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: Blood and Eternity (Book 3) by Shira Anthony

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/blood-and-eternity-by-shira-anthony-9785-b

Blurb

Sequel to Blood and Ghosts
Blood: Book Three

Vampire hunter Adrien Gilbert never dreamed he’d fall for his prey or that his love, Nicolas Lambert, would give him the gift of immortality. But when a hunter bent on destroying the truce between vampires and hunters throws the gauntlet at Adrien’s feet, Adrien must travel through time to save Nicolas, and with him, the entire vampire race.
The time has come to make a choice—one they will live with for eternity.
In this final installment in the Blood Trilogy, Adrien and Nicolas must face their greatest enemy in a deadly last confrontation. But to prevail, they’ll need to master the enemies within.
When Adrien awakens to a future he doesn’t recognize, he faces an impossible decision: live a perfect life with Nicolas in a shattered world, or risk everything to repair a broken past. But before he can challenge vampire hunter Verel Pelletier, he must master the demon who lives in his own mind—and learn to control his ability to travel through time. With Nicolas by his side, he prepares for a final battle against a powerful adversary who likes to play games with the past and future.
But the price of ensuring a future for their loved ones may be an eternity spent alone.

Review

This is – at long last – the ending we’ve been waiting for.

Can I say it was worth it? I’m not sure. I love Shira’s world building, her characters and I usually love her plot devices as well as story lines but in this case there was so much WORK involved. I felt like book two put me through the wringer and though we get put back together again in book 3 it was maybe not quite as “rewarding” as I’d have wanted it to be.

So – in summary – I guess if you’re a lover of action and adventure – with some time travel and a lot of angst – very well written angst mind you – I’d give this a go.

If you want a lot of togetherness in a couple then this is not for you.

All in all I’d give this book a 3.5 and the whole series a 3 of 5 stars.


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Retro Review: Blood and Ghosts (Blood #2) by Shira Anthony

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/blood-and-ghosts-by-shira-anthony-3739-b

Blurb

Sequel to Blood and Rain

With vampire Nicolas Lambert’s marriage to a rival clanswoman only weeks away, Adrien Gilbert struggles to come to terms with his defeat at the hands of Verel Pelletier, a vampire hunter and an immortal like himself. Adrien and his former teacher, Roland Günter, begin to explore his newly acquired abilities. But without his soul’s sword, Adrien flounders.

On Nicolas’s wedding day, a two-hundred-year old secret is revealed, sending the wedding party into a blazing battle between hunters and vampires. Once again Adrien finds himself facing Pelletier’s superior strength. Just as Adrien believes all hope of a future with Nicolas is lost, he finally learns his true gift—he can turn back time. But time travel comes with a high cost. To save Nicolas, Adrien must become strong enough to use his power without descending into madness.

Review

I’ll be honest. I’d be super mad if I didn’t already have book 3 in my hands. This was a really long, frustrating book 2 in a 3 book series.

Book one caught me up. I thought the world building was good, the characters unique and interesting and the romance epic.

In book 2 I wanted to throw my kindle across the room!

This felt like soap opera’ey type “now he’s here” “Now he isn’t” “now he doesn’t remember” “Now the demon is controlling him” “Now he remembers again”…
It made me crazy.

Now, I’ll admit I have a VERY LOW tolerance for this type of stuff so I was worried about it to begin with – but I’m a Shira Anthony fan and I trust her. I read the reviews and they all led me to believe this would be worth it in the end… I’m hoping so.

If it wasn’t for that third book I’d have stopped half way through this and declared it a DNF due to too much drama and back and forth BS. But… I persevered and while I was happy for the interim HFN we got…. I had to quickly put this down so I can start up book 3 and get this bad taste from my mouth.

This was definitely not for me.

2.5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook: Crocus by Amy Lane narrated by Nick J Russo

audiobookreview

Blurb
Saying “I love you” doesn’t guarantee peace or a happy ending.

