A Lila Audiobook Review: Job Hunt (The Power of Zero #1) by Jackie Keswick and Narrator Fox Ballard

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Job Hunt AudiobookYou don’t greet your new boss dressed like an underage rent boy. But when Jack Horwood—ace hacker and ex-MI6 operative—opens the door to Gareth Flynn, he’s too busy to worry over details like that. And anyway, his potential new boss is his former Commanding Officer – the same guy Jack has had a crush on since he was seventeen. So he should understand, right?

 When he applied for the job in Nancarrow Mining’s corporate security division, Jack had hoped for peaceful days repelling cyber attacks. Maybe a bit of corporate espionage on the side. His plans didn’t include rescuing abused children, hunting pimps, or dealing with his overly protective and hot-as-hell boss, Gareth Flynn.

 Walking away is not an option. Jack never takes the easy way out. More than that, meeting Gareth raises old ghosts that Jack needs to put to rest. Rescuing kids. Taking risks. Saving the day. Jack can do all that – but deciding what to do about his attraction to Gareth isn’t the sort of cloak-and-dagger game Jack plays well. Yet Gareth, strong and smart and always on hand when needed, might be Jack’s salvation.

 Job Hunt is a complex thriller with multi-dimensional characters, and complicated twists and turns. There are enough questions and mysteries to keep the reader into the story and guessing its outcome. Following both investigations, it’s not complicated, but the  Nancarrow Mining’s cyber attacks plotline was not as well thought as the one involving Jack’s undercover work.

 I’m glad I listen to this story because all the distinct voices helped with the POV changes. Also, the narrator gave it an authenticity feel. Each character becomes an individual with their own quirks and traits.

 Even when a romantic plot is present in this book, the story is all about the cases the MCs are working. Jack is the real man character in Job Hunt. Gareth is there as a protector or sidekick more than someone that we get invested on.

 The rest of the ensemble can be considered as supporting characters instead of secondary because they were there in order for Jack to accomplish his goals. The author did an excellent job, though, making them memorable instead of simple fill-ins.

The sense of place and location is very present, even for someone that had never been in Richmond, Wimbledon, or any of the other areas mentioned. Everything from the smells, looks, and weather are taken into consideration. And the food had its own role in the story, too.

 In the end, Job Hunt is an enjoyable read, and its only downside is the amount of events unfolding at the same time. Together with some areas of internal dialogue.

 Fox Ballard did an excellent job with the narration. He made differentiating between the many POV changes easy. He’s one of the first narrators I had listened to that had managed to voice females characters without making them sound too masculine. All the accents were amazing, even when hard to understand at some points.

 I like the way the calls were integrated into the audiobook. They sounded authentic and gave the story a realistic boost. My only complaint would be about the music separating the chapters. It was kind of jungle fever and didn’t go with the book’s content. And, the pauses between chapters, and/or POVs, were too long.

 The cover by Maria Fanning didn’t work for me. It makes the books seem paranormal, which it is not. You have to be very close to it to realize it has the data information in the background. The audiobook cover is just a modify version of the original.

 Sales Links:  Dreamspinner | Amazon | Audible

 Audiobook Details:

 Narrator: Fox Ballard
Length:  9 hours and  38 minutes

Published:  February 11, 2016 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN:  B01BMQFFE6
Edition Language: English

Series:  The Power of Zero
Book #1: Job Hunt
Book #2: Ghosts
Book #3: House Hunt

Go Free Falling with S.E. Jakes! Guest Spotlight and Book Contest.

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FreeFalling_TourBanner

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have SE Jakes visiting today to talk about Free Falling, a story in the marvelously addicting Extreme Escapes universe series.FreeFalling_150x300

S.E. Jakes:
Thanks so much for having me here today, so I can shout about the fact that Free Falling’s getting a re-release with Riptide! I’m so excited about this, you have no idea. For me, this is the book that started the Hell or High Water series (see below for more on that).

Free Falling originally came out in December of 2012—it was the first book I self-published, and I worked with Sarah Frantz as my editor (and she’s now my Riptide editor as well) and the entire experience was simply awesome.

This would also be the second book Prophet inserted himself into (the first was Bound For Keeps). It was then I realized that the man needed his own series or else he would show up in every single book I wrote. But for Free Falling, it certainly cemented the bond between Blue and Prophet. I’ve brought Blue and Mick back in Long Time Gone (Hell or High Water 2) and yes, I’m totally planning a Free Falling sequel, which would happen sometime post Dirty Love (Dirty Deeds 3). Because I can’t get enough of Blue, my favorite thief, and Mick, the man who’ll chase him every single time.

The great thing about moving this book to Riptide is that now all my EE Ltd. books are in one place AND Free Falling will now be available everywhere in eFormat AND in print!!! The cover looks gorgeous in person.

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Contest:
Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing to win one of three SIGNED copies of Hell or High Water series: Catch a Ghost and Long Time Gone. Entries close at midnight, Eastern Time, on March 24th, and winners will be announced on March 25th.  Contest is valid worldwide.

About Free Falling:

Sometimes falling in love is the most dangerous thing of all.
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FreeFalling_500x750Blue is a thief who lives for adrenaline and danger. And when he meets Mick, a mercenary, he’s hit with a buzz of attraction like the rush of a high-rise job without a safety rope. But after making plans to get together, Mick leaves him hanging, and Blue vows never again.
A year later, Mick watches helplessly as Blue stumbles into the middle of one of Mick’s jobs. Risking his cover and their lives, Mick saves Blue and cares for him as he recuperates, but neither man has any idea how to handle the intimacy this forces them into.
Once Blue is safe, Mick redoubles his efforts to take down the drug lord responsible—and disappears. Blue goes after him, determined to return the favor and rescue the man he loves, no matter the cost.

