Review of: Diplomatic Relations by J.L. Langley

TITLE: Diplomatic Relations
AUTHOR: J.L. Langley
SERIES: Sci-Regency
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Sci-Fi; Regency
RELEASE DATE: Feb 29, 2019

BLURB:

Opposites don’t just attract… they sizzle.
A lusty special forces soldier who lives by his own set of rules, Dalton Fairfax decided long ago to stop wishing for his father’s love, and he found his calling. Now that he’s back home and between assignments, he finds himself at loose ends. When the opportunity arises to play bodyguard and help out his country, Dalton jumps at the chance. Not only does it keep him busy, but it just so happens that his charge is the man he saw on leave last month and hasn’t been able to get out of his head.
Heir to a dukedom and a conservative politician, Blaise Thompson strives to prove himself worthy of carrying on the family legacy as the next IN Councilman. However, his closest competitor keeps getting in the way and taking credit for Blaise’s ideas. Maintaining his stellar reputation isn’t easy to do while keeping his outrageous younger brother in line and foiling his rival’s personal attacks. He has no time for a guard and even less time for romance.
When a priceless antique goes missing, Blaise and Dalton discover that Regelence has larger problems than just IN plots. Now the only way to stop a scandal that threatens both of them is to compromise, and they are forced to confront the risk of losing everything… even each other.


I remember, a couple of years ago when I discovered this genre, MM, and it was still a forbidden read, I was struggling to accept myself, and this series was one of my firsts. Me being a romantic and sci-fi fan, this series was a dream come true.

We can be part of the Townsend princes HEA, and there we meet Dalton, the prince’s cousin. He’s infamous in the Regency society, his scandalous behavior, and his affairs with married men. This behavior pushes the king-consort, his uncle, to send him into IN.
Now after two years of him serving in the IN, he’s finally home but not for long. Between missions, he volunteers to guard Blaise Thompson, an intern in the House of Lords and next IN Councilman. Dalton has a long-time crush on Blaise, and this will be the perfect opportunity to seduce the young lord.

Blaise has never been attracted to anybody before. When he literally collides with Dalton, his life changes drastically. He’s known for his proper behavior. He strictly protects his reputation, not like his younger brother, Brannon, Prince Aiden’s best friend, who is always in between mischiefs.

Now, with new news revealed by the IN secret plans, the King assigns every lord a guard. Blaise ends up with Dalton. He can’t fight the attraction between the two of them. Stolen kisses, inappropriate touches—this what his life came too.

I very much liked this story, but in the end, I just wanted to punch Blaise right in the nose. The act he pulled really hurt Dalton, who must deal with family drama, and above all, the IN’s secret plan against Relegence.

There a few things that are not clear to me in this society, and one of those is if there are two Lords, how do they decide which young lord can be courted and which one does the courting…

I only gave 4 stars because Blaise doing what he did in the end.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: ” Gyrfalcon” by Anna Butler

TITLE: Gyrfalcon (Taking Shield Book 1)
AUTHOR: Anna Butler
SERIES: Taking Shield
PUBLISHER: Self
COVER ARTIST: Adrian Nicholls
GENRE: Sci-fi
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 334 pages
RELEASE DATE: December 5, 2016
PRICE: $Free – e-book/ $12.50 – paperback

BLURB:

Earth’s last known colony, Albion, is fighting an alien enemy. In the first of the Taking Shield series, Shield Captain Bennet is dropped behind the lines to steal priceless intelligence. A dangerous job, and Bennet doesn’t need the distractions of changing relationships with his long-term partner, Joss, or with his father-and with Flynn, the new lover who will turn his world upside-down. He expects to risk his life. He expects the data will alter the course of the war. What he doesn’t expect is that it will change his life or that Flynn will be impossible to forget.


Book one in the Taking Shield series is a very slow burn romance with a cliffhanger. This is an action-packed science-fiction that takes place in space. The last known earth colony is in a war with an unknown alien race. All the Albions know is that the aliens use drones to fight and they seem to have an endless supply. A team of highly trained special ops have been given the task of infiltrating the aliens bases and blowing them up. They have a reputation, and throughout the book you’ll find that it’s definitely warranted.

Shield Captain Bennet has been tasked with a mission that he hopes will forever change the outcome of the war against the alien race hellbent on annihilating the last of the human race. What he wasn’t expecting was to be sent to his estranged father’s ship and having to work with the man to complete the mission. The men in Bennet’s life are difficult, to say the least. Bennet’s longtime boyfriend would rather he stay on their planet and pursue academia than fight in Shield. His father doesn’t approve of his choices either, being a gay man and a Shield agent. The guy can’t catch a break. Until he meets the arrogant and somewhat charming fleet pilot Flynn.

Flynn plays by his own rules and never worries over the consequences. He’s currently in a tumultuous relationship with his former lover and fellow pilot. Everyone on the ship is talking about the infamous Shield agent joining them for what they don’t know, and few will find out. Of course when Flynn has the opportunity to make a first impression, he sasses off at the Captain. Something big is fixing to go down, and Bennet needs the fleet but especially Flynn, and it’s life or death. Will the cocky pilot be the man and pilot Bennet needs and knows Flynn can be?

