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

Release Day Review: Hiding the Moon (Fish Out of Water #4) by Amy Lane

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/hiding-the-moon-by-amy-lane-9921-b

Blurb

A Fish Out of Water/Racing for the Sun Crossover

Can a hitman and a psychic negotiate a relationship while all hell breaks loose?

The world might not know who Lee Burton is, but it needs his black ops division and the work they do to keep it safe. Lee’s spent his life following orders—until he sees a kill jacket on Ernie Caulfield. Ernie isn’t a typical target, and something is very wrong with Burton’s chain of command.

Ernie’s life may seem adrift, but his every action helps to shelter his mind from the psychic storm raging within. When Lee Burton shows up to save him from assassins and club bunnies, Ernie seizes his hand and doesn’t look back. Burton is Ernie’s best bet in a tumultuous world, and after one day together, he’s pretty sure Lee knows Ernie is his destiny as well.

But when Burton refused Ernie’s contract, he kicked an entire piranha tank of bad guys, and Burton can’t rest until he takes down the rogue military unit that would try to kill a spacey psychic. Ernie’s in love with Burton and Burton’s confused as hell by Ernie—but Ernie’s not changing his mind and Burton can’t stay away. Psychics, assassins, and bad guys—throw them into the desert with a forbidden love affair and what could possibly go wrong?

Review by Mary
As this is a crossover story I would recommend reading (or listening to) the A Fish out of Water series and Racing for Sun before starting this book. Having said that I feel I should confess that my preference is listening to them. I was waiting for A Few Good Fish (book 3) to be released before starting it and did not realise this book overlapped it. Now that I’ve finished it I can see how they tie together. A Few Good Fish is as usual from Jackson Rivers and Ellery Cramer’s view point with Ernie, Lee, Ace, Sonny etc as secondary characters. This book is Ernie and Lee’s story (including Ace and Sonny playing a big part) and their side of the events of chasing down the mercenaries out to get them. Psychic Ernie finds his soulmate, his home and sanctuary when Lee Burton realised the kill order he received on Ernie was wrong. I liked the good v evil premise. And that the book reads like an action film, where realism is sacrificed for great action and adventure. This is a beautiful story of damaged souls finding a place and people where they can heal. Problem is they have to literally fight cruel, hateful and vindictive men to reach it.

5 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest 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

Time to get scared:Blood Veil (Mission book 2) by Megan Erickson

Goodreads link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34741287-blood-veil?from_search=true

Blurb
When Celia is attacked at her apartment by one vampire, and rescued by another, her life turns upside down. Idris, Athan’s brother and the one who was supposed to be the king until their father’s cruel lies were exposed is Celia’s unlikely rescuer, dark and brooding he scares her as much as he intrigues her.

Idris is surprised by the seemingly human female he has been following for a while at his brother’s, the new king, command. After the events of book one and the fall of their father, their clan is at potential war with the Valarian clan. Celia, the Valarian king’s daughter, is taken as ransom in exchange for peace between the clans. Unaware of her bloodline or family, having grown up as an orphan, Celia faces the discovery of a family she always craved, only to have that dream shatter in blood and violence. Stuck in a web of lies and on the run, Idris must protect her at all costs despite his hate for her father.

Review:
Another great book in the Mission universe!
This book has all the clichés of vampire books you can think of plot wise, and it works so well anyway! Just like her Werewolf shifter novels: ‘The Silver Tip Pack’ series, Megan combines wit, humor and geekiness in her writing for an action packed, smoldering hot read you can’t put down!
Ever since I read the first book in the series I was anxious to see what happens to Idris, Athans’s brother. And like all her heroes, Megan wrote so much emotion and tenderness into his big strong body you can’t NOT fall for him. Celia is sweet, sassy and feisty, just like Tendra from book 1, and her compassion for others shines through every action she makes.
Megan created a believable, working vampirical world, and I like her ability to combine fantasy and supernatural into everyday life. She always brings a small twist to the story that truly makes it unique.
Enjoyed it very much and am hoping to hear more about the vampire shenanigans in Mission City.

Number of stars out of 5
3.5

Coming Soon! Lone Wolf by Anna Martin


Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/lone-wolf-by-anna-martin-9890-b

October 9!

Blurb

Jackson Lewis isn’t a typical werewolf. He isolates himself in a small town outside Spokane and dedicates himself to making his business—Lone Wolf Brewery—a success. If it leaves him little time for romance, he’s okay with that. His soul mate could be out there somewhere, but he isn’t actively looking.

