Jump!

One got the sense that man had launched himself into the heavens, and only then remembered that he couldn’t float.

Daniel Engber
Jump!

Format:
Audiobook, included borrow via Amazon Prime, Kindle Unlimited, or Audible Plus.

Publisher’s Synopsis:
In the first few years of the twentieth century, inventors discovered how to soar into the sky. This breathtaking true story is about two men who, on one fateful weekend, tried to show the world a way back down.

It was early February 1912, and Franz Reichelt, a Paris tailor, and Rodman Law, a self-described “professional jackass” from New York, were poised, respectively, on the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty, ready to deploy an experimental parachute. In bat wings and bundled linen, they were almost certain their contraptions would work. Here is the tale of their inspirations and their pluck—and what happened next.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
At just over an hour this short story is included as an Amazon Prime, Kindle Unlimited, or Audible Plus membership benefit. These make great lunch break (or while folding laundry) listens. Here’s a full listing of Amazon Original Stories if you’re interested in more of these shorts.

Obviously, this isn’t intended to be a comprehensive biography of either Reichelt or Law.  Instead Engber uses newspapers, diaries, and interviews to share an interesting tale of two men who sought to keep gravity from ensuring death. Their motivations and personalities were quite different and the juxtaposition of their lives and time in history is compelling.

Note: While I listened to the audio, I also “read along” with the ebook. I highly recommend this as there are numerous photographs that add to the experience.

Narration:
I’m a fan of Amy McFadden and she’s a great choice to narrate this story which is at turns humorous and poignant.

About the author:
Daniel Engber is a writer and journalist whose work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Radiolab, Slate, This American Life, Wired, and other publications.

You can connect with Daniel Engber 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

One got the sense that man had launched himself into the heavens, and only then remembered that he couldn’t float. – Jump! by @danengber #Audiobook narrated by @amymcnarrator #AmazonOriginal #ShortStory #Biography #History

“It’s three-fourths mathematics,” he’d explain, “and the rest is bunk.” – Jump! by @danengber #Audiobook narrated by @amymcnarrator #AmazonOriginal #ShortStory #Biography #History

You could say my whole life has been one long risk. – Jump! by @danengber #Audiobook narrated by @amymcnarrator #AmazonOriginal #ShortStory #Biography #History

Forget About Me

The last seven years have proven that I can live without the love of my life. I just don’t want to.

Karen Grey
Forget About Me

Format:
ebook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Ben Porter may be living the dream, but it’s not his.

His dad’s health scare might not be the ideal reason to come home for the summer, but it’s a welcome break from the stellar glitz of Ben’s life in Los Angeles. Even if modeling has him rivaling Marky Mark’s fame, posing isn’t his passion. Landing a role with a Boston Shakespeare theater brings him closer to fulfilling his dreams of being a real actor.

Facing the reason he went west in the first place? That’s another story.

Lucy Minola’s dreams were shattered seven years ago when a drunk driver smashed into her brother’s car. She knows it was her fault. So as penance, she works hard to care for her family, goes to confession faithfully, and buries all the feelings she had for the person who left when she needed him most: her brother’s best friend.

When an injured dog brings them back together, Lucy’s good-girl facade begins to crack. Women everywhere are obsessed with the rad body they see in magazines, but she’s the only one Ben seems to notice.

She can’t trust herself with the man who walked away… but can she let him go a second time?

Point of view:
1st Person. Alternating perspectives between Ben & Lucy.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
Forget About Me is the 2nd book in Grey’s Boston Classics series set in the late 80s. You could start here as there aren’t any spoilers for Will & Kate’s story (other than they end up together – but this is romance, so yeah). However, I definitely recommend book 1, What I’m Looking For and the free prequel novella, Signed, Sealed, & Delivered.

