Cajun Crazy by Sandra Hill


Cajun Crazy by Sandra Hill
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (355 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Welcome back to New York Times bestseller Sandra Hill’s Cajun country, where love heats up the Louisiana bayou . . .

Former Chicago cop Simone LeDeux is back home in the bayou, sharing a double wide in the Pearly Gates trailer park to help her mama recover from surgery. Her one rule: no Cajun men. Loved and left by too many double-crossing Cajuns, Simone puts bad experience to good use by opening Legal Belles: an agency that uncovers cheating spouses.

Suddenly she’s confronting a two-timer about to swindle his wife out of millions and antagonizing New Orleans bigwigs over an illegal sex club. Adam Lanier learns of the dangerous game Simone is playing . . . and the sexy single dad comes to her aid. Known as a rogue in the courtroom and a player in the bedroom, the ragin’ Cajun has Simone triply on guard.

With their crazy chemistry, danger on their trail, and infamous LeDeux relative Tante Lulu working her magical matchmaking, the bayou has never been this steamy.

Ms. Hill has become one of my ‘go-to” authors when I need a smile, entertainment and a romance that presses all my happy buttons. Her latest romantic adventure is Cajun Crazy and what I look for is found within its pages. I’m a satisfied reader, especially enhanced by the wonderful epilogue at the end.

My favorite character that stirs the plot pot is Tante Lulu with her close association with St. Jude. That woman’s faith is unshakeable and well known to all and sundry in Bayou Black, and for those that don’t know or worse, don’t believe, they will come to the conclusion that whether or not they believe, the type of things going on are too similar in nature to be simple coincidence. The conversations that result, the actions some characters take and the outcomes are totally grin-worthy.

Tante Lulu has her sights set on Adam and Simone, two people who have been burnt by relationships and love. They are both determined to avoid any serious entanglements. Adam’s daughter, Maisie, has other plans for her dad. Simone’s mom also has her own opinions about Simone’s single status. There are a whole host of secondary characters that flavor and color the community in which the hero and heroine now live in.

I found charming the many ways, clever or silly, serious or sophisticated words are mispronounced; it might be said they’ve been ‘Cajunized’. Some caused me to snort, roll my eyes or just outright laugh. It sure made the dialogue interesting.

The celebratory thread woven in for a good chunk of the book is Maisie’s planning of a ‘little’ party. That little nugget of an idea blossomed into opportunities for fun, hilarity and/or some good old fashioned head banging, face-palming groans. All are done with good intentions.

The external conflict comes from both Adam and Simone doing their jobs. At one point their cases cross and it becomes a dance of saying things that don’t say anything at all because the conflict of interest demands that neither one knows what the other is doing. Ms. Hill straddled that line quite effectively. The pursuit of the final outcomes produced some serious drama, and yet, when it could have gotten really nasty, the author has Adam rush to the rescue. Readers are in for an eye-popping treat of written description that left me with no choice but to giggle and laugh. Yeah, it was creepy too, but Ms. Hill’s writing prevented it from being overwhelming. Instead she shared the situation not only as a narrow escape but she colored the scene with the ridiculousness that it deserved.

I totally enjoyed Cajun Crazy because the novel delivers solid and believable character building. I liked meeting Adam and Simone, I adored the major role Adam’s daughter played in getting the hero and heroine together and I appreciated Adam’s final gesture of his love for Simone.

It’s all good, it’s fascinating and fun and makes Cajun Crazy an easy recommend for all Sandra Hill fans, new and old.

White Water Passion by Dawn Luedecke


White Water Passion by Dawn Luedecke
Publisher: Kensington Lyrical
Genre: Historical
Length: Full length (230 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

The Montana Territory is one of the last outposts of the American West—where adventure as grand as the wide-open plains is around every corner, and passion as wild as the land itself beats in every heart…

Elizabeth Sanders isn’t afraid of anything, except what will happen to her beloved town if the Big Mountain Lumber Mill is destroyed. When she overhears a plot to do just that, she vows to put a stop to it, even if it means dressing as a young lumberjack to expose the saboteur. There’s only one problem with her plan—her brother’s handsome friend and fellow logger Garrett Jones, who arouses a desire within her soul as fierce as the river rapids.

