Uncharted by Alli Temple

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Five out of Five Stars

Summary

In a world of arrogant nobles and their punishing laws, Georgina will be hanged if anyone discovers she is a spy. But when the wicked prince proposes marriage, Georgina must accept. Refusing would expose the secrets she has delivered to a hidden resistance and forfeit her life. With her wedding day looming ever closer, salvation comes from an unlikely source.

Pirate Captain Cinder is a terror on the open sea, striking fear into hearts wherever she sails. Now she has a new target. The vulnerable Princess Georgina should be an easy mark in Cinder’s kidnapping plot. But the legend of Captain Cinder is more intertwined with Georgina’s own history than either of them expect.

Treacherous storms. A mysterious pirate king. The prince’s unrelenting pursuit. Georgina and Cinder can only escape by following the uncharted course of their hearts. But just as a future together is within their grasp, Cinder’s past threatens to drag them both to the deep.

Review

Georgina, “George” is doing her part in resisting the rule of kingdom. She sneaks messages in the skirts of her dress. It isn’t much, but she’s trying her best to help. Never would she have expected to be married off to the King by her brother. It’s a whirlwind of having new clothes made, jewelry, learning how to be a royal, and a handmaid named Rosie, Georgina thinks she’s lost any chance of having the life she wishes for.

Pirate Captain Cinder’s tales are what parents use to scare their children into acting right. Redheaded and willing to do whatever it takes to man her ship and find her riches.

In an explosion, Georgina is swept from the kingdom and onto a pirate ship. Rosie, devoted to Georgina, sneaks onto the ship. It all comes to a screaming stop when Georgina recognizes Captain Cinder and then finds out all she heard of Captain Cinder may not have been true.

What did I love about this book? Everything!!

Royalty, pirates, and an epic race to keep George out of the king’s hands kept me reading page after page. Cinder was everything a pirate should be. She was hard, powerful, and smart. Everyone on her ship served a purpose. The details of certain jobs on the ship and why they were done, like scouring the deck daily, my inner historian did a happy dance. I felt like I was there on the ship with Cinder and George.

The cast of characters were extremely diverse (which I expect on a pirate ship in my mind). There are lesbian pirates, non-binary pirates, and an island they visit is full of LGBTQ+ residents. Maro, Rosie, and Ender were so much fun. For such a big guy, Ender sure was gentle and kind to Rosie. Maro was a hard first mate, but they were kind to George and Rosie.

Rosie was such a spitfire. She is exactly who you want to be by your side. George got in trouble and she was right there with her. George needed to scheme. Rosie was scheming with her. They were quite the pair and I enjoyed every scene with the two of them.

The chemistry between George and Cinder had and ebb and flow that just felt right. The small jealousy moments and all the times they tried to stay away from each other just made their romance sweeter.

If you are a fan of a fast paced adventure, you’ll definitely want to grab a copy of this one.

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Hair Out of Place

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Three out of Five Stars

The Summary

Confined to a London penthouse his whole life, hardly anybody knows that happy-go-lucky Raphie d’Oro is a prince in exile. Not even his grumpy new bodyguard, Griff Thompson. But when assassins strike, Raphie is forced to flee out into a strange new world with his crush on Griff growing. It’s a race against time to get Raphie to his European home country so he can claim the throne and save his life.

Griff has to remain professional, especially when he discovers Raphie is a real-life prince, but he’s increasingly drawn to the beautiful Raphie and his mesmerising long hair. There are only so many beds they can share before the pull between them becomes impossible to ignore.

But they’re living in a fantasy. Raphie is going to be a king, and Griff is almost twice his age and going nowhere. Griff knows they have no future together, no matter what Raphie insists. However, Griff also knows he’ll do anything to protect Raphie from harm, and that includes not breaking his heart. Can he really do his duty and walk away, or will true love conquer all?

The Review

Raphie d’Oro has spent his life in a penthouse with his mother, keeping a secret that never would have been told if his father, King of Campulan, hadn’t died. This triggered a flurry of events. Relentless and entirely unlucky assassins attempt to fulfill the contract on Raphie’s life.