Insert small grumble here about the fact that this is labeled “Historical”. Seriously, I’m that old??? Anyway…

I was so excited to get to read this! This incorporates one of my favorite tropes: Best Friend’s Sister/Brother’s Best Friend and the added bonus of an adorable dog. What I really enjoyed here is that while it’s a cohesive addition to the series – it’s definitely a unique story. Ben & Lucy were brought together in friendship as children by Lucy’s brother, Tony and then torn apart as young lovers by his death. Forget About Me has it’s fair share of grief and growing pains to go along with it’s hilarious RomCom status. Add in the constant stream of music referenced from Lucy’s obsession with mixtapes and this is a truly delightful story. (Have your Spotify or Amazon Music app ready!)

I’ll admit, I am not a fan of flashbacks – the story regularly takes the main characters on trips down memory lane, mostly to 7 years earlier – but Grey weaves them in so well that instead of disrupting the flow they reveal bits of information and emotion at the perfect times. While there are numerous sexy scenes for Ben & Lucy, I truly enjoy romance where I get to know the characters individually and together as a couple. I want to believe that these people belong together and I’m thrilled that’s exactly what I get. In some respects, we get their love story twice – young love as new adults at 21 & 18 and again at 28 & 25 with more life experience and self-awareness.

I am now eagerly awaiting the audiobook. Not only is this a story I can enjoy multiple times, after the fantastic job Joe Arden & Karen White did with What I’m Looking For – I can’t wait for this in my ears.

Extra little note. Grey’s pin for Ben. Wow!

I received a free advanced copy of this book 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

My Favorite Quotes

The last seven years have proven that I can live without the love of my life. I just don’t want to. – Forget About Me by @KarenWhitereads #BostonClassics #RomanticComedy #ItsThe80s #BrothersBestFriend #BestFriendsSister

I’ve met hundreds of drop-dead gorgeous women since leaving Arlington for Los Angeles. Not a single one measured up to Lucy. – Forget About Me by @KarenWhitereads #BostonClassics #RomanticComedy #ItsThe80s #BrothersBestFriend #BestFriendsSister

My body has no sense of self-preservation when it comes to that man and his mouth. – Forget About Me by @KarenWhitereads #BostonClassics #RomanticComedy #ItsThe80s #BrothersBestFriend #BestFriendsSister

Without Sanction

In close combat, action always beat reaction.

Don Bentley
Without Sanction

Format:
audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Defense Intelligence Agency operative Matt Drake broke a promise. A promise that cost three people their lives and crippled his best friend. Three months later, he’s paralyzed by survivor’s guilt and haunted by the memories of the fallen. Matt may have left Syria, but Syria hasn’t left him.

In the midst of his self-imposed exile, Matt is dragged back into the world of espionage and assets that he tried to forget. A Pakistani scientist working for an ISIS splinter cell has created a terrifying weapon of mass destruction. The scientist offers to defect with the weapon, but he trusts just one man to bring him out of Syria alive – Matt Drake.

It’s a suicide mission – one man against an army of terrorists. Still, with stakes this high, Matt has no choice but to try. He’s going in on high alert, but he’s blind to his greatest vulnerability. His most dangerous enemy is closer to home – not on the battlefield, but in the Oval Office.

Point of view:
1st & 3rd. Chapters from Drake’s perspective are 1st, chapters from Peter’s are 3rd.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
I’ve been wanting to listen to this for a while and I’m so glad I made time for it this week. I didn’t realize from the description that the political facet was going to be as much a part of the story as the spy thriller perspective. I have no complaints as these two aspects weaved around and within each other to create an incredibly enjoyable ride.

Bentley opted to pen all of Matt Drake’s chapters in 1st person while all of Peter’s were in 3rd person. I absolutely loved this technique. It made it easy to distinguish the changing perspectives and added an additional depth to their characters and interactions.

While there were times I felt that Drake’s commentary was a bit repetitive – overall I felt that the pacing was well done. I may have occasionally been able to guess the direction the plot or characters were going, but it wasn’t without surprise or unique finesse. I enjoyed the many hurdles that Drake had to accomplish and that he wasn’t a superhero with perfect luck and unbeatable skills. He was a real man who had to overcome obstacles and imperfect executions.

The political wrangling was delightfully frustrating. Given the current times, I especially appreciated that all the political characters were completely fictional and it didn’t feel as being “inspired by” real people.

