Warning: Minor spoiler in this review

Enemy Within (The Executive Office #3)Enemy Within by Tal Bauer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OMG, oh my God people this book is beyond exceptional, it wraps up the trilogy in an almost perfect fashion but still leaves a hint behind that there could be more.

And believe me, I want more. Who are the missing clones, will Jack and Ethan head up the secret black ops department, will Sergey and Sasha get married, will Faisal become King with Adam by his side?! I NEED to know these things.

The tension and pacing throughout this book left me breathless. Who was going to be the other hidden traitor? I guessed rightly with one though as soon as I saw his name.

SPOILER ALERT: It was a really nerdy moment and a tribute to one of the greatest Star Trek mythologies ever. Once he arrived I knew there would have to be something going on, it’s a truly stand out name but the discovery of just what his role would be still surprised me and the cleverness of the plotting to get him to that point was superb.

I think I spent half this book praying the traitors wouldn’t be Scott, Levi, Welby, Doc, Colman, the press guys, Elizabeth, there were so many it would have killed me to read as a traitor. And it was still a shock when it came. And it came with such a vengeance, the tension jacked up to such a level I could actually feel my pulse racing.

I should also say that the amount of research and detailing which has gone into this book series is exemplary, it deserves a world of five stars on that basis alone but when added to the rest, it takes this book somewhere beyond just an enjoyable read and into the stratosphere.

I want to see these books on TV or the big screen, they have every single ingredient needed for a true blockbuster and hopefully one day, when the world catches up that love between two men is just as romantic and vital as a heterosexual pairing, we may just get it.

Bravo Tal for writing a trilogy of books which will forever sit on my must be read favourites shelf.

View all my reviews

So good it keeps all the stars – even with a cliff hanger!

Enemy of My Enemy (The Executive Office Book 2)Enemy of My Enemy by Tal Bauer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Brilliance, sheer brilliance. This book, and the others in the series, need to be on the big screen, theatre epic in a way the greatest Bond films are, they’re thrilling like a Jack Ryan narrative and they have a perfect “would die for you” love at the heart.

I’ve even not knocked off my usual star for the bloody cliff hanger so I hope you appreciate that Tal 😉

Where to begin with this one though? An element of suspension of disbelief is needed, a reminder that this book is set a few years in the future when medical science had advanced at pace. There’s a little bit of the potential for a dystopian future at play here.

Our mad general is still orchestrating things from hiding, stacking up threat after threat and taking apart Jack and Ethan’s world piece by piece. So many amazing secondary characters are lost in this book, it’s not for the faint hearted and my heart is feeling somewhat bruised at their deaths.

But the tension, lord the tension as the moles on the inside continue to manipulate the plays, is immense. I’m holding out hope that the big reveal is not going to be one of the characters I’ve come to love so much.

And the scene with Sergey and Sasha absolutely killed me. So much emotion in such a small gesture. On to the final one now with the fate of the world literally resting on the shoulders of a small bunch of renegades.

View all my reviews

A Christmas stopover with Jack and Ethan

Interlude: First NoelInterlude: First Noel by Tal Bauer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s weird going back with Jack and Ethan to see their first Christmas together after the story had moved on in time at the end of book one.

But it’s also a really sweet insight into how they made their long distance relationship work after Ethan got banished to Iowa.

There’s also a nice little side plot with an investigation into counterfeiting which takes a sideways turn into an FBI murder case while Ethan deals with his local chief not wanting him there.

Their actual Christmas together is seriously sweet and emotionally satisfying.

View all my reviews

Everything I’d hoped it would be and then some

Enemies of the State (The Executive Office #1)Enemies of the State by Tal Bauer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So, when I tell you that The West Wing is my favourite TV series of all time and that when Marc Harmon’s Special Agent Simon Donovan was murdered during a store robbery gone wrong just after kissing White House Press Secretary CJ Cregg, I cried for about an hour, you can hazard a guess at how much I was pinning on this book.

Well, Tal Bauer gave me everything I wanted and then some. This book is explosive, it’s thrilling, it’s emotional, it’s heart breaking, it’s tense, it’s passionate, it’s sexy, it’s about two men in their 40s falling in love unexpectedly with the glare of the world upon them.

Jack and Ethan were beautifully crafted, for all he’s a Republican President (and that was a bit weird), Jack is just the kind of guy you’d want in the White House top job and Ethan, oh how much do I want my own Ethan?! Strong, reliable, dedicated, determined, unassailable, loyal.

I actually did guess fairly early on who the mole, the bad guy on the inside, was going to be but it didn’t stop me from hoping throughout that I’d be wrong and the President wouldn’t be betrayed.

The action and attention to detail is superb, the spy and thriller elements worthy of a book on their own without the added bonus of the experience of an openly gay secret service agent falling for a man who’d always considered himself straight. I loved that Jack was clear he was in love with the person and the fact Ethan was a man didn’t really register for him. They were friends first.

