Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Nearest Exit by Olen Steinhauer (Milo Weaver, #2)

The Nearest Exit
by Olen Steinhauer

My rating: 3 stars

Series: Milo Weaver - Book 2
Publisher: Minotaur Books; First edition (May 6, 2010)
Publication Date: May 11, 2010
Genre: Espionage
Print Length: 413 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Milo Weaver has nowhere to turn but back to the CIA in Olen Steinhauer’s brilliant follow-up to the New York Times bestselling espionage novel The Tourist.
The Tourist, Steinhauer’s first contemporary novel after his award winning historical series, was a runaway hit, spending three weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and garnering rave reviews from critics.
Now faced with the end of his quiet, settled life, reluctant spy Milo Weaver has no choice but to turn back to his old job as a “tourist.” Before he can get back to the CIA’s dirty work, he has to prove his loyalty to his new bosses, who know little of Milo’s background and less about who is really pulling the strings in the government above the Department of Tourism—or in the outside world, which is beginning to believe the legend of its existence. Milo is suddenly in a dangerous position, between right and wrong, between powerful self-interested men, between patriots and traitors—especially as a man who has nothing left to lose.
The Nearest Exit by Olen Steinhauer (Milo Weaver, #2)

The Nearest Exit (Milo Weaver #2)Milo Weaver is now a man with little to lose and has become a reluctant spy, once again, but now he must prove his loyalty in a world filled with traitors, patriots and self-important men who care only for their own gain. Is it worth it?

THE NEAREST EXIT by Olen Steinhauer continues to chronicle Milo’s life, for better or worse. Once again filled with dialogue and the reiteration of events from book one, there was a bit of a drag-drop-move feel as we are taken through rare moments of high intrigue and page after page of slow movement for the sake of details that are uneven, at best.

There is so much potential for a riveting espionage saga that gets lost in the repetition and quagmire of a man who clearly has made some bad decisions and moves along like a puppet on a poorly tied string.

I had hoped that after the groundwork of book one was laid, book two would take the baton and run, but for me, this wasn’t the case. I am all for flawed and conflicted heroes, bad guys with an agenda, but this time out, book two kind of let me down.

I received a complimentary copy from Minotaur Books. This is my honest and voluntary review.

The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer (Milo Weaver, #1)

The Tourist
by Olen Steinhauer

My rating: 3 stars

Series: Milo Weaver - Book 1
Publisher: Minotaur Books; First edition (March 3, 2009)
Publication Date: March 3, 2009
Genre: Espionage thriller
Print Length: 417 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Milo Weaver used to be a "tourist" for the CIA—an undercover agent with no home, no identity—but he's since retired from the field to become a middle-level manager at the CIA's New York headquarters. He's acquired a wife, a daughter, and a brownstone in Brooklyn, and he's tried to leave his old life of secrets and lies behind. However, when the arrest of a long-sought-after assassin sets off an investigation into one of Milo's oldest colleagues and exposes new layers of intrigue in his old cases, he has no choice but to go back undercover and find out who's holding the strings once and for all.
The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer (Milo Weaver, #1)

Spycraft, often intriguing, gripping and like taking a peek into another world. Is it possible there are so many dark, dark-ops going on worldwide? Are these operatives really out there, alone, and in constant danger of being outed, their “employers” leaving hanging in the wind?

THE TOURIST by Olen Steinhauer should be an action-packed tale of life in the shadows, but it was more like a slow trip watching the fall of one man who had dedicated his life to his craft as he is drawn into his own demise.

Lies, deceit, murders and information leaks abound and still, the action was missing for me. Heavy on dialogue, often repeated information, I found it difficult to feel invested in this “secret” world.

I received a complimentary copy from Minotaur Books. This is my honest and voluntary review.

Friday, August 16, 2019

The Spider and the Stone by Glen Craney

The Spider and the Stone
A Novel of Scotland’s Black Douglas
by Glen Craney

My rating: 5 stars

Publisher: Brigid's Fire Press (October 26, 2013)
Publication Date: October 26, 2013
Genre: Historical Fiction
Print Length: 433 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

James Douglas vows to avenge his father's murder. 

Isabelle MacDuff prays to escape a fate worse than death. 

As the 14th century dawns, their fellow Scots scrap over the empty throne. Seizing the opportunity to enlarge his kingdom, the brutal Edward Longshanks of England invades his weakened neighbor to the north.

Yet one young warrior--who will become feared by his enemies as the Black Douglas--stands in the path of three Plantagenet monarchs. 

