Hello everyone! Today we are wrapping up the third week of this year’s Reading Challenge Month with our Past/Future Week challenge. This week we celebrated books that take place in either the past (historicals, steampunk, medieval fantasy) or the future (futuristic, sci fi, dystopian).
You guys can play along with this event in two ways. First off, you can leave a comment on any of this week’s challenge week reviews and earn one entry point for each. And second, if you read along with your own challenge book, you can tell us all about it by leaving a mini review in the comments of this post and earn 10 contest entries. So if you comment on all the posts and do a mini review, you can earn mega entries!
This week’s awesome prize is sponsored by the folks at Carina Press! They are giving away two great book bundles! And remember, all entries over the month qualify you for our amazing Grand Prize sponsored by NineStar Press! They are giving away a Kindle Paperwhite loaded with 50 books from NineStar Press! You can see all our Challenge Month prizes here on our Prize Preview page.
Here is what you need to know this week:
- All the contest details and rules are in this post or at least linked from here.
- This week’s deadline to leave comments on our reviews, or your mini review of your own book here on this post, is Saturday, September 26th at 11:59 pm ET. All entries will also carry over for the Grand Prize at the end of the month.
- In case you missed any, here are the books we reviewed this week for the New-to-Me Author Week Challenge. Comment on each for chances to win!
- Young King Arthur and the Round Table Knights by Siryn Seung
- Taking Stock by A.L. Lester
- Forbidden by Wayne Mansfield
- Men of the Cross by Charlene Newcomb
- Into the Solace by Hailey Turner
- Noble Metals by L.A. Witt
- Manners and Mannerisms by Tanya Chris
- Blood Dance by Samantha Cayto
- If you read along your own challenge book this week, leave your mini review here on this wrap up post.
Thank you so much to everyone who has been participating all week! Don’t forget to leave your comments and your mini reviews for a chance to win! And be sure to check in on Sunday for the kickoff of our final challenge, TBR Pile Week!
For this week I’d like to recommend Echoes of the Storm by Charlene Newcomb.
This is the blurb:
“Jack Gamble is a shattered man. His lover betrayed him. His contacts in the resistance are scattered. And his best friend may be dead.
With the Galilei Empire closing in, Jack’s ship is intercepted by mercenaries under the command of Captain Ben Stone. Can Jack turn him to his cause, or will Ben turn him?
But Jack can’t afford any emotional entanglements. Not now. He has a rebellion to win and a homeworld to reclaim before the planet and its people are lost forever.”
And this is my short review:
The universe created for this book is fascinating and I never felt confused or bored by the world- building, just completely absorbed. All the characters, good or bad, are well defined and multidimensional, but most of all, unforgettable.
I loved everything about this book: the writing style, the pacing and the fact that the romantic pairing wasn’t the main focus, but rather a byproduct of the events that brought Jack and Ben in each other’s lives.
Echoes of the Storm was a fast flowing space adventure, filled with action, intrigue, twists and surprises at every turn. It offered me a few hours’ escape into a whirlwind of emotions and suspense, and I can’t recommend it enough.
Sounds wonderful! We have this one scheduled for review as well!
Ooh, this does sound good! Thank you, Ana.
You made me want to read this immediately, Ana!
This week I read the anthology BOYS LOVE MANGA AND BEYOND: HISTORY, CULTURE, AND COMMUNITY IN JAPAN. Published in 2015, it features essays detailing the phenomenon of yaoi and “boys’ love” (BL) manga and novels, their historical predecessors in Japanese literature and pop culture, their resulting societal trends and influences, and a conclusion examining the potential future of the genre. It’s definitely targeted to academics, with the early chapters in particular feeling very jargony. Sometimes I was frustrated that there weren’t more images of what was being described, and I found a lot of repetition of certain concepts while some complex ideas barely got described. That said, there’s an amazing scope of presented material, and a lot of potential additions to the TBR pile. (The chapter on manga author Fumi Yoshinaga revealed that a sequel to her classic ANTIQUE BAKERY series exists…I have a feeling it never got licensed in English, but I’m still intrigued.) The accepted wisdom that yaoi is exclusively written by straight women for other straight women is proven false, with interesting (if short and frustratingly tangential) interviews with female writers and readers, as well as a study of male BL fans of many orientations. The book felt a little dated to me, possibly because it emphasized series from the mid-90s to early ‘00s. The final chapter mentioned proposed legislation in Japan to censor yaoi/BL plotlines under the guise of youth protection, and I wonder if that got foiled or not. Fervent students of Japanese culture, yaoi/BL, and/or comics in general won’t regret reading this, but I’m not sure it’s for the more casual fan.
Wow sounds fascinating, esp the writing for women by women thing being debunked since that is a constant issue in gay romance as well. Thanks for sharing!
I read the Taking Shield series by Anna Butler.
