Discovering Daisy

It was time to make Daisy ours for good.

Sloane Kennedy
Discovering Daisy

Format:
Audible. ebook available to borrow via Kindle Unlimited. If you have KU, you can borrow the ebook & then purchase the whispersync audio at a discount. $7.49 at the time of this review.

Publisher’s Synopsis: (It’s a long one! Feel free to scroll down to my review)
At nearly 40 years old, Cash Malloy has accepted that the lifestyle he and Sage, his partner both in life and on the job, live isn’t normal but is what both men need to escape the darkness of their pasts. But he also knows that Sage’s wounds run much deeper than his own and that there will come a day where what Cash can give Sage isn’t enough anymore. And after meeting the young woman Sage has become enamored with, Cash knows that day is closer than ever.

At 21, Daisy Washburne has found a new life working for an underground vigilante group. To the men she works with, she’s Daisy, IT girl extraordinaire, but in the silence of her apartment, she’s just awkward, quiet, weird Daisy whose computer is her best friend and whose only link to the outside world are the voices of the men she’s trying really hard not to think of as family. But it’s one voice on the other end of the phone in particular that calls to her like no other and eases just a little bit of the loneliness that has consumed her since losing her mother to a brutal act of violence.

In order to survive, Sage Brighton has had to learn how to be two different people. To most of the world, he’s happy-go-lucky, flirty, easy-going Sage. But to the one man who knows him better than anyone else, and yet still doesn’t really know who he is, Sage sees himself as nothing more than a fucked-up mess who takes more than he gives. Life without Cash isn’t even a possibility for Sage, but he can’t deny the pull young Daisy Washburne has had on him from the moment he hears her voice for the first time. Only in the deepest recesses of his mind does Sage allow for a world in which he can have both Cash and Daisy at the same time. Fortunately for Sage, the lines between fantasy and reality are miles apart – almost a thousand miles to be exact, since Daisy doesn’t live anywhere near Cash and Sage’s home in the Ozarks.

But when a chance encounter between Daisy, Cash, and Sage in a motel just outside Seattle changes everything, the demons from Sage’s past threaten to derail the life he and Cash have built together. When circumstances bring the trio back together, Cash sees an opportunity to give Sage what he needs, even if it costs Cash everything he’s ever wanted. Only, he soon finds that Sage isn’t the only one drawn to the quiet young woman who’s good at being invisible. And he can’t help but wonder if maybe the key to saving Sage isn’t about Sage choosing who can give him a normal life.

Because maybe normal isn’t enough.

Just like maybe one love isn’t enough…for any of them.

Point of view:
1st person. Alternating by chapter. Three main characters.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
I’m a fan of Sloane Kennedy, Michael Dean, & MMF – so this was a win/win/win for me. (If you’re new to Sloane Kennedy, the Protectors series, or the fact that it intertwines with several other series – check out her handy chart and reading order here.) I’ve read through the series several times, but finally wrote out a review when I listened to the recently released (Jan 2020) audio.

There’s a bit of a teaser for this triad in Protector’s Family Christmas, but you don’t have to listen to that for this to make sense. Why you’d want to skip any of these though, I don’t know…

For being a novella, we get a LOT of information about this trio. Daisy has been a background character for quite some time, but it was nice to learn more about her. Cash and Sage’s relationship is incredibly unique and adding Daisy only makes it stronger. What I loved about this was that it spans several months so while there’s definitely an insta-lust going on, I really felt the connection between all three of these characters before “love” was thrown about. The HEA is nice and I know we get to hear more about them in future books.

This is MMF. There are scenes between pairs separately as well as with all three together. There are frequent sexual encounters as well as graphic internal monologues. There are some elements of Domination/submission between Cash & Sage, but I wouldn’t really consider this BDSM.

Narration:
Micheal Dean’s narration is fantastic. I’ll admit that since some chapters are from Daisy’s point of view, my personal preference might have been to bring in a female narrator for her, but it wasn’t like Dean’s version was bad in any way. Because, yeah, he made me cry when reading the book didn’t.

Trigger Warnings (possible spoilers):
References to sexual assault of a minor and suicide.

My Favorite Quotes

No matter what choices you made for us, the choice to be with you was always mine. – Discovering Daisy by @Sloane_Kennedy

It was time to make Daisy ours for good. – Discovering Daisy by @Sloane_Kennedy

He’s the ground beneath my feet, but you’re the rain that feeds him, lets him grow, helps him to always be strong for me. – Discovering Daisy by @Sloane_Kennedy

Finding Forgiveness

Format:
Kindle Unlimited & Audible.

