Death’s Ink-Black Shadow

It’s coming, Ben.  The end—for us.  You and me. 

Well, you, and that will end me. 

John Wiltshire
Death’s Ink-Black Shadow

Format:
Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:

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

Rellim’s Thoughts:
Death’s Ink-Black Shadow is the sixth 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. In some ways these stand on their own, but this one is an almost immediate continuation of events from The Bruise-Black Sky. I’d definitely recommend listening to them all and in order – starting with Love is a Stranger. This review contains spoilers to earlier books.

This book leans almost more toward a psychological thriller than past books. Focusing mainly on Ben & Nik’s relationship and their adapting to being parents. (I *told* you there was a spoiler from the last book!) Secrets that Nik’s ex-wife kept are revealed and in turn threaten his found/created family.

I love that Wilshire continues to incorporate characters from past books and that, despite his grumbling, it’s obvious Nik has found a way to love more people than just Ben. Tim, Squeezy, Miles, Emmy and more are a gathering of misfits that don’t fit anywhere yet somehow work well incorporated into this unusual brood. Trust and security continue to be elusive and Nik & Ben both struggle with the best way to care and protect themselves and those around them.

This book seemed to cap off several mysteries and it feels like there’s going to be a bit of a pivot in Enduring Night (book 7). I can’t wait!

Narration:
Gary Furlong continues to be magnificent. Despite all the ebooks already being released, there is absolutely NO WAY that I would read these to myself. Because these audios are perfection.

While I borrowed the ebook through Kindle Unlimited, 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

Long cashmere overcoats on six-foot-four, one hundred and sixty pound frames said something, and it said it loudly.  – Death’s Ink-Black Shadow by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #Thriller #PsychologicalThriller

Something was coming.  It was coming for him, or for Ben, which was pretty much the same thing these days, and then all of this would be over. – Death’s Ink-Black Shadow by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #Thriller #PsychologicalThriller

Ben had taken twelve years to get to this stunning level of intuitiveness about Nikolas. – Death’s Ink-Black Shadow by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #Thriller #PsychologicalThriller

Pleasure in sex could be faked.  Kissing had to be real.  Mouths were too close to the soul to be shared without true passion. – Death’s Ink-Black Shadow by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #Thriller #PsychologicalThriller

Kate had stolen from them in a terrible act of betrayal, but in that theft she’d given them this gift. – Death’s Ink-Black Shadow by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #Thriller #PsychologicalThriller

You’re just gay.  I thought it was going to be something really good—like you were both sleeper agents or something. – Death’s Ink-Black Shadow by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #Thriller #PsychologicalThriller

even living a lie with Ben was better than being without him entirely – Death’s Ink-Black Shadow by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #Thriller #PsychologicalThriller

The Bruise-Black Sky

Someone tried to kill us, Nik.

I noticed.

John Wiltshire
The Bruise-Black Sky

Format:
Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
It’s either a brave or a stupid person who threatens anything Nikolas Mikkelsen loves.
Ben usually overlooks Nikolas’s occasionally jarring dissonance. Not this time. A deep rift, a terrible lie, separates them. Eleven thousand miles from Nikolas, in New Zealand, it’s bitter winter as Ben films the tragic story of a post-apocalyptic gladiator, a victim of his own personal darkness. But on receiving a death threat, Ben suspects the truth of actor Oliver Whitestone’s suicide. Someone doesn’t want this movie made. It’s fortunate for Ben, therefore, that dissonance is a state of unrest, a longing for completion. As if Nikolas would stay at home in disgrace while Ben Rider-Mikkelsen becomes the target of a crazed stalker…

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

Rellim’s Thoughts:
The Bruise-Black Sky is the fifth 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. In some ways these stand on their own but as there are ongoing storylines, I’d definitely recommend listening to them all and in order – starting with Love is a Stranger. This review contains spoilers to earlier books.

The pacing of this book is a bit slower and the emphasis is much heavier on the relationship between Ben & Nik and less on the thriller/suspense aspect. That’s not a complaint at all. I still thoroughly enjoyed this one, just in a different way.

Nik & Ben’s interplay has shifted a bit during this one. Ben has a new perspective on their power dynamic after recovering from amnesia and they’re both still dealing with Kate’s betrayal. More of Nik’s past is revealed. Layering in a stalker who threatens Ben’s life and they are thrust into world-wide travel in an attempt to stop the person responsible.

Wiltshire gives us new insight into Nikolas the father-figure as his bond with Emmy deepens and he teams up with one of her classmates in an unlikely adventure. At the same time, he is Nikolas/Aleksey and protectiveness for those he loves is expressed in dark and twisted ways.