High school principal “Larx” Larkin was pretty sure he’d hit the jackpot when Deputy Sheriff Aaron George moved in with him, merging their two families as seamlessly as the chaos around them could possibly allow.

But when Larx’s pregnant daughter comes home unexpectedly and two of Larx’s students are put in danger, their tentative beginning comes crashing down around their ears.

Larx thought he was okay with the dangers of Aaron’s job, and Aaron thought he was okay with Larx’s daughter—who is not okay—but when their worst fears are almost realized, it puts their hearts and their lives to the test. Larx and Aaron have never wanted anything as badly as they want a life together. Will they be able to make it work when the world is working hard to keep them apart

Review
(Previously reviewed by Mary on site.)
In my opinion you really do need to read or listen to book 1, Bonfires, before starting Crocus. Bonfires is the story of how Aaron and Larx meet and fall in love with all the complications of joining two families. It ends when Larx’s eldest daughter Olivia comes home from college and tells them she is pregnant. This book takes off from that point. We learn that not only is she pregnant she also has Depression. Amy Lane handles this very difficult subject very well. There is no miraculous recovery just because it suited the storyline. We go through Olivia’s struggles to move out of the dark place she is in and Larx’s struggles as a parent to help her. At the same time his rock, Aaron is injured whilst on duty, one of his students is suffering from domestic abuse and is missing in a snowstorm. In amongst this two brothers need his support. There is so much to keep you on edge desperate to know more and wanting everything to work out. I love the dose of reality and practically Amy Lane has in these stories. By the way the book ended I am certain there will be a third book, can’t wait.

From Morgan: I absolutely agree with Mary. Even though the HEA for our guys happens in book 1, we don’t really see them interacting a whole lot together because – in typical Amy fashion – they are BOMBARDED with drama. Though the drama is still in heavy doses in book 2 – our guys handle it TOGETHER and that makes all the difference.

I was glad to see Amy confront the depression issues head on and not shy away from the less than perfect side of pregnancy, etc.

Highly recommended and can’t wait for book 3!

Audio

I just love Nick J Russo. I can’t say that enough. He makes every listening experience a joy and I always know I can depend on him to provide a quality character choice and interpretation. I love how he manages to give Aaron the laid back and stolid voice while in the next breath giving us the hyper and sometimes frenetic Larx.

Well done and highly recommended!

5 of 5 stars for both


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Release Day: A Dom and His Warrior by Xenia Melzer

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-dom-and-his-warrior-by-xenia-melzer-9871-b

 

 

Blurb

Leeland Drake and Jonathan White are a committed BDSM couple and have just moved in together. Leeland has only one year left in college, and everything seems perfect… until Leeland’s uncle asks him to stand in for an injured UFC fighter.

Leeland wants to help his uncle, but he remembers all too well from his years competing in martial arts how strenuous life as an athlete can be. He doesn’t want to risk his relationship with Jonathan. After some discussion, they decide Leeland will go pro for a year.

As if the training and strict diet weren’t bad enough, the pressure skyrockets when Leeland encounters homophobic fighter Noah Adams—especially when they end up facing each other in the championship.

Between the bigoted rants of his opponent, the scrutiny of the media, the pressure from his sponsor, and a fire in his uncle’s gym, Leeland is close to breaking down. Only Jonathan’s support and love keep him focused enough to set foot in the octagon once more—and maybe even walk away a winner

 

Review by Truus
Leeland and Jonathan

As a perfect fit D/s couple Jonathan and Leeland will move in together.

Martial arts is Leeland’s expertise and to help his godfather he has to go pro as UFC fighter for the next year. He don’t really want to, but family matters and he has to help his uncle.

It is harder than they ever could imagine, the stress, the bigotry and homophobia, the exhausting days. Leeland has such a hard time but he is lethal and vicious.
But opponents can be vicious too… and ugly.

