The Highlander’s Stolen Bride

Eva didn’t want to be anyone’s weakness, especially not his.

Eliza Knight
The Highlander’s Stolen Bride

Format:
Audiobook

At the time of this review, the audio is included in Audible Plus.

Publisher’s Synopsis:
From the best-selling author of the Stolen Bride series comes a brand-new and exciting family saga! For fans of Scottish historical romance, the Sutherland Legacy propels you into the Highlands with tales of daring adventure, irresistible heroes, and passion!

Magnus “Strath” Sutherland, laird of Dornoch, refuses to marry after being betrayed by his betrothed’s father. Needing to distance himself from the Highlands, he accepts a commission at the Scottish border by the king, where he must squelch an English lord’s plans to lay siege. What he finds is the Scots’ enemy about to wed a most alluring English lass. What better way to torment his enemy than by defeating his army and stealing his beautiful bride?

Eva de Clare, youngest daughter of the earl of Northwyck, is about to be pledged in matrimony to a cruel lord who has blackmailed her family when a terrifying Highlander interrupts the ceremony. The horror stories she’s heard about the warriors of the North must be true, but none seem to compare when she is literally plucked from where she stands and whisked across the Scottish border.

At first, Strath intends to toss the Sassenach lass into a dark cell and forget about her, but there is something about the way she defies him that he finds captivating, not to mention how very much he’d like to kiss her. Eva isn’t about to be made into a prisoner of war, and she’s definitely not going to be sent back to England to marry her enemy. Though at first the Highlander frightened her, she sees kindness beneath his hard exterior. 

Perhaps the key to her survival will be convincing this warrior to take her for himself. And perhaps Strath just might have found the only woman who could warm his hardened heart.

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

Rellim’s Thoughts
The Highlander’s Stolen Bride is the 2nd book in Eliza Knight’s Sutherland Legacy series. Like the first book, The Highlander’s Gift, this was a lot of fun to listen to. You could listen to this all on it’s own, but Strath is the brother of Bella and there are mentions of a few events from book 1 – so they’re best listened to in order.

I was a bit hesitant because of the word “stolen” in the title – but Eva kind of wanted to be stolen so there isn’t anything dark, forced, or coerced about their relationship. I liked Strath and Eva as individuals and within the romance Knight crafted for them. The relationship aspect is again fairly low angst with most of the conflict arising from external sources and protagonists. I also appreciate that Knight gives us a few chapters plus an epilogue to really enjoy Strath and Eva as a couple.

I continue to enjoy Knight’s writing and characters and am looking forward to the third book, The Highlander’s Hellion.

Narration:
I loved Antony Ferguson’s narration again. He again gives all the characters unique voices, accents, and mannerisms. His inflections and emotions really bring the story to life and make for an enjoyable audio.

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

Contracts can be broken. – The Highlander’s Stolen Bride by @ElizaKnight #Audiobook narrated by Antony Ferguson #SutherlandLegacy #ScottishRomance #HistoricalRomance #AudiblePlus

Be afraid, Belfinch, be verra afraid. – The Highlander’s Stolen Bride by @ElizaKnight #Audiobook narrated by Antony Ferguson #SutherlandLegacy #ScottishRomance #HistoricalRomance #AudiblePlus

Then again, having grown up with three meddling sisters, he was well aware of how to negotiate with a woman. Perhaps such a tactic would work on this one. – The Highlander’s Stolen Bride by @ElizaKnight #Audiobook narrated by Antony Ferguson #SutherlandLegacy #ScottishRomance #HistoricalRomance #AudiblePlus

Never before had a man elicited that kind of a response from her. And she found she liked it. – The Highlander’s Stolen Bride by @ElizaKnight #Audiobook narrated by Antony Ferguson #SutherlandLegacy #ScottishRomance #HistoricalRomance #AudiblePlus

Eva didn’t want to be anyone’s weakness, especially not his. – The Highlander’s Stolen Bride by @ElizaKnight #Audiobook narrated by Antony Ferguson #SutherlandLegacy #ScottishRomance #HistoricalRomance #AudiblePlus

Scratched Off

Spotting a lottery ticket over on one of his work benches, he picked up the scalpel, perched on a stool, and gently scratched the surface with the dull side of the blade.

Julie C. Gilbert
Scratched Off

Format:
Audiobook, also borrowed the ebook via in Kindle Unlimited.

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Failure means more people die.   

“The Big One” could make Sam’s career or…break him. 

FBI Special Agent Samuel Kerman has been tasked to catch a wildly erratic serial killer dropping bodies in Pennsylvania state parks. The victims differ, and the manner of murder changes every time. Amid the mountains of physical evidence, only a mysterious gray dust and declarations of guilt or innocence link the crimes.  

It’s not much to work with, and the case drags on for months. Then, things go from bad to worse when the killer makes it personal. Family, friends, strangers…everybody’s in danger of being scratched off.

Point of view:
3rd person. Multiple perspectives, including that of the killer.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
Scratched Off is a stand alone psychological thriller by Julie C. Gilbert. I’ll be honest, when Chapter 1 clearly stated who the serial killer was, by name, I was really worried that this wouldn’t be a mystery or very suspenseful. I was wrong. So, so, wrong.