Publisher’s Synopsis:
AHe was only there for a business deal…
A couple of days…that was all it was supposed to take for property developer Roman Blackwell to decide if the strip of land just south of Dare, Montana would be the perfect spot for his next luxury resort. He wasn’t interested in repairing his frayed relationship with his half-brother who’d moved to the small town a few months earlier and he definitely wasn’t interested in doing anything more than scratching an itch when he checked out the gay club near his hotel. But when his plans for a quick hook-up are waylaid after he steps in to save a young man being brutalized, Roman finds himself building an emotional connection he never saw coming.

One bad decision changed everything…
College student Hunter Greene has spent 18 months trying to forget the one night he gave in to temptation and made a decision to hide one lie by telling another. But the guilt of knowing he shattered another young man’s life to protect his own secret shame is slowly destroying him and he knows that soon even his spiral into a dangerous pattern of self-destructive behavior won’t be enough to keep his entire world from imploding. But the last thing he’s looking for is someone to save him.

But fate works in mysterious ways…
Forced to return to the town he grew up in, the last person Hunter expects to run into is the mysterious savior who changed everything with one soul shattering kiss. While he can’t deny his attraction to Roman, Hunter knows that he’ll never be free to act on it and once Roman discovers the terrible secret he’s hiding, it won’t matter anyway.

Because some things just can’t be forgiven…

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

Rellim’s Thoughts:
This is the fourth book in the Finding Series. While technically this can stand on it’s own, characters from the all three previous books play secondary roles in this book and it would be best to read/listen to those first and in order.

Normally I put content warnings at the end – but this book opens with a graphically described gang rape/dubious consent scene and it plays a prominent role in the book. As does self-harm.

I’ll be honest, when re-reading/listening – I tend to skip that opening scene because it’s just too much for me. However, as a whole, this is a solid addition to the series. I’m a fan of age gap and redemption themes. Like almost all of Kennedy’s characters – Hunter and Roman are working through a lot of personal demons and find solace in each other. At almost 7 hours, this is also significantly longer than the other books which really gives us time to get to know the characters, their relationship, and weave in updates from the characters in the previous books.

While there is a 5th book, Finding Hope, the ending for Finding Forgiveness feels like it was originally written to be a conclusion to the series. It’s an excellent one at that, very much an HEA for all the men of Dare, Montana.

Notes: While Finding is it’s own series, some of the Finding characters & events are interconnected with the Escort, Barretti Security, and Protectors series. Visit Sloane Kennedy’s website for a list showing how several of her series tie together and different reading/listening order options. You don’t always have to be familiar with the other books to enjoy them individually, but I really enjoy the entire “world” she has created. My personal preference for reading order is chronological/timing.

Narration:
Updated 7/29/2020 for audio review: Michael Dean’s narration is consistent with his other performances in the series. Roman & Hunter have unique voices as do the secondary characters. Dean seems to keep the same voices for each character throughout the series which is really nice.

About the author:
Although Sloane Kennedy always dreamed of being a writer as a teenager, she didn’t take the plunge until 2015 when she released her first novel. Since then, she has released nearly 30 books including the Amazon best-selling “Pelican Bay” and “Protectors” series. While she initially began writing M/F romance, she found her true passion writing gay romance and nearly all of her most recent releases reached the #1 spot on Amazon’s Gay Romance bestseller list and several have made it to Amazon’s overall bestseller list. Sloane was born in Germany but grew up in the U.S. and although she currently lives in Wisconsin, the place where she has always felt most at home is Seattle and many of her books take place in the Emerald city. When not writing, a menagerie of 2 dogs, 3 cats and 2 horses takes up what little time she has left in the day!

You can connect with Sloane Kennedy here:

About the narrator:
Originally from Chicago and currently based in New York City, Michael Dean has performed around the country and the world on stage, television, and film. He studied acting at the University of Arizona and the University of Kansas City Missouri. As a narrator he has voiced over 450 titles.

You can connect with Michael Dean here:

Finding Peace

Format:
Kindle Unlimited & Audible.

