Audiobook Review: Opposites by T.M. Smith

In the year 2081 our planet survived global warming of an apocalyptic scale. When the dust settled and the water receded Dr. Anthony Smith, one of only a few hundred survivors of GWI, started society anew. Having come to the conclusion that injudicious breeding played a huge role in the destruction of Earth as we knew it in the twenty first century, he worked closely with other survivors to isolate the Dionysus gene. This gene has the ability to manipulate human DNA to ensure that all male children be born gay, and all female children be born lesbians. A new society is born.

In the year 2300 Dr. Smith’s descendants are ushering in the twenty fourth century having maintained control of the government that still rules society. Twins Aiya and Aiyan are preparing to meet their matches and take control of House Gaeland, the current ruling House. But not everything is as it seems.

Love is Love.. it knows no gender and doesn’t conform to restrictions and boundaries. Aiyan has found his soul mate in Kaden, the prince of House Devi that he is matched with and eventually marries. But when the person Aiya falls in love with tests the boundaries put in place after GWI, all hell breaks loose. And in the midst of one secret unraveling, another will emerge. There is a growing anomaly that threatens to destroy over two hundred years of progression. This anomaly is known as Opposites.

*WARNING* Opposites is a majorly M/M New Adult novel that contains explicit sexual content and relationships between gay, lesbian and straight couples.

Listening Length: 6 hours and 16 minutes
Narrator: Greg Boudreaux

There is a lot going on in this story, and I felt it difficult to follow the sudden change in point of view between a lot of characters. While a scene played out, it switched to each character pov as the story moved around the scene. Almost like a movie panning to each character and then going inside their mind. It took a few chapters to get used to this type of story telling, and was a bit disconcerting. This follows eight characters during their visit to House Gaeland, so once the names of each character is familiar, it is easier to follow. It is not my preference in point of view in storytelling, but I made the effort to enjoy the story anyway.

This world, as described in the blurb, is a same-sex pairing world. Women and men procreate through contracts, and each family has four parents in two same sex pairings. As this was a character based story, and not a lot of worldbuilding outside of character relationships, there is a thorough culture built around the ideals of gay relationships within this high bred society, and why these relationships are considered the norm. I’m not too clear on whether the couples have to go through heavy screening in order to conceive, or whether the DNA is altered in any way.

The society works on a base level of Eugenics, and gene manipulation, which of course is problematic. Being royalty, there is no mention of how the general world deals with the way this society procreates, and whether money is involved in the process, so it was difficult to gauge how well this world worked in full.

The relationships were swift between a few people, and I found it very fluffy and mushy. Again, not my favourite thing to read/listen to. I like a build up, and while there was a decent amount of tension with the potential straight couple, Aiyan and Kaden seemed to have sex at every opportunity, and I didn’t find their relationship development strong enough.

Opposites - the title of the story is pretty indicative of the direction of main plot point. The couple who are Opposites have to sneak around, fear persecution, and feel abnormal. Generally I enjoyed the story and found it interesting for the role reversal of society. It just wasn’t complete. It’s an interesting perspective, if a bit black and white. I prefer more diversity in my stories as a general rule, and there was no mention of sexuality as a spectrum, but this is only the beginning of the series so this may change as the series progresses.

Greg Boudreaux is a pretty solid narrator, with a very pleasing cadence, and can do some decent accents. His performance in this audiobook is pretty great, but then he is one of my preferred narrators, so clearly I am bias.

While the story is set in a futuristic time period, it has a very medieval feel to it, with the royal Houses. It also felt quite isolated and there was barely any contact with the general population. Some more attention to the wider world details would have made the story richer.

Recommended for those who enjoy stories set in a futuristic setting with an old world feel to it. There is explicit content between MM, FF, and MF couples.

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Release Blitz + Giveaway: Class Distinctions by Rick R. Reed

Celebrate Class Distinctions release with author Rick R. Reed and Signal Boost! Check out the book info and make sure to enter the Superstar eBook giveaway!