Instead – regularly hearing Andrew’s thoughts and plans juxtaposed with the victims’ and other character’s in the story created an almost constant tension while listening. The closed door romance between Andrew’s sister, Melissa and FBI Agent Sam Kerman added another level of depth to the story – but in very unpredictable ways.

Like most good mystery/thriller books – it’s hard to share what I enjoyed about it without giving anything away. The most descriptive praise I can give is that it was full of surprises and I truly enjoyed listening from beginning to end. I’m looking forward to checking out more of Gilbert’s work.

Content Note: While the romance is closed door and there is no explicit language, this is a book about a serial killer and some of his killings and their aftermath are described in detail.

Narration:
This was also my first experience listening to Rick Struve. He did a fantastic job with a variety of voices, personalities, and emotions. I felt completely drawn into Gilbert’s writing and truly enjoyed his performance.

Disclaimer note: I know we’re supposed to mention if we received an audiobook for free. For whatever reason, I didn’t make a note about where/why I picked this book (I’m getting better, but have been inconsistent in the past). I *think* it may have been a giveaway in a FB group. So… like everything else, this is my honest review whether or not I received it for free. I did borrow the ebook version via KU to make it easier to take notes.

About the author:
Julie is a high school chemistry teacher who writes in several genres. She enjoys warm weather, hot tea, sweet coffee, reading, writing, teaching, and audiobooks.

You can connect with Julie C. Gilbert here:

My Favorite Quotes

Spotting a lottery ticket over on one of his work benches, he picked up the scalpel, perched on a stool, and gently scratched the surface with the dull side of the blade. – Scratched Off by @authorgilbert #Audiobook narrated by #RickStruve #PsychologicalThriller #Thriller #Mystery #Suspense #RomanticSuspsense #ClosedDoor #SerialKiller

I’m all for a high-tech plan, but when there’s a low-tech solution to a problem, I go with it. – Scratched Off by @authorgilbert #Audiobook narrated by #RickStruve #PsychologicalThriller #Thriller #Mystery #Suspense #RomanticSuspsense #ClosedDoor #SerialKiller

I know we just met, but I need you to do something that might be slightly illegal. – Scratched Off by @authorgilbert #Audiobook narrated by #RickStruve #PsychologicalThriller #Thriller #Mystery #Suspense #RomanticSuspsense #ClosedDoor #SerialKiller

In the Ruins

The long game was never as satisfying as a bullet finding its target with brutal immediacy.

Hailey Turner
In The Ruins

Format:
audiobook

Note: At the time of this post, it looks like all of Hailey Turner’s audios are included in Audible’s big sale.

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Truth and lies.

Captain Jamie Callahan knows the Metahuman Defense Force frowns on fraternization. For once in his life, he’s breaking all the rules. Having Staff Sergeant Kyle Brannigan on his team and in his bed is worth the risk of being found out. When a mission comes down requiring Alpha Team to go undercover in order to infiltrate a criminal alliance, Jamie knows it won’t be easy. Putting his family’s name on the line is nothing compared to the role the MDF wants him to play—that of a billionaire’s son, discharged from the military, with a lover on his arm, looking to make his own shady business deals.

Dirty little secret.

Kyle knows the only way to be with Jamie is to hide their relationship from their superiors. Waking up to Jamie at home is more important than being together in public, or so Kyle thought, until he comes face to face with what he’s been missing. Pretending to be a couple on paper for the sake of the mission thrusts Kyle into a world of incredible wealth and a social status he’s not sure he belongs in, but he’ll do anything to stay by Jamie’s side.

Play the game to win.

Surrounded by the enemy, Jamie and Kyle need to trust each other now more than ever. Their covers—and the life they’re trying to build together—depend on it.

Point of view:
3rd person. Alternating perspectives.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
In the Ruins is the second book of Hailey Turner’s Metahuman Files series. Events in this book build on those from the first and while a complete story, there are ongoing story arcs so you’ll definitely want to listen to them all & in order. As such, there may be spoilers to book 1 in my review.

Again, Turner has a fantastic mix of action, suspense, political, thriller, and romance. She does a wonderful job of balancing all the characters’ back stories while still moving forward with an engaging and exciting story. Jamie & Kyle are on solid ground, both in their careers and in their, albeit somewhat secret, relationship. An undercover assignment gives them a chance to be out in the open – but with pretending to be other people it’s not a freeing as it seems.

We get to know individual team members even better and we’re introduced to some new characters as well. There’s more writing from other’s perspectives and it’s great insight. Jamie’s family plays a bigger role in this story and I enjoyed how Turner explored that dynamic.

While I liked that the first two books have centered Jamie & Kyle’s relationship – I’m definitely looking forward to the fact that book 3, In the Shadows, will feature Alexi & Sean.

Narration:
Greg Boudreaux continues to be a great narrator for this series. Characters are consistent from book to book – and he has the added difficulty of accents and mannerisms for when the group is undercover.

About the author:
Hailey Turner is big city girl who spoils her cats rotten and has a demanding day job that she loves, but not as much as she loves writing. She’s been writing since she was a young child and enjoys reading almost as much as creating a new story. Hailey loves stories with lots of action, gritty relationships, and an eventual HEA that satisfies the heart.