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Author Gray Hawthorne has it all and he’s on the verge of having even more. His bestselling detective novels are being turned into a movie series that will make him a household name and he’s rubbing a lot more than just elbows with Hollywood’s elite. Money, fame and good looks mean an endless supply of men, both groupies and celebrities alike, which suits Gray just fine. He’s smart enough to know that his 5 minutes in the spotlight will be just that and he plans to enjoy every moment. Until he gets the devastating news that threatens to steal everything away…

Army Ranger Luke Monroe lives and breathes the military. They’re the family he never had and a life without his brothers-in-arms is unfathomable. But the ultimate betrayal has Luke on the run and a twist of fate leads him to the small town of Dare, Montana to seek help from the foster brother who saved him once before. Only the brother he’s searching for isn’t the man he finds and he has no choice but to keep running. Until an encounter on the side of the road with a stranger changes everything.

The last thing Gray wants when he seeks refuge at his cabin in the secluded Montana mountains is company but a run-in with the mysterious and very straight Luke has Gray offering the damaged soldier a place to regroup. And since a physical relationship isn’t even on the table, Gray finds himself enjoying something he hasn’t had in a long time…a real friend.

But what happens when friendship just isn’t enough? When a man who’s only been with women begins to crave more?

With one man running from his past and the other running from his future, will finding each other be enough to bring them peace?

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

Rellim’s Thoughts:
This is the third book in the Finding Series. While technically this can stand on it’s own, characters from Finding Home & Finding Trust play secondary roles in this book and it would be best to read/listen to those first.

This is my favorite of the series so far. I think because while there are numerous steamy sex scenes Kennedy spends significantly more time on Gray & Luke’s stories as well as their developing relationship. I don’t want to give away Gray’s secret – but the way Kennedy handles it and Luke’s reactions/response is heartbreaking and wonderful. While the timeline is still only a few weeks – there’s definitely more to them than lust. I also found the suspense element to be much more engaging.

Roman, Gray’s brother, is introduced in this book and gets his own story in Finding Forgiveness.

Notes: While Finding is it’s own series, some of the Finding characters & events are interconnected with the Escort, Barretti Security, and Protectors series. Visit Sloane Kennedy’s website for a list showing how several of her series tie together and different reading/listening order options. You don’t always have to be familiar with the other books to enjoy them individually, but I really enjoy the entire “world” she has created. My personal preference for reading order is chronological/timing.

Narration:
Updated 7/23/2020 for audio review: Michael Dean’s narration is consistent with his other performances in the series. Gray & Luke have unique voices as do the secondary characters.

About the author:
Although Sloane Kennedy always dreamed of being a writer as a teenager, she didn’t take the plunge until 2015 when she released her first novel. Since then, she has released nearly 30 books including the Amazon best-selling “Pelican Bay” and “Protectors” series. While she initially began writing M/F romance, she found her true passion writing gay romance and nearly all of her most recent releases reached the #1 spot on Amazon’s Gay Romance bestseller list and several have made it to Amazon’s overall bestseller list. Sloane was born in Germany but grew up in the U.S. and although she currently lives in Wisconsin, the place where she has always felt most at home is Seattle and many of her books take place in the Emerald city. When not writing, a menagerie of 2 dogs, 3 cats and 2 horses takes up what little time she has left in the day!

You can connect with Sloane Kennedy here:

About the narrator:
Originally from Chicago and currently based in New York City, Michael Dean has performed around the country and the world on stage, television, and film. He studied acting at the University of Arizona and the University of Kansas City Missouri. As a narrator he has voiced over 450 titles.

You can connect with Michael Dean here:

Finding Trust

Format:
Kindle Unlimited & Audible.

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Widower Dane Winters just wanted a new beginning for himself and his six month old daughter after his estranged husband’s cold-blooded murder and moving to a small town in Southwest Montana seemed like a good place to start. But he never expected a favor for a friend to turn into a deadly encounter that puts him on a collision course with a mysterious stranger passing through town.

Former FBI agent Jaxon Reid stopped in Dare, Montana to right a wrong, not get caught up in the life of an uptight, country vet with a holier-than-thou attitude. But he soon finds himself drawn to the quiet, insecure single father who’s trying to leave behind a life of pain and heartbreak.

Dane can’t deny his attraction to Jax, but he knows that pursuing a relationship with the gorgeous, younger man will only end in heartbreak and turn him into someone he swore he would never be again. But when danger looms, he’s forced to accept Jax into his life and home, along with the emotional vulnerability that being around Jax brings to the surface.

As their connection deepens, can Dane find the trust Jax needs from him in order to build a life together or will he let his past destroy his one chance at a real future?

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

Rellim’s Thoughts:
This is the second book in the Finding Series. The beginning of this book runs concurrent with parts at the end of Finding Home and would best be read/listened to after that book.