So he’s in for quite the shock when he literally bumps into his soul mate—Leo Gallagher, an adorable, nerdy, vibrant music therapist who’s Jackson’s polar opposite.

But he’s human. And a man.

Jackson is straight—or at least he’s always assumed so. Though he can’t deny his attraction to Leo, it’s a lot for both of them to deal with.

While Jackson and Leo figure out what their future might hold, they face prejudice from both the human and werewolf communities—including a group of fanatics willing to kill to show humans and werewolves don’t belong together.

Review

Man. Where to start?

First, I think it’s pretty clear that I am a huge fan of shifter romance and that I’ll pretty much read anything in that vain. I have a huge tolerance for believing the unbelievable and for letting my imagination get carried away with me. I also don’t mind insta-love and I adore fated mates stories.

In addition, I’m not a huge Anna Martin fan but I’ve definitely admired her work in the past and thought – based on the blurb – that this would be a slam dunk.

However… it wasn’t.

It revolves around a straight guy – Jackson has never and will never like guys. He only grudgingly admits that Leo is his mate and fights it tooth and nail.

Most of the book is these guys living apart and hating life at their respective fates.

There are at least 2 or 3 different side stories: the anti werewolf people, the anti humans with werewolves people, Leo’s roommate who gets beat up and who also hates Jackson but who is a werewolf himself… There’s a lot going on and none of it really materializes as a cogent storyline and as a reader I was either scratching my head about where the plot was taking me, rubbing my neck due to whiplash as the story spun around to another topic, or yawning because the two MCs were fighting – again! The steam between these guys was practically non existent and that was the only thing they had going for their relationship.

Leo is a doormat. He is hard to like even though he has so many elements of likeability. He’s a music therapist and that is so interesting but we get one or two moments of that taking place and effecting his life and then he’s back to being ignored by Jackson. When Jackson calls he goes even when everyone – even his roomy the wolf – says stay away! Jackson never convinces me he deserves Leo… but the Leo kinda brings it on himself by not demanding good treatment either. So…

Jackson brews beer and is reclusive and that apparently excuses him from being kind, decent, supportive, interesting, reliable, or not a douche. In other words – he’s a jerk from page one and he really doesn’t redeem himself. He hates being mated to a human. Hates being mated to a guy. Hates everything! He pushes Leo away then pulls him back then pushes him away then needs him when he’s down then pushes him away… you get the idea…He ends up buying an apartment/condo/business thing in the end and then telling Leo – oh – it’s ok if you want to move in too. (This is after they’ve already hooked up and are in the process of cementing their bond – I’d tell him to stick it and find my own damn house!)

While I know I have a bias against werewolf stories where the general population knows about them, I have read many that are compelling. And this just wasn’t.

While I appreciated that Jackson shifted – once – I despise shifter stories where the wolf part of their being is merely a characteristic and not integral to their being – and that’s the case here.

I really wanted to love this. But I can’t.

I give it 2.5 stars … but maybe that’s being generous? I’m just so surprised that this is from the same author who wowed me with Tattoos and Teacups https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15719569-tattoos-teacups or Signs https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24991214-signs which I loved…


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

Time to get scared: Restless Spirits by Jordan L. Hawk (Spirits book 1)

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23569031-restless-spirits?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb
Henry Strauss knows all about being the victim of a charismatic fraud, having lost his family fortune to a man claiming to be in touch with his deceased father.
He is determined control the spirit world through the application of science with his Electro-Séance. He just needs a haunting to prove it actually works. When a wealthy man offers a contest between Henry’s new scientific methods and the old, unreliable spiritualism, it seems like his wish has come true, not to mention the money prize offered.

Henry and his niece Joe travel to Reyhome Castle, were gruesome murders took place and a vicious ghost hunts the premises. He is confident he can outmatch every quack medium he meets, including the alluring Vincent Night, the opponent in this match of exorcism prowess. Vincent is smooth, handsome and exotic, and very appealing indeed. But, Henry swore never to let his heart near a medium again, and there is his and Joe’s future to consider. He can’t lose, no matter how much Vincent’s empathy and friendliness seem genuine.

However, Reyhome Castle, which looked like an easy case of hunting, turns out to be anything but, with secrets upon secrets and a deadly force out to claim their very souls. Henry must trust the one thing he swore he never will, and work together with Vincent if they ever wish to leave Reyhome Castle alive.

