Powder Burns (Shatterproof Bond #5) by Isobel Starling #LGBT #Audiobook #DuoReview

MtSnow and Dana review the audiobook Powder Burns (Shatterproof Bond #5) by Isobel Starling (Published by Decent Fellows Press, Oct 4, 2019, 616 pages. Released on audio March 13, 2019. 10hrs 9min length. Narrated by Gary Furlong)

To read the audiobook review of As You Wish (Shatterproof Bond #1) click here.

To read the audiobook review of Illuminate the Shadows (Shatterproof Bond #2) click here.

To read the audiobook review of Return to Zero (Shatterproof Bond #3) click here.

To read the audiobook review of Counterblow (Shatterproof Bond #4) click here.

To read the audiobook review of Silken click here.

To read the audiobook review of Top Hat (Shatterproof Bond #0) click here.


One book, two missions, and a memory key full of secrets!

After a series of terrorist attacks on fracking sites owned by a gas multinational named Drilsink, Sir James Aiken’s agency is bought in to find the radical eco-terrorist group responsible. He sends Sam and Declan to work undercover at Imperial College where Intel suggests the group are recruiting. While Sam works behind the scenes, Declan takes on the identity of geologist Dr. Tobias Hunter and soon makes an enemy of a fellow science geek – a man who Declan comes to despise more than Sir James Aiken!

When the operation moves from London to Munich and then Vienna, Sam, and Declan are thrown headlong into a spy scenario straight out of the thriller novels they love to read – but with a distinct and disturbing sexual twist! Sam meets an old friend and uncovers shocking information about James’ past.

With Erik Madsson still imprisoned inside the ALL HQ, James comes to realize that he should have listened to his son. Keeping the enemy inside his own home is about to be the biggest mistake he has ever made.

This audiobook is an M/M romance thriller and therefore contains graphic gay sexual references.

Buy links: Audible | Amazon || Add to GoodreadsMtSnow – 

The story: This 5th book in the Shatterproof Bond series seemed a bit slower to get into than the previous stories in the series.  While it was fun seeing a smart,  hero-worshipping, geeky side to Declan, the geography and fracking portion was quite technical, so it took a different pacing to absorb the information.  I admire how the author definitely has done her research, and assisted me in seeing both main characters as intellectual as well as highly trained spies.
I loved the hot, feminine ‘Kitty’, with her sexy kitten heels, who is another alter ego for Sam. There was some interesting, light BDSM play,  and we get to see Sam perfecting his ‘Top Hat’ pole dancing moves,  while being introduced to quite a few surprising characters from both our Heros’ past. He is definitely a chameleon, and Declan is doing quite well, in his own way, learning from Sam on how best to go undercover.
There were the usual references to my favorite movie/book The Princess Bride,  the storybook that these two use to send their decoder messages to each other when they aren’t working together.
I also noticed much more physical and sometimes emotional separation of the newly married couple,  with a few instances of insecurity that had me worried,  but alas,  things always work out.  And (Grrrr) they still are under the thumb of Sir James,  but we get glimpses of a light at the end of the tunnel… or do we?! 

A perfect addition to the ever changing adventures of two of my favorite top spies for A.L.L., this time with some environmentalism and Eco terrorists involved, with a touch of blackmail thrown in for good measure. A little bit of something for everyone!  And no worries,  with the epilogue tagged on at the end, we are sure to have another cliffy leading us on to a new mystery, and a possible delay to their happily ever after.

The narration – As always,  perfectly narrated by my favorite, Gary Furlong. And for this reason, even though I always jump to purchase the e-book as soon as it is released, I have to sit on my hands and wait anxiously for the audiobook, as Sam and Declan are just not the same without Gary’s voice. I’m amazed how easily he moves from British,  to Scottish,  to German,  to Danish,  and even a very smooth American English accent… He is a top contender for my best narrators,  and tends to be on my auto buy list.. Such a pleasure to listen to.

Now,  anxiously waiting for book 6!!

9/10 pots of gold equivalent to 90% recommended or 4.5 of 5 stars

Dana – 

The narration: I could honestly fangirl this narrator. Not only does Gary Furlong have a pleasant voice and an ability to emote, but he also a master of accents. To me, very believable accents. He takes every audiobook he narrates to the next level and I can’t say enough about how much I love listening to him.

The story:  After the low-key filler that book four pretty much was, Powder Burns picks right back up to Sam and Declan trying to find out who is trying to bring down Sam’s father and his organization. Some leads have the two men investigating an eco-terrorist group and staying sort of separated from each other for a little bit. While Declan (and I) actually don’t actually like the business of fracking, the way the terrorist group goes about their protestations is dangerous and horrific. Still they soon discover that this group is just one cog in the clockwork of people involved in the repeated attempts on Sam’s life. And they also come to learn some secrets about Sam’s dad that might just get them out of their service to the man. There are so many secrets and betrayals going around, it is almost delicious.

As far as the romance between Sam and Declan, things are very good with them. They have come to a place where they both trust each other implicitly. They’ve tied the knot and all they hope for is a relaxing peaceful life, but they need to get out from under Sir James’ thumb. There wouldn’t be much to say about their love story in this book, except for the fact that they both find themselves working with Alexander, Sam’s former professor and lover, from the novella Silken. While the short had been a sexy little addition to the series, it is nice to see the connection between Sam’s past and present. (I also want to acknowledge the cameo of Matthew from the novella Silken. I had known it was in the Shatterproof Bonds world but I loved that these characters made appearances, cementing their place in the series.) Sorry, back to the previous thought. Declan was pretty mature when it came to how he reacted to Sam’s past, until he needed to come face to face with it. There are some hurtful words, without any real apology, and I don’t know if it will come back to bite Sam and Declan on their butts because they didn’t deal with the pain caused. I guess time will tell.

While Sam, Declan, Alexander, and Sam’s computer hacker friend, Kay, do bring down some major players during this book, we are left with a crazy new cliffhanger. James’ basement prisoner somehow makes his escape with a little help. From who? We don’t know, but a couple guesses can be made. I don’t know if this story will end with the next book or not, but I am really enjoying seeing them try to get free from their jobs and from those who want to hurt them. Sam and Declan are such a sweet and wonderful couple. As much as I want to keep reading them, I also want to see them get their happy ending. If you haven’t checked out the series yet, I definitely recommend it.

9/10 Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars

Inspiration strikes at the strangest of times.

Born in Germany to British/Irish parents, I spent most of my childhood traveling. When I eventually found roots I went to art school and had a twenty-year professional career making art in Dublin, Ireland.  I relocated to the UK in 2010 and, faced with the dreaded artist’s creative block, I started to write and found I loved it more than making art.  I now live in York, North Yorkshire.

 “As You Wish” is an  award- winning audiobook and Amazon best seller in the Gay Romance genre in the US, France and Germany. The “Shatterproof Bond” series currently consist of five novels, in ebook and paperback. There will be one more title.  The series is available in audiobook format, narrated by Gary Furlong.

Isobel has written 20 books and is currently juggling the 6th Shatterproof Bond novel and a fantasy novel.

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