Hold Your Breath (Search and Rescue #1) by Katie Ruggle

Series:
Narrator: Rachel Dulude
Source: Tantor Audio

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: Hold Your Breath (Search and Rescue #1) by Katie Ruggle
Series: Search and Rescue #1
Release Date: April 5th 2016
Format: Audiobook (9 hrs 53 mins)
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Published by: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Purchase Links: Amazon USBarnes & NobleGoodreads

In the remote Rocky Mountains, lives depend on the Search & Rescue brotherhood. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can be murder…

As the captain of Field County’s ice rescue dive team, Callum Cook is driven to perfection. But when he meets new diver Louise “Lou” Sparks, all that hard-won order is obliterated in an instant. Lou is a hurricane. A walking disaster. And with her, he’s never felt more alive…even if keeping her safe may just kill him.

Lou’s new to the Rockies, intent on escaping her controlling ex, and she’s determined to make it on her own terms…no matter how tempting Callum may be. But when a routine training exercise unearths a body, Lou and Callum find themselves thrust into a deadly game of cat and mouse with a killer who will stop at nothing to silence Lou-and prove that not even her new Search and Rescue family can keep her safe forever.

two-half-stars

This series and the characters had a lot of potential but it was never realized in this book. I also found the narrator less than memorable.

Louise “Lou” Sparks moved across the country to assert her independence and build a life helping others. She found work with the Field County Ice Rescue Team where Callum Cook was her supervisor. When Lou found a dead body in the water, along with the tires on her car slashed, she turned to Callum for help.

This book had a steady pace of action and suspense. The author did a job of developing Lou and Callum, but I never connected with Lou and Callum. Lou was kind of amusing but Callum was too gruff for me. They were opposites and it worked for them. The romance just wasn’t developed that well and there wasn’t enough creativity to differentiate this book from other books in this genre.

For those who like more adventure and less romance, this book would be entertaining. Their relationship make sense on a cerebral level, there wasn’t enough emotional intensity to make it engaging. I like more romantic development of the characters so I didn’t really feel the connection between Lou and Callum.

While I didn’t enjoy this book, I will try book two before I decide whether this series is a keeper. There is an interesting premise and I want to give it a chance.

Ezi

Over the Fence by Melanie Moreland

Narrator: John Lane, Tatiana Sokolov
Source: Tantor Audio

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: Over the Fence by Melanie Moreland
Release Date: August 4th 2015
Format: Audiobook (9 hrs and 48 mins)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published By: Tantor Audio
Purchase Links: Amazon USBarnes & Noble

Two neighbors-strangers-with one thing in common: they share a fence. But is that the only thing they share? Nathan Fraser lives a solitary life, never letting anyone get too close. It’s safer that way. Kourtney Whyte hides from the world and behind her work, too afraid to really live her life to the fullest. Rejection is what she knows best. But one night, the sound of her soft voice and the tantalizing aroma of her evening meal prove too enticing for Nathan to ignore. So begins their unconventional relationship-talking, learning, texting, and gradually opening up to one another, all over the fence. That is, until the day Nathan braves the high fence to protect Kourtney from her past, and changes everything forever. Can they move forward together, without the buffer of the fence? Or will their pasts prove to be too much of a barrier? Contains mature themes.

four-stars

Nathan Fraser smelled home cooking across his fence and complimented his neighbor’s culinary skills, which led her to leave a plate for him on the fence. For weeks, Nathan and his neighbor Kourtney Whyte culivated an “over the fence” relationship where they conversed, shared meals and got to know each other without seeing the other’s face.

It felt like an online relationship to me except they lived next door and heard each other’s voice. It amazes me that people can live next door and have no clue what the other looked like. It was generally entertaining though.

The second half of the story when Nat and his chef girl finally met was wrought with body image issues. It also dragged with Nat keeping a huge secret that the author kept alluding to until the last 90% of the book.

In actuality, those feelings about our body is real and I can’t fault Kourtney for having them as society says women should look as thin as possible. I spent most of the book trying to guess Kourtney’s dress size. (Like that even mattered, right?) I liked Kourntey and felt bad for her as well Nate, so I was happy they met each other and fill that void.

My only complaint was that some parts dragged. Especially everyone’s effusive praise of Kourtney. She was nice but I would have liked her to have a couple of bad traits. The author just created a too good to be true character and that’s not necessary to get the message of self acceptance, love and forgiveness across.

