Will & Patrick Wake Up Married

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

Leta Blake & Alice Griffiths
Will & Patrick Wake Up Married

Format:
Audiobook & ebook

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can connect with Leta Blake here:

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

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

You can connect with Alice Griffiths/P A Wilson here:

About the narrator:
John Solo has been a professional performer for 20 years, although this whole acting thing is a relatively new development. Prior to all of this he made his living as a salesman, engineer, security guard, mechanic, construction worker, purveyor of polyester dress suits… The list goes on ad nauseum, but he prefers to think of himself as an Itinerant Adventurer and loveable scoundrel! When not acting like someone else in front of a microphone, John prefers to indulge in the simpler things in life; games of chance, sword-fighting and traveling the world… all from the comforts of his own overstuffed couch.

You can connect with John Solo here:

My Favorite Quotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hong Kong Black

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

Alex Ryan
Hong Kong Black

Format:
Audiobook

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can connect with MacLeod Andrews here:

My Favorite Quotes

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

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

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

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

Cowboy’s Law

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

BA Tortuga
Cowboy’s Law

Format:
ebook

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can connect with BA Tortuga here:

My Favorite Quotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beijing Red

He reminded himself not to break the cardinal rule of modern espionage: Thou shall not be separated from one’s tech.

Alex Ryan
Beijing Red

Format:
Audiobook

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

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Ex-Navy SEAL Nick Foley travels to China to find purpose and escape the demons of his past, but instead stumbles into a conspiracy his Special Forces training never prepared him for. When a mysterious and deadly outbreak ravages a remote area of western China, Nick finds himself the lead suspect in a bio-terrorism investigation being conducted by China’s elite Snow Leopard counter-terrorism unit.

To clear his name and avoid prosecution, he must team up with beautiful Chinese CDC microbiologist Dr. Dazhong “Dash” Chen to find who is really behind the attack. As their investigation proceeds, their budding friendship is tested by nationalistic loyalties and suspicion. 

In a race against time, Nick and Dash must risk everything to stop a mad man before he unleashes the world’s next super-weapon in Beijing. 

Rellim’s Thoughts:
Sons of Valor isn’t out until June 8th and I’m pretty sure listening to the Tier One series for the 5th time in as many years is a bit much… so I decided to dig into Andrews & Wilson’s backlist. I found Beijing Red written under their (not at all a secret) pseudonym, Alex Ryan. Bonus – it’s currently included in the Audible Plus plan. Yay!

I will admit I did give this a bit of the side eye because I wasn’t sure how I felt about a plot involving a bio-terrorism threat originating in China. While this 2016 book may seem creepily foretelling of 2020 – the similarities were superficial and I was able to truly enjoy this fast pace and engaging book.

Nick, a retired SEAL working for an NGO finds himself in the middle of a race to discover the origin of a mysterious illness and thwart the people responsible. He teams up with Dr. Dazhong “Dash” Chen in what turns out to also be part political thriller. As with other books from this writing duo, female characters turn out to be intelligent, capable, and valued members of the investigation. Dash, in particular, is an equally important and respected addition to the group fighting for answers.

I loved the action scenes and that while I managed to guess a few times where things were going – it wasn’t predictable. I’m looking forward to jumping into book 2, Hong Kong Black. (also in Audible Plus)

Narration:
MacLeod Andrews narration style compliments the story and writing well. He gives all the characters distinct voices and consistent accents. I was totally immersed in the story and finished it in two days.

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

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

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

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

You can connect with MacLeod Andrews here:

My Favorite Quotes

“The suit and mask are not for our protection”, he said gravely, “It’s for theirs.” – Beijing Red by #AlexRyan @LexicalForge @JWilsonWarTorn @bAndrewsJWilson #Audiobook narrated by @MacLeodAndrews @BlackstoneAudio #AudiblePlus #NickFoley #TerrorismThriller #Thriller

The last thing he needed was to be a political headline on CNN. – Beijing Red by #AlexRyan @LexicalForge @JWilsonWarTorn @bAndrewsJWilson #Audiobook narrated by @MacLeodAndrews @BlackstoneAudio #AudiblePlus #NickFoley #TerrorismThriller #Thriller

What’s scarier than Ebola to an epidemiologist? – Beijing Red by #AlexRyan @LexicalForge @JWilsonWarTorn @bAndrewsJWilson #Audiobook narrated by @MacLeodAndrews @BlackstoneAudio #AudiblePlus #NickFoley #TerrorismThriller #Thriller

