Audio Assault (Codename: Winger #3) by Jeff Adams

Theo Reese is just like any other seventeen-year-old—with one small exception.
This summer all he wants is to spend time with his boyfriend, Eddie, and work on his MIT research project. His parents have other plans
An old friend needs the help of Theo’s family. Oliver Glenwood is an ’80s music star who runs his own label. His wife and his daughter, Sofia, now a chart-topper herself, are the targets of kidnappers. Oliver hopes they can eliminate whoever is behind the threat.
When Theo uncovers an even more insidious plot, the covert agency the Reeses work for, Tactical Operational Support, swoops into action.
Song files have been modified to steal personal data from devices and emit a tone that drives listeners into a homicidal rage. Theo and his parents race against the clock to stop this mysterious enemy from releasing the music on an unsuspecting populace and causing worldwide chaos.
Just when Theo thinks the mission couldn’t be more complicated, Eddie shows up in New York looking to hang out with his boyfriend.
No one ever said being a teenage secret agent would be easy.

I’m not sure what I expected when I started the Codename: Winger series, but so far I’ve been impressed. So impressed that I could kick myself for not picking up the series earlier. On the plus side, by waiting, there’s no wait time between books. Normally, that’s not an issue because I don’t always pick up one book in a series after another. After finishing Audio Assault, I’m pretty sure I’ll be breaking that trend. Which brings me to another point… this is going to be the hardest book in the series so far to review and keep my spoilery feelings to myself. *sigh*

The premise of Audio Assault was pretty unique and pretty scary too. Basically, the villain was using music as a weapon. It didn’t affect everyone in the same way, but the results were still devastating. Unfortunately, Theo learned first hand how vulnerable unsuspecting people could be to the assault, even knowing what was going on didn’t keep him safe from attack. He was also under additional pressure because of Eddie’s surprise visit. He was happy to get to spend time with him, but keeping his secret was going to be even harder when Eddie was right there in the middle of a job.

This is a series that keeps readers (at least this reader) glued to the turning pages. The danger is never expected, but seems to be around every corner and nothing is quite what it seems. There were also some added emotions added to the mix that kind of blindsided me. I’m not sure if there’s any fixing the way things were left by the end of Audio Assault. Turns out there’s an #EvilAuthor side of Jeff Adams that I didn’t know about. Needless to say, Netminder just got moved way up on my TBR pile.

Inheritance (Deadly Curiosities #4) by Gail Z. Martin

Cassidy Kincaide runs Trifles & Folly in modern-day Charleston, an antiques and curio shop with a dangerous secret. Cassidy can read the history of objects by touching them, and she teams up with friends and allies who use magic and paranormal abilities to get rid of cursed objects and keep Charleston and the world safe from supernatural threats. 
Caribbean ghosts terrorize Charleston and start racking up a body count. Then Beckford Pendlewood, the heir to a powerful family of dark warlocks, shows up raving about a bound demon locked in a lost box and begs sanctuary. Can Cassidy and her friends find the demon box, stop the killer ghosts, and break the Pendlewood curse before Beckford’s murderous cousins and the vengeful demon destroy them all?

Finishing Inheritance means that I’m finally caught up. Well, I was actually officially caught up when I finished Treasure Trail (the first book in Morgan Brice’s Treasure Trail series) which falls just before Inheritance in the multi-series world. My tendency to pick up books on a whim without paying attention to what order they fall in is another topic all together. *sigh*

There was a lot going on in Inheritance and a lot of cross over between series. As the Deadly Curiosities series continues, that seems to happen more and more. I, for one, love the cross overs and having Simon and Vic from Badlands finally make it to Charleston and be an integral part of Inheritance was an added bonus. It not only wove the series together even tighter, it also gave Cassidy to clue Simon in on what went on behind the scenes at Trifles & Folly. Each one of the characters had a special talent that was essential in solving the mystery behind the entities that were terrorizing Charleston. Even the humans had important roles to play.

Along with the danger and mystery, that strong sense of family that I’ve come to adore in this world was ever present. There’s only a hint of romance in the Deadly Curiosities series, but there’s plenty of action, mystery and danger to keep the pages turning. Throw in an adorable furry friend and what’s not to love?

