Audiobook Review: Counterblow by Isobel Starling

counterblowStory Rating: 5 stars
Audio Rating: 5 stars

Narrator: Gary Furlong
Length:4 hours and 54 minutes

Audiobook Buy Links: Amazon/Audible | iBooks
Book Buy Links: Amazon | iBooks


Sam Aiken is miserable, stuck at home recovering from the injuries he received in book three of the Shatterproof Bond seriesReturn to Zero. Declan Ramsay, his lover and mission partner, is waiting on him hand and foot, almost literally, as Sam’s injuries are a broken arm and leg. Declan is happy to take care of his man, but he’s worried. Sam hasn’t been the same since what happened (and I’m not going to tell you what that is because you must read the series), and Declan thinks he needs to face his trauma and meet the man who caused it all. Through everything the love Sam and Declan feel for each other shines, and together they’ll weather whatever Sam’s father, the head of the agency they work for and all around ass, throws at them.

Sam is now having nightmares about what he went through. He’s become frustrated at being laid up. Soon, he begins snapping at people, including Declan. Even after the men exchange vows in a small ceremony, things are still tense. Can Sam and Declan find peace in their working lives and relationship? Will facing his greatest fear, and his nemesis, help Sam along the road to total recovery? What will be next for Sam and Declan?

I loved this book. I can’t say that enough. It’s perfectly balanced in its plot. There’s intrigue, mystery, action, romance, and sex. It’s got something for everyone and will grab the reader and hold on until it’s over. I am going to say you cannot go into Counterblow blind. You need to start at the very beginning with As You Wish, then, Illuminate the Shadowsand finally, Return to Zero. Through those, you’ll see how Sam and Declan met, fell in love, became partners, and faced the danger that leads into Counterblow. They’re all outstanding books, and you won’t be sorry.

Sam and Declan have amazing chemistry. They’re one of my favorite couples of all time. Their love is beyond compare, and the sex is off the charts hot. However, they also have empathy for each other, and both men want what’s best for the other. It’s powerful and a joy to read.

A few background characters have roles to play in this story. The main two are Sam’s father, James Aiken, who’s a right bastard, and Erik Madsson, the man who tortured and nearly killed Sam. These men are terrifying. Isobel Starling made them so convincingly evil, I had chills. Especially Erik. Reading the interrogation scene between Sam and Erik made me tense, but I never wanted to put the book down to give myself a break.

The end of the book wrapped everything up nicely, and ended with a sweet love/sex scene. I wouldn’t exactly call it a cliffhanger, per se, but it’s obvious there will be a book five. I wasn’t left feeling frustrated or angry because Counterblow is a complete story. It’s what I would call a piece in a greater puzzle, and I can’t wait to see where Starling takes us next.

Oh my goodness! I am absolutely thrilled with the audio version of Counterblow. Once again, Gary Furlong narrates, and let me tell you, that man has made this series his own. He has a gentle and soothing accent, and it puts me at ease right away. Furlong has a knack for making all the characters’ personalities shine through. Each person has their own voice…even the women. Declan is Scottish, Sam is British. The senior Aiken is uptight and self important, and that shines right through. Erik Madsson is Swedish, and Furlong completely nailed that too. I was completely impressed. One of my favorite examples of the true talent of Gary Furlong is when Sam and Declan spoke a few words of Italian to each other. As I mentioned, Declan is Scottish, and I was amazed when I heard Declan speak Italian…with a Scottish accent! Surprising and delightful!

Another favorite was a very intimate sex scene. Declan had been treating Sam with kid gloves, afraid of hurting him (Dec is quite a bit bigger than Sam) due to his injuries. Sam tells Declan he’s ready to resume their normally vigorous sex life. They come together fiercely, and as Declan is thrusting into Sam, they begin reciting their wedding vows to each other. I loved this because their wedding took place “off camera.” We’re made aware they got married, but we’re only told about it…it was small, and only a few family members attended, and James Aiken didn’t. The scene was hot, but achingly romantic. I was overcome with the emotion of it all and cried big fat tears. Perfection!

Thanks to a strong story and a talented narrator, I was completely caught up in this audio book. I listened to it straight through. No breaks. I didn’t want to stop. I laughed, and I cried, and I hung on for dear life during the action scenes. I know I’ve said this before, but I’m not a huge audio fan. However, I’m so happy to have been able to listen to this series, and I’m chomping at the bit to see where book five will lead us.

I highly recommend this audio. Hell, I highly recommend this whole series. Listen to the books. Read the books, but just get the books. I just know you’ll love them.

kenna sig

 

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