You can connect with Hailey Turner here:

About the narrator:
Trained in vocal and stage performance, Greg Tremblay brings a passion for storytelling to every aspect of his life and work. Critically-recognized and listener-beloved, Greg’s work has been praised by Audiofile Magazine’s “Earphone” award, numerous blogs, and is the recipient of the GoodReads Reader’s Choice award for Best Narrator – 2016 in M/M Romance. Greg also maintains a curated collection of uniquely and delightfully spicy boudoir treats branded under the “Greg Boudreaux” narration name. (Rellim’s note: As a rule, I don’t post pseudonyms, but this bio is copied directly from Tremblay’s website.)

You can connect with Greg Boudreaux here:

My Favorite Quotes

He trusted Jamie with his life, so it wasn’t any surprise he’d started trusting Jamie with his heart. – In the Ruins by #HaileyTurner #Audiobook narrated by GTremblayVoice #MetahumanFiles #MM #RomanticSuspense #Thriller #SciFi #Supernatural #Paranormal #MilitaryRomance #KU #Audible

I won’t give up what I’ve fought so hard for just to give my father another pillar to stand on. – In the Ruins by #HaileyTurner #Audiobook narrated by GTremblayVoice #MetahumanFiles #MM #RomanticSuspense #Thriller #SciFi #Supernatural #Paranormal #MilitaryRomance #KU #Audible

For once, I want to be able to touch him in public and not worry it’ll fuck up everything else. If I need a cover in order to do that, at least I’ll finally know what it’s like. – In the Ruins by #HaileyTurner #Audiobook narrated by GTremblayVoice #MetahumanFiles #MM #RomanticSuspense #Thriller #SciFi #Supernatural #Paranormal #MilitaryRomance #KU #Audible

The long game was never as satisfying as a bullet finding its target with brutal immediacy. – In the Ruins by #HaileyTurner #Audiobook narrated by GTremblayVoice #MetahumanFiles #MM #RomanticSuspense #Thriller #SciFi #Supernatural #Paranormal #MilitaryRomance #KU #Audible

The Highlander’s Gift

Bella was amiable, friendly, loving, but she was also a schemer and a fighter, he knew that firsthand.

Eliza Knight
The Highlander’s Gift

Format:
Audiobook

At the time of this review, the audio is included in Audible Plus.

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Sir Niall Oliphant was betrothed to the Bruce’s daughter, Princess Elizabeth, until she declares that his wound in battle has incapacitated him as a man. Because he does not wish to marry the spoiled royal, he is glad to pass her off to his brother Sir Walter. He’s more than content to fade into the background with his injuries and remain a bachelor forever. Until he is presented with an offer from the Earl of Sutherland to marry his only daughter, a lass more beautiful than any other, who makes him want to stand up and fight again. 

Bella Sutherland, daughter of one of the most powerful earls and Highland chieftains in Scotland, can marry anyone she wants – but she wants no one. When she spies the injured warrior at the Yule festival who has been shunned by the Bruce’s own daughter, she makes her choice. What is better than no husband? A husband who cannot truly be husband at all. But she won’t be satisfied with letting him languish. If there’s one thing she’s learned, its not to give up. With them both satisfied that they are gaining a marriage in name only, imagine their surprise when love blossoms and passion ignites?

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

Rellim’s Thoughts:
I’m sitting here with a goofy smile on my face – because this was such a fun listen. The Highlander’s Gift by Eliza Knight is the first book in the Sutherland Legacy series featuring the next generation from her Stolen Bride series. While I haven’t listened to that, I had no problems enjoying this.

I love that Knight gives us the Grumpy/Sunshine trope without making the hero, Niall, a jerk. He’s really just frustrated by his injury and his inability to live a life he thought he would. Bella is dealing with her own perceived shortcomings by living life her way and won’t be dragged into marriage for the sake of traditions. These two together compliment each other beautifully. I adored that Bella is Niall’s cheerleader in every way and that he encourages her unique personality. This is very low angst relationship-wise as most of the suspense/conflict comes from external sources. Bringing this couple even closer.

The end, while perhaps being slightly predictable is adorable and I can see myself listening to this again soon. Though… I have Strath & Eva’s book – The Highlander’s Stolen Bride – queued up for listening to next week.

Narration:
I loved Antony Ferguson’s narration. Ferguson’s accents, voices, and inflections were perfect. He also has a fantastic voice for women & children. It really was an enjoyable listen.