A very captivating story with wonderful personalities. Smoothly written with a nice flow. Jonathan and Leeland are not in a typical BDSM relationship. They play in their own way and have their own rules. Deep rooted love is the what glued and hold them together. Between all the training and fighting we can enjoy some delicious hot and satisfying scenes and how they still learn from and with each other. Their friends who are all subs and Doms are irreplaceable and their stories woven into this journey are also awesome. And all this together made it to an entertaining story. I just love the dynamic between Doms and their subs.

4.5 of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Mary

A Dom and his Warrior is the third book in the Club Whisper series and can be read as a stand-alone. Having said that there are characters from the previous books with cameo roles in this book and it’s nice to know their story to give some context. To be honest I didn’t love this story as much as the previous two. I couldn’t find the hook, that something to pull me into these characters story. Both Leeland and Johnathan are lovely kind generous men. Maybe too bland? Leeland goes through so much to help his uncle with the training to be a UFC fighter but never has a tantrum. Yes he has a wobble which he comforts with a sugar binge but no drama. That’s what I think I was missing, the drama of Leeland being constantly under pressure and harassed by his homophobic opponent. On the other hand Xenia Melzer knows how to write hot BDSM scenes. In fact the book opens with a scene. One that completely fits in with both Leeland and Jonathan’s temperaments being such nice guys. It was a nice story, don’t get me wrong and I might be too harsh because we all need something mellow every now and again. The other aspect that distracted me was that Leeland wasn’t sure what to make of Emilio and Garrett’s relationship. This aspect kept being mentioned but wasn’t resolved. Possibly it was setting up the story arc for the next book.

 

3 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

 

Recently Released: Something About Us (Saint and Lucky #2) by Riley Hart

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41136356-something-about-us

Blurb

Falling in love was the easy part.

Lucky and Saint are head-over-heels for each other. It doesn’t matter that they met only a few months ago. It also doesn’t matter that this is Saint’s first real relationship and Lucky’s first with a man. They’re infatuated, happy, and excited to start their life together in LA.

It isn’t as easy as they thought.

Away from home for the first time and feeling like he has to compete with Saint’s experienced and cultured friends, Lucky is a fish out of water. Saint is still coming to grips with his recent loss while doing everything he can to keep Lucky happy. The only time things feel right is when they lock themselves away from the world—when they’re alone, everything is perfect.

But reality comes crashing back in to challenge them at every turn. Lucky and Saint need to learn how to stand together, as well as apart, if they’re to have any hope of making this last. They’re learning the hard way that “I love you” is when the real work begins.

Review

I’m not super big on sequels but I have to say that book 1 really begged for more and Riley delivered!

When we left Lucky and Saint we knew they had big hurdles facing them if they were going to make it work and this book shows us those hurdles.

There’s lots of hot smexy times and some great feels along the way.

For fans of book 1, this is a must!

(Not a standalone!)

4 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day Review: A Few Good Fish (Fish Out of Water #3) by Amy Lane

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-few-good-fish-by-amy-lane-9829-b

Blurb

Fish Out of Water: Book Three

A tomcat, a psychopath, and a psychic walk into the desert to rescue the men they love…. Can everybody make it out with their skin intact?

PI Jackson Rivers and Defense Attorney Ellery Cramer have barely recovered from last November, when stopping a serial killer nearly destroyed Jackson in both body and spirit.

But their previous investigation poked a new danger with a stick, forcing Jackson and Ellery to leave town so they can meet the snake in its den.

Jackson Rivers grew up with the mean streets as a classroom and he learned a long time ago not to give a damn about his own life. But he gets a whole new education when the enemy takes Ellery. The man who pulled his shattered pieces from darkness and stitched them back together again is in trouble, and Jackson’s only chance to save him rests in the hands of fragile allies he barely knows.

It’s going to take a little bit of luck to get these Few Good Fish out alive!

Review

You know I’m an Amy Lane fangirl – so it’s no surprise that I loved this! This is the third in the series and they must be read in order. In fact, you’ll be really confused if you haven’t read the other two and probably you should read Racing for The Sun https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17700033-racing-for-the-sun?from_search=true as well – mostly because it’s awesome – but also because Sonny and Ace are so prominent in this story.