Their clans are sworn rivals, but James pursues the ravishing Isabelle, whose forefathers for centuries have inaugurated kings on the hallowed Stone of Destiny. Their world is upturned when James befriends Robert Bruce, a bitter foe of the MacDuffs. Both James and Isabelle must make agonizing decisions that will draw the armies to the bloody field of Bannockburn.

Here is the story of the remarkable events following the execution of William Wallace of Braveheart fame. Set during the Bruce wars of independence, The Spider and the Stone is the unforgettable saga of the star-crossed love, religious intrigue, fierce friendship in arms, and heroic sacrifice that preserved Scotland's freedom during its time of greatest peril. 
The Spider and the Stone by Glen Craney

The Spider and the Stone: A Novel of Scotland’s Black DouglasIf you have EVER been drawn to the history of brave men who shaped the world for generations to come, if you have ever wanted to feel what it may have been like to live in an era where battles were personal, where men braved the enemy’s onslaught on the battlefield or in the private chambers of both men of the cloth and kings, this is your read. From the horrors of war to the horrors humanity is capable of inflicting and enduring, to the loyalties of clans, the power of fighting for freedom and home, this is your read.

Glen Craney’s THE SPIDER AND THE STONE is the story of England’s invasion of Scotland in the fourteenth century. It is a story of heroes, of deceivers, of cowards and of love. It is the story of history that comes alive in a fictional tale of what may have happened, what could have happened and it is expertly blended into true events as Scotland tries to push back the English and one man becomes figurehead for his countrymen.

Absolutely riveting! These characters come to life, the battles are vividly detailed, the emotions are raw and real, gut-clenching. The love that survives is incredible as both men and women face the worst that England has to offer and the nightmares their own Scottish brothers will inflict in the name of power.

This one is going to stay high on my favorites list and I cannot recommend it enough! Glen Craney has done an amazing job bringing the past to life with care!

I received a complimentary copy from Glen Craney! This is my honest and voluntary review.

Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger

Steel Crow Saga
by Paul Krueger

My rating: 3 stars

Publisher: Del Rey (September 24, 2019)
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Genre: Myth & Legend
Print Length: 528 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Four destinies collide in a unique fantasy world of war and wonders, where empire is won with enchanted steel and magical animal companions fight alongside their masters in battle.

A soldier with a curse
Tala lost her family to the empress’s army and has spent her life avenging them in battle. But the empress’s crimes don’t haunt her half as much as the crimes Tala has committed against the laws of magic... and her own flesh and blood. 

A prince with a debt
Jimuro has inherited the ashes of an empire. Now that the revolution has brought down his kingdom, he must depend on Tala to bring him home safe. But it was his army who murdered her family. Now Tala will be his redemption—or his downfall.

A detective with a grudge
Xiulan is an eccentric, pipe-smoking detective who can solve any mystery—but the biggest mystery of all is her true identity. She’s a princess in disguise, and she plans to secure her throne by presenting her father with the ultimate prize: the world’s most wanted prince.

A thief with a broken heart
Lee is a small-time criminal who lives by only one law: Leave them before they leave you. But when Princess Xiulan asks her to be her partner in crime—and offers her a magical animal companion as a reward—she can’t say no, and soon finds she doesn’t want to leave the princess behind.

This band of rogues and royals should all be enemies, but they unite for a common purpose: to defeat an unstoppable killer who defies the laws of magic. In this battle, they will forge unexpected bonds of friendship and love that will change their lives—and begin to change the world.
Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger

Steel Crow SagaTheir destinies were meant to collide as enemies become allies in an attempt to save an already battered and bruised world from the hands of a monster.

Paul Krueger’s STEEL CROW SAGA has everything it needs to be a hard-hitting fantasy saga, but for me, it just missed the mark. The characters are predictable, they mimic the current trend in writing and while breathtakingly beautiful descriptions painted the backgrounds, it was too much of a good thing and seriously slowed this book down for me. Sometimes less is more!

This author has some incredible talent, but this time out, I didn’t fall into the story and live side by side with the characters, nor did I form an attachment to their world.

I received a complimentary ARC edition from Del Rey! This is my honest and voluntary review.

