Book Review ‘Russian Prey’ Part 1 (Assassin/Shifter Book 8) by Sandrine Gasq-Dion

Russian Prey

Review 1 of 2

Vince’s voice was like silk, wrapping around his nervous system, sliding down his spine and spreading out his toes and fingers.

If that quote doesn’t tell you how much I love the first act of this book, then nothing will.

I’ve just started to read book 8 of the Assassin/shifter series and it’s possibly my favourite beginning of all the author’s’ books so far. So much in fact, I had to write two reviews. As I wrote this I wasn’t even halfway through, but loved it so much I had to get my thoughts down.

It’s the story of lovely little agent Keegan and big deadly Russian killer Vince.

I was travelling with my Kindle on the train heading to a meeting in the city.  I think people were looking at me thinking “he must be reading a good book, he keeps smiling.”  I was indeed smiling like a kid. I had arrived at a scene where Vince Markov, standing in a nightclub finally, lays eyes on our boy Keegan Ripley. The way Vince describes this young man leaning on the bar… Wow! Even my heart skipped a beat. Then, you get Keegan giving him the cold shoulder in the sexiest of ways. They play cat and mouse like this for a while which is absolutely brilliant to read, my face just said it all.

The chemistry is incredible. It shows that you don’t need sex to get the pulse racing. I love it when Keegan is in his hotel dressing specifically for Vince who he pretends to not be interested in. Vince can’t give up because he is so captivated by Keegan and cute Keegan has a massive crush on Vince but can’t show it.

Keegan is so cute!!! He’s not only visually cute but the author has managed to write him cute too. He stutters and gets erections when nervous. Even the way the other guys from the series treat him is adorable. Look out for the pillars down the centre of the bed scene, you can visualise it so clearly and you can’t stop smiling. Subsequently, the moment Vince wakes up, it will make you melt. Am I just getting soft?

The story is also brutal, with bones being broken and throats cut, but the banter between the two lead characters becomes almost comedy, it’s childlike banter but from two grown men crazy about each other. It reminds me of the TV hit show Moonlighting from the late 1980’s with the characters Maddie and David quarrelling all the time, trying to score points when actually they are both crazy about each other.

“How old are you?” Vince narrowed his eyes.

“Thirty four.”

“You look twenty four.”

Keegan scowled. “You look sixty-four.”

On the return journey home on the train, I couldn’t wait to read the next part.  I also rang my mom telling her how much I was enjoying it. I can do that with my mom because she understands, she loves books too.

I laughed out loud at this line when Keegan gets angry at Vince.

“Stop looking at me like I’m a Happy Meal.”

Keegan’s trying so hard to be the tough man, but it doesn’t work and it makes Vince melt and want him even more. Love it, love it, love it!

The little mention about the coffee machine that Riley brought Keegan was also nice touch, because Riley Flynn gave everyone a coffee maker for Christmas and it’s been mentioned in other books featuring other characters in the series, great continuity.

One of the best parts (and I’ve hardly started, remember it’s only review 1) is the scene in the nightclub when Vince cuts in and dances with Keegan. He pulls Keegan to him with force, Keegan still giving him the brush off telling him he doesn’t find him attractive.

Your pulse is racing and your pupils are blown. So I ask again, why are you so nervous?

If I may also share with you my favourite line from the book so far, then it’s this. It’s when Keegan won’t let Vince examine and ‘snap back’ into place his broken fingers.

Vince leaned against the desk, crossing his arms. “I can knock you out.”

“Pfft…good luck with that…”

Vince caught Keegan before he fell out of the chair.

Absolutely priceless!

I am sooooooo loving this story so far, I’m just hoping it doesn’t ‘water down’ later and that the tension can be held throughout acts 2 and 3. I’ve been here before with Half Moon Rising (Book 4). Sawyer Quinton gave Troy Bishop the cold shoulder for a short period and he stood out as a different character.  This didn’t last and he lost his individuality by act 2. This story however, is far better, so fingers crossed.

Spencer.