There’s also a whole host of brilliantly drawn side characters and I can’t be the only one wanting to know more about the relationship between the mysterious Marine and the Saudi intelligence head?

Never boring, this book kept me up until 3am reading it. It just is that good.

View all my reviews

Enjoyable contemporary with an Austen twist

True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop (Lonely Hearts Bookshop #2)True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop by Annie Darling

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this one, which was a surprise because it’s rare these days that I read any hetero relationships or chick lit but this certainly didn’t have any annoying alpha males or simpering females.

I thought both Verity and Johnny were well crafted characters, believable and real, human and alternatively frustrating and fascinating. Very’s obsession with Pride & Prejudice was neatly woven into the whole story narrative and never felt like a deliberate plot device and it worked well as the hook to hang their unconventional relationship on.

The introduction chapter was one of the funniest and most engaging I’ve read in a contemporary chick lit romance for a long time and actually had me chuckling out loud. Very’s mad family and bunch of friends meshed well and provided a nice contrast with Johnny’s, who were a bit posher and – at times – much more standoff ish.

Marissa, the technical villain of the piece, never became a caricature, I’ve met a fair few Marissa’s in my long years and she played true to type, a narcissistic selfish woman who couldn’t bear to let go of her devoted suitor.

The resolution was lovely but the epilogue was a bit of a waste, far too short even if it was quite sweet.

#ARC received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest and unbiased review

View all my reviews

Impressive debut novel from Morningstar Ashley

Letting Go (Love By Design, #1)Letting Go by Morningstar Ashley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an impressive debut novel from Morningstar Ashley, solid and well plotted with believable characters acting in a wholly realistic manner.

The subject of mental illness is dealt with compassionately but without blunting the edge of how difficult it can be to live with debilitating panic attacks. Alex is a frustrating character but never an unsympathetic one. He has had to deal with a lot and it shows in his every action.

Kelley, by contrast, is solid as a rock, steady in his convictions and in his love and support for Alex, his maturity bringing a lot of stability to Alex’s life, even if the younger man doesn’t appreciate it and fights against it.

The world is well fleshed out too, with a healthy cast of secondary characters including Alex’s younger sister Evie, who read of her age rather than being some uber developed eight-year-old.

There are some odd grammar tense changes and the occasional typo but, as I was reading an ARC, this is to be expected and I am sure they’ll be cleaned up before release.

#ARC received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review

View all my reviews

Release Day Blitz – Morningstar Ashley’s Letting Go

Letting Go RDB Banner

LETTING GO

Love by Design, Book 1

MORNINGSTAR ASHLEY

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 07.14.17

Letting Go Cover

COVER ARTIST: Jay Aheer/Simply Defined Art

COVER PHOTO: StockPhoto

GOODREADS: http://bit.ly/2sZFfqC

BLURB

Years ago, before tragedy struck, Alex made a child’s promise to always protect and care for his little sister, Evie. Then piece by piece, all the good in his life was taken away until Alex was left alone as guardian to his much younger sister. Suffering and loss scarred Alex, causing him to withdraw from the world. Struggling with anxiety and trust issues, Alex attempts to help Evie heal from their shared traumatic past, but each day is harder than the last. To make matters worse, Alex’s best friend, Ben, is pushing him to get out of his rut, confronting him with the fact that what Alex thinks is contentment is just stagnation and fear. The last thing he needs is for an old acquaintance to reappear in his life, making him feel things he hadn’t dealt with in years.

The executive of the marketing department at graphic design firm Vivid, Kelley has his life together. While not perfect, he’s happy with his career and his three best friends. A chance encounter with Alex, the guy he was once attracted to, is icing on the cake. Fighting through Alex’s defenses to find the breathtaking man underneath will be hard, but Kelley is up to the challenge. Kelley believes that the things most worth fighting for never come easy.

To accept all that Kelley is offering means Alex must drop his barriers. Kelley will need to keep trying and prove that Alex can trust him, even when grief and anxiety try to pull him back.

Alex 2

Kelley 2

EXCERPT

Pushing him back on the couch Kelley straddled Alex’s body, using his weight to hold the squirmy man in place, Kelley put his hands on Alex’s abs, fingers at his sides as his possessed Alex’s.

Shoving Alex’s shirt up as Alex lifted to give enough room for Kelley to pull the shirt off, dropping it to the floor. Attacking his nipples with teeth and tongue making Alex whimper and moan. Fuck! Hearing those sounds just turned him inside out. Turning the heat between up to lava level.

Moving back up to his neck Kelley sucked, tasted as he reached down with one hand greedily rubbing Alex’s dick through his pants. Running his hand up and down giving him the same of the pressure that Kelley’s throbbing cock was begging for.

“Oh, God.” Alex groaned with a rough edge to his voice as he arched his neck giving Kelley even more room to explore and mark. He wanted his mark on this man. Wanted everyone to see that he was Kelley’s. Fearing that with all the pain locked inside Alex he would never truly be his.

“Your shirt. Take off your shirt. I need to feel your skin.”

Kelley did exactly that.

