A Free Dreamer Review:Time Taken (Out of Time #3) by C.B. Lewis

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Time travel is a precarious business at the best of times, but when Qasim El-Fahkri’s mission to the past ends in violence, it has a ripple effect through every level of the Temporal Research Institute.

Rhys Griffiths finds himself caught in the wake of the disastrous jump, his own career uncertain. With the Supervisory Board breathing down his neck, operatives demanding answers to baffling questions, and life outside of work bearing down on him, his only respite comes from Qasim’s company. As the professional slowly becomes the personal, they must confront the echoes of their own pasts to try and move forward in the future.

But another past is waiting for Qasim, and there may be no coming back from this one…

For full enjoyment, it is recommended to first read books 1, Time Waits, and 2, Time Lost.

If I only had one word to describe “Time Taken”, it would have to be “surprising”. I really didn’t expect the story to go the way it did.

First of all, the blurb implies this doesn’t work as a stand-alone. I have to disagree. I didn’t read the previous two books and didn’t really feel like I missed something. Other than some background of the MCs and a bit of world-building.

While I read a lot of SciFi and Fantasy, time-travel isn’t normally one of my go-to sub-genres. It’s more something I only read every now and again, so I can’t really judge how unique this book actually was. However, it certainly felt unusual. Historical Istanbul and Uzbekistan aren’t exactly the first places I’d expect people to travel to. I really enjoyed finding out a little more about those places. It feels like Europe is the go-to setting for any historical fiction, so this was a nice change.

Qasim is a practicing Muslim and yet the book isn’t about Islam or any other religion. It’s not about a young Muslim struggling with his faith and his sexuality. It’s not about a homophobic family. In fact, Rhys, the Christian MC, is the one with a difficult family background. Qasim’s family is extremely supportive, loving and tolerant. They don’t care that Rhys is a man and a Christian. Qasim is a very religious man, he prays five times a day, fasts during Ramadan and doesn’t eat pork or drink alcohol, but he never tries to shove his believes in anybody’s face. I really liked him and I think this is the first ever practicing Muslim MC I’ve come across in M/M fiction.

Rhys is an interesting character as well. I think he might just be the first-ever Welsh I’ve read about. Plenty of English, Scottish and Irish, but nobody from Wales. And I actually learned a few words of Welsh thanks to him! I think a lot of his background story was talked about in the previous two books, so I felt like I kind of missed some info to really understand him, especially in the beginning.

The romance is quite slow. It takes Rhys and Qasim quite a while to admit their attraction to each other and act on it. I think it worked perfectly for the story and they were really sweet together. So very different, but neither tried to change the other one. They were so accepting and loving, it was really wonderful.

The whole first half of the story is rather slow. The book starts off with a bang in historical Istanbul and then I was kind of lulled into a quiet sense of peace. It was a nice story, nothing mind-blowing, but definitely enjoyable.

And then the second half started and suddenly there was so much drama it gave me whiplash. Suddenly I couldn’t put the book down and was biting my nails in anticipation and dread of what was going to happen to next. At times, I was actually a little bit teary-eyed and struggled not to start crying on the subway. I’m not going to give away too much, but let’s just say I really didn’t expect this kind of drama in a book about time-travel.

I felt like the whole story was very realistic. Qasim got injured right at the beginning of the book and came close to getting killed. And he’s actually traumatized by that and struggles to find his way back into his normal life. Often, characters in similar situation just shrug it off and bounce back to normal with no trouble whatsoever.

The ending was a little much for me, though it does make sense for Rhys and Qasim. Still, it was a little too cute for me.

Overall, I really, really liked “Time Taken” and I definitely want to read the previous and the following books of the series. My rating for the first half would have been 4 stars, the second half would have been 5, so I went with the average of 4.5 stars.

The cover by Natasha Snow is alright, if a bit generic. Nothing about it really says “time-travel” or hints at the places in the past that Qasim visits.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book details: ebook, 450 pages

Published March 18th 2019 by NineStar Press

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Patron by C.B. Lewis

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Theodore Wentworth, who possesses little more than a sharp and well-educated mind, is trying to solicit a sponsor for his studies of Greek antiquity by performing recitations at gatherings of collectors. Desperate for luck and better skills in oratory, in jest, he places a coin at the feet of a statue of Hermes. It seems like coincidence when his fortune turns and a gentleman calling himself Alexander becomes his benefactor. Despite his friend John teasing him about it, Theodore continues to offer tokens to Hermes and sinks himself into his study of the classics.

Alexander encourages Theodore’s interest, prompting Theodore to face desires he tried to put aside years before. As Theodore embraces the knowledge, he must also resist his attraction to Alexander—knowing his feelings are a serious crime in Victorian England.