He reminded himself not to break the cardinal rule of modern espionage: Thou shall not be separated from one’s tech. – Beijing Red by #AlexRyan @LexicalForge @JWilsonWarTorn @bAndrewsJWilson #Audiobook narrated by @MacLeodAndrews @BlackstoneAudio #AudiblePlus #NickFoley #TerrorismThriller #Thriller

She was like a blade after finishing, first quenched to be hard and now tempered for toughness. – Beijing Red by #AlexRyan @LexicalForge @JWilsonWarTorn @bAndrewsJWilson #Audiobook narrated by @MacLeodAndrews @BlackstoneAudio #AudiblePlus #NickFoley #TerrorismThriller #Thriller

There was no such thing as being a part-time spy. – Beijing Red by #AlexRyan @LexicalForge @JWilsonWarTorn @bAndrewsJWilson #Audiobook narrated by @MacLeodAndrews @BlackstoneAudio #AudiblePlus #NickFoley #TerrorismThriller #Thriller

Double Dare

They had brought her into their world. Made her a part of them, if only temporarily, and she felt loved.

Jeanne St. James
Double Dare

Format:
Audiobook & ebook

At the time of this review – the entire series is on sale via Chirp. Double Dare is $1.99!

Publisher’s Synopsis:
What could be better than waking up next to a hot guy? Waking up sandwiched between two of them.

Quinn Preston, a financial analyst, is not happy when her friends dare her to pick up a handsome stranger at a wedding reception. What better reason to give up men when her previous long-term relationship had not only been lackluster in the bedroom but he had cheated?

Logan Reed, a successful business owner, can’t believe that he’s attracted to the woman in the ugly, Pepto-Bismol pink bridesmaid dress. And to boot, she’s more than tipsy. After turning down her invitation for a one-night stand, he finds her in the parking lot too impaired to drive. He rescues her and takes her home. His home.

The next morning Quinn’s conservative life turns on its ear when Logan introduces her to pleasures she never even considered before. And to make things more complicated, Logan already has a lover.

Tyson White, ex-pro football player, is completely in love with Logan. He has mixed emotions when Logan brings home Quinn. But the dares keep coming…

Point of view:
3rd person. Alternating perspectives between Quinn, Logan, & Ty.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
I know I read the first few books a couple of years ago – but that was before I was regularly writing reviews. Experiencing this as an audio has been on my radar for a while and St. James announcing the Chirp sale on Twitter made buying the entire series easy.

Since Double Dare takes place over a few weeks this is best enjoyed when you’re looking for insta-love with a heavy emphasis on steamy, steamy fun. This definitely qualifies as NSFW. Unique to most MMF books is that this starts with Logan & Ty in a long-term established relationship. Bringing in Quinn for what quickly turns from “one-night-fun” to “we can’t live without her”. Includes MF, MM, & MMF scenes.

This ends on more of an HFN than HEA. Ty’s former teammate, “Long Arm” Landis, is featured in book 2, Daring Proposal and Logan’s sister, Paige, is featured in book 3, Dare to be Three. So I’m hoping we’ll get some regular updates on Quinn, Ty, & Logan.

Note: There was a scene that bordered on dubcon for me, so be aware if you’re sensitive to that.

Narration:
Coughs. Well then. Um. Yeah. Whoah! Ava Lucas, Teddy Hamilton & J.F. Harding did a fantastic job. I loved that each character had their own narrator. While each brings their own unique voice to the audio, I liked that the personalities of the other characters stayed consistent no matter who was performing.

About the author:
Jeanne St. James is a USA Today bestselling erotic romance author who loves an alpha male (or two). She was only thirteen when she started writing since it gave her an escape from teenage angst! Her first paid published piece was an erotic story in Playgirl magazine. Her first erotic romance novel, Banged Up, was published in 2009. She is happily owned by farting French bulldogs. She writes M/F, M/M, and M/M/F ménages.

