You Were Meant For Me

You’ve never had biscuits and gravy?

Woman, what kind of sad, sheltered life have you led?

Kait Nolan
You Were MEant for Me

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:
An accidental pregnancy romance for Wishful’s most eligible bachelor

“Just a fling,” she said…

Tess Peyton wanted to do something fun and reckless and wholly out of character. A steamy weekend with a Scotsman seems like a plan. When her Scotsman turns out to be a good Southern boy, that’s a minor deviation. Then one night turns to two, two turns to more, and suddenly she knows she’s in way over her head. This is why one should always stick to the plan.

“Bachelor for life,” he said…

But that was before all of Mitch Campbell’s friends, cousins, and even his little sister started pairing off like someone was building an ark. No wonder he fell, and fell hard, for his “no attachments, no last names” European fling. And just when he’s ready to tell the woman of his dreams that he wants to change that arrangement, she disappears, leaving him with no means of tracking her down, and a big ol’ hole in his heart.

And then Fate stepped in…

Because, guess what? The guy Tess ran out on in Edinburgh shows up at family dinner. He’s her dad’s new wife’s brother’s son. What does that make them? It makes them “on again,” according to Mitch and the explosive chemistry between them. Tess feels it too, along with a side of awkward, continued uncertainty, and some kind of stomach virus that seems to bother her most in the mornings…

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

Rellim’s Thoughts:
After a few weeks away – I’m back in Wishful!!!! This is the 10th book in Kait Nolan’s Wishful series. While Mitch & Tess have appeared or been mentioned a few times in other books, you could listen to this on it’s own. However, you might enjoy this more after listening to To Get Me To You and See You Again.

Dear Kait Nolan – THANK YOU! There are few things in romance that drive me crazier than a “surprise pregnancy” where the couple took no measures to prevent conception. I love that Mitch & Tess are surprised because it’s actually a surprise.

As with all of Nolan’s books this is a great mix of slightly steamy romance and small town craziness this time with a vacation fling that becomes something more. I enjoyed Mitch & Tess as “opposites attract” characters who are willing to work at understanding where the other is coming from even if it takes them a bit to get there.

The epilogue is an adorable and hilarious HEA for Tess & Mitch. I’m on to Ryan & Hannah’s book, A Lot Like Christmas.

Narration:
Amy McFadden gives another delightful performance here. I always appreciate how she manages to give so. many. characters. their own unique voices. It’s just such a fun listen.

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

Because I plan everything. I’m always, always in control.  – You Were Meant for Me by @kaitnolan #Audiobook narrated by @amymcnarrator #SmallTown #Romance #Wishful #OppositesAttract #SurprisePregnancy

Awareness prickled along his skin. At his place they’d finally be alone. In private. Without likelihood of interruption or nosy neighbors within sight of the house. Thank God.  – You Were Meant for Me by @kaitnolan #Audiobook narrated by @amymcnarrator #SmallTown #Romance #Wishful #OppositesAttract #SurprisePregnancy

You’ve never had biscuits and gravy? Woman, what kind of sad, sheltered life have you led?  – You Were Meant for Me by @kaitnolan #Audiobook narrated by @amymcnarrator #SmallTown #Romance #Wishful #OppositesAttract #SurprisePregnancy

Nowhere in any of the rigidly lined, carefully written pages did it say anything about getting knocked up. So how did this even happen?  – You Were Meant for Me by @kaitnolan #Audiobook narrated by @amymcnarrator #SmallTown #Romance #Wishful #OppositesAttract #SurprisePregnancy

What the hell is washi tape?  – You Were Meant for Me by @kaitnolan #Audiobook narrated by @amymcnarrator #SmallTown #Romance #Wishful #OppositesAttract #SurprisePregnancy

Really, nobody should have to face life-changing news without pants.  – You Were Meant for Me by @kaitnolan #Audiobook narrated by @amymcnarrator #SmallTown #Romance #Wishful #OppositesAttract #SurprisePregnancy

Conscious Decisions of the Heart

Nikolas watched him with great amusement.  It would be a sad day when he couldn’t annoy and confuse Benjamin Rider.

John Wiltshire
Love is a Stranger

Format:
Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Ben Rider and Nikolas Mikkelsen learn that danger comes in all shapes and sizes and often in places you least expect it. Nikolas’ dark past calls to him, inexorably dragging him back into its seductive embrace. 

While he goes on an errand of mercy to Russia, Ben travels to Denmark to learn Nikolas’s language. Convinced Russia’s vastness will swallow Nikolas, Ben doesn’t see the enemy much closer to home. Thinking he has lost Nikolas, Ben then makes a terrible decision that threatens to destroy everything they have together. 

Focused on this very personal horror, bound by a new level of commitment, they have no idea that a greater threat is coming. And when it arrives, it changes everything – even the definition of commitment. 

