The Second and His Bonded

When you’re ready to let go of all that worrying, you let me know. I’m ready to help you carry it.

Kiki Clark
The Second and His Bonded

Format:
Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
As the son of an enemy, Kieran never expected to find a family with the Kincaid Pack… or a true mate’s bond.

After barely escaping his abusive family, wolf shifter Kieran McAllister struggles to find his place in the Kincaid Pack. Especially with the pushy but gorgeous second-in-command showing up every time Kieran turns around… and making him want things he shouldn’t.

The traumatized wolf who continuously refuses Bennett Young’s help has begun to haunt his dreams. But if there’s one thing he knows, it’s that tiger shifters don’t have mates. So why can’t Bennett get Kieran’s sad eyes out of his head?

Despite their differences, Kieran and Bennet find something they never expected in each other. Just as their bond begins to grow though, Kieran’s past threatens to destroy the very pack they both have been fighting to protect.

Point of view:
3rd person. Alternating between Bennet & Kieran.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
Quick note: I just learned there’s a prequel book, A New Pack for New Year. It’s only available as a freebie through Clark’s website, so it isn’t listed on Goodreads. I’m hoping to sit down in the next few days to read it.

The Second and His Bonded is the 2nd book in Kiki Clark’s Kincaid Pack series. While each book features a different couple and it’s own storyline – there are several story arcs running through the series as a whole, so you’ll want to start with The Alpha and His King and listen to them in order.

I admit – I was kind of in love with Bennet by the end of book 1 and was really looking forward to his story. He was so amazing with Kai that I knew he’d be awesome with whomever Clark paired him with. I wasn’t wrong. Kieran and Kai are a lot alike and I do wish there had been a bit more to differentiate the romantic/relational aspect of this story – but I still enjoyed it. Partially because of Bennet’s endearing personality and the interwoven mystery/suspense of the series. Kieran is understandably prickly and watching him bloom as a person and with Bennet was so much fun.

While The Deputy and His Enforcer is already out in ebook – I’ll be waiting for the audio due sometime this Summer. Because…

Narration:
Kirt Graves is wonderful in this. I like that the various character voices are consistent from book to book. It makes it easy to listen to them back to back (yup, I relistened to The Alpha and His King again). I’m definitely looking forward to more of this series and of Graves in particular.

About the author:
A small town Michigan girl, Kiki has enjoyed reading since she first picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone as a child. After that, she devoured everything she could get her hands on and dreamed of one time writing her own books that touched people’s hearts. In her early twenties, she discovered LGBTQ romances and had a realization: these were her people and this was where she belonged.  Nearly ten years later, she’s proud to finally join the ranks of authors releasing character-driven, emotionally satisfying books showcasing that everyone deserves to find love. 

You can connect with Kiki Clark here:

About the narrator:
Kirt Graves spent 15 years teaching young people how to interpret drama, poetry, and literature. He has voiced over 80 audiobooks spanning contemporary romance, sci-fi, urban fantasy, young adult, and non-fiction. His passion is for telling queer stories, the types of stories he wishes he had while growing up. A tenor by training, Kirt easily moves between characters of any age, genre, and gender. In addition to his work as an audiobook narrator, Kirt is a graphic artist, a podcast host, and an award-winning speech coach.

You can connect with Kirt Graves here:

My Favorite Quotes

It seemed like this pack had a knack for collecting lost souls with shitty families. – The Second and His Bonded by @kikiclark_ #Audiobook narrated by @KirtGraves #MM #Romance #Shifter #KincaidPack

He’d hesitated to take that final step with Bennett, not because he didn’t want to but because he wanted it more than he could ever express. – The Second and His Bonded by @kikiclark_ #Audiobook narrated by @KirtGraves #MM #Romance #Shifter #KincaidPack

When you’re ready to let go of all that worrying, you let me know. I’m ready to help you carry it. – The Second and His Bonded by @kikiclark_ #Audiobook narrated by @KirtGraves #MM #Romance #Shifter #KincaidPack

It takes real strength to trust someone else that much. And it would be an honor to have you trust me. – The Second and His Bonded by @kikiclark_ #Audiobook narrated by @KirtGraves #MM #Romance #Shifter #KincaidPack

The Darkest Day

For all the dangers of his profession being chained to a desk five days a week seemed a far worse kind of hell.

Tom Wood
The Darkest Day

Format:
Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
He is darkness. She wants him dead.
In a city starved of light, she might just succeed.

She moves like a shadow; she kills silently: Raven. This elegant assassin has been on the run for years. This time though, she has picked the wrong target. 

The hitman known only as ‘Victor’ is as paranoid as he is merciless, and is no stranger to being hunted. He tracks his would-be killer across the globe, aiming not only to neutralise the threat, but to discover who wants him dead. The trail leads to New York…

And then the lights go out.