Buy Links: JMS Books | Amazon US | Amazon UK 

Publisher: JMS Books

Length: 11,546


Kyle and Jonathan were perfect for each other, the two halves that, once together, made a whole. And then one snowy night just before Parents’ Weekend on the campus of Hamilton University, Kyle drops a bomb: he’s breaking up with Jonathan.

Follow the couple through the stormy (in more ways than one) night that ensues. Why has Kyle suddenly decided to throw away something so precious and good?

The answers lie in their backgrounds, and will gradually come to light as a winter blizzard rages around the young couple.

Their tortured paths bring them to the covered bridge where their love had sprung to life on a hot summer day. But will the warmth of that memory and the heat of the love they once shared be enough to outclass the storm, and more importantly, bring them back together?


Jonathan got up, grinning, and crossed the room, ready to fling open his door and his arms to Kyle. He could picture his boyfriend in his mind’s eye: the short muscular build, the hazel eyes, the mop of curly sandy hair that blended so perfectly with the constellation of freckles across his nose. He thought of the little tragus piercing in Kyle’s ear that for some inexplicable reason, Jonathan adored and could always be counted upon to play with his tongue, which drove Kyle nuts. The knock sounded again, and Jonathan took exactly three seconds to check his image in the mirror above his dresser. His blond hair had been cut that morning and, with a little dab of gel, looked stylish and alluring, the classic combo to his pale blue eyes and dark lashes. He wore only a plain white T-shirt and a pair of plaid boxer shorts. He figured they’d be naked soon enough, so why bother with a complicated ensemble that would only slow them from getting to the main course?

Jonathan would swear his heart began to beat faster and he got a little breathless as he approached the door. He couldn’t stop the beaming smile that spread across his face as he reached for the knob.

But that smile vanished when he saw Kyle standing out in the hallway, staring down at the floor and radiating dejection. His shoulders slumped and there was about him an overall lack of energy. When he managed to tear his gaze away from the tile floor, he looked at Jonathan with sadness. Jonathan frowned too when he could discern no excitement, no joy to see him, in those hazel eyes.

This was not the picture he had been anticipating when he swung open the door.

“Good God, Kyle, what’s the matter? Is everything okay?”

Kyle’s gaze returned to the floor and Jonathan shook his head, reached out and forcibly pulled his boyfriend inside the room, closing the door behind him. Jonathan cocked his head, “What’s wrong, sweetheart?” He smelled cooking grease on Kyle, the after-effect of toiling in the Hamilton University student cafeteria. Normally, he would suggest the two of them slip down the hall and into a shower together -- a nice, sudsy, both clean and dirty beginning to their three-day weekend.

But the game plan seemed to have changed. Kyle’s bad mood, so rare and unexpected, cast a pall on the anticipation Jonathan had felt only moments ago.

Kyle didn’t answer.

Jonathan turned down the music, which was Moby’s “We Are All Made of Stars” and said, “Sit down, Kyle. Let’s talk. It’s obvious from your face, hell, from even the way you’re standing there that something is very wrong. What is it? Trouble in one of your classes? Is that Psych bitch giving you problems again?”

Kyle slumped down in one of the desk chairs, his long legs extended before him, the rest of his body sort of curled into itself. Jonathan wondered why Kyle didn’t take a seat on the bed, so they could at least sit side-by-side, but he let the move pass without comment.

“No. Everything is cool in my classes. In fact, I’m on track to make the dean’s list this quarter.” Not even a glimmer of a smile heralded this happy news. Kyle simply continued to appear distant and, yes, forlorn.

“So what then? Work? Trouble at home?”

Kyle snickered when Jonathan mentioned home -- and Jonathan had no idea why. One of the mysteries with Kyle was that he had never been too forthcoming about his home life, only that he was from a small town in eastern Ohio, on the Ohio River, and that he was an only child. Jonathan still had no idea what his parents did for a living or how he even felt about his old hometown. Kyle shook his head. “No. And no.”

