Tag Archives: spies

New Release Blitz: I Am The Storm by Tash McAdam

I Am The Storm | Tash McAdam

The Psionics #1

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: December 17, 2018

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: No Romance

Length: 64,500

Genre: Science Fiction, espionage, spies, military, young adult, lesbian, pansexual, trans

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Synopsis

Keep your head down. Don’t look anyone in the eye. Never even think about technology if one of those ghostly, grey cars is sliding silently down the road. They’ll see the thoughts inside you, if you let them.

Sam’s a technopath, able to control electronic signals and manipulate technology with his mind. And so, ever since childhood, his life has been a carefully constructed web of lies, meant to keep his Talent hidden, his powers a secret. But the Institute wants those unusual powers, and will do anything to get a hold of him and turn him into one of their mindless slaves.

Sam slips up once. Just once, but that’s enough. Now the Institute is after him in full force. Soldiers, telekinetics, and mind readers, all gunning just for him.

Newly qualified soldier, Serena, doesn’t even know she’s chasing a person, all she knows is that she has to find whatever the Institute is after before they do. But tracking an unknown entity through an unfamiliar city, with inaccurate intelligence, unexpected storms, and Gav Belias, people’s hero of the Watch, on the prowl, will she even survive? Will she get to Sam before the Institute does? His special skills could provide the rebellion with an incredible advantage, but not if they can’t get out of the city, and over the huge wall that stands between them and freedom.

Excerpt

I Am the Storm
Tash McAdam © 2018
All Rights Reserved

I didn’t ask to be Talented, but I am, and because of that, I endanger everyone around me. Every day. The government wants people like me under their control, or dead. So we hide the best we can out here in the shadowy and factory district. It’s hot, same as always, even in the shade. Out here isn’t much to look at—especially compared to the inner city, which sparkles like diamonds. Around me, buildings in grays and browns loom into the blue sky, blocking the vicious sun and removing the need for the transparent aluminum shields guarding the open spaces from the UV. Those are for the rich.

This area is always in the darkness. We’re part of the City, but only just. Pressed up against the inside of the Wall, this end of town really isn’t much better than the slums. Nah, shit, I take it back. At least I’ve always had a roof over my head and food in my belly, even if it tastes pretty bland. My mom made sure of that.

People in the slums aren’t as lucky. Mom moved us out to the poor end of town because of me—it’s obvious, even if she lies whenever it comes up. She had a good job back before I was born, as a teacher in one of the elite elementary schools, and she loved it. I hear in her voice how much her heart aches when she tells stories about her old students. Now, she pulls levers fifteen hours a day in a plant and can’t stand up straight anymore. It’s my fault.

I’m snapped out of my musing by a warning shout and barely avoid a speeding mini elec-car, piled high with boxes and strips of metal. A second later, I’d have been another smear marring the tarmaxx. No point in putting solar panels here, after all, so the road is far from shiny and clean. I curse at the driver’s back.

Shoving my hands into my pockets, I chew my lip and dawdle down the road. I’m not in a hurry. Medical exams are one of my least favorite pastimes, but if I want to stay in school, and damn straight that’s what I want, I have to go. Being weighed, prodded, and poked isn’t nearly as fun as going home and relaxing with a hacked satellite feed, but we do what we must, right?

Since I have these checkups twice yearly, along with every other Citizen in our glorious metropolis, I know how late I can be—without getting penalized—to the second. Although, I don’t have any idea what the time actually is since I don’t even have my comm unit with me. For once, I don’t have any tech in my pockets, and it makes me feel naked and exposed.

But it’s the only way I can keep from blowing my cover.

I’m a lucky sod, for sure. As a technopath—able to control technology with my mind—I have a unique power, and I’m not noticeable the way telekinetics are. They throw stuff around with their Talent. Obvious stuff right there. Me? Hell, if I get really angry, I can cause a blackout, but it’s doubtful anyone would trace it back to me. Living in an area without electricity helps, though. Thanks, Ma.