You can connect with Jeanne St. James here:

About the narrators:
You can connect with Ava Lucas here:


You can connect with Teddy Hamilton here:

You can connect with JF Harding here:

My Favorite Quotes

Quinn, I dare you to go ask him to dance. – Double Dare by @JeanneStJames #Audiobook narrated by @AvaLucasVO @TEDDYHAMILTON14 @HardingVoice #DareMenage #MMF

She felt like a deer caught in headlights, knowing she should run but too stunned to do so. – Double Dare by @JeanneStJames #Audiobook narrated by @AvaLucasVO @TEDDYHAMILTON14 @HardingVoice #DareMenage #MMF

They had brought her into their world. Made her a part of them, if only temporarily, and she felt loved. – Double Dare by @JeanneStJames #Audiobook narrated by @AvaLucasVO @TEDDYHAMILTON14 @HardingVoice #DareMenage #MMF

I can see how much you guys love each other. I can actually see it. Taste it. Feel it, just being around you two. – Double Dare by @JeanneStJames #Audiobook narrated by @AvaLucasVO @TEDDYHAMILTON14 @HardingVoice #DareMenage #MMF

A relationship shouldn’t be made up of games. It should be made up of trust and honesty. – Double Dare by @JeanneStJames #Audiobook narrated by @AvaLucasVO @TEDDYHAMILTON14 @HardingVoice #DareMenage #MMF

A Time to Die

I still have five years and 350 days before you are allowed to criticize my pace.

Tom Wood
A Time to Die

Format:
Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
Now indentured to MI6, Victor’s first job is to eliminate Milan Rados, a former Serbian army commander wanted for war crimes. Victor hopes to exploit Rados’s drug smuggling for the mission. When he finds that Rados is actually trafficking women, his perfect plan unravels and he barely makes it out alive. He’s not alone. Victor manages to rescue a woman, Ana, who wants nothing more than to help him and get revenge against her former tormentors. And though Victor’s reluctant to team with anyone-least of all a civilian-he needs her help to track down Rados. But a deadly enemy from Victor’s past is about to catch up with him. And he’s about to be more vulnerable than ever before.

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

Rellim’s Thoughts:
A Time to Die is the 6th Victor the Assassin book by Tom Wood. This is another one that stands on it’s own – though you’d probably want to read/listen in order.

This one is a little darker than previous books – beyond assassins and the mob, this plot also involves human trafficking including sexual slavery. While I didn’t consider it overly descriptive, folks sensitive to such themes should be aware. (If you need to skip this subject, as far as I can tell – you could skip this book and still be fine understanding the series.)

It’s all new action, suspense, and thriller elements yet being completely consistent with Victor’s established personality. Despite all his planning and propensity to anticipate all possible scenarios – Victor finds himself much closer to his target than he could have imagined. He’s also faced with threats from multiple angles.

I love that Wood pulls you in from the opening line…

Killing was the easy part, getting away with it was the true skill. – A Time to Die by @TheTomWood #Audiobook narrated by @RobuLuxe #VictorTheAssassin #Thriller #Suspense #MI6

… and then never lets go. Wonderful mix of mystery, suspense, thriller, and Victor’s trademark dry humor.


Narration:
Rob Shapiro continues to be a great match for Wood’s writing. One of the things that really struck me about this narration was the subtle shift in how Shapiro performed various POVs. Not only does this help keep each character’s perspective easy to distinguish – he does a really chilling voice for Krieger enhancing his menacing persona.

About the author:
You can connect with Tom Wood here:

About the narrator:
Rob Shapiro is a voice actor, narrator, songwriter and performer living in Los Angeles, but he’s really everywhere.

You can connect with Rob Shapiro here:

My Favorite Quotes

Surviving had become unbreakable habit long ago. – A Time to Die by @TheTomWood #Audiobook narrated by @RobuLuxe #VictorTheAssassin #Thriller #Suspense #MI6

Somewhat ruthless for a nation without the death penalty, don’t you think? – A Time to Die by @TheTomWood #Audiobook narrated by @RobuLuxe #VictorTheAssassin #Thriller #Suspense #MI6

Psychopaths were usually narcissists. – A Time to Die by @TheTomWood #Audiobook narrated by @RobuLuxe #VictorTheAssassin #Thriller #Suspense #MI6

I still have five years and 350 days before you are allowed to criticize my pace. – A Time to Die by @TheTomWood #Audiobook narrated by @RobuLuxe #VictorTheAssassin #Thriller #Suspense #MI6

Life was but one lesson after another. Test followed by test. – A Time to Die by @TheTomWood #Audiobook narrated by @RobuLuxe #VictorTheAssassin #Thriller #Suspense #MI6

King’s Ransom

He’d liked being the kind of shiny that she’d made him feel when he saw himself through her adoring eyes.