Jonathan didn’t want to entertain what the other possibility could be. He sank down onto his bed, nausea rising in his gut as he pondered being told Kyle had cheated on him (he was, at least in Jonathan’s mind, about the most handsome hunk on the campus of Hamilton University), or that he “wanted to see other people” or that he “needed a break” or that “it’s not you, it’s me” and he needed to end things between them.

But none of those scenarios could possibly be true, could they?

Author Bio

Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love.

He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). He is also a Rainbow Award Winner for both Caregiver and Raining Men. Lambda Literary Review has called him, "a writer that doesn't disappoint."

Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever "at work on another novel."

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Audiobook Review: A Kind of Romance (A Kind of Stories #2) by Lane Hayes

Zeke Gulden is a ruthless Wall Street exec. His hard-edged, no-nonsense attitude has served him well in the cutthroat business world, but less so in his personal life. When he finds out his ex-boyfriend cheated on him with a coworker, Zeke can’t let go—not until he finds a way to get even. However, his meddlesome father has other ideas. The new hire at the family-owned bagel store is somewhat colorful, but his dad is sure he’s the perfect man for Zeke.

Benny Ruggieri is a fiercely proud New Yorker who dreams of making it big as a costume designer in the theater. In the meantime, he’s working two part-time jobs in the food biz. When his new boss sets him up with his successful son, Benny has zero expectations. If nothing else, he figures he can entertain himself by making the uptight businessman squirm. Instead, the two become unlikely friends with an inexplicable attraction they can’t ignore. Benny might be the one to help Zeke set aside his quest for revenge, if he’s willing to let go and forgive what he can’t forget… and give in to an unexpected kind of romance.

Listening Length: 9 hours and 1 minute
Narrated by: Seth Clayton

Narration 5 Hearts
Story 3.5-4 Hearts


Seth Clayton is BONAFIDE!

I'm still a rookie at this audiobook deal but I was blown away by Clayton's narration. He really got into it. Everyone's voice was distinct. If the charactered sighed, he sighed. If they laughed, he laughed. Hell, there was even one time Zeke was eating and he talked with his mouth full! And he did a compelling job with the sexy times too! I have zero complaints about the narration. As a matter of fact, I'd even go so far as to say that I'd listen to an audiobook that I maybe wasn't that interested in if he narrated it. 

Watch your 6, Seth.

This story is quite good. It's a little fake boyfriendish which is usually my jam. The fly in the ointment was Zeke. Zeke needs to get punched in the face, preferably by his seventy-something father. He's a pretentious snob which is sort of ironic considering he labels all of his peers as such. However, I really have to hand it to Hayes to dance with who brung her. Sorry, I lapsed into Southernspeak. What I mean is, Zeke isn't a sympathetic character. He's judgy, vengeful and ├╝ber competitive in an unflattering way, but Hayes tells this story entirely through his eyes. I admire that, takes chutzpah. 

I was empathetic towards him while at the same time barely stifling the urge to tell him that we were playing the quiet game wherein he would be 'it' until further notice. He has daddy issues. I'd go into the whole psychobabble rigamarole but blah blah blee blee blee. He comes around in the end. He has his moments where I cyber high-fived him and-even better-he has to jump through a couple of hoops to get to his HEA. Both of these characters have depth with strong and consistent characterizations which makes for engaging reading.

He and Benny get guilted into a date by Zeke's meddling father who doesn't want his son to die alone. Benny isn't his type, a point which Zeke hammers over and over again usually right to Benny's face.

Benny gives it right back though. He sees through all the BS and I loved him for it. He takes zero shit without being a jerkface about it. Out and proud and a bit femme there was nothing not to like about him and the bottom line is, it matters not what I think about Zeke because Benny likes him. Benny is a positive influence and despite the fact that Zeke's head keeps telling him they have no future, his heart keeps him chasing after Benny like an imprinted duckling. 

Some of my favorite moments came from his single-mindedness. From the Gershwin karaoke to the wedding to the pool game, they sort of accidentally wend up in a relationship. The evolution of their relationship seemed natural for two people who genuinely like one another, can communicate about things large and small and have some scorching sex. You'd have to be nutters to not want to spend loads of time with that person, ammiright? However, my most favorite part was the talk Zeke has with his father after he's torched the best part of his life and is lost as to how to fix it. That's the stuff of verklemptitude right there, folks.