Giving up the creature comforts for your only son is a noble thing to do, and it’s kept me under the radar for years. Off the radar and above ground, instead of locked up in a facility designed to destroy any aspect of me deemed not “useful.” So, you know, my memories, my personality, and sense of self, for a start. If the Institute had their way and nabbed me as one of their brainwashed weapons, I’d lose everything making me myself.

I should get a bit of a move on, though. If you’re not there when they call your name a third time, you get bounced off the list and marked as “uncooperative,” which isn’t a good thing. They watch the uncooperative, in case we’re considering a life of rebellion and insurrection.

And I’m exactly the kind of person they’d love to catch. Besides being Talented, I do my fair share of cybercrime. They’d only have to watch me for a few days before I ended up with a hood over my head and a gun in my spine. I might not be tall, strong, or rich, but I’m definitely dangerous.

I pick up the pace a little and, rushing around the next corner, thud right into the broad chest of a watchman. I stumble and lose my balance, and then I’m knocked off my feet by a powerful and unnecessary uppercut to the jaw. I cry out in pain, rebounding off the wall and crumpling in a heap.

Blinking back stinging tears of shock, I clap my palm to my throbbing face. The brute looks down at me, pathetic Sam, crouched on the ground, wearing worn-out clothes. He spits on me, daring me to retaliate so he can arrest me and throw me in the clink. Power tripping. The Watch—military police—are government thugs, but many of them aren’t bad people. Just people with a sucky job.

This one appears to be your standard petty thug in a uniform.

Meet the Author

Tash is a 30-year-old teacher candidate at UBC in Canada, although they were born and raised in the hilly sheepland of Wales (and have lived in South Korea and Chile before settling down in Vancouver). Tash identifies as trans and queer and uses the neutral pronoun ‘they’. They’re also an English teacher and fully equipped to defend that grammar!

They have a degree in computer science so their nerd chat makes sense, and a couple of black belts in karate which are very helpful when it comes to writing fight scenes.

Their novel writing endeavours began at the age of eight, and included passing floppy discs back and forth with a friend at swimming lessons. Since then, Tash has spent time falling in streams, out of trees, learning to juggle, dreaming about zombies, dancing, painting, learning and then teaching Karate, running away with the circus, and of course, writing.

They write fast-paced, plot-centric action adventure with diverse casts. They write the books that they wanted to read as a queer kid and young adult (and still do!)

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Brilliantly detailed spy adventure still keeps the romance alive

Playing in the Dark (Glasgow Lads, #4)Playing in the Dark by Avery Cockburn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This review is spoilery but the short story Avery just released let the cat out of the bag already so.

Wow, just wow. I’ve been waiting for Evan’s story ever since he sent the Captain’s armband and a note saying he was running off to Belgium with his lover and broke Fergus’ heart.

I knew there had to be more to it, running off to Belgium just sounded like it had to be an excuse, not that there’s anything wrong with Belgium, but it’s not the first place you think of when it comes to illicit affairs.

Avery dropped other hints here and there throughout the series that there was more to Evan than him being a callous heartbreaker and I remember mentioning somewhere that I bet he was in MI5.

Now I was joking really when I said it, I honestly was expecting some kind of twist, undercover police or special forces perhaps, rather than the UK secret service.

But with this wonderful narrative, it makes perfect sense and my heart broke for Evan so many times. This is a love story, it is a romance, but it’s like all of the Glasgow Lads series – it’s laced through with so much more.

Set back in 2015 there’s a whole host of things going on here in the UK which are reflected in this book and Evan’s dedication to his country is given the weight it deserves.

I loved Ben, I was fascinated by the background Avery gave him and the insights into a faith I’d only heard about in passing. I loved his passion, his innate sense of justice, his quirks and his growing confidence in himself and his relationship with Evan.

All of this book made me happy, but the scenes in Orkney were among my favourites, where Evan could let go and be the Evan he might have been in a different lifetime.

A triumphant closure, if it is the last of the Lads I think they’ve gone out on a positive note.

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This is the best yet – such a surprise in Sweden!

CoverSwings & Roundabouts by Jackie Keswick

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Best one yet

I love this series so much, it would make a brilliant TV show because the tension and the pacing in conjunction with all the family’s tribulations, is just perfect.

