Phoenix’s Ascent by Winter Austin

Hera Force Series Book 2

Book Blog Tour – Book Review & Author Interview

About the Author

Winter Austin perpetually answers the question: “were you born in the winter?” with a flat “nope.” Having recently changed her address back near her hometown, Winter has stepped into the chaotic world of a full-time wife, mom, author, coach, and employee. With her ability to verbally spin a vivid and detailed story, Winter has translated that into writing deadly romantic thrillers. Combining her love of all things rural, agricultural, and military, she’s turned her small-town life upside down.

It’s Q & A Time!

#1 What is your book about?

Phoenix’s Ascent is the 2nd book in my series, Hera Force. This is the book about Nadia Roth, the linguist, and the assassin with many faces. She’s overcoming a TBI and in the process putting an end to her past horrors. Nadia is a dichotomy, she’s every bit the deadly assassin she was trained to be, but has an effervescent, girly personality that leaves many people to assume the wrong thing about her. She was a favorite of mine to write.

Then there’s Mitch, exiled SAS operative who is the typical male protector who fell ass over teakettle for a woman who is his complete opposite. Not only is he trying to stay miles ahead of his enemies, and failing horribly, but he’s also trying to unravel the Nadia he’s recently encountered with the Nadia of his past.  

These two must team up again, along with Nadia’s fellow Hera Force team, and track down the people who shaped them into the fighting forces they are today while stopping a potentially deadly bioweapon from getting into the wrong hands.

#2 What inspired you to write your book?

Phoenix’s Ascent has been stewing in my brain for a long while. In fact, the whole Hera Force series was one I’ve been chomping at the bit to write for over a decade. I needed to get to a place in my writing to be able to pull off characters like Jo, Nadia, and Jade and the time was finally right after I finished a series I had with a now-defunct publisher.

I love thrillers, and I like having a bit of a romantic thread in the books, but I wasn’t finding what I wanted because most of the books I found that fit my bill were written by men. And I wasn’t happy with books written strictly in the romance genre because the heroine fell into that whole damsel in distress needing the Alpha hero to save them in the end. Don’t get me wrong, I like it when a hero holds his own. In the real world, we do have a lot of kick-butt women who need more spotlight.

#3 If you have a business related to the book, tell us about it.

I do not. All I have is my sales rep hat in the livestock business. But I am a sales rep for my own books, so hop over to my website www.winteraustin.com and find more of my backlist and other books.

#4 What is a typical day like for you? 

I don’t write full-time; I do have a day job that helps pay the bills, right along with the mom/wife hat. When I do write it’s usually on weekends, most mornings before work, and some evenings after work, and if I’m really hot and heavy on the story, during my hour lunch breaks. If we’re traveling to cattle shows or now catching those college football or basketball games, I write while my husband drives. I spent a good deal of my time this past summer hanging out in the hotel instead of in the hot cattle barn getting work done on my book. I try to handwrite when I’m dealing with writer’s block, but for the most part, I’ve got to have all my toys that are on my laptop. That whole visual/audio thing is a must, I need my Pinterest board of character models, and my go-to music, YouTube Music, and Audiomachine albums do wonders for scene moods.

#5 What do you most enjoy about what you do? 

Creating my own stories and characters. I have always loved telling stories and being an author gives me that outlet and let others read what my imagination comes up with.

#6 What are some favourite books you’d recommend to your readers?

I’m really into Andrea Penrose’s Wexford and Sloan Regency Mystery series and Charles Todd’s Inspector Rutledge or Beth Crawford’s WWI/post WWI mystery series. For a more contemporary series, I’m into Craig Johnson’s Longmire series and the more action-packed ones from Jack Carr and the late great Vince Flynn. And for the nitty-gritty, I always go for a Nalini Singh novel, whether from her Urban Fantasy series or her psychological thrillers.

#7 What would people be surprised to learn about you?