Over twelve hours of unremitting darkness, Manhattan dissolves into chaos. Amid looting, conspiracy and blackout, Victor and Raven play a vicious game of cat and mouse that the city will never forget.

Point of view:
3rd person. Alternating perspectives, not by chapter, but clearly defined.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
The Darkest Day is the 5th Victor the Assassin book by Tom Wood. While there are tiny details from other books – you really could listen to this one completely on its own. I don’t know why anyone would want to just jump in here… but hey – go wild!

The only issue with binging these books is that the reviews are feeling super repetitive. I love Wood’s writing. I love Victor as a character. I enjoy being totally immersed in the action scenes. I don’t enjoy being wrong when I think I’ve guessed where things are going and I’m surprised by what happens – but that’s a personality flaw and not derision of Wood’s writing.

This book differs from the others in that Victor finds himself begrudgingly teamed up with someone alarmingly like himself in skill and purpose. Which is definitely hard considering Victor doesn’t trust anyone, least of all Raven. Overall a lot of big-action antihero fun.

Narration:
Rob Shapiro continues to do a fantastic job. I honestly can’t imagine reading these to myself. All the accents, emotions – there’s no way I could do the writing justice. I’m drawn in and immersed from opening to end.

About the author:
You can connect with Tom Wood here:

About the narrator:
Rob Shapiro is a voice actor, narrator, songwriter and performer living in Los Angeles, but he’s really everywhere.

You can connect with Rob Shapiro here:

My Favorite Quotes

A significant part of his life was spent acting; even so, pretending he was just another regular guy while maintaining a permanent guard was a difficult balance to achieve. – The Darkest Day by @TheTomWood #Audiobook narrated by @RobuLuxe #VictorTheAssassin #Thriller #Suspense

For all the dangers of his profession being chained to a desk five days a week seemed a far worse kind of hell. – The Darkest Day by @TheTomWood #Audiobook narrated by @RobuLuxe #VictorTheAssassin #Thriller #Suspense

I’m the worst enemy you’ll ever have. – The Darkest Day by @TheTomWood #Audiobook narrated by @RobuLuxe #VictorTheAssassin #Thriller #Suspense

Soaked with rainwater was always preferable to being soaked with his own blood. – The Darkest Day by @TheTomWood #Audiobook narrated by @RobuLuxe #VictorTheAssassin #Thriller #Suspense

It would be bordering on cruel to kill someone so clueless. – The Darkest Day by @TheTomWood #Audiobook narrated by @RobuLuxe #VictorTheAssassin #Thriller #Suspense

One & Only

The real woman inside screamed silently, knowing she’d wilt and die if she didn’t get out soon.

M. K. Chester
One & Only

Format:
ebook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
A desperate woman meets a man on a mission.

Maggie Sturgus thought she knew the man she married. She couldn’t be more wrong. Trapped in an abusive marriage inside a prominent family, she sees no means of escape when her husband announces his candidacy for the U.S. Senate.

Four friends enlisted following Pearl Harbor and the secret they brought home will rock their small town and tear families apart. But Josh Parrish made a battlefield promise to protect his best friend’s sister, the girl he’s always loved.

And it’s high time he kept his word.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
Note: While part of a series, all the Bryeton Books are set in different eras. This time there is a familial connection with & mention of characters/events from Bootlegger’s Bride – though you could enjoy this without having read/listened to it.

I really enjoy MK Chester’s writing and the Bryeton series as a whole. I was so happy to see this addition and enjoyed it as much as I did the others. This is a great book when in the mood for a closed door romance with some mystery & suspense elements as well. Set in 1950 and a small town dominated by a financially and politically influential family it’s easy to see why Maggie is trapped and can’t find a way to escape. Joshua is burdened with personal missions, perceived failures, and mostly by the fact that everyone thinks he’s dead.

I enjoyed and was haunted by getting to know Josh & Maggie while loving the development of their relationship. There are a lot of secrets and surprises to be revealed and I won’t spoil them – but I did enjoy the way Chester handles it all.

While part of me wishes there was a tidy epilogue, I do enjoy getting to imagine where I feel like life would have taken them. I also can’t help but wonder whether Chester will revisit Bryeton in subsequent decades in future books. I would buy those in a heartbeat.

About the author:
M.K. Chester is an RWA award-winning author of historical and contemporary romance, urban fantasy and non-fiction.  M.K. is a native Buckeye who lives in Tennessee. She’s married to a veteran, MoM (Mother of Marine), and a grandmother. She adores her Scottish Terriers and is fighting Multiple Sclerosis.