While Drake is overall successful in his mission, there are definitely doors opened to what promises to be an engaging series. I am absolutely looking forward to The Outside Man in 2021.

Narration:
This was my first time listening to Jack Armstrong. I really enjoyed his main narration, Drake & Peter’s voices, and his emotional deliveries. Unfortunately his secondary characters left a lot to be desired, especially those from “foreign” countries. Whether they were Syrian, Russian, or from Utah – they had the same accent. Even then they weren’t always consistent. I would be willing to listen to other narrations from him that don’t require these kinds of dynamics, but I’m pretty sure I’ll read the next book in the series.

About the author:
Don Bentley spent a decade as an Army Apache helicopter pilot, and while deployed in Afghanistan was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Air Medal with “V” device for valor. Following his time in the military, Don worked as an FBI special agent focusing on foreign intelligence and counterintelligence and was a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team member.

You can connect with Don Bentley here:

My Favorite Quotes

In close combat, action always beat reaction. – Without Sanction @bentleydonb #Thriller #Political #Spy #MattDrake

I wasn’t sure whether I’d spoken in Arabic or English, though it probably didn’t matter. In my experience, a pistol in the face was pretty universal. – Without Sanction @bentleydonb #Thriller #Political #Spy #MattDrake

Sorry, sir. Your operative is on his own. – Without Sanction @bentleydonb #Thriller #Political #Spy #MattDrake

When I was picturing my rescue, this wasn’t it. – Without Sanction @bentleydonb #Thriller #Political #Spy #MattDrake

This is Syria. Everywhere is trouble. – Without Sanction @bentleydonb #Thriller #Political #Spy #MattDrake

Signed, Sealed, & Delivered

Wowzers.

Just the thought of seeing him and my stupid heart is wigging out.

Karen Grey
Signed, Sealed, & Delivered

Format:

ebook, available to newsletter subscribers & members of Grey’s Facebook group.

Synopsis:
A prequel to Forget About Me that I promise will not spoil in any way your enjoyment of the other books but will give you a quick trip down memory lane (for some) or a trip to the mysterious world of dating before you were born (for others).

Point of view:
1st person. Alternating between Ben & Lucy’s perspectives.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
I was just about to dive in to my advance copy of Forget About Me when this gem was delivered to my inbox. This is a quick and adorable novella introducing us to Ben & Lucy, a glimpse into how they met, and Grey even manages to give us several sexy and hilarious scenes. I know, ahem, things happened in vans… but not quite like that!

Lovers of the Best Friend’s Sister/Brother’s Best Friend tropes will adore this.

If you haven’t already, check out a Sneak Peek or my review of Forget About Me. But first! Have you read or listened to book 1: What I’m Looking For.

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

My Favorite Quotes

Wowzers. Just the thought of seeing him and my stupid heart is wigging out. – Signed, Sealed, & Delivered by @KarenWhitereads #BostonClassics #Novella #RomanticComedy #ItsThe80s

She’s laughing at me, but I don’t care. The cleavage is back and my view is better than ever. – Signed, Sealed, & Delivered by @KarenWhitereads #BostonClassics #Novella #RomanticComedy #ItsThe80s

Half Light

I didn’t know what would be better; to tell her that I did notice but I just didn’t do anything or pretend that I somehow missed her sorrow.

Tayari Jones
Half light

Format:

audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Identical twins Amelia and Camelia Hall were born with the same face, and that’s about it: By the time the girls were through school, the matching set of names could no longer contain them. Now there’s Cam, whose contrarian streak led her to a career in law, and Lia, who followed more closely in her parents’ footsteps with her dermatology practice and married-with-children lifestyle in Atlanta’s Glenwood Park.

But the bond between the sisters is deep and unshakable – Cam serves as the maid of honor on Lia’s wedding day and as her attorney 15 years later, when Lia’s life and the lives of her two teenage daughters are rocked by divorce. And two years after her separation, the dust is finally starting to settle. But in the hazy glow of their first years of marriage, Lia gifted her then-husband a precious, irreplaceable family heirloom, and she decides that now, she must do whatever she can to get it back, starting with breaking and entering.