There’s much more to come in this world and I can’t wait to see what comes next. Speaking of which, Blink, the second book in the Treasure Trail series is next up on my TBR pile. 😉

Cover Reveal: Pick Me by May Archer

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Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Pick Me By May Archer

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Releasing October 5th

The Sunday Brothers, Book 1

The job at Sunday Orchard was supposed to be temporary. A chance to gain some work experience. To have some fun. To get away from my overprotective brothers. To maybe, possibly encounter some lumberjacks in their natural habitat before moving on to the dream career that awaited me in the city. I had not expected to be welcomed into a family of gorgeous and weirdly efficient lumberjack-types myself. Or to find a purpose in the tiny Vermont town whose claim to fame seemed to be apple-based products and copious amounts of charm. And I most definitely hadn’t expected to fall for Knox Sunday, my grumpy, burly, fifteen-years-older, reluctant roommate, with his infuriating lectures, his hot-as-fire body, his superior attitude, his snarky humor, and his stealth cuddles. Now I find myself making excuses to delay my big dreams… just for a little while. But Knox has unfulfilled dreams of his own. A career he walked away from. A big city life in Boston he left behind when he returned to his hometown to help his family. He claims he’s not looking for anything permanent, and I’ve never been one to put down roots. My big life is waiting for me somewhere other than Little Pippin Hollow. So why does it feel like I’ve finally found the home of my heart? And how can I get Knox Sunday to… pick me?

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About the Author

May is an M/M author who lives in Boston. She spends her days raising three incredibly sarcastic children, finding inventive ways to drive her husband crazy, planning beach vacations, avoiding the gym, reading M/M romance, and occasionally writing it. She also writes MF romance as Maisy Archer. Sign up for her newsletter at: https://www.subscribepage.com/MayArcher_News

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The Lodge (Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper #15) by J.L. Bryan

More than a century ago, the Sea Islands of Georgia’s coastline were the playground of the ultra-wealthy. Carnegies, Morgans, Rockefellers and other aristocrats of the Industrial Age built luxurious southern beach retreats on islands like Cumberland and Jekyll to escape the icy winters of New York. In time, though, the grand mansions were abandoned and fell into disrepair, abandoned to the weather and the wilderness.
A secretive client hires Ellie Jordan to investigate one such island, home to a sprawling estate modeled after a royal hunting lodge. Weapons and artifacts from around the world adorn its grand hall. Finely furnished rooms devoted to leisure and games display the original owner’s vast collection of hunting trophies, the preserved bodies of exotic predators from around the world, beasts with bared fangs and unblinking glass eyes.
Someone is trying to bring the neglected island back to life, but the dark shadows of its gilded past remain strong here, stalking the galleries and winding corridors. The mysterious grand lodge is more than it seems, and its restoration has unearthed horrific and unexpected evils. Ellie and Stacey must face the lodge’s dark past and drive its paranormal inhabitants back into the world of the dead, before they can do more harm to the living.

15 books in and this series just keeps getting better and better. The stakes also seem to be getting higher and the danger more intense with each new case that Ellie and her friends take on. For that reason alone, The Lodge was definitely a book that was hard to put down.

There’s always a certain mystery surrounding the investigations that Ellie and Stacey go on, but this one was laced with more than most. Especially considering the fact that they weren’t even sure who hired them. Even once they got to the island, they were still only dealing with a representative of the true client. All the secrecy made it hard to figure out exactly what they were dealing with, but it was obvious that someone or something wasn’t happy with the intrusion. Being isolated kept them away from their usual research resources, not to mention the fact that it added to the danger.

The Lodge was full of twists and turns with a little mythology thrown into the mix. (Which incidentally made me love it even more ❤ ) Nothing was quite what it seemed and there was more than one danger on the island as well as some pretty unexpected allies.

Cabinet Jack is next in the Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper series and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Ellie and her friends next.

The Devoted Alpha (West Coast Wolves #3) by Susi Hawke

An awkward, traumatized omega and a patient alpha determined to court him properly… fate has a way of righting old wrongs.
Stolen from his mother’s arms and reported stillborn at birth, Tom spent nearly twenty-one years in structured captivity with other stolen omegas. His brothers. A dozen omegas, each with a secret superpower, who now must learn a whole new skill—how to thrive in a modern world.
Not every brother emerged from their past unscathed, and Tom had the worst of it. His key to survival was a healthy respect for rules. Now that he’s free, he’s still a little bit obsessive and a whole lot compulsive. He’s got anxiety, fear of change… and a list of plans for his future.
None of which involved finding a fated mate.
But if they had? His plans definitely wouldn’t have been to meet his dream alpha while smelling of afterbirth and the blood of an enemy killed in defense of his pregnant brother—the same brother whose child he then had to deliver… post-shift and naked.
If he’d been planning, if he’d made a list and checked it twice, Tom never could’ve designed an alpha more perfectly devoted than the delicious one fate put in front of him during one of the craziest days of his life… an alpha so patient, he insists on courting the skittish omega.