You can connect with M.K. Chester here:

My Favorite Quotes

Fated and scripted were not the same thing. – One & Only by @M_K_Chester @Kobo #BryetonBooks #Historical #SecondChance #RomanticSuspense #SmallTown #Mystery #ClosedDoor

Who the hell did he think he was and who else knew about his scheme? – One & Only by @M_K_Chester @Kobo #BryetonBooks #Historical #SecondChance #RomanticSuspense #SmallTown #Mystery #ClosedDoor

The real woman inside screamed silently, knowing she’d wilt and die if she didn’t get out soon. – One & Only by @M_K_Chester @Kobo #BryetonBooks #Historical #SecondChance #RomanticSuspense #SmallTown #Mystery #ClosedDoor

Some burdens a man needed to carry for himself. – One & Only by @M_K_Chester @Kobo #BryetonBooks #Historical #SecondChance #RomanticSuspense #SmallTown #Mystery #ClosedDoor

The layers of lies and schemes pressed down upon her until she became as small and insignificant as an ant on a blade of grass. – One & Only by @M_K_Chester @Kobo #BryetonBooks #Historical #SecondChance #RomanticSuspense #SmallTown #Mystery #ClosedDoor

No Tomorrow

The most undervalued skill of the assassin was patience. Those who didn’t have it didn’t survive for long.

Tom Wood
No tomorrow

Note: This book is also published under the title, “Better Off Dead”

Format:
Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
THE JOB IS SIMPLE
 
When Victor is called to meet with an old friend who ultimately betrayed him, what he thought was an ambush is in fact a plea for help. As a Russian gangster, Norimov is accustomed to death threats, but now an unknown enemy wants more than his life. They intend to kill everyone he cares about, including his missing daughter Gisele. This time, Victor’s job is not to kill but to protect. Unfortunately, locating Gisele is his first mistake—because someone is watching his every move.
 
ESCAPE IS IMPOSSIBLE
 
Before she went into hiding, Gisele had uncovered a secret worth killing for—and now Victor has brought the enemy right to her doorstep. The least he can do is help her escape. But the ruthless network they’re up against has the police, MI5, and every major news outlet joining in the manhunt across London.

Point of view:
3rd person. Alternating perspectives, not by chapter, but clearly defined.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
I’m still reeling from that ending. AHHHHHH!!!!

No Tomorrow is book 4 in Tom Wood’s Victor the Assassin series. It absolutely stands on it’s own – but characters that were introduced in earlier books reemerge here.

I’m adding Wood to my list of authors that write strong, intelligent, and capable women characters. It showed in previous books but here he gives us two and they are present for almost the entire book. The first is Gisele who needs protecting, but has a sharp mind and learns quickly. She is independent and fierce, yet rightfully terrified at her circumstances. I adore how she keeps Victor on his toes. The second is one of the antagonists who also shows why she is at the top of her profession. Who is the cat and who is the mouse? Brilliant writing.

I also continue to love that everything is not perfect for Victor and that I’m surprised by where the story and action scenes take me. There’s at least 5 more books (A Quiet Man was just released) so I know Victor survives – but I genuinely feel the peril and sometimes wondered how on earth he would make his way out of the situations. Not without a few more scars…

The ending was a wonderful surprise. It also leaves no clue as to where Victor is headed in The Darkest Day but I have it cued up and am ready to keep following his missions.

Narration:
Rob Shapiro. Oh man. It’s truly amazing when I feel myself leaning in to be part of a hushed conversation and jumping with excitement along with a character. Love it!

About the author:
You can connect with Tom Wood here:

About the narrator:
Rob Shapiro is a voice actor, narrator, songwriter and performer living in Los Angeles, but he’s really everywhere.

You can connect with Rob Shapiro here:

My Favorite Quotes

The only thing that was known with any certainty was his profession. He was a killer. – No Tomorrow by @TheTomWood #Audiobook narrated by @RobuLuxe #VictorTheAssassin #Thriller #Suspense #Bodyguard

Humans put their heads in the sand just like ostriches. Victor exploited that often. – No Tomorrow by @TheTomWood #Audiobook narrated by @RobuLuxe #VictorTheAssassin #Thriller #Suspense #Bodyguard

The air smelled divine—blood and gun smoke. Perfume of the gods. – No Tomorrow by @TheTomWood #Audiobook narrated by @RobuLuxe #VictorTheAssassin #Thriller #Suspense #Bodyguard

The most undervalued skill of the assassin was patience. Those who didn’t have it didn’t survive for long. – No Tomorrow by @TheTomWood #Audiobook narrated by @RobuLuxe #VictorTheAssassin #Thriller #Suspense #Bodyguard

If there was any place in which he truly belonged it was in the heart of violence. He had no fear of it because he knew it was who he was. – No Tomorrow by @TheTomWood #Audiobook narrated by @RobuLuxe #VictorTheAssassin #Thriller #Suspense #Bodyguard

Let’s see if the price of crossing me was worth it. – No Tomorrow by @TheTomWood #Audiobook narrated by @RobuLuxe #VictorTheAssassin #Thriller #Suspense #Bodyguard

The Game

He had made a mistake. A mistake that was going to kill him.