Still, this was one of the most meaning stories I’ve listened to all year. It spoke to me.

*Special Thanks to Tantor Audio

Ezi

Audiobook Review: Stuck-Up Suit by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward

Narrator: Joe Arden, Maxine Mitchell
(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Source: Tantor Audio

I received this audiobook for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: Stuck-Up Suit by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward
Release Date: March 21st, 2017 (first published February 18th, 2015)
Format: Audiobook (8 hrs and 54 mins)
Genre: Gay Romance, Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Cult romance
Published By: Everafter Romance
Purchase Links: Tantor Audio Amazon US Barnes & Noble iBooks  Kobo

I enjoyed this story but it was a slow burner as the author set a foundation of this relationship between an abrasive guy and take no nonsense gal. The narrators Joe Arden and Maxine Mitchell definitely gave life to the chemistry between the main characters. Their voices blended well together and added to sexiness of the story.

Graham J. Morgan who accidentally left his cellphone on a train and the woman Soraya who returned it to him. When she brought it to him she decided he was a stuck up jerk and she let him know. Of course he was intrigued and began pursuing her.  I liked their journey as the other really took time to develop their back story. It was well written and interesting. It’s a book with flawed characters that were annoying and likable at the same time.
I did find Graham to be a jerk to all others except for a few people. There is no reason to have 42 secretaries in a under 4 years. Losing your mom is not an acceptable excuse to make treat others. But the way he treats his grandma and the women he loves was definitely loyal, Patrice the and endearing. So the jury is out on how I feel about him. I liked Soraya and her nonconformist ways. She was a good counterbalance to Graham’s life drama.

This story seemed like it would just be about sex but it author gave it more complexity by adding family drama coupled with broken friendships. While it explained some of Graham’s behavior, it didn’t excuse his piss poor treatment of people. Still, the story was an unexpected delight and the writing was entertaining. It flowed and kept my attention from beginning to the end. The only thing I missed was grandma’s introduction to the young. That would have been a powerful moment in their story. Maybe a 2nd epilogue will give us that part of the story.

I recommend this story for those who enjoy a sexy edgier romance with mature characters. I will definitely be checking out other stories by this duo.

About Penelope Ward

Penelope Ward is first and foremost a proud autism mom. She is also the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author of Stepbrother Dearest, Sins of Sevin, Cocky Bastard (co-written with Vi Keeland), Jake Undone, My Skylar, Jake Understood and Gemini. She is currently working on her 8th novel.

About Vi Keeland

Vi Keeland is a #1 New York Times Bestselling author. With more than a million books sold, her titles have appeared in over fifty Bestseller lists and are currently translated in twelve languages. She resides in New York with her husband and their three children where she is living out her own happily ever after with the boy she met at age six.

Audiobook Review: Defy the Dawn (Midnight Breed #14) by Lara Adrian

Series:
Narrator: Hillary Huber
Source: Tantor Audio

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: Defy the Dawn by Lara Adrian
Series: Midnight Breed #14
Release Date: October 25, 2016
Format: Audiobook (8 hrs and 2 mins)
Published By: by Lara Adrian, LLC
Purchase Links: Amazon US Barnes & NobleTantor Audio

DaywalkerBrynne Kirkland survived a hellish upbringing as a product of a madman’s lab. Tough, driven, and devoted to her work in law enforcement, Brynne has never dared to risk opening her heart to anyone–least of all a handsome immortal from a world on the verge of war against hers.

Atlantean warrior Zael left the intrigue of his realm several lifetimes ago, along with the battles he fought as one of the queen’s legion. As a free-spirited loner walking the fringe of two worlds–that of his secretive and powerful people, and the outside world belonging to mankind and the Breed–it was never his intention to return to combat and bloodshed. Nor had he imagined that he might ever be tempted into anything stronger than desire . . . until he meets Brynne.

Thrust together as allies of the Order in the fight against a diabolical enemy, Zael and Brynne embark on a mission that will ultimately force them to decide between duty to their people, and a passion that defies all bounds.

four-stars

This love story actually began in the last book but Daywalker Brynne Kirkland just got fired from her job at JUSTIS. She is forced to see refuge with the Order and her half-sister Tavia Chase. Atlantean warrior Ekizael just happened to see Brynne at a club and their attraction get the best of them. When Zael sees Brynne in trouble and finds out her secret, it actually bonds them together more closely. See,
Brynne is a Gen One Breedmate who is also a daywalker. The experiments conducted by Dragos had some unfortunate side effects for Brynne, and she harbored that secret form from everyone. Zael didn’t shy away from her and he actually nursed her back to physical and mental health.

