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Pre-release Review: Mindscape by Tal Valante

MindscapeMindscape by Tal Valante

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

The truth will set you free.

Mark Sayre joins the Interstellar Navy for the money—his only goal is to keep his little brother out of the colony mines that sent their father to an early grave. With concepts like duty and honor floating high over his head, he hardly expects to fall for the serious, idealistic Shane Cawley. Not to mention that Shane is his commanding officer . . . and his Resonance partner, a one-in-ten-thousand mental connection so profound that they can travel in each other’s mindscapes.

Shane Cawley is carrying on the family tradition by serving in the Interstellar Navy. He hardly expects to fall for the quirky, happy-go-lucky Mark Sayre. But as the Resonance between them grows, neither can deny what he feels for the other.

When war breaks out, Mark and Shane find their military training and their Resonance link tested to the edge of sanity. Shane is haunted by memories and flashbacks, and Mark becomes trapped in his own mindscape. But with help from an unlikely ally, they may be able to salvage their futures and the love they share.

So what did I think?

This story was quite different to the types of stories that I am used to reading. I don’t read a lot of sci-fi so was intrigued by the blurb for this book.

I quite liked the building of the world – little glimpses of the future of planet earth and the intergalactic struggles for resources. The concept of two minds meeting in resonance was also fascinating. Finding the one person in ten thousand who was your soul mate to the extent of sharing thoughts and emotions was fascinating. Therefore the idea of ‘losing’ this person as they became trapped in their own mind interesting and I could understand Shane’s heartbreak.

This is the story of Shane visiting his resonance partner, Mark, in hospital. Mark is almost comatose, unable to speak, communicate or even acknowledge Shane. Shane tries everything in his power, over a long period of time, to break down Mark’s mental barriers to free him from his own mind. He is assisted by Alex, a nurse who adds a slight complexity to the story.

Through flashbacks, we learn of how Mark and Shane met and the war that resulted in Mark’s current situation. I did have a concern with regards to the flashbacks. The book moves back and forth between present day and the past with little warning which was slightly distracting. There was usually a double line space between the switch but I think the ease of reading may have benefited from a more definite change (such as a symbol between the paragraphs). However I was reading an ARC so maybe the formatting will be slightly different on the final book.

This was quite a unique story. I found it not so much a romance, rather a bit of a mystery story waiting to see if Shane could ‘rescue’ Mark. I would have liked to see more of Mark and Shane’s initial romance and falling in love, a deeper look at the characters, although the depth of the love was evident in Shane never giving up on his lover.

I think I will investigate some more work by this author and perhaps venture some more into the m/m romance sci-fi genre.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

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This book is due for publication on 23rd December 2013. To pre-order from Riptide click here.

To find out more about Tal Valante and her books visit her website.

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Pre-Release excerpt! The Fall by Kate Sherwood

The Fall by Kate Sherwood is due for release on 16th December and available for pre-order now. Following is a sneak peak with an excerpt from the book…

Fall[The]LG cover

The Blurb….

Every relationship leaves something behind. Dumped by his sugar daddy, part-time model Scott Mackenzie somehow ends up owning an abandoned church in rural Ontario. He dreams of using it for gay weddings, even if he’ll never have one of his own. Joe Sutton is trying to keep his family together after his parents’ deaths. Between the family ranch, his brother’s construction company, and commitments around town, he doesn’t have time for a relationship. But Mackenzie is hard to ignore. As both men fight their growing attraction, challenges to Mackenzie’s business threaten their relationship. If he can’t make it work, he’ll have to crawl back to the city in defeat. But the only solution involves risking the ranch Joe loves, and each man has to decide how much he’ll sacrifice for the other.

