Audio Series Review: The Royals by Erin Watt

  • The Royals Series by Erin Watts

Title: Paper Princess (Book 1); Broken Prince (Book 2); Twisted Palace (Book 3) by Erin Watt
Series: The Royals
Release Date: January 10, 2017
Format: Audiobook (about 9 hours each)
Published By: Everafter Romance; Audible
Purchase Links:
• •

four-half-stars

What a page turner. These books were so engaging, full of angst so be prepared to read the entire series without coming up for air. I must say that Erin Watt impressed me with their versatility as authors. This book featured a solid character building, plot development and completely absorbing story. What I liked best about this series written by Erin Watt (the duo Elle Kennedy and Jen Frederick) was the fact that this new adult romance was uncomfortable, disconcerting but yet incredibly addicting. The characters were developed in such a way that you both liked and disliked them but you were secretly hoping for them to be redeemed. It was a wild ride.


In Book 1 can best be described as a sort of rags to riches, but with a touch of Pretty woman, Cinderella, Beauty & the Beast. the reader is introduced to Ella’s past and shown how she came to be a fighter and street smart. The heroine Ella Harper has been through a lot but when it seems like she can’t be in a worse situation, an angel named Callum Royal appears. Ella is rescued from her life of poverty and transported to castle where Royals reign supreme.
Then Ella is rescued by her father’s best friend Callum Royal where she comes to live with his family, including five sons. Book 1 illustrates the transition of the Royal brothers hating Ella and treat her abominably to Ella eventually gaining their acceptance and esteem as a sister. Ella’s transition from public school into a highly prestigious prep school called Park Prep was full of teenage drama. In fact, that school was mean girls meets the old Eastside High from the movie Lean on Me starring Morgan Freeman. Their school theme song should have been “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns-n-Roses. I’m not sure what would be harder, Park Prep or prison. Both institutions had bullies, hardened criminals and administrators that look the other way. It was a good thing Ella had experience from her days working at the strip club or she would have been destroyed by those rich kids. I could see the “good guys” lurking behind every mean word and action aimed at extinguishing Ella’s esteem, well from the Royals, not so much the school kids. Eventually, Ella and Reed Royal make a love connection, which puts them in a precarious position.
By the end of the book, Battle lines and alliances were revealed between the major players, Callum, Reed, Ella, Easton versus Brooke (Callum’s ex), Dinah (Ella’s stepmother), the Delacorte family from Park Prep school. It was intense to say the least. This book ends in a wicked cliffhanger so make sure to have book two ready to go.


Book 2 presented a change in narration, where the story was primarily told from Reed’s perspective as opposed to the first book where Ella was the primary story teller. It gives Reed the opportunity to introduce himself to the readers and attempt to explain his behavior.
The bulk of the story focused on the rebuilding of the broken trust between Ella Harper and Reed Royal as well as the unveiling of more family secrets. Ella’s father Steve who had been presumed dead returned so that shifts the battle lines a bit.
I didn’t feel like the authors really fleshed out Brooke and Dinah’s relationship as well as motivations at all. Plus, I can’t help but wonder if the real love relationship is between Callum and Steve. Again, this book ends in a cliffhanger as a major character is murdered.


In the third and final book in this angst-filled trilogy, I expected many of my long-standing questions to be address. I was somewhat disappointed because now I felt strung along for a long time.
In this book 3, The Royals are the town pariah right now, with the murder charge still shining a negative light on the Royals and more specifically Reed. I never doubted that Reed and Ella would figure out how to keep their relationship afloat. I knew the Royals would end up on top but I wanted to know who was getting the best of them and why. I also like the ceasefire with Jordan, but I would have liked to know that Jordan was turning over a new leaf in general. Most importantly, I wanted to know how the murderer got away for so long and who aided the murderer. I was right about the murderer but correct on the why and how. I was still confused as the nature of everyone’s relationships. These unanswered questions have left me dangling on but I still enjoyed this screwed up Royal Family.

With all that said, I need these questions answered.
Did Brooke not share with Dinah what she learned, or did Dinah know it before?
Did Steve erase the videos because Reed wasn’t the only one there?
Did Dinah know what really happened to her bestfriend?
What really happened with Steve?
How was Callum so oblivious about Steve?
What was the real deal with Gideon and Dinah? How could an intelligent guy like Gideon not seek easily available legal advice regarding Dinah?
How could Callum know about Reed & Brooke and not Gideon & Dinah, especially with all the cameras in the house?
So is Easton an addict and what’s the family going to do about it?
And Steve…I don’t understand Steve’s motivations at all.

