Review: “Lander” by J. Scott Coatsworth

TITLE: Lander
AUTHOR: J. Scott Coatsworth
SERIES: The Oberon Cycle
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Anne Cain
GENRE: Sci-fi
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 294 pages
RELEASE DATE: February 13, 2018
PRICE: $6.99– e-book/ $16.99 – paperback

BLURB:

Sometimes the world needs saving twice.

In the sequel to the Rainbow-Award-winning Skythane, Xander and Jameson thought they’d fulfilled their destiny when they brought the worlds of Oberon and Titania back together, but their short-lived moment of triumph is over.

Reunification has thrown the world into chaos. A great storm ravaged Xander’s kingdom of Gaelan, leaving the winged skythane people struggling to survive. Their old enemy, Obercorp, is biding its time, waiting to strike. And to the north, a dangerous new adversary gathers strength, while an unexpected ally awaits them.

In the midst of it all, Xander’s ex Alix returns, and Xander and Jameson discover that their love for each other may have been drug-induced.

Are they truly destined for each other, or is what they feel concocted? And can they face an even greater challenge when their world needs them most?.


We, at OptimuMM,  decide to host time to time a guest reviewer.
So please welcome KristyAnne Norton and her amazing review of Lander by J. Scott Coatsworth:

I have only read a hand full of Sci-Fi books. I tend to lean more toward the paranormal genre. So I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Skythane. I took a chance and requested an ARC copy. I was completely hooked. I had some questions at the end of the book and was glad that I had the next one to follow it up with.

In the first book, we meet Quince. I love her strength and tenacity. It thrills me beyond belief when authors write strong female characters. That woman has a plan and the brass to accomplish it. She brings two men together against all the odds and fights to keep them on the path to save the two halves of a world.

Xander is a stubborn man who’s had a nasty past and is trying to survive with his head and heart intact. He does not trust easily and getting him to open his heart is an almost painful thing to watch. Jameson is fighting to find his true self and find his strength amongst his own people. He knows he has to give up everything that made him Jameson in order to be the king he’s destined to be.

There are a few characters that surfaced at the end of Skythane that you will meet in Lander. The Queens strength will be tested as she and Quince are reunited. Alix will have to put aside his feelings for Xander and help Jameson save his people. The story does have multiple points of view, and some readers do have a problem with that, but it honestly did not bother me. The book flowed, and with a book that has so many pieces moving and characters facing their own challenges, it was necessary.

I did have a problem with so many side characters coming and going as the book moved along. I would forget who was who and how they came to be. But I think that had more to do with me being so engrossed in the plot that if a character wasn’t screaming for attention, I would overlook them. The ending of Lander leaves us with another cliffhanger, and I do wish I had more answers than questions when leaving a book.

I highly recommend this book to any Sci-Fi lover and to anyone who wants to be swept away into a fantastical world of flying angels and those willing to help them bring peace and beauty to a world worth fighting for.

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

Review edited by :  Laura McNellis

Review: “Skythane” by J. Scott Coatsworth

TITLE: Skythane
AUTHOR: J. Scott Coatsworth
SERIES: The Oberon Cycle
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Anne Cain
GENRE: Sci Fi; Fantasy
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 244 pages
RELEASE DATE: February 17, 2017
PRICE: $6.99 -e-book / $14.99 -paperback

BLURB:

Jameson Havercamp, a psych from a conservative religious colony, has come to Oberon—unique among the Common Worlds—in search of a rare substance called pith. He’s guided through the wilds on his quest by Xander Kinnson, a handsome, cocky skythane with a troubled past.
Neither knows that Oberon is facing imminent destruction. Even as the world starts to fall apart around them, they have no idea what’s coming—or the bond that will develop between them as they race to avert a cataclysm.
Together, they will journey to uncover the secrets of this strange and singular world, even as it takes them beyond the bounds of reality itself to discover what truly binds them together.


As many men, I’m also a big fan of Sci-fi genre. So when I read the blurb of this book I was thrilled to get my hands on it…although the story is great it didn’t quite reach my expectations.
When we talk about Sci-Fi, we don’t really have ground rules, so you can’t really compare one book to another. But you may still have some expectations, so that’s why it’s really hard to rate Sci-Fi, because no matter what, you will never satisfy everyone.

