Time to get scared: Ascendent by Tal Bauer

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41452339-ascendent?from_search=true

Blurb

Sasha Andreyev grew up on the wrong side of nowhere, dreaming of starlight as he strangled a secret. He fled, enlisting in the Russian Army, and worked his way up the ranks. Years later, after surviving a beating and being left for dead, he found a new life in Moscow, working with President Sergey Puchkov.

And then, he fell in love.

Desperate to avoid his runaway heart, crippled with a shame that infected his soul, and ravaged by demons haunting his memories, Sasha ran.

But he could never escape Sergey, or the gravitational pull of their love.

Nightmares trail behind his every step and weary ghosts live in the hollow chambers of his soul. He’s spent a lifetime brutally eviscerating the parts of himself he despises, and he’s an empty, shattered shell, struggling to be the man worthy of Sergey’s love.

The pieces of his soul he cut out are the very ones he needs in order to become the man he yearns to be. He’ll need to face himself, and his past, on a journey into the frozen heart of Russia, and into the midnight depths of the dead lands.

Only then can he ascend from the darkness, and be the man Sergey needs at his side.

Review

I will admit that Tal Bauer is my favourite author out there writing at this time. His books have the research and attention to detail that, in my opinion, put them above most other offerings. It is standard practice for me to have my Kindle in one hand and Google fired up and ready in the other, so I can look for myself at the places he describes.

With Ascendent, it was no different. Following straight on from where we left them at the end of Enemies Within, this story follows Sasha and Sergey and how they start to build a life together in Russia.

We spend most of our time in this book with Sasha as he battles his ingrown demons and self-loathing at being gay and how this feeling is slowly killing him. But we also get spend time with Sergey as he fights for his country as well as his love. With a horror twist that had me peering at the words from between my fingers, this is once again a superb offering by Tal Bauer.

These were the characters I took the least amount of interest in during the Executive Office series, so I was unsure how I would take to this book, but I needn’t have worried. Tal, once again with his clever, descriptive use of language drew me into the story and back into the Executive world. Possibly even out doing even himself with his beautiful phrasing and painful emotion.

I would not recommend this as a stand-alone book, as it references events in the Executive Office series more than once, but it is a wonderful look into the world of Sasha and Sergey and a fabulous gateway to what I am sure are more nail biting adventures to come.

Number of stars out of 5: 5


Purchased for Review

Recent Release: Honeymoon For One by Keira Andrews

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41823691-honeymoon-for-one?from_search=true

Blurb

The wedding is off, but the love story is just beginning.

Betrayed the night before his wedding by the supposed boy of his dreams, Ethan Robinson escapes the devastating fallout by going on his honeymoon alone to the other side of the world. Hard of hearing and still struggling with the repercussions of being late-deafened, traveling by himself leaves him feeling painfully isolated with his raw, broken heart.

Clay Kelly never expected to be starting life over in his forties. He got hitched young, but now his wife has divorced him and remarried, his kids are grown, and he’s left his rural Outback town. In a new career driving a tour bus on Australia’s East Coast, Clay reckons he’s happy enough. He enjoys his cricket, a few beers, and a quiet life. If he’s a bit lonely, it’s not the end of the world.

Clay befriends Ethan, hoping he can cheer up the sad-eyed young man, and a crush on an unattainable straight guy is exactly the safe distraction Ethan needs. Yet as the days pass and their connection grows, long-repressed desires surface in Clay, and they are shocked to discover romance sparking. Clay is the sexy, rugged man of Ethan’s dreams, and as the clock counts down on their time together, neither wants this honeymoon to end.

Review

From the moment we are first introduced to Ethan as he is heading home on a New York train on the eve of his wedding, I was pulled in by his vulnerability. Hard of hearing and trying to cope in the noisy city environment, showed me in the first few pages here was a man that had faced personal heartbreaks and was doing his best to overcome them. But when he arrives home everything blows up in his face, the wedding is cancelled and he decideds to take the honeymoon trip alone.

As someone who grew up in the 80’s, on a screen diet of Neighbours and Crocodile Dundee (its still my husbands all time favourite film) Clay Kelly hit every one of my teenage nostalgia buttons. His Aussie slang made me laugh out loud more than once as did his love of cricket (which personally I find only second to golf in the boring sports stakes) and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the emotional, self-realization journey he took.

This book is a sweet, slow burn romance of two characters who take the time to get to know each other rather than insta-love, insta-sex of some stories. We, the reader also get time to understand how the characters think and how their life experiences have defined them into the men they are now. Both these men are truly likable and had me rooting for them (snigger) right from the start.

