The Road to Hell

Sidney watched in horror as the truck began to burn.

Brian Parker
The Road to Hell

Format:
Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Winter has never been so hot, nor the world so dangerous. 

Sidney Bannister has been lucky so far. With no survival training and no real skills besides her street smarts, she realizes that must learn to fight so she can protect her newborn baby from the infected that plague the United States. 

Enemies from her former life arise to bring the AWOL Lieutenant Jake Murphy to justice. The hunt intensifies as the remnants of Jake’s old unit close in around him and his group of survivors. 

In the middle of the chaos, Iranian aircraft fill the skies of Kansas, forcing the Americans to make decisions that will impact all of their lives. How much is Sidney’s small group willing to sacrifice to stay together? 

Point of view:
3rd person.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
These are part of a series and while individual characters’ story arcs diverge after the 1st book, Five Roads to Texas – they also start to come back together in some ways. Definitely best to listen to them in order (and all of them!). Also, this review may contain spoilers to previous books.

This picks up a few months after the end of After the Roads – about a year after the outbreak began. Sidney, Jake, Carmen and the kids have found a safe haven at Vern’s farm. Unfortunately, Jake’s status as a deserter and an escaping Iranian team threaten to disrupt the tenuous peace. Well, as peaceful as you can be when there’s still infected finding their way to your farm.

Again, some folks are lost (though I’m probably not as sad about them as I should be) and new people join the group. It’s also apparent that staying is no longer an option. I liked the dynamic the new characters brought – especially Grady and Mark.

Like the other books in the series, answers about how and why this started only bring more questions. It might also be they’ve stumbled across a possible cure.

Lots of great action, political intrigue, and some very emotional scenes.

Narration:
I love that Andrew B Wehrlen continues to narrate the series – but it leaves me with nothing original to say about him. He’s a great fit and these are easy to binge.

About the author:
A veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Brian Parker retired from the US Army after 25 years of service in 2020. Brian enjoys hiking, obstacle course racing, writing, and Texas Longhorns football. He’s an unashamed Star Wars fan, but prefers to disregard the entire Episode I and II debacle…and the newer Episode VIII disaster.

Brian is both traditionally and self-published with an ever-growing collection of works across multiple genres, including sci-fi, post-apocalyptic/dystopian, horror, paranormal thriller, military fiction, self-publishing how-to and even a children’s picture book–Zombie in the Basement, which he wrote to help children overcome the perceived stigma of being different than others.

You can connect with Brian Parker here:

About the narrator:
With a strong, friendly and confident voice, Andy will tell you a story in a conversational way that seems like you’re hearing it from a friend you trust.

​Specializing in sci-fi, thrillers, horror,  post-apocalyptic and genre specific.

You can connect with Andrew B. Wehrlen here:

My Favorite Quotes

I can’t tell for sure, but looks like a few hundred of them about a mile away. – After the Roads by Brian Parker #Audiobook narrated by Andrew B. Wehrlen #Zombies #FiveRoadsToTexas #Thriller #Suspense

Sidney watched in horror as the truck began to burn. – After the Roads by Brian Parker #Audiobook narrated by Andrew B. Wehrlen #Zombies #FiveRoadsToTexas #Thriller #Suspense

They were going to make these bastards wish they’d never set foot in America. – After the Roads by Brian Parker #Audiobook narrated by Andrew B. Wehrlen #Zombies #FiveRoadsToTexas #Thriller #Suspense

Second Chance Ranch

Aaron couldn’t get his mind off the tall, dark, dangerous guy who’d shut the door in his face.

RJ Scott
Second Chance Ranch

Format:
ebook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Rob runs to Crooked Tree determined to find a safe place for his nephews. A family for them is the final thing on his list, and then he can vanish completely. Falling for a local paramedic along the way is a disaster in Rob’s otherwise perfect plans.

Paramedic Aaron, the middle of five brothers, would like someone to love. A great believer in fate he is convinced though, that one day he’ll find someone. He just never thought it would be a man in so much pain, or that children would be part of the package.

Rob is ready to leave. Aaron wants him to stay. Their love has an expiry date, and it’s tearing them apart. Can they find a way to save what they have?

Point of view:
3rd person. Alternating by chapter between Rob & Aaron’s perspectives.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
Note: This one might stand alone better than some of the others… but this series is best read in order and the stories make more sense when you’ve read the previous books. This review may contain spoilers to earlier books.

