A MelanieM Audiobook Review: Shax’s War (Brimstone #3 by Angel Martinez and Vance Bastian (Narrator)

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

The boys desperately need a vacation. With the not-quite-ill-gotten gains from the Frog incident, Shax takes the Brimstone’s crew to the exclusive resort planet, Opal, for some much needed rest and relaxation. The resort has everything a demon prince and his crew could want, but an incident on the Trauma Ball court sends Ness stalking off in anger and sends events swiftly spiraling out of control.

Shax will need every bit of his cunning and his legendary luck to save his Ness as he’s drawn into a web of criminal experiments and…pink hedgehogs?

I’ve been  following the unusual crew of the Brimstone since the first story, Potato Surprise, and have seen each tale bring more layers to each character, more additions to the Brimstone crew, and each novel becoming increasingly complex and potentially heartbreaking.  Shax’s War really is the pinnacle of the series to date.  Martinez takes a moment of downtime for the crew and escalates it into a flight of sheer terror and heartbreak as well as a ship of horrors for one.

When I read it in 2014 when it was first released (this series and author are must reads for me) this story put me through the wringer.  Angel Martinez can create characters like Shax, his fallen angel lover Ness, Verin, cowboy Corny,  the ship’s IA Ivana Cockatoo, and among the new additions Leopold.  Every single one able to grab at your heart, letting you connect deeply to their lives and situations.  And what situations and adventures they manage to get themselves into.  But nothing like what occurs here within Shax’s War.

Some of the scenes are not for the squeamish. Beings treated as organ donors while alive will do that.

Luckily a rescue will put an end to that horror.  But it’s there, so be warned.  This is a white knuckle ride all the way, fear and love for these characters will be driving you through listening to the audiobook in one clip, much as I did the story. Vance Bastian again does an outstanding job with this variety of characters from the gruff Verin to the improbable pink hedgehog Leopold and everyone inbetween.  He brings Shax to life with the fear and desperation ringing in his lines as he searches for his love, the horror of the ship and the pain as the demon begins to crack up under it all.  Such an amazing story and Vance Bastian brought  out new elements I hadn’t noticed before when I read it, highlighting new aspects of the story by his narration making me appreciate it all over again.

If you’re new to this series, start at the beginning and see how the Brimstone got it crew.  You can get it all in a collection.  Then you can look forward to new stories as they arrive.  I hope the author is not done with the crew yet and there are more galactic adventures to come.  I can hardly wait for both the books and the audio versions!  I highly recommend them both.

Cover art is a little jarring.  I really don’t think that’s Leopold.

Sales LInks:  Mischief Corner Books | Amazon

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audio Edition
Listening Length: 4 hours and 30 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Mischief Corner Books, LLC
Audible.com Release Date: June 29, 2017
Whispersync for Voice: Ready
Language: English
ASIN: B073DGQ7DG

In Our New Release Spotlight: Getting Through (Only You #3) by J.S. Finley (excerpt and giveaway)

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 Title: Getting Through (Only You #3)

Author: J.S. Finley

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Sara York

Release Date: August 17, 2017

Genre: Contemporary MM

Length: 51K

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Blurb:

What if it’s too difficult to get through the rough patches?

Lane:

Being a nurse is Lane’s life, that is until Mike pushes him up against that damn door and kisses him like nobody’s business.

Now he’s left wondering how he can live without Mike at his side. But beneath the sweet, calm exterior Mike portrays to the world is something dark and dangerous. Will Lane be able to deal with the monster within, or will it consume both of them?

Mike:

He can’t unsee the damage that bomb wrought or bring back his friend, but he can find solace in Lane’s arms…or he thinks he can.

One night together is too much, and his memories overwhelm him, opening him up to the trauma he witnessed. Memories are hard to conquer because they don’t have to fight back, they just twist their way deep into the mind, making life too hard to tolerate.

Can Lane save him, or will he push them both too far when the past threatens to overwhelm them?

Buy Links:

Series Link on Amazon

Excerpt:

Chapter One

Emptiness filled Lane as he watched the blue ocean appear then disappear as condos and other buildings slipped by. Mike made a left, heading away from the slice of heaven they’d all enjoyed for the last few days. Maybe it was just the trip ending, but he thought it was more.

He watched Mike, noticing the stubble on his jaw and how it covered his chin and went down his neck. They stopped for a light, and Mike glanced at him, his lips curved up in a smile that made Lane’s stomach twist. Why it made him feel funny, he had no clue.