Book Review ‘The General’s Lover’ (Assassin/Shifter Book 7) by Sandrine Gasq-Dion

The General's Lover

I’ll try not to provided any spoilers here. but we have waited six books for this story (lol). We have been given hints about this love story throughout the series and it raised a lot of questions. How did they meet? Why will General Derek Jacobs not admit and face up to his feelings for James Pruitt? In this story, it all gets answered.

Loved the beginning scene when the two meet. The author is very good at these scenes and I have enjoyed all the initial meetings in the series. Here, James is drinking in a bar with his friend, but gets a little drunk in front of a new guy (Derek Jacobs) who happens to be his ideal man (haven’t we all done that). They almost kiss… I’m screaming “Just kiss him!”

Once again, I prefer characters older and I believe Derek Jacobs is the oldest character so far at 43 and he’s a total alpha male. He’s the type who puts his career first and stops everyone as he walks into a room.

The scenes in Afghanistan lift the story and I forgot I was reading a man on man book. I never read action when I was younger, it was always fantasy and sci-fi, so I seem to be getting my taste of it now, if only in short bursts.

Derek asks James to go with him on a small vacation and this is groundbreaking for Derek to do this. At last, he’s made a move and this is it. Poor James, he’s waited and been hurt so much by Derek’s coldness in the past, but now it’s finally going to happen… or is it? Nothing goes to plan, but this is okay and keeps the tension up.

The come together moment (without spoiling it) is when Derek finds out about a mission James was sent on, that’s all I’m saying. It’s all very military and butch and I loved it. Derek practically turns into the Hulk. It’s that primal urge to get and protect your man that stands out here. Seeing Derek’s reaction with James at key points in the story hits you in the heart.

What held me the most, is the first half of the story and Derek’s reluctance to let his barriers down. All that military training and upbringing prevents him being with the person he wants. James has held a torch for him for years and can’t move on. It’s a sad story. Events in the second half come a little too soon for me and the balance of intensity, action and romance are replaced with sentimentality and romance only. I don’t mind this but, when the first half has been so strong…

We get to see familiar faces (most of the Skull Blasters) as they have witnessed the whole, will they? or won’t they? between Derek and James. They’re all sickly sweet and happily married (I’m so jealous lol). Mateo and Riley seem to be firm favourites of the author and were her first characters in book 1 ‘A Marked Man’. Josh is still my personal favourite.

If I was to focus on a negative, it would be that General Derek Jacobs goes too far the opposite way, becoming a love sick puppy for James. A little much for me, but others will like this, and it’s justifiable considering he’s held back for so long. Believe me when I say, it’s only a minor thing and I wasn’t disappointed at all.

Scenes at Derek’s parental home were heart warming. look out for Derek standing up for James, it makes you cheer inside. Also, look out for the boat in the lake scene and look out for Riley and James gossiping about Derek Jacobs because I think we have all done this.

Enjoy and please leave a comment.

Spencer,

September – Love don’t live here anymore.

no-romance

It’s been a strange month for me so far. A lot and I mean, a lot of hard decisions and stress for me. This is unusual as I have a fairly stress free life and can handle things well.

Anyway, what about love? Well nothing… Right here right now, I’m still not bothered. I have so much going on in my life that the thought of me and romance seems downright foolish.  I still look at men and think it would be nice, but that’s as far as it goes. I’m still reading romance and that may be seen as wrong by some. I can hear people saying…

Don’t you think, you should be out there dating instead of reading about it?

Yes I understand that, but between you and me, I can’t be bothered.

I still believe that if he is out there, somewhere.

Spencer.

Book Review ‘Accidentally Mated’ (Fraser Lake Pack Book 1) by Lynn Tyler

Accidently Mated

Jake watched him go with a smile. Life would never be dull.

As always I don’t want to spoil your enjoyment of the story, so I’ll keep my review to a personal opinion.

This is my first book by author Lynn Tyler. It’s the story of Tristan Massey who becomes the alpha of a werewolf pack a little sooner than he anticipated. At his side is his best buddy, Chris. The love interest is Jake Trenton.