How fierce I truly am. We have a family situation going on right now, and everyone is finding out just how much my connections and writing research pay off. Also, I’m no longer offended when someone uses words meant to be vulgar toward me. I embrace those words and use them to my advantage when it comes to protecting those I love.

#8 What’s next for you?

I’m currently working on a 3rd book that is contracted with my other publishing house and when that’s turned in I’ll begin writing the 3rd book in my Hera Force series, this will be Jade’s book. I’m looking at creating some new projects, but they’re not ready for any kind of consumption at this point.

Phoenix’s Ascent – Book Review


Pages: 324
Genre: Military Romance / Romantic Suspense /Action
Published: 22 March 2022, with Tirgearr Publishing

Book Summary

(From Author)

A maniac developing a fantastical drug wants one more thing to finalize the project—a test subject who fits all the parameters. But that test subject is as elusive as her namesake.

Ex-SAS operative Mitch Edwards has been on the run since the moment he was framed for treason by someone in the British government. But he’s never forgotten the flamboyant and seductive CIA operative with the tongue of a thousand languages. In a bar in Cancun, Mexico, Mitch comes face to face with her once more, and with her comes the full force of her enemies.

Reinstated Hera Force linguist and assassin, Nadia Roth, code-named Phoenix, has no memory of Mitch Edwards, or of their affair before her team’s disastrous mission. Her traumatic brain injury is tricky that way. But something about this man sets her on fire and tickles the back of her mind. Her Hera teammates remember him, so why can’t she?

Mitch partners up with Hera, with the sole intent of locating those hell-bent on killing him and all who are associated with him. Yet more is at stake than their lives. A traitor hides among their ranks, one who has been revealing all their secrets to an enemy determined to procure this special drug and Nadia for his scheme.

Hera goes into operation mode, doing what they were created to do, but someone is watching, and the team finds themselves trapped behind enemy lines with no way out.

Will Nadia ever remember the man she once loved, or will they perish with the secret between them?

Rating

3/5

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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My Thoughts

Winters’s writing style was interesting but not always easy to read. I struggled a little in certain places. I can’t even tell you why I struggled. The story started off with a bang and had you reeling from the action that was happening and the confusion that reigned. I was hooked quickly because I wanted to know what on earth was going on.

I will always enjoy a storyline where the women kick ass and end up being the heroes as well. I don’t usually read action books like this but I do like watching movies like this. That being said, I enjoyed the read, especially as I reached the middle of the book, then it really got interesting. The story kept me guessing and I was seriously surprised by some of the outcomes and events that happened. I was kept on the edge of my seat, so to speak.

Winter detailed the scenes around the characters in such a way that I could see them in my head. The protagonist was a badass agent with the codename Phoenix and whose real name was Nadia. I liked that she had a funny side to her even though it sometimes felt a little childish for someone that kills people for a living. We get to know more about her as the story progresses and I enjoyed reading about her journey.

There’s a lot of dialogue in the action scenes and I often didn’t know who was talking as it wasn’t annotated so I was reading some of the dialogue mechanically and not really getting invested in the scene and the characters. I also can’t speak Spanish, so when they did that in the beginning, I had no idea what was being said. Besides that, I enjoyed the different types of banter between the different characters and how it brought out their personalities. Jade and Lincoln’s remarks to each other made me laugh.

Trying to remember everyone’s code names, as well as their names, was a mission and I eventually gave up bothering who was who. I knew who Phoenix was, as well as Mockingbird and Dragon. There were also so many nicknames, you eventually get lost in who’s who. I enjoyed the characters and how they moved the story forward. I honestly thought that David was a mole or bad guy. We also didn’t ever learn the truth about David and what his story is. Maybe that book is still coming. What I need to warn the reader about is lots of swearing, using God’s name, and violence (which is expected because it’s an action). This is book two in a series. I haven’t read book one yet but I wouldn’t mind reading it as well.

I would recommend this book to people that enjoy action, military romance, and suspense. Not a bad read at all.

Book Links: 

Amazon
Goodreads

Author Links:

Winter Austin
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