Need by Brenna Darby Blitz and #Giveaway

Brenna Darby
(Cravings, #1)
Publication date: August 15th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Reverse Harem, Romance
Some fantasies should never end…
Kate has a burning need for a man to turn her inside out, possessing, dominating, and wanting her as a hero would in an erotic romance. Since the perfect lover isn’t readily available in reality, she contacts Cravings, a private club that creates her fantasy on a secluded Caribbean island. There, lusty males will rule and satisfy.
Color her ready for a good, hard time until Noah, Wyatt, and Sean show up. These bad boys are tall, muscular, and pure alpha. They’re also on her company board and have been eager to command her between the sheets for some time.
Not so fast. She may ache for them, but doesn’t trust their motives so she’ll never submit for real or for long.
Oh no? Once they take over her fantasy, there’s no going back… for her or them.
Publisher’s Note: This steamy reverse harem, contemporary romance is intended for adults only. It contains adult language, sensual scenes, power exchange, and elements of ménage. If any of these offend you, please do not purchase.
Exploring her mouth lazily, he used ample time to sweep his tongue over her inner cheeks, tasting her.
His faint peppermint flavor mingled with an essence belonging to him alone, fresh and inviting. Musk enhanced his subtly spicy fragrance, each scent potently masculine.
She slumped against him even though she shouldn’t cave this soon or ever. This fantasy was on her terms, not his. She was no man’s plaything or afterthought and had better remember as much.
With as much will as she could muster, she pushed his tongue from her mouth and turned her face away.
His rough breaths skimmed her temple. He cupped her breast.
Her blood thickened. Rarely had anything thrilled her as much as his confident and assured caress…perfected during his countless other conquests.
That brought her back to reality fast. She twisted to break his hold on her.
“Hmm.” The sound vibrated in his chest. “Still being defiant, are we?”
She gave him a look. “What do you think?”
He stroked her chin. Even her teeth tingled. Lightly, he brushed his lips over hers. “Not enjoying yourself?”
For too long, she’d wished for this moment.


Midnight by J.V. Speyer Blitz and #Giveaway

J.V. Speyer
Publication date: August 14th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance
Brandon loved Adrian, so when Adrian abruptly moved out of their apartment Brandon was devastated. Six weeks later Brandon is ready to start to ease his way back into life again, but a chance encounter leaves him questioning everything he thought he knew – about Adrian, their relationship, and himself.
His friends are there to see him through it, especially his best friend Greg. Greg wants what’s best for Brandon. He’s always wanted what’s best for Brandon, even when it’s not necessarily what’s best for Greg. As Adrian’s true nature is revealed, Greg starts to wonder if maybe what’s best for both of them wouldn’t be each other.
Brandon sat down on one of the chairs. “Yeah. I mean I know he had to hide. I knew that going in. A lot of guys had to do that. Most of them figure it out. And I’m not mad at him or anything. I just want to move on.” He frowned. ”What are you trying to get at here, Greg? Why does Adrian have anything to do with tonight’s party?”
Greg inclined his head down, toward the spot on the street that he hadn’t been able to tear his eyes from. “Because he’s been here this whole time.”
Brandon choked on his gin and tonic. “What?”
“He’s been sitting outside the condo, watching the building, this whole time. I mean, I get it.”
“I don’t!” Brendon declared, standing up again. He clutched his drink in his hand and couldn’t decide if he wanted to hurl it at the ex standing on the ground or if he wanted to go inside and hide. Throwing the glass would be wrong. It would be irresponsible; it would get people hurt. He didn’t want to hurt Adrian, even if this latest stunt was creepy and stalker-ish. “He’s the one who walked away. Why is he hanging around outside my building like some kind of lonely ghost?”
“He wanted your attention. He didn’t know how to get it, and his ploy backfired spectacularly. I think he regrets what he did.” Greg sighed. “I’ve been watching him all night, trying to figure out what to do. I was thinking about bringing him in.”
Brandon spun, bringing himself face to face with his best friend. “Why would you do that?”
“Because you love him, Bran!”
“So what? I’m moving on, trying to rebuild my life. Something you have not been shy about encouraging, I’ll point out. And you want to just… what, drag him back in here? What could that possibly accomplish?” He pulled at his hair.
“I thought it might give you guys a second chance.” Now it was Greg’s turn to sit down, flopping into one of the other patio chairs like it was the only thing holding him up. “I want to see you happy, Bran. I keep hopping this fence – I know you weren’t with the people who made you happy, but you seemed so perfect for each other. And I desperately want you to be happy.” He sighed heavily, gesturing back in Adrian’s general direction. “But I didn’t do it. The guy’s in his thirties. If he wanted to come up he could ring the doorbell like an adult.”
Brandon shook his head and rubbed Greg’s shoulders. “I knew I could trust you.” Greg leaned into the touch, just a little bit, and Brandon grinned. “I thought we established that Adrian can’t make me happy at this point. We’re not right for each other, even if we thought we were.”
“I know. I just don’t know what to do here.” He leaned back. “I mean, this is kind of creepy. He’s just out there, watching. If I’m not going to invite him inside, I probably ought to call the cops.”
Technically, Greg was right. Brandon probably ought to call the police, because no good ever came from one ex staking out the other’s home like this. “Do you think he’s dangerous?” Brandon hedged. “Seriously, has he said anything that’s struck you as dangerous?”
“Other than creepily hanging around outside your house? Nah. Not that he’d say anything to me, you know?” Greg snorted. “I’m pretty much the last person he’s talking to right now, except maybe you.”
“What do you mean?” Brandon’s arms froze on his friend’s shoulders.
“He’s all pissy because I lit into him about stalking you through the rally.” Greg waved a calloused hand in dismissal. “Like okay, fine, he wants to be with someone new. Okay. And so what if the guy’s an undergrad – it’s a little weird, he’s a little young for a midlife crisis but who am I to judge? But that whole thing – like anyone didn’t know what he was up to.” He shook his head again, and Brandon could feel his shoulders tensing up again underneath his hands. “I wasn’t going to just sit there and not say anything.”
Brandon let his hands fall. “Oh, Greg. I’m so sorry.”
“What the hell for?”
“I never wanted to come between the two of you. You’re friends. You should be doing friend things, not arguing over me.” He turned away, clutching at his drink so he could do something with his hands.