Suzanne Brockmann
King’s Ransom

Format:
ebook & Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
In Frisco’s Kid, Tasha Francisco was a strong-willed, independent child, thrown into the temporary care of her Navy SEAL uncle, Alan “Frisco” Francisco.

Years older, but still just a kid himself, Thomas King lived nearby. Tasha took one look and declared she’d marry him someday. Thomas wasn’t quite so sure about that.

Now Tasha’s a strong-willed, independent young woman, and Thomas is an officer and a hospital corpsman with SEAL Team Ten.

When Tasha’s Uncle Alan asks Thomas for a favor—to help keep his niece safe as she travels to a remote ski lodge with her wealthy boyfriend’s royal family—Thomas grimly accepts his role as Tasha’s bodyguard. But things go horribly, terribly wrong, and Thomas and Tasha find themselves alone together in the freezing wilderness, on the run from the dangerous men who want her dead.

Thomas knows only one thing for sure: He’ll sacrifice everything and anything to keep Tasha safe.

Point of view:
3rd person. Alternating perspectives by Thomas, Tasha, and Rio. Always clearly defined.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
Squeals with delight! I know that Suzanne Brockmann has been super busy with many projects and I also understand from stalking following authors on social media that you can’t write when the characters aren’t speaking to you. However, I am super duper happy that Thomas & Tasha’s story is here. I was not disappointed at all. This will be one I’ll listen to over and over again. It’s a tie with Admiral’s Bride for being my favorite of the series.

First, understand that Brockmann did some time-bending here. This takes place shortly after the other books in the series despite being written 4 years after Seal Camp and 18 years after Night Watch. I really didn’t have any issues with it at all. It also helps to keep in mind that the TDD books have a different “feel” than the Troubleshooters books. I felt she kept it consistent with that approach.

While Brockmann does enough “filling in” that you could listen to this completely on its own – the background of this is established in Frisco’s Kid. When Tasha & Thomas first meet, he’s a teen and she’s 5. There are a lot of memories shared that help take this relationship completely out of the creepy category. I appreciated and loved that.

As usual, this writing is hilarious. I adore Brockmann’s sense of humor. She’s also brilliant at worldbuilding while still keeping the listener completely engaged. There’s a wonderful mix of action, suspense, thriller, communication, relationship, and steamy scenes.

Overall just a great production. She teases a potential future for the series and I’ll definitely keep my eye out for Rio and Dave stories.

Narration:
Dion Graham is a new but perfect addition to Brockmann’s narrating team. His style works well with Melanie Ewbank and Patrick Lawlor. A wide range of voices, accents, emotions, and giving each character their own unique sound. It was a delight to listen to.

About the author:
After childhood plans to become the captain of a starship didn’t pan out, Suzanne Brockmann took her fascination with military history, her respect for the men and women who serve, her reverence for diversity, and her love of storytelling, and explored brave new worlds as a bestselling romance author. Over the past twenty-five years she has written more than fifty-five novels, including her award-winning Troubleshooters series about Navy SEAL heroes and the women—and sometimes men—who win their hearts.

You can connect with Suzanne Brockmann here: (Rellim’s note: She’s most active on Twitter.)

About the narrators:
You can connect with Melanie Ewbank here:

You can connect with Patrick Lawlor here:

My Favorite Quotes

You know that expression, Walk softly, but carry a big stick? You’re kinda my big stick. – King’s Ransom @SuzBrockmann #audiobook narrated by #DionGraham @EwbankMelanie @PLawlorAudio #TDD #SEALs #RomanticSuspense #AgeGap #Thriller

Five years after his very adamant hell-no-this-is-not-happening, she was still mortified. – King’s Ransom @SuzBrockmann #audiobook narrated by #DionGraham @EwbankMelanie @PLawlorAudio #TDD #SEALs #RomanticSuspense #AgeGap #Thriller

“You’re not removing a piercing from my—” “Hoo-yah,” he said. “I’ve never heard it called that. But go, Navy SEALs.” – King’s Ransom @SuzBrockmann #audiobook narrated by #DionGraham @EwbankMelanie @PLawlorAudio #TDD #SEALs #RomanticSuspense #AgeGap #Thriller