I think A Kind of Romance is a better example of Hayes talent than my first experience and I would read more by her. I'm actually really curious about Clay and what his story is. Still has more label dropping and interior decorating than I think is necessary but I think it worked better this time, because pretentious snob. It goes without saying that if Seth Clayton narrates, I'm there. With bells on.

A Kind of Romance can be read as a standalone. I've not read the predecessor but never felt lost.

I'd recommend Seth Clayton to EVERYONE!!!!!!!! And this book to those who like the opposites attract trope.

A review copy was provided.

Find out more on Goodreads & Dreamspinner Press.

See our eBook review here!

Audiobook Review: Saving Silas by SJ Himes

Haunted by his years at war, Boston paramedic Gael Dominic spends his time saving other people’s lives. An empty house, a single friend, and living at work, Gael is not content with his existence, but he’s close. Gael was expecting his overnight shift on Thanksgiving to be the same as always—manic crowds, heart attacks...until catastrophe strikes, and Boston’s streets run with blood.

On the run from an abusive and politically powerful father, Silas has been on the cold, mean streets of Boston for days, injured, hungry and alone. When he wakes up in the middle of a nightmare, he expects to die in the same alley he was calling home.

Brought together by tragedy, Silas and Gael can’t resist their attraction. Gael may have saved Silas, but it’s his alleyway angel who brings Gael back to life.

As Christmas approaches, Silas and Gael learn how to love, despite their pasts. And as Silas' past closes in, Gael learns the greatest gift he could ever give isn't something bought in a store, but freely given from the heart.

Listening Length: 3 hours and 38 minutes

*Previously Published as part of Home For The Holidays, A M/M Holiday Anthology, Nov. 29th, 2015.*

This rating is brought to you by it's not you it's me.


Some people love 'em, some people don't. Me, I'm very much prepared to be a mad cat lady in my latter years, my husband's Grandma looks at my kitties as though they were made by Satan himself. (That might be a tad exaggerated, but it's fair to say she doesn't like my beautiful fur balls).

Like cats, some books are loved by some and not so much by others. Even when there is nothing wrong with the writing or story, beyond it just not working for that particular reader - and, yep you've guessed it, this was one such story for me. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the writing or story or characters or plot or.... anything, but it didn't draw me in.

I would like to say, the narration of this story was excellent, Derrick McClain is the reason I chose to review this in the first place, he has a unique intonation to his storytelling that I really enjoy. (He also has a really sexy voice...) I heartily recommend him as a narrator and will always look twice at a book narrated by him.

As I said, there is no reason for me to dislike this story, I love the premise but the execution just didn't work for me. It was just a writing style I couldn't gel with - which makes reviewing very hard. Logically I know there is nothing technically wrong with the story. I can't point at poor writing or characterisation or bad editing. How do I define what exactly makes a story good if the tick list of technicalities is all accounted for? Maybe it was a bit too instalove for my tastes, a bit overly dramatic maybe, I was bored by the sex scenes. But I know it is just me.

Please, please check out other reviews for this story because my heart wasn't in it, but I know many other readers will love it.

A copy of this audiobook was given on exchange for an honest review.
For more information see Goodreads.

Review: Closet Case (Sexy Nerd Boys #4) by K.M. Neuhold

That awkward moment when you accidentally fool around with a closet case. I have a strict policy against dating closeted guys. Confused straight guys? Absolutely. Guys who don’t mind being out and proud? Duh. But closet cases are a hard pass. Been there, done that, have the t-shirt with a giant picture of a broken heart on it. It would be a lot easier to stick to my dating rule if Matthew Hart could be slightly less irresistible.

Being a closeted gay college football player is not all it’s cracked up to be. After I broke my high school boyfriend’s heart by refusing to come out of the closet, I swore off serious dating. I don’t want to hurt anyone like that again, and I’ll admit I’m protecting my own heart in the process, too. It was a lot easier to stick to my no dating rule before I laid eyes on Jax Greene. He’s exactly my type in every possible way. If there’s even the slightest chance that history won’t repeat itself, I want to see where things might lead. Convincing Jax to give me a chance though might be the toughest play I’ve ever made.