There’s also lots of British humour, full on sarcasm and a wry sense of the absurd at times.

Also the different types of criminal activity which Jackie has used to hang her stories on are really imaginative.

I’m not going to reveal anything of the plot points for what happens in Sweden but let’s say, it’s nothing you’d guess at in a million years!

I know this one’s only just come out but I am desperate for more Jack and Gareth.

#ARC kindly provided by the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Review Round-up: The Power of Zero Series by Jackie Keswick

The Power of Zero (The Power of Zero Book 0)The Power of Zero by Jackie Keswick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great intro to this series

I read this first in the anthology created for the late and much missed author Eric Arvin but it’s been expanded and extended by Jackie to give a prologue to how the adventures of Jack Horwood began.

Jack’s earliest beginnings of how he met Rio and started out on his career as a spy are painful reading but also uplifting with the small acts of kindness.

All proceeds from this book also go to two British charities which help the homeless and that’s a great thing.

Job HuntJob Hunt by Jackie Keswick

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Perfectly paced romantic suspense

This is the first full length story which features Jack Horwood and his merry band of spies, police officers, ex-military bods and hackers and it’s a doozy.

Jack’s after a pimp who’s offering up underage boys and he’s skirting a fine line in dealing with the fall out of his own youthful experiences.

Him and Gareth are muddling along and trying to find a way of being together without all the baggage that comes along with it and Jack’s having to learn how to deal with having people he might just be able to trust and rely on.

I love these books, the setting perfectly captures London in all her seedy underbelly, the Met provides a backdrop along with Jack’s new place of employment and there’s dodgy doings going on all over the place.

The intrigue and mystery elements are perfectly handled and the romance between Jack and Gareth sits comfortably on top. More please!

Ghosts (The Power of Zero Book 2)Ghosts by Jackie Keswick

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

More brilliant romantic suspense from Jackie

Jack and Gareth’s relationship continues to grow stronger while they carry out an emotionally draining investigation into the pimp who had Nico and Daniel.

These books are perfectly paced to mix the romance with the suspense without one suffering for the other. There’s a lot of hard reading as the events taking place are not for the faint hearted.

But, as always, the strength of Jack and his new found relationships with both Gareth and his newer friends, provides an on going element of hope throughout.

House Hunt (The Power of Zero, #3)House Hunt by Jackie Keswick

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh it just gets better and better

This book is brilliant. The pacing, the plot twists, the dodgy dealings, the spooks and their games, Jack and Gareth, the rest of the gang.

The narrative is ramping up in tension as all the strange goings on at Nancarrow start to bleed into something else.

Jack has to go undercover and things get complicated on his mission and go rapidly downhill once he’s out.

There’s definitely something rotten in the woodshed and it takes all of Jack’s skills, and Gareth’s patience for the threads to u unravel.

Even at the end of this one, I’m no wiser to what’s going on deep down but Jack and Gareth are working hard at their relationship and moving forward with their life together and I love them both so much!

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Review Round Up: Shatterproof Bond series by Isobel Starling

As You Wish (Shatterproof Bond #1)As You Wish by Isobel Starling

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book one in the Shatterproof Bonds series kicks off with a ground laying romance firmly rooted in British spy tradition and playing more than a little tribute to one of my favourite book/films – The Princess Bride.

Declan and Sam were seriously hot together, although I’m not sure using kitchen essentials like butter is such a good idea 😉

~

Illuminate the Shadows (Shatterproof Bond, #2)Illuminate the Shadows by Isobel Starling

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If I tell you that one of my favourite TV shows as a teenager was The Man from UNCLE you’ll probably have a clue about just how much I’m loving this series from Isobel Starling.

Declan and Sam are an awesome couple, even if the Scotsman can’t quite believe he’s landed the beautiful younger man as his lover – especially when he’d never been attracted to men before he met the Englishman.

Things are moving along as quite a pace when Declan’s snatched off the streets to be put through Sir James’ interrogation trial to see if he’s strong enough to become an agent.