Ezi

Audiobook Review: The Hero (Sons of Texas #1) by Donna Grant

Audiobook Review: The Hero (Sons of Texas #1) by Donna Grant(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)

Title: The Hero by Donna Grant
Series: Sons of Texas #1
Release Date: December 6, 2016
Format: Kindle edition Pages: 333
Audiobook Length: 7 hrs and 15 mins
Published By: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Purchase Links: Amazon US Barnes & Noble  Books-a-million iBooks Indiebound

THE HERO’S HOMECOMING

Owen Loughman is a highly-decorated Navy SEAL who has a thirst for action. But there’s one thing he hasn’t been able to forget – his high school sweetheart, Natalie. After over a decade away, Owen is returned home to the ranch in Texas for a dangerous new mission that puts him face-to-face with Natalie and an outside menace that threatens everything he holds dear. He’ll risk it all to keep Natalie safe – and win her heart. . . .

Natalie Dixon has had a lifetime of heartache since Owen was deployed. Fourteen years and one bad marriage later, she finds herself mixed up with the Loughman’s again. With her life on the line against an enemy she can’t fight alone, it’s Owen’s strong shoulders, smoldering eyes, and sensuous smile that she turns to. When danger closes in, she holds close to the only man she’s ever loved…

three-half-stars

In this interesting series opener, author Donna Grant introduces the Loughman family, a father and three sons, all dedicated military men whom have sworn to serve and protect the United States of America.

However, the patriarch Orrin has been kidnapped and the sons, Wyatt, Owen and Cullen have been tasked by the government to find and rescue him. The plot unfolds revealing a dastardly plan for world domination that boasts enemies with access into the highest levels of multiple governments.
This book had the Russians versus United States rivalry, a secret illuminati-ish group, Texans who own a horse ranch, an estranged family and a second chance at love.

This particular installment focused on the middle son, Owen, as he tries to discover who kidnapped his father as well as coming to terms with the damaged relationship with his first love Natalie Dixon. The pace of this story was pretty quick as the story evolved rapidly. The author kept us in the dark for most of the novel regarding the true identity of the bad guys. Instead, the reader was exposed to why the Loughman family was estranged and why Owen and Natalie broke up fourteen years go.

Honestly, the narrator didn’t add any value to my enjoyment. The story was narrated sufficiently and I felt comfortable with what was going on in the book. I liked the heroine as she had tried her best to move on with her life. She had inner strength and she was clearly intelligent. Owen was clearly a man who excelled at his job as a navy seal. He also appears to be an honorable man, though I was perplexed as to why three decent men treated their father so dreadfully for so long. I hope the author spends time addressing the sub plot because it did lower my esteem of the Loughman sons.
I enjoyed this story because this plot was interesting and I was curious to find out more about the weapon, the enemy and the family. BEWARE though because this book ends in a cliffhanger. I hope the author continues to develop the plot and characters with the same pace in Book 2.

Ezi

View all my reviews

About Donna Grant

Donna Grant is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the sizzling Dark King series featuring dragons, immortal Highlanders, and the Fae.

She was born and raised in Texas but loves to travel. Her adventures have taken her throughout the United States as well as to Jamaica, Mexico, and Scotland. Growing up on the Texas/Louisiana border, Donna’s Cajun side of the family taught her the “spicy” side of life while her Texas roots gave her two-steppin’ and bareback riding.

Despite deadlines and voracious reading, Donna still manages to keep up with her two children, three cats, and a dog.

A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

A Promise of Fire Book Cover A Promise of Fire
Kingmaker Chronicles #1
Amanda Bouchet
Fantasy; Romance
Sourcebooks Casablanca
August 2nd, 2016
e-book; audiobook
448
Edelweiss

Catalia "Cat" Fisa is a powerful clairvoyant known as the Kingmaker. This smart-mouthed soothsayer has no interest in her powers and would much rather fly under the radar, far from the clutches of her homicidal mother. But when an ambitious warlord captures her, she may not have a choice…

Griffin is intent on bringing peace to his newly conquered realm in the magic-deprived south. When he discovers Cat is the Kingmaker, he abducts her. But Cat will do everything in her power to avoid her dangerous destiny and battle her captor at every turn. Although up for the battle, Griffin would prefer for Cat to help his people willingly, and he's ready to do whatever it takes to coax her…even if that means falling in love with her.