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

Rellim’s Thoughts:
Conscious Decisions of the Heart is the second book in Wiltshire’s More Heat Than the Sun series. These books follow the same couple and each book builds off some events from previous ones. While this is a complete story and could be enjoyed on it’s own, I’d definitely recommend starting with Love is a Stranger. It’s possible this review contains spoilers to the first book.

This story is still heavy on the personal relationship between Ben and Nikolas, but I appreciated that it had significantly more action in it. I also liked that we get Nikolas’ perspective as well. I felt like I understood him better and appreciated learning his motivations. There are several distinct sections to the book, each bringing a greater understanding and depth to the relationship but in sometimes devastating ways.

Again I struggle to share what I enjoyed so much about the book without spoiling it for other readers. Wiltshire has this way of keeping the reader on an emotional roller coaster of highs and lows, victories and losses, laughter and tears – because that’s what she puts her characters through and I felt deeply invested in them.

While the steamy scenes were definitely hot, I struggled a little with kinky that sometimes bordered on dysfunctional. However, in the end it felt like Nikolas and Ben were trying to work through becoming better individuals as well as a team. So that “missing the mark” wasn’t for the sake of dragging things out, but the path they traveled to get to where they needed to be.

And of course, the humor. There were so many laugh out loud moments. Not only from our main couple – but Squeezy and Kate as well. Who I hope will continue to be in future books because I just adore them as secondary characters. Squeezy’s names for ops & their participants is particularly hilarious.

I’m looking forward to starting The Bridge of Silver Wings later this week.

Note: I would encourage listeners to check out content/trigger warnings for the book. There are a few in here that are fairly descriptive.

Narration:
Gary Furlong. I feel like my comments on him are repetitive. The fact is he is an amazingly talented narrator who does such a good job of immersing the listener in the story and characters that it’s hard to push pause. His delivery, accents, emotions, and transitions are so smooth and flawless that it’s hard to remember that it’s a single person.

I received a free copy of this audiobook from Decent Fellows Press and am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

About the author:
John Wiltshire is the pen name.  The author was born in England.  She spent twenty-two years in the British Army, perfecting the art of looking busy whilst secretly writing.  She retired at the rank of Major, and finally settled in New Zealand. 

Although she has no plans to return to the army, she can occasionally be caught polishing her medals.

You can connect with John Wiltshire here:

About the narrator:
Throughout his life he has worn many a hat: He has worked as a teacher in Niigata, Japan; a puppeteer in Prague; an improv artist in Memphis, Tennessee, but made the leap to voiceover in 2015. Gary has narrated over 120 books spanning various genres.

You can connect with Gary Furlong here:

My Favorite Quotes

I’m poking at this bullet hole until you shut up.  Nothing else seems to work. – Conscious Decisions of the Heart by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #Thriller

All his new girlfriends in the library seemed to think he wasn’t eating enough. – Conscious Decisions of the Heart by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #Thriller

He went out to chop some wood, which was a cure for almost any amount of angst. – Conscious Decisions of the Heart by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #Thriller

Dubious news should always be accompanied by tea. – Conscious Decisions of the Heart by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #Thriller

Daddybark was in very good hands. – Conscious Decisions of the Heart by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #Thriller

Nikolas watched him with great amusement.  It would be a sad day when he couldn’t annoy and confuse Benjamin Rider. – Conscious Decisions of the Heart by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #Thriller

They were a matched pair of flawed individuals. – Conscious Decisions of the Heart by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #Thriller

Labyrinth of Ice

The Arctic grail of Farthest North was never far from his mind.

Buddy Levy
Labyrinth of Ice:
The Triumphant and Tragic Greely Polar Expedition

Format:
Audiobook

At the time of this review – it’s still on sale for $3.99 on Chirp.

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Based on the author’s exhaustive research, the incredible true story of the Greely Expedition, one of the most harrowing adventures in the annals of polar exploration.

In July 1881, Lt. A.W. Greely and his crew of 24 scientists and explorers were bound for the last region unmarked on global maps. Their goal: Farthest North. What would follow was one of the most extraordinary and terrible voyages ever made.

Greely and his men confronted every possible challenge—vicious wolves, sub-zero temperatures, and months of total darkness—as they set about exploring one of the most remote, unrelenting environments on the planet. In May 1882, they broke the 300-year-old record, and returned to camp to eagerly await the resupply ship scheduled to return at the end of the year. Only nothing came.

250 miles south, a wall of ice prevented any rescue from reaching them. Provisions thinned and a second winter descended. Back home, Greely’s wife worked tirelessly against government resistance to rally a rescue mission.

Months passed, and Greely made a drastic choice: he and his men loaded the remaining provisions and tools onto their five small boats, and pushed off into the treacherous waters. After just two weeks, dangerous floes surrounded them. Now new dangers awaited: insanity, threats of mutiny, and cannibalism. As food dwindled and the men weakened, Greely’s expedition clung desperately to life.