Point of view:
1st person. Entirely from Lia’s perspective.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
This was a borrow under Audible’s new Audible Plus feature and I love Bahni Turpin’s narrations, so I was in!

This is my first experience with Tayari Jones’ writing and I’m definitely impressed. Jones crafts an endearing tale of two sisters who are different yet so clearly of the same heart. What I loved about this is that it’s so real. The history (and the present) contain heartache, laughs, love, and hope. Human. With the added twist of the unique relationship of not only sisters, but identical twins.

Reviews for shorts that I love are hard – because I want to gush without giving it all away. I’ll definitely be listening to more of Tayari Jones in the future.

Narration:
This is everything I expect and love from Bahni Turpin’s narrations. She gives unique voices and emotions to all the characters. She’s a treat to listen to.

About the author:
New York Times best-selling author Tayari Jones is the author of four novels, most recently An American Marriage. Published in 2018, An American Marriage is an Oprah’s Book Club Selection and also appeared on Barack Obama’s summer reading list as well as his year-end roundup. The novel was awarded the Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly known as the Orange Prize), Aspen Words Prize and an NAACP Image Award. It has been published in two dozen countries.

Jones, a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, has also been a recipient of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, United States Artist Fellowship, NEA Fellowship, and Radcliffe Institute Bunting Fellowship. Her third novel, Silver Sparrow, was added to the NEA Big Read Library of classics in 2016.

Jones is a graduate of Spelman College, University of Iowa, and Arizona State University. She is an Andrew D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University and the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Creative Writing at Emory University.

You can connect with Tayari Jones here:

About the narrator:
You can connect with Bahni Turpin here:

My Favorite Quotes

I didn’t know what would be better: to tell her that I did notice but I just didn’t do anything or pretend that I somehow missed her sorrow. – Half Light by @TayariJones #Audiobook @TheRealBahniT #ShortStory @audible_com #AudiblePlus

It’s more than hers, it’s her. – Half Light by @TayariJones #Audiobook @TheRealBahniT #ShortStory @audible_com #AudiblePlus

Let’s commit this felony and put this bullshit behind us. – Half Light by @TayariJones #Audiobook @TheRealBahniT #ShortStory @audible_com #AudiblePlus

This was ours and you gave it to a fool. – Half Light by @TayariJones #Audiobook @TheRealBahniT #ShortStory @audible_com #AudiblePlus

Sneak Peek: Forget About Me

I’ve met hundreds of drop-dead gorgeous women since leaving Arlington for Los Angeles. Not a single one measured up to Lucy.

Karen Grey
Forget About Me

Forget About Me, an all-new feel good, retro romantic comedy from Karen Grey is coming October 22nd, and we have the first sneak peek!

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Ben Porter may be living the dream, but it’s not his.

His dad’s health scare might not be the ideal reason to come home for the summer, but it’s a welcome break from the stellar glitz of Ben’s life in Los Angeles. Even if modeling has him rivaling Marky Mark’s fame, posing isn’t his passion. Landing a role with a Boston Shakespeare theater brings him closer to fulfilling his dreams of being a real actor.

Facing the reason he went west in the first place? That’s another story.

Lucy Minola’s dreams were shattered seven years ago when a drunk driver smashed into her brother’s car. She knows it was her fault. So as penance, she works hard to care for her family, goes to confession faithfully, and buries all the feelings she had for the person who left when she needed him most: her brother’s best friend.

When an injured dog brings them back together, Lucy’s good-girl facade begins to crack. Women everywhere are obsessed with the rad body they see in magazines, but she’s the only one Ben seems to notice.

She can’t trust herself with the man who walked away… but can she let him go a second time?