This might be my favorite of the series (though I still love Nate & Jay). Lots of my favorite tropes: kids, age gap (Rob is 31 & Aaron is 43), older MCs, ex-military.

Rob is reluctant guardian to his nephews after the death of his sister. Convinced he can’t be a parent and desperate to find a forever home for them – Rob runs to Justin and Crooked Tree Ranch. Not only was he not planning on falling for the boys, but sexy paramedic Aaron wasn’t on his list either.

I loved the story of these two. Rob and Aaron are both ex-military, opinionated, strong willed, and things between them are fireworks. I don’t want to spoil anything so it’s hard to share how desperate Rob is to leave and how much everyone, especially Aaron works to have him stay.

And the epilogue! I love epilogues and this one was great.

Content Warning: (contains spoilers)
Death of a family member from cancer. MC has a chronic & life threatening illness. MC talks about & plans suicide.

About the author:
RJ is the author of the over one hundred novels and discovered romance in books at a very young age. She realized that if there wasn’t romance on the page, she could create it in her head, and is a lifelong writer.

She lives and works out of her home in the beautiful English countryside, spends her spare time reading, watching films, and enjoying time with her family.

The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit and has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.

You can connect with RJ Scott here:

My Favorite Quotes

Rob Brady knew three things. His sister was dead, he was the guardian to her two boys, and he was stuck in Hell. – Second Chance Ranch by @Rjscott_author #SmallTown #Romance #Montana #MM #Ranch #Paramedic #Hitman

“Fuck you, Navy,” Aaron snapped, aware this was not a fight he was going to win. “Fuck you right back, Army.” – Second Chance Ranch by @Rjscott_author #SmallTown #Romance #Montana #MM #Ranch #Paramedic #Hitman

Aaron couldn’t get his mind off the tall, dark, dangerous guy who’d shut the door in his face. – Second Chance Ranch by @Rjscott_author #SmallTown #Romance #Montana #MM #Ranch #Paramedic #Hitman

Showdown at Chimney Rock

Every time we meet, we’re reacting. It would be nice to get the upper hand for once.

Rich Baker
Showdown at Chimney Rock

Format:
Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
A global pandemic burns through the population leaving America in shambles. 

Sarah Washburn and her crew are forced to go on the run from an indefensible horde. 

Isolated in the Colorado high country, they’re pursued at every turn by mercenaries who want something they have.

An impossible situation with low odds of survival, and their luck running out, they have one shot.

A final chance to take a stand in a showdown that will alter the fate of the new world.

Point of view:
3rd person. Multiple perspectives.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
These are part of a series and while individual characters’ story arcs diverge after the 1st book, Five Roads to Texas – they also start to come back together in some ways. Definitely best to listen to them in order (and all of them!). Also, this review may contain spoilers to previous books.

I’m really into this series. It continues to be a great mix of emotions, action, and thriller. The last we heard about Sarah & Charlie Washburn, they were escaping the collapsing Beaumont Medical Center with a few others. Little do they know that Leonard’s decision to grab a souvenir is going to lead to the fight of their lives.

A lot less Zombie fighting and more Good v Evil. No complaints. I liked all the perspectives in this one – especially the Iranian soldiers. It adds so much depth to the story and provides a lot of insight into many “combat” scenes.

As always, I’m crushed by those that are lost. There are no “red shirts” in these stories. Never know who is going to survive.

I’m looking forward to catching up with Sydney in book 6, The Road to Hell.

Narration:
Andrew B Wehrlen continues to do a great job with the narration. Lots of voices, accents, emotions to work with. Consistent and smooth transition between characters. He makes these so easy to binge.

About the authors:
Rich Baker lives on the front range of the Rocky Mountains in northern Colorado and may or may not have a Danny Harris-style bunker where he can take refuge from the zombies when the inevitable apocalypse strikes. When he’s not writing or working, he enjoys running in the Colorado sunshine, even if it’s 20 degrees outside! He also enjoys an occasional round of golf and binging on the latest Netflix sensations.

You can connect with Rich Baker here:

About the narrator:
With a strong, friendly and confident voice, Andy will tell you a story in a conversational way that seems like you’re hearing it from a friend you trust.

​Specializing in sci-fi, thrillers, horror,  post-apocalyptic and genre specific.