Skythane is a multiple point of view story. Probably that’s why I couldn’t enjoy it too much. I was genuinely curious of the past and culture of Oberon, it habitants, but when I was thinking that here comes some details about Oberon, the point of view changed and never got back to the previous line of thought. I’m not saying that there is no information about Oberon, I’m saying I would have liked to read more about it. It that planet fascinated me!

Skythane can’t fit in your typical Romance category. For starters, there is no sex scenes in it, well I know not all romance has sex scenes but Jameson being heterosexual, or he likes to thinks he is, again, I would have enjoyed a little bit of intimacy description between him and Xander.

I really enjoyed the plot, and the book contains some angst, but again the multiple point of view didn’t really let me enjoy that too. I loved the parallel universe, the half planet, the wings, and the pith. We don’t really learn about pith either…is it a drug? Is it aphrodisiac? Is it harmless? So there are few a questions remaining without answers.

There were a few things that just felt off, but as I told you at the beginning of my review, you can’t really rate a Sci-Fi so, and this is just my opinion, I would say it’s a 3.5 rating.
I hope you will enjoy more than I did!

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

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Review: “Raise the Red Flag” by Eric Del Carlo

TITLE: Raise the Red Flag
AUTHOR: Eric Del Carlo
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: DSP Publications
COVER ARTIST: Tiferet Design
GENRE: Science Fiction
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: January 23, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $14.99 – paperback

BLURB:


In an 1867 that never was, the American colonies are finally gearing up to revolt against oppressive British rule enforced by advanced technology. British airship captain Hamilton Arkwright is captured by the rebels when his vessel is commandeered. The insurgents are also aided—reluctantly—by young Jonny Callahan, a thief and ne’er-do-well who would rather carouse on the streets of New Orleans than fight for independence. When the two seemingly opposite men are thrown together on a harrowing journey across the war-torn colonies, they must grudgingly rely on each other for survival. Despite their efforts to resist, the attraction between them threatens to throw a wrench in their plans to remain enemies.
They battle their way through American guerrillas and a demolition-derby-type highway to reach the decimated streets of Chicago, where British forces are preparing to commit a war crime of enormous magnitude. Though affection has grown between them during their mission, they are still on conflicting sides, and they may have to choose between loyalty to their causes and their love.


Raise the Red Flag is an alternative history fiction story mixed with a little bit of steampunk. From reading the blurb, this book seemed to cover a few of the sub-genres that I love, so I knew I had to read it. Unfortunately, for me, this book just didn’t quite live up to the expectation.

Hamilton Arkwright is the twenty-eight-year-old captain of an airship in the British Navy’s Royal Airborne Fleet. Hamilton was born to a British military family in America, but due to him being “American” he will never progress far up the ranks. Even though he knows that people look at him like he’s an outsider, he’s fiercely loyal to his position and the Crown. Hamilton has known for years that he was attracted to men, but he’s only ever had the occasional hook-up as it’s too dangerous to pursue/risk anything else. When Hamilton arrives in New Orleans, he hears the other men talking of bars that should be avoided, but these are exactly the bars Hamilton is interested in going to. At the bar, he meets Jonny or J.C. as he’s calling himself, and the two men decide to take their night further and head to Jonny’s room. As they head out, Hamilton and Jonny are met with a group of three men who attack Hamilton and bundle him into their vehicle. Too late, Hamilton realises that Jonny isn’t the man he thought he was, and that he was part of the attack plan the whole time.

Jonny Callahan is a twenty-one-year-old petty criminal and member of a street gang in New Orleans. Jonny was born in New York, but due to his criminal activity, he never sticks around in one place for any amount of time. Since arriving in New Orleans, Jonny has been with a few men, most importantly, Kane, the boss of the street gang he’s part of, but Kane discovered that Jonny was also seeing other men too, so now he’s keeping his head down and trying to stay away from all of the places that he knows Kane may go. When one of the members of the gang talk Jonny into helping lure a British airborne captain away so as they can capture him and his ship, Jonny doesn’t realise what he’s got himself involved in until the act has been carried out and there’s no going back.

