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

The Acrobat (Blood Ties Book 1) by Agnes Moon

Amazon Link

https://www.amazon.com/Acrobat-Blood-Ties-Book-ebook/dp/B06W5JVGXQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1493958315&sr=1-1&keywords=acrobat+agnes+moon

 

Blurb

The Acrobat is a professional thief with dozens of burglaries to his credit, but when he finds himself trapped in the enormous abode of a mysterious man, as seductive as he is lethal, he realizes that the police might not be the worst of evils. Vincent de Saint-Bonnet is incredibly rich, with many hidden secrets, and little will to live. A foul-mouthed little thief with magnificent blue eyes is just what he needs to bring some light back to his gray, long-drawn-out existence. A thief looking for a valuable dagger, an antique dealer with hundreds of years under his belt, for whom the weapon represents an object of . . . inestimable value. Each man has a precise goal and nothing will stop him from reaching it. Not even the incredible attraction that grips them, pulling them into a duel, one fought with lies and seduction.
Review

This is a brilliant story! I loved the storyline- a young boy (Liam/Acrobat) who is forced to pickpocket and live rough, but is generous enough to care for another less fortunate youth (Mal). Years later, the two are forced to steal for a living (at least Acrobat is) and live in a den of thieves and other criminals. Due to circumstances beyond his control, Acrobat is forced to break into the mansion of a mysterious antique dealer (Vincent). This is where the fun begins☺.
The story is told from both POVs and it is fun to see how the other evaluates the situations that they find themselves in. When they meet, Vincent has been watching Acrobat break in to his house and it’s funny to read how differently the break-in is perceived – on one hand, Vincent knows he’s going to catch the thief and on the other, Acrobat believes he’s going to get away with breaking in. This interaction and perspective pretty much set the tone for the book. There is humour, passion, sadness (for the life that Acrobat has lived and how much he cares for his sick friend) and a bit of heartache. There is so much packed in the book that my synopsis could never do it justice, (this is why my reviews are mostly about how much I enjoyed a book).
This is one of the best books I’ve read this year and highly recommend.

4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by Author for Honest Review

Taming the Wyld by Lucie Archer

release day review

 

30826996Blurb

The Witness Protection Program dumps JD Smith practically at the ends of the earth—in Two Pines, Alaska—to protect him until he can testify against a dangerous gang. He tries to stick to his story and keep his head down, but it’s impossible to ignore bush pilot Jake Wylder, a sexy loner with quite a reputation around the small town.
Flying medical supplies around Alaska suits Jake’s wild streak and love of freedom. He’s perfectly content to keep his romantic encounters casual—at least until he meets JD. Something about the nurse makes Jake think settling down might not be such a hardship. Now he just needs to convince JD he’s serious—which won’t be easy, given his past.

For a relationship to stand a chance, JD must testify so he can return to Two Pines as the man he really is—and Jake must grow into the man JD needs him to be.

 

Review

This story had a lot of potential. I liked the MCs, the setting and the situation.

One of the things that made JD really unique was that he really wanted to hold out for a relationship and being in witness protection meant there was no way he was about to get involved with anyone, no matter how charming. So I was shocked when literally out of the blue he changes his tune and begins to date Jake. There was no ground breaking event, it just felt like he suddenly switched gears. Suddenly, he isn’t as unique and interesting.

Jake (I was frustrated that both MCs had J names) was harder to like. Sure, he was charming, but he really was a man-slut, and the story wasn’t long enough for me to believe he’d really changed his ways.  I wanted him to be a reformed man, but we were given nothing to believe that’d happened. Just that he liked JD. He kept bugging him and bugging him, and finally JD cracked.

I was also really bothered by JD’s situation. He ended up keeping his license (I’m being as vague as possible so as to avoid spoilers) but I think – in reality- he’d have lost it in the drug bust. That would have been a more interesting story. Him having to deal with a new career in addition to the new location.

In the end, we got a very low steam romance with a plot full of holes and a quick and unsatisfying resolution.

The writing was good and it moved quickly but there were too many issues for me to recommend this.

2.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review