This was a breath of fresh air in a sea of young adult assassin stories. I loved that the heroine relied more cunning than magic and sword. Catalia “Cat” Fisa was a mysterious girl with special powers. She is hiding from someone and is constantly on the run. She found refuge blending into a crowd of circus but was discovered by soldiers sent by the ruling class, the Sinta. Cat immediately clashes with Griffin, the Beta of the Sinta.

From her capture, Cat and Griffin matched wits trying to outmaneuver the other. In the course of their constant bickering, the tension turns into fierce attraction.
In the beginning, it felt like the author was a setting a foundation for an awesome fantasy. Cat had this secretive background which was unveiled little by little. First, we saw she can absorb the powers of others. WE also saw the gods sent her messages or visions. Then it was revealed that she can tell when someone is telling a lie. Cat seemed to have a real assortment of gifts.

But her background and what she was running from started to take a back seat to the romance with the Beta Sinta, and that’s when I felt the story started running out of steam. While I love romance, the plot between the ruling classes and the usurpers was interesting enough. I would like have liked the romance to be a subplot and not used to distract from the drop off in the development of the story.
I will still read book 2 to find out more about Cat’s family and the ruling family, but I hope the author is more attentive to the world building.

Friendly Fire by Cari Z.

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

cariFriendly Fire: by Cari Z.
Release Date: October 17, 2016
Pages: 252 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide
Purchase Links:
Riptide

Elliot McKenzie is the king of reinvention. Five years after losing his job and his lover and almost going to prison, his self-help program, Charmed Life, is more successful than he’d ever dreamed. He thinks he’s put his sordid past firmly behind him, until he starts receiving cryptic threats . . . and realizes it might not be as over as he’d hoped.

Security expert Lennox West has been lost since a deadly skirmish in Afghanistan led to his forced retirement from the Army. His PTSD makes helping his ex raise their daughter a challenge. When his ex’s sister asks him to set her boss up with a security system, Lennox isn’t expecting anyone like Elliot McKenzie—a man who captures his attention and makes him feel relaxed for the first time since leaving the service.

But Elliott is dangerously stubborn. Even as the threats against him escalate, he refuses to involve the police, and Lennox fears that stubbornness could kill him. A battle of wills ensues that brings them closer to each other than either man expected. But if the threats turn real, they might not live long enough to get their future together.

three-half-stars

The only thing that saved me from DNF the book was my need to see the end through. I liked the first half of the story, the two bad people were obvious, or at least one of them was. I enjoyed the writing a lot. It pushed me through the end. At the end of the story, I don’t know if I like the relationship. They didn’t really bond for me. I guess I wanted more passion from the couple and that’s what I found that was seriously lacking! I liked Lennox a lot and kinda loved his name. (It went on my future’s children name list)! I like Elliot for the most part, but I hated his job. It bothered me more then the story. I felt like we were leading up to this amazing story line and it wasn’t apart of the story. I didn’t like his career from the get go, but it became the focal point of why these two guys were together and I don’t get a glimpse of what Elliot does to make it special. Another thing was the getting to see him and Vanessa together. That bothered me. I wanted that scene for myself since Elliot cared so much about letting things happen to him just so Vanessa career wouldn’t get hurt.

I can’t speak for other readers but I look for things I can relate to in novels. I like the realistic idea that Elliot screwed up in life so he is atoning for his mistakes by not being a burden to his sister. Yeah, he had some really crazy things happen to him, but he was so worried about messing up Vanessa’s life that we get word of mouth instead of the actual scene. I’m greedy, I guess I wanted to be able to relate to him in some sort of fashion. I wasn’t to thrilled about the outcome.

Lennox was the type of person that you need to warm up to. He kinda comes of stand offish, but I like to call that “gentlemanly stoic”. He seems like to be in a difficult head space in life. I don’t really know the time frame from him being out the military to present day now. He seemed to be atoning for mistakes he things he’s made, but that’s one thing we don’t get to see about Lennox. I feel like his story wasn’t finished. He didn’t get enough personal screen time to me, and I wanted him to come to terms with his own grievances. It’s a part in the book where he is telling Elliot about his reassurances and atoning for prior mistakes. I don’t know if that was a light bulb moment for Lennox, but it didn’t seem he got the closure to me.