I’ve really liked this series, but I gotta say, The Devoted Alpha may be my favorite so far, simply because of the sweetness factor.

The Devoted Alpha takes up pretty much where The Defiant Alpha left off. Actually, there’s a little bit of overlap so readers get Nick and Tom’s reaction to their first meeting as true mates. I know it’s something that readers have felt since the series began, but as much as these traumatized omegas deserved to find their true alphas, the West Coast Wolves deserved to find their true omegas just as much. They were men/wolves created to nurture and protect regardless of what their ancestors felt about second born alphas. The Devoted Alpha reinforced that feeling. No one was better suited for Tom than Nick – and he was determined to prove it – no matter how long it took.

A lot of this story was also guided by Fate. Something that hadn’t been exactly kind to either the Alphas or the Omegas in this series. Finding their true mates and a satisfying HEA didn’t necessarily make up for their troubled past, but it came a long way in healing and giving them and others hope. I think that’s what I like most about this series. That and the strong sense of family.

Despite the serious tone in The Devoted Alpha as well as the rest of the books in this series, it’s laced with the perfect amount of humor to cut through that seriousness. In the case of this book, it’s also filled with a sweetness that Tom both needs and deserves. It doesn’t take much time for Tom to come to the conclusion that Nick only wants the best for him and won’t rush him into anything he’s not ready for. It made the slow burn not only believable, but totally worth the wait.

The Devoted Alpha ended with another brother finding his true mate. I tried to hold off on reading The Groovy Alpha until I finished writing this review, but I just couldn’t wait. So… stay tuned!

Playing it Safe (Sydney Smoke Rugby #7) by Amy Andrews

Donovan Bane loves playing rugby for the Sydney Smoke. And if that means he has to keep his sexuality a secret, that’s a sacrifice he’s prepared to make. At least until after he retires, anyway. He doesn’t want to be the first pro rugby player in Australia to officially come out while still playing. The team doesn’t need the media shit storm and he’d rather be known for his footy skills. Which means no dating, no relationships, no sex. Nothing but playing ball.
Until one man suddenly changes everything…
Beckett Stanton is out and proud—and not looking for a guy who isn’t. Been there, done that, complete disaster. Unfortunately, on the first day of his new job working for the Sydney Smoke, he locks eyes with Donovan Bane and he’s a goner. Big, gruff, and athletic isn’t usually Beck’s type, but for some reason this man is ticking all his boxes. And it’s clear the feeling is mutual. It’s also clear that Donovan is not out, and doesn’t plan to be anytime soon. Still, Beck can’t resist being the man to show Donovan everything he’s been missing.
For the first time, Donovan doesn’t play it safe and allows himself to indulge in things with Beck he knows he can’t have. But when their relationship gets serious, he knows he has to choose between the career he loves and the man he loves, because how can he possibly have both?

Playing it Safe proved to be a book of firsts. It was the first book that I’d read by Amy Andrews, so obviously, it was the first book that I picked up in the Sydney Smoke Rugby series (even though it was book 7 in said series. *sigh*) But it wasn’t just a first for me, from what I’ve read from other readers, it was not only the first M/M book in this series, it was also the author’s first book in this genre. That might or might not be a selling point for Playing it Safe for some readers. To be honest, I didn’t know any of this (except that I was picking up a book late in a series) before I made my request to read it.

If this isn’t the first review by me that you’ve read, you already know that I’m no stranger to the M/M genre. I’m also may have read books out of series order from time to time. *cough, cough* That doesn’t necessarily make me an expert by any stretch of the imagination. It does however give me enough experience to let readers who may be on the fence about Playing it Safe know that I know where some of your trepidation is coming from.