This book has in my mind all the elements that a good story should, allowing me to both laugh and cry over the tale as it unfolded.

4.5 stars out of 5

Copy Purchased for Review

 

 

Time to get Paranormal: A Time To Rise by Tal Bauer

 

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40526865-a-time-to-rise

Blurb

History says the Knights Templar were destroyed in 1307.
History is wrong.

Vampires haunt the sewers beneath Rome, revenants desecrate graveyards, ghouls devour helpless passersby, and incubi stalk dark alleys and seedy nightclubs in Italy’s capital. Deep in the Vatican, a brotherhood exists, sworn protectors of the earth, and they stand against the darkness. Operating in secret and silence, they protect our world from the sinister, the etheric, and the evils that exist beyond the Veil.

But it’s a lonely life, and Alain Autenburg knows that more than most. His lover was ripped from him years ago, and he vowed never to get close to another soul again. Even when the loneliness presses down on him, and his empty heart cries out for something more.

Something more comes in Cristoph Hasse, a new soldier arriving in Rome to serve in the Pontifical Swiss Guard. Young, brash, and fitting in at right angles everywhere he goes, Cristoph struggles in the murky, deceptive labyrinth of the Vatican. Propelled forward by a past he can’t understand, Cristoph collides with Alain as both men crash headfirst into the darkest secret of the Vatican… and of the world.

Review

A Time To Rise is Bauer’s first steps into the paranormal world, but don’t expect romantic “vegetarian” vampires with a bit of sparkle, because that isn’t how he writes. The vampires in this story are ugly, evil and they smell. Really, really bad.

As with everything he writes, Bauer’s level of research and attention to the small detail is second to none and sets him far above, in my opinion, most other authors out there.

As always, this book is character led, but with the romance taking a backseat to the drama and mystery of the story.
Both Alain and Cristoph are interesting personalities, who help drive the story along at its fast pace. They are helped by a whole host of great secondary characters not least of which is Father Lotario, a cigarette smoking, vodka drinking priest who I would love to sit and chat with in a bar one evening.

The twists and turns of this book will leave you gasping for breath and worried what you will find at the next turn of the page. Its a lot darker than most paranormal romances out there, but worth every bitten nail.

5 stars out of 5

Copy Purchased for Review

 

 

Recent Review: Rocked Hard by Morticia Knight

Pride Publishing Presents

https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/rocked-hard

Blurb

Can the touch of a rock god last forever?

Legendary alt rock singer, Aubrey King, is making a comeback after many years out of the spotlight. Rumors of his sexuality have always dogged him, and while he’s never come out publicly, his reasons for leaving the industry had nothing to do with his fear of discovery. What matters to him is the music. That’s his truth, and so far, his only real love. He aches to find someone to share his life with, but his propensity to fall fast and hard—along with chasing men he knows can never be his—has left him all alone.

Rock journalist Bryan Gallagher was first turned on to rock music at the age of twelve when he became obsessed with Aubrey’s band, Falling in Stereo. His friends, and even girlfriends, would sometimes tease him that he was hot for Aubrey. But it was all about the music and nothing else—at least that’s what he’s always told himself. When he’s approached about helping Aubrey write his memoir, it’s not only a dream assignment, but an exciting opportunity to work closely with his idol.

When Bryan meets Aubrey, the electric heat between them is unnerving. He’s further confused by how intense Aubrey’s attraction toward him is and how deeply they connect over their shared obsession of music. While Bryan struggles with uncertainty regarding his own sexuality, he also has to navigate through the perils of working with a lover and keeping their relationship a secret.

But Bryan’s biggest struggle of all might be determining whether declarations of true love from a rock star can ever be trusted.