You can connect with Andrew B. Wehrlen here:

My Favorite Quotes

I think I know what those guys were after. – Showdown at Chimney Rock by @rbakerbooks #Audiobook narrated by Andrew B. Wehrlen #FiveRoadsToTexas #Zombies #Horror #Thriller #Suspense

Every time we meet, we’re reacting. It would be nice to get the upper hand for once. – Showdown at Chimney Rock by @rbakerbooks #Audiobook narrated by Andrew B. Wehrlen #FiveRoadsToTexas #Zombies #Horror #Thriller #Suspense

Snow in Montana

There was a lot of complicated family up here.

RJ Scott
Snow in Montana

Format:
ebook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
An actor in the closet, a sheriff in love, and memories that won’t stay hidden.

Jordan Darby is known as the King of Christmas. The star of eight made-for-TV Christmas movies, the leading man who always gets his girl. Filming at Crooked Tree Ranch in Montana, in the ice and snow, Jordan is fighting to make a go of his new company and dealing with fears of exposure over one huge secret. After all, who the hell would buy into him being a romantic straight lead if rumors about him being gay were proven to be true?

Sheriff Ryan Carter is advising on the new movie being made at Crooked Tree. He hoped this would be one day of work and nothing more. Until, that is, he meets the hero. But while Jordan is sexy, he’s also very much stuck in the closet—everything that Ryan doesn’t need in his life. And then lust becomes part of the equation, and Ryan’s quiet life is thrown into turmoil.

Their story unfolds against the chaos that overtakes the ranch, with Adam regaining memories that terrify him and make him look at Justin differently, and Justin leaving the ranch to make things right. Only through trusting in love and friendship can Justin and Adam learn to look to the future instead of letting the past destroy everything. But will they ever see clearly enough to do that?

Point of view:
3rd person. Alternating by chapter between Ryan & Jordan’s perspectives.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
This book does not stand on its own. While each book concentrates on a main could they build off events from previous books. As such this may contain spoilers from books 1-3.

While Justin’s continued vagueness was irritating, I liked the way Scott wrapped up of the Justin/Adam situation.

I just wish it hadn’t overshadowed Ryan and Jordan’s story. They were enjoyable characters and a cute couple and I wanted more of their relationship. It felt like it was just starting and then jumped to forever.

About the author:
RJ is the author of the over one hundred novels and discovered romance in books at a very young age. She realized that if there wasn’t romance on the page, she could create it in her head, and is a lifelong writer.

She lives and works out of her home in the beautiful English countryside, spends her spare time reading, watching films, and enjoying time with her family.

The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit and has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.

You can connect with RJ Scott here:

A Cowboy’s Home

If he believed in fate, which he didn’t, he would say that he was meant to be there at that moment for this man.

RJ Scott
A cowboy’s Home

Format:
ebook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
One burned and broken man finds his way home. Can he find peace in the arms of a man easy to love?

Justin made the ultimate sacrifice for his country, battling domestic terrorism, never the man he really was, using hate to avenge the death of his best friend. The friend he’d killed.

What he doesn’t count on is getting shot, and if he’s going to die he wants it to be on Crooked Tree soil. Home.

Sam is as much a part of Crooked Tree as any of the families, and the offer to buy into the ranch is a dream come true. But falling for a hidden, secretive, injured man isn’t the way to keep his head in the game.

Point of view:
3rd person. Alternating by chapter between Sam & Justin’s perspectives.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
This isn’t a stand alone. All the stories are about a different couple but events build off each other. This one is basically the second half of book 2, The Rancher’s Son.

While I liked the concept & details of wrapping up the “mystery of what happened to Justin” – the execution didn’t work for me. Justin’s return is filled with chapters of Justin being incredibly vague and trying to leave.

Unfortunately, I also didn’t feel any connection between Justin & Sam. It seemed very superficial and almost like “only two gay dudes left”. I liked them as characters, but them together never clicked for me.

However, I generally enjoy Scott’s writing – so I’m not giving up on her or the series. I think it’s just one of those things where you can’t like 100% of an author’s work.

About the author:
RJ is the author of the over one hundred novels and discovered romance in books at a very young age. She realized that if there wasn’t romance on the page, she could create it in her head, and is a lifelong writer.

She lives and works out of her home in the beautiful English countryside, spends her spare time reading, watching films, and enjoying time with her family.

The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit and has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.

