SERIES REVIEW: Nothing Special Books 2-6 by A.E. Via
The tail end of last year had me binge reading on Nothing Special because A.E. Via knows her business and she had me buying all of them.
This, even if on close inspection, most plots don’t hold much water, police detectives spend more time fucking each other than working on their cases, disbelief needs to be suspended more often than not, many lines were cheesy AF and inconsistencies and editing slips were present.
But who cares?! This series is pure escapist fun. And hella funny especially every time Day opens his mouth. I live for the characters! I love their bonds. These people were real to me and I wanted updates on each one of them on every book.
This is a review of books 2 to 6. Review of book 1, Nothing Special can be found here.
Nothing Special: Embracing His Syn – A.E. Via
Sergeant Corbin ‘Syn’ Sydney had dedicated his life to becoming the best detective. So when he heard there was an opening on the notorious Atlanta Narcotics Task Force, he jumped at the chance. But, what he wasn’t ready for was realizing just how lonely he’d made himself, when he observed the loving and dedicated relationship between the two men he served under: Lieutenant Cashel ‘God’ Godfrey and Lieutenant Leonidis Day.
Syn prepared himself to accept his lonely fate until he walked into a small pub and met the long-haired, tattooed bartender, Furious Barkley. Before Syn can even understand why, he’s overcome with feelings he barely recognizes: passion, yearning, craving. And if the dark, lustful gazes are anything to go by, Furious might be feeling the same things for him.
Just two thing needs to happen before Syn and Furi can give each other what’s been missing from their lives for so long… Syn needs to find the evidence that proves Furi’s innocence of murder, as well as protect him from a past that refuses to let go.
God, Day, Ronowski, and Johnson are still as entertaining as ever…
You’ll swoon over God’s massive take-charge attitude…
You’ll laugh hysterically at Day’s never-ending wit…
You’ll fall in love with Furious’ mysterious, sexy demeanor…
You’ll embrace Syn…
Disclaimer: The main characters of this book DO NOT participate in polygamous sexual pairings.
First of all, I love the name Furious. I think I should name a pet Furi.
Furi is on the run from his abusive husband and is currently working in his uncle’s bar while doing adult videos on the side so he could finish school and open his own garage. Syn was at the bar one night, spotted the long haired tattooed porn puppy (Day’s words) and was quickly smitten. It was very much the insta-lust romance the author is known for.
I love how the team rallied behind their sergeant to protect Furi. There’s the strong camaraderie at play that first drew me to the series and made me stay. I loved how Furi became part of the family.
The infamous polyamory was still present here with Syn noticing how God, Day, Ronowski and Johnson were all staring at each other like “pieces of prime USDA beef“. Him and Furi breaking in on the foursome was the best scene in the book. Thankfully, they declined to join in because a sixsome is too much.
3.5 Stars – that place between like and love
Soundtrack: Heaven or Hell
Album: Digital Daggers
Artist: Mixed Emotions
Nothing Special: Here Comes Trouble – A.E. Via
Detectives Mark Ruxsberg and Chris Green are very good at their jobs. Being the enforcers for God and Day’s notorious Atlanta PD Narcotics Task Force causes the crazy duo to get into more trouble than they can often get out of. The pair never misses out on an opportunity to drive their Lieutenants crazy with their dangerous, reckless, and costly stunts, landing them in the hot seat in front God… often.
Ruxs and Green love their jobs and they don’t mind the very demanding schedule that leaves them little time for socializing or dating. It was fine with them, they enjoyed hanging out with each other anyway.
However, most of the men in their close circle of friends and colleagues are pairing off and settling down. God has Day, Ro has Johnson, and their Sergeant Syn has Furious.
For the past several years, Ruxs has only sought out the advice and company of one person, his partner and best friend Green, and vice versa. Both of these alpha males are presumed straight, but neither can deny the heat that’s building in their once ‘just friends’ relationship.
Ruxs and Green are my favorite couple in the series next to Ro and Johnson (who needs their own book please!). But I did feel their book was a missed opportunity to wreck the chaos and mayhem these two were known for. I was really looking forward to all that fun. Sadly it was not to be. Happily, there were more goodness in store.
