Review: Alpha Barman by Sue Brown, J.T.’s Bar 1

AlphaBarman
Cover design by Garrett Leigh, Black Jazz Design

I would rate this 3 stars

After J.T.’s sister Sharon is murdered, he resigns from a covert ops organization. Riley, his best friend since grade school and Sharon’s husband, goes to prison while JT just leaves his whole life behind, including his boyfriend Mitch and starts going by the name Jake. With the loss of Riley and Jake, the whole team crumbles as even two years later half the team thinks Riley is guilty, and half think he’s innocent. When Riley escapes from prison and makes his way to the bar, is he there to kill Jake, or something else?

Most of the characters are all veterans and ex or current law enforcement except for Howie, the bar’s co-owner. Jake seems a little clumsy for an elite ex-soldier. His abandoning his boyfriend without a word is a source of conflict for me. The one thing Jake and Mitch do right is sex, the talking not so much; even at the end of this I am not convinced they can have a mature adult conversation about their feelings. The other team members (Del, Si, and Ruiz) just seem to take this all in their stride and forgive Jake for disappearing, or at least there isn’t anything that shows differently. There is also a side insta-lust romance with Howie and Si. The foreshadowing is a little clumsy all heading towards a confrontation with the bad guy with a suprise plot twist coming out of nowhere. As a short novella, this is just a bunch of fun–nothing too detailed or angsty, with some mildly spicy sex scenes.

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**This series was originally published by Dreamspinner Press and has been self-published by the author. It is now exclusive to Amazon. She does sometimes sell through Payhip first, so signup for her newsletter.

 

 

Review: Rescuing Kyle (Special Forces: Operation Alpha #1) by Lynn Michaels

I would rate this 3 stars.

Kyle is a motorcross racer traveling across Europe when he mets up with his cousin Warren, an Army Ranger, in Germany. Which is how he meets Warren’s colleague, a CIA agent named Steve. Warren and Kyle grew up together, acting more like brothers than cousins due to some family rift not really explained. Being of Chippewa heritage, much is made of the fact they look so much alike that people can’t tell them apart. When mercenaries kidnap Kyle instead of Warren, the race is on to rescue him before it’s too late.

Even though Steve feels his job makes a relationship impossible, he sure dives into one pretty fast. After their first night together, Kyle leaves for his next race but they keep in touch, have phone sex. Even when they meet back up, there are sentences like: “they managed to see each other a few times during the week.” So really the story is telling you without showing you what happens between the sex, which doesn’t encourage the reader to be emotionally connected to the characters, their lives, nor their relationship. I didn’t feel the chemistry even though I’m told it’s there. The sex scenes, though explicit, didn’t feel that hot to me, but I appreciated the sense of fun and laughter at times. Yep, you are allowed to be stupid and have fun during sex. Yet, as soon as he is out of the hospital, of course there is sex, which I’m not sure is necessary. Then later in the story is this quote: “He used it [lube] liberally, trying to get the stretching done fast. Even though that was normally fun foreplay for them, he wanted to get to the best part, the most intimate part.” No. That is not the most intimate part of sex. So as an erotic romance, this didn’t work for me.

It also didn’t work for me as an action adventure. When Kyle is not at the ticket booth at the festival, Steve freaks out and I’m not sure why. He could have gone to use the toilet! Why is the immediate response panic? After the fact that Kyle and Warren look like twins is mentioned to the reader numerous times, the only one who thinks about that when Kyle is taken is Steve, who has to point it out to the rest of the highly trained, elite, special forces team. Spy novels are referenced several times and it seems there wasn’t too much research done into what a CIA agent’s job might be like, even for Steve before he became one. Steve is supposed to be trained at gathering intelligence, but doesn’t know how to search the dark web. That is ridiculous. In fact, because it is mentioned so much in books, I tried it. It’s not the navigating that is difficult; it is paying for things without getting caught that is difficult. Then there is the complete lack of professionalism when Kyle is taken and Warren falls apart and ceases to function.

I have to say, this wasn’t my cup of tea. There wasn’t much depth here, so all the characters fell flat for me. There are about eighteen characters in this story, but the reader only gets to know three of them: Kyle, Steve, and maybe Warren. This is not helped by the fact that one character is half of the time called Chase, and half of the time called Jackson. In fact the author seems to know this since in chapter 17, the reader is told that Oz is Kyle’s manager, again, but I actually found it helpful. Most of the characters are interchangeable military men with nicknames. When Steve and Kyle make changes to their lives in order be together, all new characters get thrown into the last five percent of the book. Or are they from another book and I missed something? Some guy named Jeff lectured to Kyle at the end and it really annoyed me, but it felt like a poke at people who think they know how dangerous these men’s jobs are, but honestly have no idea. I think the point here is that Kyle knows more than most since he “lived it” for two days in an attempt for the author to show that they will have their HEA and can make it for the long haul.

