Light the Lamp (Portland Storm)

He said he loved me, but he didn’t know how I needed to be loved.

Catherine Gayle
Light the Lamp

Format:
ebook

8/21/2020: Updated review from Portland Storm: The First Period (box set of Books 1, 2, 2.5, & 3) on Audible.

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Hockey star Liam Kallen lost his scoring touch when his wife died. Still broken up over her loss, Liam’s darkness overpowers him, but his new team—the Portland Storm—needs him. A chance meeting brings him face to face with Noelle Payne, the most positive and upbeat woman he’s ever met, and his darkness begins to fade.

There’s never been a challenge that Noelle can’t conquer. Brightside optimist to a fault, Noelle refuses to succumb to the luxurious life Liam can give her, as she longs to find deeper meaning and purpose in her life. Now it’s up to Liam to open up and show her that she’s the light he’s needed all along—giving her the greatest purpose of all. He might have saved her, but can Noelle be the light that saves him?

Point of view:
1st person. Alternating perspectives by chapter.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
This is my least favorite book of the series and the one I usually skip when rereading as I struggle both to connect with the main characters and in finding their romance believable. Noelle borders on being psychic/mystic/or some inconsistently defined supernatural empath. It just doesn’t fit with the tone of the series or other characters. She’s homeless and the reasons are ridiculously non-existent other than in some kind of construct in her mind.

This is also INSTA relationship, living together, etc. with no foundation for any kind of meaningful bond between Liam & Noelle. The majority of the book takes place in a week and I just don’t feel like Gayle justified Liam’s feelings/actions or gives any reason to be confident these two have what it takes to make it last.

Narration:
Angel Clark’s narration continues to improve and despite being disappointed in the story – I enjoyed her narration. I appreciate that she uses a slightly different register based on the POV of the chapter.

My Favorite Quotes

He said he loved me, but he didn’t know how I needed to be loved. – Light the Lamp by @Catherine_Gayle #Audiobook narrated by Angel Clark. #SportsRomance #Hockey

He said he loved me, but he He was a handsome man even when he was brooding, but when he was happy it was like a piece of his soul was shining through his eyes and piercing me with his goodness. – Light the Lamp by @Catherine_Gayle #Audiobook narrated by Angel Clark. #SportsRomance #Hockey

Taking a Shot (Portland Storm)

No matter what happened, I would have this to hold on to.

Catherine Gayle
Taking a Shot

Format:
ebook

8/18/2020: Updated review from Portland Storm: The First Period (box set of Books 1, 2, 2.5, & 3) on Audible.

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Rising hockey star Jamie Babcock is ready to take the most important shot of his life—and this time, it’s not on the ice. Dating his teammate’s daughter might be riskier than going head to head with one of the Portland Storm’s rivals. But time is running out—it’s now or never.

High school senior Katie Weber knows all too well the woes of adolescence, but throw in a leukemia diagnosis, and her life just got a lot more complicated. With prom looming and a shiny bald head to contend with, Katie might sit at home on the most important night of her potentially very short life. Unless Jamie Babcock, her ultimate crush, finally makes the move she’s been praying for. But that’s not the only miracle she needs.

Now Jamie must show Katie just how important she is and how hard she must fight.

Before it’s too late…

Point of view:
1st person. Alternating perspectives by chapter.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
This is a sweet novella giving us more insight into Jamie & Katie as they attend her senior prom. As Katie is still in high school, the steam is no more than a kiss. Also, Jamie & Katie’s story continues throughout the the other books and they don’t get their HEA until book 7, Dropping The Gloves.

Narration:
Angel Clark’s narration improves in this book. I appreciate that she uses a slightly different register based on the POV of the chapter. This novella is very emotional and Clark handles that well.

Trigger Warnings (possible spoilers):
Katie has been diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing treatment which results in illness and hair loss. It’s a major part of the book.