The book didn’t grab me. The initial pages were uninspiring and the way it was written, left me struggling to visualise what was actually going on. I did at one point think of giving up,  however, I managed to happily finish it.

The third act was the strongest and it began to develop an identity of it’s own. I didn’t find a structure to the story and it generally felt unconvincing.  The setup of this book was the weakest point for me, together with how things were explained, such as the descriptions of events and how action was portrayed. Tristan, I thought, was the main protagonist, and it certainly starts off this way. In reality, by the end you feel it’s Jake. This in itself throws the reader. It’s okay to have two main characters but this didn’t feel like the two had been planned. That’s the problem I had with this book, it simply felt unplanned.

Tristan started out a lad and remained a lad. His character didn’t change much by the end and he read more like a spoilt teenager than a masculine sexy alpha with incredible power. Chris was the most stable and began the narrative with a certain viewpoint that held Tristan together. I think that Chris, was a missed opportunity here, and his actual presence in this story could have easily been removed and the narrative wouldn’t have suffered.  I suspect, he was here in order to use him for a possible sequel.

There is no antagonist, and that can be okay. I sometimes like a story that just focuses on the romance of the two characters. As this whole story felt a bit flat for me, I would have considered bringing in more tension, perhaps having the ‘Council’ that you meet, as a real threat. Again this was a missed opportunity.

Jake was by far the strongest and most developed character, even if I still don’t understand the ‘submissive’ thing. By the end of the novel, he’s the character who’s made the longest journey and completely changed. I liked Jake, therefore, I was invested in him, I wasn’t invested in Tristan, Chris or any of the other underused characters. Jake maybe the reason I finished the book.

So why did I finish it and not give up? I’m not sure, but the relationship that developed held me enough to continue and the writing got better as it went on. It was as if the author eventually started to get an idea of where the book was going and the focus switched to Jake. In the latter parts of the book Tristan courts Jake which meant no sex. I loved this part the most. The sexual tension was there, but so was the romance and it felt great to see how two characters could interact passionately and emotionally without the need to have sex. More of this please.

A great line stood out for me.

The way the man moved should have been illegal. Liquid sex was the only comparison that came to mind.

To conclude; lots of opportunities missed here. Although not a firm favourite with me, I will absolutely try other Lynn Tyler books, as I don’t like to judge on one. If there is a particular series or book of this author you think I should read, then please, let me know.

Spencer X

Netflix – Sense8 – Review, No spoilers

Wow! What a refreshing change to find a TV series like this. It ticks so many boxes it’s fascinating. Andy and Lana Wachowski have done an amazing job here.

On one hand it’s devastatingly alluring with colours throughout the series that suggest a great deal of artistic and directorial talent.  On the other hand, the story is captivating if not a little slow at times. The way it’s filmed screams ‘quality’. You feel emotionally full, like you’ve just eaten the most amazing meal.

The characters are what make this series for me. Practically every character was endearing. The overriding story is simple and not overly complicated, (sometimes they try to hard with the main story at the expense of the characters), but it’s the characters and their arcs and how they come together that keeps you hooked.

It’s geeky, it’s intelligent, it’s horrific, it’s romantic, then extremely sensual. There is a character we can all associate with in Sense8 and if there isn’t, then there will be one you want to be.

Script was a joy to listen too. I love writing character speech myself, so it was simply amazing to hear characters talk realistically and with the talent of these actors… wow I was really impressed.

It felt like I was watching different shows at some points. As mentioned, it got drawn out in places, but thankfully they would introduce something that would bring it all alive again. It was at times a very personal and intimate thing to view.

It was equally fantastic to see gay men and women in realistic relationships that are attractive, intelligent and socially skilled. Many English TV drama’s don’t do this and I’ve always had an issue with it.

I loved how romance was handled. It was done so well, so subtle at first and then we watched it grow in many characters throughout the series. Not once did I think it was false or forced, which illustrates how well this was written.