The cover by Kris Jacen shows the motorcoss part of the book, but don’t communicate the terrorist and military action elements.

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Rescuing Kyle (Special Forces: Operation Alpha #1) by Lynn Michaels — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Review : A Fluid State by Rob Browatzke

I would rate this 4 stars.

In the beginning, Patrick is seeing his son Peter for the first time in two years after coming home from Afghanistan. Patrick’s ex-wife Christy really drop kicks Patrick into the deep end, and expects him to adapt and act appropriately without any frame of previous reference for how to deal with his new gender bending, vegetarian, 11 year old son who loves Saturday morning Drag Queen Storytelling at the local library. Of course, the idea that Patrick’s ex is a POC, that he acknowledges the issue for his son, was the only thing that made me give him the benefit of the doubt. Then, it switches to Andrew’s POV: he is lonely and having trouble dating. At first most of his personality is funny and snarky asides, which come from his drag persona Ann. When they meet while Andrew is out of drag, Patrick realizes maybe it’s a good idea to get to know who his son spends time with. If this keeps him from looking like a bigot, then all the better.

Being inside Patrick’s head and listening to what is coming out of his mouth at the beginning is cringeworthy. All anyone has is what they are taught until they know better, then they need to do better, and he does. Patrick’s most important consideration seems to be for Peter be happy, but Peter is still figuring things out and the effects of bullying are difficult to read. I’m not a huge fan of babies or kids in books, but Peter is a huge part of why this all works rather than just an excuse for Andrew and Patrick to get together. I like that Patrick likes Andrew, and isn’t just attracted to Ann. Although that can be hot too when written right, the author is clear that Patrick isn’t ever pretending Andrew is Ann or fetishizing Ann in any way. In many ways Andrew is too good to be true: always patient, kind, understanding, good with kids, and good natured in general.

The timeframe is a bit too short to believe the 180 Patrick does from the beginning of the book to the end because there’s nothing gradual about this, but I remember seeing an episode of a show called Faking It on Channel 4 in the UK in 2002. It was about people who have a complete career change in four weeks and a heterosexual ex-navy officer learns to be a drag queen. Not that Patrick goes that far (lol), but that someone really can learn to have empathy, respect, and integrate into a new way a thinking, a new community, if they make the effort.

As for the bi for you and first time tropes, Patrick reads demisexual to me, having only been in two prior relationships, one of which was his wife. This is a heartwarming story of a father who discovers who he is and what he wants for himself later in life. While it has all the feels and hot love scenes, it’s because I wanted the fairytale, rather than it was entirely realistically fleshed out–it’s an easy read with surprisingly low angst. But, sometimes life does slot into place just like it ought to and those times are magical whether real or on the page.

The cover design is by Alexandria Corza. I think it’s striking, but it doesn’t show the family aspect of the story.

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review :A Fluid State by Rob Browatzke — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Review: Two Divided by Zero (Zero Rising #2) by Jackie Keswick

Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

This is the second book of the Zero Rising series, which gives more background about Jack. The first book in the Zero Rising series is named The Power of Zero, which is also the name of the series that was written first, but takes place after these novellas. While these are enjoyable on their own, and I think you could read them even out of order and suss all the important details, for best emotional impact I would recommend reading the The Power of Zero series first and then reading the Zero Rising series as the prequels they are meant to be. I look at this series as a thank you to fans. If you haven’t read anything else, you could still pick up these novellas to see if you like the writing style before you read the longer novels.

This shows some of Jack and Gareth’s time in the service through Jack’s flashbacks. Guilt causes Jack to leave the British Army early without a plan about what to do next with his life. Anyone who has read The Power of Zero series knows Jack had PTSD before he went into the service. Jack is having a hard time adjusting to civilian life, heck regular life at all. He has always just been trying to survive from day to day. Almost the whole novella takes place in Jack’s thoughts, so there isn’t as much dialogue. This is like a slice of life showing how Jack came to be who he is, which is a hacker working for MI6 whilst trying to get his PhD. Jack’s personal mission is about being a vigilante against child molesters and pimps as well as human traffickers. He sticks up for those who can’t stick up for themselves. These stories are all about Jack finding his path and the life lessons he learns along the way. So, if you are new to these characters, you can read these to get a feel for them, and if you are already familiar with them, these are icing in the cake.