Sneak Peek:
CHAPTER ONE
“You May Be Right” – Billy Joel
Lucy’s Keep on Truckin’ Mixtape, Song #3

BEN
Falling in love, killing a guy by accident and mortally wounding myself when it
appears that my bride has taken her life is a lot. Doing it six times in four days is just too much. The addition of two weekend matinees to Shakespeare Boston’s Romeo and
Juliet schedule must be taking its toll. Still, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. This
year—just like the past seven—began in Los Angeles, where modeling work has
dominated my life, keeping me far from home and too busy to do theater. Six months
into 1988, due to circumstances I never expected to face, I’m back in Boston performing for a live audience. It feeds my soul, so I don’t care if I’m exhausted.

I’m tired at the end of every weekend, but on this particular late-August Monday
morning, I might be hallucinating. Adrenaline spiking, heart in my throat, it takes a few beats for me to figure out what just happened. My hands grip the railing that kept me from falling off my second-floor porch as I take in the lump I just tripped over on my way out the door.

It’s a mottled gray color, and I think that’s fur. Not moving, though. Wondering if
it’s alive, I step closer. It makes a snuffling noise, unfolding itself, and I release the
breath I’ve been holding. It’s not some weird package from a mega-fan; it’s a dog. With
tufted brows and a whiskery muzzle, he looks like the dog in that movie when we were
kids—Benji.

“Where the heck did you come from, little guy?”

Want to read more? Ready to pre-order? Forget About Me

If you haven’t already, check out book 1: What I’m Looking For.

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

Thank you Social Butterfly PR!

I’ve met hundreds of drop-dead gorgeous women since leaving Arlington for Los Angeles. Not a single one measured up to Lucy. – Forget About Me by @KarenWhitereads #SneakPeek #BostonClassics #RomanticComedy #ItsThe80s

Exit Strategy

Most white-collar criminals needed to feed something: either an addiction or their ego.

Colleen Cross
Exit Strategy

Format:
audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Private investigator and forensic accountant Katerina Carter uncovers a sinister connection between blood diamonds and organized crime. Then two company employees are brutally murdered and her investigation becomes much more dangerous than she had ever imagined. Can she can stay alive long enough to expose the real criminals…or will her first case be her last?

Point of view:
3rd person. Mostly from Katerina’s perspective, however there are some chapters from other POV’s. All clearly defined.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
Katerina Carter is a down-on-her luck forensic accountant trying to find success with her own private investigation firm. It isn’t going well and she’s about to shut the doors. She’s approached about a huge corporate theft and it’s the opportunity to get her own finances back in the black.

The book starts slowly, bogged down quite a bit by a huge amount of exposition in long monologues used explain certain facts/history/procedures. While the facts about accounting, blood diamonds, and corporate stocks were interesting and necessary for the book, I wish this had been broken up a bit and perhaps been presented during more natural dialogue. At times it felt more like someone reading off large chunks of Wikipedia rather than a conversation.

About a third of the way through, the pacing picks up quite a bit and the mystery/thriller aspect is much more enjoyable. The biggest issue here is that Katerina does a lot of thoughtless, dangerous, and downright illegal acts that stretch believability.

That said, there’s an interesting plot, intriguing characters, and a resolution that wasn’t predictable. I’m looking forward to listening to the next book in the series, Game Theory.

Narration:
I liked the narration by Petrea Burchard. She had a wide range of voices and accents. Unfortunately, the voices for Cindy and Susan weren’t always consistent between chapters. It wouldn’t keep me from listening to her in the future though.

I received a free copy of this audiobook from FreeAudiobookCodes.com and am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

About the author:
Colleen Cross writes page-turning thrillers and fun, cozy mysteries. She lives with her family on Canada’s West Coast. When she’s not writing, she loves to run, hike, and explore with her rescue dog Jaeger, who reminds her daily that life’s too short to not follow your dreams–or a squirrel or two.

You can connect with Colleen Cross here:

About the narrator:
From Burchard’s website: With a professional home studio and lifelong experience as an actor, writer, and lover of the spoken word, audiobooks are the perfect fit for me. Growing up in northern Illinois, where farm meets university, shaped me into a townie with a love of animals, nature and books. I started reading as soon as I figured out how, and I’ve been an actor since I could get anyone to pay attention.