All in all, this was an okay read. I enjoyed the writing way more then the execution of the story. I don’t think it gelled well after the 50% mark. I really would have liked one trope to have been the main focus. Instead, I feel like the mystery/suspense as in competition with the romance side of the story. I will definitely check out more from this author though.

About Cari Z.

Cari Z. is a Colorado girl who loves snow and sunshine. She has a wonderful relationship with her husband, a complex relationship with the characters in her head and a sadomasochistic relationship with her exercise routine. She feels like Halloween should happen every month, which is why you get this picture of her, and hopes that you enjoy reading what she’s put out there as much as she enjoyed writing it in the first place.

Deadly Silence (Blood Brother #1) by Rebecca Zanetti @ForeverRomance @Netgalley

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads) five-stars
Deadly Silence Book Cover Deadly Silence
Blood Brothers #1
Rebecca Zanetti
Romantic Suspense, Contemporary Romance
Forever (Grand Central Publishing)
October 4, 2016
audibook; e-arc
400

 

DON'T LOOK BACK

Under siege. That's how Ryker Jones feels. The Lost Bastards Investigative Agency he opened up with his blood brothers has lost a client in a brutal way. The past he can't outrun is resurfacing, threatening to drag him down in the undertow. And the beautiful woman he's been trying to keep at arm's length is in danger...and he'll destroy anything and anyone to keep her safe.

Paralegal Zara Remington is in over her head. She's making risky moves at work by day and indulging in an affair with a darkly dangerous PI by night. There's a lot Ryker isn't telling her and the more she uncovers, the less she wants to know. But when all hell breaks loose, Ryker may be the only one to save her. If his past doesn't catch up to them first...


Rebecca Zanetti did it again. This was all that and more.

If you want excellent Writing, you’ve got it! If you want action, you’ve got it. If you want sexy love, you’ve got it. If you want a suspenseful mystery, you’ve got it.

Ryker Jones and his brothers, Heath and Denver run an investigative agency called The Lost Bastards and they were hired to flush out a serial killer who was targeting red heads. They are running from a very dangerous past and so they don’t even use their real names. While on assignment, Ryker meets the paralegal Zara Remington and sparks flew, Ryker and Zara begin a no-strings attached but monogamous relationship. When Zara becomes a target, Ryker has to re-evaluate what she means to him. With the elusive serial killer still hunting women, can Ryker protect Zara without being fully honest about who he is?

I just loved this book. I loved the plot/writing and awesome narration by Karen White. Zanetti always gives fascinating characters. Here, the heroine Zara was another compelling one. She was bravery, smart and had a big heart. I love strong heroines and she was more than a match for Ryker. I think she definitely inherited all of that from her grandmother. Ryker Jones was a typical Zanetti hero. Alpha male, who is a protector and fiercely loyal to his loved ones. He is possessive, strong, intelligent, mysterious and just so sexy.

There was a lot going on in this book. There is a serial killer. There are three brothers who are hiding from a past and that past is catching up with them. Zara works for a law firm that represents unsavory people and thanks to a new case, Zara has gotten in the middle of some unpleasant people. Then throw in Ryker’s situation where Ryker and his two brothers were being blackmailed and there just bad guys all around. Yet it is obvious all these single threads had a connection, it just a matter of connecting the dots.

I know many people say you don’t have to read Sin Brothers, but I strongly urge you to read that series first. After all, you’d have to know Dr. Madison and the Commander and the Grey Brothers to truly appreciate the tie-in with this series. Greg and his subplot also would make more sense with the background from that series.
This book was such an exhilarating ride and I couldn’t put it down. I loved the characters, the story and I am ecstatic for where this series is going. I can’t wait for book 2 and the introduction of more “brothers”.

*Special Thanks to Forever (Grand Central Publishing) via Netgalley

About Rebecca Zanetti

Rebecca Zanetti wrote her first story when she was six – a romance between a princess and neighboring prince. The princess fell out of her castle and the prince rescued her. A happily ever after was had by all.