The cover art is by Garrett Leigh of Black Jazz Design. It matches the first story in the series and shows a lost and struggling Jack. I actually really like it. I think it conveys his past and the darkness he sees in his work as well as his regrets and struggle to find a future.

Sales Links:   Amazon | Barnes & Noble |  Kobo |

Book Details: ebook, 174 pages
Published October 20th 2019 (first published October 2019)
ASIN B07Z1X6HCJ
Edition Language: English
Series: Zero Rising

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review:Two Divided by Zero (Zero Rising #2) by Jackie Keswick — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Review: Nuts (Ace’s Wild #2) by S.E. Jakes

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 from a family that skirts the law, Preston sees more kindness in them than his own blue-blood family. After being disowned Preston feels his only way to make something of himself is to go into the service. On his last leave a year ago he kissed Jagger…and then ghosted him. Now that Preston is out of the service, they will have to deal with what is simmering beneath their friendship.

Jagger is bi, but Preston clings to the idea he’s straight: allowing a gay for you/bi for you/out for you trope. There is also a M/F scene in this book. This is has many firsts for Preston: first time with BDSM, first time with a man, etc. There is very slight dubcon in that Preston doesn’t want to admit what he wants–he wants to be tricked or forced into it, which he is when Jagger wins him in a card game. Of course, that is Jagger’s friends setting them up, and Preston finding a way to act out to get what he wants. I found this was one of those books where I just got so frustrated because no one is honest and they don’t communicate until the very end, but Preston finds a way to act out and finally get what he wants. I do find that the Green Beret manly-man realizing it doesn’t make him weak to be submissive, is getting to be an over-used trope lately.

The big mystery here is Preston’s family, but ultimately it’s about control…and, as the reader finds out later, something more. There are secrets and lies that bind Jagger and Preston closer than Preston knows. Jagger has always had his eye on the prize, an endgame. The villians here are supposed to be the good guys. In a way this does glorify a family with mob ties whilst trying to have it have its cake and eat it too, as Jagger tries to go legitimate. This one sentence is a spoiler: everyone is being investigated by various alphabet agencies, yet no one knows about Preston co-owning everything?! Is that even possible?

This has all the feels, but it’s slow to start, quick to resolve and then over the top after a quick 180. It’s enjoyable, hot, even romantic in its own way (ride or die), but it could have been even better if it had been longer, in order to allow more time for the story arc. Also, it tries to straddle that bad boy line whilst still trying to make Jaggar noble – to mixed success.

The cover art design is by Sleepy Fox Studio. It does pertain to the story, but it just shows Jagger, so for me it doesn’t show a partnership.

Buy Link:  Amazon |  http://bit.ly/NutsSEJakes

Book Details: Kindle Edition, 118 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Stephanie Tyler LLC
ASINB07YF8ZVVF
Edition Language English
Series: Ace’s Wild #2

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

Review: Space Train by David Bridger

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 just one location was looked at in detail. Almost everywhere they went was looked at in enough detail, showing urban and rural areas, to get a sense of place except planet Main. The only thing shown about Main is the murder and betrayal games the elite play. As they are the bad guys in this scenario it may seem strange, but don’t we already know what they look like? They have a ruling Primary class that is white, homogeneous, and hereditary. Their economy is about to collaspe and they are running out of resources in the planet system they control.

There are so many different types of ships and flying described, as is landing and docking, ship engineering and design, and navigational systems too. Then there are all the planets, cities and aliens–although all humanoid. This is an author who delights in giving the reader different cultures and landscapes. These planet systems are linked by travel through wormholes for trade and exploration. In fact, it’s almost as if the story is just a reason to go on a journey from one place to another. That’s alright, because it’s vastly entertaining and fun to picture it all. The plot is the age old tale of greed, corruption, racism, control of labour, the mismanagement of resources and imperialism. So, the plot is nothing that shocking, just very complex.

This has a huge cast that the reader learns about through their actions, words, and thoughts gleaned by the Clear, a blue skinned race of telepathic beings, some of which are monks. I couldn’t help but think of the Delvian of Farscape. At first, I was excited because everyone is represented here: different colors, different sexualities, different classes, different abilities, even accents and other languages are explained. There m/f, m/m, and f/f pairings, even a trans character. However, the main relationships where intimacy is shown are all m/f. If the author can explore the tentative start of two relationships, and the reestablishment of romance in a marriage, he can certainly describe the reunion of the only m/m couple after they have been separated eight years. (This book is non-explicit, with no on page sex.) All of these situations are cleverly used to get the reader emotionally attached to the human element, which I appreciated. It would be easy to get lost in the politics and scenery otherwise.