Sprinkled in all this is humor. So many laughs, giggles, and smirks in reaction to the interplay between all the characters. Squeezy continues to be one of my favorite side characters and I was thrilled to see more of him in this story. While the “bro banter” between Ben & Squeezy is delightful – the antagonistic collaboration of Nik & Squeezy to keep Ben safe is truly hilarious.

Then – the ending. I was totally caught off guard. I loved it and hated it and loved hating it. An emotional roller coaster. While this does not end on a cliffhanger – a new mystery and whole new direction is opened up. I’m thrilled that book 6, Death’s Ink-Black Shadow, released today so I can jump right in.

Narration:
Gary Furlong. It’s repetitive, but his narrations are glorious. Complicated emotions come across effortlessly with Nik at turns dark and vulnerable and Ben generally cheerful yet deviously provoking Nik. He has even more accents to work with here (hello New Zealand & America!) and they are wonderful. The hacker was obnoxiously comical.

While I borrowed the ebook through Kindle Unlimited, 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

Don’t swear at me, Nikolas. – The Bruise-Black Sky by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #Thriller

Perhaps that is how it should be.  We can make our own destinies in life and we can make our own families—conscious decisions. – The Bruise-Black Sky by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #Thriller

He’d never been cast such a wide-eyed stare of approval as he was by Miles Toogood. – The Bruise-Black Sky by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #Thriller

He’d go to New Zealand and tell Oliver Whitestone’s story. He thought maybe it would help him find his own. – The Bruise-Black Sky by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #Thriller

that was so ridiculous he was trying hard not to think it, which, of course, ensured it went around and around in his head all day. – The Bruise-Black Sky by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #Thriller

Someone had given him his own heart to carry around in his hands, having to keep it alive in all its fragile wonder, so necessary…how can you function, how can you think rationally like that? – The Bruise-Black Sky by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #Thriller

You Spin Me

I’m attracted to Cal when we talk, but what if we met and one, or both, of us were disappointed in what we see?

Karen Grey
You Spin Me

Format:
ALC. Releases July 30th!

Synopsis:
Some scars go further than skin deep…

1988 doesn’t end well for Jessica Abraham. In just one week she turns thirty, loses her day job, and loses the role of Ophelia to a younger actress. Rallying, she goes after a part at a theater outside of the city, but the director’s plan to hide her beauty behind hair, makeup and wardrobe from Cosmo’s “Don’t” column shakes her confidence to the core.

For the first time in her acting career, she won’t be able to rely on her carefully managed physical charms. Only her craft will count.

On a snowy night early in January 1989, a woman calls into DJ Callihan Alonso’s alt-rock radio show at the end of her commute. He asks her to call back the next night, and the next, just so he’ll know she’s home safe. There’s something about her voice that has him wanting more, but the longer they talk, the closer she gets. Compromising each and every wall he’s built around his heart.

If two lonely people fall in love over late-night phone calls, will meeting face-to-face make them, or break them?

Point of view:
1st person. Alternating between Cal & Jess’s perspectives.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
Karen Grey continues to deliver my favorite aspects of romance in You Spin Me. Authentic and fully developed characters, laughs, tears, sexy scenes, and a wonderful HEA. While the story stands on it’s own – there’s references to events and characters from previous books, the Boston Classics series is best enjoyed in order. (pssst… at the time of this review you can grab the audio for book 1, What I’m Looking For, from Chirp for $1.99)

I loved the contrast of Cal & Jess both being concerned about how people react to their looks versus the person inside but for opposite reasons. Much of Cal’s body was burned in a fire when he was a young child and he’s come to expect strangers horrified or pitying reactions. Jess was “blessed” with amazing genetics which gives her a body many admire but then make assumptions about her based on that.

By calling in to the radio station where Cal is a DJ, they get to know each other and build an amazing friendship that is developing into something more. But both are afraid of what happens next. With the story taking place over several months, I love that Grey gives us a lot of time to get to know them as individuals and as a couple. While it is a difficult road for this couple and there are a few misunderstandings – I appreciated that nothing drags out too long.

I like the way that Grey had Cal & Jess understand, accept, and deal with the challenges that each of them brings to the relationship. Overall a fabulous and enjoyable listen.

Narration:
I loved the book, but the narration is amazing. Vanessa Edwin and Eric Michael Summerer are absolutely perfect as Jess & Cal. They both do a fantastic job with voices, emotions, and accents. Summerer’s DJ voices are particularly spot on and the impersonation of Bobcat Goldthwaite had me rolling. I was completely immersed in the world Grey has created and I want her to write another book for Cal & Jess just so I can hear more of them by Edwin & Summerer.