Labyrinth of Ice tells the true story of the heroic lives and deaths of these voyagers hell-bent on fame and fortune—at any cost—and how their journey changed the world.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
I wish I could remember what book I read that mentioned the Greely Expedition &/or this book – unfortunately I can’t. Especially given how grateful I am to have experienced their story and this book in particular.

Buddy Levy has brought together a tremendous amount of research, helped considerably by the copious amounts of record the explorers themselves kept, to share the daring story of the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition. While a little over 13 hours, I was so engaged with this story I managed to finish it in two days. Levy manages to share details in such a way that I felt like I was on this voyage with them.

It’s disheartening to know that this expedition, to many, was reduced to unfounded accusations of cannibalism sensationalized by newspapers of the time. I learned so much about the time period, exploration, technology of the time, humanity, and the impact that this endeavor still has on science and our lives today. It was fascinating to learn about the preparation for such journeys, including the amount of supplies and the fact that they knew it could be months or even years before they were rescued.

I also appreciated that Levy brought a deep level of humanity to the experience. These men and their loved ones waiting for their return were people with families, fears, talents, flaws, and dreams. I was moved both by the loss of those who did not make it and the grief and elation of those who did.

Narration:
Will Damron’s narration was excellent. I appreciated his ability to bring the emotional depth and respect necessary to what were sometimes horrific conditions and events. His delivery made clear the differences between Levy’s text, quoted journal entries, and quotes from various participants of the expedition and its rescuers.

About the author:
Buddy Levy is the author of seven books and his work has been featured or reviewed in The New York TimesThe Wall Street JournalUSA TodayThe Washington PostThe Washington TimesKirkus Book ReviewsPublisher’s WeeklyBooklist, and Library Journal. He has also appeared frequently on national radio—including The Dennis Prager ShowNPR, and Rudy Maxa’s World. He was the co-star, for 25 episodes from 2010-2012, on HISTORY Channel’s hit docuseries Brad Meltzer’s DECODED, which aired to an average of 1.7 million weekly viewers and is still airing as reruns today.

You can connect with Buddy Levy here:

About the narrator:
From his website: I’ve now voiced over 400 audiobooks in almost every genre: from literary fiction to fantasy, YA, memoirs, business, romance, children’s books, and historical fiction. In my oodles of spare time, I was revising and honing the story that became The Tercentennial Baron. And in October 2017, I was finally able to publish the book independently.

You can connect with Will Damron here:

My Favorite Quotes

The Arctic grail of Farthest North was never far from his mind. – Labyrinth of Ice by @buddylevy #audiobook narrated by @jwdamron @MacmillanAudio #NonFiction #TrueStory #Survival #History #PolarExpedition #FarthestNorth #GreelyExpedition

To force himself to keep going, he would throw his eyeglasses five or six feet ahead up the mountain, so he would have to ascend to retrieve them. – Labyrinth of Ice by @buddylevy #audiobook narrated by @jwdamron @MacmillanAudio #NonFiction #TrueStory #Survival #History #PolarExpedition #FarthestNorth #GreelyExpedition

She had no desire to become the widow of a famous explorer. – Labyrinth of Ice by @buddylevy #audiobook narrated by @jwdamron @MacmillanAudio #NonFiction #TrueStory #Survival #History #PolarExpedition #FarthestNorth #GreelyExpedition

they’d learned about the fate of their president from a packaged lemon, wrapped in newspaper, salvaged from a sinking ship. – Labyrinth of Ice by @buddylevy #audiobook narrated by @jwdamron @MacmillanAudio #NonFiction #TrueStory #Survival #History #PolarExpedition #FarthestNorth #GreelyExpedition

The death of my companion under these circumstances made a deeper impression on my mind than any experience in my whole life. – Labyrinth of Ice by @buddylevy #audiobook narrated by @jwdamron @MacmillanAudio #NonFiction #TrueStory #Survival #History #PolarExpedition #FarthestNorth #GreelyExpedition

Greely and his team demonstrated that, properly equipped and under the right leadership, it was possible to conduct laboratory-quality science in the field, and in the harshest environments on the planet. – Labyrinth of Ice by @buddylevy #audiobook narrated by @jwdamron @MacmillanAudio #NonFiction #TrueStory #Survival #History #PolarExpedition #FarthestNorth #GreelyExpedition

Love is a Stranger

He had no idea what the relationship with his boss really was, but he sure as hell wasn’t going to let the man know he actually liked him.

John Wiltshire
Love is a Stranger

Format:
Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Ex-SAS soldier Ben Rider falls in love with his enigmatic married boss, Sir Nikolas Mikkelsen, but Nikolas is living a lie. A lie so profound that when the shadows are lifted, Ben realizes he’s in love with a very dangerous stranger. Ben has to choose between Nikolas and safety, but sometimes danger comes in a very seductive package.

Point of view:
3rd person. Entirely from Ben’s perspective.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
Well this is a bit tricky because so much of what makes this an incredibly compelling listening experience is that not all is as it seems – and if I explained it all, it wouldn’t be as fun.