Things that I liked:
Amy is really good at understanding what a sequel needs to keep us engaged. She’s given us Ellery and Jackson’s ILYs and commitments but we still worry about Jackson’s belief in the finality of the relationship and of his ability to be loved. This story moves us forward on that front without necessarily calling in to question the pair of them.

I LOVED that she brought in religion. (Don’t freak out – you’ll see what I mean – and it’s mostly a metaphor…sorta.) Jackson has to believe, has to trust and what greater example of that in a person is there than Faith. The stuff with Lucy Satan and Jackson at the hospital – Gold. Really lovely way to look at things and so perfect for Jackson the character.

I ADORED the link to RFTS. I love that book so much and frequently re-listen to it. Sonny is off his rocker but in a good way and I love re-visiting him and Ace and Jai and Alba. Now we get to add in Burton and Ernie – yes like Sesame Street!- and it’s even more delicious! There’s a new book coming out in October I think? – about these two and it looks AMAZING!

Things that were good:
The mystery/action etc was good. I’m sure she spent a lot of time working this out but – honestly – I skimmed it. There is a lot of blood/injury/hospitalization time – AGAIN – for these guys and I was a little over that. I was tired of seeing them hurt and wanted to see them hole for awhile. (My only real complaint.)

So – to sum up: this is awesome, can’t wait for the new RFTS sequel and you’ve got to read this if you’re a fan of either book/series/author!

4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook: Twisted and Tied by Mary Calmes narrated by Tristan James

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/twisted-and-tied-by-mary-calmes-9424-b

Blurb

Deputy US Marshal Miro Jones finally has everything he ever wanted. He’s head-over-heels in love and married to the man of his dreams, his partner Ian Doyle, he’s doing well at work, and all his friends are in good places as well. Things are all tied up nicely…until they’re not.
Change has never been easy for Miro, and when situations at work force the team he’s come to depend on to break apart, and worst of all, his and Ian’s individual strengths put them on two separate paths, he’s pretty certain everything just went up in smoke.
But before he can even worry about the future, his past comes for a visit, shaking his world up even more. It’s hard to tell what road he should truly be on, but as he learns some paths are forged and others are discovered, it might be that where he’s going is the right course after all. If he can navigate all the twists and turns, he and Ian might just get their happily ever after.

Review

(Book previously reviewed)
What a long rollercoaster ride, but totally worth it! From the opening scene to the end, never a dull moment. There are several ‘Twisting` story arcs going at once, but they are all ‘Tied’ together ?
The overarching theme of the book is family and knowing who you are.
Miro and Ian are now married, still working together, but not for long – the working together, I mean. When they get assigned to separate taskforce, (don’t tell the marshals I used that term!), Miro feels adrift, but he doesn’t have time to wallow as his past comes back to haunt him.
I’m trying not give away any of the plot, but I will say that hold on to the seat of your pants because it is one helluva ride. By the way, if you’ve read the Vault series, you’ll get a kick out of the end !
Thoroughly enjoyed it!

Audio
Wellllll, this is not my typical Mary review here.
I am a huge Mary fan and Tristan is soooo delicious. However, something was missing this time around.
First, Tristan’s accent for Ian kept slipping from “Chicago” to vaguely Irish and Mob-like and it was distracting. Miro was more or less the same, but I felt like the other “cast” members were a bit more forced than usual. What I love about Tristan is the liquid way he tells a story – warm, sultry – like warm brandy. This was more choppy and dry and brittle. It’s hard to explain, but I didn’t love it as much as I usually do.
That being said – it’s still wonderful – he’s still amazing – and if I hadn’t had anything to measure this against I’d have no complaints so…still awesome.

The same can be said for Mary’s story telling. I know what she’s capable of and with the listening (hearing the story for the 2nd time) I got tired of Miro’s self-doubt. I want him to finally feel secure in his and Ian’s love – once and for all.