While I borrowed the ebook through Kindle Unlimited, I received a free advanced copy of the audiobook from the author and am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

About the author:
KAREN GREY is the pen name for award-winning narrator Karen White. A stage, screen and radio drama actor in Boston, New York and Los Angeles in the late 20th century, she started recording books in 1999. Now back in her home state of North Carolina, she shares a home with her family and probably too many pets (canine, feline, avian and reptilian) and continues to narrate audiobooks as well as make up stories.

You can connect with Karen Grey here:

Newsletter signup: https://bit.ly/KarenGreynews

Narrators:
Eric Michael Summerer is a voice actor and producer whose voice has been heard in countless commercials and instructional recordings.  A graduate of Syracuse University, studying both TV/Radio/Film and Theater, Eric has served as narrator for over three hundred audiobooks, including Elaine Cunningham’s Forgotten Realms: Songs and Swords series, Stephen W. Bennett’s Koban series and Kurt Vonnegut’s God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater.  He is an Audie award finalist (for Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End) and an AudioFile Earphones Award winner (for Robert V.S. Redick’s Master Assassins and William Gibson’s Burning Chrome).  Interactive media credits include One Night Ultimate Werewolf, the Dead of Winter Companion App, King of Fighters 2006, and Metal Slug 3D.

In addition, Eric serves as co-host for the top-rated boardgaming podcast The Dice Tower, and is the imaging voice for KLIP, “Classic Hits LA-105” in Monroe, LA.  He also authored The Primary Source Library of Famous Composers, a series of books for children about Classical music.  In his spare time, he loves playing designer board games and attempting the sport of curling.

Eric lives in Simsbury, CT with his wife, and two sons.

You can connect with Eric Michael Summerer here:

Narrators:
Vanessa Edwin is an award winning romance audiobook narrator, who loves nothing more than a good love story. A classically trained actor, she hails from Seattle, where the long rainy days were made for nurturing her love of reading, drinking hot cups of tea, and dreaming of her next getaway. Summers spent on her family’s farm in Texas gave her a taste for Southern charm. She enjoys a long run, red wine, and spending time with her handsome husband.

You can connect with Vanessa Edwin here:

My Favorite Quotes

A relaxed smile blooms on my face, mirroring the one on his. – You Spin Me by @KarenWhitereads #Audiobook narrated by @VanessaEVoice & #EricMichaelSummerer #BostonClassics #RomanticComedy #ItsThe80s #OppositesAttract

I never paid much attention to the person talking between the songs before, but I miss Cal’s voice. – You Spin Me by @KarenWhitereads #Audiobook narrated by @VanessaEVoice & #EricMichaelSummerer #BostonClassics #RomanticComedy #ItsThe80s #OppositesAttract

I’m attracted to Cal when we talk, but what if we met and one, or both, of us were disappointed in what we see? – You Spin Me by @KarenWhitereads #Audiobook narrated by @VanessaEVoice & #EricMichaelSummerer #BostonClassics #RomanticComedy #ItsThe80s #OppositesAttract

You don’t think you can be perfect and flawed at the same time? – You Spin Me by @KarenWhitereads #Audiobook narrated by @VanessaEVoice & #EricMichaelSummerer #BostonClassics #RomanticComedy #ItsThe80s #OppositesAttract

Why do I have to pay for every terrible thing other people have said or done to you? – You Spin Me by @KarenWhitereads #Audiobook narrated by @VanessaEVoice & #EricMichaelSummerer #BostonClassics #RomanticComedy #ItsThe80s #OppositesAttract

I’ve been captivated by her since the moment I first heard her voice on the phone. – You Spin Me by @KarenWhitereads #Audiobook narrated by @VanessaEVoice & #EricMichaelSummerer #BostonClassics #RomanticComedy #ItsThe80s #OppositesAttract

This Other Country

Nikolas flicked his gaze over Ben, head to foot. 

There was something wrong. 

John Wiltshire
This Other Country

Format:
Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Nikolas is the sanest, straightest, person Ben knows, so can anyone tell him, why is he on a gay therapy course?

Nikolas Mikkelsen could make a very long list of unpleasant things he’s endured in his life. Then order it from ‘nearly killed me’ to ‘extremely horrific and don’t want to do again’. And what did it say about his forty-five years that being hit by a tsunami would be a considerable way down this list? But nothing, not torture, imprisonment, nor starvation has prepared him for what he now has to endure for Ben Rider’s sake-attendance on a residential, gay therapy course. At least he has a new contender for the top spot on his ‘my awful life’ list.

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

Rellim’s Thoughts:
This Other Country is the fourth book in John 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 earlier books.