Review
If you enjoyed her Hexworld books or Widdershins, you will LOVE this one!!!

This book was my first M/M, almost two years ago, and it also introduced me to Jordan L. Hawk who has become one of my favorite authors. Jordan has a fantastic writing style and is one of the best world builders I have read to date. All three of her 19th century book series are fantastically written and have an ingenious way of being both realistic and raw while still having supernatural and magical elements. I love the level of research and feel of scientific accuracy this book has, the exorcism feels logical and feasible, and to be able to write it in such a way is a true gift indeed. The other thing I love about Jordan’s writing are her inclusive, diverse characters. There are characters from every color, ethnicity, gender and gender identity in her stories and she fits each character and story to the time period with such accuracy it’s astounding. She writes real people with genuine struggles in and other-worldly setting, not an easy feat, yet she makes it seem so.
This book is a mystery both scary and intriguing, the plot twisting and unexpected.
I love the struggle between Vincent and Henry, both striving for the same goal but from opposing sides. The “hate-turned-to-lust-turned-to-friendship” between them is wonderful, with just the right amount of snark and fluster. They each bring something to the table and if they can only work together they might survive this hunted mansion. Lizzy and Joe, the wonderful and funny partners and co-workers are each a formidable female character and show a strength and wisdom much greater than their sometimes dens male counterparts. This is the start of a wonderful series that puts a twist on Ghost Busters and combines science and spirit to save the day.

Number of stars out of 5
5



Copy Purchased for Review

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Time to get scared: Blood Guard (Mission book 1) by Megan Erickson

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34444705-blood-guard?from_search=true

Blurb
When Tendra arrives home after her bartending job in Mission city, she doesn’t expect to meet a vampire. Said vampire also claims to need her in order to save his vampirical clan, by marrying his brother, the future king. Athan’s clan only feed on consenting humans, without killing them- a notion their enemies do not share. They want Tendra dead before she makes it to Athan’s brother, to share the power in her blood that has been growing in her bloodline for ten generations, and to her future as his queen. Hard to believe as it is, Athan shows her proof she cannot ignore and whisks her into a dangerous journey through the secret underground vampire tunnels of his clan to their family compound outside Mission city. He must protect her at all costs for she is destined to his brother, to save his clan and the human world from being enslaved to the other vampire clans.
But, with every minute they spend together the pull Athens feels for Tendra gets stronger, and the close proximity they are forced to share is not helping him keep his desire for her in line with his duty to his brother, his king, and his role as the head of guard.

Review
For the last two years I have only been reading M/M romance, and if anyone can lure me out of it for some M/F it’s Megan Erickson! She is one of my favorite authors, with a geeky infused writing style I adore! This book was a pleasant surprise, much like her M/M Shifter books: The Silver Tip Pack series (a genre I Never liked for its cliché-ness). I think Megan’s greatest talent is taking a cliché genre and writing a book that while it has many of the characteristics to make it a cliché is still refreshing and enjoyable. Not every book is a unique masterpiece, but having the ability to read a story in a plotline that have been so thoroughly chewed and re-chewed that I, as a reader well versed in this genre to the point I was sick of Twilight wannabees, loved the book is amazing to me. I credit it to the humor, banter between characters, fluidity of the plot and putting little twists throughout the story.

I love Tendra’s personality, she is independent while still being dependent on Athan for her survival, and is realistic in that sense but she can and will protect herself when needed. Tendra is a badass heroine that does not spend days mourning what she lost while still understanding she is in a new situation and learning to deal with it. Athan is both though and soft, with a gentleness and emotional depth I credit to Megan’s M/M writing. The fast pace the story starts out at does not mean the characters get it on within the first chapter, another strong point to me. I feel like they really see each other before sex gets thrown in the mix. The fantasy world setting is interesting and believable and well rounded.
If you love the supernatural romance genre, vampires and great characters you should definitely read this book, it is everything Twilight and its look a likes wanted to be and are not with a splash of humor and sass.

Number of stars:
4.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Coming Soon! The Spy’s Lovesong By Kim Fielding

October 2!