You can connect with RJ Scott here:

The Girl in the White Van

If he was anonymous to me, that meant I was to him as well. Anonymous meant disposable.

April Henry
The Girl in the White Van

Format:
Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
When Savannah disappears soon after arguing with her mom’s boyfriend, everyone assumes she’s run away. The truth is much worse. She’s been kidnapped by a man in a white van who locks her in an old trailer home, far from prying eyes. 

And worse yet, Savannah’s not alone: ten months earlier, Jenny met the same fate and nearly died trying to escape. Now as the two girls wonder if he will hold them captive forever or kill them, they must join forces to break out—even if it means they die trying.

Point of view:
3rd Person.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
While I don’t read/listen to a lot of YA – I enjoyed my first April Henry book, The Girl I Used to Be, last year and wanted to dive into this one.

I liked that this was from multiple perspectives, including both girls, their families, a friend, and that of the kidnapper (unidentified until the end). Savannah & Jenny find strength in each other and collaborate to escape before their kidnapper can follow through on his terrible plans.

Henry does a great job of making her heroines realistic, competent, and vulnerable. In this case, Savannah and Jenny are quite different in personalities and experiences – but they work together well. It’s a good mix of mystery & suspense.

I loved the epilogue that tied things up nicely.

Narration:
Amy McFadden does a great job here with a fairly large cast of characters. She really helped immerse me in the emotional and suspenseful moments. She continues to be one of my favorite narrators.

About the author:
New York Times-bestselling author April Henry knows how to kill you in a two-dozen different ways. She makes up for a peaceful childhood in an intact home by killing off fictional characters. There was one detour on April’s path to destruction:  when she was 12 she sent a short story about a six-foot tall frog who loved peanut butter to noted children’s author Roald Dahl. He liked it so much he showed it to his editor, who asked if she could publish it in Puffin Post, an international children’s magazine. By the time April was in her 30s, she had started writing about hit men, kidnappers, and drug dealers. She has published 25 mysteries and thrillers for teens and adults, with more to come. She is known for meticulously researching her novels to get the details right. 

You can connect with April Henry here:

About the narrator:
From Amy McFadden’s website: I live in Michigan and even in the dead of winter I love to laugh so much that I never have to do situps. Truthfully, I probably wouldn’t do situps anyway, but hey, laughter is the best medicine, so I must be SUPER healthy, right?

I’m an actress now, and I used to be a 2nd grade teacher. I loved that part of my life, but after doing it for a bunch of years, I was ready to move on to the next version of me. They’re not really very different versions-teachers and actresses both reach out and engage people through stories. I’m NOT a morning person, but waking up to tell stories makes mornings better-than-tolerable.

I love books and the Muppets and smart people and kind people (not necessarily in that order) and sleeping and chocolate and coffee and writers and learning and Oreo cookies and a bunch of other stuff-but I’m starting to make myself gag on all this love.

I hate a bunch of stuff, too, but who cares about that junk? It’s probably the same stuff you hate, so I won’t bore you. Except I REALLY hate listening to people eat bananas.

You can connect with Amy McFadden here:

My Favorite Quotes

If he was anonymous to me, that meant I was to him as well. Anonymous meant disposable. – The Girl in the White Van by @aprilhenrybooks #Audiobook narrated by @amymcnarrator #Mystery #Suspense #Thriller #YoungAdult

Some days I felt nothing but small. Others I felt enormous, the RV shrinking around me. – The Girl in the White Van by @aprilhenrybooks #Audiobook narrated by @amymcnarrator #Mystery #Suspense #Thriller #YoungAdult

It felt like my throat was closing. Like my heart was about to give out. I could hear my own breaths, shallow and fast. – The Girl in the White Van by @aprilhenrybooks #Audiobook narrated by @amymcnarrator #Mystery #Suspense #Thriller #YoungAdult

Maybe Bruce Lee was saying there are times you have to stop fighting and redefine yourself based on your circumstances. – The Girl in the White Van by @aprilhenrybooks #Audiobook narrated by @amymcnarrator #Mystery #Suspense #Thriller #YoungAdult

My Best Friend’s Mardi Gras Wedding

Maybe there was something in the air down here that made people unabashed. She took a nice deep breath, just in case. Unabashed seemed fun.

Erin Nicholas
My Best Friend’s Mardi Gras Wedding

Format:
Audiobook

Note: While I snagged my audio copy on sale via Kobo, at the time of this review the ebook is available via Kindle Unlimited on Amazon.

