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Guest post from Tami Veldura – Blood in the Water

 

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Blood in the Water, first in the Act of Piracy series.

Kyros Vindex, treasure-hunter, has a problem. He’s carrying a torch for a fellow pirate with the sexual awareness of a teaspoon. Rumors say the man has killed hundreds. He’s determined to knock some sense into the work-a-holic that captains the Midnight Sun, but damned if he knows how.

 Eric Deumont has more pressing concerns than the treasure-obsessed Kyros. There’s a creature inked into his chest that no witch in the seas will lay hands on for all the gold in the world. He knows it gives the Midnight Sun a cursed reputation and that doesn’t make living any easier. He has heard stories of spirits trapped for lifetimes inside spelled puzzle jars. Eric tracked down three of the pieces for such a jar with a lead number four. The fifth is still out there.

 Even then, the spirit of vengeance that lives in Eric’s skin has no intention of giving up such easy access to the mortal realm. It craves blood and the light of the moon allows it to wreak unchecked havoc. Cursed is an insult. This is madness.

Best Enemies to Lovers

Pirates make for excellent stories. They fight against tradition, make their own luck, and sail off on amazing adventures fit for movie-making. But as we all know, the movies can stretch the truth a little. Here are 5 common pirate myths and one thing they got right.

1: Walking the Plank – MYTH

It’s an excellent suspenseful scene, but it turns out, walking the plank was never that popular. It’s ineffective as a punishment but it may have been used as a threat since most people in the 16 and 1700’s couldn’t swim.

 Marooning, whipping, and keelhauling were all used as severe punishments, but walking the plank is largely a Hollywood idea.

2: Pirating Was a Last Resort – MYTH

 The stories would have you believe that only after all other legal avenues had been exhausted, would a man turn to piracy to make a living. In fact, piracy was more attractive than a lot of work. Sailing under the command of the Queen’s navy could get you killed just as easily and for less than an eighth of the pay.

 When pirates attacked a trade ship it wasn’t uncommon for military men to defect to the pirates’ side and sail away with the goods!

3: Once a Pirate, Always a Pirate – MYTH

 Once you’ve broken the law and defected to piracy, there’s no going back, right? You live and die as a pirate… right? In fact, the usual stint for a man drawn to piracy was 3-5 years. Odds were good you’d die in that time, but if you were good with a sword and had a loyal crew, your career as a pirate didn’t need to last very long.

 Either through gainful employment or simply after earning enough of a fortune to settle, even the most notorious pirates were only at sea for a few years.

4: Pirates Buried Their Treasure – MYTH

 Thanks to Treasure Island, this myth will probably never fade away. Generally, the ‘treasure’ pirates plundered from their targets wasn’t gold and jewels. It was spice, sugar, rum, and metals. They attacked trade ships coming from Africa and up from South America, took all their supplies and goods, then sold the items themselves, splitting the profits. If they did take a treasure galleon or made a killing with their stolen goods, money was split among the crew and immediately spent.

 In addition, the majority of people were illiterate and even fewer could chart a plot on a map. If you could read a compass and watch, plot charting required a lot of math. When a pirate buried something somewhere, they’d never be able to find it again.

5: Pirates Have No Rules – MYTH

Working aboard a ship, pirate or otherwise, required adherence to a strict code. Pirates had very different rules than the Queen’s Navy, but they had rules none-the-less. Pirate ships were a small nation to themselves. They voted as a group on Captain, Quartermaster, and several other high ranking positions. People with reading, writing, or math skills could rise quickly in the ranks. People who could cook or play instruments were favored.

 But punishments were also delivered without mercy. Fighting between crew on the boats was usually forbidden and whipping was the detention of choice. Piss off too many people and they might drop you off at an island in the middle of the Pacific.

6: There Were Women Pirates – TRUE

 Anne Bonny and Mary Read, who sailed with “Calico Jack” Rackham are probably the most well known women. When captured they both claimed to be pregnant to avoid a hanging. Some women took up piracy after their husbands died or were executed. Others joined to avoid marriage entirely.

Quite a few women came to lead their own crews or fleets and commanded the respect of political leaders around them. Sayyida al Hurra (Sayyida The Queen) controlled the entire western half of the Mediterranean Sea. When she agreed to marry the King of Morocco, she refused to leave her capital city to do so. It’s the only time in history the King of Morocco traveled to marry his wife and not the other way around.

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Tami Veldura is a writer, reader, lover and artist. She currently resides in San Marcos, CA. She writes science fiction, fantasy, steampunk, and GLBTQ fiction.

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Eight Second Cowboy by Piper Kay

Eight Second CowboyEight Second Cowboy by Piper Kay

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

It’s Rodeo Roundup time in Houston. Undefeated bull riding champion, Matt Stevens, runs into longtime nemesis, Lance Loskey. Matt is intense, his focus and drive sustain him, but seeing Lance with his carefree attitude rages a plethora of feelings to the surface. This mellow cowboy is in position for more than just the championship after a freak accident paves Lance’s way. This is an opportunity for bull riding opponents to embrace their destiny. Will they succumb to fate, or will stubborn pride end the 8 second ride in tragedy?