The main characters tying everything together are the Russell family. Being people of color, they have no love of the racist elite of planet Main. They are all still mourning the loss of loved ones in the previous war due to the rulers of Main, who made them a target of the Binaries. They own the Wagon Train and each of them (Tom, Rain, Ellen, and Mark) has a hand in everything that happens. Tom, Captain of the Mary Mackin, a huge ship that carries families and their smaller ships, and supplies to a new homeworld, has the largest role in this book. The best thing about Tom is his lack of hyper-masculinity. He isn’t embarrassed about feeling fear, or that people know it. He still does what he needs to in spite of it. He takes his responsibilities seriously, and cares for his people. Tom is still traumatized by Saxe’s torture of him during the war, and the death of everyone on his ship. Saxe is relentless like The Operative from Firefly, and could easily become Kylo Ren from Star Wars in future books, killing his father and taking over everything. For now though, The Ten of Main send Saxe to find out where Tom takes his passengers–he also wants his own revenge for Tom’s previous escape. The reader won’t learn too much about Mark in this book, and his husband Richard is also underutilized. Yet, the strong female characters of Ellen and Rain are a pleasure to read. I hope they get their own books. There are a plethora of strong women characters here, whether businesswomen, settlers, mothers, crew, monks, or spies. I also enjoyed that the most intelligent beings, with the best technology are not human, are not even mammalian.

I loved reading about the planets: Red, Willerby, Clear, and Anza. I liked the religions versus spirituality explorations of all the different people and places. I liked how even tiny details are throw in, like the concern of black hair care with such dry spacecraft air. I liked them building houses and the sense of community. I felt a sense of joy, a celebration of science, art, love, and life…all being overshadowed by the war that is coming, the war that is already here. This has an end, and yet there is still a the threat coming from planet Main and Saxe isn’t going away. This was so good. Could a follow up novel be as good? I don’t know, but want to find out, soon.

The cover design is by Roe Horvat. It has a space feel, and communicates danger, but not the intricate nature of this novel.

Sales Link:  Amazon | Beaten Track Publishing |

Book Details: Kindle Edition

318 pages

Published August 29th 2019 by Beaten Track Publishing

ASINB 07WNDCBGD

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

Review: Hearts Under Fire (New Amsterdam #1) by Kelly Wyre

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 a BDSM club and has a nebulous side job working for Lucien that isn’t entirely explained. Daniel is a college professor and professional Dom. The awkward dance really begins as Clark tracks Daniel down and invites him to visit the club for a possible job and membership. When the characters start acting differently than the way that had already been established, the care given as both characters unfold in really unexpected ways, just because of each other, was great to read. The key is that their reactions to each other are different than their reactions to others, so this goes serious very quickly.

With the way their first night happens, they actually have to talk about it–still no one uses the words switch or vers. Not everything has to be labeled or put in a box. The answer for me is…Clark will refer to Daniel as Sir occasionally in this book, but Daniel never calls Clark that, so that’s all I need to know. Arguably there is very little D/s at this point in their relationship, but there are power dynamics that are fluid. They tend to naturally flow in and out of fairly mild “scenes.” There are several explicit, beautifully written sex scenes, but a tad too many “Oh, God” and “Nnngh” moans. These guys are vocal and they do like to talk during sex. The hurt/comfort trope is maximized here in a way that doesn’t seem forced or exploitative. Be aware there are flashbacks from Clark’s time in the service. Daniel has had his own trauma and loss. The story does switch points of view between them, however I noticed that it’s usually in the vulnerable POV during sex, yet not during the sharing of trauma with each other. The times when Daniel lets himself be taken care of are some of my favorite parts–him trusting Clark and relinquishing control doesn’t change who he is. They hold a safe space for each other.