Griff, Raphie’s bodyguard, hadn’t expected his first day on this assignment to appear like a bad action movie. But here they were, running for their lives and on a deadline to get Raphie to claim his birthright.

What appealed to me was the nonbinary representation with Raphie. I wish there were more books with nonbinary characters. The way Raphie’s choses pronouns, his preferences of dressing, was all handled excellently. It felt natural and easily understood.

The romance between the Raphie and Griff was so-so.

With the good, comes the bad.

This read like a comedic romance, with some unbelievable plot points that I couldn’t get over. If they were on such a time crunch to get Raphie to the throne, why did they have so much time to stop for the day and get to the romancing? They wouldn’t have. Also, the assassins, while they offered more comedic relief, were not very assassin like.  I found myself skimming through some of the pages.

Give it a try

Wolfsong by T.J. Klune

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Five out of Five Stars

Summary:

Ox was twelve when his daddy taught him a very valuable lesson. He said that Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then he left.

Ox was sixteen when he met the boy on the road, the boy who talked and talked and talked. Ox found out later the boy hadn’t spoken in almost two years before that day, and that the boy belonged to a family who had moved into the house at the end of the lane.

Ox was seventeen when he found out the boy’s secret, and it painted the world around him in colors of red and orange and violet, of Alpha and Beta and Omega.

Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town and tore a hole in his head and heart. The boy chased after the monster with revenge in his bloodred eyes, leaving Ox behind to pick up the pieces.

It’s been three years since that fateful day—and the boy is back. Except now he’s a man, and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.

The Review

As soon as I finished Wolfsong, I immediately purchased the next books in the series. I found a werewolf novel that was just like what I loved growing up. There was pack, found families, danger, discovery, and love. While there is the alpha, beta, omega dynamics explored it isn’t sex here. It was the hierarchy in the pack. This is the werewolf story that I freaking love (and secretly want to write one day)!

Ox was sixteen when he met Joe. He had never met anyone like Joe. Slowly, he was pulled into the Bennett’s family and into a life he didn’t know was possible to exist. Werewolves exist and he’s found himself part of a pack. He and his mother become part of their pack, taking on the danger that comes with being associated with the Bennetts.

I had so much love for Ox. He’s an outcast, but there’s something about him that I was able to connect with and understand entirely. He’s damaged goods, but with the help of Bennetts he’s learning that he’s better than what his father said to him. He’s strong, important, and perhaps the person they need in their lives.

Joe, there were times I wanted to hug him and then times I just wanted to shake him. How could he do this to Ox? Didn’t he see that his pack needed him home? But I understood his need to do what he did. I still hated it.

I think I fell a little bit in love with each character in this novel. They were each vital to pushing the plot forward, they were each important for every dangerous situation that the Bennett pack came across. I loved Gordo and the body shop guys. They cracked me up. You could tell they had worked together for years and considered themselves to be brother.

Ox and Joe’s relationship *wistful sigh* it grew from childhood to adulthood so naturally. You could feel their bond. Once they both (Joe is younger by a few years) reached adulthood, their flirting was so goooood. Then they had to relearn each other and their spot in the pack.

There’s so many good things I could say about Wolfsong, but I feel like I would give the book away. If you haven’t had the chance to read this, go grab a copy and read it.

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Burn Zone – Annabeth Albert

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Four out of Five Stars

Summary

Danger lurks everywhere for Central Oregon’s fire crews, but the biggest risk of all might be losing their hearts…

Smoke jumper Lincoln Reid is speechless to see Jacob Hartman among his squad’s new recruits. Linc had promised his late best friend he’d stay away from his little brother. And yet here Jacob is…and almost instantly, the same temptation Linc has always felt around him is causing way too many problems.

Jacob gets everyone’s concerns, but he’s waited years for his shot at joining the elite smoke jumping team, hoping to honor his brother’s memory. He’s ready to tackle any challenge Linc throws his way, and senses the chemistry between them—chemistry Linc insists on ignoring—is still alive and kicking. This time, Jacob’s determined to get what he wants.