**This book is the first M/M installment of the Sexy Nerd Boys series, but can be read as a stand-alone. Recommended for 18+ due to language and all kinds of hot sex

This book got off to a rocky start. The structure was….weird. It was choppy and seemed to cut off abruptly, flipping between characters after a page or two. It took a while to get into each character, and the story.

Once I got into the swing of the book I did enjoy the characters, mostly. I liked Jax’s sassy, snarkiness. I love snark. I didn’t really get ‘nerd’ vibes. Other than the references to comic books, nothing about him really screamed nerd to me. Some work on character development would have made him a little more three dimensional, and maybe I would have been convinced. This also may be an element I’m missing from the beginning of the series, if this is a character introduced in previous books, but if so, it should have been restated anyway.

I was put off by the amount of times Jax internally and verbally declared how much he wasn’t going to date a closet case, and then went ahead and did it anyway. I get it was the point of the story (the title, duh) but it was overstated and got boring after a while.

Also boring….. The reference to how gross vaginas are. I don’t like reading about it in any books. Vaginas aren’t gross, and trying to make a character more gay by going on about how much they shudder at the mere mention of a vag, or how proud they are to never have encountered one, is overkill. (Double Gold Star… just no). This may be something I just haven’t encountered before with my real life friends and acquaintances, and it may be a real thing, but it was a huge turn off for me in this story.

What I did enjoy was Jax and Matty’s chemistry. It was really good. The heat level worked well, and I felt the passion while reading them being together. The cuddling was also lovely. Gave it a bit of an awww feel to it. While they were together, they were convincing as a couple.

I want to talk about Glitter Beard!!! Well, not talk about it really. Just post a pic of the glory of Glitter Beard. Adding two of my favourite things together will instantly endear me. I heart Jax’s Glitter Beard (and his sassy shirts).

We didn’t spend much time with Matty as an athlete. The interactions with his teammates were miniscule, and what was there was pointedly homophobic; I suppose to prove the point as to why Matty had to stay closeted. More time with his teammates and practices would have convinced me about his passion for the sport. This is not a sports romance at all, so anyone getting excited about College Football will be sorely disappointed.

The ending was a bit too clean for me. Without going into too much detail, everything was sort of glossed over and convenient.

I’m not sure if this is the author’s first MM Romance (I’m going to assume yes based on Goodreads catalogue), and I give her props for dipping her toes in and trying something different.

This novel is pretty flirty, with some serious, but there wasn’t a great deal of depth of character beyond the plot line of Jax not wanting to date a closet case, and Matty lamenting about how he just wished life was easy so he could remain in the closet and come out once he retired from the NFL. If you’re looking for something fun and light, this would be an okay read to pick up.

In my opinion, this story can be read as a standalone.

Recommended for MM Romance first timers, who are branching out from MF, and those who want something pretty breezy and light to read over a few hours.

A review copy was provided for an honest opinion

Find on Goodreads!

Giveaway + Blog Tour: Dating Ryan Alback by J.E. Birk

Welcome J.E. Birk who's making her first appearance in the clubhouse!

Greetings! I'm J.E. Birk, and right now I'm traversing the internets to discuss my new romantic comedy, DATING RYAN ALBACK. Follow along to learn more about an insecure movie star, a klutzy teacher, and the neurotic dog who loves them. Leave comments for a chance to win a $10 Riptide giftcard and copy of any book from my backlist! 

About Dating Ryan Alback

Ryan Alback has almost everything he’s ever wanted: a successful acting career, a dog who adores him, great family and friends, and a life outside the closet. The only thing missing is a boyfriend—but Ryan’s been burned by Hollywood relationships before, and he’s not eager to try one again. 