My biggest issue is that this is really short. At 4 hours ~ it’s really more of a novella than a book. It was an OK story as part of the overall series arc, but on it’s own, it leaves a lot to be desired. First, there were a LOT of sex scenes, good ones for sure, but it didn’t allow for much story. Dane was particularly frustrating in his inability to move forward until the very end. When Jax & Dane are finally on the same page, the book abruptly ends.

Jax & Dane both make appearances in book 3, Finding Peace.

Notes: While Finding is it’s own series, some of the Finding characters & events are interconnected with the Escort, Barretti Security, and Protectors series. Visit Sloane Kennedy’s website for a list showing how several of her series tie together and different reading/listening order options. You don’t always have to be familiar with the other books to enjoy them individually, but I really enjoy the entire “world” she has created. My personal preference for reading order is chronological/timing.

Narration:
Updated 7/21/2020 for audio review: Michael Dean’s narration is consistent with his other performances in the series. Dane & Jax have unique voices as do the secondary characters.

About the author:
Although Sloane Kennedy always dreamed of being a writer as a teenager, she didn’t take the plunge until 2015 when she released her first novel. Since then, she has released nearly 30 books including the Amazon best-selling “Pelican Bay” and “Protectors” series. While she initially began writing M/F romance, she found her true passion writing gay romance and nearly all of her most recent releases reached the #1 spot on Amazon’s Gay Romance bestseller list and several have made it to Amazon’s overall bestseller list. Sloane was born in Germany but grew up in the U.S. and although she currently lives in Wisconsin, the place where she has always felt most at home is Seattle and many of her books take place in the Emerald city. When not writing, a menagerie of 2 dogs, 3 cats and 2 horses takes up what little time she has left in the day!

You can connect with Sloane Kennedy here:

About the narrator:
Originally from Chicago and currently based in New York City, Michael Dean has performed around the country and the world on stage, television, and film. He studied acting at the University of Arizona and the University of Kansas City Missouri. As a narrator he has voiced over 450 titles.

You can connect with Michael Dean here:

Finding Home

Format:
Kindle Unlimited & Audible.

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Vengeance. It’s the one thing on ex-cop Rhys Tellar’s mind and he’s spent every day of his two year prison sentence planning how he’ll bring down the former lover and partner who sold him out and cost four people their lives. A six month parole stint working at the CB Bar Ranch in Southwestern Montana should be the easiest thing he’s ever done. But the last thing he expects is to feel something for both the charismatic ranch hand who befriends him and the enigmatic foreman who’s pretending to be something he’s not.

A future. That’s what Finn Stewart wants, but to have it he must leave behind the man he wants above all others, his very straight boss and best friend, Callan Bale. As the only openly gay man in a small, homophobic community, Finn has to fight every day to be who he is and walking away is starting to seem like the easier path. Until Rhys Tellar shows up and changes everything.

A Lie. Callan Bale’s entire life has been about hiding the man he really is and it’s about to cost him the one person who’s managed to worm his way past the walls he’s spent years putting up. But choosing Finn would mean giving up everything he’s worked for and breaking the promises he’s made. At least losing the younger man to Rhys means Finn can have the life he deserves.

Three men. Three choices. One chance at finding home.

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

Rellim’s Thoughts:
My biggest issue is that this is really short. At 4.5 hours ~ it’s really more of a novella than a book. Which catapults us into insta-love and info dump territory with events taking place over a 10 day span. I like Cal, Finn, & Rhys, but their backstories and the building of their relationship could have used more development. Most of the conflict was solved in a few minutes of story. I did enjoy the story and we’ll see/hear more of these characters as the Finding Series goes on.

Book 2 is Jax & Dane’s book, Finding Trust.

Notes: While Finding is it’s own series, some of the Finding characters & events are interconnected with the Escort, Barretti Security, and Protectors series. Visit Sloane Kennedy’s website for a list showing how several of her series tie together and different reading/listening order options. You don’t always have to be familiar with the other books to enjoy them individually, but I really enjoy the entire “world” she has created. My personal preference for reading order is chronological/timing.

Narration:
Updated 7/20/2020 for audio review: Michael Dean’s narration is solid. Cal, Finn, & Rys all have unique voices as do the secondary characters.