But the secret Alexander keeps will change everything in a love story for the ages, steeped in taboo, temptation, history, and myth.

Patron by C.B. Lewis was a terrific novelette!  I wasn’t expecting to be quite as captivated by Theodore and his mythological lover as I was.  Lewis weaves a tale of increasing mystery, personal exploration, faith and love set within Victorian England. The author lets us know that Theodore has an open mind and heart by giving him a friend (half Indian) that British society of those times looks down upon. John and his wife (a couple I was swift to take to heart) are Theodore’s best and perhaps only friends.  John even has knowledge of Theodore’s leanings (never acted upon really)  towards men instead of women.    Theodore’s life changes one evening when he lays a coin down at the feet of Hermes, wishing for luck and the best speech of his life during a gathering of great and influential men. Theodore emotes brilliantly.  And the story takes off.

Lewis does a beautiful job of capturing the details of 1860 England, right down to the boarding house where Theodore lives and the clothes he wears.  From the lower to upper levels, we get the entire picture (as much as you can skillfully lay down in 78 pages).  It’s a great atmosphere in which to bring out the wildly romantic mythic element.  It’s in keeping with the times, enraptured as they were with the classics and using Hermes instead of one of the other Greek gods was a usual choice but one I adored.

Little by little, we build up to the ending.  I thought it was exactly right.  But did I want more?  Yes, of course.  You will too.  Such a little gem, this is!

Patraon by C.B. Lewis is a quite, delightful read, especially for those who love the Greek classics, mythology and romance.  I highly recommend it.

Cover Artist: Blake Dorner.  Love, love this cover by Dorner.  Its perfect in every way.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 78 pages
Expected publication: June 21st 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781635335217
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Mika Review: Time Waits by C..B. Lewis

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Time Waits coverBadly wounded and on the run from his WWII Hungarian brigade, Janos Nagy stumbles through a temporal gateway to the future. Suddenly stranded in Manchester, England, 2041, Janos wants answers about a crazy world he doesn’t recognize.

Dieter Schmidt, flamboyant historian/linguist for the Temporal Research Institution has those answers, but the TRI is a neutral entity, set up to verify historical events under a strict code of noninterference. That doesn’t stop Dieter from taking Janos under his protection. Trust doesn’t come easy to Janos, who came from a time when revealing his secrets could get him killed, but the two men slowly build a tentative friendship with a possibility for more. But Janos’s continued presence in the future and Dieter’s persistence raise questions about the limits of the noninterference policy.

Since the rules have been bent once, one agent sees no reason why he can’t push them further, and he travels back to 1914 to make a few changes of his own. Under Janos’s guidance, Dieter must leap back in time to stop the rogue agent from changing the past and risking everyone’s future—if he can survive history

I honestly don’t know what I was thinking when I got this book. I don’t read many sci-fi books, time travel is something I’ve never been interested in. However, I’m so happy I read this book. I liked it a lot. It was different from my comfort zone reads, this was also a new author to me as well. I think the author did a good job with the WWII facts pertaining the history part of the story. I thought the concept was really good, and executed well.

For a story that was based on the future I didn’t see as many futuristic elements in here as I had hoped for. The blurb says it’s 2041, but nothing was very different from now until then. I think the only noticeable thing was the pod cars. My thing is, if you’re going to write a story based on a futuristic time, I’d like to see some of those elements throughout the setting; other then that, I liked everything else, including Dieter and Janos. Each guy had different qualities about themselves that made them better with each other.

From the first meeting of the two, until the last moment on the page I was happy. Sure they had a very rocky beginning. I can’t blame them, Janos is from early 1900’s, and everything he knew was gone, blown out the water. I thought it adapted very well. He was a very quick study. My favorite thing about Janos was him accepting that this present world he lives in does not care who he loves. He was cautious about showing his intentions with Dieter and I get it, he’s from a time where even the thought of sodomy had the person killed. I liked his reactions at the end of the story when Dieter was doing his own Jump. His emotions came full circle. Dieter was amazing as well. I love that he was super confident in his sexuality and how his approach to the story was handled.

For me Dieter grew the most in this story. He had countless hurdles to get across, he was not an aggressive person, but he had to put on a strong face numerous of times. 

As for the plot of the story, I really liked that as well. I wish for me that the historic event could have been more familiar to me. When I was reading it, I had to stop and Google to see if this information really happened. LOL, it did. I enjoyed those scenes a lot. All in all, I think the author did a very good job on this book, and I liked it a lot.

Cover Art by Catt Ford. I liked the cover. I think both models are good descriptions of the main characters.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press  –  All Romance (ARe)  –  Amazon   Buy It Here

Book Details: 

ebook, 330 pages
Published May 15th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press LLC
ISBN139781632168535
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.dreamspinnerpress.com