Author Bio:
J. V. Speyer has lived in upstate New York and rural Catalonia before settling in the greater Boston area. She has worked in archaeology, security, accountancy, finance, and non-profit management. She currently lives just south of Boston in a house old enough to remember when her town was a tavern community with a farming problem. (No, really. John Adams complained about it. A lot.)
When not writing, J. V. enjoys watching baseball and seeking out all of New England’s creepiest spots. Her Spawn has turned her into a hockey enthusiast. She can be bribed with gin, tequila, and cats.


Love Springs Eternal by Timber Philips Tour & #Giveaway

Love Springs Eternal
The Witches of Loving Book 1
by Timber Philips
Genre: Paranormal Romance

A light magic in the darkness of the world...

In the little town of Loving, everyone can find their prince or princess once a year. At least, for a little while. Miriam Eilish is the proprietress of the Eilish House bed and breakfast just inside the town’s limits. She’s had it with love, locking herself away for this year’s magic matchmaking festival with no interest in participating in it ever again.

Enter Kavion Martin at the last possible minute. He’s in town on his own mission that has nothing to do with the festival and everything to do with finding his missing brother.

The match has been made, the magic set, plunging Miri and Kavion head over heels in love with each other and into dangers untold and hardships unnumbered.

Releases on August 22nd - available for Pre-Order Now! 

Timber Philips hails from a land filled with beauty and steeped in magic; the Pacific Northwest. She swears you can see fairies and goblins, magic and promise around every tree and in every drop of water and she shares that magic whenever she can. She loves welcoming everyone to her worlds of romance rooted in fable and fantasy.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

$25 Amazon Gift Card
Ends September 8, 2019
a Rafflecopter giveaway

My Blood Runs Blue by Stacy Eaton Tour & #Giveaway

My Blood Runs Blue
My Blood Runs Blue Book 1
by Stacy Eaton
Genre: Paranormal Romance 

*** International Best Seller ***

Five Star♥ Review from Readers Favorite

I’m still a cop, and my blood runs blue.”

Officer Kristin Greene has always felt that something was missing from her life. Although her job with the Fawn Hollow Township Police Department keeps her busy, she still feels like there is something else out there for her. She soon finds herself investigating a homicide where a young woman has had her throat ripped out. As she begins to dig for the answers, she finds herself thrown into a world she didn’t know ever existed. When the two strong and silent men walk into her life, she finds herself being pulled into a love triangle that has been going on longer than she has been alive. Who are they and why do they keep calling her Calista? Join Kristin as she fights to learn the truth about the recent murder, the two seductive men who have entered into her life and the real truth about herself.

My Blood Runs Blue Series is an adult Paranormal Action/Romance Series and is intended for mature audiences.

**On Sale for Only .99 cents!!**

The Pulse of Blue Blood
My Blood Runs Blue Book 2

The Pulse of Blue Blood is a short story that should be read AFTER My Blood Runs Blue. This story of 17K words is the back story to Kristin & Calista. Reading this story before reading My Blood Runs Blue will spoil many plot points.

**Only .99 cents!!**

Blue Blood For Life
My Blood Runs Blue Book 3

2012 Finalist - Reader's Favorite Awards ←

*** International Best Seller ***

Book 2 - in the Series "My Blood Runs Blue"

You belong to me… for life…”

After a month off, Kristin comes back to work happier then she’s been in a long time. Her new status in life has her solving crimes faster and better than she ever could before.

When Alex goes missing, Kristin finds she finally has to reveal the secrets of her life to her friends. Will they be able to stand beside her after they learn all that she has hidden from them?