About the author:
Although Sloane Kennedy always dreamed of being a writer as a teenager, she didn’t take the plunge until 2015 when she released her first novel. Since then, she has released nearly 30 books including the Amazon best-selling “Pelican Bay” and “Protectors” series. While she initially began writing M/F romance, she found her true passion writing gay romance and nearly all of her most recent releases reached the #1 spot on Amazon’s Gay Romance bestseller list and several have made it to Amazon’s overall bestseller list. Sloane was born in Germany but grew up in the U.S. and although she currently lives in Wisconsin, the place where she has always felt most at home is Seattle and many of her books take place in the Emerald city. When not writing, a menagerie of 2 dogs, 3 cats and 2 horses takes up what little time she has left in the day!

You can connect with Sloane Kennedy here:

About the narrator:
Originally from Chicago and currently based in New York City, Michael Dean has performed around the country and the world on stage, television, and film. He studied acting at the University of Arizona and the University of Kansas City Missouri. As a narrator he has voiced over 450 titles.

You can connect with Michael Dean here:

Logan’s Need

I think for you it’s less about teams and more about finding the right teammate.

Sloane Kennedy
Logan’s Need

Format:
Kindle Unlimited & Audible.

Publisher’s Synopsis:
“I feel like I’ve been wearing blinders for my entire life and now they’ve been ripped off and everything’s too bright – too harsh. Part of me wants them back so I only have to see what’s right in front of me.” -Logan  

After Logan Bradshaw’s dreams go up in smoke, he’s left broken and haunted by a cruel betrayal from his former business partner, a man he once thought of as a friend. His life as a professional escort helped pay for his future once, so maybe a few more jobs can give him back what he’s lost. And if that means being a third for one night for a wealthy couple living out a ménage fantasy, then so be it. It might just be the final payout he needs to get his life back on track. 

Dominic Barretti has everything money can buy, but it can’t save his beautiful young wife as cancer steals her away from him. He also can’t deny her one last request – a ménage encounter with another man. It’s the perfect excuse to meet the man who’s been haunting his dreams. On paper, Logan is the perfect choice to give his wife what she needs, but he doesn’t expect his own fierce desires to flare up when the young man enters their lives.  

Dom and Logan don’t know it, but Sylvie Barretti has decided to play matchmaker from beyond the grave. Unfortunately, getting two broken men to find each other makes dying seem like the easy part.  

Logan can’t deny his attraction to Dom, but the surprise desire for another man has left him reeling and questioning everything he’s ever known about himself. But when a threat from the past surfaces, will Logan be able to let go of the life he knew and embrace the one he needs?  

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

Rellim’s Thoughts:
This one of those books that is best listened to when you want lot of grit, angst, & push/pull between the MCs as well as May/December and GFY themes.

Logan and Dom are both struggling with immense grief and colliding into a new relationship they both feel guilty about for a variety of reasons. Be ready for a roller coaster of emotions and engaging but sometimes OTT drama.

This book introduces the rest of the Barretti siblings featured in the Barretti Security series. Also introduces Eli (at 15) who will appear (as an adult) in Forsaken, book 4 in the Protectors series.

Notes: I know MM is Sloane Kennedy’s main focus, and Logan’s Need *can* be read/listened to without having read Gabriel’s Rule or Shane’s Fall (Kennedy’s MF books aren’t on audio, but they are in KU) – but you’re missing out if choose to skip those. Also, her Escort, Finding, Barretti Security, & Protectors series are interconnected. You can find suggested reading orders on the author’s website. My personal preference is chronological/timing.

Narration:
Updated 4/17/2020 for audio review: Michael Dean is fairly dramatic in this one. I tend to speed up the narration to avoid being annoyed by “pregnant pauses” and drawn out drama, but I still enjoy it and have listened to it multiple times.

Trigger Warnings (possible spoilers):
Prostitution by Logan, prostitution of a minor (not solicited or endorsed by MCs), sexual assault of a sibling, kidnapping, murder.

About the author:
Although Sloane Kennedy always dreamed of being a writer as a teenager, she didn’t take the plunge until 2015 when she released her first novel. Since then, she has released nearly 30 books including the Amazon best-selling “Pelican Bay” and “Protectors” series. While she initially began writing M/F romance, she found her true passion writing gay romance and nearly all of her most recent releases reached the #1 spot on Amazon’s Gay Romance bestseller list and several have made it to Amazon’s overall bestseller list. Sloane was born in Germany but grew up in the U.S. and although she currently lives in Wisconsin, the place where she has always felt most at home is Seattle and many of her books take place in the Emerald city. When not writing, a menagerie of 2 dogs, 3 cats and 2 horses takes up what little time she has left in the day!