Jason Santos has almost everything he's ever wanted: a fulfilling career teaching middle school, a house in a city he loves, and parents who support him in every way. Too bad he can't seem to forget the ex-boyfriend who rejected his marriage proposal.

When a talk show host launches a dating contest to find Ryan a boyfriend and Jason accidentally wins, neither of them expect anything to come from it. Yet somewhere between a disastrous massage and a mud sinkhole, they both start to wonder if this date could be more than just a public relations stunt. But before they can move into the future, they'll both have to learn to let go of the past. 

Now available from Riptide Publishing.

About J.E. Birk

J.E. Birk has been telling stories since she could talk and writing them since she was introduced to the alphabet. She hails from Colorado, where you can usually find her skiing, training for a 5K she won’t end up running, or watching people run into each other on football fields and in hockey rinks. You can follow her ramblings on Twitter by looking for @jebirkwrites. She’s also been known to ramble on Facebook as J Elisabeth Birk.

Connect with J.E. Birk:

To celebrate the release of Dating Ryan Alback, one lucky winner will receive a $10 Riptide Publishing credit and their choice of ebook from J.E.’s backlist! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on February 25, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Review: A Bond of Truth (Sensual Bonds #2) by K.C. Wells

Sequel to A Bond of Three

It is twenty years since the Bond of Three returned to Teruna. The kingdom of Kandor, once Teruna’s enemy, seeks help and sends its finest warrior, Dainon, on a diplomatic mission. A solitary man since his wife and child died, Dainon is unable to explain why an encounter with a young man on a beach rocks his world to its core.

Prince Arrio of Teruna has always been attracted to men but has never acted on it—until he meets Dainon. Headstrong Arrio goes after what he wants, despite his fathers’ advice. But when Prince Kei arrives unexpectedly, Arrio finds himself drawn to both men. Is history repeating itself?

Prince Kei has his first taste of freedom and is shocked when the visions that have plagued him since childhood become reality. The three men embark on a voyage of discovery. No one has foreseen the day, however, when the arrival of a stranger threatens to destroy their bond.

Second in the Sensual Bond series, this story is set twenty years after A Bond of Three, and centres around the heir of Teruna, Prince Arrio.

Danion is on a diplomatic mission from Kandor to find out how Teruna is thriving after a plague, because Kandors numbers a dwindling, with the bulk of childbearing women dying from it, including Danion’s wife, and son.

Danion’s instant attraction to Arrio is disconcerting, especially as he is still grieving for his wife and child, but after some initial denial, he decides to go along with it while he fulfills his mission. Arrio has no such reservations, and makes his attraction known.

Just as they are starting to communicate their need for one another, Prince Kei steps onto the scene, and Danion feels like an old man next to the two younger men, deciding to step back and let them strengthen their relationship.

This was a bit angsty in some areas, with a thread of non-communication, which is annoying. I don’t like misunderstandings that can be swiftly settled with communication. It’s a pet peeve. Just talk to each other and no one will be sad.

The broader story was enjoyable. I liked the world building. I haven’t read the first book in this series, but I didn’t feel like I missed anything. Everything was set out clearly, and I think this could be read as a standalone if the reader wanted.

Prince Kei was my favourite of this trio. He hasn’t been out in the world before, so he’s finding everything he encounters magical. His dreams were confusing him, but he’s taking his new freedom in stride and enjoying himself as much as he can.

The triad was a slow burn, and there was more relationship building between Kei and Arrio overall. I can see how Danion would feel left out, especially with the age gap between him and the other two, and the secretive behaviour. If it was told entirely from Danion’s point of view, that is the impression the reader would take away too.

The sexy stuff was pretty hot, and I’d say their sexual connection worked really well, even when their communication was lacking. In this one thing, they all seemed to be on the same page.

The plot drama worked well. It connected the story together, but it was a little anticlimactic. I was expecting something different, and less clean, but it still achieved its goal.

Recommended for readers who enjoy fantasy, menage relationships and relationships with an age gap. This was sweet, but not totally fluffy.

Find on Dreamspinner Press or Goodreads!