When Garrett discovers that the odd new lad on the crew is in fact Beth, he’s shocked. A logging camp is no place for a young woman—especially the spirited beauty he’s admired for so long. Keeping her safe is easier said than done, however, as the attraction between them flares into true passion. As the danger mounts, Beth and Garrett must work together to survive the last log run down the wild rapids and claim any chance of saving the mill—and their chance at a future.

This book affected me in a way no other book has. I just finished reading White Water Passion and I feel emotionally and physically exhausted yet I feel like I just won something grand. I can’t even compare this feeling to anything in my personal life but I feel like I just participated in a river drive; as if I just survived riding a log down the wild rapids. I couldn’t wait to write the review for fear I’d lose this feeling that I have which is a feeling of amazing victory. There were so many unpredictable plot twists that were so suspenseful, I couldn’t read nor turn the pages fast enough. It’s amazing how I was sucked into the events in this story. Seriously, if I hear a twig snap behind me then I’m going to expect Garrett to save me.

Garrett, the hero … what can I say? He’s the complete package when it comes to a book boyfriend. Handsome, strong, smart, honorable and a leader, Garrett took his responsibilities to heart. He loved Elizabeth more than anything.

Elizabeth, the heroine, was awesome. She wasn’t your typical damsel in distress. I loved how her character developed. She was a brave lady who cared about others. I would most likely find myself being a friend of hers.

Together, Elizabeth and Garrett were part of an entertaining, exciting and suspenseful romance. I was impressed as to how well Elizabeth learned to manage the bateau. I’ve been in a canoe with my husband and I couldn’t paddle straight to save my life never mind against a current. I think my husband would have preferred if I was more like Elizabeth when it comes to paddling, cooking and chopping wood.

It was crazy how much I hated Victoria for most of the book and then ended up liking her at the end. I had no choice but to switch gears and genuinely change the condition of my heart towards that woman. I will forgive her but I won’t forget her. I pity the man that falls in love with her.

I really hope that Simon, Elizabeth’s brother, and Carrie, Elizabeth’s best friend, get their own book. I’d love to read how they develop into a couple with a happy ever after ending. Simon deserves to be loved.

Oh, and Wall, Garrett’s friend deserves a book of his own. I did almost wish that Elizabeth chose Wall over Garrett.

The only disappointments I had in this story were when Garrett discovers Elizabeth is on his crew dressed as a man. It is mentioned in the synopsis and I thought it was revealed too early in the story. I would have enjoyed keeping Garrett confused for a bit longer. That was a big pause for me. I don’t know how the other men on the crew didn’t figure it out sooner but it made for a fun read. The other disappointment was I really wanted an epilogue. I turned the page and there wasn’t one. I needed a little more afterglow. Unless there is a sequel and they will be mentioned then I could let it go. Otherwise, I would have liked a more conducive ending. The ending was a quick wrap up. It was too quick for me considering the pace of the rest of the book but I duly note that there weren’t any loose threads. They were just tied quickly.

Otherwise White Water Passion was a wild ride. I am very happy that I chose to read this book. This novel goes on my list of recommended reads. It was my first Dawn Luedecke novel and I don’t think it will be my last.

Drunk on Men, Vol 1 by Afton Locke


Drunk on Men, Vol 1 by Afton Locke
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (143 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

You may think it’s sloe fizz gin
But honey we’re sober, just drunk on men

When three African-American women meet at a resort on the Jersey Shore in the 1920s, they say goodbye to their old lives. Finding men as intoxicating as bootleg liquor, they pin their futures on happily ever after. But love can be worse than a hangover when the men’s flaws threaten to destroy them.

Hannah knows it’s time to replace her fiancé who died in the war, but the abrupt white man who rescues her from rough surf hardly fits the bill. Belle longs to ditch her latest meal ticket, but is the rich African-European owner of an upscale hotel out of her league? And while Edie struggles to face her upcoming arranged marriage, a rugged Hispanic-white fisherman decides to stake his own claim on her.

Three women from various walks of life meet at Wilmott Hotel. Will this bond of friendship bring about a strength that gives each woman needed courage to step outside of their individual comfort zones?

This is an enjoyable read with an interesting plot. The characters are likable and have a sisterly bond that gave me a feel good comfort. The bond of the trio felt like they could be my sisters or long time friends. The storyline flowed and kept my interest.  The women are all quite different, with Belle Longstreet who is from the street of Camden, New Jersey, Hannah Williams, who is on this trip as a gift from her family member (this is out of the normal for her coming from her farm life) and Edie Childers came to Ocean Promenade to marry the man who was chosen for her by her parents.