And this book was a LOT of fun. Serious. Deadly. Sexy. Emotional. Spycraft. and Fun. And there’s a DOG!

I read that and I think – whoah, whoah, whoah – you won’t be prepared for how much the book also devastates you. Because I definitely became attached to Ben and Nikolas and when more is revealed it’s heartbreaking.

I really clicked with John Wiltshire’s writing, especially her sense of humor. While this is a complete and enjoyable story – it is just the beginning for Ben and Nikolas. Be ready to be sucked into the More Heat Than the Sun series because the ending leaves you wanting more. I’m jumping right into Conscious Decisions of the Heart.

Narration:
Gary Furlong. Oh my goodness. This man is amazing. His accents are wonderfully consistent. Emotions. Timing. It comes together in a truly perfect production.

I received a free copy of this audiobook from Decent Fellows Press and am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

About the author:
John Wiltshire is the pen name.  The author was born in England.  She spent twenty-two years in the British Army, perfecting the art of looking busy whilst secretly writing.  She retired at the rank of Major, and finally settled in New Zealand. 

Although she has no plans to return to the army, she can occasionally be caught polishing her medals.

You can connect with John Wiltshire here:

About the narrator:
Throughout his life he has worn many a hat: He has worked as a teacher in Niigata, Japan; a puppeteer in Prague; an improv artist in Memphis, Tennessee, but made the leap to voiceover in 2015. Gary has narrated over 120 books spanning various genres.

You can connect with Gary Furlong here:

My Favorite Quotes

Ben Rider woke to the debilitating knowledge that there was someone else in the bedroom with him. – Love is a Stranger by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #Thriller

Ben had seen enough bodies in his life to recognise the difference between sleep and death. – Love is a Stranger by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #Thriller

He had no idea what the relationship with his boss really was, but he sure as hell wasn’t going to let the man know he actually liked him. – Love is a Stranger by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #Thriller

Hey, did I nearly fuck James Bond? – Love is a Stranger by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #Thriller

Nikolas was the rock he’d anchored his wayward life to, and he didn’t like the sense of his mooring slipping. – Love is a Stranger by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #Thriller

Sometimes we have no choice in this world.  We are left alone by those who would so very much prefer to stay with us. – Love is a Stranger by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #Thriller

I was thinking of killing you myself. – Love is a Stranger by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #Thriller

Today

You’re my happy place, and I know for sure that I love you, and that I want more. Like a lifetime of more.

RJ Scott
Today

Format:
Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
When the world labels a man and judges them blindly, is it possible to ever find love?

Firefighter Eric is on the front line, battling the threat of nature’s destruction in the California grasslands alongside his CalFire team. Focused and calm, even in the direst of situations, he has a strong affection for his fire truck, loves his career, and has best friends he can rely on. All he needs now is love, but that seems to be impossible to find. At his friend’s wedding. Eric falls in lust at first sight with the shy, slim and sexy Brady, even if Brady isn’t the type of guy he usually goes for. What Eric longs for is an equal in his bed, not a smaller guy who might want Eric to role-play big strong firefighter every time they have sex. He wants to find someone he can be vulnerable with, someone who will love him for his soft heart and quiet ways.

Brady’s life plans grind to a halt when his niece and nephew lose their parents in a tragic accident, and he becomes a dad overnight. His Developmental Coordination Disorder rules his life, but he fights both DCD and the fears that chase him every day, to give Maddie and Lucas a home. Agreeing to go to a friend’s wedding is a decision he regrets long before he even gets there. But, he refuses to give in to his fear, even if he might do something that makes him a target for people’s comments and laughter. Meeting Eric, a huge man with a gentle voice and a flair for chivalry, he falls hard. Now, if only he can let himself get past his panic that Eric would never want someone like him, then maybe he could fall in love for real.

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

Rellim’s Thoughts:
Today is the second book in RJ Scott’s Single Dads series. While each story has its own couple and story arc – some plot points build off events in previous books, so you’ll want to listen in order. This is another great low-angst (though steamier than the first!) audio.

I’ll admit I was already a little in love with Eric from his appearances in Single but his interactions with Brady sealed the deal. He’s physically a giant of a man who is tired of folks making assumptions based on looks and lineage while Brady struggles with a condition that has him hiding at home most of the time. These two complemented each other so well.

Again, Scott does a solid job of giving the listener children with real emotions, thoughts, and actions as well as parents (and those who want to be parents) the tough work of balancing everyone’s needs. Brady is so sweet, caring, and supportive of his new family and adding Eric just makes it that much better. There’s a bit of a suspense element in the firefighting in addition to Eric’s regular sense of humor rounding out this lovely duo.

I didn’t hesitate to snap up Leo & Jason’s book, Promise.

Narration:
Sean Crisden is a wonderful fit for this series. I loved his jovial portrayal of Eric and giving Brady’s concerns weight without making him sound whiny. This is a solid writer/narrator team.