This theme of romance has been carried through Rebecca’s works until present time. While today’s heroine may have a medical degree, black belt in Karate and her own 401K, she’s still after that happy ending. And today’s prince may have fangs and wear a black hat, but hey, a modern princess likes a guy who bites.

Growing up amid the glorious backdrops and winter wonderlands of the Pacific Northwest has given Rebecca fantastic scenery and adventures to weave into her stories. She resides there with her husband, children and extended family who inspire her every day.

Bitter Legacy by Dal MacLean

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

bitter-legacyBitter Legacy: by Dal MacLean
Release Date:October 4, 2016
Pages:350 • Format: eARC
Published By: Blind Eye Books
Purchase Links:
Blind Eye Books  •  Amazon

Detective Sergeant James Henderson of London’s Metropolitan Police Murder Investigation Team is no ordinary police officer. His remarkable gut instincts and relentless detective work have put him on a three-year fast track to becoming an inspector. When the murder of barrister Maria Curzon-Whyte lands in his lap, he finds himself drawn back into the insidious world of London’s privileged elite where men like James’s father possess wealth and power enough to hold the law in contempt. As James navigates the promiscuous, secretive and corrupt spheres of the rich, the murderer strikes again. Soon James begins to fear that these crimes lead dangerously close to his own heart and home. And now, he risks losing everything he’s made of his life unless he can expose the sordid truths that have bred this bitter legacy.

five-stars

Oh my goodness, this book kept me reading it from beginning to end. I literally spent all day Sunday on my couch laying down and reading this. It was the perfect split between romance and mystery thriller. I loved every bit of it. This debut novel from Dal MacLean was so good, I immediately added it to my Best of 2016 list. It was a really good mystery that intertwined the life of Jamie. It’s his first case as lead detective, he takes his job super serious. I liked the relationship he had between his boss and partner. He was such a well developed character. Steggie is my favorite as well. I truly liked him. He was flawed but he honestly cared about Jamie’s ware fare. I have mixed feelings on Ben Morgan. Honestly, I understand him the most, but truly hated him at times. I wanted to eviscerate him for leading poor Jamie on, but Jamie is a grown man who had so much naivety. It was on the isnta-love side of the story, but trust me you won’t even care once you start reading this story.

Jamie, oh my goodness. I loved him. At times, I seriously wanted to strangle the air out of him. He was super flawed, lonely, and very naïve. I blame his father, but I’m so happy with the outcome of that. Jamie is on the accelerated course at work. He’s very young for a Detective Sergeant, but he’s been put lead on a high provide murder. In the midst of the murder, he’s looking for somewhere to stay, he’s on the oust with his father, and dealing with his sexuality. I loved this doe eyed guy. He literally made me want to chuck my kindle a few times, I felt like some of the obvious answers to him and Ben were right in his face. Then I had to realize, he’s never felt like this, and this is what people in love do. They are stupidly in love, and blind to the hurt right in front of them.

“Is that a good motive for murder in your world, Chief Inspector? Because I’ve found unrequited love just makes you sad and miserable and tired.”

I love how this story made me feel. I really liked how the author made all the characters in this story human. It was raw and unfiltered when it came to love. It was brutally honest and sometimes hurtful to read, but that is what made it so real. It literally kept me on my toes. I loved the mystery of the story. I love the emotions that I felt while reading this story. MacLean is definitely someone to look forward to. I know someone is going to read this review, and ask “what’s it about?” Well, I won’t spoil it. It was mind-blowing, vulnerable and super good. Kudos to Dal MacLean. I can see this on someone’s debut author list. It is so worth it.

About Dal MacLean

Dal Maclean comes from the North of Scotland. Her background is in journalism, and she has an undying passion for history, the more gossipy and scandalous the better. Dal has lived in Asia and worked all over the world, but home is now the UK. She dislikes the Tragic Gay trope, but loves imperfect characters and genuine emotional conflict in romantic fiction. As an author, and a reader, she believes it’s worth a bit of work to reach a happy ending. Agatha Christie, English gardens and ill-advised cocktails are three fatal weaknesses, though not usually at the same time.

Bad Judgment by Sidney Bell

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Bad Judgment: by Sidney Bell
Release Date: September 19, 2016
Pages: 322 • Format:eARC
Published By:Carina Pres
Purchase Links:
Carina PressAmazon

Embry Ford was a quiet, ordinary guy—until tragedy ripped his life apart. Now he’s living under the radar, desperate to hide his identity and determined to learn the truth behind what happened. Even if that means working for—and bedding—a man he loathes.