With a BA in creative writing I embarked on—what else?—an acting career. My stage experience covers everything from Second City to Shakespeare, and my resume includes TV, film and voiceover, including the notorious, sexy space pirate in the classic anime, Tenchi Muyo. Also a writer, I’ve published a time-slip novel and a book of essays about the funny side of life as a journeyman actor in Hollywood.

I’ve narrated fiction and nonfiction—for indies on ACX as well as companies like Deyan Audio and Blunder Woman Productions. A member of SAG-AFTRA and the Audio Publishers Association, I’m available to narrate for publishers, producers, authors, and platforms like ACX and Spoken Realms.


You can connect with Petra Burchard here:

My Favorite Quotes

Most white-collar criminals needed to feed something: either an addiction or their ego. – Exit Strategy @colleenxcross #Audiobook narrated by @PetreaBurchard #Thriller #KaterinaCarter

She would count on only one person from now on. Herself. – Exit Strategy @colleenxcross #Audiobook narrated by @PetreaBurchard #Thriller #KaterinaCarter

You Can See Me

He had the urge to squeeze his eyes shut at the pleasure, but he’d had his eyes closed for five years. He needed to see it all.

A. E. Via
You Can See Me

Format:
ebook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
It takes more than perseverance to recover from tragedy…you also need love.

Following a horrific accident that leaves him blind, renowned chef Prescott Vaughan loses his fiancé and all hope for his career. Recovery and confidence in his skills come slowly, along with feelings he hasn’t experienced in a long time when he meets his new neighbor, Dr. Rickson Edwards.

Unlike Prescott, Ric is open about his attraction to men yet has issues that complicate their relationship. A brief separation threatens his hopes for an eventual reunion when Prescott befriends the handsome aspiring chef Blair McKenzie, who wants more than cooking advice.

Ric doubts Pres can let go of the charming southerner, but after an encounter with the sinfully sexy man, he can’t help his attraction as well. Pres feels he must choose but realizes…does he have to?

Point of view:
3rd person. Alternating perspectives.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
I’ve been listening to Nothing Special series and Prescott was mentioned several times and it was obvious he had a book. (I’ve finished the series since writing this and the triad will appear more significantly in Nothing Special IV.)

This was OK, but not great. Preston’s “before” life gets a lot of page time – which was nice, but highlighted how rushed other parts felt. Ric’s issues were understandable but also way OTT to be resolved so quickly. I think the fact that there were no chapters from Blair’s POV hindered my ability to connect with him as a character and to feel like he was a solid/loved member of this grouping.

There were a lot of well written/hot sex scenes – but the relationship aspects felt very insta and skimped on in comparison. A character would internally say he was in love and then talk about how hot he was for the other guy. (That’s not love.). There were also all these nicknames that were kind of odd – Strawberry? I mean, the story explains it, but it just didn’t work.

I’m not sure I would have finished it if I hadn’t listened to a few of the Nothing Special books and wanted the back story. Especially since it really isn’t one. Day is in here for about a minute and it’s a plot point that was sort of left hanging – but not in a compelling way. You Can See Me didn’t really contribute anything to Day’s story or the Nothing Special series to this point.

I acknowledge it’s possible that if I came to this story all on its own, I wouldn’t have been as disappointed. It doesn’t purport to be part of the Nothing Special series, but it’s hard for me to separate that out now that I’ve listened to Nothing Special and Embracing His Syn.

About the author:
A.E. Via is a best-selling author in the beautiful gay erotic genre. She’s been reading gay romance exclusively for ten years before she decided to submit one of her own stories for publication. Her writing embodies everything from spicy to scandalous. Her novels often include intriguing edges and twists that take readers to new, thought-provoking depths. When she’s not clicking away at her laptop, A.E. devotes herself to her family—a husband and four children, her two pets, a Maltese dog and her white Siamese cat, ELynn, named after the late, great gay romance author E. Lynn Harris.