First, even though Sydney Smoke Rugby is an established series, I didn’t feel like I had walked into the middle of a group of people I knew nothing about and needed to catch up. That may or may not be because Beck was new to the series as well. It also may be because Playing it Safe centered solely on this couple. Donovan had a great support system with his team mates and their spouses, who he considered family. He was still a bit of an outsider though, mainly because there was a huge part of himself that he kept hidden from everyone. He had his reasons for staying in the closet and even Beck understood how important those reasons were.

Second, although this may have been Amy Andrews’ first M/M book, if I hadn’t read it in a review before I started Playing it Safe, it wouldn’t have been glaringly obvious. It also didn’t feel like a book that was written to add a gay character into the mix. Beck and Donovan’s relationship was totally believable and Donovan had worked so hard to keep that part of himself hidden, the whole story concept just felt right.

Basically, I adored Beck and Donovan. They both risked a lot in giving into their feelings and I loved the way their story played out. Honestly, the only reason that I didn’t give Playing it Safe a full 5 stars was because of how quickly everything was wrapped up in the end. It didn’t feel rushed though, I think it may have been a case of me just wanting more time with the characters after everything was settled.

I’m not sure whether or not I’ll go back and read the rest of the series, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be keeping an eye on anything else Amy Andrews may be offering readers in the future.

Freestyle (Changing Lanes #3) by Layla Reyne

Retired Olympic swimmer Julio Espinosa hasn’t always made the best decisions but he’s trying to do better. Be better. He’s keeping his head down and pursuing his physical therapy credentials at a small coastal university in North Carolina. But then Olympic hopeful Zacharias James lands on his physical therapy table and Julio is thrust back into the world—the dreams—he left behind.
Love and the future Julio always wanted—living, working, and swimming in Los Angeles—are suddenly within reach again. If he can do better, be better, and if he can rehab Zach’s injured arm in time for the young swimmer to make the Olympic team.

Freestyle is short and sweet, but not lacking in either story or romance. I could also consider this a great book to start with if you’ve never read anything by Layla Reyne. It had been a while since I’d read Relay and Medley, but it didn’t take me long to get back into this Olympic centered world. That being said, it also made me want to go back and start from the beginning. #SneakyAuthor

Julio and Zach’s story was sweet, but it was also a sort of redemption story for Julio. He had done a lot of things that he wasn’t proud of in his past, but he was working hard to make up for it. I love those kind of stories and although Julio didn’t quite fall into that category, I admire an author who can make me like a character that I previously felt like didn’t stand a chance.

Stronger Than You Know (McKenzies of Ridge Trail #2) by Lori Foster

Their secrets run deep, but desire runs deeper…
Kennedy Brooks has spent years learning how to protect herself, and empowering other women to do the same. Still, there are some hazards that can’t be predicted. That includes Reyes McKenzie, who owns her local gym. Strong, capable, and watchful, he seems like the one man who might understand her past. For once, Kennedy is tempted to let her guard down—something she’s vowed never to do.
The moment petite, fiercely determined Kennedy walked into his gym, Reyes knew that she carried secrets. What he didn’t expect was that she could tell the same about him. When trouble tracks her down, she turns to Reyes, unleashing a maelstrom of protective instinct and mutual desire. But will her need for him end when the danger does, or will they take the ultimate risk—on each other?

I’ve mentioned before that although I love pretty much everything I’ve read by Lori Foster, her romantic suspense novels pull me in more easily than her sweet romances. Stronger than You Know was a perfect example, but I knew that going in. No Holding Back was the perfect intro to the McKenzies of Ridge Trail series and Stronger than You Know was a strong continuation.

Reyes was attracted to Kennedy from the time she started coming to his gym. The attraction was mutual, but Kennedy was cautious, with good reason. Cautious or not, that didn’t stop her from realizing that he was someone she could trust enough to call when she sensed she was in danger. He proved himself from not hesitating at all to come when she called. That was the catalyst to their romance, but it was a slow burn from there. Knowing her history and Reyes’ experience in recognizing the signs, taking things slow made sense. The action and suspense started from the first chapter and didn’t slow down much from that point on.

Aside from the suspense, I think what I like most about this series so far is the family dynamic. Two books in and the character development is easy to pick up on. Parrish was almost distant in the beginning, but as reluctant as he was to open his family up to outsiders, Star and now Kennedy are helping him to open up. In the same way, Cade and Reyes are seeing a side of their father that they thought was gone since they had lost their mother. Even though Madison was the only girl in a household of men, she held her own and brought a skillset to their family “business” that earned their respect. Even Bernard was more than just a trusted employee and even the family has seen another side of him as the series has progressed. The banter and good natured teasing between all the characters was a fun distraction from the danger and suspense.