You can connect with Sloane Kennedy here:

About the narrator:
Originally from Chicago and currently based in New York City, Michael Dean has performed around the country and the world on stage, television, and film. He studied acting at the University of Arizona and the University of Kansas City Missouri. As a narrator he has voiced over 450 titles.

You can connect with Michael Dean here:

My Favorite Quotes

I think for you it’s less about teams and more about finding the right teammate. – Logan’s Need by @sloane_kennedy, narrated by Michael Dean. #Audiobook #MMRomance #RomanticSuspense #GFY #Angst

I feel like I’ve been wearing blinders for my entire life and now they’ve been ripped off. – Logan’s Need by @sloane_kennedy, narrated by Michael Dean. #Audiobook #MMRomance #RomanticSuspense #GFY #Angst

Jack of Hearts

She had been the first thing he thought of on waking and the last thing before sleeping, and all the hours in between.

Sandra Owens
Jack of Hearts

Format:
Audiobook. Available as ebook + audio on Kindle Unlimited.

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Alex Gentry doesn’t scare easily. Working as an undercover FBI agent in the biker bar he and his brothers co-own, he hangs with deadly criminals in order to gather information. Danger is just part of the family business. But one thing has him terrified: his attraction to Madison Parker.

Madison is the cousin of Ramon Alonzo, son and second in command to a notorious drug lord Alex is trying to bust. Alex has befriended Ramon as part of his cover, and Madison has unknowingly become his informant. Falling for her could risk this case—and both their lives.

All Madison wants is to get her new bookstore business off the ground, and for her creepy cousin Ramon—to whom she’s unfortunately indebted—to leave her alone. If she could only stop fantasizing about his mysterious new friend, Alex…

As the Alonzo cartel investigation heats up, so does their relationship. But will the secrets they’re keeping tear them apart—or get them both killed?

Point of view:
3rd Person. Alternating POVs, not always clearly defined.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
This one took a little bit to really get going, but once it did – I enjoyed it. It’s a nice mix of romance, suspense, and action. It’s heavier on the romance/relationship aspect – but still enough FBI undercover investigation to keep things moving.

I like Alex & Madison. We get to really know them individually and as a couple. (though, this may have been what contributed to what felt like a slow start.) Madison’s roommate, Lauren, and Alex’s brothers, Court & Nate, as well as other FBI agents are introduced. Enough to contribute to the plot as well as be intrigued about their role in future books. While this book had it’s own story arc and romance plot focused on Alex & Mad, this is also kicking off a series arc (big reveal in the epilogue!) that I’m looking forward to.

This is 3rd person, but there’s a lot of 1st person dialogue. The perspective changes between Alex & Madison – unfortunately, it’s not always clearly defined and it tripped me up a few times. This was compounded by the fact that a few times the wrong narrator was speaking during the opposite POV. (ie. York narrating when it was obviously Madison’s perspective/thoughts.)

It’s still an enjoyable series that I’ve listened to more than once.

Narration:
I’m a huge fan of both Amy McFadden & Sebastian York. McFadden did a great job here with all the various voices, perspectives, and emotions. I struggled a little with York’s narration in this one. There wasn’t a lot of differentiating between male speaking voices. Alex & Nate sounded exactly alike, as did Rand (though he didn’t speak much). There was also an action scene where he didn’t sound any more excited than he did in regular conversation.

Trigger Warnings (possible spoilers):
There’s some shoot outs, gun shot wounds, peril, and other action/mystery topics. Madison’s cousin is physically and sexually aggressive toward her. In flashbacks, Alex’s father is physically abusive. Death/disappearance of parents.

About the author:
Sandra lives in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Most days, you can find her with her fingers on a keyboard, her mind in the world of her imagination. It’s a land where romance and happy endings exist, a land where anything is possible.

A few highlights of Sandra’s life she fondly recalls are jumping out of a plane, flying upside down in a stunt plane, and riding her Harley in the mountains of Southern California and along the coast of Maine.

Although those events in her life were great fun, nothing compares to the joy and satisfaction she gets from writing her stories.

You can connect with Sandra Owens here:

About the narrator:
From Amy McFadden’s website: Hi! This part is all about me. Just me. It feels weird to write a bunch of stuff about myself but I don’t like pictures of me so I’ll have to use words instead.

