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Search tags: Shadow-of-the-Templar
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review 2017-08-03 00:00
Double Down: Shadow of the Templar
Double Down: Shadow of the Templar - M. Chandler 4,75 stars

I knew I liked this book going in to it, but I didn't remember just how much. I think it's a shame that this series is "just" a self-published one and it's not crossed more people's paths than it has. I'm pretty sure if Shadow's character was female, these would be some sort of best sellers (although some things would surely be different in the story line.)

It's hard to pinpoint what I love most about these, but in the end it probably boils down to the characters and their interactions. I especially like Nate and Johnny, but they all feel so real (if not completely realistic) that I just feel like I'm more invested in them than I probably should, considering they are all fictional. It makes it all the more difficult to read, knowing what's up a head for them.

The other thing that Chandler handles exceptionally, is tension. These books pull me in so completely because they are just so well written that you feel like you're living in the story. I just can't get over it.

These books somehow manage to have a bit of everything I usually look for in a good book (or most of everything). The dialogue is funny, the emotions are easy to empathize with, the characters are flawed but lovable, the plot moves forward with exceptional pacing and while the plot might not be mind blowing, it's well thought out and very entertaining.

I like that The Relationship isn't the leading plot line, while it is an interesting one. Simon's so messed up and Shadow's too good for him, but there's constant development and hope. I also appreciate the author's decision to fade most sex scenes out. I agree that in a book like this, sex scenes would detract from the plot, so it's good to leave it to the reader's imagination. (Don't get me wrong, I appreciate a good sex scene as much as the next person, but I think there are books better suited for those than these ones.)

I'm probably going to get into With a Bullet straight away, even though I'm simultaneously dreading it.
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review 2017-07-06 00:00
The Morning Star: Shadow of the Templar
The Morning Star: Shadow of the Templar - M. Chandler 4,75 stars. I used to have this as a three star read, because I read it back in the day when I still rated books on one big scale. Nowadays I realize that there's no point in comparing "fun" books with "serious" books because I read them for completely different reasons. It's like trying to use the same criteria for rating a cheesecake and a pizza, just madness.

What I love about The Morning Star are the characters, the world, and the writing. Even with all the ridiculous jamesbond-esque gadgets Shadow has, or the way team Templar seems to be able to bend the law to suit themselves, the writing is just so good that I don't really pay attention to any of that. The author can sell it to me, which is all that matters.

These books are so much fun, even when they take a turn for the serious, and I'm going to be continuing on to the next one right after I've finished reading all the extras between Morning Star and Double Down.
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review 2015-11-29 00:00
The Morning Star
The Morning Star - M. Chandler

Yes! 4.5 "I-really-needed-that" Stars

Where to begin? First of all, this is not a romance. It's a suspense- and action-packed crime novel with thriller tendencies. There is, however, a romance sub-plot. And all of it is so goooood.

Simon Drake is a young FBI agent with a lot of ambition and drive. He and his team, a crazy bunch of brilliant individuals, are supposed to guard a the diamond that could - literally - destroy the world. And they fail epically, only because of one man: Jeremy Archer, hot young art thief extraordinaire. But things are never as they seem, and soon Simon and Jeremy find themselves fighting together against the bad guys.

I absolutely loved it! The crime/suspense plot was very well done, and I really enjoyed all the twists and the action scenes. The romance wasn't as prominent as in other gay mysteries, and the steamy side of the relationship was done way more discreetly than I'm used to. Which I didn't care about at all, because the story and scenes I did read were fun, sexy, exciting and very well thought out, right down to all the secondary characters.

Jeremy, though, was my favorite right from the start. Don't ask me why, it's not like I have a big faible for bad guys, but Jeremy was a very unique MC. Especially because he doesn't exactly fit the desciption of 'villain' to a T. He's complex, and I couldn't help but love him. Simon on the other hand, is a little bit on the brash and rough side, but not in a truly negative way. Some readers found him to be a bit of an homophobe. I have to say, I didn't get that vibe at all. But maybe I just liked the book so much, I completely forgot about it. All I can say is: I didn't notice it, and I can't recall being offended at any time.

All in all, you probably shouldn't pick this up if you're looking for a romance with a suspense sub-plot. You would not be satisfied with this one. But if you like a good thriller, a brash FBI hotshot bantering with an art thief, and don't need explicit sex scenes to be happy - read this one! It's really worth it!