The women were strangers but, due to a hotel fire alarm, the women find themselves in the same area of the hotel. Though each woman comes from a different background, the connection between the three ladies was a delight to read. Seeing their individual strengths being shared while also watching their fondness for each other grow is something that is rare these days. With all the reality shows on television of women screaming and going against each other this was a refreshing read. And though it seems the common thing between the women is seeking love of a man this did not cause any drama or arguing. The innocence of first encounters with the men makes for an interesting read, leaving you wondering if they’ve met the right man.

This is a quick read that brings about incredible women telling a good story of their life to each other. Their combined personalities help each woman find her strength and voice. They may have been through the bad, but their story shows that strength can come from numbers. They each have hurdles to cross but the author clearly shows that they don’t have to accept their fate but they can change the path that was laid for them. I enjoyed reading about their courage in how they didn’t let society determine who they should love.

I enjoyed the delightful story of Belle, Hannah and Edie and watching their friendship blossom. I look forward to the second volume of the series to see where the journey will lead the ladies.

Unlikely Hero by Sean Michael


Unlikely Hero by Sean Michael
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (204 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

When his three-year-old daughter is kidnapped, Eric Wilson doesn’t have many options, and time is running out. With nowhere else to turn, he reaches out to his ex, influential businessman Brock Vencenza, whose money and contacts might be able to save Josie.

Brock never got over Eric’s loss, and he’s more than willing to help when Eric needs him most. Together with law enforcement and private security, they embark on a twisting investigation to find the little girl—and who wants to hurt her and destroy both men in the process. Under the circumstances, confessing he still has feelings for Eric would be inappropriate, but Brock can’t deny what’s in his heart. He doesn’t know if their love can be rekindled or if he can even protect Eric and Josie. But one thing is certain: Brock’s determined to be the hero in reality that he is in Eric’s eyes.

Despite their love for each other Brock and Eric simply hadn’t been able to fit properly into each other’s lives. Even though it had been many years since they’d broken up when Eric called for help with the emergency of his daughter’s kidnapping, Brock dropped everything to help. Against all odds they both find themselves wanting to try once again to make it work. Can this time go better?

This is a strongly emotional story that I totally loved. I got immediately sucked into the kidnapping of Josie – Eric’s daughter – and couldn’t stop reading from there. Brock and Eric are both well-drawn characters and vibrantly jump right off the page. Even though there’s plenty of drama surrounding Josie’s kidnapping and the action that follows on from there, so much of the rest of the story is normal – kiddie pools and bedtime stories, eating cookies and regular bedtime routines. I feel the author did an amazing job of showing both the normal level of day-to-day living but also had plenty of action and family drama too. This made the pace of the story feel super fast but also helped make what could have been a completely unrealistic plot feel not just understandable, but relatable too.

The romance between Eric and Brock bloomed at what I felt was a lovely pace. Even though there was plenty of history between the two men, it was quite some ago, so I feel that the rebuilding of that relationship was critical. Instead of just jumping right back into bed, both men had plenty to re-learn about each other and I loved how this was given a lot of time and shown thoroughly. This chemistry between Eric and Brock, filling in some of the gaps and both of them understanding where they’d gone wrong in the past, this all helped me feel that the foundation of their new relationship – despite all the drama and action of other things going on in both their lives – really helped make me believe, thoroughly, in the new relationship they built together. It felt realistic and strong to me and I loved this. The chemistry between them sizzled and when they finally did become intimate together it was like the perfect culmination of all that had been brewing and growing between them. I felt it was perfect and I loved it.

While there is a lot of drama, action and the initial kidnapping of Josie, overall I found this to be a lovely, emotional and exceedingly well written story. The romance between Eric and Brock was strongly written and – despite the exceptionally dangerous circumstances – realistic. I could see both men as completely normal men in an extraordinary situation. Best of all their love and the coming together of their little family was a wonderful story and one I know I will eagerly and happily read numerous times again. Strongly recommended.

The Immortals and Other Tales by Victor J. Banis


The Immortals and Other Tales by Victor J. Banis
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Historical, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (90 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Edgy. Controversial. Thoughtful. Brilliant.