As a bodyguard to a shadowy arms dealer, Brogan Smith knows distractions can kill as easily as a bullet. But when he sets his eyes on his client’s sexy assistant, he can’t get him out of his mind. Even more unnerving: the closer he gets to Embry, the more Brogan starts to suspect he might be protecting the wrong man.

Embry was sure nothing but vengeance would satisfy him—until Brogan offers him something far more tempting. Now Embry must choose: punish the people who nearly destroyed him or fight for a future with the man who has become his entire world.
four-stars


These were my initial thoughts up until 38%

I have so many thoughts swirling around in my head regarding this story. For a new author, and for her first book this was really well written. The ANGST!!! Jeez lady, tone it down a notch! I am not one for angst to this degree, but I do love mystery/thrillers. I’m not use to romantic suspense, and I might look into a few because I enjoyed this.

Brogan, Brogan, Brogan. He’s that one friend who is amazingly sweet, and super freaking dense when it comes to his own love life. He’s the guy that will literally move mountains for the guy he’s in love with. It was so many times, I just wanted him to say eff this and I’m out. Gosh, it shouldn’t be this hard to love someone. I am with Mario. I wanted Brogan to find some good dude who’s stable, and not cray cray, and nice. But the heart wants what the little head does. LOL. Brogan is definitely a good guy. I loved his charisma, and just his need to protect. I really enjoyed him as a character. But good Lord, the man is dumb. There ain’t enough Ghirardelli brownies in the world for me to be chasing around somebody as ornery as Embry. Brogan is maybe fated in life to be the smart ass in the relationship. He knows how to push buttons, and for sure knows how to get what he wants. I was super surprised when my emotions started getting the best of me while reading this.

Embry reminds me alot like Moriarty from the BBC version of Sherlock. I mean, you never know what you are going to get with him. He’s basically a grumpy bear. I won’t go into the plot, but it was good. Embry is that guy who is afraid to love, and be loved. He had a hard time grasping the little nuisances that Brogan tried to give him. Embry did grown on me, and I guess I had no choice because Brogan liked him.

I did find myself stalled out in the middle of the story. It took me a few days to pick it back up. It was a lot of filler information in my opinion. Once you get passed 50% the book picks up. From their we get to see the events that lead up to the story. We get Embry’s pov which I found delightful. This was a really good suspense book, and boy did these boys bring the heat with the story. I love that their love was super passionate and explosive. I do feel like I wanted more of the epilogue, because the book was so long I would have preferred to have just a little more of them together. I’m uncertain on their future. To me it ends at a HFN. I guess I’m okay with that. I am looking forward to the next book by this author, I was super intrigued by the beginning chapters of her unknown book. I do recommend this book.

About Sidney Bell

Sidney Bell lives in the drizzly Pacific Northwest with her amazingly supportive husband. She received her MFA degree in Creative Writing in 2010, considered aiming for the Great American Novel, and then promptly started writing fanfiction instead. Eventually more realistic grown-ups convinced her to try writing something more fiscally responsible, which is how we ended up here.

When she’s not writing, she’s playing violent video games, yelling at the television during hockey games, or supporting her local library by turning books in late.

Whiskey and Wry by Rhys Ford

Whiskey&WryLGWhiskey and Wry by Rhys Ford
Series: Sinner’s, Book Two
Release Date: August 19, 2013
Pages: 254 • Format: eBook
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazonARe

He was dead. And it was murder most foul. If erasing a man’s existence could even be called murder.

When Damien Mitchell wakes, he finds himself without a life or a name. The Montana asylum’s doctors tell him he’s delusional and his memories are all lies: he’s really Stephen Thompson, and he’d gone over the edge, obsessing about a rock star who died in a fiery crash. His chance to escape back to his own life comes when his prison burns, but a gunman is waiting for him, determined that neither Stephen Thompson nor Damien Mitchell will escape.