These continue to get better and better. Partially because I’ve come to know Ben & Nik and love their truly twisted yet perfect for them relationship. Contrasting that is Wiltshire’s ability to surprise me with where the story is going. I honestly have no clue what’s going to happen and enjoy every minute of it. Her sense of humor is at times joyful and others completely dark. Then she drags Nik & Ben into a trope that other authors would struggle to keep out of being ridiculous but instead unfolds into a horror that kept me feeling like they might actually not make it to the other side. (despite, of course, knowing there’s four more books)

The most difficult part is that so many events build off each other that it’s hard to give many details without spoiling. They go undercover at a retreat for gay couples to discover what happened to Squeezy’s nephew. With other attendees they discover all is not as it seems. Both men have to be saved but in completely different ways. There’s a betrayal from someone very close to them. And old friends from previous missions are back. Then… there is the physical relationship which continues to burn up the sheets. And the kitchen. And the stable. And… It was a sexy and emotional ride that I didn’t want to stop. Fortunately, there’s more Nik & Ben in book 5, The Bruise-Black Sky.

Narration:
Gary Furlong continues to be impeccable. His voices and accents for characters are consistent book to book and it makes it so easy to binge these as well as jump back in if (like me!) there’s a few months between books.

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

You’re like breathing.  I don’t think about it, but I need it to stay alive. – This Other Country by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #Thriller

Ben seemed to float over the tumultuous ocean storms of Nikolas’s presence like a tranquil cloud, entirely unaffected. – This Other Country by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #Thriller

He wanted nothing more than to sink into a comfortable bed with Ben, stop pretending to be gay, and release some tension deep inside Ben’s arse. – This Other Country by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #Thriller

Nikolas had then fallen off the top of the very high wall he’d erected around himself to keep all emotion at bay. – This Other Country by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #Thriller

He raised a tyre iron and jabbed it ineffectually.  Nikolas had had an elderly female librarian swing one of those at him with more enthusiasm. – This Other Country by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #Thriller

Nikolas flicked his gaze over Ben, head to foot.  There was something wrong. – This Other Country by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #Thriller

Reprieve was not forgiveness. – This Other Country by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #Thriller

His wealth, his power, his rank, his history, his intelligence, his cunning, and yet, despite it all, Ben was the centre of everything.  The hub of their relationship. – This Other Country by John Wiltshire @DecentFellows #Audiobook narrated by @GaryFurlongVo #MM #Romance #MoreHeatThanTheSun #RomanticSuspense #Thriller

The Selkie Prince’s Fated Mate

It was almost as if Kai had found a missing piece of himself.

J.J. Masters
The Selkie Prince’s Fated Mate

Format:
Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
A Selkie prince forced to produce an heir. An omega destined to become a royal’s fated mate…

Prince Kai’s life as he knows it is now over. As the firstborn alpha to the Selkie King of the North, he’s required to produce an heir. Whether he wants to or not. When the Selkie Seekers finally present his fated mate, he dreads being tied to this stranger for the rest of his life. He can only hope his omega will be easy on the eyes and somewhat intelligent.

Raised in a family of good breeding, Luca always knew it was possible he’d end up the mate for an alpha of nobility. Only to whom, he never knew. Every time the Seekers summoned him for the humiliating presentation ceremony to royalty of all levels, he feared being stuck with some unbearable, abusive or very unattractive alpha. As an omega he doesn’t have the choice to say no. Not only is it his obligation, it’s the law. If he refuses, he and his family would become outcasts and banished from the Selkie community.

However, as soon as Kai enters the Great Hall of the North, it’s clear that the handsome prince is his alpha. Luca’s pleased with the choice the fates made until the king demands that not only he become pregnant within six months but produce an alpha pup with his son, otherwise he’ll be cast aside. And getting pregnant might be a problem…

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

Rellim’s Thoughts:
This is a tricky review to write because certain parts of this worked for me really well, but others kept me from connecting with the story. Complaints first so I can end on a good note:

1. Too much sex. Um, yeah, I know this might be a bonus to other folks and sometimes it works for me… but it really took over the story and left me wishing more time had been spent on world building.

2. Kai and especially Luca felt inconsistent. I get character and relationship growth, but their personalities would swing fairly broadly and it made it difficult to get attached to them as individuals or a couple.

3. The world building. I wish the seal skin had been explained better… they’re shifters, but they put it on? Selkies are part of Celtic or Norse mythology, but characters kept exclaiming Poseidon which is Greek mythos. I get that they’re both sea related, but creating a cohesive connection/explanation would have helped.

Stuff I enjoyed:

1. While I wish I understood it better, I liked what felt like an original world. Masters did do a good job of creating unique aspects which I’ve never read before.

2. The humor. Lots of fun banter, especially with Kai’s brothers.

3. Then ending and HEA.

4. Kai’s brothers. They were present enough in the story that I’m definitely invested and looking forward to each of their books. Next up is Rian’s book, The Selkie Prince & His Omega Guard.

Narration:
I enjoyed John Solo’s narration a lot. Minus one character, it’s all men and he gave them all distinct voices that matched Masters’ descriptions of them.