Tom Wood
The Game

Format:
Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
OPENING MOVE.

After executing a hit on a fellow assassin in Algiers, Victor—the world’s deadliest hit man—is contracted by the CIA for an assignment that will take him across Europe to the blood-stained streets of Rome…and straight into hell.

COUNTER MOVE.

Victor must pose as his previous—and very much dead—target to figure out who the killer’s next victim was going to be. But what was supposed to be a quick operation soon becomes much more complicated and treacherous.

FINAL MOVE.

Forced to work with a group of ruthless mercenaries, Victor will face a choice he would rather not make: do the right thing, or sacrifice the only thing in the world he truly cares about—his own life.

Point of view:
3rd person. Alternating perspectives, not by chapter, but clearly defined.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
The Game is book 3 in Tom Wood’s Victor the Assassin series. While it stands well on it’s own – there are some smaller storylines that run through the series that would make these best enjoyed in order.

This is another fantastic addition to the series. I really enjoy Wood’s writing not only from a character development and pacing aspect – but his ability to keep me on my toes guessing what will happen next. It’s unpredictable, yet still consistent with previous facts and Victor’s established personality.

Two seemingly separate storylines converge, antagonists that you love to hate, and several minor action packed scenes culminate into an operation that proceeds with all the finesse and cunning I’ve come to expect from Victor.

My only complaint is that it’s SO HARD to find a stopping place in these books when it’s time to shift gears for sleep. My solution is to just ignore the world and listen in two days. But then… there’s the next book.

Narration:
Rob Shapiro was perfect again. There are even more characters & accents here which he handles consistently. The combination of Shapiro’s narration with Wood’s writing makes these easy to binge.

About the author:
You can connect with Tom Wood here:

About the narrator:
Rob Shapiro is a voice actor, narrator, songwriter and performer living in Los Angeles, but he’s really everywhere.

You can connect with Rob Shapiro here:

My Favorite Quotes

He had made a mistake. A mistake that was going to kill him. – The Game by @TheTomWood #Audiobook narrated by @RobuLuxe @Kobo #VictorTheAssassin #Thriller #Suspense #CIA

I’ve given you the courtesy of not killing you or your men because of your relationship with Procter. And that’s a courtesy I’ll only grant once. – The Game by @TheTomWood #Audiobook narrated by @RobuLuxe @Kobo #VictorTheAssassin #Thriller #Suspense #CIA

Are you always this pedantic or am I a special case? – The Game by @TheTomWood #Audiobook narrated by @RobuLuxe @Kobo #VictorTheAssassin #Thriller #Suspense #CIA

Victor wondered what conclusions he’d come to and why the involvement of the two of them in a firefight in the middle of Rome didn’t compromise whatever it was they were here for. – The Game by @TheTomWood #Audiobook narrated by @RobuLuxe @Kobo #VictorTheAssassin #Thriller #Suspense #CIA

You okay with the word butt? – The Game by @TheTomWood #Audiobook narrated by @RobuLuxe @Kobo #VictorTheAssassin #Thriller #Suspense #CIA

He lay paralyzed from the neck down and drowned in his own blood. – The Game by @TheTomWood #Audiobook narrated by @RobuLuxe @Kobo #VictorTheAssassin #Thriller #Suspense #CIA

My Goal

If I could choose my stalker, it would be you.

H J Perry
My Goal

Format:
Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
A story of first love. A gay friends-to-lovers romance between two closeted soccer players.

He’s cocky, he’s arrogant, he’s entitled to his big ego. He an international footballer and a multimillionaire. Carlos Garcia’s a huge success on and off the pitch, and he’s got it all. Joining a new football club, he wants his teammates to like him, especially the one man who sets his pulse racing.

As the quietest guy on the football team, Harry Carter avoids attention. He’s so scared of people finding out he’s gay that he’s made sure there are just clothes in his closet. He has nothing to hide, there’s no history, no past, no secret boyfriend, not even a one-night stand. Ever.

Things are changing. Outside of work, Harry’s best friends are a discreet gay couple, but how is Harry going to keep all the secrets when the new guy on the football team keeps hanging around?

Why exactly does Carlos sit next to Harry at every opportunity?

A stand-alone story with a happily ever-after ending and no cliffhanger.

Point of view:
3rd person. Alternating perspectives by chapter.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
I listened to this immediately after Home Goal and enjoyed it even more. While a bit shorter, I think Perry’s writing here is more detailed and that helped me really connect with Carlos and Harry.

While both are footballers, they have entirely different personalities. Carlos is outgoing and the life of the party while Harry keeps his head down and his secrets to himself. Together, they were the absolute sweetest couple and it was so much fun hanging out with them. This is really low angst – though there’s several different times for each of them to “come out” to family and friends.