He’d liked being the kind of shiny that she’d made him feel when he saw himself through her adoring eyes. – King’s Ransom @SuzBrockmann #audiobook narrated by #DionGraham @EwbankMelanie @PLawlorAudio #TDD #SEALs #RomanticSuspense #AgeGap #Thriller

There was no doubt about it—this smelled of diversion. Of trickery. Of total goatfuckery. – King’s Ransom @SuzBrockmann #audiobook narrated by #DionGraham @EwbankMelanie @PLawlorAudio #TDD #SEALs #RomanticSuspense #AgeGap #Thriller

Everyone knew that in an apocalyptic world, hoarded toilet paper was a king-maker. – King’s Ransom @SuzBrockmann #audiobook narrated by #DionGraham @EwbankMelanie @PLawlorAudio #TDD #SEALs #RomanticSuspense #AgeGap #Thriller

“Why is the package speaking? We’ve been assigned to deliver it safely, so s-squared, package.” – King’s Ransom @SuzBrockmann #audiobook narrated by #DionGraham @EwbankMelanie @PLawlorAudio #TDD #SEALs #RomanticSuspense #AgeGap #Thriller

They’ve done studies. People can endure more pain if they swear. – King’s Ransom @SuzBrockmann #audiobook narrated by #DionGraham @EwbankMelanie @PLawlorAudio #TDD #SEALs #RomanticSuspense #AgeGap #Thriller

The Second and His Bonded

When you’re ready to let go of all that worrying, you let me know. I’m ready to help you carry it.

Kiki Clark
The Second and His Bonded

Format:
Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
As the son of an enemy, Kieran never expected to find a family with the Kincaid Pack… or a true mate’s bond.

After barely escaping his abusive family, wolf shifter Kieran McAllister struggles to find his place in the Kincaid Pack. Especially with the pushy but gorgeous second-in-command showing up every time Kieran turns around… and making him want things he shouldn’t.

The traumatized wolf who continuously refuses Bennett Young’s help has begun to haunt his dreams. But if there’s one thing he knows, it’s that tiger shifters don’t have mates. So why can’t Bennett get Kieran’s sad eyes out of his head?

Despite their differences, Kieran and Bennet find something they never expected in each other. Just as their bond begins to grow though, Kieran’s past threatens to destroy the very pack they both have been fighting to protect.

Point of view:
3rd person. Alternating between Bennet & Kieran.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
Quick note: I just learned there’s a prequel book, A New Pack for New Year. It’s only available as a freebie through Clark’s website, so it isn’t listed on Goodreads. I’m hoping to sit down in the next few days to read it.

The Second and His Bonded is the 2nd book in Kiki Clark’s Kincaid Pack series. While each book features a different couple and it’s own storyline – there are several story arcs running through the series as a whole, so you’ll want to start with The Alpha and His King and listen to them in order.

I admit – I was kind of in love with Bennet by the end of book 1 and was really looking forward to his story. He was so amazing with Kai that I knew he’d be awesome with whomever Clark paired him with. I wasn’t wrong. Kieran and Kai are a lot alike and I do wish there had been a bit more to differentiate the romantic/relational aspect of this story – but I still enjoyed it. Partially because of Bennet’s endearing personality and the interwoven mystery/suspense of the series. Kieran is understandably prickly and watching him bloom as a person and with Bennet was so much fun.

While The Deputy and His Enforcer is already out in ebook – I’ll be waiting for the audio due sometime this Summer. Because…

Narration:
Kirt Graves is wonderful in this. I like that the various character voices are consistent from book to book. It makes it easy to listen to them back to back (yup, I relistened to The Alpha and His King again). I’m definitely looking forward to more of this series and of Graves in particular.

About the author:
A small town Michigan girl, Kiki has enjoyed reading since she first picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone as a child. After that, she devoured everything she could get her hands on and dreamed of one time writing her own books that touched people’s hearts. In her early twenties, she discovered LGBTQ romances and had a realization: these were her people and this was where she belonged.  Nearly ten years later, she’s proud to finally join the ranks of authors releasing character-driven, emotionally satisfying books showcasing that everyone deserves to find love. 

You can connect with Kiki Clark here:

About the narrator:
Kirt Graves spent 15 years teaching young people how to interpret drama, poetry, and literature. He has voiced over 80 audiobooks spanning contemporary romance, sci-fi, urban fantasy, young adult, and non-fiction. His passion is for telling queer stories, the types of stories he wishes he had while growing up. A tenor by training, Kirt easily moves between characters of any age, genre, and gender. In addition to his work as an audiobook narrator, Kirt is a graphic artist, a podcast host, and an award-winning speech coach.