You can connect with A. E. Via here:

My Favorite Quotes

Don’t assume that I have some ulterior motive for wanting you. – You Can See Me by @AuthorAEVia #MMMRomance #GFY #Poly

He had the urge to squeeze his eyes shut at the pleasure, but he’d had his eyes closed for five years. He needed to see it all. – You Can See Me by @AuthorAEVia #MMMRomance #GFY #Poly

Embracing His Syn

He could see pain in Furi’s eyes and Syn wanted to take it all away.

A. E. Via
Embracing His Syn

Format:
Audio & ebook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Sergeant Corbin ‘Syn’ Sydney had dedicated his life to becoming the best detective. So when he heard there was an opening on the notorious Atlanta Narcotics Task Force, he jumped at the chance. But, what he wasn’t ready for was realizing just how lonely he’d made himself, when he observed the loving and dedicated relationship between the two men he served under: Lieutenant Cashel ‘God’ Godfrey and Lieutenant Leonidis Day.

Syn prepared himself to accept his lonely fate until he walked into a small pub and met the long-haired, tattooed bartender, Furious Barkley. Before Syn can even understand why, he’s overcome with feelings he barely recognizes: passion, yearning, craving. And if the dark, lustful gazes are anything to go by, Furious might be feeling the same things for him.

Just two thing needs to happen before Syn and Furi can give each other what’s been missing from their lives for so long… Syn needs to find the evidence that proves Furi’s innocence of murder, as well as protect him from a past that refuses to let go.

God, Day, Ronowski, and Johnson are still as entertaining as ever…

You’ll swoon over God’s massive take-charge attitude…

You’ll laugh hysterically at Day’s never-ending wit…

You’ll fall in love with Furious’ mysterious, sexy demeanor…

and…

You’ll embrace Syn…

Point of view:
3rd person. Alternating perspectives.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
I really enjoyed Embracing His Syn. I think it helps that I got to know the secondary characters in Nothing Special and they definitely play a major role in this book as well. I think (and I’m writing these reviews after having already binged 6 books!) that one of the things I enjoy most about this series is that Via doesn’t drop characters in and out. We get regular appearances and interaction which allows listeners to really feel immersed in the world she’s created. Which is precisely why it was so easy to binge.

Syn was the perfect balance of protective Alpha male, yet respective of Furi’s need to be in control of his life. There was also an interesting flip of Furi being the one to dominate & direct in the bedroom (or wherever!). There’s also a nice element of suspense as Furi is trying to escape an abusive and stalking ex. Via continues to give us a strong brotherhood between all the officers which is in turns serious and hilarious.

Narration:
Aiden Snow’s narration continues to be excellent. Not only does he have a super sexy voice, but he gives all the characters distinct voices and keeps them consistent from the previous book.

About the author:
A.E. Via is a best-selling author in the beautiful gay erotic genre. She’s been reading gay romance exclusively for ten years before she decided to submit one of her own stories for publication. Her writing embodies everything from spicy to scandalous. Her novels often include intriguing edges and twists that take readers to new, thought-provoking depths. When she’s not clicking away at her laptop, A.E. devotes herself to her family—a husband and four children, her two pets, a Maltese dog and her white Siamese cat, ELynn, named after the late, great gay romance author E. Lynn Harris.

You can connect with A. E. Via here:

About the narrator:
You can connect with Aiden Snow here:

My Favorite Quotes

He could see pain in Furi’s eyes and Syn wanted to take it all away. – Embracing His Syn by @AuthorAEVia #Audiobook narrated by @AidenSnowVoice #NothingSpecial #MMRomance #Police #Romantic Suspense

You got a little fruit hanging out of your loom, Syn. – Embracing His Syn by @AuthorAEVia #Audiobook narrated by @AidenSnowVoice #NothingSpecial #MMRomance #Police #Romantic Suspense

Nothing Special

I felt like I was nothing special… but you believed I was someone worthy of your love.