Book Blitz: Justin's Season by S.M. Sawyer

Title:  Justin's Season
Author: S. M. Sawyer
Publisher: Ninestar Press
Release Date: August 6, 2016 (print), February 29, 2016 (e-book)
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 101,300 words
Genre: New Adult, historical fiction, redemption, destiny, acceptance, sports, coming out, interconnected, small town, flashback, AIDS

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The year is 1988, and Justin Davis, a former nationally recruited football prep star, awakens from twelve years of masking his shame with drugs and alcohol to find he has been returned to his former self through what can only be described as a miracle.

Triggered by the confirmation of his closely guarded sexual orientation, his fall from grace of over a decade before sets the stage for his redemption. The fulfillment of his destiny is prompted by Providence and the serendipitous deeds of those who are a part of his new life, as their intertwined lives are likewise impacted. Though his rapid evolvement and acceptance of his homosexuality is countered by setbacks, Justin perseveres and eventually triumphs as fate, he believes, has led him back to the sports arena to recapture past glories.

In a stunning finale, however, he learns his destiny is not what he had envisioned. His calling has been thrust upon him by circumstances beyond his control. Can Justin embrace it and become the man he was always meant to be?


A sliver of light from the early morning sun came through an exposed slit of the basement window blind, creeping its way against the wall until it came to rest upon Justin’s eyes. He lay sleeping in a jumbled mass of musty blankets on an old steel-framed bed. After a few moments of the sun’s focused rays beckoning him to awaken, he flinched and turned his head away, and then rolled onto his left side toward a dark corner in a vain attempt to deny the day’s arrival.

For Justin, it had been another long night, and the reminder of a new day came with a reluctant anticipation akin to that of a prisoner serving a life sentence without a chance for parole. He lay there motionless, holding the sheets close to his chin as he gazed upon an iconic black-and-white poster of James Dean. The actor walked down a puddled street with a cigarette between his lips, hands in his coat pockets, and his collar turned up to keep the cold and drizzle at bay. Marching down the Boulevard of Broken Dreams and into immortality.

Though it had been hanging on the wall for fifteen years, Justin, enjoying a rare and lucid moment of circumspection, studied the poster in silence as if he were looking at it for the first time. You did it right, Mr. Dean, he thought. You died early…frozen in time. Leaving everyone wanting more. Never having to answer for life’s failings.

The unwelcome light from the sun continued to fill the room, exposing the remnants of Justin’s life before the troubles. Dusty citations, press clippings, photographs, scholarship offer letters, and trophies from his high school years. Collected over a decade before, they now served as the remaining threads that connected to past glories.

This is what happens, isn’t it? You peak early and get a little cocky that you’re in control, and instead of leaving on top, you live long enough to mutate into some bad apple that people use to warn their kids. “Don’t get too full of yourself or you’ll turn out like Justin Davis.” That’s right…I’m not remembered for what I was and what I should have been. It’s easier for voyeurs to whisper among themselves about the broken, washed-up, slow-motion train wreck I’ve become—how I let my charmed life slip away.

Justin sat up and swung his legs over as if getting out of bed, but stayed sitting there to give his head time to clear from another all-night bender and to gain a semblance of balance before stepping onto the cold cement floor. His still imposing six-foot-four-inch body, an inch taller than in his high school days, was out of shape and bloated. It served as a metaphor for everything else his life had become, contrary to the Greek god physique he’d had when he was seemingly in total charge of his life and circumstances.

His blond hair was long and greasy, and his face contorted by the miseries of daily self-flagellation through alcohol, drugs, and slovenly habits. His tongue felt thick and dry, and his eyes appeared as if seared on an iron skillet. He did his best to gather whatever strength remained to get up and to live what had become his own recurring Groundhog Day. He wanted water to quench his alcohol-induced thirst and to be bathed by a sympathetic and nonjudgmental geisha, washing away impurities and regret. But again he thought of sleep and of beckoning the dreams to reacquaint him with his previous life. He eased his head onto the pillow with hopes that sleep would allow him to wander back to his senior year in high school—to a time when he was admired by all and treated as the town’s favorite son.