Perry included a fabulous epilogue many years later that solidifies the HFN for Carlos & Harry as well as Scott & Jason from book 1. I loved it.

Narration:
Piers Ryman kept the character voices consistent from the first book which made these really easy to listen to over consecutive days.

About the author:
HJ Perry lives by the English seaside BUT is learning to accept having words translated into American for an international audience. Writes about people and their relationships, in the romance genre. Challenging, thought-provoking and sometimes funny.

You will find lust, sex, desire and love in these books and always a happy ending.
Often a happy start, happy middle and very little angst too.
They are for an adult audience.

You can connect with HJ Perry here:

My Favorite Quotes

If I could choose my stalker, it would be you. – My Goal by @HelenJPerry #Audiobook narrated by #PiersRyman #MM #SportsRomance #OppositesAttract #FriendsToLovers

He looks like he wants to have you for breakfast if he hasn’t already. – My Goal by @HelenJPerry #Audiobook narrated by #PiersRyman #MM #SportsRomance #OppositesAttract #FriendsToLovers

Introducing the person you love most as if they were just a friend is really not a nice feeling, and we’ve all been there. – My Goal by @HelenJPerry #Audiobook narrated by #PiersRyman #MM #SportsRomance #OppositesAttract #FriendsToLovers

Home Goal

Was it possible to be friends and burn with desire for someone this badly?

H J Perry
Home Goal

Format:
Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
In the closet…

Career-focused Jason Tant has given up on love to play football at the highest level: His team is in the Premiership, and Jason also plays for the English national team (even though his mother is Spanish). He doesn’t want to be the poster boy for LGBT people in sport – and his advisors have told him that coming out will ruin his career. It’s not an issue until Scott captures Jason’s heart and turns his world around.

Out and proud…

With a carefree, live-for-today attitude, Scott Cole was never in the closet. Funny, clever, and a terrific dancer, the science student has many talent, but the man he loves requires something else – discretion. They seem an unlikely couple, but neither can resist the chemistry that draws them together.

Under scrutiny…

Prying paparazzi are everywhere, determined to out gay footballers. Scott questions whether he and Jason need to keep their love a secret when professional British sportsmen in other fields are coming out. Will Jason have to choose between love and his career? Or will the tabloids destroy them both?

Point of view:
3rd person. Alternating perspectives by chapter.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
HJ Perry is a new author for me. I grabbed this duo after enjoying Piers Ryman in The District Line series.

Perry’s writing here is a series of vignettes and that sometimes left me feeling like jumps were too long or some foundational events were missing. Though, as I got more into the story, I found it an interesting approach and ultimately enjoyed getting to know Jason and Scott.

Due to his profession Jason is in the closet and it eventually wears on Scott. While I definitely felt conflicted for both of these guys and the utterly horrible position they were in – the overall story didn’t drag out the angst.

There’s a lovely HFN and a tease for book 2, My Goal, which I immediately started.

Narration:
Piers Ryman does a good job here. Almost all the characters are male and giving them all various accents, inflections, and personalities helped keep them straight for me.

About the author:
HJ Perry lives by the English seaside BUT is learning to accept having words translated into American for an international audience. Writes about people and their relationships, in the romance genre. Challenging, thought-provoking and sometimes funny.

You will find lust, sex, desire and love in these books and always a happy ending.
Often a happy start, happy middle and very little angst too.
They are for an adult audience.

You can connect with HJ Perry here:

My Favorite Quotes

Okay, let’s be clear. You think he’s gay and shy or even in the closet, and you think lewd gestures like that are the way to seduce him? – Home Goal by @HelenJPerry #Audiobook narrated by #PiersRyman #MM #SportsRomance #OppositesAttract

Was it possible to be friends and burn with desire for someone this badly? – Home Goal by @HelenJPerry #Audiobook narrated by #PiersRyman #MM #SportsRomance #OppositesAttract

I believe making out in front of the TV is what babysitting is all about. – Home Goal by @HelenJPerry #Audiobook narrated by #PiersRyman #MM #SportsRomance #OppositesAttract

I didn’t know who I was anymore because on a day-to-day basis what he did for his job determined our life. – Home Goal by @HelenJPerry #Audiobook narrated by #PiersRyman #MM #SportsRomance #OppositesAttract

Dancing Away With My Heart

He might just have to lie down in the driveway behind Lexi’s car to keep her from leaving town and pray she didn’t decide to run him over.

Kait Nolan
Dancing Away With My HEart

Format:
Audiobook. Also available as ebook
The Wishful series has been bundled into economical box sets and this book is included in Volume 4: ebook & audio.

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Reunion Prom? Is this really a thing?