Definitely a slow burn. It was a fun read, and I really enjoyed it. The action was intense and very well written and thought out. I liked that it had real family and relationship issues. It wasn’t cookie cutter by any stretch of the imagination. I was anxious for some parts to get moving so I could find out what happened next. The book ended in a frustrating yet perfect place. It definitely had some real-world drama that I found refreshing. I recommend the read.

***I would like to thank the author for the privilege and opportunity of reading this ARC. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “The Englor Affair” by J.L. Langley

 

TITLE: The Englor Affair
AUTHOR: J.L. Langley
SERIES: Sci-Regency
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Tiferet Design
GENRE: Sci-Fi
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 254 pages
RELEASE DATE: Aug 28, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 –e-book /$16.99 -paperback

BLURB:

A Sci-Regency Novel: sequel to My Fair Captain
Anxious to escape the confines of Regelence society, if only for a little while, Prince Payton Townsend poses as an admiral’s aide to further investigate a dangerous conspiracy. Payton plans only to use his computer skills to help navigate the tangled web of mystery and deceit on planet Englor, then return home, but he finds himself drawn to the charismatic Colonel Simon Hollister.
Simon, however, is no mere soldier—he is heir to the throne of Englor, and his life is meticulously planned to include a bride and heir. Unlike Regelence, the Regency society on Englor disapproves of same-sex relationships, and Payton and Simon’s attraction plays out in a daring secret affair, one Simon never expected would grow into love.
Risking scandal and certain ruin if they are discovered, Payton and Simon uncover more about a common enemy and a deadly plot that imperils both their worlds. But in this game of interplanetary intrigue, love might be the ultimate casualty….


This is the second installment in Sci-Regency series. Actually, this series is a re-read for me, but I couldn’t pass up on the possibility to review this series on OptimuMM as well. So be prepared for the next review of the sequel as well.
I remember the feeling I had when I first read this series. It was soon after I discovered MM. Back then, I was struggling to accept myself openly as a gay man. These books were a big help to overcome the guilt and all the struggle.

Me being a bit conservative romantic-wise and a hopeless romantic also and a bit of sci-fi nerd this series hit home like nothing else. If you were reading the first of the series (and I highly recommend you do) you know already that Regelence is a regency planet were man marries man. I will be honest with you, if that planet had been real, I would be already on my way. I love how young men’s virtues are guarded. We read about this mainly in MF, when the young, noble lady must remain virgin till marriage. In this series, the young lords have the same faith.

Payton aka Lord Plague was raised in the same manner. So when his brother-in-law, the Admiral of the battleship Lady Anna of IN, brings him along as his aid to Englor where they continue to investigate Aiden’s and Jeremy’s kidnapping, he finds himself in scandalous situations. I’ll just tell you one thing …gym locker room…

Englor is not so open for same-sex couples, and by that, I mean they’re quite homophobic. Si, being the next in line to become the king of Englor, must hide his homosexuality. Then he meets Pay, the Admiral’s aide and all his precautions are blown away.

I love this series with all my heart. Pay’s insecurity and Si’s doubtlessness doesn’t seems to get along. I had some difficulty with some parts of the book, because being raised in our society, for me, it seemed that Payton was given a feminine role. But then I schooled myself for being so narrow-minded and I put myself in Payton’s shoes, remembering that Payton was brought up to be a Consort of another man.

I hope you’ll enjoy it as I did!

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Wanting the Wolfman” by Louise Collins

TITLE: Wanting the Wolfman
AUTHOR: Louise Collins
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Alexandria Corza
GENRE: Sci-Fi; Shapeshifter
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 26, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 e-book / $ 14.99 paperback

BLURB:

Can love be more than a memory?
Three years ago, an attack cost Joel his leg… and his memories. Though he was told a dog he’d befriended savaged him, he has one hazy recollection: the stunning silver eyes of a wolf… or maybe a man. Desperate for the truth, he struggles back into the woods where his life changed in search of his animal friend.
When he finds the wolf who has stalked his thoughts, he demands it reveal its true form, and he meets Guy, the man within the wolf. Guy is guarded, but the wolf knows Joel belongs with them, and gradually, Guy can only agree. Things fall into place, but then Joel inadvertently exposes the man and the wolf he’s coming to love.
Guy and the wolf are forced to flee, but can Joel follow?


At eighteen years old, Joel had an awful accident in the forest that cost him his leg. People told him that he was attacked by a dog, a huge rogue dog, but Joel didn’t believe them, he saw a huge wolf, but he can’t remember the accident correctly. For 3 years, Joel lived in a world of pain, confusion and severe depression. He lost his boyfriend Keen. He lost his relationship with his father, but mostly, Joel lost himself.