Their story focused on their realization of feelings and gradual coming together as lovers. I enjoyed this friends-to-lovers development which was done well and did not feel rushed like the other stories. I loved their special connection to Curtis and how their little family came together with all the other guys’ support.
Also super cute side story featuring Curtis and Genesis, God’s little bro who’s not so little at all. Dads Ruxs and Green had their protective dad modes on but there’s no stopping the young ‘uns.
3.5 Stars – that place between like and love
Artist: Green Day
Nothing Special: Don’t Judge – A.E. Via
AN ENEMIES TO LOVERS STORY
Detective Austin Michaels didn’t think life could get any better after he was accepted into the most notorious narcotics task force on the East Coast, headed up by two of the baddest’ Lieutenants with the Atlanta Police Department – Cashel Godfrey and Leonidis Day.
Michaels knew he would fit right in as the team’s sniper, having received his fair share of commendations for marksmanship. He was just as badass as the rest of the twenty brothers that made up their team. But when Michaels lets their prime suspect get away from a huge bust with over a quarter of a million dollars in drugs, he’s willing to do whatever it takes to make it right.
Left with no other options, God chooses to bring in outside help, calling on his long-time friend and bounty hunter, Judge Josephson.
Judge was considered one of the best trackers during his enlistment in the United States Marine Corps. After retiring, he used those skills to become one of the most sought out fugitive trackers in the country. When Judge gets a call from his old friend needing his help, he quickly tells God, yes.
Still embarrassed, and intent to prove himself, Michaels immediately volunteers to partner up with Judge to get their suspect back quickly and quietly. Neither man wanted or needed a partner. But, after Judge and Michaels get on the road, the hate/lust relationship they quickly develop between them will either make them heroes… Or get them killed.
The fourth book brought in a character from the spin-off series, The Bounty Hunters. Judge was God’s bounty hunting friend and occasional bed partner of Duke from Promises Part 1. He’s as tough and alpha as the most of the characters, all leathers, long hair and big guns. Of course my favorite character here was his Great Dane, Bookem.
Michaels is the team sniper who thought he fucked up a mission and felt that he had to make amends. He’s a bit of a hot head who likes to brawl but got along splendidly with Judge’s dad who was terminally ill. The last conversation he had with Judge’s dad was one of the best scenes in the book.
This is probably the book I was least looking forward to reading because I was itching to go to Tech’s book already. But I’m glad this one had some great highlights. I especially liked the dramatic ending where Judge ran away and Michaels was a mess. Then, the all-knowing Day in a rare moment of seriousness said that the bounty hunter will be back. He was right. Judge came back groveling.
3.5 Stars – that place between like and love
Nothing Special V – A.E. Via
The boys are back and fiercer than ever!
“We were a unit tonight, moving as one.Even apart, we are deadly, but when combined – we are f**kin’ unstoppable.”~~ God ~~
Atlanta’s notorious narcotics task force is at it again. They are stronger, bigger, and better than ever. Especially when a city councilman sends RECON Marine, Edwin Steele – who’s been blacklisted from his Oakland department – to join the team. God and Day weren’t recruiting. They have a lot on their plates, like the fact they’re supposed to be getting married soon. They don’t have the time or the patience to integrate a decorated war hero with a slight chip on his shoulder into their well-oiled machine.
A hothead that’s uncontrollable and terrible with authority… but wasn’t that their team motto?
Steele was ready to hang up his shield. He was done fighting with bigoted bastards that couldn’t respect the job. He was good at fighting; he just needed the right team to fight with. When his uncle – City Councilman, Rasmus Steele – shows him a video of God’s team in action, he knows right away, it’s where his nephew belongs in order to restore his faith.
Steele pointed to the driver, a behemoth of a man wielding those massive firearms like a true beast… like a soldier.“And him. Who the hell is he?”
“That’s your new boss. Lieutenant Cashel Godfrey… they call him… God.”
Steele was skeptical about his new placement, but when he meets God’s technology specialist/computer genius, “Tech,” he’s willing to give it his all, and he definitely shows and proves.