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

If the good king decided to marry his daughter to another, Niall would drop to his knees and praise the Lord above for answering his prayers. – The Highlander’s Gift by @ElizaKnight #Audiobook narrated by Antony Ferguson #SutherlandLegacy #ScottishRomance #HistoricalRomance #GrumpySunshine #AudiblePlus

When a man is perceived to be less than he is, that is when he is in fact most valuable. – The Highlander’s Gift by @ElizaKnight #Audiobook narrated by Antony Ferguson #SutherlandLegacy #ScottishRomance #HistoricalRomance #GrumpySunshine #AudiblePlus

I bet if we tied his other arm behind his back, he’d still be able to kick their arses. – The Highlander’s Gift by @ElizaKnight #Audiobook narrated by Antony Ferguson #SutherlandLegacy #ScottishRomance #HistoricalRomance #GrumpySunshine #AudiblePlus

Bella was amiable, friendly, loving, but she was also a schemer and a fighter, he knew that firsthand. – The Highlander’s Gift by @ElizaKnight #Audiobook narrated by Antony Ferguson #SutherlandLegacy #ScottishRomance #HistoricalRomance #GrumpySunshine #AudiblePlus

This man, this true Niall right here in front of her, she loved him. Truly and deeply. – The Highlander’s Gift by @ElizaKnight #Audiobook narrated by Antony Ferguson #SutherlandLegacy #ScottishRomance #HistoricalRomance #GrumpySunshine #AudiblePlus

Sons of Valor

The downside risk was almost always bigger than the upside payoff in Special Operations. And that was doubly true in the Tier One.

Brian Andrews & Jeffrey Wilson
Sons of Valor

Format:
Audible

Publisher’s Synopsis:
SONS OF VALOR…

Navy SEAL Keith ”Chunk” Redman has been one of the military’s top doorkickers since the day he pinned on his trident: loyal, single-minded, lethal. Tasked to lead a new, covert team of Tier One SEALs—the most elite special operators in the world—Chunk needs help to stay a step ahead of its adversaries.

Brilliant at spotting patterns in the data that others miss, ex-CIA analyst Whitney Watts sees evidence of a troubling link between illicit Chinese arms sales and an attack on a US military convoy in Afghanistan. If she’s right, it would portend not only massive casualties, but a devastating threat to global stability.

SONS OF WAR…

From the ashes of a never-ending war, a new generation of terrorists has arisen: sophisticated, tech-savvy, and hiding in plain sight among America’s allies. Battered by the Taliban and by the West, they call themselves al Qadr—Power and Destiny—and they’re determined to wrest back control of their homeland. Armed with a powerful combat drone, they can strike with deadly precision at US forces in the region—but their ambitions reach far, far beyond that.

A NEW LEGACY…

The new Tier One’s first mission will require them to not only prove themselves, but to stop an enemy who’s using military tactics against them. Chunk and his team aren’t just the tip of the spear; they’re America’s first, last, and best counterterrorism defense. And they couldn’t have arrived at a more urgent—and perilous—time.

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

Rellim’s Thoughts:
Oh my gosh! I loved this! OK, backing up – if you don’t know, this is a spinoff from Andrews & Wilson’s Tier One series. Chunk participates in several ops in several of those books, but you could absolutely start here and not be lost. You could also go back & listen to those after this – though there is one major event that happens in book 1, Tier One that might lose it’s surprise/shock value, I still think you could enjoy that after this if you decide to go back. (pssstttt… if you enjoy this – you will love the Tier One series!)

Sons of Valor kicks off the Tier One Shared-World series with a bang! While it’s almost all new characters and they are completely unique – this contains all that I have come to love about Andrews & Wilson’s writing. Excellent pacing, engaging ops, characters – even antagonists – that I really feel connected to, competent but not perfect operators, smart & capable women, and a story that keeps me listening practically non-stop from beginning to end. (At just over 12 hours – I haven’t quite figured out how to listen in only one day, but I definitely feel frustrated any time I have to push pause.)

While SEAL Keith “Chunk” Redmond is the main character, I really enjoy that Whitney Watts get nearly as much focus. They make an excellent team and balance each other out in personality and talent. Secondary & tertiary characters are equally developed and losses from all sides are deeply felt. This is a full and complete story – but there is definitely an ongoing series arc established that has me eagerly anticipating what happens next.

Narration:
Get the audio!!!!! I enjoy Andrews & Wilson’s writing, but Ray Porter continues to be phenomenal as a narrator elevating the experience even more. He seamlessly switches between accents, personalized voices, genders, etc. immersing the listener into what feels like a pristine full cast production. I can’t say enough about how much I love listening to his work.

Also… Ray Porter singing Baby Shark. Epic!

About the authors:
Brian Andrews is a US Navy veteran, Park Leadership Fellow, and former submarine officer with a psychology degree from Vanderbilt and a masters in business from Cornell University. He is the author of three critically acclaimed high-tech thrillers: Reset, The Infiltration Game, and The Calypso Directive.

Jeffrey Wilson has worked as an actor, firefighter, paramedic, jet pilot, and diving instructor, as well as a vascular and trauma surgeon. He served in the US Navy for fourteen years and made multiple deployments as a combat surgeon with an East Coast–based SEAL Team. The author of three award-winning supernatural thrillers, The Traiteur’s Ring, The Donors, and Fade to Black, and the acclaimed faith-based thriller War Torn. He and his wife, Wendy, live in Southwest Florida with their four children.