My Favorite Quotes

At least for this one moment in time, she was my princess. – Taking a Shot by @Catherine_Gayle #Audiobook narrated by Angel Clark. #SportsRomance #Hockey #Novella #SweetRomance

No matter what happened, I would have this to hold on to. – Taking a Shot by @Catherine_Gayle #Audiobook narrated by Angel Clark. #SportsRomance #Hockey #Novella #SweetRomance

On The Fly (Portland Storm)

I thought all hockey players were supposed to be missing half their teeth and have bent, broken noses and stitches and bruises everywhere.

Catherine Gayle
On The Fly

Format:
ebook

4/5/2020: Updated review from Portland Storm: The First Period (box set of Books 1, 2, 2.5, & 3) on Audible.

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Being sidelined for far too long due to injuries, Portland Storm player Brenden “Soupy” Campbell is ready to take his career to the next level and make his new position on the team stick. After he meets the general manager’s cute new assistant, Brenden knows he’s right where he’s supposed to be.

Determined to change things up On the Fly and establish a future for herself and her children, Rachel Shaw jumps at the opportunity to work for the Storm. She’s not going to let anything—or anyone—get in her way, especially not a sexy and overly cocky hockey star.

But when Brenden pulls out all the stops and turns on the charm, Rachel refuses to make the same mistake twice. Now, it’s up to Brenden to cement his spot—both on the team and in Rachel’s heart.

Point of view:
1st person. Alternating perspectives by chapter.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
This is another slow burn as Brenden (Soupy) tries to win over wary single-mom Rachel. Another book that deals with sexual assault (this time of a minor) in a realistic way without being overly graphic. Though listeners sensitive to that subject may still find it to be too much as it’s impact is a major part of the story line.

Gayle introduces more Portland Storm players and we get updates and regular interaction from previously introduced players. I’ll admit, all I know about hockey is from romance novels – but her descriptions seem thorough while still engaging.

I’m looking forward to Babs & Katie’s novella, Taking a Shot.

Narration:
Angel Clark’s narration lacked the finesse she showed in the first book. The differentiation between character voices was minimal. Also, Rachel is described as having a Southern (Texas) accent and Clark only used it if the accent was immediately mentioned in the text or vaguely in sentences that used “y’all” or talked about Rachel’s time living there. She missed the mark to bring some individuality to these characters. 

Trigger Warnings (possible spoilers):
Sexual assault of a minor by a parent. It’s not described in detail, but it’s a central theme to the book and how Rachel and her daughter, Maddie, react to everyone they meet.

My Favorite Quotes

I thought all hockey players were supposed to be missing half their teeth and have bent, broken noses and stitches and bruises everywhere. – On The Fly by @Catherine_Gayle #Audiobook narrated by Angel Clark. #SportsRomance #Hockey

the Portland Storm organization. It’s not just a team. We take care of our own.” – On The Fly by @Catherine_Gayle #Audiobook narrated by Angel Clark. #SportsRomance #Hockey

Breakaway (Portland Storm)

Screwing up one minute doesn’t mean you can’t be amazing the next. You just have to learn from your mistakes. Go in and try something different next time.

Catherine Gayle
Breakaway

Format:
ebook

3/30/2020: Updated review from Portland Storm: The First Period (box set of Books 1, 2, 2.5, & 3) on Audible.

Note: I read the books separately years ago. Audible has them individually – or grouped into box sets. Budget-wise it makes more sense to purchase them this way. Also, ratings of the original narrator for Breakaway were low. She was replaced in the rest of the series. For the box set – the new narrator re-recorded book 1.

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Portland Storm captain Eric “Zee” Zellinger knows how to get the job done, but leading his once elite team to victory is fast becoming a losing battle. He can’t lose focus now—not with his career on the line. But when his best friend’s little sister makes him an offer he can’t refuse, Eric could lose the drive the team relies on from their captain. Still in a downward spiral after a life-altering event in college, Dana Campbell is desperate to try anything to break away from the horror of that fateful night—even enlisting the help of the only man she trusts completely. No matter how irresistible she is or how tempting the offer, Eric might not be able to cross that line—especially with the team’s chance at the playoffs on the line. Now, Eric has to take one last shot, but will he choose Dana’s Breakaway chance at happiness or the move that could secure his career?