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:

About the narrator:
From Crisden’s website: I have been a professional voice artist since 2006 (wait, people pay me for this?) but my history extends further than that. As a child, I was known as “Radio Man” for the articulate, listenable qualities within my voice. I don’t know any other kid who took quite so much pleasure in standing up and reading out loud “Tikki Tikki Tembo” or “Bunnicula” for their class.

This lead to an early pursuit of performing and I performed for nearly a decade with the prog rock band Divided Sky as vocalist and guitar player. I have expanded my abilities into on-camera acting, appearing in numerous commercials and films including M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Last Airbender”. I was even fortunate enough to act in and choreograph the combat sequences in “Le Meduse Rouge”.

I continue to grow, develop and refine my talents in an ongoing effort to find fulfillment by drinking of my creative well. I also train in several martial arts and do my best despite the lure of my bed and apple pie to stay in excellent physical shape.

You can connect with Sean Crisden here:

My Favorite Quotes

Hello sexy dude in the third row. – Today by @Rjscott_author #Audiobook narrated by @seancrisden #MM #Romance #SingleDads #Firefighter #Artist

You’re my happy place, and I know for sure that I love you, and that I want more. Like a lifetime of more. – Today by @Rjscott_author #Audiobook narrated by @seancrisden #MM #Romance #SingleDads #Firefighter #Artist

Scandalous Secrets

Why not?
Two words that carried so much temptation.

Synithia Williams
Scandalous Secrets

Format:
Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Can they do what’s right…without betraying their hearts?

Senatorial candidate Byron Robidoux always does the right thing. And, after years of focus and dedication, his life and campaign are going exactly to plan—until a blackmailer jeopardizes everything. No one is supposed to know that thirteen years ago, Byron told a lie to protect a college friend. And now that lie could destroy his career…and threaten the woman he never stopped loving.

Zoe Hammond hardly recognizes the refined and handsome politician Byron has become. The last time she saw him, he was the friend who saved her life by claiming to be the father of her unborn baby. For that, she’d do anything for him. Except Byron’s world of wealth, reputation and deceit isn’t a place where Zoe or her daughter belong. But when a menace from the past comes calling again, staying with Byron is best for them all. And, as the searing attraction between them builds, they soon realize some things are worth fighting for…especially love.

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

Rellim’s Thoughts:
This is book 2 in Synithia Williams’ Jackson Falls series. There are storylines that run throughout the series, so I recommend experiencing them all and in order – starting with the novella, The Promise of a Kiss.

Scandalous Secrets is another delightfully over-the-top soap opera-esque story filled with political scandal, blackmail, secret baby/paternity, stalkers, and a kidnapping. The only thing this was missing was a certain conniving someone being pushed down a grand staircase.

I also love that Williams takes the time to describe details about the characters’ appearance, clothing, and hair styles as it helps me feel like I really know what they look like. She also has a wicked sense of humor that had me laughing out loud numerous times.

Because Byron & Zoe never made it beyond close friends in college, this isn’t exactly a second-chance romance but definitely had a lot of those “feels” going for it. Zoe thinks she’ll be keeping her daughter safe by being brought into the Robidoux fold – but little does she know that it’s a whole new jungle to survive. Byron’s trying to prove himself to Zoe as a protector without taking over her entire life while simultaneously managing a fiancé, political campaign, and sudden fatherhood to a teenager. While there are bumps in the road to finding their HEA, they definitely don’t have any issues when it comes to chemistry. Two words: hot tub.

I also enjoyed getting to know Elaina better and I’m looking forward to her book, Careless Whisper.

Narration:
I continue to love Adenrele Ojo’s narration. She does a good job with all the characters and their various emotions. She captures the southern accent perfectly without it feeling caricature.

About the author:
Synithia has loved romance novels since reading her first one at the age of 13. It was only natural she would begin penning her own soon after. It wasn’t until 2010 that she began to actively pursue her dream of becoming a published author. Synithia has also written two books under the pseudonym Nita Brooks. When she isn’t writing, she works on water quality issues for local government while balancing the needs of her husband and two sons.

You can connect with Synithia Williams here:

About the narrator:
Adenrele Ojo is a native Philadelphian who currently resides in Los Angeles by way of New York. She is a wearer of many creative hats: actress, voice-over artist, producer and photographer. 