There are a lot of adjectives that have been used over the decades to describe the writings of Victor J. Banis. From his start in gay fiction, to forays into other genres such as mystery and horror, Banis’ unique voice has brought to life a myriad of characters and creatures, excitement and entertainment, as well as the trials and tribulations of love between both gay and straight couples. Gathered here are stories spanning more than five decades of Banis’ incredible career, including “Broken Record,” his first story to ever be published.

No matter how strong they may be, first impressions aren’t always correct.

In “New Kid in Town,” the main character had slowly come to regret her marriage to a kind, wealthy man who was much older than she was. She spoke of her spouse in such glowing terms that I was surprised by how tired she seemed to be of their relationship. The more I read, the more curious I became about what could be making her so unhappy. It was as much fun to discover the twist ending to this one as it was to try to figure out what was going on in advance.

While I deeply enjoyed the majority of the tales in this collection, there were a couple that I thought could use more development. “The Journey (a parable)” was one of them. There was one character, and he or she was never given a name, backstory, or any identifying features. I was intrigued by the idea of a narrator speaking directly to the audience about what they think human intellect can and can’t do for people who are on a literal or metaphorical journey, but I would have liked to see more time spent transforming this monologue into something that also included a traditional sort of plot at some point.

The protagonist in “The Canals of Mars” was a man whose face had been badly scarred in a lab accident. After his boyfriend left him, he had the chance to find love again with an old friend. As their love began to blossom, they both began to experience things that defied explanation. What I enjoyed the most about this tale was how many different ways it could be interpreted. Mr. Banis is quite good at tying multiple genres together in ways that I don’t typically see them combined, and this was one of the best examples of that talent of his that I’ve seen so far.

I’d recommend The Immortals and Other Tales to anyone who is looking for some truly creative mysteries.

New Game, Start by C.S. Poe


New Game, Start by C.S. Poe
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short Story (38 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal play
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Reclusive medieval scholar, Edgar Royal, has a crush. On a guy. Not a big deal, except that said guy, Walter Chase, is a famous online gamer who has no idea Edgar even exists. Edgar has harbored these feelings for nearly a year, and when Walter announces on Twitter that he’ll be visiting New York City as a guest at the GamerOn convention, Edgar decides he’ll be one of the thousands of fans who responds to the message.

He definitely doesn’t expect to be singled out by the humble, gorgeous, out-and-proud heartthrob. And when it comes to dealing with people, Edgar’s skills are pretty nonexistent. Even with Walter giving all the right signals, Edgar lacks the courage do anything about the mutual attraction growing through their online courtship. He’s always been better with the written word, so maybe the perfect Christmas gift will say what he cannot. But if Edgar can’t get the present to Walter before the convention ends, he may miss out on the boyfriend of a lifetime.

Edgar is entranced by online gamer, Walter. Even though Edgar knows it is crazy, he can’t help himself and when he finds out Walter will be at the GamerOn convention – in Edgar’s own New York City – Edgar knows he has to go and at least look at his crush. One simple tweet turns into something so much more.

I absolutely loved this short story. Told in the first person, I found it funny, realistic and extremely modern (#JingleYourBells!) and laughed aloud in numerous places. I adored Edgar’s character – I found him humble, normal and extremely sweet. I could heartily sympathize with his anonymous crush on Walter and cheered the two of them on for every page as they met up and got to know each other. I was really excited that the story gave itself time to develop, it wasn’t just Edgar met Walter and they jumped into bed, the two men played games online and got to know each other a fair bit first, which really helped sell me on their romance.

This is a fantastic short story and I loved every moment – from Edgar’s shy awkwardness to Walter’s happy joy in life and enjoyment of simple things, to them sharing the same drink and helping each other to be better versions of themselves. This is a happy and sexy story that I absolutely loved. I thought the sex scene was meaningful and hot, the misunderstanding well-handled and not too clichéd, and the happy ending made me sigh and finish the story ready to immediately go back and re-read it all over again. While there are only really Walter and Edgar as characters, they fill each page and I didn’t feel any lack from there really only being the two of them. Indeed, I didn’t really find anything negative at all throughout the story.

This will be a keeper story for me and I strongly recommend it.

Of Noble Blood: Out of the Darkness by E.H. James


Of Noble Blood: Out of the Darkness, The Demon Series Part 7 by E.H. James
Publisher: Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal, Historical, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (53 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Being the queen’s daughter doesn’t exclude you, when the fate of the world is in the balance. And when Princess Amara has the opportunity to help, she readily accepts.