Together, they set out to aid Lucan Thorne and The Order by attempting to forge an alliance between the Atlantean Queen and The Order because the Atlantean can help in the war with Opus Nostrum. After the last attack on the JUSTIS building made it obvious that The Order needed all the help they can get.

I enjoyed this book because Brynne fought her feelings for so long. The author made Zael work f or it. Not only were they hot as a pair, but the author used their love journey to advance the plot against the ancients. The audiobook was very entertaining and the narrator made the Brynne feel both strong and capable, yet vulnerable. Zael’s voice radiated strength and gentleness that was perfect to a lonely and isolated Brynne. They were two peas in a pod. There was plenty of action, suspense and foreshadowing for the next book. Certainly the same formula that we have come to expect from Lara Adrian and I can’t wait for the next book.

Ezi

Rushing the Goal (Assassins #8) by Toni Aleo

Series:
Narrator: Lucy Malone
Source: Tantor Audio
Rushing the Goal Book Cover Rushing the Goal
Assassins #8
Toni Aleo
Contemporary Romance
Tantor Audio
May 31st 2016
audiobook
17 hrs 31 mins

Lucy Sinclair was no stranger to pain.

She grew up with three younger brothers, met a bad boy, got pregnant by him, married him, and then suffered through a nasty divorce from him. Pain. That was pain. To top it off, she even had to go through the heartbreaking divorce of her parents. Through it all, she survived. All she cared about was making sure her daughter was happy and taken care of. Despite an ex-husband hell-bent on ruining her life, she fought to overcome. She’s gotten to the point that she’s okay with being just okay. She never cared about herself because she never had the time. It was Angie and only Angie she focused on, but that all changed when Benji Paxton offered to help her daughter on the ice.

Benji knew the moment he saw Lucy, he’d never be the same. Especially when she came with the bundle of crazy that was her daughter. His heart wasn’t ready for them. After years spent sobering up and finding who he was without the alcohol, he never forgot he was being punished for not appreciating the love he had when he was younger. Because of his past, he had gotten used to being alone, a recluse, but even he had to admit it was getting old. He was lonely. Hockey wasn’t enough anymore. He wanted a family; he wanted his true love.

And Lucy and Angie were just that.

They were just two lost souls.

Floating through life with no purpose.

But finding each other gave them direction, a chance at a future.

And had them both Rushing the Goal to be together.

This novel had all the things that I enjoy, single and damaged people, children, sports and romance. Lucy Sinclair had a ten-year-old Angie and she was struggling. Her heart has been so damaged by the men she chose to be in relationships with, that Lucy was jaded and bitter. When Lucy signs Angie up for Hockey, she wasn’t prepared for the gorgeous Hockey coach who was substituting for Lucy’s brother.
Benji Paxton agreed to teach hockey as a favor for Lucy’s brother, and had been warned that Lucy was hostile and cankerous. But Benji knew it was a veneer hiding a hurt heart. He would know since he has been there. Benji’s past was sad but it was satisfying to know he waded through the muddy water and came out somewhat clean. So Benji set out to find the woman hidden behind all that all of protection.
I have to say that I enjoyed this story despite the narrator. Maybe it was a language thing, but I hated the way the narrator said “Bin-ji” instead of “Ben-ji”. Also, other words gave me a pause. The author really took her time to lay foundation for this romance because both characters were quite damaged. It took work to really like Lucy because she was just mean and vicious. It made me like Benji that much more as he was patient and persistent. I am a sucker for men who are able to love kids that aren’t their own biological offspring. Benji put in work and eventually built up trust with Lucy and Angie. Lucy was so hard to get close to and she didn’t even let her family in because of her anger, hurt and general wounded heart. Regardless, her family stood by her and supported her.
I felt the drama with Lucy and her ex-husband Rick was quite realistic, but it was still really hard to watch unfold. I wish Lucy went to some kind of counseling because she made everyone around her walk on eggshells. I do commend her for always keeping her daughter the main priority. The growth that Lucy displayed as this story progressed. I appreciate the character development and how Benji and Lucy came together as a couple. This was an enjoyable audiobook.

*Special Thanks to Tantor Audio for the audiobook given in exchange for an honest review.

Ezi