Tech is stunning. His sweater vest and khakis, a stark contrast to the blue-jeaned roughnecks he works with. A beautiful sheep amongst the wolves. Steel thinks there’s no way the brilliant man would be interested in a hardhead like him, but Tech has a few badass hidden talents of his own and manages to fool him… fool all of them.
This story is a part of a series but can stand alone.It does not end on a cliffhanger and has a HEA.There are no multiple pairings in this novel.
The fifth book had four POVs, God, Day, Tech and Steele. I’m happy to be inside God’s and Day’s heads once again. It’s all about the wedding with these two with a rather silly argument between them because God had a hard time explaining why he’s avoiding the topic of weddings. The reason is very much in keeping with the big man’s character and I agree with him. LOLing at Day’s angsty-ings <–this is a word I swear (ﾉ≧ڡ≦).
Tech is the team’s tech specialist dreaming to get out in the field. I like hackers so I was immediately drawn to him. I wished he stayed where he was because he’s good at what he does but a nerdy, bow tie+sweater vest wearing enforcer has its appeal too.
Steele rubbed everybody the wrong way and nearly fucked up first day on the job but then proceeded to fit right in. Him and Michaels were probably the two characters that were the least memorable for me.
Tech and Steele’s romance was not really something to write home about but the book as a whole moved the series forward. One highlight was the introduction of the new tech specialist, Free who had a rather dramatic first appearance.
3.5 Stars – that place between like and love
Soundtrack: Handsome Man
Artist: Matt Alber
Album: Wind Sand Stars
Nothing Special VII: His Hart’s Command – A.E. Via
Lennox Freeman (Free) is one of the best hackers in the world which has caused him to spend most of his life on the run. Never able to put down roots, he couldn’t trust anyone not to take advantage of him, even his own family. If it wasn’t for his best friend, Tech, shielding him, Free’s father would’ve sold him and his skills to the highest bidding crime family when he was still a student at MIT. Free owed Tech his life; so when his friend called for him to come to Atlanta to work with him, he couldn’t say no. However, he wasn’t expecting the overprotective group of detectives that made up Atlanta PD’s most notorious task force. And he certainly wasn’t prepared for the large-and-in-charge SWAT Captain that was responsible for their safety.
Ivan Hart has lived and bled one creed all of his life: To Serve and Protect. His intense focus and determination in law enforcement has led him to finally commanding his own team. He’d worked hard to put together a squad of badasses capable of backing up a very dangerous team of detectives. Being God and Day’s last line of defense came with a lot of responsibility that he took very seriously.
After his divorce was final Hart turned right around and remarried his job. He had his good friends there in the office with him every day, so it was easier to ignore the few quiet hours he spent at home alone each night. He’d settled well into his new routine and was comfortable with it. Then God decided to disrupt everything by hiring another tech specialist for his department. A man whose brains, trendy looks, and voice would leave Hart tongue-tied and captivated at their first introduction.
Free quickly awakens a passion in Hart that he long thought was dead. An attraction he didn’t know existed. He couldn’t fathom that the sexy cyber genius could be interested in an over-sized, big-bearded brute that served criminals the bottom line for a living. No matter what his best friend, God said.
A future with Hart could be potentially dangerous and often times full of terrifyingly close calls; but little did he know that so could falling for the most hunted hacker in the world. All Lennox Freeman wants in life is security, love and protection… Hart had all that to give and more.
This novel is a part of a series and contains previously mentioned characters, but CAN BE read as a standalone. No cliffhangers.
The most improved installment in terms of diversity, action and deployment of sex scenes. It’s to be noted that the series so far is a mostly white, testosterone overload with female characters barely making it on page. This one had the welcome addition of a female POC sergeant in Hart’s team who was actually doing something significant. And if I remember right, the mayor was black too.
The story is still romance-centric as with the other books but had more scenes showing Hart in the field as oppose to just paying lipservice to a case. Also, the smexy times came at a more appropriate moments rather than just being put there to make the book steamy.