In Wishful it is. Lexi Morales never imagined her life would turn into the premise for an 1980s teen movie. But when her big high school trauma hit like a ton of bricks, she spent the next decade trying to hide the truth. After years of careful avoidance, she’s back in town to care for her injured mother, just in time for the high school reunion she never planned to attend—a reunion that evokes memories she’s tried to forget.

Wishful’s friendly neighborhood photographer, Zach Warren, has no idea why he and his best friend drifted apart. But from the first, flashbulb moment he sees Lexi all grown up, she’s all he can think about—and his thoughts keep straying right out of the friendzone.

Zach’s offer of temporary employment while she’s in town should be a perfect fit, but acting like she’s never thought of him as more than a friend turns out to be harder than Lexi ever expected. All she wants to do is get through this with her secret—and her heart—intact. One thing’s for sure: Lexi is NOT going to this prom.

But what if ten years is just the right amount of time for Zach to finally get a clue?

Point of view:
3rd Person. Alternating perspectives, not always by chapter, but it’s clearly defined.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
It’s the end of an era!!! As far as I can tell – who knows if someone is screaming to be written about, you know how characters tell authors what to do and not the other way around – this novella is the last book of Kait Nolan’s Wishful series and what a wonderfully sweet way to end. While there are references to couples from other books, it’s brief and you could definitely start here to get a peek into Nolan’s style. That said, you might want to check out Dance Me a Dream (#7) as Jace & Tara’s wedding is featured.

At 3 hours, this is a short but lovely best friends-to-lovers novella. While Zach and Lexi were inseparable in high school, his cluelessness drove them apart and sent Lexi running to protect her heart. These two struggling to find their way together is punctuated with hurt and laughter as the rest of the town watches with their best “It’s about darn time!” glances. Zach and Lexi get a lovely HEA in the epilogue and I

Note: While this particular novella is Closed Door/Fade to Black – that’s not the case with most of Nolan’s writing. She has this fabulous mix of small town sweet and snarky with a dash of sexy scenes, perfect when you want some steam that doesn’t take over the rest of the plot.

Narration:
Amy McFadden does a great job with Nolan’s HUGE cast of Wishful residents. Voices, inflections, personalities from previous books are consistent and that makes this series so easy to binge.

About the author:
Kait Nolan is a RITA® Award-winning Mississippi author who calls everyone sugar, honey, or darlin’, and can wield a ‘Bless your heart’ like a Snuggie or a saber, depending on requirements. She believes in love, laughter, and that tacos are the world’s most perfect food. When she’s not writing, reading, working the evil day job, or wrangling family (both the two-legged and the four-), you can find her obsessively watching The Great British Bake Off.

You can connect with Kait Nolan here:

About the narrator:
From Amy McFadden’s website: Hi! This part is all about me. Just me. It feels weird to write a bunch of stuff about myself but I don’t like pictures of me so I’ll have to use words instead.

I live in Michigan with my fiancé, Joe Anderson. He makes me laugh so much I never have to do situps. Truthfully, I probably wouldn’t do situps anyway, but hey, it’s still a nice bonus to our love.

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

Zach couldn’t quite shake the feeling that she was running. With luck, he’d eventually suss out why. – Dancing Away With My Heart by @kaitnolan #Audiobook narrated by @amymcnarrator #SmallTown #Romance #Wishful #SecondChance #Novella #ClosedDoor #FriendsToLovers

“You were best friends with one of the hottest girls in school,” Jace pointed out. “We just couldn’t figure out how you didn’t notice that back then.” – Dancing Away With My Heart by @kaitnolan #Audiobook narrated by @amymcnarrator #SmallTown #Romance #Wishful #SecondChance #Novella #ClosedDoor #FriendsToLovers

you haven’t lived until you’ve seen the Casserole Patrol doing The Whip and Nae Nae. – Dancing Away With My Heart by @kaitnolan #Audiobook narrated by @amymcnarrator #SmallTown #Romance #Wishful #SecondChance #Novella #ClosedDoor #FriendsToLovers

I would literally rather face a firing squad than go to the class reunion prom. – Dancing Away With My Heart by @kaitnolan #Audiobook narrated by @amymcnarrator #SmallTown #Romance #Wishful #SecondChance #Novella #ClosedDoor #FriendsToLovers

he might just have to lie down in the driveway behind Lexi’s car to keep her from leaving town and pray she didn’t decide to run him over. – Dancing Away With My Heart by @kaitnolan #Audiobook narrated by @amymcnarrator #SmallTown #Romance #Wishful #SecondChance #Novella #ClosedDoor #FriendsToLovers

Black Knight: Perdition

If you’re conscious and you’re experiencing it then who’s to tell you what’s real and what’s fake?

