Sunday, August 21, 2016

Series Review: SHATTERPROOF BOND SERIES by Isobel Starling

Isobel Starling - Shatterproof Bond Series

Series Buy Links: 

As You Wish (Shatterproof Bond #0.5)

1 wedding, 2 best men, one hell of a love story!

This contemporary M/M romantic comedy is set at the Scottish castle wedding of Annabelle Aiken to Scotsman Oliver Ramsay. Oliver’s brother Declan is to be joint best man, sharing the duties with Annabelle’s ‘kid’ brother, Samuel Aiken. However, both men have never actually met. Sam Aiken has been abroad, studying and working as an interpreter and he wouldn’t meet Declan until a few days before the wedding. But on meeting Sam Aiken, Declan is surprised to realize the ‘kid’ isn't a kid at all, but a tall, blond, and athletic young man. Sam makes Declan laugh like no other, and Declan is alarmed by the ferocious attraction he begins to feel for Sam. And as the attraction is reciprocated, the events at Dunloch Castle change everything Declan has ever believed about himself.

But is Samuel Aiken all that he appears to be?

Carra's Review-As You Wish

I absolutely loved this story.  It’s a wonderful look at one man’s journey to find what-and who-he truly wants after so many unsatisfying encounters with women, and another man’s attempt to find love and settle back into a normal life-if his controlling father will let him.

God, I adored these characters.  Sam is so lovable, bubbly and bright and outgoing-though at times hiding some bit of sadness that we don’t get to find out about until the absolute end of the story.  And Declan…there’s just something about a person discovering his sexuality and breaking free of expectations that endears Declan (and other characters like him) to me from the start.  The two together are intensely passionate and the phrase “explosive chemistry” was probably coined with their eventual pairing in mind.

Watching as Declan explored his sexual boundaries as he learns just what he needs and wants is emotional for the reader as well as Declan himself as he experiences it.  He and Sam weave such a tight bond with each other, and as a reader I was just as devastated as Declan when their time together at the castle for the wedding comes to an end…especially the way it did.

I’m really glad the way things tied up at the end, I don’t think I could have taken any other ending.  I’m am totally hooked for this series and can’t wait to dive in to the next book.  5 stars for As You Wish, and I can guarantee no matter how this series progresses from here that I’ll still be re-reading this one in the future!  Recommended for M/M romance fans 18+ for adult language and explicit M/M sexual content.

Illuminate the Shadows (Shatterproof Bond #1)

In this M/M comedy thriller we continue where “As You Wish” ended.

The charming, mysterious Samuel Aiken has turned Declan Ramsay’s life upside down and Declan has experienced a remarkable change. He has come to terms with the fact he is bisexual, and he has fallen head-over- heels in love with his employer’s son. However, falling for his boss’s son was never going to be an easy path to happiness, mainly because the boss in question is multi-millionaire property tycoon and former MI5 operative, Sir James Aiken. Sir James is repulsed by his son’s homosexuality, and the lovers cannot hide from his looming presence for long. Soon enough James makes his move, and Declan finds out what he will have to endure to stay with Sam, and what he will have to give to feel worthy of Sam's love.

Carra's Review-Illuminate the Shadows

It’s fantastic having Sam and Declan finally together here.  They feel so comfortable with each other, only to be tested when Declan is taken away.  But everything they go through-especially Declan with his “interview” for A.L.L.-just shows how loyal and committed they’ve become to each other even in just a short period of time.  If I had to choose a word that explains the theme of this installment of the series, I’d choose “devotion”.

Thanks to the A.L.L. interview and some other incidents, Declan is made to feel unsure about himself and about Sam, and he thinks he’s unable to protect and take care of Sam like Sam can do for him.  But thanks to Sam’s dad (James)-the same man who is so thoroughly disappointed in Sam’s sexual orientation and that he’s in a relationship with Declan-we find Declan’s character growing and evolving after he gets to learn more about his new role with A.L.L. 

To be honest, other than Declan’s tortuous interview-where we get to find out some interesting tidbits about Declan’s past that even he wasn’t aware of-there’s really not a lot of drama in this story.  This one is more about getting more background and further cementing the bond between Declan and Sam…which is pretty darn successful since I can’t ever imagine the two of them not being together.  There’s some hints of irregular things happening that involve the bartender across the street from the home they share, but we don’t get much information on that so I’m hoping this is setting the stage for upcoming entries in the series.

