by Aleksandr Voinov
Published by Riptide Publishing
Germany, 1945. The Third Reich is on its knees as Allied forces bomb Berlin to break the last resistance. Yet on an airfield near Berlin, the battle is far from over for a young mechanic, Felix, who’s attached to a squadron of fighter pilots. He’s especially attached to fighter ace Baldur Vogt, a man he admires and secretly loves. But there’s no room for love at the end of the world, never mind in Nazi Germany.
When Baldur narrowly cheats death, Felix pulls him from his plane, and the pilot makes his riskiest move yet. He takes a few days’ leave to recover, and he takes Felix with him. Away from the pressures of the airfield, their bond deepens, and Baldur shows Felix the kind of brotherhood he’d only ever dreamed of before.
But there’s no escaping the war, and when they return, Baldur joins the fray again in the skies over Berlin. As the Allies close in on the airfield where Felix waits for his lover, Baldur must face the truth that he is no longer the only one in mortal danger.
A gripping story, with amazing depth for so short a piece. Wonderful descriptions throughout. I just wish there could have been more of it.
by Alex Beecroft
Published by Riptide Publishing
A timeless love as dangerous as the sea.
For Captain Harry Thompson, the command of the prison transport ship HMS Banshee is his opportunity to prove his worth, working-class origins be damned. But his criminal attraction to his upper-crust First Lieutenant, Garnet Littleton, threatens to overturn all he’s ever worked for.
Lust quickly proves to be the least of his problems, however. The deadly combination of typhus, rioting convicts, and a monstrous storm destroys his prospects . . . and shipwrecks him and Garnet on their own private island. After months of solitary paradise, the journey back to civilization—surviving mutineers, exposure, and desertion—is the ultimate test of their feelings for each other.
These two very different men each record their story for an unfathomable future in which the tale of their love—a love punishable by death in their own time—can finally be told. Today, dear reader, it is at last safe for you to hear it all.
Told as alternating diary entries, this is a lovely literary story with some great pieces of historical detail . It's not always pretty, and both men have to make compromises, but they work to get the happiest ending they can for their times.
Romance Novels for Feminists analyses the relationship in this one here.
by Jessica E. Subject
Published by Decadent Publishing Company, LLC
Attacked as a young adult, Jewel is left scarred and alone. She applies to the 1 Night Stand service, believing no one can see past her appearance to love her. But she doesn’t expect to be sent to a space station where her date could be any number of unusual alien species.
Flavia left everything behind to be one of five humans working for the Space Service space station. Extremely homesick, she is excited to learn she will be a guide to a woman from Earth visiting the station for a couple days. She is immediately drawn to the petite woman, seeing past her scars to her true inner beauty, stirring unforeseen desires.
Unfortunately, Jewel is there for a date which Flavia hasn’t been told about. Can she contain her lust and simply show her a good time? Or will she let her desire lead them into an unknown future?
I'm getting to be quite a fan of the 1-Night-Stand series, even though I'm not reasing the stories in any sort of order. This one picks up on an SF theme that seems to have been developed in earlier stories (and now I want to read those as well). The two heroines are comfortable in their sexuality, but unable to find a partner for very different reasons. Thrown together without Jewel knowing who or where her date will be and without Flavia knowing she has a date, they manage to negotiate their difficulties and seem to be heading for a happy ending even if it's uncertain where that will be eventually.
A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent
by Marie Brennan
Published by Tor Books
Marie Brennan begins a thrilling new fantasy series in "A Natural History of Dragons, " combining adventure with the inquisitive spirit of the Victorian Age. "You, dear reader, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart--no more so than the study of dragons itself. But such study offers rewards beyond compare: to stand in a dragon's presence, even for the briefest of moments--even at the risk of one's life--is a delight that, once experienced, can never be forgotten. . . ."All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world's preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day. Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever.
A fabulous book, told as the memoir of a lady (and a Lady) naturalist of a pseudo-Victorian era, facing down the attitudes of the time to study dragons in the wild and travel to far-off places with more typical male explorers. Beautifully illustrated as well, I am keen to see more of the Lady's adventures, which she only hints at in this first volume.
How To Get Over Your Ex
by Nikki Logan
Published by Mills & Boon
"Being rejected is one thing. Being rejected live on radio takes it to a whole new level! "After her on-air proposal is turned down by her commitment-phobe boyfriend, Georgia Stone must learn to survive singledom. Unfortunately, thanks to a clause in her contract, she has to do it under the watchful gaze of brooding radio producer Zander Rush. And so begins the Year of Georgia! Lurching from salsa classes to spy school, Georgia discovers a taste for adventure. Her biggest thrill so far? Flirting with danger--aka the enigmatic Zander. But admitting she's ready for more than just a fling...? Definitely Georgia's scariest challenge yet!
This was a fun read, and I really want to try out some of Georgia's adventures for myself (notably all the non-romance parts of her trip to Turkey). A couple of minor details niggled at the beginning and so I couldn't quite give it top marks. On the other hand I loved the twist at the end regarding what she plans to do next.
by C. J. Sansom
Published by Mantle
1952. Twelve years have passed since Churchill lost to the appeasers and Britain surrendered to Nazi Germany after Dunkirk. As the long German war against Russia rages on in the east, the British people find themselves under dark authoritarian rule: the press, radio and television are controlled; the streets patrolled by violent auxiliary police and British Jews face ever greater constraints. There are terrible rumours too about what is happening in the basement of the German Embassy at Senate House. Defiance, though, is growing. In Britain, Winston Churchill's Resistance organization is increasingly a thorn in the government's side. And in a Birmingham mental hospital an incarcerated scientist, Frank Muncaster, may hold a secret that could change the balance of the world struggle for ever. Civil Servant David Fitzgerald, secretly acting as a spy for the Resistance, is given the mission by them to rescue his old friend Frank and get him out of the country. Before long he, together with a disparate group of Resistance activists, will find themselves fugitives in the midst of London's Great Smog; as David's wife Sarah finds herself drawn into a world more terrifying than she ever could have imagined. And hard on their heels is Gestapo Sturmbannfuhrer Gunther Hoth, brilliant, implacable hunter of men ...At once a vivid, haunting reimagining of 1950s Britain, a gripping, humane spy thriller and a poignant love story, with DOMINION C. J. Sansom once again asserts himself as the master of the historical novel.
'My worldbuilding: let me hit you repeatedly over the head with it.' At least that was the impression I got from this book. The Prologue, in which we see the meeting of British politicians that eventually led to the situation of the alternate 1952 in which most of the action takes place, was reasonably well pulled off. However, the rest of the book felt like it was 60% flashbacks and only 40% action and/or misery. Most of the flashbacks dealt with aspects of the characters childhoods or earlier lives that could have been much better dealt with by the occasional line here or there. On top of that, while a book of this type tends to have quite a limited worldview, I could have done with fewer Oxbridge-educated white men running the part of the resistance operation we get to see. Also, we only really see Jews being persecuted with hints about plans to steilise the 'mentally deficient': no mention of what's being done to the Roma, nor the gay men, nor the 'female sex criminals' (the resistance operating out of brothels: really?) nor about various other groups. Yes, the book's focus was well researched, but it didn't really go anywhere. The characters met Churchill for no particularly good reason, they carried out their plan (sort of) and then they vanished so we could have a pointless epilogue in which all the politicians from the start (and a few extra) can plot what to do next (with a few vague mentions of the characters in the main plot -- who really weren't worth the notice of those in authority in the end). If you want AU WWII, go buy Resistance: it's about women farming in Wales during the winter of 1944-45.