This is a tender, hurt/comfort love story between Hart, SWAT Captain and big teddy bear, and Free, Tech’s best friend and genius inventor. Hart is a victim of domestic abuse. His ex-wife hated practically everything about him. He zoomed in on Free the first time they met and wonder of wonders, the hacker loved everything his wife hated!
This one also had a very intriguing bonus side story of Fox, Hart’s lieutenant and Bull, the farmer Free and Hart befriended. Will the silver fox catch the big bull?
3.5 Stars – that place between like and love
Soundtrack: Beautiful to Me
Artist: Curt Smith
Album: Soul on Board
Do I recommend this series? Well, if you don’t mind the messy parts and just looking for something purely entertaining, I say go for it. Reading the books in order is the best way to deal with these boys. God said so.
Review of book 1, Nothing Special here.
Review of Promises Part 1 here.
A.E. Via books here.
REVIEW: Risky Behavior by L.A. Witt & Cari Z
Bad Behavior: Risky Behavior – L.A. Witt & Cari Z
It’s day one of Darren Corliss’s career as a detective, and not only has he been assigned a notoriously difficult partner, but the guy might also be a pill-popping dirty cop. Internal Affairs needs proof, and Darren gets to be their eyes and ears whether he wants to or not.
Detective Andreas Ruffner doesn’t play by the rules, and he doesn’t play well with others. With bodies piling up and a list of suspects who are way above his pay grade, the last thing he needs is a wet-behind-the-ears kid for a partner. Or babysitter. Not even if that partner is easy on the eyes.
As Darren gains Andreas’s hard-won trust, they both realize there’s more than just mutual suspicion simmering beneath the surface. But their investigation is heating up as quickly as their relationship, and Darren has no choice but to go along with Andreas’s unorthodox–and borderline unethical–methods. As IA puts the squeeze on Darren to give up the man he’s falling for, he has to wonder–is Andreas the only cop left in this town who isn’t dirty?
Declaring this week Bad Behavior Week because Andreas and Darren happened…
I didn’t expect to like Risky Behavior as much as I did. This is also my first listen to Michael Ferraiuolo and boy, did he knock it out of the park!
Majority of crime stories are solving serial killings, which I enjoy but then again, just how many serial killers are there in the US? On a refreshing note, Risky Behavior is about busting a drug gang whose connections go all the way to the top. Detective Andreas Ruffner thought himself a lone wolf out to take down this corruption. He was saddled with Darren Corliss, a rookie partner aka babysitter because Internal Affairs thinks he has something to hide.
Andreas is an asshole to most people. He trusts no-one. He has his reasons. Darren knows he has to earn that trust and though he was the younger of the two, he wasn’t a doormat. He was up for the challenge. The two didn’t get along at first. Both found the other attractive despite being at odds with each other on their first meeting but I love how L.A. WItt & Cari Z handled the development of their relationship. They had both characters playing it cool and most importantly, keeping it professional. Until they noticed the other one noticed. And then it slowly evolved into trust and a partnership, in both sense of the word, in a very convincing manner. It was so good I’m not even bothered by the almost 20 year age-gap.
The rest of the cast were great characters. Not all of them were likable but the combination of the authors characterization and Michael Ferraiuolo’s delivery made all the characters stand out. It reminded me of the cop shows I used to watch. I could imagine Bad Behavior as a drama series and the supporting cast would be those characters actors who always look familiar but you don’t know the names of.
Jamie Bamber as Detective Andreas Ruffner
Dean Geyer as Detective Darren Corliss
The case is one hell of a hook, keeping me glued to the story for hours. For this part alone, I would recommend the book to mystery/crime fiction lovers who might or might not be into MM. The case was complicated and challenging with widespread repercussions for the entire city. No wonder Andreas was willing to do everything to crack the case. Darren earned his stripes by quickly learning to play the game and sticking his neck out. The two men go against Internal Affairs and government authorities, and make unholy alliances with unlikely individuals. Riveting stuff!
Risky Behavior is a very well-written police procedural story with great characters and cunning twists and turns. Add to that the brilliant narration by Michael Ferraiuolo and you got yourself a winner!
Review of L.A. Witt books here.
4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away
Soundtrack: Honest Town
Artist: Simple Minds
Album: Big Music