Point of view:
1st person. Alternating perspectives by chapter.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
This is a SLOOOOOOW burn in a lot of ways. Fundamentally, because Dana is trying to recover from a sexual assault that occurred when she was in college. She seeks out Eric “Zee” Zellinger’s help. He’s her brother’s best friend and someone she’s known her whole life and the only man she feels she can remotely trust.

This is an emotionally difficult book to experience. Not only from Dana’s POV, but also Eric’s and to a smaller degree the others in their lives. In some respects this length of time is reflective of what it can take for some victims to recover (if they ever do) and the many small steps that feel insurmountable to them. It can make the book feel like it’s dragging at times, but I prefer that to books that gloss over such heavy subject matter.

Gayle introduces us to the Portland Storm players and organization. I’ll admit, all I know about hockey is from romance novels – but her descriptions seem thorough while still engaging.

Narration:
This is my first experience with Angel Clark. It took me a bit to get used to the male speaking voices (they sometimes come off a bit “squeaky”), but overall I enjoyed the production and her narration.

Trigger Warnings (possible spoilers):
The entire book centers on Dana’s recovery from her sexual assault 7 years prior. The attack is described, but not in minute detail. She suffers from post-traumatic stress, experiences panic attacks and they are described completely and accurately.

My Favorite Quotes

Screwing up one minute doesn’t mean you can’t be amazing the next. – Breakaway by @Catherine_Gayle #Audiobook narrated by Angel Clark. #SportsRomance #Hockey

I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life than I am of the fact that I love you and I can’t stop loving you. – Breakaway by @Catherine_Gayle #Audiobook narrated by Angel Clark. #SportsRomance #Hockey

Midnight Games

Just went to show that you should never underestimate the quiet ones – and never let your guard down around them either.

Elle Kennedy
Midnight Games

Format:
ebook then audio

Publisher’s Synopsis:
She wears a thousand deadly identities. He sees through them all.

A master of disguise, Isabel Roma spends her life pretending to be other women.  Normally, her emotions are reined in tight—but sexy mercenary Trevor Callaghan has a knack for getting under her skin. The elite operative’s quiet strength and raw magnetism affect her in ways she’s never felt before, a distraction that can quickly turn deadly in their dangerous line of work.

After putting his tragic past behind him, Trevor is ready to focus on his future—and he damn well intends for Isabel to be in it. When their entire operation is thrown into chaos, Trevor enlists Isabel’s talent for deception. And as they attempt to save their team in a world where the stakes are high and the danger is grave, Trevor must convince Isabel that the woman beneath all the disguises is the one worth having…. 

Point of view:
3rd Person.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
Midnight Games is the third book in the Killer Instinct series. Each book follows a different couple and there’s definitely a story arc for each book that is completely satisfying – however, there are story lines that cover several books and weave through the series so you’ll want to be sure to read/listen in order, starting with Midnight Rescue.

Yes! Ever since Isabel & Trevor were introduced in book 1, I have been looking forward to this couple’s story. Kennedy does a great job of keeping us interested in their progression during Luke’s book, Midnight Alias – and I absolutely think they both needed that time. Midnight Games is one of my favorites of the series – not just because of the main couple, but the continued building of back stories for the secondary characters and the action/suspense element.

This book starts with several surprises, a missing team member, and someone completely unexpected taking control. Meanwhile, Trevor is trying to break through Isabel’s high emotional walls, respect her expertise and capability as an operative, and working to discover who the mysterious foe is.

While the biggest tension is between Jim & Noelle, I’m completely on board with the next book being about the sniping Ethan & Juliet in Midnight Pursuits.

Narration:
Allyson Ryan is solid in narrating this whole series. I love her performance and can’t say enough good things about it. She keeps voices, accents, & mannerisms consistent throughout and it’s absolutely binge worthy.