So what did I think?

This book has heaps of strong reviews (on Goodreads), averaging 4.4 stars as I write my own review. I think I must have missed something here because, although I liked the story, there were quite a number of things that I found off putting. I would suggest you check out the reviews of others before deciding on this book based solely on my review because it seems I might be the odd one out (I haven’t yet read the other reviews as I never read them before writing my own review but I will check some out later to see what others picked up on that escaped me). Anyway…

Firstly, I did like reading the book, the story wasn’t bad and it was nice way to while away some time. It wasn’t earth shattering, just a story about a guy who discovers he has unexpected feelings for another man after never having felt that way about a guy before. In this gay-for-you/enemies-to-lovers story, Matt is fearful of coming out on the rodeo circuit which threatens his relationship with Lance. I just had a few minor issues that prevented this book from reaching over 3 stars for me.

I think the main thing that I struggled with from the beginning was the first person, present tense POV. Instead of it providing a deep connection to the character of Matt, I found it somewhat uncomfortable reading. Probably just a personal thing…

Another pet peev of mine is the use of some language that appeared in this book, the sort of language that I find unromantic or lacking in true passion. There was overuse of the word ‘pucker’ and I didn’t like statements like “I squirt my hot juices..” or “..several little squirts, and then a huge discharge..” – it all sounded too clinical and like a festering wound!

At one point, Matt makes a confession about something traumatic in his past. I just didn’t feel the emotion which was similar to other parts of the story where the conversations appeared a little stilted without a natural flow. Plus I found it unbelievable that a bull-rider not only had never ridden a horse but was scared of them!

So all-in-all, it was okay for a quick read, so long as you enjoy the first person present tense and aren’t as adverse to some of the language as I am! And it was only $0.99 so maybe I shouldn’t complain so much. :

❅❅❅❅❅❅❅

To find out more about Piper Kay and her books visit her website.

Buy Eight Second Cowboy from Amazon.

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F.A.S.T. Balls by Tara Lain

The Balls to the Wall Series by Tara Lain

  • Volley Balls (book #1)
  • Fire Balls (book #2)
  • Beach Balls (book #3)
  • Snow Balls (book #4)
  • F.A.S.T. Balls (book #5) – in this review

See the link below for review of the first four books in the series.

F.A.S.T. Balls (Balls To The Wall, #5)F.A.S.T. Balls by Tara Lain

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Firefighter and surfing champion, Jerry Wallender, looks like a hero to the world, but he can’t see it. He keeps falling for these intellectual guys who end up making him feel dumb and unneeded. On top of that, Mick Cassidy, super-gorgeous firefighter and total homophobe, makes Jerry’s life miserable with his slurs. Then one day Mick’s nice to Jerry and, at the Firefighter’s Ball, Jerry offers a helping hand and ends up with a hand-job. What the hell is going on?

Mick Cassidy is great with fighting fires and solving math problems but rotten with people. Raised by a gay-hating preacher, Mick’s carefully constructed world of gay bashing starts to crumble when he meets Jerry, the nicest, kindest man he’s ever known. Mick’s never wanted a woman and can’t stop thinking about sex with Jerry. In fact, he can’t stop doing it. Does that make him gay? And if he’s gay, what happens to his whole life? A hook-up between sweet Jerry and mean Mick might be total disaster — or the smartest idea Jerry ever had.

So what did I think?

A little bit of mixed feelings about this one. While I enjoyed the continuation of the series I did find there were a couple of things that slightly dampened my enthusiasm.

The plot seemed slightly familiar, centreing around around a guy (Mick) who has been raised with an extreme preacher for a father. His father is leading his ‘community’ in the ways of hate, encouraging intolerance to the point of violence. “And they’re armed, Jerry. They’ve got guns in trucks and closets and under beds.” Due to his upbringing, Mick needs to overcome his own prejudices and gain a better understanding of what being gay means before he can accept his own nature.

My issue with this story line was the resolution – there was strong conflict with Mick’s father but nothing like I would have expected given his beliefs and Mick seemed to deal with it a bit too easily. After a life-time of listening to his father’s sermons and rantings, I would have thought some heavy counselling would have been needed before he could accept his own sexuality.

I also found some of Mick’s dialogue uncomfortable. The words he used when talking about sex and body parts just seemed too childlike…“Then there was the thing. Turns out it was pretty big. He smiled. He knew from the shower at the station. That was supposed to be a good thing. Guys always bragged about how big their things were.” I know he was virginal but this just seemed too extreme, particularly for someone living in a world surrounded by masculine firemen!

What I did like was Jerry, who had been unlucky in love, getting his happy ending! I thought he accepted Mick and gave him another chance way too readily but it all worked out in the end.

This makes a nice addition to the series.

3 Stars

To find out more about Tara Lain and her books visit her website.

Buy the Balls to the Wall series from Amazon.