I know this is a good series because, after watching the season finale, I wasn’t asking the question; “Where can this go from here?”  I can see from a writer’s perspective where this can go for season 2 and that’s a really good place to be.

What did you think of Sense8?

Please leave a comment I really enjoy hearing from you.

Spencer

Book Review ‘For the Love of Caden’ (Assassin/Shifter Book 6) by Sandrine Gasq-Dion

For the love of Cayden

This will be a different review for the simple reason that I read it a couple of months ago. I thought I had hand written a review, but It appears I hadn’t, and with me being absent for a month or so… I have forgotten the majority of it.

But this may not be such a bad thing. I’m going to use what I remember and it won’t be a knee jerk reaction to a book I just finished.

It’s Caden’s world that we see in this book (I clearly remember him being described as a Colin Farrell lookalike). We’ve met Caden before.  He’s rich with his own businesses. I remember that the book begins with Kellan who is an emergency medical technician, which is one of the reasons I found him adorable.  There is nothing supernatural in his daily life, yes he is a wolf, but it’s more about his everyday life and his friends.  I liked this a lot. It felt like a hospital drama.

I remember how Caden and Kellan first meet, but I won’t spoil it for you, but it’s obvious and very sweet and the hassle Caden gives Kellan makes you love Kellan even more.

I love the fact we go to France in the book, but would have liked more description to really submerge the reader in the culture. It’s like a film, if you are going to use a location, then use it! Get visual.

We have an antagonist from the previous books called Carson, who really stirs things up. I remember Caden’s secret, and I definitely remember getting emotional over it. I think it was when he was in France that I got upset, but can’t remember.

This was a more mature read compared to Best Laid Plans (Book 5) because the characters are mature and I liked this aspect, I could relate to it more. It also felt a little different. I think Sandrine, handles the older characters much better.

I know I liked this story, it’s so much better than the previous.

Book Review ‘Best Laid Plans’ (Assassin/Shifter 5) by Sandrine Gasq-Dion

Best Laid Plans 5

Unless the author has an overall story arc, then I do worry about how she will keep this series original. I guess at the time of writing, you don’t know if anything’s going to be successful, or if you’re personally invested enough to continue writing for the world you have created. I know from my own work, that either, you love an idea and want to continue with it, or you want to finish up and move onto a fresh project. I think the former, is the case for Sandrine Gasq-Dion.

Here in book 5 (yes I can’t believe I am reading them so quickly), we have two brothers Grayson and Xander Quinton, who are part of the Queets wolf pack.  They are here with their potential love interests or ‘mates’ who are two brothers, Jagger and Taylor Drake, who are part of the Denali wolf pack. Yes… two sets of brothers.

I couldn’t help wondering whether this was done for purely erotic reasons. I’m guessing it may be fun to actually write about two sets of brothers getting it on together and I suppose after four books, you need to explore new areas of possible interest. Two sets of brothers is the result.

For me, the characters felt watered down. In fact, I never felt that I got to know Jagger or Taylor very well. All I recall about them is they both have dirty blonde hair.  Grayson and Xander are in truth, extremely similar and subsequently, it became difficult to distinguish between the two siblings.  I had to concentrate to understand who was with whom. There was little to separate the two couples.

I felt quite detached from this book, as the life of millionaires and werewolf culture is taking it a little too far for me, even though I love fantasy. I jump on the train, the bus and on special occasions a taxi, but these guys have their own jets! Grayson and Xander are also very young 18 and 20 and although legal, I found it a little uncomfortable. In addition, their tantrums and running away in order to add the tension to the story, just left me rolling my eyes.

I was thinking as I read, that some kind of resistance to the innate attraction the werewolves have for a mate would introduce more conflict and sexual tension. As it stands, they fall in love far too easily for my taste, seemingly erasing all past experiences and beliefs after one encounter.

Finding your mate in Wolf culture is an extremely powerful element in these books, but I’m sure, the mind would put up more of a fight and this would ultimately make for a more intense romantic story.

I would be interested to get your comments on this one.

Regards

Spencer