About the author:
New York TimesUSA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Elle Kennedy grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, and holds a B.A. in English from York University. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be a writer, and actively began pursuing that dream when she was a teenager.

Elle writes romantic suspense and erotic contemporary romance for various publishers. She loves strong heroines and sexy alpha heroes, and just enough heat and danger to keep things interesting!

You can connect with Elle Kennedy here:

About the narrator:
Allyson is a native New Yorker whose diverse talents have led to a career in voiceover, theatre, TV, commercials, and films. She began on the New York stage and then onto Los Angeles to work in film and TV. She played “Mom” in national commercials. She landed her first gig narrating an audiobook for Penguin Random House and fell in love with voiceover. She has been narrating for several years and has an Audiofile Earphones Award for the audiobook “The Divinity of Second Chances” by Kaya Mclaren. She is also a 2017 Society of Voice Arts and Sciences nominee for audiobooks. She narrates all genres and loves bringing books to life. She can be also be heard in commercials, animated shows, and video games.

You can connect with Allyson Ryan here:

My Favorite Quotes

Just went to show that you should never underestimate the quiet ones – and never let your guard down around them either. – Midnight Games by @ElleKennedy #Audiobook narrated by @AllysonRyan13 #KillerInstincts #RomanticSuspense

Midnight Alias

“This really isn’t fair,” he choked out. “I was trying to be a gentleman, and you’ve ruined everything.”

Elle Kennedy
Midnight Alias

Format:
ebook then audio

Publisher’s Synopsis:
She’s smart, seductive, and in way over her head.
He’s her only way out. 
An undercover DEA agent has gone off the radar. Suspecting an internal mole, the government needs Luke Dubois and his elite team of operatives to recover their man, and the New Orleans native thinks he’s found his way inside the dark underbelly of Manhattan: Olivia Taylor, the girlfriend of a mob boss and the sexiest woman he’s ever laid eyes on. His new mission objective? Get past Olivia’s defenses and convince her to take a chance—on him.

All Olivia wanted was to finish law school and live a normal life, but that dream was shattered when one dangerous night put her deeply in a mobster’s debt. Now Luke and his team will help her escape—in exchange for intel on the missing agent. But Olivia doesn’t anticipate her intense attraction to the reckless Louisiana charmer or that she’ll be forced to risk everything—including her heart.  

Point of view:
3rd Person.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
Each book in the Killer Instinct series follows a different couple and there’s definitely a story arc for each book that is completely satisfying – however, there are story lines that cover several books and weave through the series so you’ll want to be sure to read/listen in order, starting with Midnight Rescue.

This isn’t my favorite of the series, but still a solid listen. There’s a few parts that stretch believability a little further than I like & there’s Olivia’s insistence (despite her ill mother) to repeatedly be involved in Ops that sort of annoys me. However, she and Luke are adorable together. We get to know Isabel, Trevor, & D better, meet Liam & Sullivan, and Kane, Abby & Ethan get little cameos.

Kennedy does a great job of giving us many moving parts/ smaller arcs that coalesce into a good overall story. I’m so ready for Trevor & Isabel’s book, Midnight Games.

Narration:
Allyson Ryan is solid in narrating this whole series. She keeps voices, accents, & mannerisms consistent throughout and it’s absolutely binge worthy.

About the author:
New York TimesUSA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Elle Kennedy grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, and holds a B.A. in English from York University. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be a writer, and actively began pursuing that dream when she was a teenager.

Elle writes romantic suspense and erotic contemporary romance for various publishers. She loves strong heroines and sexy alpha heroes, and just enough heat and danger to keep things interesting!

You can connect with Elle Kennedy here:

About the narrator:
Allyson is a native New Yorker whose diverse talents have led to a career in voiceover, theatre, TV, commercials, and films. She began on the New York stage and then onto Los Angeles to work in film and TV. She played “Mom” in national commercials. She landed her first gig narrating an audiobook for Penguin Random House and fell in love with voiceover. She has been narrating for several years and has an Audiofile Earphones Award for the audiobook “The Divinity of Second Chances” by Kaya Mclaren. She is also a 2017 Society of Voice Arts and Sciences nominee for audiobooks. She narrates all genres and loves bringing books to life. She can be also be heard in commercials, animated shows, and video games.