And I'm absolutely looking forward to reading the other installments in the series next year.

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review 2014-03-12 04:37
The Morning Star (Shadow of the Templar 1)
The Morning Star: Shadow of the Templar - M. Chandler

My bar with free online fiction is pretty low. Was the story compelling? Did the characters sound realized? Was I able to sink into the writing? Was there some use of grammar and punctuation? Did it have an ending??? (Instead of being lost in the depressing wasteland of broken dreams known as “Abandoned Works-in-Progress”…?)

Even with my low free fiction bar, The Morning Star, part one of Shadow of the Templar series, was a nicely solid read, and is easy to recommend for m/m fans of capers and action romance.

The story follows Simon, who leads an FBI team of specialists who have talents that range from fast driving, to explosives, to hacking networks. They’re brought to a swanky party to prevent the potential theft of a huge diamond, and here is where Simon comes face to face with professional thief Jeremy Archer, a smooth-talking, ceiling-scaling operator who knows, to Simon’s chagrin, how to work around even the most skilled of FBI teams.

But even smooth Jeremy can be surprised, and soon he and Simon are working together to prevent that precious gem from being the igniter in a terrorist attack.

The word for Simon and Jeremy is “UST”—unresolved sexual tension—as these two banter and play against each other. Jeremy is the most overt with his flirtations, which confuses Simon at first. Is my enemy coming on to me? BUT thankfully Simon doesn’t stay too icy to Jeremy’s raised eyebrows and sneaky smiles, and slowly starts to allow Jeremy to worm his way into his mind and maybe be something more than just a criminal.

I really enjoyed Jeremy and Simon’s interactions in the story, and the second half of the book flew by with lots of action. I will say that the first half felt much slower though, and my main beef with it is that the author really loves her team of characters, which is great, but a team of six is hard to juggle and introduce at once, and for the first 50% or so, they felt very interchangeable, except for Sandra, the one woman on the team. Even in the second half, only a few of them felt very distinct.

It’s good to know for high heat lovers that there is no sex in this story, although things progress in that direction. (There is a free short story coda to this book that does have sexy times, but I would save it for after.)

The Morning Star is the first in a complete four-part novel series, and I am intrigued enough by Jeremy and Simon to continue on.

Interestingly enough, the first book is also the shortest, less than 200 pages, where books 2-4 are between 300+ to 500+ pages. (Normally I LOVE long books, although I am a little wary that these might be full of banter between the many characters, but still, Chandler’s writing is compelling enough to take the plunge.)

If you’re wondering how you can get in on this action romance, you can read this book and the sequels for free from Chandler’s websites here or here. They are also very affordable (less than $1 each) on Amazon, which is a pretty sweet deal, especially with the later, longer books.

And for those already on Team Templar, you may enjoy knowing that just like any other series, it has fanfic on AO3.

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review 2013-03-04 00:00
The Morning Star (Shadow of the Templar,... The Morning Star (Shadow of the Templar, #1) - M. Chandler The Morning Star seemed promising in the beginning. Then I'm not even sure what happened, but all of a sudden it was all-out James Bond save the world crap and I couldn't even be bothered to make sure what happened, so I skimmed the last 20 percent, because in a review, I have to make sure I cover all sorts of scenes before I trash the book altogether. There's no personal life-part, it's all action, and I really, really couldn't care less about some exaggerated plot where federal agents apparently just kill everything in sight (with well-described shots to the head nonetheless!) while making chit chat and being humorous. Without actually being humorous. (=Failure.)

How about just a little bit of realism, hm? This reads like a budget Hollywood action movie, and I do my best to stay away from those. When people were hiding in rooms trying to kill each other I couldn't even understand who was where, what the fuck the room looked like, and I just got the feeling they were stalling everything they did in order to fit in more ridiculous Good Guy vs. Villain dialogue.

Perhaps the author is good at writing more mundane stuff, at writing normal dialogue or smut or whatever (because the beginning wasn't bad, only a bit confusing with real names, code names, and like 7 people to keep track of), but I don't really know, cause all there is here is boring action.

Action shouldn't be boring. Something is seriously wrong when the action part is boring.
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