With the assassin on his tail, Damien flees to the City by the Bay, but keeping a low profile is the only way he’ll survive as he searches San Francisco for his best friend, Miki St. John. Falling back on what kept him fed before he made it big, Damien sings for his supper outside Finnegan’s, an Irish pub on the pier, and he soon falls in with the owner, Sionn Murphy. Damien doesn’t need a complication like Sionn, and to make matters worse, the gunman—who doesn’t mind going through Sionn or anyone else if that’s what it takes kill Damien—shows up to finish what he started.

three-stars

It’s hard for me to wrap my head around me not liking this. I didn’t like the story, and I did not see Damien this way in my head. I can’t comprehend on why he seemed like someone else to me when I haven’t read it, but I never connected with him, the story, and the plot. I liked Sionn, he’s my favorite thing about the story. I did want to know more on him and hist backstory. I feel like I understood bits and pieces surrounding his pass job, but it was like talking in circles about it.

I’m going to be honest with ya’ll as soon as douche-face got a pov I got pissed. What???? Why??? I loathed everything about it, and I’m not certain I understand what happened. I’ve never been so mad at Rhys before then in this book. Trust me, I’m trying to be objective when it comes to reading anything outside of Cole by hers but this was b.s. IMO. I’m sorry, I feel like i’m completing blasphemy for her work, but if you can’t accept my personal feelings we don’t need to be book friends in my head. LOL

I also am not 1000% sure what happened after the accident. That’s still fuzzy and don’t make much sense. It could be I skipped all of douche-face parts and if it’s explained then I am totally lost. Well you say if you didn’t really connect with one of the mc, and didn’t like the story then why three stars? Umm because they writing is still almost flawless in my head, the first 38% might have been kinda boring, but it was entertaining to keep pushing. I will admit the second half was much better but it’s definitely on the bottom pile of books from this author.

About Rhys Ford

Rhys Ford was born and raised in Hawai’i then wandered off to see the world. After chewing through a pile of books, a lot of odd food, and a stray boyfriend or two, Rhys eventually landed in San Diego, which is a very nice place but seriously needs more rain.

Rhys admits to sharing the house with cats of varying degrees of black fur and a ginger cairn terrorist. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird, a Toshiba laptop, and an overworked red coffee maker.

The Risen (A Novel of Spartacus) by David Anthony Durham

The Risen (A Novel of Spartacus) by David Anthony Durhamon May 3rd 2016
Pages: 496
Amazon

I chose to read this book because I loved the Starz version of Spartacus and I also appreciated the fact that is history. I have never read David Anthony Durham but his storytelling was engaging and riveting. I imagined myself in the story at times because the writing was so visceral. The only thing missing was the Spartacus Speak (Move to Purpose, Apology, Gratitude, etc.) I had grown to love on the show.
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In this account, Spartacus was humanized much more than the show. We were shown pain & suffering, resistance, strength, vulnerability, shrewdness, anguish, hope and ultimately defeat. There were so many different emotions and components to the man/legend as well as his compatriots. What I loved most about his story is that this is the first time that I have experienced Romans who were conflicted or even sympathetic to “The Risen” or the rebels. In addition, in the cable television show, Spartacus (Blood and Sands through War of the Damned) was more motivated by the loss of his wife, but in this book, Spartacus was mostly moved by the injustice of the captivity.

What a study in leadership comparing Crassus to Spartacus. I was moved by the struggle for liberty and Spartacus inner turmoil with his own fears but needed to exhibit courageous strength for his followers. I still hated Crassus because of his ruthlessness and ambition. I loved Spartacus and his generals, Castus, Crixus, Gannicus, Ullio etc.
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It was so sad but I found myself hoping WHAT IF? I knew The Risen wouldn’t be triumphant but I couldn’t help wanting the impossible.

“Whatever fate awaits you…it’s mine as well as yours…I am free to choose, and I choose to fight with you. I want the best life, or death, for us all. I swear it.”

Everything felt so authentic from the planning to the escape, individual plights within the rebellion. I felt their elation with each battle won as it was a sign to them that they were favored by the gods. I felt their despair with their defeats as it was one step closer to the unavoidable end. There was horrific violence in this book, but it didn’t bother me because it was disturbingly factual. This was an entertaining read for those who love historical fiction. I highly recommend this book to those who love Spartacus and also accounts of the Roman Empire.

*Special Thanks to Tantor Audio for the audiobook received in exchange for an honest review.

Enemies of the State by Tal Bauer

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

enemiesofthestate500Enemies of the State by Tal Bauer
Series: The Executive Office
Release Date: February 15, 2016
Pages: 324 • Format: eBook
Published By: NineStar Press
Purchase Links:
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A rogue Black Ops unit with the president in their crosshairs.
A Secret Service agent who will break every rule.
A president falling for the one person he shouldn’t—a man.