About the author:
J.J. Masters is the alter-ego of a USA Today bestselling author who writes hot, gay romance filled with heart, humor, and heat. J.J. became fascinated with mpreg romance as soon as she figured out what mpreg stood for. She loves to write about “knotty” men!

You can connect with J.J. Masters here:

About the narrator:
John Solo has been a professional performer for 20 years, although this whole acting thing is a relatively new development. Prior to all of this he made his living as a salesman, engineer, security guard, mechanic, construction worker, purveyor of polyester dress suits… The list goes on ad nauseum, but he prefers to think of himself as an Itinerant Adventurer and loveable scoundrel! When not acting like someone else in front of a microphone, John prefers to indulge in the simpler things in life; games of chance, sword-fighting and traveling the world… all from the comforts of his own overstuffed couch.

You can connect with John Solo here:

My Favorite Quotes

It was almost as if Kai had found a missing piece of himself. – The Selkie Prince’s Fated Mate by @JMastersAuthor @Kobo #Audiobook narrated by John Solo @falconsoundco #MM #Mpreg #FatedMate

No, we don’t walk into the sea, my omega. We leap. We fly. We feel the rush of the wind as we dive into the vast ocean that gives us our freedom and our life. – The Selkie Prince’s Fated Mate by @JMastersAuthor @Kobo #Audiobook narrated by John Solo @falconsoundco #MM #Mpreg #FatedMate

Luca, with you in my arms, my heart, my life, I can’t help but be happy. – The Selkie Prince’s Fated Mate by @JMastersAuthor @Kobo #Audiobook narrated by John Solo @falconsoundco #MM #Mpreg #FatedMate

The Highlander’s Hellion

If she was going to have to ride home over the next week or so with a man who drove her crazy, at least she could pick out her own horse.

Eliza Knight
The Highlander’s Hellion

Format:
Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Lady Greer was a hellion from the moment she could walk. So, when the young woman is forbidden by her father, the Earl of Sutherland, to sail, she steals a boat and rows it out into the firth anyway. But her relaxing jaunt turns into so much more when a storm ravages the chill waters and the prospect of death is soon upon her.

The last thing Roderick MacCulloch, Laird of Gleann Mórinnse Castle, expects to find while out scouting his property is a soaked lass upon his shores. When she demands he take her back to her clan, he recognizes her as the mischievous lass who taunted him at a festival years before. Roderick realizes this might be his chance to have a bit of fun and give Lady Greer a taste of her own medicine.

But Roderick’s chance at revenge turns into a merry chase across the Highlands that leads them both to unexpected passion, perilous danger…and maybe even love.

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

Rellim’s Thoughts
The Highlander’s Hellion is another fun, sexy, sweet, & slightly suspenseful addition to the Sutherland Legacy series by Eliza Knight. Again, while each book stands on its own – characters and a few minor events from previous books are mentioned and it’s best to listen to these in order.

I love the way Knight approaches the Grumpy/Sunshine trope with Roderick having a great deal weighing him down but not being cruel/mean to anyone. Greer is a wonderful… well… hellion. While some of her chaos is intentional much is just due to an adventurous spirit. Roderick is equally dismayed and enamored by her behavior. Greer delights in making him smile. They are an adorable couple.

Travels require them to get to know each other better than they did during previous superficial meetings. While there is a misunderstanding that happens, it’s resolved fairly quickly and I continue to appreciate that most of the angst is light and from external forces/situations.

Looking forward to book 4, The Highlander’s Secret Vow.

Narration:
Antony Ferguson continues to be a gem to listen to and a great fit with Knight’s writing. I enjoy his accents and emotions as well as his ability to highlight Knight’s wonderful sense of humor.

Content Warning (may contain spoilers): Suicide. Listeners may want to be aware that the book opens with the immediate aftermath (Roderick finding his sister’s body) & family dealing with it are mentioned, but not belabored.

About the author:
Eliza Knight is a USA Today Bestselling and award-winning author of sizzling historical romance. Under the name E. Knight, she pens riveting historical fiction. She runs the award-winning blog, History Undressed. When not reading, writing and researching, she likes to cuddle up in front of a warm fire with her own knight in shining armor.

You can connect with Eliza Knight here:

About the narrator:
AudioFile Earphones Award winner Antony Ferguson is a native of London, England. He is a classically trained actor and has appeared in numerous productions in London, Off-Broadway, and regional theater. As a voice actor, he has over fifty audiobooks to his credit and was recommended by the “All About Romance” Web site as one of the best male narrators at performing female characters. He lives in Los Angeles.

