A MelanieM Audio Review: The Spy’s Love Song (Stars from Peril #1) by Kim Fielding and Drew Bacca (Narrator)

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

For a singer and a spy, love might be mission impossible.

Jaxon Powers has what most only dream of. Fame. Fortune. Gold records and Grammy awards. Lavish hotel suites and an endless parade of eager bedmates. He’s adored all over the world—even in the remote, repressive country of Vasnytsia, where the tyrannical dictator is a big fan. The State Department hopes a performance might improve US relations with a dangerous enemy. But it means Jaxon’s going in alone… with one exception.

Secret agent Reid Stanfill has a covert agenda with global ramifications. Duty means everything to him, even when it involves protecting a jaded rock star. Jaxon and Reid’s mutual attraction is dangerous under Vasnytsia’s harsh laws—and matters get even worse when they’re trapped inside the borders. Romance will have to wait… assuming they make it out alive.

Once I got past of certain stage this story, I thoroughly enjoyed the audiobook of The Spy’s Love Song (Stars from Peril #1) by Kim Fielding as narrated by Drew Bacca. But it did take a bit of time and an admission that yes, this is a work of contemporary fiction, and no drop a certain expectation of reality here.

That started with someone of “rockstar/country star status” heading off   to an unstable communist dictator block associated country like Vasnytsia for a concert and he’s going by himself.  No members of his band, no handlers, no setup crew, no security, especially not his own security in this day and age, and only one person?  Uh no. Eye roll.

That  alone would raise suspicions as to the mission they were on. Can’t do spy missions with an entourage. So dump any idea of a certain authenticity here and just go with the flow.  It made it more enjoyable, at least for me.

Once past that notion, and a certain stumbling steps with the narration, the story took off once we landed in the country of Vasnytsia,  the combination of the peeling back of the layers of true  situation there politically and the slow build of the relationship between Reid and Jaxon was terrific.  I loved the contrast between worlds and the tension sexually and outwardly with the mission.

Then as everything goes haywire the suspense it out of this world and the novel becomes absolutely gripping.  I was totally invested in the characters, the wild ride of emotions and scary undercover mission they were on, and that ultimate moment was out of this world.  It more than made up for the shaky start in my opinion.  I was there with them all the way.

As for the HFN ending?  Sort of perfect because that was the only way I could see it for them.  Now I’m looking forward to more in this series.

As I said the narrator grew on me as did the story.  This is the first audio from Drew Bacca and I will look forward to more from him as well.  I thought he did a good him distinguishing different voices and getting into the story.

I definitely recommend it.

Cover Artist: Bree Archer. The cover really doesn’t do it for me, it’s in the brand style but otherwise eh.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audio Details:

Audiobook, 6 pages
Published February 28th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press (first published October 2nd 2018)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesStars from Peril #1
settingEurope

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Saving Hannah by JP Barnaby

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

This was a fantastic action drama, with MM romance added.  Get ready for a ride on an emotional rollercoaster as JP Barnaby returns with the story of Thomas Aberthol, computer programmer, father of a little girl with leukemia, and ex-con who can’t get a job to afford the treatment she needs. And it’s the story of Aleks Sanna, Thomas’s former college roomie whose kiss one night sent Thomas running to the arms of a woman. 

Now, Aleks spots a human interest story about Thomas and his little girl, Hannah, and conceives a plot to get Thomas the money he needs and to get Aleks the man he still desires after all these years. 

The plot is complex and is more an action-based adventure than romance—complete with computer security breaches, money laundering, Mafia-type bad guys, kidnapping, FBI, and the threat of prison looming over Thomas’s head.  All this while he fights for his little girl’s life as she struggles to barely exist day-to-day until Aleks swoops in with a proposal that Thomas can’t turn down, even if he wanted to. 

Over a fairly short time, they rekindle a love that began in college, Hannah gets a new medication that promises a long-term remission, and the bad guys—at least some of them—are caught.

Ultimately, after losing 8 of my 10 fingernails as I chewed them to stubs, the men find a way to get through the crux of their problems and end up together as a couple in love.  I’m not calling this an HEA, but it certainly may be. It’s certainly open enough that the author may decide to give these men at least one more adventure together, and I would certainly be in line for that. 

I highly recommend this to readers who love a hair-raising action adventure with a nice MM romance added to the mix. Then add a sweet, but terminally ill little girl, some mainstream thugs with underworld connections, and a clock-ticking deadline, and we have a book that’s very difficult to put down, and very enjoyable to read.

The cover by Tiferet Design features a handsome young man on the cover with a little girl standing, back to us, in the background. Very attention-getting—both the man and the design.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press  | Amazon

 

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Expected publication: December 18th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 139781640808058
Edition Language English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: The Spy’s Love Song (Stars from Peril) by Kim Fielding

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Rating: 4.5 stars  out of 5

Jaxon Powers is a rock star who has it all: fame, fortune, gold records and awards, and plenty of money. He agrees to travel to Vasnytsia with Reid Stanfill as his pseudo personal assistant after the state department pleads for his cooperation. The dictator in this small country is a fan. He may be the only fan since he doesn’t allow his people Internet access, and they only see state-run television, so no other access to the world outside their borders. The citizens will be allowed to attend the concert and Talmirov will be seen as a benevolent man.

Once there, they do one concert for the president and then have to wait several days for the big public concert, but Jaxon finds out all is not as it seemed, and Reid is actually a secret agent working to help the resistance in Vasnytsia to overcome tyranny. He also learns that there’s an underground movement of men and women who do get access to his music. He has fans in this country—brave men and women who are not only fans but are willing to help him and Reid escape when their plans go downhill. When the plot is found out and there’s an attempt on Reid’s life, he separates himself from Jaxon so the young man can get home, but even that doesn’t go according to plan and they end up together fighting for their lives.