While on the ship together, Hamilton and Jonny find that they are very attracted to each other, even after everything that’s happened. They agree to work together to get out of the situation that they’ve found themselves in, but will go their separate ways afterwards without taking things further between them. That plan seems like a good idea until their situation takes another unexpected turn, and the two men are forced to stick together for safety’s sake. Along the journey, they grow closer and feelings develop that neither man expected. But when Hamilton finds out about a plan that the British are going to implement, for the first time in his life, he’s conflicted about where his loyalty stands. Is it with his job and the British, or with the man he’s come to care about and the Americans they’ve met along their way?

I have to admit, I did really struggle with this story/book. I found it very hard to get into when I started reading, and the main reason was due to the vocabulary that was used. Now, I’m far from being a literary genius, but I’m not brainless, and I found it difficult to put some of the words into context to understand the meaning. I’m British, English is my first language, yet I had to really concentrate on what I was reading a lot of the time, which took away from me being able to enjoy the storyline. I think someone who doesn’t have English as their first language will have issues with this book and the writing. I also didn’t really feel like the relationship between Hamilton and Jonny came across as realistic. I mean they had only known each other a couple of days, and part of that was under false pretences, and Hamilton was thinking that he had fallen in love with Jonny. There’s insta-love, and then there’s forcing something to make a plot work, on this occasion it felt forced and insincere. Don’t get me wrong, the longer the book went on, the better it got. And from around seventy-odd percent, I started to really like what was happening plot-wise, and found myself liking the characters too. It’s just a shame that it took so long to get to that point.

For me, this book was more of a miss than a hit, but maybe that was due to not being able to enjoy it right from the start. There’s nothing to say that you won’t love it from the very first paragraph. As they say, each to their own.

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

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Review: “Beneath This Mask” by Victoria Sue

TITLE: Beneath This Mask
AUTHOR: Victoria Sue
SERIES: Enhanced World
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Brooke Albrecht
GENRE: Paranormal; Sci-fi
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 206 pages
RELEASE DATE: January 16, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 e-book / $14.99 paperback

BLURB:

Gael Peterson has spent years hiding behind the enhanced abilities he wears like a mask, even though he is an important, confident member of the FBI’s exclusive H.E.R.O. team. The hurt and betrayal of his mom’s abandonment and his father’s fists are secrets buried deep beneath the ugly scars on his face, and he doesn’t trust Jake, his new regular human partner, with any of them. In a world where those with special abilities like Gael’s are regarded as freaks and monsters, it won’t be easy for him to rely on Jake to have his back, especially when the abilities of a vulnerable, enhanced, nonspeaking child make that child a murder suspect.
Tempers rise and loyalties are challenged, and when the serial killer targeting the enhanced finally sets his sights on Gael, not only will Gael have to trust Jake with his secrets, he might have to trust him to save his life.


Gael Peterson is an enhanced. He’s a member of the first enhanced team H.E.R.O. He’s confident…on the surface. Deep down, Gael is hurt, traumatized and alone.

Jake Riley is the new member of the H.E.R.O team, and he’s partnered with Gael. Jake tries his best to be part of the team and earn their respect. Nothing is simple between Gael and Jake, and their team investigation on a series of murders inside the enhanced community doesn’t help them much.
What Gael and Jake need is to take off their masks and trust each other.

Wow. Victoria Sue did a great job with this book.
I knew I’d love Gael’s book, but I didn’t know I’ll love it so much.

Gael is perfect, absolutely perfect. He seems confident and strong, but inside he’s still the little boy who was abandoned by his mom. He sees himself as an ugly man who can’t be loved. My heart broke for him and with him so many times in my read. I found him so beautiful.
Jake is what Gael needs—he’s sensitive, strong and honest. He loves to take care of Gael, loves to be there for him and give him comfort. And together they are so good, lovely and beautiful.
And then comes Derrick. I cried all the time for Derrick, happy tears, sad tears, all the tears that can exist in the human emotions, I give them to Derrick. I’m team Derrick.
The plot and the story were good and well-built with a good twist.