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Josh Landry is one of the hottest bartenders in New Orleans. He’s shown many a female tourist that things are definitely big and easy down here.

And he’s now been celibate for a year. Because he finally met her.

Yes, her. The One.

But, after nothing more than a hot goodnight kiss and a promise to meet up again next year if they’re both still interested, she went home to Iowa.

It’s been a long year.

But now it’s Mardi Gras again and he’s ready for his happily ever after.

If she shows up.

***

Oh, she shows up. For her best friend’s wedding.

But Tori is a terrible bridesmaid because all she can think about is her knight-in-shining-Mardi-Gras-beads from last year.

Well, and because she accidentally lays a hot kiss on her BFF.

Aka, the groom.

Unfortunately, no one believes that it was a case of mistaken identity. So, now she has to convince everyone she has no intention of ruining the wedding. She’s going to need a crazy-about-her boyfriend ASAP. Even if he’s just faking it.

Well there’s only one other person she knows in Louisiana…

Josh is all in. In fact, he’s thrilled. And he’s not faking anything.

But the groom isn’t faking his sudden case of cold feet either.

And now Tori might have a choice to make.

Point of view:
3rd person. Alternating by Josh & Tori’s perspectives.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
This was such a fun listen – a great combo of sweet, sexy, hilarious, quirky heroine, and a love-struck Bayou Boy. Can Josh & Tori turn a weekend a year ago that neither can forget into something more?

This is romance, so the answer is obviously yes – but the way Nicholas brings them together is delightful. Navigating Tori’s best friend’s wedding provides lots of opportunities for Josh to show her how special she is. She also gets to know Josh’s outrageous and loving family.

While the majority of the story only spans a few days, these two prove they’re perfect for each other. Such an adorable couple.

I’m definitely hooked on the Landry family and looking forward to Owen’s book, Sweet Home Louisiana.

Narration:
I loved the narration by Neill Thorne and Amanda Stribling. They complemented each other well and were a great fit for the characters. They both did a good job of giving the characters subtle accents, perfect sexy southern drawl.

About the author:
Erin Nicholas: I’ve been reading romance since my mom first let me into her book cupboard when I was about fourteen. LaVyrle Spencer, Julie Garwood, Debbie Macomber… they took my ‘happily ever after’ ideas from animated princesses to real people in the real world.

I’ve been writing romance almost as long. Many a family car trip was spent with my head bent over a spiral notebook in the back seat. I’ll confess that my very first attempts at fiction were fantasy and paranormals, influenced by my father’s love of the Lord of the RingsThe Chronicles of Narnia, and the original Alice in Wonderland. If Harry Potter had been around, I’m sure he would have been on the bedtime story shelf as well.

But it wasn’t long until I started writing about true love and that’s where I’ve been ever since.

I’m so thrilled to be able to share these stories with you! I hope that they make you smile, sigh, maybe even choke up a little. Most of all, I hope that they help you believe in magical things like first kisses, the spark of passion, and the power of true love.

You can connect with Erin Nicholas here:

About the narrators:
Amanda Stribling is a southern gal and home sweet home in Music City – aka Nashville, Tennessee.  She is living her best life with her husband and the most fabulous set of twins on the planet. She feels like she is the luckiest girl alive – She gets to read amazing books for a living! 

You can connect with Amanda Stribling here:

About the narrators:
Neill Thorne: I’ve always loved reading, which isn’t that unusual. What’s strange, maybe, is that I’ve always loved reading out loud. There’s something magical that happens when the written word transforms into the spoken word. In the book Inkheart, characters literally appear from the pages when one of the main characters reads out loud. That’s what I aspire to (no, not literally) as I read and record audiobooks, the journey of bringing the characters and the story to life. It’s why I love being an audiobook producer. So join me, and let’s go on a journey together!