Reyes and Kennedy’s story was brought to a satisfying end, but the family’s story is far from over. Madison is next and readers were given a taste of what’s to come. I can’t wait for Watching Over You and more from the rest of the McKenzie family. ❤

Why Can’t Sophomore Summer be Like Pizza? (Pizza Chronicles #4) by Andy V. Roamer

It’s the summer after sophomore year and RV plans to enjoy new adventures and new challenges after finishing two years of high school.
He gets a job as an usher at a movie multiplex but discovers the realities of dealing with job stresses and unruly customers. It’s also time for him to start learning how to drive, and his father is eager to give him lessons. But he’s not the most patient of teachers and RV is not the most capable of drivers.
RV opens himself up to a new relationship and it looks like the start of a budding romance—until it isn’t.
And then there is RV’s family… Luckily, as always, Mr. Aniso, RV’s freshmen-year teacher, is always there to talk over anything that might be bothering RV. But he’s away for the summer, so there’s only so much time and attention he can give RV. It looks like RV’s summer won’t be fun and games after all.

I think the reason why I love the Pizza Chronicles so much is because RV is so “real”. Yeah, I know he’s a fictional character, but I think most of you know what I mean. He’s far from perfect – and he knows it.

His family is annoying, but he loves them regardless. And as frustrating as they may be, he knows he’s lucky to have them. He struggles with embracing his heritage, even though he understands it’s important to know where you came from. He’s confused about his feelings about a lot of things. The thing that really makes him “human” in my mind is that he has no desire to be “perfect” – he just wants to survive his high school years and not screw up too much on the way.

He’s also learning that a lot of those feelings that he’s having are normal and some of them don’t go away just because you’re an adult. His struggles with his relationship with Bobby was at times hard to read, but I was impressed with the way that RV handled himself. It wasn’t an easy situation – for anyone involved, including Bobby’s parents. Regardless of his confusion, he cared and sometimes that’s all you can do.

RV has grown a lot since this series began and he’s come to terms with a lot as well. He’s still got some learning to do, but he has a great support system. His parents may not understand him totally, but they obviously love him. He’s also got a strong sense of right and wrong. He has good friends and a couple of adults outside of his family that care about him as well. I’m hoping that the Pizza Chronicles continue, but I’m already impressed with the young man that RV is growing into.

The Devil You Know (Mercenary Librarians #2) by Kit Rocha

Maya has had a price on her head from the day she escaped the TechCorps. Genetically engineered for genius and trained for revolution, there’s only one thing she can’t do—forget.
Gray has finally broken free of the Protectorate, but he can’t escape the time bomb in his head. His body is rejecting his modifications, and his months are numbered.
When Maya’s team uncovers an operation trading in genetically enhanced children, she’ll do anything to stop them. Even risk falling back into the hands of the TechCorps.
And Gray has found a purpose for his final days: keeping Maya safe.

I’ve been a fan of Kit Rocha for a while now, so the fact that this infamous writing duo didn’t make anything easy for the characters in The Devil You Know should have come as no surprise.

Although Maya and Gray were at the center of The Devil You Know, there was a lot more going on. All of which revolved around the TechCorp. Maya, her friends and the Silver Devils may have escaped from them, but that didn’t mean that they were safe. Danger lurked around every corner and not everything was as it seemed.

Nothing was held back in the evil that existed in this new world. Maya and her friends were right to be cautious, but they protected those that they counted as theirs at any cost. The romance between Maya and Gray was a very slow burn, but given the characters it really couldn’t have happened any other way. This was a story that was destined to end in heartbreak and hoping for more than the inevitable outcome would have been enough to keep the pages turning. But of course there was much more to the story. Secrets, danger, revelations… yeah, a lot more.

Readers not only got alternating POVs from Maya and Gray, but a few more voices as well. I loved getting to know all these characters a little bit better. I also enjoyed watching them grow as characters and learn more about each other as well as themselves.

The Devil You Know didn’t exactly end in a cliff hanger, but there’s obviously more to come. Especially if you read beyond the epilogue. Yikes! Let’s just say that Dance with the Devil can’t come soon enough.