Review by Xanthe
What a great story! I fully enjoyed the characters and the story line of this book from Morticia Knight.
Aubrey King is our rocker looking to make a comeback and has taken on Bryan Gallagher, rock journalist, to write his memoirs. Aubrey has always known he’s gay but the Rock and Roll life that he used to live never allowed him to be open as to who he truly was and he has never had anyone worth coming out for
Bryan, unlucky in love is about to meet and write for his inspiration for writing about the rock world. He’s been a fan since he was a boy and this is his ultimate dream come true. Though things take a turn he wasn’t expecting with some flirtation coming from Aubrey. Having never been attracted to a man before Bryan’s not quite sure how to handle things.
Moving forward with the project, both men become much more than they could have ever expected and big decisions have to be made for both of them.
This, for me, was an absorbing read. Constantly wanting to know how things are developing with both the MC’s and the life that they are moving towards. Aubrey’s lifestyle and person is a bit different to what Bryan was obviously expecting and I love when a character is sent off kilter in that way. Exploration between the two moves quickly and is hot(!) though Aubrey is very keen to point out that any and everything is going to go at the pace that Bryan wants, refusing to hurt or push him in any way. Bryan takes his time with thinking about the changes cropping up in his life since meeting Aubrey, even his interactions with others become interesting.
My only niggle with this book is the speed at which things happen in the beginning. I understand instant attraction and getting to know each other but for someone who has never experienced it with another man, it didn’t really ring true. However, Aubrey is such a lovable guy you can’t help but fall for him and how he expresses his feelings. Both he and Bryan bring out some of the best lines about the other man, just making you awwwww at them both.
There’s quite a bit of drama separate to but also impacting their relationship. It’s interesting to read how both men want to deal with things and the resulting changes it has on both of them.
I love some of the secondary characters we have – Rudy, tour manager and Jimmy, bassist, are the two guys to be truly relied upon, and Ed the man you love to hate. Bryan’s mother is adorable and I would have loved to have gotten more interaction with her and both men.
I’d definitely recommend this book!

Number of stars out of 5
5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Sorel

I’m not quite sure what it was about this book, but it didn’t seem realistic enough to me and instead of feeling pulled into the story, I felt like quite detached from it.

Both Aubrey and Bryan were likeable enough characters, but from the very first meeting the whole relationship felt slightly off, even false. Maybe it is because I am not a big fan of insta-love and this was very, very instant.

As a character Bryan came across as very grounded and down to earth, but way too excepting of his attraction and very fast relationship with Aubrey. From never showing any interest in a man, to jumping into bed with one within a couple of days of their initial meeting, just doesn’t ring true.

As for Aubrey himself, at times I found his childlike quality towards love and commitment far too sugary and implausible. Even with the explanation we were given, the insecurities he displayed seemed more like a teenager than a rock star of 42 and had me pausing in annoyance on more than one occasion.

Overall, it was an easy, readable book, but it just didn’t grasp my attention like a good book should.

3 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Coming Soon! Game Changer by Rachel Reid


October 22!

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38620127-game-changer?from_search=true

Blurb
This hockey superstar needs to focus on his game — not on love.

Scott Hunter is the superstar captain of the New York Admirals hockey team. He has lived his entire adult life in the spotlight—and in the closet. One day he stops at a smoothie shop after a run and is immediately charmed by the cute guy behind the counter.

That guy is Kip Grady, an underemployed college grad who would never in a million years think he had a shot with the rich and famous Scott Hunter. Scott returns to the smoothie shop every game day, telling Kip—and himself—that he likes to stick to routine when he’s playing well. The chemistry between them is immediate and undeniable, and finally Scott tells Kip he’s interested and invites him to his penthouse.

They begin a passionate relationship full of red-hot sex and sweet romance. But after weeks of barely leaving the confines of Scott’s penthouse, Kip isn’t sure how much longer he can be Scott’s secret. With the pressures of the playoffs upon him, Scott needs to decide how big a risk he’s willing to take for Kip—and himself.

Review

Scott Hunter is so far in the closet he can hardly see daylight. Having lived his whole adult life playing professional hockey, a game not known for its gay friendly attitude on the ice, he feels he must hide this large part of himself. His sexual encounters are few and far between and usually in a foreign country where nobody knows him.
That all changes one day when he goes into a smoothie shop and sees the cute guy behind the counter.

Kip Grady is a college graduate still living in his childhood home because he can’t afford to move out, and working in a smoothie shop, a job he hates, until Scott Hunter, the captain of the New York Admirals comes in one day…

This is a cute romantic tale of two men and their instant attraction for each other.
Both Scott and Kip are likeable enough, but they just didn’t seem to ring quite true for me. The “I love you’s” came far too quickly and once I love you had been said (and said often) the taking each other for granted and walking away just seemed too easy. Nobody was putting any major effort into keeping this relationship alive and when things got a little tough, they quickly walked away.

There is also a lot of sex in this book. A lot of sex. So much so that at times it felt like word padding.

But overall, this was a well written enjoyable tale, with no major angst and a very sweet, big romantic finish.

3.5 stars of 5

Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review