Transformed into a shape-shifting time traveler, she journeys back through the centuries to the year 1522. Here she retrieves a baby boy and brings him forward to the year 1995, where he becomes Jesse Miller.

Unaware he is chosen, he comes to realize he alone must save the world. And with the help of Amara, he must travel further yet into the future, to destroy the demon infiltration and repair the damaged timeline.

But the story is far from over, and when he returns to 2233, where he lives with Amara, he discovers there is far more to experience than he can possibly imagine.

Imagine what it would be like to remember doing something that technically hasn’t happened in your timeline yet.

The time travel in this story was incredibly complex. Multiple timelines interfered with each other over and over again, so I was glad that the author spent as much time as possible showing the audience what happened in each timeline before and after they were changed yet again. This made for a pleasant reading experience, especially once the pacing picked up and Amara’s mission became even more urgent

There were so many other conflicts going on that I was a little bit surprised when a romantic twist was included as well. While I liked both of the characters who were involved in it and it is a minor criticism, the plot would have been even stronger if it had stuck to the main storyline. The characters had plenty to keep them busy as it was.

As usual, the world building was spectacular. I know I’ve mentioned this in previous reviews of this series, but I love the way all of these stories build on each other over time. There are little details in each one of them that are later expanded on. This makes it important to read everything in order, and it also makes it rewarding for longterm readers who may have wondered about a small detail early on that is only now being fully explored.

I’d recommend Of Noble Blood: Out of the Darkness, The Demon Series Part 7 to all of the fans of this world. It was one of the best instalments in it so far!

Homemade From The Heart by Bru Baker


Homemade From The Heart by Bru Baker
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short story (55 pages)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Craft store owner Grant has always been a sucker for a pretty face, and that goes double for a pretty face with an adorable sidekick. When seven-year-old Aubrey has her heart set on taking Grant’s already-full holiday craft series, he caves and gives up his one day off a week so she (and her hot guardian, Josh) can take private lessons. Their flirting ramps up week after week, and even though Josh isn’t with Aubrey’s mother, Grant can’t be sure the man isn’t straight. Maybe he’s just being friendly. And Josh, who most definitely is not straight, is afraid of being the creepy guy hitting on the teacher.

Frustrated by their stubbornness and cluelessness, Aubrey takes matters into her own hands. She decides the best gift to give Josh is something homemade and from the heart—a boyfriend they’ll both love.

Grant hadn’t realised just how popular his “Homemade from the Heart” holiday craft series would be. The online booking filled up almost immediately and Grant had irate phone calls from parents wanting to enroll their kids for weeks after the spaces were gone. Grant hadn’t had a clue how a little bit of exposure could have his small co-op arts studio for kids wildly popular. When Josh walks in with his daughter, Aubrey, Grant suddenly has a whole lot less spare time for the lead up to his Christmas holidays.

I enjoyed this fun, short Christmas story. Unlike a lot of M/M’s I was a little unsure whether Josh was gay or bi or straight, and this led me to be incredibly curious not just about him, but also the story as a whole. It was a wonderful (and fairly new – for me – hook) into the story and before I’d finished the first chapter I was completely engrossed. I loved the easy, happy style of writing and commend the author for an excellent story that was Christmassy, fun and lighthearted.

I also really enjoyed the main characters, Grant, Josh and Aubrey were all vivid and unique characters that I had no problems becoming attached to. This really helped me fall even deeper into the story and happily turn the pages promptly. This was absolutely a quick read, but a delightful one that will be easy for me to pick back up in the future, and although it’s strongly Christmas-themed, as the main plot is the craft store, the kids and the growing relationship between Grand and Josh I don’t think it will feel weird to me when I reread it at a non-Christmas time.

The pacing on this story was good – I was pleased there was plenty of time for Grant and Josh to get to know each other first, and for Aubrey to become comfortable and friendly with Grant. I thought the author did a great job of balancing the whole “new relationship” feel along with the three characters coming together to form a little mini-family. While I can understand some readers might not like the “is he/isn’t he” feel of Josh’s attraction to Grant, personally I found it refreshing. There was also never doubt in my mind that Josh liked Grant as the friendly camaraderie was clear. The question of whether there was potential for a romantic relationship might not appeal to all readers, but I liked the second-guessing and tantalizing wondering that the author infused the first half of the story with. And I have to say, once Grant decided to be a little less subtle about his interest, I laughed an awful lot at the antics Josh and Grant got up to!