The book is broken into two parts. I felt like the romance was established enough in order for this next part to work. There is foreshadowing, but I was still shocked. It is one of my own worst nightmares, so it was very difficult to read. The reader will be in Daniel’s POV for a very traumatizing event. I appreciated the aftermath of the event being focused on, the other people affected by the violence, not just the relationship. I felt the action sequences were well done and believable. However, it’s also in the last quarter where it goes off the rails a bit for me. As Clark’s boss, friend, and one of the club’s co-owners, Lucian’s behavior towards Clark may make some sense, but it doesn’t make sense for Daniel, whom he had just met. It’s distracting because the reader knows Clark has known Lucian for years, but has not been shown that relationship for more than a few lines. I realize I might be in the minority about this, but with Daniel being a police insider and Clark heavily involved in elite politics…the privileged ending and special treatment was a bit off-putting to me instead of romantic. However, I think this book establishes a comfort level and trust for a real BDSM relationship to develop over time while they are an established couple in a way other books miss when they rush to play with equipment or just expect the sub to be vulnerable to a dom who has never reciprocated. This is a new to me author and I found this erotic romantic thriller to be more thought provoking than most in its genre.

The cover design was done by Natasha Snow. It’s a bit generic, but along with the title should let the reader know a bit of what to expect.

Sales Link:  Amazon

JMS Books

Book Details: ebook
Published January 17th 2018 by JMS Books (first published July 1st 2011)
ISBN139781684311729
Edition Language: English
Series: New Amsterdam

 

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

Review: Ignite (Unbreakable Bonds #7) by Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott

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 make you want to as it highlights all the characters.

While everyone in the group of friends is getting married and starting families, this book focuses on Rowe and Noah’s relationship and what they want. They would know if they actually talked about it honestly. It takes an old Army buddy and former lover of Noah’s showing up for them to acknowledge all the things they don’t know about each other, which is a major source of tension in the book. I found the balance between the personal interactions and the action sequences really well done. The love scenes between Noah and Rowe are always hot, and as they deepen their relationship they get hotter. Although Rowe stews in his own jealousy juice, Noah never does anything to make him feel that way. This is not really about JB, he is just a catalyst for moving them forward.

The other source of tension is intrigue with mercenaries and government agencies linked back to a traitor during their time in the service. JB shows up after the other two guys in their unit are killed. With someone gunning for Noah and JB, Rowe wants to get to the bottom of who is behind the murders and why. He doesn’t want to lose Noah like he lost Mel. There is only so much vigilantism most people can take before the good guys are the bad guys, so this uses creative ways to walk that line, until there is very clear evidence and they are on a sanctioned mission. With all the gun violence in the news lately, it seems wrong to have fun while people are shooting each other and blowing things up…and the authors do acknowledge that, but anyone familiar with the series will be used to the gallows humor and coping mechanisms involved. Now that Rowe and his people are on the CIA’s radar, I wonder how Ward Security will change. Will Rowe be allowed to keep turning down Black Ops work as he has since Mel’s death? I’m not sure having everything just go away moving forward is believable. He has also mooted expanding Ward Security, possibly on the West Coast to work security for Hollywood types. These seem like two very different moves forward in different directions so I suspect another spin-off series.

This is classic Drake and Elliot in top form. I do feel like this was a Ward Security book rather than an Unbreakable Bonds book, but does it matter? No. This is a fun, sexy action adventure with likeable characters and a brief check-in on old favorites.

The cover art by Stephen Drake of Design by Drake. It is eye catching and matches the mood of the book. I am not sure what it has to do with the story. There are grenades and some bombs, a lot of fire power, but not in largely populated downtown areas like this photo.

Sales: Amazon

Book Details: Kindle Edition, 230 pages
Published July 26th 2019
ASINB07V4VYWCN
Series: Unbreakable Bonds

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

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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Review: Fire on Ice by Deirdre O’Dare

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 men on an ice planet where electro-magnetic-based technology doesn’t work, one has to wonder why they even care about taking this planet inhabited by an insectiod population with primitive weapons.

This is a short read about two military men who have feelings for each other, but neither knows until one of them is injured. The reader gets both points of view, glimpsing their respect and longing for each other. While there seem to be no regulations against fraternization, anyone caught doing it disappears. In fact, none of the men seem to be allowed to be friends. They are not encouraged to forge ties, making their whole service seem senseless. I have decided to give the author the benefit of the doubt that this was the point of the story–endless war is pointless and institutionalization is demoralizing. There were two love scenes, neither of which were particularly sexy or emotionally moving. I think this is because the reader doesn’t get to see their two years serving together. There is only a sentence that even alludes to Bard showing an interest in Gordon as a person with small kindnesses. A short story can be captivating and pack an emotional wallop–so it’s not the length I am critiquing, just the execution.

The cover design was done by Written Ink Designs. I think it is actually very fitting, showing the only love and color in their lives happened in that tent. It’s the start of a new dawn for them.

Sales Links:  JMS Books LLC | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Book Details: Kindle Edition

Published May 11th 2019 by JMS Books LLC

ASIN B07RH7NMKC

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