A. E. Via
Nothing Special

Format:
Audio & ebook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Detective Cashel ‘Cash’ Godfrey is big, tattooed and angry so people typically keep their distance. He’s fresh out of the police academy, however, no one is looking to partner with the six foot four beast with a huge chip on his shoulder and an inability to trust. When Cash scans the orientation room he wasn’t expecting to find sexy hazel eyes locked onto him. Eyes of the handsome Detective Leonidis ‘Leo’ Day.

Leo is charming, witty, hilariously sarcastic and the only one that can make Cash smile. He’s proud, out and one bad-ass detective.

Together Cash and Leo become the most revered and successful narcotics detectives Atlanta’s ever seen. Able to communicate and understand each other, without even having to voice it, they quickly climb up the promotional ranks.

When Cash saves Leo’s life in a raid that turns deadly, Leo begins to see something in the big man that no one else does…something special. But Leo fears he’ll never break through the impenetrable wall that protects Cash’s heart.

Point of view:
3rd person. Alternating perspectives.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
I totally admit to binging this series and coming back and writing the reviews after listening to books 1-6 in just a few weeks. I apologize if anything gets mixed up between books as many of the characters are in all of them to differing degrees.

This is a little bit of a slow burn as Via introduces us to the characters, their histories, the department, and the time before Officers Cashel “God” Godfrey & Leonidas Day transition from friends to lovers. While I was a little impatient to get to the relationship – I definitely enjoyed the world building.

Honestly, Day steals the show with his wit and vulnerable emotions. In some respects it’s true to Cashel’s reserved personality that he’s somewhat in the background – but I also think the anticlimactic resolution of his family conflict contributed to this as well. Overall, I loved their friendship and blossoming romantic relationship.

I struggled a little bit with God almost always being called God. I know it’s his nickname – but it was awkward in a lot of places and sometimes just felt like set-up for jokes. I felt like Day calling him Cash or Cashel seemed more personal to their relationship.

You can’t help but adore all the characters who are each intriguing in their own way. I was especially fond of Ro & Johnson, so much so that I kind of wish that they got their own book or novella. However, they get a lot of “page time” over the series, so it works out.

Slightly Spoiler-ish FYI: There’s a scene, really it takes up at least a whole chapter, that details a foursome involving God, Day, Ro, & Johnson. It didn’t really bother me other than it sort of came out of nowhere and was at the very beginning of both individual couples’ relationships which made me question where Via was going with things. However, it’s something they do as an “addition” to their couple-relationships – it’s not a foursome/poly/open relationship. (sorry if that’s muddier rather than helpful)

Narration:
Aiden Snow definitely brings this book (and the whole series) to the next level. He does an amazing job of giving all the characters their own unique voice, tone, & personality. Eargasms galore!

About the author:
A.E. Via is a best-selling author in the beautiful gay erotic genre. She’s been reading gay romance exclusively for ten years before she decided to submit one of her own stories for publication. Her writing embodies everything from spicy to scandalous. Her novels often include intriguing edges and twists that take readers to new, thought-provoking depths. When she’s not clicking away at her laptop, A.E. devotes herself to her family—a husband and four children, her two pets, a Maltese dog and her white Siamese cat, ELynn, named after the late, great gay romance author E. Lynn Harris.

You can connect with A. E. Via here:

About the narrator:
You can connect with Aiden Snow here:

My Favorite Quotes

I felt like I was nothing special… but you believed I was someone worthy of your love. – Nothing Special by @AuthorAEVia #Audiobook narrated by @AidenSnowVoice #MMRomance #Police #FriendsToLovers

It takes way more muscles to frown than to smile. I’m just conserving energy. – Nothing Special by @AuthorAEVia #Audiobook narrated by @AidenSnowVoice #MMRomance #Police #FriendsToLovers

If you didn’t drink twenty cups of coffee a day, then maybe you could sleep. – Nothing Special by @AuthorAEVia #Audiobook narrated by @AidenSnowVoice #MMRomance #Police #FriendsToLovers

If you kill that man, I swear on everything that is holy, I will track you to the ends of the earth, killing and destroying everything you hold dear. – Nothing Special by @AuthorAEVia #Audiobook narrated by @AidenSnowVoice #MMRomance #Police #FriendsToLovers