You can connect with Allyson Ryan here:

My Favorite Quotes

“This really isn’t fair,” he choked out. “I was trying to be a gentleman, and you’ve ruined everything.” – Midnight Alias by @ElleKennedy #Audiobook narrated by @AllysonRyan13 #KillerInstincts #RomanticSuspense

The Defiant Hero

She was talking to him—that was good. He didn’t like what she was saying, but at least she was talking.

Suzanne Brockmann
Defiant Hero

Format:
ebook & Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
“The United States refuses to negotiate with terrorists.” Meg Moore remembered the warning from her job as a translator in a European embassy. Those same words will spell out a death sentence for her daughter and grandmother who have been kidnapped by a lethal group called the Extremists. Meg will do anything to meet their unspeakable demands; anything — even kill — to save her child.

When Navy SEAL John Nilsson is summoned to Washington, D.C. by the FBI to help negotiate a hostage situation, the last person he expects to see holding a foreign ambassador at gunpoint is Meg. He hasn’t seen her in years, but he’s never forgotten how it feels to hold her in his arms. John could lose his career if he helps her escape. She will lose her life if he doesn’t…

Point of view:
3rd person. Alternating perspectives by several main characters. Always clearly defined.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
I love. Love. LOVE. Suzanne Brockmann and the Troubleshooters series. However, John & Meg are probably my least favorite couple of the series. (Tying with Mike & Joan in Into The Night – likely because Meg & Joan share many of the same traits that annoy me.)

What I love about Brockmann is her ability to create dynamic characters, with flaws but with strength and the capacity to learn/grow as well. Meg was not intelligent (beyond conniving) nor was she emotionally/physically/mentally strong in any endearing way. She didn’t grow as the book went on and she’s only mentioned in passing once or twice as the series continues. John seems to somewhat mature, but only in the final moments of the book and in a way that isn’t very convincing. His internal dialogue about pregnancy in the last 30 min of the book really highlighted his continued emotional/relational immaturity. I just couldn’t connect with either one of them.

The Sam & Alyssa storyline as well as the flashbacks to Eve & Ralph and the fabulous narration save this for me. However, I have read/listened to all the other books in the series numerous times and I find myself constantly skipping this one. I recommend it, in that you need it as a foundation for the fantastic Sam & Alyssa arc that continues throughout the series (especially in Over the Edge, Into the Night, & Gone Too Far). While he only has a few lines, Jules is also introduced in this book and he will soon become an integral and beloved member of the Troubleshooters world.

Next up is Over the Edge which I adore for so many reasons!

Narration:
I cannot say enough fabulous things about Patrick Lawlor and Melanie Ewbank. They are both stellar narrators – voices, accents, emotions, and giving each character their own unique sound. My only complaint is the same as the last book, in regards to pacing/speed. Lawlor speaks at a much quicker pace than Ewbank (I think they recognized this at some point because I don’t find it to be as big a disparity in later books). I found myself having to adjust narration speed between narrators for it to be more cohesive.

Note: I originally read this. Then I found our library had the original audiobooks of the first 6 books (single narrators, various). THEN! Then the series was rerecorded in Dual Narration style with Patrick Lawlor & Melanie Ewbank. I’m in LOVE with these narrations. I own them all. And if it were possible to wear out digital copies of something, I’d have done it by now.

My Favorite Quotes

She was talking to him—that was good. He didn’t like what she was saying, but at least she was talking. – Defiant Hero @SuzBrockmann #audiobook @PLawlorAudio @EwbankMelanie #Troubleshooters #SEALs #RomanticSuspense #SecondChance

I’m going to go down there, look at the car and go, hmmmm. Then fly back to DC and tell the boss everything that the local guys already told me. – Defiant Hero @SuzBrockmann #audiobook @PLawlorAudio @EwbankMelanie #Troubleshooters #SEALs #RomanticSuspense #Jules #SecondChance

Midnight Rescue

It makes you feel powerless, doesn’t it? You want me, you can’t fight it, and it makes you crazy.