Close quarters and high stakes make it difficult for Linc to keep his resolve, never mind do so while also making sure the rookie’s safe. But the closer they get, the more Linc’s plan to leave at the end of the season risks him breaking another promise: the one his heart wants to make to Jacob.

Review

A brand-new series featuring firefighters and written by Annabeth Albert? SIGN ME UP!

Linc is a veteran fire jumper. He’s been through hell and back. After facing an incredible loss, he doesn’t expect his best friend’s little brother to follow in their footsteps. The warning to stay away from Jacob still echoes loudly in his mind. No matter how attracted to Jacob he is, he gave his word to stay away and that is what he intends to do.

Jacob is pure temptation. After coming out, he goes after what he wants and that’s Linc. A few rushed kisses isn’t enough for him. He takes the time to grow up, work his way to fire jumping, and deals with the fears his mother has after the death of his brother. Everyone treats him like a kid, that he needs to be protected rather than utilized as a team member.

The chemistry between the two, *fans self* it’s intense. It was a constant struggle between should they or shouldn’t they. Once they give in, it was every bit as explosive as you would hope for. Two alpha men, taking the time to bring each other to pieces with burning touches. What made this better, was the fact that it wasn’t all rose between the two men. Linc had to fight something that he had programmed into his mind. He had to learn that it was okay to be himself, yet still remain part of the family that had claimed him for so long.

Jacob challenged Linc to become comfortable with himself. Jacob stopped hiding his sexuality and his wants at the age of nineteen, it was high time for Linc to realize he could do the same. There was something about Jacob that I adored. He wanted to be an equal on the jump-team. He went after what he wanted in his professional and personal life.

The only thing that drove me crazy was how self-sacrificing Linc was. If it wasn’t so extreme this would have easily been a five-star read for me. I’m already looking forward to the next in the series.

Get your copy here

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Check out an excerpt below

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A Crown of Iron & Silver by Hailey Turner (Audio: Gary Furlong)

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Four out of Five Stars

Audio Narrator: Gary Furlong

The Summary: Never promise a life that isn’t yours to give.

New York City is decked out for the holidays, and Special Agent Patrick Collins is looking forward to a reunion with his old team when he gets assigned a new case. A human child is missing, and the changeling left in her place causes a prominent witch family to demand justice from the fae.

Meanwhile, continued harassment from the New York City god pack forces Jonothon de Vere to formally establish his own with Patrick. Doing so will mean a civil war within the werecreature community—a war they risk losing from the start without alliances. Making bargains with the fae is never wise, but Patrick and Jono have nothing to lose when a fae lord comes asking for their help.

The Summer Lady has been kidnapped from the Seelie Court, and if they can find her, Patrick and Jono will cement an alliance with the fae. But the clues to her disappearance are found in Tír na nÓg, and the Otherworld has never been kind to mortals.

Venturing past the veil, Patrick and Jono risk losing territory, time, and their very lives while searching for answers. Because the Queen of Air and Darkness knows they are coming—and the ruler of the Unseelie Court has an offer for them they can’t possibly refuse.

The Review

A Crown of Iron & Silver did not let me down. At all. First, let’s talk audio.

Gary Furlong does an amazing job in voicing Patrick, Jono, and the entire cast of unique characters. I could listen to him speak as Jono for forever. His voice was soothing, mischievous, and when the time called for it? Sexy as hell. With audiobooks of this length (ten hours) I tend to have issues staying interested. That was not the case with this audiobook. I was immersed in the Soulbound world.

Now onto the book review!

Patrick manages to get pulled into a case and into the complicated world of the fae (and brings everyone along with him on the ride). I enjoyed the Celtic, folklore that most of this story was rooted around.

We get to learn more about Patrick’s life in the Mage Corp and the men he spent his time fighting side-by-side with in the 30 Day War.

I’ve wanted to see pack interaction. And I got it! I needed to know how Jono and Patrick were going to lead their and work with their pack. Wade, oh Wade, he had me cracking up. I swear I’ve never wanted Poptarts more than after Wade munching on packet after packet.

Patrick and Jono make my heart melt into a gooey puddle of happiness. Their relationship is still growing and changing, but in all the best ways. Also, they just have a chemistry together that makes my breath catch. I can’t wait for the next book in the series!