You can connect with Kirt Graves here:

My Favorite Quotes

It seemed like this pack had a knack for collecting lost souls with shitty families. – The Second and His Bonded by @kikiclark_ #Audiobook narrated by @KirtGraves #MM #Romance #Shifter #KincaidPack

He’d hesitated to take that final step with Bennett, not because he didn’t want to but because he wanted it more than he could ever express. – The Second and His Bonded by @kikiclark_ #Audiobook narrated by @KirtGraves #MM #Romance #Shifter #KincaidPack

When you’re ready to let go of all that worrying, you let me know. I’m ready to help you carry it. – The Second and His Bonded by @kikiclark_ #Audiobook narrated by @KirtGraves #MM #Romance #Shifter #KincaidPack

It takes real strength to trust someone else that much. And it would be an honor to have you trust me. – The Second and His Bonded by @kikiclark_ #Audiobook narrated by @KirtGraves #MM #Romance #Shifter #KincaidPack

The Darkest Day

For all the dangers of his profession being chained to a desk five days a week seemed a far worse kind of hell.

Tom Wood
The Darkest Day

Format:
Audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
He is darkness. She wants him dead.
In a city starved of light, she might just succeed.

She moves like a shadow; she kills silently: Raven. This elegant assassin has been on the run for years. This time though, she has picked the wrong target. 

The hitman known only as ‘Victor’ is as paranoid as he is merciless, and is no stranger to being hunted. He tracks his would-be killer across the globe, aiming not only to neutralise the threat, but to discover who wants him dead. The trail leads to New York…

And then the lights go out.

Over twelve hours of unremitting darkness, Manhattan dissolves into chaos. Amid looting, conspiracy and blackout, Victor and Raven play a vicious game of cat and mouse that the city will never forget.

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

Rellim’s Thoughts:
The Darkest Day is the 5th Victor the Assassin book by Tom Wood. While there are tiny details from other books – you really could listen to this one completely on its own. I don’t know why anyone would want to just jump in here… but hey – go wild!

The only issue with binging these books is that the reviews are feeling super repetitive. I love Wood’s writing. I love Victor as a character. I enjoy being totally immersed in the action scenes. I don’t enjoy being wrong when I think I’ve guessed where things are going and I’m surprised by what happens – but that’s a personality flaw and not derision of Wood’s writing.

This book differs from the others in that Victor finds himself begrudgingly teamed up with someone alarmingly like himself in skill and purpose. Which is definitely hard considering Victor doesn’t trust anyone, least of all Raven. Overall a lot of big-action antihero fun.

Narration:
Rob Shapiro continues to do a fantastic job. I honestly can’t imagine reading these to myself. All the accents, emotions – there’s no way I could do the writing justice. I’m drawn in and immersed from opening to end.

About the author:
You can connect with Tom Wood here:

About the narrator:
Rob Shapiro is a voice actor, narrator, songwriter and performer living in Los Angeles, but he’s really everywhere.

You can connect with Rob Shapiro here:

My Favorite Quotes

A significant part of his life was spent acting; even so, pretending he was just another regular guy while maintaining a permanent guard was a difficult balance to achieve. – The Darkest Day by @TheTomWood #Audiobook narrated by @RobuLuxe #VictorTheAssassin #Thriller #Suspense

For all the dangers of his profession being chained to a desk five days a week seemed a far worse kind of hell. – The Darkest Day by @TheTomWood #Audiobook narrated by @RobuLuxe #VictorTheAssassin #Thriller #Suspense

I’m the worst enemy you’ll ever have. – The Darkest Day by @TheTomWood #Audiobook narrated by @RobuLuxe #VictorTheAssassin #Thriller #Suspense

Soaked with rainwater was always preferable to being soaked with his own blood. – The Darkest Day by @TheTomWood #Audiobook narrated by @RobuLuxe #VictorTheAssassin #Thriller #Suspense

It would be bordering on cruel to kill someone so clueless. – The Darkest Day by @TheTomWood #Audiobook narrated by @RobuLuxe #VictorTheAssassin #Thriller #Suspense

One & Only

The real woman inside screamed silently, knowing she’d wilt and die if she didn’t get out soon.