You can connect with Neill Thorne here:

My Favorite Quotes

She might not flirt much—or at all—but maybe she didn’t completely suck at it. – My Best Friend’s Mardi Gras Wedding by @ErinNicholas #Audiobook @apstribling Neill Thorne @PFPAudiobooks #SecondChance #Veterinarian #Bartender #BoysOfTheBayou #RomanticComedy

Maybe there was something in the air down here that made people unabashed. She took a nice deep breath, just in case. Unabashed seemed fun. – My Best Friend’s Mardi Gras Wedding by @ErinNicholas #Audiobook @apstribling Neill Thorne @PFPAudiobooks #SecondChance #Veterinarian #Bartender #BoysOfTheBayou #RomanticComedy

Her face broke into a huge smile and Josh felt his heart thunk hard against his sternum. – My Best Friend’s Mardi Gras Wedding by @ErinNicholas #Audiobook @apstribling Neill Thorne @PFPAudiobooks #SecondChance #Veterinarian #Bartender #BoysOfTheBayou #RomanticComedy

Wow, she really loved the sound of his laugh. It was a deep, sexy rumbling that seemed to come from his gut. – My Best Friend’s Mardi Gras Wedding by @ErinNicholas #Audiobook @apstribling Neill Thorne @PFPAudiobooks #SecondChance #Veterinarian #Bartender #BoysOfTheBayou #RomanticComedy

Convergence: The Far Side of Hell

Each photo he looked at began with joyful memories but ended with the searing-hot pain of loss.

AJ Powers
Convergence: The Far Side of Hell

Format:
Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Even in death, life rarely goes as planned. 

Having nothing left to live for, Malcom is given a shot at redemption when a woman named Tessa needs his help. With death looming, Malcom, Tessa, and her children flee Cincinnati with their sights set on El Paso. They know the trip won’t be easy, but nothing could prepare them for the nightmares ahead.  

Follow these new characters in the Five Roads to Texas series as they set sail on a harrowing journey to what might be the last bastion of hope in America.

Point of view:
3rd person. Multiple perspectives, mostly Malcom & Tessa.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
Note: This is part of a series. While these are completely new characters and this runs somewhat concurrently to others in the series – I’d definitely recommend at least reading book 1, Five Roads to Texas to understand the premise.

Oh my gosh! I think this is my favorite of the series so far. Which is interesting given how much I love military books and this one was just regular folks. Survivor Malcom meets up with Tessa and her two children, teen Naomi & toddler TJ. Already dealing with grief and loss individually, this alliance proved to be just as harrowing and emotional as the other stories.

Even simple trips to seemingly abandoned stores to stock up on supplies become fraught with dangers. After tragedy strikes the escape from Ohio, finding their way to Texas becomes even more urgent.

Safe. For now. I hope to hear more about these characters as the series goes on.

Narration:
Andrew B Wehrlen continues to be a great fit for the series. His voices and especially the emotions are wonderful

About the author:
AJ Powers

About the narrator:
With a strong, friendly and confident voice, Andy will tell you a story in a conversational way that seems like you’re hearing it from a friend you trust.

​Specializing in sci-fi, thrillers, horror,  post-apocalyptic and genre specific.

You can connect with Andrew B. Wehrlen here:

My Favorite Quotes

Cameron’s ultimate gift became his greatest nightmare. – Convergence by @aj_powers #Audiobook narrated by Andrew B. Wehrlen #PhalanxPress #FiveRoadsToTexas #Zombies #Horror #Thriller #Suspense

Each photo he looked at began with joyful memories but ended with the searing-hot pain of loss. – Convergence by @aj_powers #Audiobook narrated by Andrew B. Wehrlen #PhalanxPress #FiveRoadsToTexas #Zombies #Horror #Thriller #Suspense


Distractions in this world would get her, and her kids, killed. She had to stay sharp and mend relationships another day, whether she liked it or not. – Convergence by @aj_powers #Audiobook narrated by Andrew B. Wehrlen #PhalanxPress #FiveRoadsToTexas #Zombies #Horror #Thriller #Suspense

In the Arms of the Beast

Format:
Audiobook.

Note: The series has been combined into a box set, both ebook & audio. I grabbed mine on Kobo, but it’s distributed widely.

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Neither Laurent nor Beast ever considered that they would make another pact with a devil, but in the spur of the moment, the temptation becomes too great, and they decide on one more deal.

This time, with Mr. Magpie.

What they get, though, might prove to be more than they can handle. The danger to the human world has already been a strain on their relationship, but Magpie’s gift brings out the worst in both Laurent and Beast. Confronted with each other’s flaws, they need to decide if, despite what they’ve been through together, maybe they’re just not meant to be.

Point of view:
3rd person. Alternating perspectives between Laurent & Beast. Epilogues from the other pairs.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
Note: These books do not stand alone. While each book follows the relationship of one couple, there’s a storyline threaded throughout all of them. They need to be listened to in order starting with Laurent and the Beast. Also, reviews may contain spoilers to previous books.