You can connect with Adenrele Ojo here:

My Favorite Quotes

He didn’t want to think about Zoe being the first and only woman to work her way into his heart. The first and only woman to break it. – Scandalous Secrets by @SynithiaW #Audiobook narrated by @adenreleojo #Drama #Romance #JacksonFalls #Politics #SingleMom

She hadn’t been in a room with a furious man in over thirteen years. Her stomach quaked and her palms sweated. – Scandalous Secrets by @SynithiaW #Audiobook narrated by @adenreleojo #Drama #Romance #JacksonFalls #Politics #SingleMom

You can stand by and say absolutely nothing about me, my life, or anything I plan to do. Your advice is not wanted or needed. – Scandalous Secrets by @SynithiaW #Audiobook narrated by @adenreleojo #Drama #Romance #JacksonFalls #Politics #SingleMom

Why not? Two words that carried so much temptation. – Scandalous Secrets by @SynithiaW #Audiobook narrated by @adenreleojo #Drama #Romance #JacksonFalls #Politics #SingleMom

Happiness, pleasure and affection squeezed her heart so tight she knew he was forever imprinted there. – Scandalous Secrets by @SynithiaW #Audiobook narrated by @adenreleojo #Drama #Romance #JacksonFalls #Politics #SingleMom

The Promise of a Kiss

He’d always been a little bit in awe of Jeanette; now he realized he was falling a little bit in love with her, too.

Synithia Williams
The Promise of a Kiss

Format:
ebook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
They’ve worked together for years. But one weekend away will change everything…

Dominic Ferrell is the ultimate fixer. If a problem has to disappear, Dominic is the one to call. So when senatorial candidate Byron Robidoux needs help tracking down a woman from his past, Dominic can’t resist taking the job and enlisting the best PI he knows to help. It’s an open-and-shut case…or at least it was supposed to be.

From the moment Dominic walks into her office, six feet of cool, confident, magnetism, Jeanette knows she’s in for some delicious trouble. He may want to approach the woman they’re hired to find on his own, but Jeanette has a hunch about this case—and she’s never ever wrong. They either finish this together…or not at all.

What begins as a simple work trip soon turns into something far more fun—and more complicated. And as the sparks between them ignite, nothing will ever be the same. But will Dominic and Jeanette get burned?

Point of view:
3rd person. Alternating perspectives between Dominic and Jeanette, not always by chapter but clearly defined.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
Careless Whispers – Book 3 of Synithia Williams’ Jackson Falls series is coming out on March 30th and I need to catch up! The Promise of a Kiss is a prequel novella for the series – however I read it after listening to book 1, Forbidden Promises. Which worked out fine as this really is more of a set-up for book 2, Scandalous Secrets.

This novella is a good look at Williams’ writing – which I adore! Though, due to the length it wasn’t as high on the glorious soap-opera-ey drama as the main books. Still, it was an enjoyable read and I loved this friends-to-lovers, can we be more, both been burned romance. I loved that Dominic and Jeanette are both mature and open in their communication. While the book takes place over only a few days – not only do they have a long standing friendship and business relationship, but they go on this epic “first date” that really helped me connect with them as characters and as a couple. There’s a few steamy scenes, lots of laughs, a misstep, and a grand gesture to round out this lovely novella.

I’m also invested in hearing more about Byron and Zoe and I’m looking forward to listening to Scandalous Secrets.

About the author:
Synithia has loved romance novels since reading her first one at the age of 13. It was only natural she would begin penning her own soon after. It wasn’t until 2010 that she began to actively pursue her dream of becoming a published author. Synithia has also written two books under the pseudonym Nita Brooks. When she isn’t writing, she works on water quality issues for local government while balancing the needs of her husband and two sons.

You can connect with Synithia Williams here:

My Favorite Quotes

Dominic, with his drive to dig out the truth in every situation, would graduate with honors from the superhero college. – The Promise of a Kiss by @SynithiaW #Drama #Romance #JacksonFalls #FriendsToLovers #Novella #PrivateInvestigator

The urge to kiss that smug look off her face rammed him like a thousand-pound bull. – The Promise of a Kiss by @SynithiaW #Drama #Romance #JacksonFalls #FriendsToLovers #Novella #PrivateInvestigator

 I’d rather earn your trust than barge in and try to take what I can get. – The Promise of a Kiss by @SynithiaW #Drama #Romance #JacksonFalls #FriendsToLovers #Novella #PrivateInvestigator

She wasn’t about to let him go back into work mode after picking up the gauntlet she’d haphazardly thrown. – The Promise of a Kiss by @SynithiaW #Drama #Romance #JacksonFalls #FriendsToLovers #Novella #PrivateInvestigator

He’d always been a little bit in awe of Jeanette; now he realized he was falling a little bit in love with her, too. – The Promise of a Kiss by @SynithiaW #Drama #Romance #JacksonFalls #FriendsToLovers #Novella #PrivateInvestigator

Single

You and I against the world, Mia.

RJ Scott
Single

Format:
Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Reeling from the painful rejection of a man he thought he loved, Asher is left holding the baby.

Ash wants a family, and is determined to continue with a surrogacy he’d begun with his ex. Bringing baby Mia home, he vows that he will be the best father he can be. Nothing in this world matters more to him than caring for his daughter, not even accidentally falling in lust with the doctor next door. Challenged by his growing attraction to Sean, and confronted by painful memories of his family, Ash has to learn that love is all that matters.

