Out of a Gilded Cage by John Simpson

Title: Condor 04 – Out Of a Gilded Cage

Author:  John Simpson

Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Length: Novel

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Heat: Moderate

Heart: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts

Reviewer:  Pixie

Blurb:  After his eventful term in office, former President of the United States David Windsor is looking forward to retirement with his husband and love of his life, former First Gentleman Shane Thompson. As a part of their new start, they’ve bought a home in beautiful Cape May and started proceedings to adopt a homeless gay teenager. With the faithful Marys—his secretary and his Scottish terrier—at his side, David’s set to enjoy a life out of the limelight. But fate has other plans for the no-nonsense politician and his husband!

An agreement forged between China and the Taliban sends new President Victoria Wilson to David for advice. David will do anything to help his former Vice President keep Al-Qaeda from destroying the world, and he soon finds himself back in the heart of the storm, Shane at his side. Toe to toe with the leaders of the opposition, both foreign and at home, David must convince them to turn aside from their deadly plan.

Review:   I was exceedingly pleased with this book as I haven’t read any of the other Condor books (they are now on my to-be-read list) so I thought that I wouldn’t get most of it, but surprisingly there were only a few references to what had happen in the other books and they were quickly explained so you got it.

David and Shane are a couple who are devoted to each other and are quite down to earth, the political intrigue isn’t over the top and is easy to understand, and sometimes David’s frustration shouts at you from the page.    The loss that they experience tugs at the heartstrings and truly made my eyes fill up, you could feel their pain and anguish and is an incredible piece of writing.

This is definitely a read now book, and now I am going to see about reading the other 3 books in this series before the next one comes out. Lol

In the Wings by Michael St. Anthony

Title: In the Wings

Author: Michael St. Anthony

Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Length: Novel

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Heat: Moderate

Heart: ♥♥ 2 1/2 Hearts

Reviewer:  Pixie

Blurb:  When Aiden Campbell, a talented pastry chef with a shady past, meets Thomas Balducci, a young, up-and-coming composer, Aiden is reminded of the hope and ambition he used to have, back when he bore another name.

Thomas is charming, brilliant, and irresistible, and Aiden finds himself remembering the plans he had for the future when he first came to the city. When a specter from Aiden’s past threatens to make his new duet a solo, he suddenly has something to lose. Thomas has earned every minute of his success, and Aiden won’t allow sins he committed to overshadow Thomas’s triumph. Because of all people, Aiden should know that for every moment in  the spotlight, there’s a shadow of deception waiting in the wings.

Review:  I have had a hard time with this book and must admit I didn’t think I would make it to the end, but I am glad that I stuck with it.  Michael St. John you have been done a grave injustice by your editor and if I were you I’d take him or her into an alley and shoot him or her and these are the reasons why….

No 1. Nobody wants that much detail about making any type of dessert (especially when it ruins my fantasy of the Chocolate Fairy magically making chocolates just for me) unless they are reading a cook book or it is an integral part of the story.

No 2. Up until the end of Chapter 3 p66, all we had was 2 brief meetings with Thomas, a fantasy including Thomas,  Aiden figures out Mark has a crush on him (Mark is Vic’s nephew, Vic is Aiden’s boss) and that Aiden is hiding from  someone in his past. The rest could have been spliced down to keep our attention.

No 3. The thing in Aiden’s past (why he did it, how he did it and the result of it) was unbelievable and should have been pointed out and then more thought out.

Don’t get me wrong the storyline was a really good one and it had a lot of potential and I was really getting into the book by the time I was half way through and the twist near the end was brilliant, I never saw it coming. The relationship between Aiden and Thomas was great but I expected more of a reaction from Thomas when he learnt of Aiden’s past and these two men never have sex, they make love, which I found beautiful.

So my honest opinion is this: I think this author has fantastic potential, he has got a good baseline in this book but it needed more work and I truly feel that he was letdown be his editor.

So should you go out and buy this book…. hmmmm… If you can overlook the flaws then yes because as I said the storyline is good and honest to God the book does get better towards the middle.

Maybe someone else could give a more glowing review because this was the best I could do.

Moonlight, Tiger and Smoke by Connie Bailey

Title: Moonlight, Tiger and Smoke

Author: Connie Bailey

Genre:  Mystery/Suspense

Publisher:  Dreamspinner

Heal Level:  Moderate

Rating: ♥♥♥3.5 Hearts

Reviewer:  Natasha

Blurb:  Taken from their families and raised to be assassins, Moonlight and Tiger are the perfect weapons and secret lovers. Even when they are sent into service with different clans, their love remains pure and strong until a more insidious threat divides them.

When Moonlight realizes his master is manipulating people for his own ends, the discovery threatens not only Tiger, but their entire society. Betrayed by a fellow assassin, the men are tortured and broken. If their love and their people are going to survive, one of them will have to defy everything he knows and stand up for the only thing he believes is real: Love.

Review:  I’ve read some books by the author before so I knew it was risky choosing this book. And I was right.
I will not lie. The first chapters were difficult to read. There is a lot of information to assimilate, powerful scenes that brought many emotions to the surface. But that was really what made ​​me love this book.
The story begins with the kidnapping of six children by Kagehito. Just to clarify, Kagehito is not a person (out of curiosity: this part reminded me of the movie Wanted with Angelina Jolie). These children are taken to an island and there they start a training that will destroy them and molded them to serve a purpose. I know that the summary is very vague but I do not want to spoil the book.

The story is quite interesting. The existence of different clans and their roles were well developed and I caught my attention early on. Add to that the complex characters and you have the reason I like Moonlight, Tiger, and Smoke.

As for the characters, Moonlight is my favorite. Even after all the trials and sufferings he endured, he still retained his humanity. The final placement was perfect for him. But that does not mean I do not like the Tiger or Smoke (actually Smoke won additional points for his altruism at the end).

If you like intrigue, action, paranormal elements in your story, I recommend you give Moonlight a chance.  Give  Tiger  and Smoke a chance.   I did  and I do not regret it.