Newly elected President Jack Spiers’s presidency is rocked from the very beginning, and he’s working furiously to keep the world from falling apart. Between terrorism attacks ripping apart Europe, Russia’s constant posturing and aggression, and the quagmire of the Middle East, Jack is struggling to keep his campaign promise—to work toward a better, safer world.

For Special Agent Ethan Reichenbach, Jack is just another president, the third in twelve years. With Jack’s election, he’s been promoted, and now he’s running the presidential detail, which puts him side by side with Jack daily. He’s expecting another stuffed suit and an arrogant DC politician, but Jack shocks him with his humor and humanity.

There are rules against a Secret Service agent and one of their protectees developing a friendship—big rules. Besides, Jack is straight as a ruler, and a widower, and Ethan has always avoided falling for straight men. Ethan keeps his distance, but Jack draws him in, like gas to a naked flame, and it’s a lure he isn’t strong enough to turn away from.

As the two men collide, rules are shattered and the world teeters on the verge of war, and a rogue Black Ops unit bent on destruction sets Jack in their deadly crosshairs. Ethan must put everything on the line in order to save the man he’s come to love, Jack’s presidency, and the world.

 

three-stars


“I don’t consider myself gay. Being with Ethan wasn’t some kind of realization of who I was deep inside. It wasn’t a…yearning of my hidden gay man, buried deep.”-Jack
“It was just me falling in love,” Jack finally said.
“And figuring out how to make that work with Ethan.”

Brace yourself this review is a mess because my thoughts are whirring right now!

I didn’t think I would make it to the promise land after starting this book. I don’t know how many eyes rolls I did, I counted at least 4 sobs from Ethan in the first half. I wish I could rate the second half because that’s a glowing 4 stars for me, but it’s not fair to the first half which is a huge letdown. It’s complete boredom. I was bored, super bored. I was tired of all the filler information. A couple of people told me to keep going because by 30% I was ready to DNF it. I’m glad I finished it, because the second half was super worth it. I like political thrillers and the author did a good job on the bad guys because I didn’t guess it. I felt like it should have been 100 pages less then it would have been all good. It was extremely too much political information. I like those things, but again it was all filler things that wasn’t important to me as a reader.

The first half of the story was so much anguish from Ethan’s perspective that I think it could have gone better if Jack had point of views as well. Ethan’s character didn’t seem to match up with his character in book one. The emotional side of him, which I’m usually wanting was unbelievable for me. It seemed so one sided when it came to those sobs, and tears. I didn’t connect with that part. It just seemed to insta-love on his part. This is why Mr.President should have had a point of view because it was needed. Coming from Ethan’s perspective I expected his to be New Adult Age instead of a 40 year old man with all these experiences under his belt. Not saying that it’s wrong to be emotional, but it didn’t fit his character. Stoic Ethan got replaced with a New Adult guy suffering from breaking up with his one true love. I just didn’t by that part at all. I can’t blame everything on Ethan, because Jack personality was a little faulty as well. He is the president so he had to be in politics for a while to get there. Those parts in the first half on needing Ethan drove me crazy. I was kinda happy we got things resolved and he needed to act like the leader of “The Free World”

The second half is where it’s at. I really like the second. It picked up with the actions, the feels, the physical part as well as the communication between Ethan & Jack. I also liked that the author made Jack bisexual instead of Gay, just because it’s okay to be bi, and admit to loving a person and not a gender. I really liked Jack’s character a lot. He took the bull by the horns, and thought the relationship out with Ethan. I think the author did a great job with the cast of characters. The Russian president was hilarious in his twisted mind kind of way The whole disavowed military unit was my thing. I was screaming B613 the entire time!!! I guess that means Collard would be by Huck! I cannot wait to book two. I would love to see more of these two, but Faisal definitely made an impression on me.

About Tal Bauer

Tal Bauer writes LGBT fiction and romance, bringing together a career in law enforcement, trauma medicine, and international humanitarian and disaster relief work to create dynamic, strong characters, intriguing plots, and unique, exotic locations. Tal’s stories weave together pulse-pounding adventure, cunning intrigue, and sweeping romance. Tal is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Mystery Writers of America.