When ER doctor Sean moves in with his friends next door to sexy single father Ash, he falls so quickly it takes his breath away. The sex they have is hot, but Ash is adamant his heart is too full with love for his daughter to let anyone else in. Why is Sean the only one who sees how scared Ash is, and how can he prove to his new lover that he desperately wants the three of them to become a family?

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

Rellim’s Thoughts:
Single is the first book in RJ Scott’s Single Dads series and was another good addition to my low-angst week. This is a short, sweet, and slightly sexy audio featuring Ash the wounded and worrying single dad and Sean the genial and hot doctor who lives next door.

I love how realistically Scott portrays Ash as the sleep deprived but deeply devoted father to infant Mia. I appreciated that Mia was not some prop who conveniently slept most of the time and only made an appearance when a funny dirty diaper scene was needed. (Though, yes, there is a dirty diaper scene anyone spending time with a new baby can relate to.) Ash is committed, yet slightly unprepared (who isn’t?!?) for new parenthood, especially going at it all alone. Fortunately he discovers he doesn’t have to be as alone as he thought.

I like that Sean was interested, yet respectful of Ash’s hesitancy and that Sean fell in love with Mia as much as Ash. Sean’s housemates, Eric and Leo, are a fun but multi-dimensional group of guys. I’m looking forward to more of Eric as he meets Ash’s elusive friend, Brady in book 2, Today.

Narration:
Sean Crisden is a great fit for this book. Smooth and calm for Sean, a little anxious for Ash. He gives all the characters unique voices and they’re consistent throughout the book. I’m happy that he’s performing the whole series.

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:

About the narrator:
From Crisden’s website: I have been a professional voice artist since 2006 (wait, people pay me for this?) but my history extends further than that. As a child, I was known as “Radio Man” for the articulate, listenable qualities within my voice. I don’t know any other kid who took quite so much pleasure in standing up and reading out loud “Tikki Tikki Tembo” or “Bunnicula” for their class.

This lead to an early pursuit of performing and I performed for nearly a decade with the prog rock band Divided Sky as vocalist and guitar player. I have expanded my abilities into on-camera acting, appearing in numerous commercials and films including M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Last Airbender”. I was even fortunate enough to act in and choreograph the combat sequences in “Le Meduse Rouge”.

I continue to grow, develop and refine my talents in an ongoing effort to find fulfillment by drinking of my creative well. I also train in several martial arts and do my best despite the lure of my bed and apple pie to stay in excellent physical shape.

You can connect with Sean Crisden here:

My Favorite Quotes

Vin Diesel is outside my house. – Single by @Rjscott_author #Audiobook narrated by @seancrisden #MM #Romance #SingleDads

You and I against the world, Mia. – Single by @Rjscott_author #Audiobook narrated by @seancrisden #MM #Romance #SingleDads

The Memory Keeper

Just do what you love as often as you can and your path will be made clear.

Jenny Hale
The Memory Keeper

Format:
Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Hannah Townsend has the perfect job at a New York magazine, a small but elegant apartment in the Upper West Side, and a successful beau named Miles Monahan. This year, she’s leaving the icy city sludge for sunshine! She’s got tickets for two to Barbados, and she’s meeting Miles at the airport for a week of cocktails, sandy beaches, and the music of steel drums.

But her life is turned upside down in the span of that one morning. Hannah is rocked by the news that her beloved grandmother is very sick, and Hannah needs to come home to her small Tennessee town right away to be with her family and help run her gran’s dilapidated flower shop. If that isn’t enough to deal with, she discovers her boyfriend is seeing someone else.

On her birthday, she finds herself packed into a car on a ride-share to her hometown of Franklin, Tennessee. When everything seems to be going wrong, it’s the kindness of a handsome man from Hannah’s past named Liam McGuire that might just save her. But a new development that threatens Gran’s shop and secrets surrounding Liam could alter both their lives forever.

Point of view:
3rd person. Entirely from Hannah’s perspective.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
I started this and then stopped because I underwent emergency surgery. So I took a break to listen to a bunch of old favorites – because narcotics & book reviews don’t mix y’all. I’m on the less potent stuff now and diving back into my TBL.

This turned out to be the perfect book at the perfect time for me. While some heavy subjects are covered, this didn’t feel angsty at all. This is so much more than a romance, it’s really a woman coming to terms with whether or not all the achievements and goals she originally set for herself are still what she wants. Discovering that the town she left behind didn’t forget about her even when she neglected them.

Hale does a wonderful job of introducing the listener to Hannah on one of the worst days of her life. You can’t help but want her to find happiness, security, and love – in all it’s forms. There’s a fantastic road trip, a consecutive storyline featuring her gran’s journal, a family reunion, old & new friends, and an intriguing single dad. Lots of small town feel goods to go around. Hannah is a bit of a fixer and in giving wisdom to others, she reminds herself of what’s really important.