Elle Kennedy
Midnight Rescue

Format:
ebook then audio

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Dangerous. Ruthless. Savage. And she’s the good guy.

Abby Sinclair had a desperate childhood until she was rescued and adopted by a retired army ranger who molded her into a master of self-defense. Now, she’s a cunning and fearless assassin thrust into assignment after dangerous assignment, using everything she has-nerve, resilience, strength, sex-to come out on top. Her only rule: trust no one.

Abby’s latest assignment is in Columbia: go undercover and snuff out a dangerous arms dealer active in the underground sex trade. But when Abby purposely blows her cover in a last-ditch attempt to free the helpless victims, deadly mercenary Kane Woodland is recruited as back-up. His mission: get Abby out of that hell hole.

The last thing Kane expects is to feel a primal attraction for Abby. But when she convinces him to join her on her perilous mission, their newfound passion could put the lives of their whole team at risk.

Point of view:
3rd Person.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
Each book in the Killer Instinct series follows a different couple and there’s definitely a story arc for each book that is completely satisfying – however, there are story lines that cover several books and weave through the series so you’ll want to be sure to read/listen in order.

Midnight Rescue is a hard one for me. It’s a fantastic kick off to the series and Kennedy does a great job of introducing a huge cast of characters without being totally overwhelming or taking away from the story in any way. However, this particular book has some big time triggers in it that can make it an uncomfortable read/listen. It deals with child sex trafficking and several characters are physically & sexually assaulted.

That said, the point is to rescue children who are currently being held to be auctioned off. Kane & Abby are dealing with their own pasts & traumas while trying to thwart the auction and save the girls.

I think one of the things I love about this book (and the series as a whole) is that Kennedy writes strong, capable, trained women as well as men. No TSTL characters here. There’s a fantastic mix of action, thriller, mystery, & romance. We get to meet several characters who will be featured in future books – but it’s isn’t just one line of “oh, here’s Luke”, they play integral parts to the plot and missions.

Speaking of Luke, he’s up next in Midnight Alias.

2019 update – Big heads up if you prefer audiobooks: THERE IS NO AUDIO FOR THE LAST BOOK. I don’t really regret buying the audios, but I don’t understand why the publisher had all but the last book recorded. It’s been several years since Midnight Target was released (and it is a full & engaging ending to the series) and there’s no audiobook. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Narration:
Allyson Ryan is solid in narrating this whole series. I love her performance and can’t say enough good things about it. She keeps voices, accents, & mannerisms consistent throughout and it’s absolutely binge worthy.

About the author:
New York TimesUSA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Elle Kennedy grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, and holds a B.A. in English from York University. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be a writer, and actively began pursuing that dream when she was a teenager.

Elle writes romantic suspense and erotic contemporary romance for various publishers. She loves strong heroines and sexy alpha heroes, and just enough heat and danger to keep things interesting!

You can connect with Elle Kennedy here:

About the narrator:
Allyson is a native New Yorker whose diverse talents have led to a career in voiceover, theatre, TV, commercials, and films. She began on the New York stage and then onto Los Angeles to work in film and TV. She played “Mom” in national commercials. She landed her first gig narrating an audiobook for Penguin Random House and fell in love with voiceover. She has been narrating for several years and has an Audiofile Earphones Award for the audiobook “The Divinity of Second Chances” by Kaya Mclaren. She is also a 2017 Society of Voice Arts and Sciences nominee for audiobooks. She narrates all genres and loves bringing books to life. She can be also be heard in commercials, animated shows, and video games.