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Excerpt
Lorraine snorted. “He didn’t seem too friendly? I’m not surprised.” She shrugged philosophically. “It’s probably the gay thing.”
It hit Mackenzie almost like a slap. He’d thought he was prepared for small-town attitudes toward his sexuality and had absolutely considered homophobia as a possible barrier to setting up his wedding chapel somewhere like Falls Creek. But he couldn’t believe it was being treated so casually. “You’re saying he was rude to me because I’m gay?”
Lorraine looked startled. “No. I’m not sure I’d call it rude, but the way he acts? Distant, kind of? I always figured it was because he’s gay. You know, he’s always been a bit different, so he’s never really tried too hard to fit in. He just hangs out on his ranch, being a lonely cowboy….” She trailed off and fixed her gaze on Mackenzie. “But you say you’re gay as well? I mean, I can’t say it didn’t cross my mind. But it seemed rude to ask….”
“Joe Sutton is gay.” Mackenzie had always prided himself on being able to read people and certainly on being able to pick up on that little spark from a man who was noticing Mackenzie’s undeniable charms. But he’d gotten none of that from the cowboy brother. “That’s confirmed? Or you’re just guessing?”
“Well, I haven’t been there in the room with him and another fella,” Lorraine said with an arched brow, “but it’s general knowledge. He’s never tried to hide it, not that I ever heard of.” “Maybe he just couldn’t be bothered to speak in order to deny it. He doesn’t seem like someone who cares a whole lot what other people think about him.” Mackenzie was trying to figure it all out. He wanted to find a mirror and make sure he still looked like himself. First Nathan had dumped him for that twenty-year-old, and now a man living in what must surely be a gay desert had crawled right past Mackenzie’s bountiful oasis?
“You could ask Nancy Yeats’s nephew, if you wanted. Trevor something or other. He lives over in Darton, and I guess the two of them were seeing each other for quite a while.” Lorraine’s grin was a mix of curiosity and mischief. “If you’re interested, I can find out if he’s seeing anyone right now. I haven’t heard of it, and usually that’d be a good sign that it isn’t happening, but like I said, Joe’s a bit different. A bit more private than most folks.”
Private was not a good enough excuse for failing to pay attention to his surroundings or, more importantly, failing to pay attention to Mackenzie. But none of that needed to be shared with a woman who clearly gossiped as a way of life. He smiled brightly. “Oh, no, I’m not  interested. You know, not like that. I was just curious. I wanted to know what kind of people I’d be doing business with if I had the Suttons do the work on the church.”
“The best kind,” Lorraine said firmly. “You couldn’t do better.” Lorraine started telling a story about the Suttons helping out some poor family that had lost  everything in a house fire—well, of course the whole community had chipped in, but the Suttons had done the biggest part—and some people might say that’s because they’re blood, but really, they’d be third cousins at best—because it was Susan Sutton’s grandmother? Yes, grandmother, Maggie Johnson—she was from out in Newfoundland, back before it was even part of Canada, and she’d carried that accent with her for her whole life…. Mackenzie tuned out. Joe Sutton was openly gay. And Mackenzie was a model, for Christ’s sake. Maybe his career hadn’t quite taken off, but that was because Nathan hadn’t really liked it. He hadn’t been rude enough to try to forbid it, but he’d be grumpy for days before and after Mackenzie went out of town for even a couple days, and there just weren’t enough shoots in Toronto to propel someone into the modeling elite. The first time Mackenzie turned down a New York job, Nathan had leased him a silver Mini convertible as a reward. Mackenzie had been thrilled by the symbol of Nathan’s affection and by the adorable new wheels. But being a good boyfriend had made it a bit difficult to be a good model. So, no, it wasn’t as if Mackenzie had set the world on fire as a model. Still, he must be a tastier piece of ass than Nancy Whoever’s nephew!
Mackenzie forced himself to pay a bit more attention to Lorraine’s chatter, but the biggest part of his brain was still focused elsewhere. He was not going to be ignored by some desperate hick pretending to be a damn cowboy. No. Joe Sutton was about to get his world rocked. “Nobody puts Baby in a corner,” he muttered to himself, and then he smiled when Lorraine shot him a quizzical glance. “I’ve got to go,” he said without trying to explain. “But thanks so much for catching me up on all this. You’ve given me a lot to think about.”
He beat a hasty retreat inside and went to sit in the sanctuary of the church. A lot to think about. And a lot of things to do, things actually based around the important points of building a successful business and keeping himself out of the poorhouse. But his mind kept drifting back to the tall cowboy who’d told him he had bats in his belfry. And then ignored him. What the hell was Joe Sutton’s problem?

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Here’s a little bit of what Kate Sherwood has to say about herself…..

Hot men. Horses. Canada. Angst. Millionaires. Hot male millionaires riding horses in Canada while dealing with all their angst! Hell, yeah. No, not all my books are the same, and not all of them deal with every one of those ideas, but there are definitely some common themes! I ride horses in Canada. I like hot men. But I’m not a millionaire, and I’m not especially angsty. So, I’ve combined the ‘write what you know’ rule with ‘write what you like’, and I’m enjoying it. My first novel was published in June of 2010, and I’ve been pretty busy since then. I stuck with m/m romance for quite a while, but I’ve also got a couple m/f romances, and I’m exploring other genres as well. Basically, I love writing, and I’ll do it in any genre that I can! You can find more information at my blog or my website ,and I’m on Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook – everywhere, it seems. Come say hi!

To find out more about Kate Sherwood and her books visit her website.

Pre-order/buy The Fall at Dreamspinner Press.

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Check out my review of Kate’s Dark Horse series – highly recommended m/m/m!

And don’t forget to check back after 16th December. As soon as my order of The Fall arrives I will be eagerly reading and posting a review!