 

 

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-spys-love-song-by-kim-fielding-9882-b

Blurb
For a singer and a spy, love might be mission impossible.
Jaxon Powers has what most only dream of. Fame. Fortune. Gold records and Grammy awards. Lavish hotel suites and an endless parade of eager bedmates. He’s adored all over the world—even in the remote, repressive country of Vasnytsia, where the tyrannical dictator is a big fan. The State Department hopes a performance might improve US relations with a dangerous enemy. But it means Jaxon’s going in alone… with one exception.
Secret agent Reid Stanfill has a covert agenda with global ramifications. Duty means everything to him, even when it involves protecting a jaded rock star. Jaxon and Reid’s mutual attraction is dangerous under Vasnytsia’s harsh laws—and matters get even worse when they’re trapped inside the borders. Romance will have to wait… assuming they make it out alive.

Review

This absolutely pains me to say, because I am a huge fan girl of Kim Fielding – but this absolutely did not work for me.

It was well written.

It had interesting characters.

The setting was unique and well described.

The premise was also unique and TIMELY!

But the romance fell absolutely flat for me. 🙁

There was little steam – which is fine – but it can help bring a couple closer in the reader’s mind and it wasn’t there. Most of the time I didn’t get the feeling the couple thought they’d make it out alive much less together and even by the end I was scratching my head at how these two could possibly work in the real world.

So much of this was about the machinations of the “spying” and the evading police etc that I didn’t get to feel our MCs really grow as a couple.

Another disappointment for me was the lack of musicality in our musician. Though he had his moments I didn’t like him “before” – aka slutty rock musician – and I didn’t get to see enough of him “after” to make that opinion change.

As for Reid – I wanted to shake him! He frustrated me over and over and I never felt close to him and I never saw closeness between him and Jax.

So… while I’m sure others will love this – Kim is an amazing writer so it’s only appropriate that they do! – it didn’t work for me unfortunately.

2.75 rounded to 3 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to get Paranormal: Chasing Destiny (Silver Tip Pack book 2) By Megan Erickson

 

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33795022-chasing-destiny?from_search=true

Blurb
Bay has had his fair share of hardships, as brother to the Alpha of the Silver Tip Pack. He almost died when a usurper took the opportunity the alpha was away on a rescue mission to try and take over. Upon his brother’s return he discovers the one person he cannot forget, his best friend Nash, was still alive all these years after he disappeared when they were boys. The news is as unsettling as the fact Nash has been lost again, with no hope of returning, sacrificing his life to buy Dare and his team time to get back to safety when the Noweres attacked.

Now Bay is restless, choosing to go outside the safety of their compound for Reese’s long though dead tribe. New intel says there are possible survivors there and Dare. As alpha, must see if they can be allied with, for the sake of his mate. Bay expects to find some lost wolves barely hanging on and not the small, yet strong, community who is more that capable to defend itself. And he was not expecting to find Nash again, after mourning him twice and giving up any shred of hope, the one person he has always loved. But the years Nash was away have damaged his body and soul, and unlocking the secrets of his past might lead to an enemy much worse than the Undead Noweres and their single minded need to kill.

Review
This was a book I was anxiously anticipating after book one, and Nash and Bay’s story was as thrilling and emotional as it was hot. I loved the expansion of the world Megan created with the addition of Reese’s tribe and their leader Pace. I also adored how intricately she wrote Nash’s back story, it’s raw and sad but also adds a whole new dimension and a ruthless enemy for our group of heroes. We also get a look as how they live in this dystopian future after all the humans died in the virus and the Noweres appeared.
Bay and Nash share an unbreakable bond, one that time and pain could not erode, and the Friends-to-Lovers theme is strong in this book. The added bonus of the shifter dynamics, the pack bond between them makes their love almost visceral. Nash has been found and is slowly getting his strength back, but the past scars he carries are deep and he keeps pushing Bay away. Bay, the fun loving optimist that he is, doesn’t let him get too far despite his attempts of running away. They are fun to read about with an air of longing in every touch and moment between them, and they are smoldering hot together.
When Nash’s fate in those lost years is revealed Dare has to reevaluate the world he lives in and what he thought to be facts. Nash is not the only one holding secrets, Pace has some of his own and in order to survive they have to work together and trust each other, not an easy feat when testosterone and egos are at play. I loved them so much, especially when the horrors of Nash’s live are discovered. You just feel so much for him, for all of them really- thrust in a cruel violent future fighting against bloodthirsty monsters and evil beyond human comprehension.
This book is almost like a detective story, were you gather tidbits of information and try to put the puzzle pieces together. I am eagerly anticipating the next book in the series, an MMF according to Megan’s FB group post and more of this world.

Number of stars out of 5
4.5 stars

 

Purchased for review