You can connect with Antony Ferguson here:

My Favorite Quotes

’Tis true, I am biased when it comes to my children, but, lass, ye must believe in yourself on land as much as ye believe in yourself at sea. – The Highlander’s Hellion by @ElizaKnight #Audiobook narrated by Antony Ferguson @BlackstoneAudio #SutherlandLegacy #ScottishRomance #HistoricalRomance

He found himself smiling for the first time in months. – The Highlander’s Hellion by @ElizaKnight #Audiobook narrated by Antony Ferguson @BlackstoneAudio #SutherlandLegacy #ScottishRomance #HistoricalRomance

She’d not countered him, and yet he felt like she’d won whatever argument they were having. It was damn mystifying. – The Highlander’s Hellion by @ElizaKnight #Audiobook narrated by Antony Ferguson @BlackstoneAudio #SutherlandLegacy #ScottishRomance #HistoricalRomance

If she was going to have to ride home over the next week or so with a man who drove her crazy, at least she could pick out her own horse. – The Highlander’s Hellion by @ElizaKnight #Audiobook narrated by Antony Ferguson @BlackstoneAudio #SutherlandLegacy #ScottishRomance #HistoricalRomance

She’d never been kissed before, and she was certain she’d never want to be kissed by anyone else again. – The Highlander’s Hellion by @ElizaKnight #Audiobook narrated by Antony Ferguson @BlackstoneAudio #SutherlandLegacy #ScottishRomance #HistoricalRomance

Project Hail Mary

Yes, I just made up that word. No, I don’t feel bad about it. I’m doing a lot of things for the first time in human history out here and there’s a lot of stuff that needs naming. Just be glad I don’t name stuff after myself.

Andy Weir
Project Hail Mary

Format:
Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
A lone astronaut must save the earth from disaster in this incredible new science-based thriller from the number-one New York Times best-selling author of The Martian.

Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission – and if he fails, humanity and the Earth itself will perish.

Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.

All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.

His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, he realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Alone on this tiny ship that’s been cobbled together by every government and space agency on the planet and hurled into the depths of space, it’s up to him to conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.

And thanks to an unexpected ally, he just might have a chance.

Point of view:
First person, entirely from Ryland Grace’s perspective.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
I absolutely loved this production. This was one of those audios where the tension and anticipation had me wanting it to hurry up for its resolution as much as the amazing adventures and storytelling made me want it to last forever. Andy Weir has this wonderful ability to craft a technically dense book balanced by character explanations or internal monologues that make it easy for anyone to understand.

Generally I don’t like books where the story is told through back & forth switching between present & past events. However, Weir’s juxtaposition works incredibly well for me here.

Ryland Grace is a terrific character. Not “perfect” but his flaws and emotions are part of what makes him so relatable and lend realism to a book that is ultimately science fiction/fantasy. So many emotional events, twists, and turns with mystery/suspense/thriller aspects that are best enjoyed if reviewers don’t spoil them, so I’ll stop here.

Narration:
Ray Porter is an amazing narrator. While I enjoyed The Martian this purchase was 100% narrator motivated. Porter’s skill with voices, emotions, and accents is matched by few other narrators. 16 hours completely immersed in Weir’s world is unstoppable with Porter at the helm. I read there’s talk of a movie and I’m hoping that perhaps Porter could be cast as the voice of a specific character – because that would be fantastic!

About the author:
Andy Weir built a two-decade career as a software engineer until the success of his first published novel, The Martian, allowed him to live out his dream of writing full-time. He is a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of such subjects as relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight. He also mixes a mean cocktail. He lives in California.

You can connect with Andy Weir here:

About the narrator:
You can connect with Ray Porter here:

My Favorite Quotes

Who am I to question a creepy robot-armed computer overlord? – Project Hail Mary @andyweirauthor #Audiobook #NarratorMotivated @Ray_Porter #SciFi #Space #Suspense #Thriller @audible_com

I pull the stopwatch from my toga (the best ancient Greek philosophers always carried stopwatches in their togas). – Project Hail Mary @andyweirauthor #Audiobook #NarratorMotivated @Ray_Porter #SciFi #Space #Suspense #Thriller @audible_com

I’m not falling! This is just space! Everything is fine! – Project Hail Mary @andyweirauthor #Audiobook #NarratorMotivated @Ray_Porter #SciFi #Space #Suspense #Thriller @audible_com

I don’t know if this is a good idea or a terrible idea. But I’m going to knock a chunk of my hull off. – Project Hail Mary @andyweirauthor #Audiobook #NarratorMotivated @Ray_Porter #SciFi #Space #Suspense #Thriller @audible_com

Yes, I just made up that word. No, I don’t feel bad about it. I’m doing a lot of things for the first time in human history out here and there’s a lot of stuff that needs naming. Just be glad I don’t name stuff after myself. – Project Hail Mary @andyweirauthor #Audiobook #NarratorMotivated @Ray_Porter #SciFi #Space #Suspense #Thriller @audible_com

I’m sick of living in The Poseidon Adventure. Time to right this ship. – Project Hail Mary @andyweirauthor #Audiobook #NarratorMotivated @Ray_Porter #SciFi #Space #Suspense #Thriller @audible_com

When I can’t remove the bolt, I just start melting stuff. Can’t be stuck if it’s liquid. – Project Hail Mary @andyweirauthor #Audiobook #NarratorMotivated @Ray_Porter #SciFi #Space #Suspense #Thriller @audible_com

Bear Protection

She met his gaze and found herself trapped there unable to look away.