“So what do you really think about Thomas and Clay?”

Mike’s question threw him. “What am I supposed to say?”

Mike shrugged then went back to looking at the road as the light changed to green. “I don’t know; tell me what you really think.”

He stared out the front windshield for a moment, wondering how to answer the question. “Well, I like Clay. I guess I just…”

Another light stopped them, and Mike turned to look at him with his brows raised. “Are you jealous?”

“What?” Lane couldn’t believe Mike had asked him if he was jealous. “Why would I be jealous?”

“Just, you know, you thought you would get with Thomas if he was going to get with anyone?”

Lane shook his head. “No. Not at all. I’m not jealous. It’s not like that.”

“Talk. We don’t have long before we get to the airport.”

The light changed again, and Mike took off. Lane turned to stare out the window, unsure how to voice what he felt. “I don’t like being alone.”

“Then get out there and date someone.”

He shook his head and turned to stare at Mike. The scene out the window wasn’t as interesting since they’d turned down a street away from the water. He missed the water, but what he missed more was the guys and being with them. “I can’t find anyone.”

Mike chuckled. “Tell me about it. I’m surrounded by sexy women while I’m at work, but I can’t connect with them.”

Depression made his head ache. Or maybe he was depressed, because in addition to having no clue what to do, his head hurt. What if he never figured life out? He would be one of those old men at the bars looking to pick up young women who had no interest in a rotten old fart. He shivered at the mental image.

Mike’s words interrupted his thoughts. “I’ll be in New York next week.”

“You should stop by.” The words were out before he even could think what that would mean. He worked nights and slept during the day.

Mike was silent for a while, and they were close to the airport before he spoke again. “If I came up on Tuesday, could I stay at your place?”

His earlier trepidation was gone. Screw sleeping, he’d have Mike with him. He nodded, excitement filling him. “I’d like that. I have to work on Tuesday night, but I’m off on Wednesday and Thursday nights.”

Mike shot him a sweet grin. He pushed the tingly feelings away and rolled his eyes when Mike looked away.

“Works for me. I’m working a little on Thursday and most of the afternoon and night on Friday. I’ll stay until Sunday.”

“Awesome. It’ll be good seeing you again.” He meant it too. He could sleep after Mike went home.

They pulled into the parking lot for the rental return, and his chest squeezed. If he thought he’d been melancholy before, this was way worse. He didn’t want to head home. He’d been alive when he was with the guys. The vacation had been great, but it reminded him of how much he missed his brothers—and they were his brothers. Seeing Mike next week would be good. Heck, he wished they lived closer. He wanted to see everyone more often, but for now, Skype would have to do.

They got their bags out of the trunk and headed into the terminal after they handed over the keys to the car. Heat was building, and he was happy to be heading back to cooler temperatures. At least he told himself he was happy to leave. Actually, he wanted them all to stay here and live together. Maybe not together, but dammit, they should be closer to each other.

Once inside, they headed upstairs to security. They both passed through without any issues. Mike’s flight was leaving soon, so he had to go. Mike pulled him into a hug and Lane held on, not wanting to let Mike leave. It had been an amazing vacation and he didn’t want it to end.

“Hey, I’ll see you on Tuesday. I’ll call when I’m close.” He squeezed Lane again then backed away.

“Sure, have a safe trip home.” He hated saying those words. Their home should be together.

“You bet.”

Mike gave a quick wave and was gone. Lane felt like his heart had been torn out. He missed Thomas and Clay, and Brent and Jake, but he missed Mike most of all.

Meet the Author

Thank you for reading my stories. I wasn’t sure when I sat down to write if I had it in me to finish this. It has been a journey. I love reading. It’s my greatest pleasure to sit down with a good book and live inside the pages. My perfect day would be a book, good music, and unlimited cocktails.

I’m going to try to keep on writing and reading, playing with my dogs and cats, and living life.

Social Media Links:

Blog/Website

Facebook

Twitter

Giveaway:

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway to win one of FIVE copies of Straight Up, book 1 of the series.

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Release Blitz Schedule

GETTING THROUGH SCHEDULE

August 18  – Love Unchained Book Reviews, Tangents and Tissues, BFD Book Blog, The Way She Reads, Oh My Shelves, Louise Lyons

August 19 – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words, Valerie Ullmer | Romance Author   

August 20 – Bayou Book Junkie, Making it Happen,  Up Against a Wall

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