You can connect with Andrews & Wilson here:

Narrator:
You can connect with Ray Porter here:

My Favorite Quotes

Proof again that in the teams there are no secrets. – Sons of Valor @LexicalForge @JWilsonWarTorn @bAndrewsJWilson #Audiobook narrated by @Ray_Porter #TierOne #Military #SEALs #Thriller #Suspense #Action

Why don’t they just wear dark blue windbreakers with ‘Spooks’ stenciled on the back in bright yellow letters? – Sons of Valor @LexicalForge @JWilsonWarTorn @bAndrewsJWilson #Audiobook narrated by @Ray_Porter #TierOne #Military #SEALs #Thriller #Suspense #Action

No plan survives first contact with the enemy. – Sons of Valor @LexicalForge @JWilsonWarTorn @bAndrewsJWilson #Audiobook narrated by @Ray_Porter #TierOne #Military #SEALs #Thriller #Suspense #Action

But I’m not a SEAL and I have no aspirations of trying to become one. – Sons of Valor @LexicalForge @JWilsonWarTorn @bAndrewsJWilson #Audiobook narrated by @Ray_Porter #TierOne #Military #SEALs #Thriller #Suspense #Action

And just like that, with one cosmic flip of the coin, everything went to shit. – Sons of Valor @LexicalForge @JWilsonWarTorn @bAndrewsJWilson #Audiobook narrated by @Ray_Porter #TierOne #Military #SEALs #Thriller #Suspense #Action

The downside risk was almost always bigger than the upside payoff in Special Operations. And that was doubly true in the Tier One. – Sons of Valor @LexicalForge @JWilsonWarTorn @bAndrewsJWilson #Audiobook narrated by @Ray_Porter #TierOne #Military #SEALs #Thriller #Suspense #Action

The Spy Devils

Mistakes were in the air – Bridger could feel them.

Joe Goldberg
The Spy Devils

Format:
Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
A deadly case. An international operative. When a mission turns personal, who will make it out alive?

Trowbridge “Bridger” Hall was raised to be a spy. Leading a highly trained team of covert agents, he’s loyal to his squad and his country. But when his infamous CIA controller and mother assigns his crew an unusual off-books operation, his finely tuned senses scream danger. 

Hunting a stolen briefcase across the world, his instincts proven lethally correct when one of his men ends up dead. And with potentially ruthless maternal betrayal and treacherous enemies closing in, it’s play or be played in a vicious game of death…. 

Can he crack the conspiracy before it costs his life? 

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

Rellim’s Thoughts:
I swore I was not going to start another new series until I was caught up on all the others I have going… but I also follow a lot of authors on social media and jumped at the chance to win a copy of The Spy Devils. Especially because the folks at Best Thriller Books have been raving about it.

Joe Goldberg is a new author to me and this is his second book. The Spy Devils launches a new series by the same name. Goldberg has created a fantastic cast of characters with distinct personalities and mannerisms, but still working together seamlessly. This is a great mix of action, adventure, espionage, political & corporate themes as well a humor. My favorite books always have a little snark, banter between characters, or dry wit to break up the tension created by all the high octane action – but this was absolutely hilarious. The only reason it took me so long to finish was a number of appointments plus family (finally! Yay!) visiting. Otherwise this absolutely would have been a two-day listen fest.

I am looking forward to hearing where Goldberg takes Bridger and The Spy Devils next when Rebellious Son is released.

Narration:
PJ Ochlan is also new to me. He was absolutely the perfect match for Goldberg’s writing and these characters. Ochlan has an amazing range of voices which really helped me keep all of these characters straight. He delivers the humorous lines with skill and definitely evokes all the emotions.

I won a free copy of this audiobook from a contest on Joe Goldberg’s Twitter and am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

About the author:
Joe Goldberg has been a CIA covert action officer, corporate intelligence director, international political consultant, and currently is a college instructor and writer.

His work at the CIA garnered three Exceptional Performance Awards. In the private sector, as leader of Corporate Intelligence at Motorola, Joe received the Meritorious Award recognizing a single individual who has made significant contributions to the intelligence profession. He holds degrees in Political Science and Communications from the University of Iowa.

You can connect with Joe Goldberg here:

About the narrator:
A multiple Audie Award winner, Odyssey Award winner, multiple Earphones Award winner, and multiple Voice Arts Award winner, P.J. Ochlan’s work behind the microphone began in 1987 as a young voice actor with many commercials and promos. Since then he has lent his diverse talents to virtually every voiceover genre. Most notably, he is a widely acclaimed and record-setting audiobook narrator with hundreds of fiction and non-fiction titles to his credit.

P.J.’s voice work is enhanced by his mastery of accents, distinctive characters and versatility, as well as his proficiency with English, French, Italian, German and Mandarin. He is also the founder of Dr. Dialect and co-founder of the Deyan Institute of Voice Artistry.

You can connect with P.J. Ochlan here:

My Favorite Quotes

Bridger had the kind of looks that allowed him to morph into invisibility. – The Spy Devils by @JoeGoldbergBook #Audiobook narrated by @pjochlan #Thriller #Mystery #Suspense #TheSpyDevils #Espionage #Assassin #KU

Some Newtonian force of nature he did not understand had bound Milton and Beatrice together. The thought of the combination—the beauty and the nerd—made Bridger smile. – The Spy Devils by @JoeGoldbergBook #Audiobook narrated by @pjochlan #Thriller #Mystery #Suspense #TheSpyDevils #Espionage #Assassin #KU

There is just nothing like the sweet sound of criminals admitting to their crimes. – The Spy Devils by @JoeGoldbergBook #Audiobook narrated by @pjochlan #Thriller #Mystery #Suspense #TheSpyDevils #Espionage #Assassin #KU

Mistakes were in the air—Bridger could feel them. – The Spy Devils by @JoeGoldbergBook #Audiobook narrated by @pjochlan #Thriller #Mystery #Suspense #TheSpyDevils #Espionage #Assassin #KU

Mistakes were in the air—Bridger could feel them. – The Spy Devils by @JoeGoldbergBook #Audiobook narrated by @pjochlan #Thriller #Mystery #Suspense #TheSpyDevils #Espionage #Assassin #KU

“You look like a bad night in Tijuana,” Snake said. “I’ve had worse,” Bridger gasped. – The Spy Devils by @JoeGoldbergBook #Audiobook narrated by @pjochlan #Thriller #Mystery #Suspense #TheSpyDevils #Espionage #Assassin #KU

Jed Had to Die

Format:
Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:

Point of view:
1st person from Payton’s perspective. With every other chapter being a police interview transcript featuring various characters.

Rellim’s Thoughts:

DNF @ 40%

While I love Amy McFadden & she’s the whole reason I purchased this… Well, OK, it’s was 80% McFadden, 15% because I enjoy OTT funny, & 5% it was on sale on Kobo…

I guess I’m in the minority here, but this just isn’t working for me. This might be spoilery – I don’t think so, but stop here if you want to be absolutely certain not to encounter them. 🛑

I don’t enjoy future/past back & forth. Every other chapter is a time jump. Sometimes it works for me – but it just didn’t here. This is definitely a personal preference and not a knock to the author.

I have a hard time reconciling the serious subject of domestic violence with OTT humor. Especially when it’s witnessed by law enforcement and they do nothing about it … because reasons?

I get funny elements or convos in dark books – that’s not what this was though.

Payton was not a likeable character for me. At all. She’s rude, judgmental, self-centered, destructive, etc and it’s supposed to be funny because she hasn’t had enough coffee. Or because she was drunk when she did it. She basically vacillates between the two for the entire story up to the point I quit.

She’s 30 (best I can tell from the math of “she left right after graduation and she hasn’t been home in 12 years). Outside of owning a supposedly wildly popular because-it’s-not-a-chain coffee shop (that’s… becoming a chain?) in Chicago – she hasn’t matured since 18yo.

Her best friend was just beaten so bad she was hospitalized and all Payton can talk about is a “hot guy” she saw for like a minute. It’s joke after joke after joke about the “hot guy”.

RomCom? It’s more like a Murder mystery with one sided attraction to a person she barely used to know 12 years ago. Then remembering all the ways he was a “nerd”. I want to want the MCs to get together. I just didn’t.

(Psst: Leo. Run. Run now. The crush your 20yo self had was entirely misguided.)

I almost kept going because I was actually more interested in whether something would blossom between Deputy Lloyd & Emma Jo. But I was too annoyed by Payton.

Narration:
McFadden’s narration was wonderful. It’s likely she’s why I managed to get as far as I did.

Will & Patrick Wake Up Married

Maybe this isn’t love. Maybe he just needs to see a cardiologist.

Leta Blake & Alice Griffiths
Will & Patrick Wake Up Married

Format:
Audiobook & ebook

Note: This was originally released as a serial of six episodes. It has also been bundled (in ebook & audiobook) into two sets consisting of Books 1-3 & 4-6. Economically – the most recent bundle of all 6 books is the best deal & that’s what I’ve linked above.

A 7th episode, Will & Patrick’s Endless Honeymoon has also been released. Audio & ebook.

Publisher’s Synopsis:
After a drunken night of hot sex in Vegas, strangers Will Patterson and Dr. Patrick McCloud wake up married. A quickie divorce is the most obvious way out—unless you’re the heir of a staunchly Catholic mafia boss with a draconian position on the sanctity of marriage. Throw their simmering attraction into the mix and all bets are off!

You can find the synopsis of each individual episode on Leta Blake’s website.

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

Rellim’s Thoughts:
At 25 hours this is a wonderful deal and perfect when you’re in the mood for slightly OTT funny, but with a bit of a serious side too. As it is a serial, it feels more like a season of TV than the traditional novel – but I enjoyed that approach. The set up (like most “fake marriages”) is a little hokey – but once that’s established it’s a lot of fun. Will & Patrick are unique characters bringing their own baggage to this impromptu marriage. Small town residents, including Will’s family and his ex, are all looking to give their opinions and advice.

I don’t want to spoil anything as the unfolding of Will & Patrick’s individual histories is part of what makes this so enjoyable. I will say that I loved that this unfolded over several months so I felt fully invested in and completely convinced by the love that these two find. It’s a fun trip.

Narration:
John Solo is perfect here. He does an amazing job of giving all the characters unique voices and personalities. With families and a whole town adding to the cast Solo has a HUGE number of people to perform and does it wonderfully.

About the authors:
Leta Blake: Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.

You can connect with Leta Blake here:

Alice Griffiths: Hi, you’ll find me over at P A Wilson. I started my author career with two different pen names because I had wonderful visions of writing lovely romances under Alice and gritty stories under P A. What happened in the real world was, all my romances contain gritty stuff and all my gritty stuff so far contained some element of romance. So I consolidated everything under P A Wilson.

Perry Wilson is a Canadian author based in Vancouver, BC who has big ideas and an itch to tell stories. Having spent some time on university, a career, and life in general, she returned to writing in 2008 and hasn’t looked back since (well, maybe a little, but only while parallel parking).

You can connect with Alice Griffiths/P A Wilson 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

We’re both hot, both loaded, both smart. I’d say that for drunken, horrific mistakes, we did okay. – Will & Patrick Wake Up Married by @LetaBlake & Alice Griffiths #Audiobook narrated by John Solo @falconsoundco #MM #FakeMarriage #SmallTown #RomCom #Romance

The town is a Jerry Springer episode on drugs. – Will & Patrick Wake Up Married by @LetaBlake & Alice Griffiths #Audiobook narrated by John Solo @falconsoundco #MM #FakeMarriage #SmallTown #RomCom #Romance

I face off with death every day in my job, and I don’t want it invading the confines of my fake happy marriage. – Will & Patrick Wake Up Married by @LetaBlake & Alice Griffiths #Audiobook narrated by John Solo @falconsoundco #MM #FakeMarriage #SmallTown #RomCom #Romance

Christ. I’ve got to get divorced. This marriage crap is killing me. – Will & Patrick Wake Up Married by @LetaBlake & Alice Griffiths #Audiobook narrated by John Solo @falconsoundco #MM #FakeMarriage #SmallTown #RomCom #Romance

He looked legal. They let me marry him. That’s all that matters. – Will & Patrick Wake Up Married by @LetaBlake & Alice Griffiths #Audiobook narrated by John Solo @falconsoundco #MM #FakeMarriage #SmallTown #RomCom #Romance

You can take that little speech back to 1950 and give it to someone who might believe you. – Will & Patrick Wake Up Married by @LetaBlake & Alice Griffiths #Audiobook narrated by John Solo @falconsoundco #MM #FakeMarriage #SmallTown #RomCom #Romance

Maybe this isn’t love. Maybe he just needs to see a cardiologist. – Will & Patrick Wake Up Married by @LetaBlake & Alice Griffiths #Audiobook narrated by John Solo @falconsoundco #MM #FakeMarriage #SmallTown #RomCom #Romance

Hong Kong Black

Whether you’re waiting for salvation or waiting to die, five minutes is an eternity.

Alex Ryan
Hong Kong Black

Format:
Audiobook

At the time of this review – the audiobook is available to borrow through Audible Plus.

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Former Navy SEAL Nick Foley reluctantly agrees to help investigate when American CIA operative Peter Yu goes missing in China. But when Yu’s mutilated body washes up on a beach near Hong Kong, along with dozens of other victims, the case takes a macabre turn. Suddenly, Nick finds himself embroiled in another bio-terrorism investigation being conducted by China’s elite Snow Leopard counter-terrorism unit and the Chinese CDC, this time involving illegally-harvested organs for an unknown and nefarious end.

But Nick’s investigation does not go unnoticed, and soon he finds a target on his back. After thwarting an attempt on his life, he is forced to go off the grid and enlist the help of beautiful CDC microbiologist Dr. Dazhong “Dash” Chen to help unmask his would be killer. On the run and looking for answers, their budding romance is tested at every turn.

With each step closer they take to unmasking the truth, Nick and Dash find themselves drawn deeper into a global conspiracy that began over two thousand years ago with the First Emperor of China and now threatens to upset the world order as they know it in Hong Kong Black, the heart-pounding sequel to Alex Ryan’s Beijing Red.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
This is the second book in the Nick Foley series by Alex Ryan. While you could listen to this all on its own – characters and relationships are introduced in Beijing Red that would be better experienced first.

Nick finds himself teaming up with both the CIA and the Snow Leopards despite trying desperately to avoid both. Dash is brought into an investigation pointing to the horrific practice of harvesting organs from unwilling donors. I enjoyed the pacing including interspersing of medical, military, and political elements. The story kept me guessing and engaged.

There is definitely a budding romance between Dash and Nick, concurrent missions keep them apart for most of the story. This is best enjoyed when in the mood for a romantic suspense/thriller where the romance is closed door and a smaller part of the overall themes of the story.

While this is a complete and enjoyable story – the ending does leave some questions unanswered and definitely teases a continuation. Unfortunately, at this time, it doesn’t appear there are any plans to add to Nick Foley’s adventures. Maybe someday…

Narration:
MacLeod Andrews narration is again perfect for this story. I enjoyed his ability to shift seamlessly between accents and characters. He also does a fantastic job with the variety of emotions – specifically a few scenes that were absolutely heart wrenching.

About the authors:
ALEX RYAN is a pseudonym for the best-selling coauthor team of Brian Andrews and Jeffrey Wilson.

Brian Andrews is a US Navy veteran, Park Leadership Fellow, and former submarine officer with a psychology degree from Vanderbilt and a masters in business from Cornell University. He is the author of three critically acclaimed high-tech thrillers: Reset, The Infiltration Game, and The Calypso Directive.

Jeffrey Wilson has worked as an actor, firefighter, paramedic, jet pilot, and diving instructor, as well as a vascular and trauma surgeon. He served in the US Navy for fourteen years and made multiple deployments as a combat surgeon with an East Coast–based SEAL Team. The author of three award-winning supernatural thrillers, The Traiteur’s Ring, The Donors, and Fade to Black, and the acclaimed faith-based thriller War Torn. He and his wife, Wendy, live in Southwest Florida with their four children.

About the narrator:
MacLeod Andrews is an Actor. Narrator of many books. Wyatt in They Look Like People. Currently the TV Whole Foods VO. Producer of a couple films. Chocolate chip cookie aficionado.

You can connect with MacLeod Andrews here:

My Favorite Quotes

The weight of “a man left behind” was not lost on him. – Hong Kong Black by #AlexRyan @LexicalForge @JWilsonWarTorn @bAndrewsJWilson #Audiobook narrated by @MacLeodAndrews @BlackstoneAudio #AudiblePlus #NickFoley #TerrorismThriller #Thriller #ClosedDoorRomance

They were flying her to the gates of hell in Hollywood style. – Hong Kong Black by #AlexRyan @LexicalForge @JWilsonWarTorn @bAndrewsJWilson #Audiobook narrated by @MacLeodAndrews @BlackstoneAudio #AudiblePlus #NickFoley #TerrorismThriller #Thriller #ClosedDoorRomance

The promise of discovery is what got her out of bed in the morning, not ladder climbing. – Hong Kong Black by #AlexRyan @LexicalForge @JWilsonWarTorn @bAndrewsJWilson #Audiobook narrated by @MacLeodAndrews @BlackstoneAudio #AudiblePlus #NickFoley #TerrorismThriller #Thriller #ClosedDoorRomance

Whether you’re waiting for salvation or waiting to die, five minutes is an eternity. – Hong Kong Black by #AlexRyan @LexicalForge @JWilsonWarTorn @bAndrewsJWilson #Audiobook narrated by @MacLeodAndrews @BlackstoneAudio #AudiblePlus #NickFoley #TerrorismThriller #Thriller #ClosedDoorRomance

Cowboy’s Law

Did you just pay off the teenager so we can get it on?

BA Tortuga
Cowboy’s Law

Format:
ebook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
When rodeo cowboy Seth’s best friend dies unexpectedly from cancer, he finds himself taking on a ranch and a bunch of his friend’s younger siblings, because they have nowhere else to turn. Seth loves those kids like they’re his own, and he settles in well to his new life, which is why he’s pretty wary when his buddy’s older brother finally makes it home from a long stint in the military.

Law knows he might get a chilly reception at his brother Pistol’s old ranch, even if the kids living there are his half-siblings. He didn’t make it to his brother’s funeral, after all, but to his credit, he was blown up trying to come home to do just that. He’s fighting injuries and insecurity, but when Seth welcomes him to the family ranch, Law knows he’s pretty much in love. Even if he thinks Seth was his brother’s lover. Can these two find a way to let their emotions out before tragedy strikes their family again?

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

Rellim’s Thoughts:
This was the perfect, low angst, sweet, truly stands-on-its-own story to give me a break between all the thrillers I’ve been binging. I don’t know what took so long to try BA Tortuga – but I am totally hooked. (TBR officially explodes!)

Ahhhhh! I’m such a sucker for single parent books. I also love it when authors make life with kids – real. The good & the bad, the fun, the messes, all of it. I also ADORE when the adults in kids lives really love kids and find the joy in that life. This was wonderful in that way.

Seth has inherited the responsibility of parenting the younger 5 siblings when his friend dies. Jumping in with all he has – things have finally started running smoothly when the oldest sibling, Law, suddenly returns. While there were what could have been very angsty subjects here, Tortuga chooses to acknowledge them respectfully but focus on the joys of found & made family. While there are a few steamy scenes, this is best enjoyed when in the mood for something light on the flame and the relationship/story is the focus. I liked that even though there’s a small miscommunication – it’s resolved quickly and without dragging things out.

Overall a fabulous curl-up-on-the-couch read.

About the author:
Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds and her beloved wife, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting and surfing Pinterest in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her wife, Julia Talbot, her best friend, Sean Michael, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.

Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but has heard the call of the  high desert and lives in the Sandias. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery menages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head.

You can connect with BA Tortuga here:

My Favorite Quotes

God save him from having identical twins who were anything but. – Cowboy’s Law by @batortuga #LowAngst #MMRomance #MM #Cowboys

Jordan, take this to Law. Do. Not. Shake. It. Understand? – Cowboy’s Law by @batortuga #LowAngst #MMRomance #MM #Cowboys

Every so often Seth felt like he was running Jurassic Park. – Cowboy’s Law by @batortuga #LowAngst #MMRomance #MM #Cowboys

Law was avoiding him in the weirdest stalkery way possible. – Cowboy’s Law by @batortuga #LowAngst #MMRomance #MM #Cowboys

Did you just pay off the teenager so we can get it on? – Cowboy’s Law by @batortuga #LowAngst #MMRomance #MM #Cowboys

He had all a man could want right here. All the blessings and more. – Cowboy’s Law by @batortuga #LowAngst #MMRomance #MM #Cowboys