Justin Davis was the class hero and the most likely to succeed. He had excelled at everything—sports, scholastics, popularity—and as the top quarterback recruit in the nation he received offers from scores of college football powerhouses representing the Big Ten and other major conferences. Why then, he continually asked himself, had he let his guard down—putting everything on the line and seeking confirmation from strangers?

Throughout his life he had felt that guardian angels were with him, but they’d abandoned him when he needed them most, so they could steward over someone more deserving…someone who wouldn’t risk all for a taste of what he had been brought up to consider the forbidden fruit. He couldn’t explain it, but life’s confusions made him feel that he no longer fit the role his angels had paved for him. That maybe he’d had a hand in sabotaging it before it went too far; a secret he kept hidden from himself and others with the aid of any mind-numbing substance he could get his hands on.

With his room in the basement of his brother’s home now bathed in full light, Justin drifted back to sleep, and from his sleep he could hear the marching band and cheers from the packed stadium as he led his team, charging onto the field through the gauntlet of cheerleaders. In reliving the moment, he managed a slight smile as his dreams took him back twelve years to the fall of 1976 and the sound of the PA system announcing the starting teams for the state of Ohio’s high school football championship game.

And as the dreams continued and the light of the sun streamed through the basement’s walk-out French door and remaining windows, Justin subconsciously felt a strange and unique sensation upon his dormant soul. The feeling of his angels returning to envelop his body like fresh snow on a blemished landscape—lovingly transforming his unkempt and damaged being. They had come to caress and heal his body and spirit, and renew his faith to trust what lay ahead.


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Meet the Author

S. M. Sawyer is a retired military officer. He has also served as a defense contractor and as President for a nationally accredited charity whose mission is to recognize exceptional maritime rescues and assist voluntary search and rescue organizations worldwide. He lives in Virginia with his wife, Natalie. They have five grown children. Justin’s Season is his debut literary effort.

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Review: Skythane by J. Scott Coatsworth

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.

To be honest I liked this way more than I expected I would.  I had just finished reading an amazing series and I couldn’t help but compare this book to it.  But, once I got into the story I found myself comparing it less and less.  The world building was fascinating.  It was well thought out; no stone left unturned.  I could tell the author spent tons of time on it, planning it out to the littlest detail.

Jameson has been asked to investigate why there has been a shortage of pith, a substance used primarily for medicinal purposes.  He’s unsure as to why he was chosen for this task.  He’s a nobody, just one more psych (therapist) in a sea of others of the like.

He was nothing special, a cog in the machine.  A low-level psych who was never meant for anything greater than midlevel success.

Once he arrives on Oberon he’s greeted by Xander, who will be his escort to where the pith is manufactured.  Xander is a skythane, one of the winged humans from Oberon who are ostracized from the regular humans inhabiting the strange half-planet.  Oberon is an enigma as it is literally half a planet and no one can figure out why it still exists and hasn’t gone spinning off into the universe or broken up into itty bitty pieces.

From the moment these two meet, the story takes off to an action packed adventure filled with high flying chases, gunfights, mystery and intrigue as they journey to the edge of the world and beyond.  I was glued to my screen throughout.  I just had to know what happened next and what enfolded was a fascinating tale about destiny and greatness.  These two seemingly nobodies were much more than they first appeared. 

The writing was creative.  I loved the detailed history of the planet and its inhabitants that was told gradually as the story progressed.  The character development was well above par and all of the characters, even the secondary ones, we fully fleshed.  What I loved most was the delicate balance between sci-fi and fantasy that was woven into the book.  Most of the time when I read sci-fi, it is all logical and straightforward without any fantasy to it so it was great to see a bit of magic thrown in.

I recommend Skythane to sci-fi lovers who like a little fantasy and romance mixed in to sweeten the pot.  The romance does take a backseat but I didn’t mind at all, I was busy being distracted by the fabulous world building and enthralling storyline.  They do get their HFN though, don’t worry about that.  And the ending was left open for a sequel which I’m thankful for as I want to know more about this world.  I can’t wait for the next book!

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