Also, I adore books with kids in them. Liam and his son make a wonderful addition to the story and Hannah’s world. As a closed door romance there isn’t anything more than a few kisses, but Hale builds a wonderful relationship between Liam & Hannah.

I loved the ending and the epilogue. While this completely stands on it’s own and there wasn’t any overt indication it would be a series – I can see how Hale could bring us more lovely stories from this small town and flower shop.

Narration:
Melie Williams is a new narrator to me – but I’m so excited to have discovered her. She was a great choice for this book and I love her performance. She is terrific as Hannah but also captures the nuances of the other characters and keeps everyone consistent. I’m looking forward to hearing more of her work.

I received a free copy of this audiobook from the author/publisher and am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

About the author:
Jenny Hale is a USA Today, Amazon, and international bestselling author of romantic contemporary fiction. Her books have sold worldwide, have been translated into multiple languages, and adapted for television. Her novels Coming Home for Christmas and Movie Guide Epiphany Award winner Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses are Hallmark Channel original movies. She was included in Oprah Magazine’s “19 Dreamy Summer Romances to Whisk You Away” and both Southern Living’s “30 Christmas Novels to Start Reading Now” as well as “Beach Reads Perfect for Summer 2020.” Her stories are chock-full of feel-good romance and overflowing with warm settings, great friends, and family. Jenny is at work on her next novel, delighted to be bringing even more heartwarming stories to her readers. When she isn’t writing or heading up her romantic fiction imprint Harpeth Road, she can be found running around her hometown of Nashville with her husband, two boys, and their labradoodle, taking pictures—her favorite pastime.

You can connect with Jenny Hale here:

About the narrator:
Hey, I’m Melie, and I’m obsessed with audiobooks.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been reading since I was two, maybe it’s because I’m in love with great stories, or maybe it’s because I can’t help but voice dialogue out loud when reading to myself…but I absolutely love opening the pages of a new manuscript and helping authors bring their words to life.

You can connect with Melie Williams here:

My Favorite Quotes

If your heart’s still beating, the you’re definitely alive and whatever life you want is out there for the taking. You’ve just got to make it happen. – The Memory Keeper by @jhaleauthor @HarpethRoad #Audiobook narrated by @MelieWilliams1 #SmallTown #ClosedDoorRomance #ContemporaryRomance

Just do what you love as often as you can and your path will be made clear. – The Memory Keeper by @jhaleauthor @HarpethRoad #Audiobook narrated by @MelieWilliams1 #SmallTown #ClosedDoorRomance #ContemporaryRomance

Bad Luck in Berlin

In Victor’s line of work a potential threat was a definite threat until proven otherwise.

Tom Wood
Bad Luck In Berlin

Format:
ebook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
HE GOES BY ONE NAME.
HE HAS NO PAST.
HIS FUTURE IS MURDER.

Victor’s been out of commission for six months—but as dangerous as ever and still at the top of his game. A former assassin-for-hire now locked in uneasy alliance with a CIA special unit, Victor is in Berlin preparing for what was supposed to be a simple assignment: taking out the scout of a notorious crime lord. But life—and death—is full of surprises.

As Victor tracks his target, he realizes that he’s not the only assassin with a special interest in his prey. And if Victor is going to do his job, he has to stop someone else from doing theirs.

Point of view:
3rd person. This one is entirely from Victor’s POV.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
This is a short story and falls as #1.5 in the Victor the Assassin series by Tom Wood. While there’s somewhat of a spoiler to events in book 1, The Killer – I think if you wanted to get a taste for Wood’s writing or the character of Victor, this is a nice place to start and you could still go back and thoroughly enjoy The Killer.

Most of this book spans a few hours in one evening – but Wood still manages to pack in quite a bit of information about Victor’s skill & training as well as the humanity he tries to cover up most of the time. Caught in the middle of two ops – Victor struggles to balance his own task while protecting a newly discovered innocent. A quick and enjoyable afternoon read.

I’m ready for book 2 (which I grabbed in audio), The Enemy.

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

My Favorite Quotes

I used to freelance. But that didn’t work out in the end. – Bad Luck in Berlin by @TheTomWood #VictorTheAssassin #Thriller #Suspense #CIA #ShortStory

He didn’t know much about his employer, but he knew enough to be considered a liability if his paymaster decided he was of no further use. – Bad Luck in Berlin by @TheTomWood #VictorTheAssassin #Thriller #Suspense #CIA #ShortStory

In Victor’s line of work a potential threat was a definite threat until proven otherwise. – Bad Luck in Berlin by @TheTomWood #VictorTheAssassin #Thriller #Suspense #CIA #ShortStory

Victor’s left hand pushing against the back of his neck where the spine met the skull, fingers spread out across the back of his head to brace, palm pushing against the top of the spine while his right hand reached around to grab hold of the cheek and jaw and wrench clockwise. – Bad Luck in Berlin by @TheTomWood #VictorTheAssassin #Thriller #Suspense #CIA #ShortStory