Christian J. Gilliland
Black Knight: Perdition

Format:
Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
When death came knocking, the Black Knight wasn’t ready…

It didn’t matter how strong or fierce he was, Crinnan Jamiso couldn’t escape the inevitability of his demise. It descended upon him quickly and unexpectedly, and before he knew it he found himself ascending into the sky, finally free of the chains of life. Little did he know, the afterlife had chains of its own.

Heaven cast him out. The fires of the Hells, however, do not discriminate. When Crinnan finds himself ripped free of his flesh and burning in the unending inferno of the Hells, he quickly realizes that the subjugation he fought in life was nothing compared to the torment that the demons below had in store for him.

Empowered by an unknown virus and guided by faceless voices, Crinnan embarks on a quest to return to his life back in the real world. He quickly discovers that the demons that seek to stop him are the citizens of the very Empire he fought against back home. To survive, Crinnan must play their game. He must use the skills he learned while alive, learn to embrace the help of others, and overcome his greatest fears if he has any hope of returning home.

Does Crinnan have what it takes to endure the greatest and most difficult challenge of his life? Can he learn to trust those that guide him and turn the cyber-hell on its back? Or will he succumb and ultimately fall to the madness that oh so eagerly calls his name…

Point of view:
3rd person. Alternating perspectives, but mostly Crinnan’s.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
First, if you’re one of those folks who is (understandably) leery of books narrated by the author – don’t be here! Christian J. Gilliland’s writing is wonderful, but the narration is fantastic. More on that later…

I’m still kind of new to LitRPG/GamerLit – but as an avid reader/listener & gamer mom, I’m finding it a fun genre to experience. While this is the first book launching a series and the ending definitely leaves open many more adventures to come – it doesn’t feel like a cliffhanger. It’s very much like a video game in that there are multiple quests all tied together to accomplish a larger goal combined with the epic fantasy elements of something like Lord of the Rings. Gilliland has created a dynamic world and a vast cast of characters. He also has a terrific sense of humor. Crinnan’s interactions with Dali were particularly hysterical. And the usernames. Spit. my. coffee.

CW: It’s listed as “dark” though nothing really caught me by surprise. I guess because it really is like so many of the games I enjoy with our kids – there’s battles, death, & some gore. Cursing pretty consistent with any discord server. There is mention of off page sexual assault, but I felt it made up a fairly small part of the story.

I’m looking forward to more of this series when it’s released.

Narration:
This is a duet narration with Gilliland and Dansare Marks. Both were new to me – but I was blown away by this production. Not only in how many different voices & personalities both narrators performed, but also in the subtle use of sound effects. Nothing that overpowered the story, but it definitely lent it some added depth. It was a truly enjoyable experience. I would also love to check out more work by both of them.

While I own the ebook, I did receive a free copy of the audiobook from Audiobooks Unleashed and am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

About the author:
You can connect with Christian J. Gilliland here:

About the narrator:
In addition to Gilliland above, you can connect with Dansare Marks here:

My Favorite Quotes

Heaven was only the beginning of Crinnan’s damnation and there was nothing he could do about it. – Black Knight: Perdition by @xiantology #Audiobook narrated by #ChristianJGilliland & @dansare #LitRPG #GamerLit #EpicFantasy #Cyberpunk

“Hi!” The strange voice chirped. “Hey, how is it going?” “It’s… pretty fucking bad?” – Black Knight: Perdition by @xiantology #Audiobook narrated by #ChristianJGilliland & @dansare #LitRPG #GamerLit #EpicFantasy #Cyberpunk

“Say skip.” Lucaas urged Crinnan. “By the Brothers, please say skip unless you want to sit through thirty minutes of scripture.” – Black Knight: Perdition by @xiantology #Audiobook narrated by #ChristianJGilliland & @dansare #LitRPG #GamerLit #EpicFantasy #Cyberpunk

“Hey, that’s lower than it was before!” Crinnan snapped as he heard the information read out to him. “What the fuck!” – Black Knight: Perdition by @xiantology #Audiobook narrated by #ChristianJGilliland & @dansare #LitRPG #GamerLit #EpicFantasy #Cyberpunk

“The Hells is stupid.” Crinnan sighed. “The monsters back home are much better than they are here.” – Black Knight: Perdition by @xiantology #Audiobook narrated by #ChristianJGilliland & @dansare #LitRPG #GamerLit #EpicFantasy #Cyberpunk

“Never in my life have I had an axe flying toward my head! That was so amazing, I bet I’m the only one here who’s ever had that happen!!” “Nope.” – Black Knight: Perdition by @xiantology #Audiobook narrated by #ChristianJGilliland & @dansare #LitRPG #GamerLit #EpicFantasy #Cyberpunk

He felt himself turning to ash and blowing away… and then finally… there was nothing. Silence… Darkness… It was over. – Black Knight: Perdition by @xiantology #Audiobook narrated by #ChristianJGilliland & @dansare #LitRPG #GamerLit #EpicFantasy #Cyberpunk

What’s it matter? If you’re conscious and you’re experiencing it then who’s to tell you what’s real and what’s fake? – Black Knight: Perdition by @xiantology #Audiobook narrated by #ChristianJGilliland & @dansare #LitRPG #GamerLit #EpicFantasy #Cyberpunk

What have you experienced in the Hells so far that would lead you to believe that any of it is grounded in reality? – Black Knight: Perdition by @xiantology #Audiobook narrated by #ChristianJGilliland & @dansare #LitRPG #GamerLit #EpicFantasy #Cyberpunk

A Lot Like Christmas

“We don’t need a chaperone.”

