other and have built a good foundation. The last chapter takes place a year later and shows what building a life together looks like. This was realistic, sweet, romantic, sexy, and I liked the characters.

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A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Trusted (Until You #3) by Karrie Roman — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 This starts three days after the events of the previous book and focuses on Zach, the cult leader’s son, who was rescued during an FBI raid on the compound. He may have had a crush on Ben for helping rescue him, but it’s Ben’s brother Cameron who is helping […]

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