There’s a truly hilarious scene involving a younger version of Declan, a couple of other agents with dodgy accents and a half-Japanese former cleaning lady with a syringe of psychotic inducing drugs and a whole load of interesting coincidences are revealed which had me giggling out loud.

The sex is scorching, involving a role playing scene during which Declan simultaneously edges Sam to the point of orgasm while quoting lines from the torture scene in The Princess Bride. It’s genius.

It ends with a bit of a cliffie and a couple of plots still hanging open so off to Book Three I go.

~

Return to Zero (Shatterproof Bond, #3)Return to Zero by Isobel Starling

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jeeze the tension was racked up in this instalment to the nth degree and I loved it.

Sam and Declan are still perfectly loved up but now they’re on the trail of missing agents and a former enemy who Sam last dealt with three years earlier.

Firmly rooted in Scotland’s Cairngorms, this is action packed and still incredibly funny and full of amazingly awesome smexy times between the lovers. There’s one scene involving a clearing in the woods and a log that’s, well let’s just say it’ll get your engine running…

One thing I have noticed though, and I don’t know if it’s because of the American market, but whisky is incorrectly spelt whiskey throughout but when referring to the finest Scotch, like The Glenlivet, there shouldn’t be an e in whisky.
Also the Scots Guards don’t have an apostrophe 😉

Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed this romp even though my heart was in my mouth on many occasions. Now I’m dying to find out just who the big bad is and whether Sir James will get his comeuppance.

~

Counterblow (Shatterproof Bond #4)Counterblow by Isobel Starling

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Argggh, reading this series is like watching a top quality action adventure show and having to wait three months when they go on hiatus for the summer break.

Usually cliff hangers drive me nuts but there’s something about this load of books which means it’s just a part of the reading experience, each book slowly adding another layer to the overall story arc.

I totally love Sam and Declan and in this one they’re now quietly married and seriously testing the boundaries of trust as Sam continues to recover from his devastating injuries and the events of book three.

Declan’s hiding secrets of his own and I must admit to cheering just a wee bit when he has a “talk” with Sir James and gives Sam’s father a taste of his own medicine.

The plot is getting more complex and I’m dying to know where it’s going next and the blurb for book five really has me desperately waiting for release day!

#ARCs kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Fast paced, dramatic historical which still leaves some questions!

Of Hope and AnguishOf Hope and Anguish by Silvia Violet

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5*

Argh, there better be a book three on its way because, although this wraps up the majority of the narrative, we’re still not at the end of the Revolutionary War.

The pacing in this one is faster, it’s more dramatic as Eli and Jack are now a pair in love but separated by duty. There’s a few plot threads still left open by the end of this which need some sort of conclusion but it’s still a rollicking good read.

Constance is still a brilliant solid presence in this and we get to know Randall Bradford a bit more too, with as few new characters joining the roster, the dangers are ramped up hugely over book one.

Without going into vast detail, there’s the usual beautiful emotions between Eli and Jack – and the incredibly hot sex – but there’s a few ups and downs too.

This is another truly engaging historical in a setting which often gets overlooked for romance.

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

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Washington’s Revolutionary spies backdrop this romance

33733821Revolutionary Temptation by Silvia Violet

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a great historical which looks at the Culper Spy Ring established by Washington during the Revolutionary war in the late 1700s.

It very much reminded me of TURN: Washington’s Spies, an excellent TV show which is also based on the same subject.

Although the characters in this are fictitious, the events they centre around were very much real in the turbulent time of the 13 Colonies trying to break free from British rule.

I liked that in this there are no good and bad, both sides act in the manner in which you’d expect in a time of war, with honour and cruelty alongside each other.

The characters are engaging and Jack and Elias are wonderfully drawn and fully fleshed out men with radically different morals and methods of behaviour. Their relationship is fraught with tensions but neither man can deny their passion either.

There are also wonderfully strong and resourceful female characters, again based on real life people, and it was a delight to read about how they were as important as their male counterparts in the Colonies efforts for independence.

The cover is absolutely beautiful, although Jack perhaps is drawn a little older than he is in the book, but it wonderfully depicts the strengths of each man.

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

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