Julian and Gabe stand beside her faithfully as they try to locate Alex. They are surprised to find Trent already in Fawn Hollow, but know that Trent may be the only one to do what Alex has asked them to do. As one more choice is taken away from Kristin, she attempts to make the best of it, but finds herself drawn to Trent in a way Julian and Alexander could never compare to.

Trent goes to work with Kristin to keep her safe but will he be able to handle all that her police world entails? Can he handle the side of her that she reveals, the one that Alex and Julian know nothing about? When Kristin and Trent uncover the connection between her job and the kidnapping, they are finally able to put the pieces together, but can they get to Alex fast enough? Will Kristin be able to handle rescuing Alex and all that she learns in the process?

Join Kristin, Julian, Trent and Alexander as they dive into a new mystery that will have you turning the pages quickly to find out who is responsible and how Kristin’s life is forever changed once again.

Mixing the Blue Blood
My Blood Runs Blue Book 4

Officer Kristin Greene returns along with the rest of the characters you have grown to love. Only this time, it’s not just her life on the line. Now the entire breed’s existence is in danger.

Olivia Newman has been Kristin’s best friend for years and loves the new life that Kristin is living. Her relationship with Gabriel is bittersweet, and she knows that because she is human, a future between them can never really last.

Gabriel Montgomery takes his position in the Vampire Military Force seriously and never expected to have such intense feelings for a human woman. When Olivia is kidnapped, Gabe, Kristin, and the gang realize they have stumbled upon a human trafficking ring. Only this ring isn’t for sex. The leaders of this ring are hell-bent on destroying the breed.

Can they rescue Olivia and save their future before old enemies return and destroy the breed? Find out in Mixing the Blue Blood

**Only .99 cents!!**

Stacy Eaton is a USA Today Bestselling author and began her writing career in October of 2010. Stacy took early retirement from law enforcement after over fifteen years of service in 2016 due to a second serious concusion. Her last three years on the job were in investigations and crime scene investigation. She now writes full-time.

Stacy resides in southeastern Pennsylvania with her husband, who works in law enforcement, and her teen daughter. Stacy also has a son who is currently serving in the United States Navy. She is also very involved in Domestic Violence Awareness and served on the Board of Directors for her local Domestic Violence Center for three years.

Stacy writes a variety of genre's, but mostly romance. She enjoys writing real-life stories that people can relate too with real-life problems, emotions, and solutions.

Her favorites: Classic cars, photography, Disney, music, coffee and her favorite sweatshirt that says, "You are dangerously close to getting killed in my next novel."

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

Signed copy (U.S.)
$10 Amazon Gift Card (Intl)
Ends August 31, 2019
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Lifeliners by Stefan Vucak Tour & #Giveaway

by Stefan Vucak
Genre: Science Fiction

When everybody is against them, it is tough being a lifeliner, as Nash Bannon found out. Lifeliners are ordinary people…almost. They can draw energy from another person; they live longer and are smarter. Scientists claim that Western high-pressure living and growing sterility in developed countries has triggered the rise of lifeliners, and homo sapiens will replaced by homo renata within ten generations. So, what’s not to like about lifeliners? Protest marches by extremist groups, riots, attacks against lifeliners, repressive laws enacted by governments everywhere, were portents of a dark future. Young, successful, Nash Bannon did not like what was going on, but he thought he had the world at his feet and life in Australia was good, provided no one found out he was a lifeliner. A chance encounter with Cariana during a lunchbreak develops into something he considered important. The Australian government calls a snap election, and Nash stands as a Senate candidate on the Lifeliner Party ticket. Unless lifeliners rise up and fight for their rights, they can expect sterilization, incarceration, and possible extermination as democracies everywhere turn into autocracies. To survive, the Lifeliner Party must employ the same dirty tricks the government used against them, but they were not prepared for what awaited them.

Stefan Vucak has written eight Shadow Gods Saga sci-fi novels and six contemporary thrillers. He started writing science fiction while still in college, but didn't get published until 2001. His Cry of Eagles won the coveted Readers' Favorite silver medal award, and his All the Evils was the prestigious Eric Hoffer contest finalist and Readers' Favorite silver medal winner. Strike for Honor won the gold medal.

Stefan leveraged a successful career in the Information Technology industry, which took him to the Middle East working on cellphone systems. He applied his IT discipline to create realistic storylines for his books. Writing has been a road of discovery, helping him broaden his horizons. He also spends time as an editor and book reviewer. Stefan lives in Melbourne, Australia.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

$20 Amazon Gift Card - 1x
ebook - 1x
Ends September 1, 2019
a Rafflecopter giveaway