Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Release Blitz: Astray by Elvira Bell (Review, Excerpt + Giveaway)

Title:  Astray
Series: Wavesongs #1
Author: Elvira Bell
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 99,500 words
Genre: Romance, Historical fiction, LGBT, M/M, Coming of age, Pirates, Age gap

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Nick Andrews has grown up in poverty in a tiny village. All his life he’s been told that he’s useless. After getting one scolding too many he decides to go far away, off to sea. But his experience as a farmhand has done little to prepare him for the hardships of a sailor’s life.

When his ship is attacked by pirates, Nick’s life is miraculously spared by the notorious pirate captain, Christopher Hart—a man in charge of a crew feared for their brutality. Nick is forced to join the pirates, and he dreads finding out for what reason the captain has saved him.

But Hart is nothing like his reputation suggests, and Nick soon finds himself entangled in a relationship that could endanger both their lives. Unless Nick can help Hart on his quest to find a long lost treasure, their forbidden love may tear his new life apart.

Warning: This book ends with a cliffhanger, and it does not have a happy ending. The series as a whole will have a HEA ending.

Content note: This book contains dark themes and depictions of torture, murder, and rape.


Nick enters the cabin to find Hart sitting at the table. A book is open in front of him. Red-tinted sunlight floods the windows, casting a burnt orange glow over his hair and coat. He doesn’t look up as Nick steps inside and closes the door behind him.

“What did you want with me, sir?”

Hart sighs. Gives Nick a brief glance. “Ah, yes. My boots need a cleaning. Over there.” He points to the boots, neatly placed next to the door. “You should find what you need in that chest opposite them.”

 Nick glances at the clogs on his own feet. Hart has not just one pair of footwear, but two—on his feet instead of the jackboots are black leather shoes. Sinking down to his knees, Nick gets to work. He grabs one of the boots, reaching for the cloth he’s found. His stomach clenches. All he can think of is that pool of blood around Stubbs’ head. He worries that Hart’s soles will be red, stained with the cabin boy’s blood. Thankfully, they aren’t. In fact, there’s not a trace of blood on them—almost as if they have been cleaned before.

Nick glances over to Hart. Did he clean his own boots before calling Nick in here? And if so, why? It makes no sense that he has wiped away the blood himself, when he could have made Nick do it.

Hart sighs and scribbles in the book. It’s unnerving to be alone with him and Nick feels relief surge through him when both boots are spotless and shiny.

“All done, sir.” He puts the boots back by the wall and stands up, turning to face Hart again.

The Captain doesn’t look at him. “Thank you.” Outside the window, the glowing sun has turned to just a sliver on the horizon. “That will be all.”

Available to purchase at Amazon

4 Stars!

First of all, read the warnings. This book ends on a cliffhanger, a bad one, not that any cliffhangers are good, but this one was especially jarring. This is a pirate book, and as we all know, pirates are not good people, so there's lots of graphic violence and torture. This is just a heads-up, if you're fine with both of those, by all means, pick this book up or if you prefer to wait until the series is done, you can do that, too.

Astray gives us a very realistic, pretty accurate portrayal of pirates and life on a pirate ship. While Captain Christopher Hart was a somewhat more benevolent master, the same couldn't be said for Pierce, his quartermaster and the ones loyal to him and his unquenchable thirst for blood plays a big part in the story. The camaraderie between shipmates contrasted with the violence against the ships they encountered on their path or even Pierce's glee when he had to deliver a punishment to one of the men.

At 20, Nick was younger than most and more innocent, and maybe because of that, it was easy to believe that he'd fall so fast for the captain, after realizing such things were possible between two men. Captain Hart was a tougher sell for me. I wasn't too sure about him, what with the way he was all hot and cold with Nick and his past with Pierce. He seemed less psycho than Pierce, but it actually took Nick pointing out that he didn't need to agree with Pierce on everything for him to actually stand up to him. I liked how Christopher and Nick were together, Nick seemed to bring Christopher out into the light.

I loved that Goldie took Nick under his wing and getting to know the rest of the men who were friendly to him. But Goldie was definitely my favorite. *cries* Pierce was a horrible man and I really hope he'll get his comeuppance in a very gruesome way.

Other than the fact that I hate cliffhangers with the passion of a thousand suns and that it's likely that I'll just wait to read the rest of the series when it's completed, this was a really good read. Different and darker than I usually pick up, but well-written and entertaining, so if you don't mind the cliffhanger, I have no trouble recommending it.

*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. ***

Meet the Author

Elvira Bell lives in Sweden and spends most of her time writing, reading or watching movies. Her weaknesses include, but are not limited to: vintage jazz, musicals, kittens, oversized tea cups, men in suits, the 18th century, and anything sparkly.

 Elvira writes m/m fiction with a touch of romance and has a penchant for historical settings. She adores all things gothic and will put her characters through hell from time to time because she just loves watching them suffer. It makes the happy endings so much sweeter, after all.

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