A fun and light Christmas story with an interesting twist I didn’t see coming at the end, this book covers a lot of great things I think readers will enjoy. I had loads of fun reading this and can happily recommend it.

Candy Canes and Cappuccinos by Elizabeth Coldwell


Candy Canes and Cappuccinos by Elizabeth Coldwell
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short story (24 pages)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Kyle is struggling to run his coffee shop on his own after his partner walked out on him. He has his eye on Steven, who comes into the shop each day, but hasn’t worked up the nerve to express his interest. When Steven asks Kyle to help out with Christmas lunch at the homeless shelter where he works, Kyle is too exhausted to agree. He donates his tips but still feels he’s blown his chances with Steven and made himself look like a selfish jerk.

On Christmas Day, Kyle sees a way to make amends—to both Steven and the needy people depending on his kindness. It’s the right thing to do, and Kyle hopes he can clear up the misunderstanding and show Steven the type of man he really is. Maybe then they can consider some dessert when the lunch at the shelter is over….

When Kyle had been betrayed and dumped, he wanted to curl into a ball and close out the world. Instead, he threw all his efforts into proving his ex wrong and make their joint venture – a small coffee shop – a roaring success. Steven has been a regular at the coffee shop for a while now, and Kyle is interested but too shy to make the first move.

I really enjoyed this Christmassy, super short story. Kyle and Steven have plenty of chemistry, but I loved how they didn’t simply jump into bed with each other. The author did an excellent job in my opinion of balancing the start of the two men’s relationship, while still managing to keep the sexual tension and physical awareness between the men front and center of the story. I felt this really made the pacing of the whole short story feel like the relationship moved along at a good, realistic and quick pace without being a “sex for the sake of it” style of erotic story.

This is the sort of short story I feel people can enjoy reading privately on a train trip, or as a quick “before going to sleep” sort of happy story that’s quick and leaves you with a warm and fuzzy feeling. It could also be a great way to introduce reader-friends to M/M as there’s nothing kinky or over the top about the story and even the sex scene is somewhat brief and not explicit enough in my opinion to be a turn-off for more traditional spicy romance readers.

With plenty of Christmas cheer, a lovely romance and a little bit of spicy love this is a great story and one I can happily recommend.

Take the Bai Road by Erika Mitchell


Take the Bai Road by Erika Mitchell
A Bai Shu Novel #2

Publisher: Champagne Book Group
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery, Action/Adventure
Length: Full length (255 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Snowdrop

After the events of Bai Tide, CIA case officer Bai Hsu is safely tucked away at Headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Bored and frustrated, he’s starting to doubt he’ll ever return to the field until he’s given a difficult new assignment: Track and investigate the mysterious Ghost Cartel, who may or may not already have hooks in our government.

With secrecy of the utmost importance, Bai accepts the mission even though he knows he’ll be out in the cold. With no official cover, no backup, and no resources, Bai has no choice but to infiltrate a shadowy organization few know anything about.

Tangled in a conspiracy that will pit him against warring cartels in Mexico, this is Bai’s most impossible mission to date. It will test him, make him question himself and the organization he works for, and ultimately rip away everything that’s ever mattered to him.

This book is much more exciting than its title might sound.

This was a fun book. While it sounds like it might be set in Japan, it actually takes place in the U.S. and Mexico. This is a book about spies and fictitious CIA characters. It is a book about drug smuggling and it is full of action.

I have never read an action book with fighting scenes included that I could really visualize until now. I would tell you that action books are not my thing; nor am I very fond of Charlie Chan type of action but this author seems to be able to describe every move of every fight in a way that makes it interesting…visual. I can only describe this as very good writing. This book also never had a slow moment for me. The end of one chapter flowed right into the next. Every bit of this book was action-packed and humorous. There were quite a few characters in this book but I seemed to have no problem understanding nor remembering them; a classic sign of good character development. I love the type of character who “thinks” humorous asides in what I’ll call a type of narrative writing. In this book Li or Bai enjoy lots of those funny moments and so did I.

This is book 2. I think it read just fine as a stand-alone. However, I will definitely go back and read Book 1.