Marlie Monroe
Bear Protection

Format:
Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
She ran from the man who hurt her. Can she trust the one who wants to claim her forever?

A safe refuge.

Sophie has moved across the state to escape her abusive ex. Deep in the heart of shifter territory, the last thing she’s looking for is a new relationship. But after she bumps into a sexy stranger at the grocery store, she can’t get him out of her mind.

A deep instinct.

Grizzly shifter Rick doesn’t let many people close – especially humans – but it’s impossible to resist the pull of his mate. The need to care for her and protect her pulses with every beat of his heart. How can he tell a woman who’s learned not to trust that she belongs to him?

A deadly game.

When Sophie’s ex tracks her down, he’ll stop at nothing to take his revenge. She’s determined to fight him, but without Rick’s help, her chance at a new life – any life – could be gone forever. Can the shifter keep his mate safe long enough for them to have their happy ending?

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

Rellim’s Thoughts:
At less than 3 hours this was a cute, fairly low angst, shifter novella. I also like that while “fated mates” it was more like something that drew them together – not a force that violated their will.

The majority of the angst came from Sophie’s ex stalking her and Rick trying to protect her. Rick and Sophie’s relationship was a mix of sexy & sweet. While a short book, Monroe still gave enough world building to have a nice sense without taking from the character part of the story.

Narration:
I enjoyed David Quimby’s narration. His voice worked well with the low-angst and sweet style of the writing and story.

My Favorite Quotes

She met his gaze and found herself trapped there unable to look away. – Bear Protection by #MarlieMonroe #Audiobook narrated by #DavidQuimby #PleasantValleyShifters #Shifter #FatedMates #Novella #LowAngst

After a lifetime of looking for love in all the wrong places, she had finally found someone she could count on. – Bear Protection by #MarlieMonroe #Audiobook narrated by #DavidQuimby #PleasantValleyShifters #Shifter #FatedMates #Novella #LowAngst

It Might Be You

Thank goodness for pushy grandparents.

Tara September
It Might Be You

Format:
Audible.

Note: This short story originally appeared in the anthology From Florida with Love: Moonlight & Steamy Nights.

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Serina Spring is trading in her blossoming real estate career in Manhattan and an ex-boyfriend to start anew in Naples, Florida. But playing cards with her matchmaking grandmother was not exactly the exciting new life she had in mind.

So, when Serina spies a handsome stranger at an open house, she thinks her luck just might be changing. Then again? Maybe not.

Fortunately, while on the white sandy beaches of Southwest Florida, Serina discovers that all is not what it seems if you just open yourself up to fate.

Point of view:
3rd Person. Entirely from Serina’s perspective.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
Being a fan of Tara September’s other work, I was thrilled to snag this new release during Audible’s big sale last month. At just under an hour this was a quick low-angst listen. Entirely from Serina’s perspective, it’s an enjoyable “how they got together” closed door romance. (the spicy factor is a few internal musings and a single kiss toward the end) While this short story is not exactly a “meet cute” it had a lot of the traits I love about those.

Narration:
This was my first time listening to Elizabeth Klett and I thought she was the perfect fit for the story.

About the author:
Blogger and former PR executive for The Walt Disney Company, Tara holds a Master’s degree in journalism & communications from NYU. For over a decade, Tara has penned a popular lifestyle, travel and parenting blog at TaraMetBlog.com

An avid romance reader, she has been daydreaming about being an author since high school. Dozens of bad dates and adventures later, she still finds it impossible that she met her husband on a New York City subway. They now live in sunny Southwest Florida with identical twin boys and four cats underfoot/on her laptop/everywhere. Fueled by an IV of green tea, she’s finally writing the happily ever after tales she’s been dreaming about.

You can connect with Tara September here:

About the narrator:
Reading books out loud has long been a passion for Elizabeth. She has been a professional audiobook narrator since 2011, with over 250 titles available at Libro.fmAudible and elsewhere. She is currently on the roster at ACXAudiobook EmpireBee AudioFindaway VoicesPink Flamingo ProductionsSpoken Realms, and Tantor Audio. She recorded free audiobooks for LibriVox from 2007-2015, and has also volunteered for the non-profit group Learning Ally. She can be heard voicing various characters in audio dramas at The Online Stage, and reading poetry at Rhapsodize Audio.