One day Joel decides to go back to the forest alone to find the wolf by himself. He didn’t expect to meet Guy and Wolf, and he didn’t expect to reconnect with himself either.
Joel will have to make a choice: take a risk with his safety, or have faith in Guy.
Wanting the Wolfman by Louise Collins is a standalone and the first book that I’ve read from her.
It was a beautiful and poetic story that I loved a lot.

Joel is hurt and lost. He’s hurt after his accident, at eighteen years old, his life changed completely, and Joel lost everything, starting with himself. People around him don’t know how to treat him, except his sister. His friends are awful and Keen is probably the worst human being in the entire humanity. It annoyed me a lot how Joel let people treated him badly, but when he finally fights back, he really fights back. He may have a disability, but he’s not weak and Guy, as well as Wolf, will have to deal with his fierce, strong temper.

Guy and Wolf share the same body but are two entities. Guy is human and Wolf…. Well, he’s a wolf. They aren’t the typical “werewolf” that I’m used to reading, and I loved it. Wolf isn’t in the background and comes only when he’s needed, not here. He has his temper, his own personality but he’s in tune with Guy, they are in perfect symbiosis, the human and the wolf. Guy is a caretaker, a protector. He’s alone and spent the last decade hiding in the forest, protecting wolf and taking care of him. When Joel comes into their life, Guy feels the urge to protect him at any cost. I completely melted for Guy, this guy is THE guy, strong, beautiful, loyal… my dream man!

I loved this book. The story was beautiful. It was written from Joel’s point of view, and the whole book, we follow him. How he connects with Wolf, how they bond and then how Joel has to tame Guy, how he fights hard to be with him, to take care of him too. I loved this! I loved that Joel didn’t have to tame the animal but the human.
The plot reminds me of Beauty and the Beast. The love story between the MC, the bad guys trying to hurt Guy and Wolf, Joel ready to fight and sacrifice everything for them. For me, it was a free adaptation of this tale.

The author wrote a sweet and poetic love story that put a beautiful smile on my face at the end.

I recommend this book; it’s worth your time!
4 OptimuMM’s for the Beast, his human, and their soulmate

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Ledgers and Rent Boys” by Meraki P. Lyhne

TITLE: Ledgers and Rent Boys
AUTHOR: Meraki P. Lyhne
SERIES: Ore 5
PUBLISHER: eXtasy books
COVER ARTIST: –
GENRE: Sci-Fi; Space Opera
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 193 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 22, 2018
PRICE: $4.99 –e-book

BLURB:

Overcoming their differences and discovering new sides of each other, Ethan and Ryder are trying their hands at this new thing called a relationship. Ethan’s insecurities and his focus on putting Ryder’s business first are contradicting Ryder’s need to shout his love from the rooftops.
But that’s the personal side of things. The business is in trouble, too, since Ethan’s keen eye caught flaws in Black Ryder’s books and exposed the previous accountant stealing from the storage. The piles of messy ledgers are keeping Ethan busy while Ryder’s business is being invaded by pimps. To top off the new couple’s problems, a rentboy named Hayden dances his way to the front of Black Ryder’s stage with enough trouble in his wake to claim all of Ryder’s attention.


The story continues in Ore 5 for Ryder and Ethan.

This is a sequel for the first book in the series, where we learn about Ethan’s unfortunate luck on his arriving at this mining planet.
We know that Ethan has some serious self-conscious issues thanks to his ex, jerk of a boyfriend and his more tea perfectionist father. Now on Ore 5, Ethan tries to let the bygones be bygones. But it seems it’s not as easy as he thought it would be. He’s a chubby guy, well we don’t know exactly how chubby he is, and I would have liked to read more of Ethan body’s description, me being chubby as well. In some parts, I could relate to Ethan, even more than once. But he’s brave enough to let himself be seen by Ryder. With the ongoing investigation of Ryder’s bar, more incriminating evidence is showing up.

Ryder, the hopeless romantic with a body of a God, finally finds himself with his wings wide open ready to fly. All that is thanks to Ethan. Ethan sees him as no one has before. He let Ethan in with no barriers to his soul and deepest feelings. He fears that with his neediness, he may push away Ethan, Ethan who asked him to keep their relationship as a secret. Ethan doesn’t want to be in the spotlight by being Ryder’s boyfriend. Although he agrees, he can’t help the shining of his eyes or the joy that radiates from his face every time he’s near or just looks at Ethan, letting his closest of friends figure out that something is going on between the two.

We meet a new character, Hayden. Hayden is a prostitute who works the trains and the station. On Ore 5, being a prostitute is legal and all the payment goes through legally. He needs to make a quota every day otherwise his handler will punish him. One night, cruising his turf for johns, he finds himself invited by the sexiest man he’s ever seen. The invitation is for dancing in front of people in one of the most famous gay bars on Ore 5. Little does he know that that performance will bring him more pain and threats than anything before, but also earns him protectors in Ryder and Brutus. He also helps out Ryder’s business when he reveals of what he was listening into when he was told where he can or can’t go after johns.

The story continues with some angsty turnabouts. Have fun reading it!

***I would like to thank the author for the privilege and opportunity of reading this ARC. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis