Ocean Grave

Cold eyes. An endlessly gnawing mouth. One of nature’s most sadistic creations. 

Matt Serafini
Ocean Grave

Format:
Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
On their honeymoon in Madagascar, a young couple are drawn into the hunt for lost treasure. Their search grabs the attention of a bloodthirsty pirate who intends to seize the riches for himself. The seedy government agents on his trail have their own reasons for wanting it too. And they’re all in the path of a creature long thought extinct. A creature that has turned the world’s third largest ocean into a hunting ground. A creature that is about to turn their dreams of fortune and glory into a nightmare from which there’s no escaping.

Point of view:
3rd person. Various perspectives, all clearly defined.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
This is my first book by Matt Serafini and overall it was a good listen. I think the summary does it somewhat of a disservice because, while the interactions with the prehistoric creature are weaved throughout, the author brings so much more in terms of suspense, peril, and plot.

Be prepared for a LOT of characters, some of which will meet their demise in the same chapter they’re introduced. While this lends itself to significant tension surrounding the ever-looming sea monster, it also makes it difficult to get invested in the characters that will be around for much of the story. There’s a few inconsequential scenes and background information that bog the pace down at times.

That said, I did appreciate the interaction, mistrust, and begrudging cooperation between the various characters. It definitely made it difficult to predict what would happen and who would be the next to succumb to a watery grave. Serafini presents two female protagonists who are intelligent and determined, though somewhat objectified. Overall, the treasure hunting aspect was also enjoyable.

I liked the ending which leaves the survivors’ futures up to to my imagination or perhaps gives Serafini the option to take them on new adventures.

Narration:
This listen was narrator motivated. I discovered Sean Duregger earlier this year when I listened to Out for Blood. Duregger does a great job with a HUGE casts of characters of various sexes, ages, and accents. I appreciated the various emotions and tension he brought to the story.

I received a free advance copy of this audiobook from the narrator and am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

About the author:
Hailed as “one of the best new voices in horror fiction” by Brian Keene, Matt Serafini’s books include Feral, Devil’s Row, Island Red, and Under the Blade, which FilmThrills called “one of the best slasher films you’ll ever read.”

He co-authored a collection of short stories with Adam Cesare called All-Night Terror and his short fiction has appeared in numerous anthology collections, including Dead Bait 4, Clickers Forever: A Tribute to J.F. Gonzalez, and the upcoming Welcome to the Show.

He has written extensively on the subjects of film and literature for numerous websites including Dread Central and Shock Till You Drop. His nonfiction has also appeared in the pages of Fangoria and HorrorHound.

Matt lives in Massachusetts with his wife and children.


You can connect with Matt Serafini here:

About the narrator:
Sean Duregger is an award-winning audiobook narrator with a lifelong love for horror, science fiction, fantasy, and cinema trash. As a youth, Sean often sneaked into the Horror section of his local video store and allowed his imagination to take over as he prowled shelf after shelf of lurid VHS covers. Such films were not likely to get the family rental approval, so he could only stare at those jackets in wide-eyed wonderment about the terrifying and disgusting tales that lurked inside.

As an alternative to those visual feasts, he began devouring the works of Stephen King and other paperbacks of that ilk. Late at night, secure in a blanket fort and armed with a flashlight, Sean would fill his active mind with monsters, both human and not of this world. His love for reading and a penchant for creating voices to accompany the tales naturally led Sean to pursue audiobook narration. His enthusiastic embrace of genre fiction shines through in his work, enabling him to believably immerse listeners in tales from outlandish worlds.

An avid collector of paperback books from the 1980s and 1990s, Sean has become a sort of genre fiction archaeologist, unearthing tales from those decades and breathing new life into them in audiobook form. When he’s not narrating, Sean actively pursues new projects straight from his bookshelf.

Sean lives in Southern California with his wife, three kids, and two dogs.

You can connect with Sean Duregger here:

My Favorite Quotes

Do not be discouraged. There is a little pirate in everyone. – Ocean Grave by @MattFini #Audiobook narrated by @SeanNarrates #Horror #TreasureHunt #Pirates #NarratorMotivated

“Death’s head… Death’s head… Death’s head…” – Ocean Grave by @MattFini #Audiobook narrated by @SeanNarrates #Horror #TreasureHunt #Pirates #NarratorMotivated

Two men. One lifeboat. A single paddle. – Ocean Grave by @MattFini #Audiobook narrated by @SeanNarrates #Horror #TreasureHunt #Pirates #NarratorMotivated

His life was in tatters and there was nothing left to lose. – Ocean Grave by @MattFini #Audiobook narrated by @SeanNarrates #Horror #TreasureHunt #Pirates #NarratorMotivated

Cold eyes. An endlessly gnawing mouth. One of nature’s most sadistic creations.  – Ocean Grave by @MattFini #Audiobook narrated by @SeanNarrates #Horror #TreasureHunt #Pirates #NarratorMotivated

The Christmas Deal

A genuine kiss—sweet and soft and sure all at the same time, pressing their lips together like there was nothing else in the whole world but the two of them. Nothing casual about it.

Keira Andrews
The Christmas Deal

Format:
Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Will fake boyfriends become the real deal this holiday?

It’s the most wonderful time of the year—except ex-Marine Logan is jobless and getting evicted. Worse, he’s a new single dad with a stepson who hates him. A kid needs stability—not to mention presents under the tree—and Logan’s desperate.

Then he meets lonely Seth and makes a deal.

Can Logan temporarily pretend to be live-in boyfriends to increase Seth’s chances at a promotion? If it provides a roof over their heads for the holidays, hell yeah. Logan considers himself straight—he doesn’t count occasional hookups with guys—but he can fake it. Besides, with his shy little smile, Seth is surprisingly sexy.

Make that damn sexy.

Shocked that Seth has only been with one man, Logan can’t resist sweetening their deal to teach him the joys of casual sex. No strings attached. No feelings. No kissing.

No falling for each other.

Easy, right?

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

Rellim’s Thoughts:
I can always count on Keira Andrews for an enjoyable story and The Christmas Deal is no exception. Single Dad, Fake Relationships, & Opposites Attract are some of my favorite tropes, and I’ve definitely been in the mood for some holiday-themed books, so this was a good fit. It’s also a complete stand alone.

Logan, 37, is grumpy, recovering from an injury, out of a job, and about to be homeless. To top it off he’s the only parent to his deceased wife’s son, Conner. Being a step-parent doesn’t come naturally. Seth, 38, is workmates & friends with Logan’s sister Jenna. When a work situation forces Seth into inventing a family – Jenna loans him Logan & Conner. The caper begins!

While it is successful in contrasting Seth’s “buttoned-up” persona and is consistent with Logan’s character, the plethora of cuss words did feel like a bit much at times given that this is a holiday-themed book. Overall the story is at turns sweet, sad, and funny; Logan coming to terms with his true feelings for Seth, Seth worried about falling in love with a straight man, and Conner struggling to find his place in what has been an unstable world. These come together nicely and ultimately this is an enjoyable Christmas listen.

The initial ending is an HFN as Logan & Seth recognize that even though they’re going from pretend to real – it is a burgeoning relationship. Andrews provides a lovely 5-years-later epilogue that solidifies the HEA.

Narration:
John Solo does a good job here. All the characters have distinct and consistent voices. Solo, as always, does a terrific job evoking emotions and he really brings this story to life.

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:

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

Caper, caper, caper! – The Christmas Deal by @keiraandrews #Audiobook narrated by John Solo @falconsoundco #MM #SingleDad #FakeFiance #OppositesAttract #BiAwakening #Holiday

A genuine kiss—sweet and soft and sure all at the same time, pressing their lips together like there was nothing else in the whole world but the two of them. Nothing casual about it. – The Christmas Deal by @keiraandrews #Audiobook narrated by John Solo @falconsoundco #MM #SingleDad #FakeFiance #OppositesAttract #BiAwakening #Holiday

Seth forced himself to move slowly instead of launching at Logan like an attacking predator. – The Christmas Deal by @keiraandrews #Audiobook narrated by John Solo @falconsoundco #MM #SingleDad #FakeFiance #OppositesAttract #BiAwakening #Holiday

Home for the Holidays

He went over the mental math he had done, realized there was none, and wished he had more harpoons on him.

Ashton Macaulay
Home for the Holidays

Format:
ebook – freebie for newletter subscribers

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Pretty sure it’s the only holiday tale that involves repeated harpoon gun use.

Point of view:
3rd person.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
Chronologically, this falls before all of the other Whiteout Universe/Nick Ventner books. Well, Macaulay seems to like to write in whatever order he wants so who knows where this will fit if you find it a year from now – so slot this before A Man of the Mountain. Doesn’t matter – if you’re new to his writing this is a fun look at his style. If you’ve already read everything else (like me!) you can just view the vague mentions of other books as happy little Easter Eggs… er, Christmas presents… Wendigo droppings?

Nick and his trusty apprentice/chauffeur, James, are headed to visit James’ family for the holidays. Unfortunately (and as usual) things are not as merry as they seem. This time the monster has a mate and there’s two Wendigos for the duo to face. Filled with Nick’s irreverent humor, constant inebriation, James’ dry wit, and a trunk full of monster hunting weapons this is a quick & enjoyable holiday short story.

About the author:
Ashton Macaulay is a fiction writer living in Redmond Washington. His works include Whiteout, the tale of drunken monster hunter, Nick Ventner, Man of the Mountain, an intriguing audio drama surrounding a man trying to maintain the Bigfoot legend and various short stories published through Aberrant Literature.

You can connect with Macaulay here:

You can connect with Aberrant Literature here:

My Favorite Quotes

Does climate change explain why the bear would have fucked with the radio? – Home for the Holidays #Christmas #ShortStory by @RealMacAshton @AberrantLit #Thriller #Suspense #Horror #MonsterHunter #NickVentnerAdventure

He went over the mental math he had done, realized there was none, and wished he had more harpoons on him. – Home for the Holidays #Christmas #ShortStory by @RealMacAshton @AberrantLit #Thriller #Suspense #Horror #MonsterHunter #NickVentnerAdventure

Hey, Nick, they talk. – Home for the Holidays #Christmas #ShortStory by @RealMacAshton @AberrantLit #Thriller #Suspense #Horror #MonsterHunter #NickVentnerAdventure

People will believe anything to avoid a scarier truth. – Home for the Holidays #Christmas #ShortStory by @RealMacAshton @AberrantLit #Thriller #Suspense #Horror #MonsterHunter #NickVentnerAdventure

To the Stars and Back

Apparently my boyfriend is twice as famous as the man who discovered gravity. 

Camilla Isley
To The Stars and Back

Format:
Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
When Hollywood’s sexiest bachelor meets the girl next door their relationship doesn’t follow the script…

On-screen, Christian Slade is America’s favorite heartthrob. Off-screen, letting romance into his life isn’t as easy. The women he dates all seem to want a piece of his glamorous life rather than his heart, and trust doesn’t come easy for him.

Then along comes Lana. A beautiful rocket scientist who’s also sweet, smart, sexy, and has absolutely no idea who he is. But what will happen when she finds out?

Will their worlds prove too far apart or could love really be like in the movies?

Perspective:
1st person. Alternating perspectives.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
To the Stars and Back is the 4th book in Camilla Isley’s First Comes Love series. As this was my first experience with Isley’s work, I haven’t listened to the other books in the series. I don’t think it impacted my enjoyment at all. This was a delightfully low-angst, opposites-attract love story. Perfect if you’re in the mood for a closed door romance.

Christian Slade is thrilled to find perhaps the only woman on the planet who hasn’t heard of him. However, Lana’s ignorance to what it means to be a famous movie star may be precisely what dooms their relationship. I loved that while this is obviously fiction, Isley’s portrayal of what it’s probably like to have these two worlds clash made this entirely relatable. Christian is sometimes oblivious to a world he’s now been entrenched in for much of his life and Lana is shocked to be exposed to all his fame and fortune.

I also enjoyed that while there were bumps in the road for this sweet couple, things weren’t needlessly dragged out and the angst remained pretty light. Christian and Lana get their adorable HEA and Isley even provides the perfect epilogue for these star-struck lovers.

I’ll be adding the rest of the series to my TBL.

Narration:
I absolutely chose this book because it was narrated by Amy McFadden. She continues to be one of my favorites and doesn’t disappoint here. She’s great at giving all the characters unique voices and keeping them consistent throughout the story. I also really enjoyed that she performed the chapters from Christian’s POV in his British accent and lower register. It gives the audio an added depth and clarity of perspective.

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

About the author:
Camilla’s an engineer turned writer after she quit her job to follow her husband in an adventure abroad.

She’s a cat lover, coffee addict, and shoe hoarder. Besides writing, she loves reading—duh!—cooking, watching bad TV, and going to the movies—popcorn, please. She’s a bit of a foodie, nothing too serious. A keen traveler, Camilla knows mosquitoes play a role in the ecosystem, and she doesn’t want to starve all those frog princes out there, but she could really live without them.

You can connect with Camilla Isley here:

About the narrator:
From Amy McFadden’s website: I satisfy cravings. (Not unlike a Snickers bar. Stay with me here…) My job and joy is to find the passion and purpose in a script, and then tell it to the world. Everyone loves stories. Everyone. Every single human being needs stories. Whether their purpose is to enlighten, entertain, teach, or convince, we crave them. I get to satisfy that craving with the author’s purpose as my guide, and my talents and emotional commitment as my tools. It’s a delicious endeavor!

You can connect with Amy McFadden here:

My Favorite Quotes

Apparently my boyfriend is twice as famous as the man who discovered gravity.  – To the Stars and Back by @camillaisley #Audiobook by @amymcnarrator #OppositesAttract #RomanticComedy #Actor meets #RocketScientist #NarratorMotivated

Shall I tell you about the handsome stranger who rescued me from The Peninsula’s closet?  – To the Stars and Back by @camillaisley #Audiobook by @amymcnarrator #OppositesAttract #RomanticComedy #Actor meets #RocketScientist #NarratorMotivated

The moment we make eye contact a delightful blush spreads on her cheeks.   – To the Stars and Back by @camillaisley #Audiobook narrated by @amymcnarrator #OppositesAttract #RomanticComedy #Actor meets #RocketScientist #NarratorMotivated

Time To Hunt

He had never left friends behind. Today wasn’t the day he was about to start.

Simon Gervais
Time To Hunt

Format:
Audiobook. Also available as an ebook.

At the time of this review, ebook & audio can be borrowed via Kindle Unlimited.

Publisher’s Synopsis:
When the CIA calls on former Army Ranger Pierce Hunt to find a missing operative and friend, the last thing he wants to do is leave the peace of home and family behind. But there’s more to this mission than meets the eye, and Hunt knows he has no choice but to risk everything to save his friend and protect his country.

Hunt’s target is Jorge Ramirez, who allegedly has information that poses a threat to the national security of the United States. As Hunt tracks Ramirez in Switzerland, he learns that someone close to his operation has betrayed the CIA. His team is attacked, and not everyone makes it out alive.

Facing betrayal on an international scale, Hunt doesn’t know who to trust. The rules of engagement have changed, and the body count is rising. Will he find out the truth in time, or will this be Hunt’s final mission?

Point of view:
3rd person. Various POV’s, all clearly defined.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
Time to Hunt is the third book in Simon Gervais’ Pierce Hunt series. Technically, this could probably stand on it’s own. However, there is a lot of backstory from Hunt Them Down and Trained to Hunt that would make this much more enjoyable.

Pierce Hunt, Anna, Leila, and Sophia are enjoying life as a blended family in the Bahamas. However, as the ending of Trained to Hunt teased – Hunt’s friend Charlie Henican has gone missing during an op and the CIA want Hunt’s help rescuing him.

Again, Gervais weaves several stories, that on their own are intriguing and action packed, into an overall arc that builds into an unpredictable grand finale. I love that Gervais is able to continue to add more characters without being superfluous. There’s a leak in the CIA, jurisdiction squabbles, and even family can’t be trusted. Beloved teams members on both sides will be lost.

While there’s a resolution to this mission, not everyone is left feeling their work is done and Gervais doesn’t miss the opportunity to tease another potential Hunt novel. It will definitely be on my TBL.

Narration:
Bon Shaw’s narration continues to be fantastic. His voices are consistent from the first book and he handles an expanding cast of characters spanning various ages, genders, & accents. He helps make this series binge worthy.

About the author:
A former federal agent specialized in protective operations and counterterrorism, Simon spent nearly twenty years in the military and in law enforcement. His assignments took him all over Europe and the Middle East. Simon is now a full-time writer and a member of the International Thriller Writers Organization.

You can connect with Simon Gervais here:

About the narrator:
You can connect with Bon Shaw here:

My Favorite Quotes

He had never left friends behind. Today wasn’t the day he was about to start. – Time to Hunt by @GervaisBooks #Audiobook narrated by Bon Shaw #Thriller #DEA #CIA #Suspense #PierceHunt

Drowning in his own puke wasn’t part of his grand plan. – Time to Hunt by @GervaisBooks #Audiobook narrated by Bon Shaw #Thriller #DEA #CIA #Suspense #PierceHunt

Is that spy shit really necessary, Tom? – Time to Hunt by @GervaisBooks #Audiobook narrated by Bon Shaw #Thriller #DEA #CIA #Suspense #PierceHunt

He wondered what the owners of this spectacular property would say if they knew that a Russian mercenary named Vasily was stuffed in their freezer. – Time to Hunt by @GervaisBooks #Audiobook narrated by Bon Shaw #Thriller #DEA #CIA #Suspense #PierceHunt

Like It’s 1999

She started it, but I’m the one who can’t stop.

Karen Grey
Like It’s 1999

Format:

ARC. Releases December 9th!

Synopsis:
Love ’em and Leave ’em Alice Kim and “Hot” Steve Lowell are perfect for each other. It’ll only take them ten years to figure that out.

Just because they throw the most bodacious wedding party ever…
Just because they’re perfect partners in pranks…
Just because they love all the same boss movies…
Just because they share one totally bangin’ night of sex together…

Does not mean they’ll break the One Time Rule.
Even if they do… they don’t do relationships.
And they’re never getting married.
Like, ever.

In this friends-to-lovers, marriage-pact novella spanning the last decade of the 20th century, life forces a playboy and a playgirl grow up—and grow apart—before giving them a chance to create a happy-ever-after they can actually be happy about.

Point of view:
1st person. Alternating between Steve & Alice’s perspectives.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
The minute I finished the first book in Karen Grey’s Boston Classics series, What I’m Looking For, I immediately wanted a book about “Hot” Steve. While I don’t think you have to read the other books in the series to enjoy Like It’s 1999, I do think that you’d appreciate some of the references more if you’ve read or listened to at least book 1.

Like It’s 1999 is a fun novella featuring Kate’s best-friends “Hot” Steve and Alice as they become co-bridesmaids…er… bridespeople for Kate & Will’s wedding. Grey’s writing style definitely works for me and in this case there were some parallels in my relationship with my personal “Hot” Steve. Hubby and I are known for constantly throwing movie lines at each other, we started dating on New Year’s Eve, and once we got together everyone was pretty much, “What took you so long?”

While this is a relationship slow burn, Grey gives us a few steamy scenes and lots of interactions to know that Steve & Alice could be great together. They have a lot of fun and the movie lines definitely kept me grounded in the late 80’s. Unfortunately, the timing isn’t right. For 10 years. We get to catch up with Will & Kate and get a peek into their future. Or, maybe their past? (insert Back to the Future time-bending here) No worries. Steve & Alice’s story gets a cute and happy ending.

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

She started it, but I’m the one who can’t stop. – Like It’s 1999 by @KarenWhitereads #BostonClassics #Novella #RomanticComedy #ItsThe80s #FriendsToLovers #MarriagePact

Man, he gets me, because he finishes the Top Gun quote right along with me. – Like It’s 1999 by @KarenWhitereads #BostonClassics #Novella #RomanticComedy #ItsThe80s #FriendsToLovers #MarriagePact

Falling leads to things that will never work out. – Like It’s 1999 by @KarenWhitereads #BostonClassics #Novella #RomanticComedy #ItsThe80s #FriendsToLovers #MarriagePact

I swear I could actually feel every single one of my nerve endings firing at once. – Like It’s 1999 by @KarenWhitereads #BostonClassics #Novella #RomanticComedy #ItsThe80s #FriendsToLovers #MarriagePact

It’s a Wonderful Wife

Format:
Audible – free borrow via Audible Plus

Publisher’s Synopsis:
In this charming and heartwarming retelling of Frank Capra’s classic It’s a Wonderful Life, Camille Pagán, best-selling author of This Won’t End Well and I’m Fine and Neither Are You, introduces us to Bailey, a dutiful yet sharp-witted 30-something who finds herself on the verge of a nervous breakdown as Christmas Eve approaches. As if it wasn’t enough that Bailey’s husband has just cheated on her, the family business she’s been running since her parents died, which employs most of her small town, is about to go under. But even as she’s questioning whether her life has any meaning, Bailey bumps into a handsome stranger who claims to know her—and through a series of strange events, sheds new light on what it means to make a difference in this messy, wonderful world.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
Updated

Originally I DNF at 50% – This was like a depressing country song had an affair with the beginning of a Disney movie. I admit that I haven’t seen “It’s a Wonderful Life” in several decades… but I don’t remember it proportionally being this depressing. This is less than two hours and the *entire* first hour is:

1. Bailey’s parents died on Christmas Eve 20 years ago
2. The only company in town is closing down
3. Bailey & her husband (Chris) are infertile
4. Chris’s brother is a bum whose wife left him & the kids
4b. They live next door so Bailey gets to see daily how ignored/poor/unloved the kids are
5. Bailey walks in on her best friend & Chris having sex

Despite loving Amy McFadden as a narrator – I couldn’t finish.

At the urging of another reviewer that the second half was more cheerful… I finished it. Keep in mind this entire book spans about 24 hours in present day.

Another 25% was the “if you’d never been born” portion and detailing how everything would be even worse.

Then for last 10-15 minutes of the book, Bailey gets organized and decides to move forward. Don’t worry – two men are going to save her. Her soon to be ex will loan her the money to make payroll and the guy she’s just met 12 hours ago (yeah, they knew of each other in high school, but they haven’t seen each other in 20 years) is going to save the cannery and love her forever.

I really don’t relish bad reviews… but this was proportionally way too much negative to feel joy at the unrealistic “heartwarming” of the last 10 minutes. 

Trained to Hunt

There were no higher-ups whispering commands in his ears or second-guessing his every decision.

Simon Gervais
Trained to Hunt

Format:
Audiobook. Also available as an ebook.

At the time of this review, ebook & audio can be borrowed via Kindle Unlimited.

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Former Army Ranger Pierce Hunt is second-guessing his decision to join a CIA hunter-killer team that will take him far away from his daughter. But when a new performance-enhancing drug kills four football players—including his daughter’s boyfriend—settling down becomes the last thing on Hunt’s mind.

When Anna Garcia, Hunt’s lover and head of the largest drug cartel in Miami, becomes the prime suspect in the investigation, the stakes become even more personal. Not convinced that Anna is capable of such extremes, Hunt looks far and wide for evidence to exonerate her and stop a vicious enemy who plans to flood the US market with an addictive new drug. Outgunned, outmanned, and out of time, Hunt is the country’s last hope to stop a deadly new drug from making countless new victims.

Point of view:
3rd person. Various POV’s, all clearly defined.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
Trained to Hunt is the second book in Simon Gervais’ Pierce Hunt series. While I think Gervais’ includes enough details that you could listen to this on on it’s own, I would recommend listening to Hunt Them Down first. There’s a lot of relevant background info and continuation of some plots and storylines in the first book that would make this more enjoyable.

At first, things seem to have settled down for Hunt – he’s finding solid ground in his relationship with his daughter and things seem to be going well with Anna. Alas, while Hunt is on assignment in Afghanistan all hell breaks loose in the United States and Venezuela. Anna is trying to go legit and not everyone is happy about it, creating danger not just for her – but her family and friends as well. Gervais kept my attention by adeptly weaving multiple missions, offensives, and coups into a one grand plot that culminates in a final engagement.

While Hunt and his team are successful, Gervais again uses the epilogue to tease a new objective and I’ve already started listening to the newly released, Time to Hunt.

Narration:
Bon Shaw’s narration continues to be fantastic. His voices are consistent from the first book and he handles an expanding cast of characters spanning various ages, genders, & accents. He helps make this series binge worthy.

About the author:
A former federal agent specialized in protective operations and counterterrorism, Simon spent nearly twenty years in the military and in law enforcement. His assignments took him all over Europe and the Middle East. Simon is now a full-time writer and a member of the International Thriller Writers Organization.

You can connect with Simon Gervais here:

About the narrator:
You can connect with Bon Shaw here:

My Favorite Quotes

There were no higher-ups whispering commands in his ears or second-guessing his every decision. – Trained to Hunt by @GervaisBooks #Audiobook narrated by Bon Shaw #Thriller #DEA #Suspense #PierceHunt

I’m told you’re good at hunting people down. – Trained to Hunt by @GervaisBooks #Audiobook narrated by Bon Shaw #Thriller #DEA #Suspense #PierceHunt

Who the fuck’s Queen Bee? – Trained to Hunt by @GervaisBooks #Audiobook narrated by Bon Shaw #Thriller #DEA #Suspense #PierceHunt

What do you mean it doesn’t hurt that much? You didn’t stop moaning and bitching for the entire way back. – Trained to Hunt by @GervaisBooks #Audiobook narrated by Bon Shaw #Thriller #DEA #Suspense #PierceHunt

Top Hat

When Associate Professor, Dr. Alexander Deveraux strode into the Ramsay Lecture Theatre at the University of Oxford, the air was sucked out of Samuel Aiken’s lungs, and he struggled to catch a breath.

Isobel Starling
Top Hat

Format:
ebook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Child protégé Sam Aiken is the youngest student studying Linguistics at Oxford University. Frustratingly, being so young means Sam doesn’t get to enjoy student life in the same way the older students do.

He is obsessed with his studies and close to graduation, but when Sam’s elderly Master, Professor Alfred Moxley dies suddenly, Sam finds the replacement professor brought in to get him and his classmates through their last few months of study, to be more than a little distracting. Dr. Alexander Deveraux becomes Sam’s new obsession, and he wants to learn more from the young, brilliant, queer professor than just Linguistics!

Point of view:
3rd person. Entirely from Sam’s POV.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
In all honestly, if I had read the content warning about this – I probably wouldn’t have read it. For whatever reason, when you open a book via Kindle, it automatically plops you at the beginning of the story (skipping the cover, title page, any author notes, TOC, etc.). So, until I finished and went back to look at something, I didn’t see the author’s note that the story is about an affair between a Professor & a 16yo student. (16 is legal age of consent in the UK.) Generally, that type of power balance with a young person doesn’t usually work for me.

That said, I’m glad I missed the warning. Because between Starling’s writing, Sam’s obvious maturity, Alex’s own younger age and initial misgivings, and the fact that the sex wasn’t overly explicit – this was a delightful novella. Sam is wonderfully cheery, adorkable, and I’m looking forward to following him in the Shatterproof Bond series.

About the author:
Isobel loves writing M/M thrillers, mysteries, and historical books.

You can connect with Isobel Starling here:

My Favorite Quotes

When Associate Professor, Dr. Alexander Deveraux strode into the Ramsay Lecture Theatre at the University of Oxford, the air was sucked out of Samuel Aiken’s lungs, and he struggled to catch a breath. – Top Hat by @isobel_starling #ShatterproofBond #Novella #MM #Romance #StudentTeacher

Hunt Them Down

A bullet in the head is a bullet in the head. It doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter how well trained you are.

Simon Gervais
Hunt Them Down

Format:
Audiobook. Also available as an ebook.

At the time of this review, ebook & audio can be borrowed via Kindle Unlimited.

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Former Army Ranger Pierce Hunt is no stranger to violence. Fresh off a six-month suspension, he’s itching to hit a notorious Mexican drug cartel where it hurts, even if that means protecting crime boss Vicente Garcia, a witness in the case against sadistic cartel leader Valentina Mieles. But things spiral out of control when the cartel murders Garcia and kidnaps his granddaughter and an innocent bystander, Hunt’s own teenage daughter.

Mieles wants the new head of the Garcia family on a plate—literally. Hunt has seventy-two hours to deliver, or Mieles will execute the girls live on social media. With the clock ticking, Hunt goes off the grid and teams up with Garcia’s daughter, a former lover and current enemy. To save the girls, Hunt will have to become a man he swore he’d never be again: an avenging killer without limits or mercy.

Point of view:
3rd person. Various POV’s, all clearly defined.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
Hunt Them Down is the first book in Simon Gervais’ Pierce Hunt series. This is my first experience with Gervais, but it won’t be my last. After listening to this, I plan to spend the extended Thanksgiving weekend binging all the Hunt books and perhaps dive into Gervais’ earlier works.

This is Summer Blockbuster, drags you in, holds on tight, and never lets go action/thriller material. At first I was a little concerned at the sheer number of people that Gervais introduced – but his writing combined with Shaw’s superb narration meant that I was never lost and truly felt like I was getting to know their unique personalities. While Pierce Hunt is former military and current DEA, he’s definitely NOT Captain America. While definitely a hero, he is far from perfect, but totally owns his mistakes and shortcomings. It made for a completely relatable character.

Hunt finds himself calling on old friends and allied with previous adversaries to pull off the rescue of a lifetime. I love that Gervais balances honoring Hunt as a skilled operator with the fact that not everything will go according to plan. Yes, this is definitely fiction, but offers a level of realism that made it easy to lose myself in the story. Not everyone is going to make it out alive and things aren’t tied off in a neat little package.

That said, Hunt survives, Gervais teases the future, and I’m ready to start Trained to Hunt.

Narration:
Bon Shaw’s narration is fantastic. He has the perfect voice for not only Hunt, but a full cast of characters spanning various ages, genders, & accents. It’s impossible not to be drawn into the action. I’m looking forward to him narrating the rest of the series.

About the author:
A former federal agent specialized in protective operations and counterterrorism, Simon spent nearly twenty years in the military and in law enforcement. His assignments took him all over Europe and the Middle East. Simon is now a full-time writer and a member of the International Thriller Writers Organization.

You can connect with Simon Gervais here:

About the narrator:
You can connect with Bon Shaw here:

My Favorite Quotes

A bullet in the head is a bullet in the head. It doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter how well trained you are. – Hunt Them Down by @GervaisBooks #Audiobook narrated by Bon Shaw #Thriller #DEA #Suspense #PierceHunt

Answer my questions and live, or don’t and suffer. Then die. It’s as simple as that. – Hunt Them Down by @GervaisBooks #Audiobook narrated by Bon Shaw #Thriller #DEA #Suspense #PierceHunt

He’d been shot, stabbed, hunted, and tortured, but he’d never been as scared as he was now. – Hunt Them Down by @GervaisBooks #Audiobook narrated by Bon Shaw #Thriller #DEA #Suspense #PierceHunt