He flattened Alex to the couch again, pressing their chest together once again, Alex had spread his thighs, Kelley slotted himself right there. Their groins meet and slide together. And holy fucking hell did that feel good. The pressure of Alex’s steel length against his rock hard cock sending relief and pleasure throughout his body.

Alex scratched his nails down his back making him growl. He had his legs bracketing Kelley’s body holding him in place. Like he would be so fucking stupid as to move.

He can feel Alex’s heart jackhammering through his chest. Their breaths panting out between kisses and moans.

What had started out slow had built and built until Kelley wanted to say fuck it and rip Alex’s clothes off to get at every inch of his skin. To have their bodies, slippery from sweat, sliding together.

And just like that Kelley knew exactly what he was going to do. Oh, sweet jesus the thought alone sending lust hurtling to his aching balls, making him want to shoot.

He was going to drive Alex to the brink over and over. Making him forget anything and everything except the need that would be coursing through his body. The need Kelley would put there. Have Alex begging and pleading Kelley to let him come.

Within minutes they lay back on the couch completely naked, kneeling between Alex’s thighs once again. All of Alex’s gorgeous fucking skin on display. His cock seemingly begging for attention, the crown purple and leaking pre-come onto his stomach. Kelley mouth waters with the thought of sliding it between his lips. But not yet.

Unable to stop himself he slipped his hands, fingers spread wide, to his ankles, over his thighs, across his chest. Gliding with the lightest touch around Alex’s erect nipples, back down his arms. Over and over he did this, needing to get his fill of this beautiful man. No one should have this effect on another person. He sat there with a naked Alex in front of him in awe of every lean muscle that pushed up to meet his hands, every scar his traced.

“Kelley,” Alex bites out as his body trembled under Kelley’s gentle touches.

“Yeah, baby. You need something?”

“Fuck. Don’t be an ass. You know want I want.”

Kelley sank back down on top of him. Licking a path up his collarbone to his throat and then their mouths meet stifling any more words that Alex was going to say. Their cocks align perfectly, and Kelley begins to thrust his cock against Alex’s as their kisses turn desperate and needy.

Kelley pulled away, and before Alex could utter a protest, he moved, swallowing his cock to the back of his throat. Letting his saliva pool in his mouth, needing all the wetness he could get for the slide of their cocks. With every groan that Alex had let out Kelley’s cock would twitch and throb tightening to epic proportions.

Each time he could feel Alex getting close Kelley would back off. Time and time again bringing him to the brink before pulling his mouth and hand away. Alex would whimper and wiggle, unable to lay still. He was so out of it that he words were reduced to grunts and groans.

When Kelley was satisfied that he had sufficiently teased Alex, he pulled off his cock with a pop. Using the spit that was now covering his hand, he coated his own cock with it before laying on top of Alex, lining their cocks up.

His body fitting tightly to Alex’s. Wrapping one arm around Alex’s shoulders, holding as close to him as he could, both needing the closeness this position gave them. Kelley began thrusting his cock against Alex’s.

“I’ve got you, baby. Just feel.”

Profanities had started to spill from Alex’s mouth. Kelley’s whole body was so overwhelmed by the slide and friction of their cocks he felt like he could’ve blown his load at any moment, hoping that Alex was feeling even a silver of what he was.

Alex had begun to counter thrust, writhing his tight body under Kelley. His head was tipped back, the muscles of his neck corded and straining.

“That’s it, baby. Let go.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Morningstar Ashley is a transplant from the Yankee-controlled territory of New York, and now finds herself in the heartland of cowboys and longhorns—Texas. Armed with her imagination, wit, and trusty sidekicks in the form of her two crazy kids, devoted dorky husband, big lap dog, and rambunctious cats, Morningstar spends her time reading the books she loves, crafting her own characters, and arguing the merits of hot chocolate over the bitter brew known as coffee (Hot chocolate wins, FYI.).

Morningstar loves graphic design, so much so she returned to school for a degree and regularly tromps her exams and maintains a stellar GPA that occasionally leaves her confounded and pleased. She can while away the hours on new designs, and perfection isn’t too much to hope for when it comes to her art.

Her ideal career would be full-time artist and author, and so far, she hasn’t come up against anything to stop her on her journey. A fierce and devoted friend, Morningstar tries her best to always be kind, always be learning, and always improving. Giving up isn’t an option, and her greatest talent may be in her ability to convince others not to give up, either.

After a lifetime of trying to get people to realize her first name wasn’t Ashley, Morningstar decided the best way to settle the debate was to put her name on a book cover. An avid reader and fiction reviewer for the blog and site Diverse Reader, Morningstar harbored a dream to one day join the ranks of her heroes, and she sweeps into the contemporary gay romance genre with her debut novel, LETTING GO. With plans to conquer gay, lesbian and LGBTQA+ romance, Morningstar has her gaze set on the horizon, her determination her own guiding star.

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/morningstar.ashley

TWITTER: @starzehashley

GIVEAWAY

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/c86a967028

a Rafflecopter giveaway