I live in Michigan with my fiancé, Joe Anderson. He makes me laugh so much I never have to do situps. Truthfully, I probably wouldn’t do situps anyway, but hey, it’s still a nice bonus to our love.

I’m an actress now, and I used to be a 2nd grade teacher. I loved that part of my life, but after doing it for a bunch of years, I was ready to move on to the next version of me. They’re not really very different versions-teachers and actresses both reach out and engage people through stories. I’m NOT a morning person, but waking up to tell stories makes mornings better-than-tolerable.

I love books and the Muppets and smart people and kind people (not necessarily in that order) and sleeping and chocolate and coffee and writers and learning and Oreo cookies and a bunch of other stuff-but I’m starting to make myself gag on all this love.

I hate a bunch of stuff, too, but who cares about that junk? It’s probably the same stuff you hate, so I won’t bore you. Except I REALLY hate listening to people eat bananas.

You can connect with Amy McFadden here:

My Favorite Quotes

She had been the first thing he thought of on waking and the last thing before sleeping, and all the hours in between. – Jack of Hearts @SandyOwens1 #DualNarration by @amymcnarrator & Sebastian York #RomanticSuspense #Mystery #FBI

Holy sweet Mother Mary, her man was jaw-dropping badass. – Jack of Hearts @SandyOwens1 #DualNarration by @amymcnarrator & Sebastian York #RomanticSuspense #Mystery #FBI

Crusader One

At Ember, we can accomplish more in one week to neutralize a threat than we could have accomplished with a whole deployment back in the day.

Brian Andrews & Jeffrey Wilson
Crusader One

Format:
Audible. Available to borrow via Kindle Unlimited with audio included. If you don’t have KU, this is one of those audios that’s less expensive to buy the ebook & add audio. Less than $3 for both at the time of this review.

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Nothing stops former Navy SEAL and Tier One operator John Dempsey from answering the call of duty – including a mission with the highest stakes he’s ever faced. When one of the most brazen and lethal acts of terrorism rocks American and Israeli intelligence forces at the highest levels, Dempsey’s ultracovert antiterror unit, Ember, mobilizes.

But this operation isn’t just a retaliatory strike by Ember; it’s a mission of vengeance for Dempsey – against the Iranian terrorist mastermind who slaughtered Dempsey’s Tier One comrades. Racing from Tel Aviv to Tehran, the elite American warrior and his formidable Israeli counterpart must forsake their backup in a capture-or-kill gambit that could turn into a suicide run.

But with missiles flying across the Middle East, Dempsey’s do-or-die quest must succeed. If it doesn’t, it’s a short countdown to World War III.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
Like the last 2 books in the Tier One series*, this has its own book story arc ~ but there’s also a story that weaves through all the books. I think you could read/listen individually, but they’re so much better built on the previous ones.

I love all the action, OPs, undercover missions, as well as the fact that all of these people (good guys and bad) have their own unique storylines and struggles. I’m always looking forward to more about all of them. Andrews & Wilson have done such an amazing job of world building that this series could go on for years and I can’t see myself tiring of it.

*I think this was originally listed as a trilogy, but the way this ends ~ they’re definitely going to keep going. Can’t wait!

Narration:
Ray Porter is phenomenal as a narrator and he really elevates this already amazing story to another level. He seamlessly switches between accents, personalized voices, genders, etc. Even women’s voices are done well. With a cast of characters as large as this ~ it’s quite the achievement.

My Favorite Quotes

At Ember, we can accomplish more in one week to neutralize a threat than we could have accomplished with a whole deployment back in the day. Crusader One @LexicalForge @JWilsonWarTorn @bAndrewsJWilson @Ray_Porter #TierOne #Military

 Normally, he chased his ghosts away, but not this time. Not today. Crusader One @LexicalForge @JWilsonWarTorn @bAndrewsJWilson @Ray_Porter #TierOne #Military

War Shadows

You guys created me; now you have to live with me.

Brian Andrews & Jeffrey Wilson
War Shadows

Format:
Audible. Available to borrow via Kindle Unlimited with audio included. If you don’t have KU, this is one of those audios that’s less expensive to buy the ebook & add audio. Less than $3 for both at the time of this review.

Publisher’s Synopsis:
John Dempsey, former Navy SEAL and Tier One operator, is back. Only a few months into his new life as an operative for Ember, the United States’ most covert counterterrorism entity, he must stop an old nemesis who’s resurfaced after ten years of operating in the shadows. From the deserts of Iraq, through the jungles of Guatemala, to the streets of suburbia, Dempsey and his Ember team race against time to stop a series of horrific and devious attacks against the homeland.