This is a revised second edition of the originally self-published title. No substantive changes have been made to the story.
About SE Jakes:
SE Jakes writes m/m romance. She believes in happy endings and fighting for what you want in both fiction and real life.
She lives in New York with her family, and most days, she can be found happily writing (in bed). No really…

Connect with SE Jakes:

Review: The Journal of Sanctuary One (Sanctuary #6) by RJ Scott

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Rating: 5 stars

The Journal of Sanctuary OneJake Callahan was looking forward to spending time with his brother, Hayden and his boyfriend up at their cabin for Christmas.  It had been an extremely tough year for everyone who worked at Sanctuary, the secret organization devoted to keeping witnesses  and other “vulnerables” safe when the alphabet organizations (CIA, FBI etc) couldn’t.  Sanctuary operatives were still trying to close down the Bullen case as there were files still to be encrypted and a few criminals left to round up.  Still, this time of year was special to Jake and he needs it now more than ever as the betrayal by exFBI agent Sean Hanson was as painful as the day he first learned that Sean was working for Bullen. Now all Jake wants is some peace and time with his brother but Mother Nature is making that impossible.  The northeast corridor is being blanketed by a snow storm, Hayden is stuck in New York  City with his boyfriend Beckett. and Jake is facing Christmas alone at the cabin.  That is until a bloody and injured Sean Hansen appears on his doorstep and faints into the snow.

Sean Hansen is being hunted and by several factions, all of whom want him dead.  The gunshot wound in his side attests to that and between the pain and the snow Sean is being to despair of ever making his destination.  The cabin called Sanctuary One was no longer used for official business but Sean figured it would just be off the grid enough for him to be safe there until the last of his mission is finished. And then all Sean wants to do is find the man he had started to love, so he could explain and apologize. The last person he expects to see just before passing out from pain and blood loss is Jake Callahan, the man he has been thinking about.

As the snow storm turns into a blizzard that seals the cabin off from everyone around them, Jake and Sean are left to deal with their memories, emotions and the fact that the killers are still on Sean’s trail, putting them  both in danger.

RJ Scott’s Sanctuary series remains one of my top series for 2012 and this latest edition just cements it firmly in place.  The Journal of Sanctuary One picks up where Full Circle (Sanctuary #5) left off, with members of the Bullen family in custody, the Bullen case coming to a close and Sean Hansen escaping from a prison van and on the loose.  Now only a short time later, all the operatives are in recovery mode in one way or another. Manny and Josh (Full Circle) are at a safe house in Canada, working on the encryption of the files, Hayden and Beckett are in New York, Dale is waiting for Joseph to come back from a mission and Jake is feeling alone and hurting from Sean’s betrayal. And you are there with him, feeling his pain and loneliness.

And that is one of the real joys of this series. RJ Scott has created a cast of characters, so complex, so real and from a variety of backgrounds that they are memorable from the very start.  In some books and series, I have to think hard to bring up names and associate them with their personas, not so with the Sanctuary series.  Mention Morgan and I can picture him in detail.  Joseph and Dale, two of the hottest characters (Navy Seal and ex Seal) in the series, and I feel as though I know them intimately.  Over the course of the series, we meet one unforgettable character after another and watch as they bond with each other, and find love. And through it all, the thread that ties the books together along with the Sanctuary organization is the Bullen crime family, which extends from Congress to the many family businesses.  The Bullens have destroyed families, tortured and murdered  their way to the accumulation of wealth and power.  And Scott managed to make the investigation as thrilling as her love stories.  Each book moved the investigation forward (and sometimes back, depending upon the double cross) and always a new criminal element presented itself by the end of the book as well as a new couple. How I loved every minute they continued to investigate the Bullen crime family, a most heinous group of thugs and the wild pathways they took to get evidence and witnesses.

And The Journal of Sanctuary One brings the investigation back to its very beginnings,  including something I didn’t see coming and back to Jake Callahan whose father started the Sanctuary organization and who built Sanctuary One.  The author really pulls together all the elements from each book, including some I didn’t realize were important, to finish off the Bullens once and for all.  We get a closer understanding not only of who Jake is, and what has driven him all these years but that of Sean Hansen, an enigma whose story we have been waiting to hear.  RJ Scott has included most of the characters we love from the other stories, even if we only see and hear  them over the phones and Skype.

And there is nothing like a snowbound cabin to bring out the emotional explosions and stress that have been building for these characters and the author delivers the required scenes in painful detail and authentically loud conversations.  Just what you would expect from these men who are so much each others equal in every way, just perfect.

So have we heard the last from Sanctuary and its operatives?  I hope not.  I get the feeling that we will be hearing from Dale and Joseph soon.  Remember Dale was expecting Joseph back from his mission and we never heard that he made it.  Hmmmm….funny that.  It brings me hope that this outstanding series will continue and that I will meet up once more with all my favorite couples as they investigate, hack, protect, and love. So if you haven’t made the acquaintance of Sanctuary and their operatives, start at the beginning with Guarding Morgan and work your way through the stories in the order they were written.  That way you won’t miss a double cross, new witness or new crime and or course, new couple.  You will love them as much as I do.

Sanctuary Series in the order they should be read in order to fully understand the Bullen Family conspiracy and the characters involved:

Guarding Morgan, Sanctuary Series #1 – rating 4.25 stars

The Only Easy Day, Sanctuary Series, #2 – my review here

Face Value, Sanctuary Series #3 – my review here

Still Water, Sanctuary Series #4 – my review here

Full Circle, Sanctuary Series, #5 – my review here

The Journal of Sanctuary One, #6

Buy link here LoveLaneBooks.co.uk

All the Sanctuary books can be bought at the link above.