You can connect with Allyson Ryan here:

My Favorite Quotes

It makes you feel powerless, doesn’t it? You want me, you can’t fight it, and it makes you crazy. – Midnight Rescue by @ElleKennedy #Audiobook narrated by @AllysonRyan13 #KillerInstincts #RomanticSuspense

For once in your life, lower your guard and let yourself feel something, damn it. – Midnight Rescue by @ElleKennedy #Audiobook narrated by @AllysonRyan13 #KillerInstincts #RomanticSuspense

“You deserved a hell of a lot more than any of those bastards gave you.””If it helps,” she said with a faint smile, “I killed most of them.” – Midnight Rescue by @ElleKennedy #Audiobook narrated by @AllysonRyan13 #KillerInstincts #RomanticSuspense

The Unsung Hero

You can’t choose who you love, Kelly, but you can waste it. Why on earth would anyone want to waste it?

Suzanne Brockmann
The Unsung Hero

Format:
ebook & Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
After a near-fatal head injury, Navy SEAL lieutenant Tom Paoletti catches a glimpse of an international terrorist in his New England hometown. When he calls for help, the Navy dismisses the sighting as injury-induced imaginings. In a last-ditch effort to prevent disaster, Tom creates his own makeshift counterterrorism team, assembling his most loyal officers, two elderly war veterans, a couple of misfit teenagers, and Dr. Kelly Ashton. As the town’s infamous bad boy, Tom was always in love with Kelly, a sweet “girl next door” who has grown into a remarkable woman. Now he has one final chance for happiness, one last chance to win her heart, and one desperate chance to save the day.

Point of view:
3rd person. Alternating perspectives by several main characters. Always clearly defined.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
This isn’t my favorite of Suzanne Brockmann’s novels but it is still fantastic. I constantly find myself wavering between giving this 4 or 5 stars. Because it’s not my favorite of hers – I do wish it had more action to it (on a scale with her other Troubleshooters books, this one leans more heavily to romance than suspense), because there are a few troublesome bits in it.

On a “Brockmann scale” – it’s a 4 in terms of weighing it against her other work. Ultimately though, I give it a 5. I own this in ebook & audiobook format. I’ve read/listened so many times I don’t even bother trying to track it on Goodreads each time. Pretty much, that defines a 5 star read donchathink?

Unsung Hero is a LONG book (over 15 hours). It’s like getting (and enjoying) several stories that individually are compelling, interesting, engaging and weaved together to culminate in one awesome experience. We are introduced into the Troubleshooters world, meet characters we’ll get to know and love for years to come (some take 5 books to get their HEA – I’m talking to you Sam & Alyssa), new love, old love, heartbreak, laughs, and tracking down a terrorist.

Also, I’m not one to go on about sex scenes. I’m not exactly sure how – but she has this way of making them incredibly steamy and evocative without being graphic. Probably helped by the narrators. I felt myself blushing a little while making dinner last night.

Note: I originally read this. Awesome. Then I found our library had the original audiobooks of the first 6 books (single narrators, various). Pretty good. THEN! Then the series was rerecorded in Dual Narration style with Patrick Lawlor & Melanie Ewbank. Fantastic! Amazing! I’m in LOVE with these narrations. I own them all. And if it were possible to wear out digital copies of something, I’d have done it by now.

Narration:
I cannot say enough fabulous things about Patrick Lawlor and Melanie Ewbank. They are both stellar narrators – voices, accents, emotions, and giving each character their own unique sound. My only complaint is in regards to pacing/speed. Lawlor speaks at a much quicker pace than Ewbank (I think they recognized this at some point because I don’t find it to be as big a disparity in later books). I found myself having to adjust narration speed between narrators for it to be more cohesive.

Trigger Warnings (possible spoilers):
Parent dying of cancer. Hostage situation. Military battle.

My Favorite Quotes

You can’t choose who you love, Kelly, but you can waste it. Why on earth would anyone want to waste it? – The Unsung Hero @SuzBrockmann #Troubleshooters narrated by @PLawlorAudio @EwbankMelanie

Unsung Hero
Suzanne Brockmann