In any case – I think fans will be satisfied as always and anyone “new” must read the series from book 1 before they get to this so…

Recommended!

Overall 4 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Steamy Romance: The Hot Floor by Josephine Myles

Good Reads Link

 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15708784-the-hot-floor?from_search=true

 

Blurb
Two plus one equals scorching hot fun.

Dumped by his boyfriend and reduced to living in a grotty bedsit, Josh Carpenter has gotten used to expecting the worst. Now he lives only for his job as a glassblower…and occasional glimpses of his sexy downstairs neighbors, Rai Nakamura and Evan Truman.

Every time he overhears the diminutive academic and the hunky plumber having loud and obviously kinky sex, Josh is overwhelmed with lust…and a longing for a fraction of what they have.

To his amazement, Rai and Evan find his embarrassing tendency to blush utterly charming, and the three men grow closer over the course of the long, hot summer. Despite Rai’s charming flirtation and Evan’s smoldering gaze, Josh is determined never to break his new friends’ loving bonds.

On the night a naked Josh falls—quite literally—into the middle of one of Rai and Evan’s marathon sex sessions, the force of their mutual attraction takes control. But just as Josh dares to hope, he senses a change. Leaving him to wonder if the winds of love are about to blow his way at last…or if history is about to repeat itself

Review
This hot story is told from shy insecure Josh’s point of view. We get a very brief glimpse into his history, an overbearing father, no other family and not much luck in love. This helped me to understand his reticence and why his first thought was always one of rejection. Rai and Evan live in the flat (apartment) below his and above his bossy friend Denise. I do like Myles writing. She is very British. The phrasing and descriptions she uses gives me a good sense of a crumbling Victorian or Georgian divided house they all live in and the type of people they are. Rai and Evan are in a long term relationship, they do however like to have a third join them from time to time. They are also a bit of exhibitions and love to explore anything kinky. This is where the hot fun comes in. Rai is certainly imaginative and they are all so randy. It’s very fun to read. Josh, is shy, never felt he’s entitled to ask for what he wants. Rai and Evan bring this out in him, get him to overcome his tongue tied reticence. I wouldn’t say Josh blossoms with them, it’s not in his nature to be forthright but he does find love and somewhere he belongs. Two men who love him back. I loved the mix of humour and serious relationship issues. Its not easy introducing another into an all ready established relationship or being the third coming in. That mixed with Josh’s insecurities made it all very credible to me.
I loved the bonus Christmas story at the end, made me laugh just picturing the scene.

4 of stars out of 5

 

Copy Purchased for Review

 

 

 

 

Steamy Romance: Take it Off by Aleksandr Voinov and LA Witt

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29339656-take-it-off?from_search=true

 

Blurb
Turnabout is foreplay.

High-end Market Garden rentboys Tristan and Jared have found their niche. Men are willing to pay good money to watch Tristan tease Jared, and the two of them seduce London’s elite with sex and power games.

Except Tristan is less and less interested in getting money out of the johns these days. He wants his partner in crime, and he wants the seduction to be real. But is Jared just in this for the pay?

When Rolex, the john who started it all, returns to Market Garden, the boys jump on the opportunity to service him – and each other – for a fresh pile of cash. Rolex isn’t the only one itching for a rematch, though. Jared’s been waiting for a chance to get back at Tristan for teasing him so mercilessly the first time.

And for a former stripper, revenge is a dish best served extra hot

Review
The boys are back in this second book and so is their John, now nicknamed Rolex. This time it’s Jared ramping up the steam. Phew what a sultry lap dance! Where as book 1 is from Jared’s POV this book is Tristan’s. I loved the way both stories were written in the POV of the characters that were on the receiving end of the action. Again the writing is excellent, not only for the level of sexuality but the psychological side as well. Perfect for when you’re in the mood for a quick very hot read.

4 of stars out of 5

 

Purchased by reviewer