In this second installment of the Tier One series, John Dempsey faces his greatest challenge as he continues to evolve from a decorated Navy SEAL into the country’s most lethal protector.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
Excellent second book in the Tier One trilogy ~ doesn’t suffer from the ho-hum many middle books do. While it is part of an overall story arc, there’s still a complete and enjoyable story/Op here. As with Tier One ~ I borrowed from Kindle Unlimited and listened to the book via its Audible companion*. The narration was impeccable. Each character had a clearly defined “voice” and was expertly portrayed even with numerous accents, genders, & personalities. This book provides even fewer (almost none) explanations for military acronyms, ranks, spec-ops directives, etc than Tier One did. A newbie to this genre might be overwhelmed, or at least need Google nearby to help translate.

Anticipating and immediately moving on to the final installment.

*Note: I love the series so much I’ve since purchased them all and relistened several times.

Narration:
Ray Porter’s narration was impeccable. Each character had a clearly defined “voice” and was expertly portrayed even with numerous accents, genders, & personalities. I’ve listened to all 5 books (as of this updated review) in the series and Porter’s continuity is spectacular.

My Favorite Quotes

Their ultimate objective, according to Captain Jarvis, was cutting the head off the snake. War Shadows @LexicalForge @JWilsonWarTorn @bAndrewsJWilson @Ray_Porter #TierOne #Military

Kemper was raw – raw from the heat, raw from the killing, but most of all raw from the “moon dust” that covered everything in the far-western corner of Iraq. War Shadows @LexicalForge @JWilsonWarTorn @bAndrewsJWilson @Ray_Porter #TierOne #Military

You guys created me; now you have to live with me. War Shadows @LexicalForge @JWilsonWarTorn @bAndrewsJWilson @Ray_Porter #TierOne #Military

Tier One

The best lie is one so exquisite and so tempting that both the deceiver and the listener yearn for it to be true.

Brian Andrews & Jeffrey Wilson
Tier One

Format:
Audible. Available to borrow via Kindle Unlimited with audio included. If you don’t have KU, this is one of those audios that’s less expensive to buy the ebook & add audio. Less than $3 for both at the time of this review.

Publisher’s Synopsis:
In a world violated by terror, the old lines have blurred. Meet the next generation of covert ops.

John Dempsey’s life—as an elite Tier One Navy SEAL named Jack Kemper—is over. A devastating terrorist action catapults him from a world of moral certainty and decisive orders into the shadowy realm of espionage, where ambiguity is the only rule. His new mission: hunt down those responsible for the greatest tragedy in the history of the US Special Ops and bring them to justice.

But how does a man torn between duty and revenge walk the line and preserve his soul?

As Dempsey struggles with the games of spies, the case propels him across the globe in a desperate effort to prevent a new, horrifying attack on American soil.

Once, John Dempsey followed orders blindly. Now he sees behind the curtain, and the security of the civilized world rests on one question: Can a Tier One Navy SEAL adapt and become the world’s most lethal spy?

Rellim’s Thoughts:
I’m a big fan of military/spec ops books and this didn’t disappoint. This first book in the Tier One trilogy is reminiscent of the complexities in The Bourne Identity ~ the world-building was thorough without being tedious, the characters were relatable (even if hated), and the plot-twists create the perfect suspense while still believable. I will say that this novel doesn’t belabor long explanations (sometimes no definitions are provided) for military acronyms, ranks, spec ops directives, etc. I’ve read a considerable amount of military books, both fiction & non, so this wasn’t an issue for me. I don’t think it would detract ~ but a newbie to this genre might be overwhelmed, or at least need Google nearby to help translate.

Narration:
Ray Porter’s narration was impeccable. Each character had a clearly defined “voice” and was expertly portrayed even with numerous accents, genders, & personalities. I’ve listened to all 5 books (as of this review) in the series and Porter’s continuity is spectacular.

My Favorite Quotes

The best lie is one so exquisite and so tempting that both the deceiver and the listener yearn for it to be true. – Tier One by Brian Andrews @LexicalForge & @JWilsonWarTorn @bAndrewsJWilson #Audiobook narrated by @Ray__Porter #Military

You’re a one-man, ass-kicking retribution machine. – Tier One by Brian Andrews @LexicalForge & @JWilsonWarTorn @BAndrewsJWilson #Audiobook narrated by @Ray__Porter #Military