“Then you’re doing this date thing all wrong.”

Kait Nolan
A Lot Like Christmas

Format:
Audiobook. Also available as ebook
The Wishful series has been bundled into economical box sets and this book is included in Volume 4: ebook & audio.

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Jaded Army medic Ryan Malone never expected his next mission would bring him back from Afghanistan to tiny Wishful, Mississippi. His great uncle’s health is failing and the cantankerous old coot has pushed everyone in the family away. Ryan is their last resort to get Uncle Percy to move into assisted living before he breaks a hip—or something worse. He’s looking to get in, get it done, and get back out. That definitely doesn’t include taking time out for a sweet-faced waitress with a heart bigger than the Atlantic.

Interior designer Hannah Wheeler is a long way from the high-powered clients of her old Atlanta firm. Despite the fact that she’s currently spending her days waiting tables, she’s discovered she really enjoys the small-town life she found with her sister. This Christmas season, she’s finally ready to introduce Wishful to her true capabilities by using her skills to spread some holiday spirit. But with Ryan and Percy, she’s definitely got her work cut out for her.



Will Hannah’s evergreen cheer thaw their frosty hearts and remind these two that the most important part of the holidays is family?

Point of view:
3rd Person. Alternating perspectives, not always by chapter, but it’s clearly defined.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
Kait Nolan made me cry!

Okay, to back up a bit… this novella stands on it’s own and if you’re just in the mood for some Christmas cheer or to get a taste of what Kait Nolan’s small town sexy writing is all about – this would be perfect! Be warned – you’ll get a little intro to other folks in Wishful and you’ll want to hear them all.

Kait Nolan made me cry! Other stories in the series have definitely made me mist up a bit – but I seriously had ALL. THE. FEELS. with this one. For such a short story – I truly felt like I knew Ryan and Hannah, got majorly invested in their relationship, and hurt for both of them when it seemed things wouldn’t work out. No worries – Nolan always delivers an HEA and the epilogue here was perfection.

Up next is the last book for the Wishful series, Dancing Away With My Heart.

Narration:
Look, I adore Amy McFadden and her narrations. After listening to almost 20 books she’s performed for Nolan – I think they’re the perfect duo of awesomeness. ‘nough said.

About the author:
Kait Nolan is a RITA® Award-winning Mississippi author who calls everyone sugar, honey, or darlin’, and can wield a ‘Bless your heart’ like a Snuggie or a saber, depending on requirements. She believes in love, laughter, and that tacos are the world’s most perfect food. When she’s not writing, reading, working the evil day job, or wrangling family (both the two-legged and the four-), you can find her obsessively watching The Great British Bake Off.

You can connect with Kait Nolan here:

About the narrator:
From Amy McFadden’s website: Hi! This part is all about me. Just me. It feels weird to write a bunch of stuff about myself but I don’t like pictures of me so I’ll have to use words instead.

I live in Michigan with my fiancé, Joe Anderson. He makes me laugh so much I never have to do situps. Truthfully, I probably wouldn’t do situps anyway, but hey, it’s still a nice bonus to our love.

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

Sugar, are you tying utensils on that Christmas tree? – A Lot Like Christmas by @kaitnolan #Audiobook narrated by @amymcnarrator #SmallTown #Romance #Wishful #SunshineGrumpy #Military #Holiday

It was about as far as he could get from the war zone he’d been walking in mere days ago, and the switch had him feeling more off balance than the jet lag. – A Lot Like Christmas by @kaitnolan #Audiobook narrated by @amymcnarrator #SmallTown #Romance #Wishful #SunshineGrumpy #Military #Holiday

“We don’t need a chaperone.” “Then you’re doing this date thing all wrong.” – A Lot Like Christmas by @kaitnolan #Audiobook narrated by @amymcnarrator #SmallTown #Romance #Wishful #SunshineGrumpy #Military #Holiday

I take pleasure and joy in the life I have, not the life I thought I’d have, or that might be just around the corner. – A Lot Like Christmas by @kaitnolan #Audiobook narrated by @amymcnarrator #SmallTown #Romance #Wishful #SunshineGrumpy #Military #Holiday