Get your copy here!

Hell and Gone by Tal Bauer

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Five out of Five Stars

The Summary

Two vanished cowboys.
Three hundred missing cattle.
The Crazy Mountains are devouring everything they see.

Everett Dawson, Montana’s newest Stock Detective, has been sent from Helena down to the Crazy Mountains. Cattle are going missing in the Crazies and Everett is charged with finding these modern-day rustlers and bringing them in.

When he arrives, he finds a hanged cowboy and a heap of questions. Was it suicide or was it murder? Why are cowboys fleeing the Crazies? Far from a simple investigation, Everett’s case plunges deep into the mountains’ dark past.

Lawrence Jackson, the bad boy who runs the Lazy Twenty Two, was the last man to see the dead cowboy alive. There’s a whole forest fire of smoke swirling around Lawrence, and where there’s smoke, there’s flame… and maybe even murder.

But Everett is drawn to Lawrence, and if he takes the risk Lawrence offers, will Everett find what he craves, or will the Crazies claim their next victim

The Review

Tall Bauer has created another picturesque, gritty and thrilling western set in Montana. Everette is fresh out of the military and headed right into the Crazy Mountains were cattle have gone missing, and ranch hands are slowly starting to disappear.  Lawrence Jackson is beyond frustrated with the lack of investigation happening and doesn’t believe a green Stock Detective, Everett Dawson, is going to make much headway in the investigation.

Let me talk about Lawrence and Everette for a moment. Both men distrust each other from the beginning, but as time passes that distrust develops into trust. Everett recognized that frustration in Lawrence and after hearing everything, his mind starts connecting the dots. Once they start working to trust each other, the chemistry between them ignites.

Everette has flashes of PTSD and they felt genuine. There were subtle triggers that put him back in the desert and deep in his memories. The void that had been in him since his military tours, was finally being filled by one hell of a stubborn cowboy, Lawrence Jackson. I loved that stubborn, take no shit attitude that Lawrence had. He was a modern cowboy, who worked hard and loved harder.

I grit my teeth, felt the frustration that Lawrence had, connected the dots just as Everette did, and melted into satisfaction.

Get your copy here

Hush by Tal Bauer

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Five out of Five Stars

The Summary:

A federal judge running from the truth.
A U.S. marshal running from his past.
A trial that can plunge the world into war. 

Federal Judge Tom Brewer is finally putting the pieces of his life back together. In the closet for twenty-five long years, he’s climbing out slowly, and, with the hope of finding a special relationship with the stunning Mike Lucciano, U.S. Marshal assigned to his DC courthouse. He wants to be out and proud, but he can’t erase his own past, and the lessons he learned long ago.

But a devastating terrorist attack in the heart of DC, and the subsequent capture and arrest of the terrorist, leads to a trial that threatens to expose the dark underbelly of America’s national security.

As Russia beats the drums of war, intent on seeking revenge, and the United States struggles to contain the storm before it races out of control, secrets and lies, past and present, collide in Judge Tom Brewer’s courtroom. With the world’s attention fixed on Tom and this case, he suddenly discovers he may be the only person who can put everything together in time to stop the spark of a new world war.

The Review

I don’t think I have read anything by Tal Bauer that I haven’t loved. Hush was no different. It is a political thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat trying to figure out what was really going on all the while I was melting from the heat and romance between Tom and Mike. This is definitely a book that I want a physical copy to have on my shelf.

Federal Tom Brewer has been in the closet for twenty-five years and Mike Lucciano, the U.S. Marshal assigned to him, is the first man who has made him want to take a chance on and to step out of the closet. As their relationship grows, a terrorist attack in Washington DC and arrest of said terrorist, makes it difficult for Tom to be the man he wants to be when he’s thrust into the spot light. All eyes are on him as he sits as judge for the trial and being with Mike is harder than ever.

Mike and Tom are real. Mike is very active in the LGBT community, participates in a volleyball league and slowly pulls Tom away from his fear and teaches him that its okay to be who you are. Mike’s friends never pressured Tom to do more than what he was ready for. They didn’t make a big deal of the fact that he was a federal judge and that served to make Tom comfortable.