Ten thousand years ago, ‘the earth went dark’ and people from its colonies went in search of a new home. After three thousand years, they settled on Albion. Some things are familiar – politicians and the military, inches and feet, death (TW for so much) and taxes, Latin in religious ceremonies, homophobia, and size 13 shoes, but much is different – primarily the Maess with whom Albion has been at war for over a hundred years.
Gyrfalcon (Taking Shield book 1) by Anna Butler –
(FREE for Kindle readers) I first read this futuristic military science fiction in the 2018 challenge. Shield Captain Bennet is in an open and tense relationship with his partner, Joss, who is unhappy with his frequent absences. While on assignment, Bennet meets Flynn (a pilot), and they connect on many levels. It’s clear that their relationship will develop as the series progresses.
New read for me: Heart Scarab -I was impressed at the author’s ability to make me care for a character who I’d found unsympathetic in book one. This book had me pondering the difficulties of caring for someone with a dangerous profession and considering how relationships can change with time. It made me cry but left me eager to read on.
Makepeace -this book, set several years after the first, revolves around Bennet’s mission to the planet Makepeace in Maess space.
The Chains Of Their Sins -this book deals with the ugly aftereffects of the Makepeace mission. Bennet and Flynn are on the same ship but not together due to regulations. This was another book that had me crying.
Day of Wrath -the final book in the series went somewhere that I never expected.
This was an excellent series, and I’m glad the challenge had me read it. I recommend it highly to those who might like military science fiction with a side of romance.
Into Deep Waters by Kaje Harper — (FREE for Kindle readers) was a lovely tale of Jacob and Daniel beginning in world war 2, when they meet while serving in the Navy, and following their life together for some sixty years.
Slippery Creatures (The Will Darling Adventures Book 1) by KJ Charles –
– was set in London after the Great War featuring a bookseller, Will Darling, and Kim Secretan, a well-to-do young man. There are thugs, spies, various weapons, lies, many books, and a mystery. There is danger that didn’t feel too real to me. I enjoyed this and look forward to reading on in the series.
Oh all good choices! I have heard nothing g but good things about Anna butlers series. And I love Kjs Will Darling books. Both excellent!
When I started planning out my reading challenge month, I assumed I would be reading a historical for this week. I picked my book…but then accidently immediately read it. And this happened twice. So this week I actually read a future book
Chaos Station: After a war against aliens, Zander is trying to track down an old friend and runs into a former lover he thought was dead (Felix). So they are reconnecting, while racing to rescue the old friend, trying to avoid new enemies and working through Zander’s war wounds. It was good, I’ll try to continue the series
But I do want to say that the 2 historicals I read leading up to this week were very good and I recommend them
Brothers of the Wild North Sea by Harper Fox. Cauis is a Christian monk, Fenrir is a Viking who is part of the raiding party that attacks the monastery and is left for dead afterwards. They fall in love while Caius is nursing him back to health. That sounds simplistic for a story that went way further story-wise then I expected and will stick with me for a long time.
Bitter Springs by Laura Stone. Mexican-Texan Renaldo is sent to train under a freed slave named Hank to learn how to catch and train wild horses. This story starts with some circumstances that I found upsetting and I didn’t fully commit emotionally because of it. Its a one-off story but I would love to read a sequel where Renaldo’s brother finds love. But overall, very enjoyable
I’ve previously read and enjoyed the first two books you listed, Heather C. I haven’t read the third, but I can recommend Laura Stone’s contemporary ‘And it Came To Pass’ which features a pair of young Mormon missionaries in Spain.
Oh I knew that name sounded familiar! That is where I had heard Laura’s name!
Oh good choice with Chaos station! And I loooove Brothers of the Wild North Sea. Probably my favorite of Harper Fox’s impressive catalog. Glad you enjoyed it!
I read the Man From Milwaukee. I understand it as past, after all it talks about events that happened in the 20th century… I hope it counts. Honestly, I loved the book and I wanted to rave about it 😉
There are monsters outside, and also inside ourselves…
It is 1991, and Emory Hughes’ life is slowly going down the drain. Trapped in a job he does not like, with no social background and looking after a dying mother who no longer recognises him, Emory’s dull existence is enlightened by his fascination with the most despised man at the moment, serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. But that morbid connection he feels is taking him to the path of madness…
This is a great story, both intriguing and heartbreaking. It is a story the importance of forming and keeping relationships. Emory is such a sad character. Deep in the closet, unable to accept his sexuality, he’s been bullied in the past, but he had a haven in his family, a mother and a sister that he adored. With his mother’s body and mind consumed by illness, and his sister emotionally stranded, Emory feels lonely and misunderstood, and he turns to another lonely and misunderstood person… Jeffrey Dahmer. He creates an emotional bond with Dahmer, and he believes he’s found a friend. When real friendship arrives in the form of job workmate Tyler Kay, Emory struggles to understand. His grasp of reality is slowly fading, and when Tyler sees it he runs away before it is too late. And that last disappointment tips the balance for a very unstable Emory.