I’m utterly devastated by this book, and not in a good way. While in some ways it was good, it was completely inconsistent with all the previous books of the series. For the most part this reads like a somewhat dramatic New Adult RomCom.

With the exception of the epilogues – this was from Beast & Laurent’s perspectives. Most of the dark and twisted was replaced with sophomoric jokes and insufferable immaturity by Laurent and sometimes Beast. While I get that Laurent is still acclimating to current times and a relationship – his behavior is the antithesis of what he demanded from Beast. He dismissed his partner’s wishes, feelings, and needs at every turn with unending petulance. I get that one of Laurent’s choices was needed as catalyst for the ending, but the minutiae of that took up more than 1/2 the book.

The conclusion of the “Battle against Baal” was anticlimactic. Events happen that are never addressed & left hanging. The epilogues, in particular, felt like the authors were concentrating more on launching a new spin-off series than they were with satisfactorily ending this one.

Narration:
Joel Leslie was absolute perfection throughout this entire series. He didn’t get to show off his talents as much this time as Beast & Laurent took up almost all of the dialogue – but he was still flawless.

About the author:
K.A. Merikan are a team of writers who try not to suck at adulting, with some success. Always eager to explore the murky waters of the weird and wonderful, K.A. Merikan don’t follow fixed formulas and want each of their books to be a surprise for those who choose to hop on for the ride.

You can connect with K.A. Merikan here:

About the narrator:
Joel Leslie is a UK transplant, growing up with American parents in a British commonwealth.  A classically trained actor with an MFA in theatre from USC, he is often cast for his unique ability to deliver native, authentic combinations of American and British sounds.  His great range and ability to bring characters to life with honesty, wit and versatility delights producers and listeners alike. 

You can connect with Joel Leslie here:

Everything My Mother Taught Me

She would have to do away with herself in order to have a life of her own.

Allison Hoffman
Everything My Mother Taught Me

Format:
ebook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
In this haunting short story of loyalty and betrayal, a young woman in early 1900s Massachusetts discovers that in navigating her treacherous coming-of-age, she must find her voice first.

For fatefully observant Adeline, growing up carries an ominous warning from her adulterous mother: don’t say a word. Adeline vows to never speak again. But that’s not her only secret. After her mother takes a housekeeping job at a lighthouse off the tip of Cape Ann, a local woman vanishes. The key to the mystery lies with Adeline, the silent witness. New York Times bestselling author of The Rules of Magic Alice Hoffman crafts a beautiful, heart-wrenching short story.

Point of view:

Rellim’s thoughts:
While less than an hour in length this was an intriguing listen. This was told entirely from 12 year old Adeline’s perspective. Set in 1908 on a small island, she’s faced with her mother’s destructive and abusive behavior.

I really enjoyed the story, particularly Hoffman’s vivid and sometimes chilling writing.

Narration:
Brittany Pressley was a great choice for this short. She has a young voice perfect for Adeline, but still brings the emotional emphasis needed for the plot.

About the author:
Alice Hoffman is the author of more than thirty works of fiction, including Magic Lessons: The Prequel to Practical Magic, The World That We Knew, The Rules of Magic, The Marriage of Opposites, Practical Magic, The Red Garden, the Oprah’s Book Club selection Here on Earth, The Museum of Extraordinary Things, and The Dovekeepers. She lives near Boston.

You can connect with Alice Hoffman here:

About the narrator:
You can connect with Brittany Pressley here:

My Favorite Quotes

She had told me often enough to keep my mouth shut, and now I did exactly that. I abolished all language on the day of my father’s funeral. – Everything My Mother Taught Me by @ahoffmanwriter #Audiobook narrated by @brit_pressley #KindleUnlimited #AmazonOriginal #ShortStory #Drama

She was pretty, but you had to search for her beauty, which was hidden in her kind eyes. – Everything My Mother Taught Me by @ahoffmanwriter #Audiobook narrated by @brit_pressley #KindleUnlimited #AmazonOriginal #ShortStory #Drama

She would have to do away with herself in order to have a life of her own. – Everything My Mother Taught Me by @ahoffmanwriter #Audiobook narrated by @brit_pressley #KindleUnlimited #AmazonOriginal #ShortStory #Drama