I loved how the author wrote about them, how she did the exact opposite of what people must have thought or expect of Gael or Jake. I loved how she presented Gael to us, just a human. And yes, it’s not because he’s huge, an enhanced, with an incredible gift and an amazing strength that he has to be like that all the time. What we see outside isn’t always what we can find inside. It’s easy to wear a mask and pretend to be someone else. It’s harder to be one’s self.

I can only recommend you for to read the two previous books of the series first, it’s better to have the full ride and you’ll enjoy it a lot.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to cry again, because I have to wait I don’t know how much time for the next book with Vance, I hope it’s Vance.

It’s 5 OptimuMMs for Gael, Jake, and Derrick.

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

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Review: “Jesus Kid” by Kayleigh Sky

TITLE: Jesus Kid
AUTHOR: Kayleigh Sky
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Kiss Drunk Books
COVER ARTIST: Milan Stojanovic
GENRE: Sci-Fi; Dystopian
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 357 pages
RELEASE DATE: December 6, 2017
PRICE: $4.99 -e-book / $16.99 -paperback

BLURB:

Thirty years ago, an asteroid stuck the Earth. Now killer plants hunt the last surviving humans.
Ori Scott is a young junkie running from his mother’s prophecy that he’d one day save the world from the killer plants. Her preaching made him a laughingstock and now he hides in his drugs. But he can’t hide the change in his veins. They are turning green, and the prophecy is dragging him into a dark struggle between invisible forces. Set up on bogus drug charges, Ori is taken to a secret facility where he becomes a test subject in experiments to discover an antidote to the alien plant’s sting.
Jack Doll is a cop with a vendetta against the plants that killed his best friend. All he has in the world now is his old friend’s lover, Rive. Together they form an unbreakable bond—or so he thought. Jack has never liked Rive’s friend, Ori, but he believes in Ori’s innocence and doesn’t understand Rive’s strange indifference to Ori’s conviction. Struggling with his suspicions, Jack can’t help digging into a mystery that draws him closer to Ori than ever before—and closer to somebody who has secrets to hide.
Alone and scared, Ori is grateful for Jack Doll’s friendship, and his longtime crush soon blossoms into love. But Ori has no plans to accept his fate. He wants to escape, and he doesn’t care if he takes the cure with him.


When an asteroid hit the earth, the world changed forever with the apparition of new species of plants. Some have medicinal virtue while others are killer plants.
Ori’s mother was stung by one of these plants call the “booweed” when she was pregnant with him. When others died from this, she survived and gave birth to Ori. She was sure about one thing; her son is the cure. Eighteen years later, Ori is a young hypersexual junkie. He refuses to hear about this so-called prophecy and tries just to survive in this new world. But what Ori wants doesn’t matter when the government plotted against him and tries to use him as a laboratory rat. Until Jack, a cop, who knows Ori and even if he doesn’t like the kid, he can’t walk away from him.

This book was something.

Ori is a young man, completely lost in his life. He wants to be invisible, to live his life. But in the meantime, he can’t stay alone, he’s completely attracted to Jack but thinks that Jack hates him and doesn’t try to correct it. He’s blunt and talks without thinking first. He’s also fine with his sexuality and his needs (like staying a night on a roof of a bar and being fuck by every guy who’s willing to fuck him). But, even if he seems to be crazy, or high, he’s also strong and doesn’t hesitate to fight back when it’s needed.

Jack is a cop with his best friend River. River is friends with Ori, and he takes care of him, and Jack knows Ori through him. Even if he pretends to dislike the kid, he doesn’t hesitate to protect him, to fight for him, or to take care of him. The more time he spends with Ori, the more Jack realises that he lied to himself all those years, and Ori means more to him.

This book is about survival in this new world when mother nature can kill you at any time. This book is about how a group people can survive in extreme conditions, and how a few can control the many. This book is also about love, friendship, family and what we can do for each other—what we can endure for each other. I’m not a fan of dystopia genre. The book was at moments too long and too confusing sometimes, but I admit that the moment I started the book I couldn’t stop my read. Even when I took some breaks, I was thinking about Ori and Jack.

It’s 3 OptimuMMs for the Jesus Kid and his protector

***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 ***

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