There are many things I loved in this book. On the one hand, the combination of reality and fiction, the story of Dahmer intertwining with the story of Emory, gives it a dual quality that makes it almost hypnotic. I could not put it down. On the other hand, the deep emotional distress of the characters involved. Emory is not the only character who’s struggling with unsettling emotions, but both Mary Helen (Emory’s sister) and Tyler find their way through caring relationships (with Liz and Cole, respectively, both loving and nurturing characters). Emory needs an emotional anchor to keep him bounded to this world, to prevent him from silpping into the dark side
I loved it
Yep, definitely counts as past! And thanks for your great review! I know Sammy enjoyed this one too!
Book read: The Actor and The Earl (Crofton Chronicles#1) by Rebecca Cohen. 3/5 Stars: When the reader first met the Earl of Crofton and he recognized Sebastian I was excited. I thought he would be intelligent and keen. But as the book progressed he turned out to be rather hot and cold, demanding and controlling, and e tended to pout or fume whenever he thought Sebastian was misbehaving. Sebastian occasionally stood up to Anthony but more often he literally fled away from the scene. If he had stood up more often I expect his character would be more interesting and Anthony’s more contrite. It was an interesting time period to read about and I enjoy some historical MM so I had fun with it. Though I did not like Anthony’s character I am going to continue this series. I enjoy the plot situation and really enjoy the timeline. I will also probably read the spin off books about Crofton Hall that the author has been writing.
Thanks Red! I know Sue has reviewed a bunch of these for us. thanks for sharing your thoughts!
I read Lost and Found by Liv Rancourt.
The world is still trying to recover from the great human carnage of World War I and from the devastation of the flu pandemic . Benjamin Holm, an American veteran from the Great War returns to Paris in 1920 in search of a friend that disappeared after the war. Benjamin meets Louis Donadieu, a ballet dancer who can no longer dance. Benjamin is suffering from PTSD has huge memory gaps. Louis becomes his friend and guide through the streets of Paris while Benjamin searches for his friend. This is one of the most romantic books I’ve read in quite a while. The author wrote a historical romance that will stay with me for a long time.
Thanks Sofia! It sounds really good!
I am still in my feelings over this one. I chose Jaclyn Osborn’s Axios: A Spartan Tale. One cannot write a true review without spilling all, so here goes.
??(¸.•?´?My number one for 2020.
I have been avoiding this book for such a long time. Had it not been for the Joyfully Jay challenge or my friend Arlyna nudging me to just do it, I would have continued to ignore it. I am a history buff, so I am quite aware of what may or may not happen with this type of story. But, this. One. Took. My. All!!! This book was one on my to be read list, a book that was raved upon from the day readers had known it was being released in 2017. Everyone wanted a piece of the pie, yet, somehow, it alluded me. I love history, don’t think that I don’t. I just gravitate toward the modern times in my reads.
Not life nor death would keep them apart for they lived and breathed the lifestyle.
Just mere boys when they met in Sparta, Axios and Eryx met when Axios was put to the test. “You can only stay above the flames for so long before you fall back to earth and burn,” Eryx said.
Eryx tilted his head to gaze upon me, grabbing my hand and interlacing our fingers. “Not even death could keep me from you. My soul will forever find yours. In this life and the next.
There is not much words that can express my feelings and I am all over the place as I write this review. I do know that this goes beyond five stars and will stay with me for a very long time. I cannot wrap my head around so many things and I am trying not to think for the emotions breaks forth just remembering. I hesitate to read Eyrx’s book…but I know my OCD brain will demand it. Maybe in the coming future.
My wish was that the two books were one with dual POV [this one was Axios’ POV], so I can spare myself more of the feels. I thought I was prepared. I wasn’t. I will recommend this book for the mere fact that anyone who loves love and is willing to defy heaven and earth to be together needs this book.
OH yay! I am glad the challenge inspired you to read this one and so glad you enjoyed it! I have heard raves about this book! Thanks for the review!
I picked Home is Where You Are by Alex Jane for this challenge. Not only does it fit the brief, with being set in 1870’s Nebraska, but it had been on my TBR for more than 3 years. This is a wolf shifter book, but not in the standard omegaverse way that is typical these days. There is no mpreg. Caleb is an alpha that lives alone on the edge of a small community, barely tolerated by the human townsfolk, except for the sheriff and a couple others. He’s suffering from PTSD as a result of the Civil War and has cut himself off from other wolves because he thinks he’s abnormal for being attracted to other alphas. One day the sheriff brings a badly damaged alpha to him and his solitary life changes. I enjoyed this book and will continue to read the series. No instalove. They really have to work for their happiness.