Tom was a bit shy, but once his affections were earned, he was so sweet. I loved that they held hands, cuddled, shared soft kisses throughout the entirety of the novel. That affection didn’t disappear after they had bone melting sex. There was a heat to their touches and conversations. They were a gorgeous couple.

So besides the heat factor (which I’m going to rate 10 out of 10), the political thriller plot held my attention as much as Tom and Mike’s growing relationship. It was something that (sadly) you could see happen in today’s political atmosphere. It felt real. The stress, fear, anxiety, anger – all of it was fitting and true.

Do yourself a favor and give this one a read.

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The Audacity by Laura Loup

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Four out of Five Stars

The Summary

May’s humdrum life gets flung into hyperdrive when she’s abducted, but not all aliens are out to probe her. She’s inadvertently rescued by Xan who’s been orbiting Earth in a day-glo orange rocket ship, watching re-runs of “I Love Lucy”.

Seizing the opportunity for a better life, May learns how to race the Audacity and pilots her way into interstellar infamy. Finally, she has a job she likes and a friend to share her winnings with—until the Goddess of Chaos screws the whole thing up, and Xan’s unmentionable past makes a booty call.

The Review

The Audacity is one of those books you are either going to love, or you’re going to hate. I LOVED this book. It’s fresh, reminiscent of Douglas Adams’s writing, breaks the fourth wall, and keeps you laughing throughout.

May, a Sonic Drive-In carhop gets pulled right off of earth and out of the monotony of her life to find herself in space in the middle of an adventure even her wildest dreams couldn’t have imagined. She’s rescued by Xan, an a blue alien who has a fondness for ‘I Love Lucy’ and a slightly questionable profession. They go on to race the Audacity, find their way out of hijinks and several conundrums.

The friendship between May and Xan was probably my absolute favorite part of this book. They picked at each other, helped each other, and worked together to find answers to their problems. It’s the kind of friendship you want to have in your life. Xan had May’s back and May had Xan’s.

I cracked up at the use for coffee. Felt for May and the corn that Xan supplied her with. Don’t ask, just go read it to find out what I mean by that. May was pretty kick ass and I look forward to find out more of the adventures that this crew will end up on. The cast of characters featured many on the LGBTQ+ spectrum and while it wasn’t the focus of this book, it was good to see the representation in these characters.

Get your copy here

Enemies of the State by Tal Bauer

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Five out of Five Stars

The Summary: Newly elected President Jack Spiers’s presidency is rocked from the very beginning, and he’s working furiously to keep the world from falling apart. Between terrorism attacks ripping apart Europe, Russia’s constant posturing and aggression, and the quagmire of the Middle East, Jack is struggling to keep his campaign promise—to work toward a better, safer world.

For Special Agent Ethan Reichenbach, Jack is just another president, the third in twelve years. With Jack’s election, he’s been promoted, and now he’s running the presidential detail, which puts him side by side with Jack daily. He’s expecting another stuffed suit and an arrogant DC politician, but Jack shocks him with his humor and humanity.

There are rules against a Secret Service agent and one of their protectees developing a friendship—big rules. Besides, Jack is a widower, and Ethan has always avoided falling for straight men. Ethan keeps his distance, but Jack draws him in, like gas to a naked flame, and it’s a lure he isn’t strong enough to turn away from.

As the two men collide, rules are shattered and the world teeters on the verge of war, and a rogue Black Ops unit bent on destruction sets Jack in their deadly crosshairs. Ethan must put everything on the line in order to save the man he’s come to love, Jack’s presidency, and the world.

The Review

Ya’ll, I don’t know how I managed to NOT read any of Tal Bauer’s work until now. I devoured this book overnight and promptly bought everything else of Bauer’s that I could find. I have always looked for books like Enemies of the State in the M/M romance genre and I could never find them. Political thrillers.