I’m not giving a lot of detail in this review because this story deserves to be read. It’s not just a love story. It’s the story of unsung heroes—the commoners who rise up to make their country a better place. And it’s the story of Jaxon reaching deep inside and showing who he really is—a young man willing to go out on a limb to help so many people in their struggle for freedom. There’s quiet moments and times for introspection for the young man who was born in Nebraska and left at eighteen to make his way in the world. And there’s time to learn a bit about Reid and his sense of responsibility and perfectionism. There’s not a lot of sex in this story, just enough to secure the romance, so to speak, but it really wasn’t needed to make this story outstanding.

I loved all the secondary characters the author created. Even with the language barrier, they were believable, brave, strong, and certainly interested in their freedom. Looking back, I realize that I feel like these are real people and I wonder how they are doing today. Jaxon was a terrific character with so much to like about him. He owned his faults and tried to live up to his hopes and dreams and when push came to shove, he showed the world a strength of character many wouldn’t have known he had. Reid, however, was difficult for me to like. He was quite cold and standoffish at first. In fact, he was so in denial about the possibility that he deserved happiness and a future with a partner who loved him that it took forever for him to get there. On one hand, that was spot-on for his character, but on the other, it made him more difficult to love. I’m sure it’s a quandary for authors who need to find the perfect balance.

I definitely recommend this story to those who enjoy stories of intrigue and revolution, those who love rock stars, and those who are just looking for a high quality MM romance that has a lot of substance and isn’t bogged down by gratuitous sex scenes.

The cover by Bree Archer shows an excellent representation of Jaxon Powers with his curly red hair and slightly unshaven face. It’s a close-up wearing the clothing he dons while escaping Vasnytsia and it’s set against the background of the plain cement block apartment buildings where the impoverished citizens live. Perfect for this story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, Dreamspun Desires #67, 200 pages
Expected publication: October 2nd 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1641080558 (ISBN13: 9781641080552)
Edition Language English
Series Stars from Peril #1

Kim Fielding on Coffee and her new release ‘The Spy’s Love Song (Stars from Peril #1) (author guest blog)

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The Spy’s Love Song (Stars from Peril #1) by Kim Fielding
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art: Bree Archer

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

 

 

 

Hi! Kim Fielding here, and I have a new book out. Yay! The Spy’s Love Song is the tale of a jaded rock star and a State Department operative who end up in deep trouble in a country with a repressive totalitarian government. And there’s romance.

Today I’d like to discuss a topic beloved to many an author’s heart: coffee. Otherwise known as Writing Fuel and, on particularly tough mornings, Nectar of the Gods. Now, generally speaking, my favorite way to consume coffee is as espresso—unsweetened—preferably while sitting at a sidewalk café and gathering plot bunnies from passersby. During the summer, I also like iced coffee with sugar. Or better yet, eiskaffee as served in Vienna, which is cold coffee topped by vanilla ice cream and unsweetened whipped cream.

My other favorite is Bosnian coffee. This strong drink is served in a decorated copper pot called a džezva (that z with a hat on it is pronounced like the second g in garage). The pot comes on a tray—usually also copper—with a small ceramic cup and some sugar cubes. There’s always a glass of water on the side, and usually a piece of rahat lokum (Turkish delight) as well. Although I’ve heard variations on how to drink this, the easiest way is to put the sugar into the cup and carefully pour in the coffee. I say carefully because the džezva contains the fine coffee grounds. Basically, Bosnian coffee is like Turkish coffee, which makes sense since Bosnia was part of the Ottoman Empire for hundreds of years. But in Bosnia, it’s always called Bosnian coffee. [4409]

In Sarajevo, a cup of Bosnian coffee will run you two marks, which is about US$1.30. Sitting with friends and enjoying this beverage is an intrinsic part of the culture. During my recent visit there, not only did I drink plenty of the stuff, but of course so did the locals. I particularly enjoyed wandering the old part of the city and watching the coppersmiths chatting with each other outside their shops, a džezva and cups always close at hand. Their ancestors were probably doing exactly the same thing four centuries ago.

The Spy’s Love Song takes place not in Bosnia but in a fictional Eastern European country, but coffee is still important. A critical plot point centers on a café called the Black Cat. Do you have favorite coffee memories or associations?

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The Spy’s Love Song by Kim Fielding

For a singer and a spy, love might be mission impossible.

Jaxon Powers has what most only dream of. Fame. Fortune. Gold records and Grammy awards. Lavish hotel suites and an endless parade of eager bedmates. He’s adored all over the world—even in the remote, repressive country of Vasnytsia, where the tyrannical dictator is a big fan. The State Department hopes a performance might improve US relations with a dangerous enemy. But it means Jaxon’s going in alone… with one exception.

Secret agent Reid Stanfill has a covert agenda with global ramifications. Duty means everything to him, even when it involves protecting a jaded rock star. Jaxon and Reid’s mutual attraction is dangerous under Vasnytsia’s harsh laws—and matters get even worse when they’re trapped inside the borders. Romance will have to wait… assuming they make it out alive.

Dreamspinner:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-spys-love-song-by-kim-fielding-9882-b

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Spys-Love-Song-Dreamspun-Desires/dp/1641080558/

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Kim Fielding is the bestselling author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.

After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls the boring part of California home. She lives there with her husband, her two daughters, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.

Follow Kim:

Website: http://www.kfieldingwrites.com/

Facebook: http://facebook.com/KFieldingWrites

Twitter: @KFieldingWrites

Email: Kim@KFieldingWrites.com