Thanks Jennifer! I read one of the books in this series (or maybe a spinoff?) and I found the world building really interesting. Glad you enjoyed it!
I read Trapped by Ruby Moone (bought with a voucher I won on JoyfullyJay, so tied in nicely!)
I would recommend reading Wrong Kind of Angel first – whilst not noted as a series, they definitely link. I was getting a few deja vu moments, so went looking to see if it was part of a series.
I like the sparse style of Ruby Moone’s writing, though at times it can appear a bit simplistic.
I liked Tristan – the not quite comfortable in himself earl, though occasionally we get a snap of authority that will come in the future.
Sam is a lovable character in that you want to yank him – and everyone like him – away from the dire straits he finds himself in.
Perhaps a bit too many reiterations of the I Love You so I’m leaving you, again and again and again but the plight of gay men in those times trying to forge some sort of life together is highlighted.
Thanks Suze! And so glad the voucher came in handy!
I choose Until the End of Times by Nicky James. I decide to read an historical instead of futuristic, which i would prefer, because it is a challange after all, so i push myself to read something out of my comfort zone. This week has being particularly hard at work, so I still havent finish, but here is what i think so far.
First, I dont like much historicals, but this book is making me think about give them a try. I was very quickly captivated by the story. Generally I struggle with the gender but this time, I just cant get enough. It’s being too hard to put it down.
I love the writing. Ilike the fact that the story is set in England, but I don’t see the author using excesive english lingo, which usually bothers me. It seem the be just the right amount.
The characters are nice. Im particularly fond on James and his attitude. I found him very intriguing. I love a character who puts on a good figt when things arent going as expecting and he is doing great. I like Simon, but, ebe though he keeps me guessing about his actions, I feel like there isnt so much charm on him as it is on James.
I find it very hard to put down. I can say, without havent finish it yet, that this will be ine of my favorite books,if not my favorite, from the author.
Thanks Ana for sharing your review! Glad you ended up enjoying it and we’re able to pick something that was a bit of a challenge!
I read Machine Metal Magic by Hanna Dare. This is book one of the Mind+Machine series. The setting is deep space some 150 years after the A.I.s’ have become autonomous and killed billions of people across the universe. Now known as the Singularity, the A.I.s have pushed the surviving humanity to the edges of the universe. A coalition of planets have organized a government known as the Commonwealth to provide leadership.
Prior to the Singularity humans had played with genetic manipulation and created a mutation that allowed some humans to communicate with machines. Now, 150 years later, these people known as ‘wizards’ are used and sometimes feared. One of our MCs is Jaime who is a wizard. As the story begins, Jaime has escaped from a Commonwealth training facility and is attempting to escape the planet on which he has been held. After an unfortunate encounter with Rylan, an ex-soldier turned smuggler, Jaime is captured and taken aboard the space craft the Wayward Prince. The crew needs help with the ship’s computer and Jaime needs off planet so he agrees to help them.
The story then becomes a space adventure as Jaime joins the crew to help transport a secret cargo. What is the cargo? Who are they selling it to? Is Rylan who he says he is? And can Jaime find acceptance, a home and even love among the crew of the Wayward Prince?
I liked this book but didn’t love it. The science fiction aspects were good. I liked Jaime’s character and development but didn’t care as much about Rylan. He was very stoic and started off the story unlikeable. I have read the three books in the series and Rylan has grown on me as the series has progressed. Books 2 and 3 focus on other couples, but Jaime and Rylan appear in each of the books.
Thanks for the review Deandra! I know Kris has been enjoying this series
I choose Eliot Grayson’s The Reluctant Husband because I won this book in the first reading challenge week (thank you Eliot Grayson!). It is a regency romance and so well done! Very good written and edited. After that I had to read the two other books of this series and they were equally good. I was very entertained and will read more from this new-to-me author! So thanks also to Jay and team for this opportunity 🙂
Oh yay! What perfect confluence! I haven’t read this series but I have enjoyed other books by this author. Glad you enjoyed it!
After 2 weeks of picking up books and not being able to get into them I was excited to read Band Sinister by KJ Charles. I know I’m in the minority with this story, but I was just left feeling so-so. I think I may have intermingled 2 blurbs together because I kept thinking they were going to become a band of amateur sleuths. I liked Amanda and the Murder, all of them pretty feisty, but I didn’t really take to Guy and Philip. Actually, I liked Philip with the Murder, but with Guy he became just as much of a ‘plank’ as Guy. There were so many characters introduced in the beginning and half of them had multiple nicknames to keep track of, and after a bit I stopped trying to figure who was who. The story itself was fine, but I’m beginning to think historicals are not for me.
Sorry this wasn’t a favorite Debbie but thanks for your review!!