The sex is still blazingly hot (just wait until you get to the last scene…), and everything between Declan and Sam continues to deepen and pull you further in to their story.  I plan on following them through every book because the author has me fully entranced with their romance, I’m just hoping we get to see more excitement and suspense as the series progresses.

4 stars for Illuminate the Shadows, recommended for M/M romance/suspense fans 18+ only due to adult language and explicit M/M sexual content (which is positively delicious!).  My interest is also piqued to see what sort of interesting undergarments Sam comes up with next…you’ll see what I mean ;-)

Return to Zero (Shatterproof Bond #2)

Pulled into a world of secrets and lies for the man he loves, Declan Ramsay’s life has changed immeasurably in the eight months since meeting, and falling for Sam Aiken. Declan journey of personal discovery is about to take a darker turn, and for Sam, the world becomes more treacherous than he could ever have imagined. Two A.L.L employees are missing -- presumed dead, while at an outdoor adventure centre in the Scottish Highlands. Sir James Aiken sends his son and Declan to follow the trail, and discover their fate. Declan is keen to get started. However, Sir James sees to it that seeds of doubt and discord have been sewn between the couple. The journey to their Highland location, and the discoveries they make when they reach the G’wan Adventures centre, prove that Sir James Aiken has been less than honest with his son. Events in the Highlands force Sam and Declan to face their greatest fears, and understand what they both really want from life -- and from each other.

Carra's Review-Return to Zero

Oh my goodness… *sigh* and *swoon*

Well, I was hoping for some more action and suspense and I definitely got it here in Return to Zero.  This story sees Declan learning more about A.L.L.’s inner workings, and eventually he and Sam get to work together on a mission.  Before that comes up, we get more background into the agency as well as more about Sam before he met Declan.  Most of the first half of the book moves at a relatively sedate pace (or at least what I would consider sedate), and it’s from the midpoint on that things really grab your attention an have you hanging on for the ride.

Sam and Declan are becoming one of my favorite series couples, and up until now everything has been wonderful between them.  There’s a bit of drama thanks to Sam’s father (no surprise there, right?) that does come up here, and we get to see how both men react and still come out strong together in the end.  But the real suspense and action comes from an old nemesis from Sam’s past who’s back in the picture-against all odds it seems.  And any character that causes Sam to scare…well you know what comes next is going to be good.

The tension and drama really ramps up in the second half of the story, and I found myself staying up into the wee hours of the morning to finish this as I just could not put it down without reading the end.  There’s so much excitement, and the intensity of the emotions Sam and Declan go through are stunning.  The way those final scenes between them are written totally envelop the reader and I found myself simply mesmerized by the exchange of words as they make the true depth of their feelings known.  You can’t help but be moved by it, and I felt like my heart would just explode with the power of Sam and Declan’s love and devotion.

And after that ending to the epilogue…PLEASE tell me the next book is ready to go because I’m here absolutely frantic for more.

With a slower start than the prequel and first story but an utterly more powerful finish, Return to Zero was a 4.5-star read for me, and I highly recommend this story and series to M/M romantic suspense fans.  This is for readers 18+ due to adult language and explicit M/M sexual content (which by the way is getting more interesting as the series goes on).  I can’t wait for Sam and Declan’s next adventure, this series really has me hooked!

Author Bio

Inspiration strikes at the strangest of times. 

Born in Germany, I spent most of my twenty-year professional career making art. I relocated to the UK and, faced with the dreaded artist’s creative block, I started to write and found I loved it more than making art. 

My first novel “Schonling” was a best seller in the GLBT-Bisexual genre on the ‘AllRomance eBooks’ site. I have just completed my sixth book, and am writing my seventh and eighth books consecutively. I have recently signed French translation rights for the whole Shatterproof Bond series. The first book in the series As You Wish will be published in France in October 2016, a year after its original release.

I adore the M/M genre. I enjoy writing about wounded souls and the complexities of personal relationships. Despite not having found proof yet, I believe in love at first sight and endeavour to give my M/M characters a thrilling journey and a satisfying ending.

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