M. K. Chester
One & Only

Format:
ebook

August 2021 update: audiobook

Publisher’s Synopsis:
A desperate woman meets a man on a mission.

Maggie Sturgus thought she knew the man she married. She couldn’t be more wrong. Trapped in an abusive marriage inside a prominent family, she sees no means of escape when her husband announces his candidacy for the U.S. Senate.

Four friends enlisted following Pearl Harbor and the secret they brought home will rock their small town and tear families apart. But Josh Parrish made a battlefield promise to protect his best friend’s sister, the girl he’s always loved.

And it’s high time he kept his word.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
Note: While part of a series, all the Bryeton Books are set in different eras. This time there is a familial connection with & mention of characters/events from Bootlegger’s Bride – though you could enjoy this without having read/listened to it.

I really enjoy MK Chester’s writing and the Bryeton series as a whole. I was so happy to see this addition and enjoyed it as much as I did the others. This is a great book when in the mood for a closed door romance with some mystery & suspense elements as well. Set in 1950 and a small town dominated by a financially and politically influential family it’s easy to see why Maggie is trapped and can’t find a way to escape. Joshua is burdened with personal missions, perceived failures, and mostly by the fact that everyone thinks he’s dead.

I enjoyed and was haunted by getting to know Josh & Maggie while loving the development of their relationship. There are a lot of secrets and surprises to be revealed and I won’t spoil them – but I did enjoy the way Chester handles it all.

While part of me wishes there was a tidy epilogue, I do enjoy getting to imagine where I feel like life would have taken them. I also can’t help but wonder whether Chester will revisit Bryeton in subsequent decades in future books. I would buy those in a heartbeat. (Chester replied when I posted my original review that she is planning at least one more! Yay!)

Narration:
While I missed the stronger southern accents of the previous books, I thought that Hannah Kopen’s voice was a good fit for Maggie’s timid and Josh’s secretive nature. She also brought forth the personalities of the nastier characters that emphasized Chester’s writing. I’m looking forward to Kopen narrating more audiobooks.

Note: There are several places where it seems the recording is picking up background noises that sound like bumping the mic, lip licking, papers moving, etc. It wasn’t insurmountable to listen to but did pull me out of the experience a few times.

While I originally purchased the ebook, I did receive a free copy of this audiobook from Story Origin.

About the author:
M.K. Chester is an RWA award-winning author of historical and contemporary romance, urban fantasy and non-fiction.  M.K. is a native Buckeye who lives in Tennessee. She’s married to a veteran, MoM (Mother of Marine), and a grandmother. She adores her Scottish Terriers and is fighting Multiple Sclerosis.

You can connect with M.K. Chester here:

About the narrator:
Hannah has been featured in national and regional commercials, modeled with some of the city’s best photographers, been immersed in the local theater and music scene, and has starred in award-winning independent films. a web series that went all the way to Cannes Film Festival in 2018. Trained in Chicago, New York, London, and Evanston at Northwestern University, Hannah is a prolific working actor and voice over artist with representation at Big Mouth Talent agency.

You can connect with Hannah Kopen here:

My Favorite Quotes

Fated and scripted were not the same thing. – One & Only by @M_K_Chester #Audiobook narrated by @HanniOqt #BryetonBooks #Historical #SecondChance #RomanticSuspense #SmallTown #Mystery #ClosedDoor

Who the hell did he think he was and who else knew about his scheme? – One & Only by @M_K_Chester #Audiobook narrated by @HanniOqt #BryetonBooks #Historical #SecondChance #RomanticSuspense #SmallTown #Mystery #ClosedDoor

The real woman inside screamed silently, knowing she’d wilt and die if she didn’t get out soon. – One & Only by @M_K_Chester #Audiobook narrated by @HanniOqt #BryetonBooks #Historical #SecondChance #RomanticSuspense #SmallTown #Mystery #ClosedDoor

Some burdens a man needed to carry for himself. – One & Only by @M_K_Chester #Audiobook narrated by @HanniOqt #BryetonBooks #Historical #SecondChance #RomanticSuspense #SmallTown #Mystery #ClosedDoor

The layers of lies and schemes pressed down upon her until she became as small and insignificant as an ant on a blade of grass. – One & Only by @M_K_Chester #Audiobook narrated by @HanniOqt #BryetonBooks #Historical #SecondChance #RomanticSuspense #SmallTown #Mystery #ClosedDoor