You can connect with Elizabeth Klett here:

My Favorite Quotes

Thank goodness for pushy grandparents. – It Might Be You by @TaraSeptember #Audiobook narrated by @elizabethaudio #Romance #ShortStory #ClosedDoor

Valor: The Complete Duology

When I’m with you, I don’t have to hide.

Keira Andrews
Valor: THe Complete Duology

Format:
Audiobook

This is a box set combining Valor on the Move and Test of Valor.

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Valor on the Move: Growing up gay in the White House hasn’t been easy for Rafael Castillo. But once his family’s out of the spotlight, he can be honest with his conservative parents about his sexuality and his dream of being a chef.

It’s definitely not part of Rafa’s plan to get a new Secret Service agent who’s a walking wet dream, but he’s made it this long keeping his desires to himself.

Shane’s never had room for romance in his life, and he’d certainly never cross that line with a protectee. Keeping Rafa safe at any cost is Shane’s mission. But as Rafa gets under his skin, will they both put their hearts on the line?

Test of Valor: With his father no longer president, Rafa Castillo can finally be with ex-Secret Service agent Shane Kendrick. Eager to get away from the questions and judgement, Rafa and Shane are building a new life together in Australia.

Now they just have to get through a visit from the former president and first lady. Rafa’s parents certainly don’t approve of his romance with 40-year-old Shane, and they’re determined to make him see reason. Shane and Rafa just want a normal life together – but when they must suddenly battle for survival, they fight to prove their fierce love can withstand any threat.

Point of view:
3rd person. Alternating character POV by chapter.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
I was super excited to see these in a box set not only as a fantastic deal but because I just adore all things Keira Andrews. I listened to Valor on the Move and Test of Valor last Summer and thoroughly enjoyed the emotionally gripping mix of romance, mystery/suspense, & thriller components. On their own these are fully developed stories – together they are 18 hours of awesomeness.

Valor on the Move:
Rafa, code name Valor, is the President’s youngest son and deeply in the closet (mostly due to his parent’s political affiliations). Shane is one of his Secret Service agents. I liked that Andrews took the time, and oooh-boy was this a slow burn, for Shane and Rafa to spend a lot of time getting to know each other.

There are a few sex scenes, but nothing that drowns out the relationship or harrowing circumstances the MCs are thrust into.

Test of Valor:
I loved this one even more than the first – maybe because the first was an HFN and this was Shane & Rafa’s HEA. There’s a lot of relationship building, a little bit of personal drama, a little bit of family drama, and smidge of suspense. Fairly low angst, but thoroughly enjoyable.

Definitely one I’ll listen to many times.

Narration:
Iggy Toma does a fantastic job of narrating. He definitely gives Shane a mature sound and Rafa a younger one – while Rafa doesn’t sound like a child. Toma does a great job of giving everyone a distinct voice/sound – which says a lot given how many characters there are and how many of them are men. This is full of so many emotions and Toma brings them to life in a way I never could reading them myself. He’s terrific.

About the author:
After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, fantasy, and paranormal fiction and — although she loves delicious angst along the way — Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said:

“The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”

You can connect with Keira Andrews here:

My Favorite Quotes

When I’m with you, I don’t have to hide. – Valor Complete Duology @keiraandrews #Audiobook narrated by #IggyToma #MM #AgeGap #RomanticSuspense

Remember that with some waves…you can’t catch them. Better to dive through and wait for another one. There’s always another one. – Valor Complete Duology @keiraandrews #Audiobook narrated by #IggyToma #MM #AgeGap #RomanticSuspense

You can tell us more about Australia. We were there what, five years ago, Ramon? We held a koala. I think it was as stoned as a hippie. – Valor Complete Duology @keiraandrews #Audiobook narrated by #IggyToma #MM #AgeGap #RomanticSuspense

Baby brother, it is high time you got drunk at the White House. We’ll show you how it’s done. We’ve got your back. – Valor Complete Duology @keiraandrews #Audiobook narrated by #IggyToma #MM #AgeGap #RomanticSuspense

We’ll do it our way, and my parents can deal.” “Well, that is our unofficial motto. – Valor Complete Duology @keiraandrews #Audiobook narrated by #IggyToma #MM #AgeGap #RomanticSuspense

The air felt jagged, all sharp edges in the space separating them. – Valor Complete Duology @keiraandrews #Audiobook narrated by #IggyToma #MM #AgeGap #RomanticSuspense

Ready for breakfast? I was thinking bacon. Because…well, bacon. – Valor Complete Duology @keiraandrews #Audiobook narrated by #IggyToma #MM #AgeGap #RomanticSuspense