President Jack Spiers has a lot riding on his presidency. He promised to make a better, safe world for the citizens worldwide. But he’s been fighting terrorist attacks in Europe, Russian trying to be the bigger world power and the trouble in the Middle East. It’s a lot to handle without the support of a First Lady/Gentleman. He leans on his Secret Service Detail and one agent in particular, openly gay Ethan Reichenbach. Through this, Ethan gets to see a side of the president that pushes him to break every rule he has when it comes to who he is protecting.

As time passes and they get to know each other better, it’s hard to stay away. Ethan can’t help but blur the lines of professionalism for a man like Jack Spiers. But as the world edges closer to another war, things go disastrously wrong.

This is a President/Secret Service romance, and the chemistry between Jack and Ethan was so good. It was drawn out in actions that could be seen as playful flirting, but at the same time it could have just been Jack’s personality. Every way that Ethan fell for Jack was a way any of us could have fallen for our partners. The romance between them burned slowly and they discovered each other together.

Some of my favorite scenes were when they were together in the residence or at Camp David late at night. They focused entirely on each other as if that was their only world at the time. I can’t tell you how many times they made me smile or wish that one of them would hurry up and make a move! Then there was one moment that utterly crushed my heart. I got teary eyed while reading it and there was no way I could stop reading at that point. I needed to see everything better.

The political thriller aspect was weaved well throughout. It was easy to keep track of because we got chapters centered on that part of the storyline, and then bits and pieces in Jack’s political career that explained it further. It was just as present as their developing romance and I was all about it. I needed to figure out what the heck was being plotted and how they were going to stop it.

This was such a good read I was telling my friends about it who don’t read M/M romance. (Normally I don’t even say a word about my reads to them because they give me that look – you know the one lol). Go read this book! I’m sure everyone has already read it, perhaps more than once, but I can’t stop myself from telling you to read it.

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All Souls Near and Nigh by Hailey Turner

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Four out of Five Stars

The Summary: You can’t bargain with death if you’ve already sold your soul.

Special Agent Patrick Collins has been reassigned by the Supernatural Operations Agency to New York City. Navigating his new relationship with Jonothon de Vere, the werewolf he’s now soulbound to, is nothing compared to dealing with territorial disputes between the vampires and werecreatures who call the five boroughs home. But the delicate treaties that have kept the preternatural world in check are fraying at the edges, and the fallout is spilling into the mundane world.

Manhattan’s club scene is overrun with the vampire drug known as shine and the subways have become a dumping ground for bodies. When the dead are revealed as missing werecreatures, Patrick and Jono find themselves entangled in pack politics twisted by vampire machinations.

Learning to trust each other comes with problems for both of them, and the gods with a stake in Patrick’s soul debt aren’t finished with him yet. Bound by promises they can’t break, Patrick and Jono must find a way to survive a threat that takes no prisoners and is stalking them relentlessly through the city streets.

Old and new betrayals are coming home to roost but the truth—buried in blood—is more poisonous than the lies being spun. Trying to outrun death is a nightmare—one Patrick may never wake up from.

The Review

All Souls Near and Nigh is the sequel we’ve all be waiting for. It’s full of action, grit, and a self-made pack trying to find their feet.  It was an excellent follow up to A Ferry of Bones and Gold.

Special Agent Patrick Collins has been permanently reassigned to New York City. He’s navigating a fledgling relationship with Jono de Vere, who he now shares a soul bond with. Through all of this, there’s a territorial dispute between the vampires, werecreatures going missing, and gods who can’t seem to leave Patrick be.  He’s never going to get away from the God’s.

Jono’s storyline with the God Pack is my favorite part of this story. Actually all of the chapters told from Jono’s point of view had me on the edge of my seat, anxious for what was to come. Lucien, the gods, they were secondary for me. Jono made his stand against the God Pack. I did not realize that I had been waiting for him to do that until now. I’m invested in Jono, ya’ll. I still need to know why Fenrir has chosen Jono. There are too many possibilities and I need answers!

Things I wished for in this novel? More scenes with just Patrick and Jono. I felt like at times they were operating outside of each other. Patrick was still getting used to the fact that Jono was there and had his back, while Jono’s mind was focused on his pack. I’m excited to see them working as a unit that knows each other.

Overall this was a great novel and I’m looking forward to the next in the series coming out.

Get your copy here