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  • How to Shield an Assassin

  • Unholy Trifecta, Book 1
  • By: AJ Sherwood
  • Narrated by: Iggy Toma, Antonio Amato
  • Length: 9 hrs and 21 mins
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (29 ratings)

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Summary

It’s not stealing if you’re stealing it back…

Ari had a game plan for life: shoot people. Get money. Hang out with fellow criminal friends. He saw absolutely no reason to change that plan until one dark night in Memphis, when a little girl reached out to him with pocket change and a desperate plea for him to help her.

Adopting an abused little girl off the streets was, needless to say, not part of the plan. Ari had no idea what he was doing with an eight year old. He especially didn’t know how to juggle taking contracts and raising a little girl.

Things get more complicated when the mercenary, Carter Harrison, approaches him with a job. He needs Ari’s expertise to get into the very high-security museum, Knowles, and steal back Monet’s Water Lily Pond. The job isn’t an easy one. He’d need more than the two of them to make it happen. It’s further complicated because Ari’s not sure what to do with his new daughter while working this job.

And for that matter, how’s he supposed to handle the sexy mercenary?

©2022 AJ Sherwood (P)2022 Podium Audio

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  • Phx17
  • 20-07-22

The Professional + Three Men & A Lady, but dull

Once is odd, twice is coincidence, three is a pattern. After listening to the author’s Scales N Spells and Jon’s Mysteries series, this book makes it clear the author has a formula- and kind of a weird one at that. She favors storylines that feel cozy, all mild conflict, TV level action/violence, and set in a world where all the characters are LGBTQ supportive. Yet, despite the majority-Hallmark-gay-feel, there’s unnecessary
F bombs and descriptive MM get-togethers. While her formula worked great for me in Scales N Spells, and good for me thru the first two Jon’s Mysteries books, this book ended up barely okay.

A MM hitman rom-com? Heck ya! Take the Hitman’s Guide series by Alice Winter, which has hilarity, heat, and heart. This book only brought the heart part, with 8 year old Remi bringing an assassin, a thief, and a hacker together to care for her like Three Men and a Baby meets The Professional. Or maybe Goldilocks and the Three Bears, considering how often the author refers to Remi’s blond hair and “chocolate brown eyes.” Come to think of it, that’s another pattern I could do without: repetitive phrases. Add in the author’s obsession with avoiding straight characters at all costs and it was exasperating to have yet another book where all the main characters are gay, bi, or maybe-poly (books 2 or 3 will say for sure). I dunno, maybe it’s just me to find it clunky and off.

But, as the lack of action or conflict lulled me to sleep, my mind wandered to the biggest inconsistency: the assassin plot clashed horribly with the other aspects of the story. I started to pick apart all the things that made no sense:
-Ari is this infamous, dangerous, smart assassin, but he (1) goes off-script on a job and takes not one, but two people out just to make the world a better place, (2) is lazy enough to forego a silencer, and (3) gets snuck up on by a random gal at a Walmart… all in the first chapter or two.
-He matter-of-factly kills for Remi and she accepts it from bang. As does everyone else who finds out about it … cause family members just go with the flow when their brother is an assassin and announces he's keeping the 8 yr old.
-Ari, Ivan, and K then proceed to raise Remi with F bombs, jujitsu, and training in thieving and hacking, also from the moment Remi joins them … and still barely a hesitation by anyone.
-There’s even a scene where the three bears, plus love interest Porter, all drool as they watch Turkish wrestling, with Remi in the room, while they discuss how sexy the MM wrestling is. Made my skin crawl.
-Then there’s the main plot, about Ari the assassin being hired to steal a painting… and not to be an assassin. It would have made far more sense for Ari to be a thief who isn’t afraid to kill.

In the end, for a story with an assassin, a thief, a hacker and a mercenary, that features multiple LGTBQ characters and a couple of naughty bits in the final third, this was a remarkably vanilla listen. It wasn’t horrible, just underwhelming.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Lyndsay TC
  • 10-08-22

Loved!

I absolutely loved this book! It was fantastic and not what I was expecting. The found family was amazing and the relationships they had with one another were heartwarming. I loved how they accepted Remi with no questions and how she incorporated herself into the group. Carter and Ari were fun as Ari tried his best to not fall for Carter. I highly recommend this book and the narration was fabulous! The voices really brought every character to life.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Lady Di
  • 27-08-22

One too many narrators

Ok so why two narrators? Iggy Toma did awesome butAntonio Amato was really bad. He totally ruined this book. First off when Antonio read a intimate scene(my favorite part) it bored me to tears. To be honest I don’t see why this book got such high reviews. The beginning 2 chapters started out interesting when Ari finds Remmi. But after that the story crashed and burned 🔥. It never got better. Totally unbelievable which is ok at times but this just dragged. The whole books focus was all over the place. First of all an 8 yr old with the knowledge Remmi had after 6 months was a bit rediculous. She could’ve helped herself with her wise knowledge rather than trusting in Ari. The romance had no connection at all. I didn’t feel any of the relationships. No basis for any of the feelings. There’s no info on anyones backgrounds. Any reason to care about one another. Especially the love interest. Just a dud in my eyes. I won’t purchase the next book.Please take advice and drop Antonio Amato. Wish I could get my money back but already returned a book last month.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Robin
  • 16-08-22

Awesome .....

great story, full of humor, heartfelt love for just doing the right thing. love the combination of teasing and family loyalty of true friendships. and of course the love connection between Ari and Carter wickedly hot and endearing. Definitely worth the price or a credit.

1 person found this helpful

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  • iamltr
  • 27-07-22

le giant sigh...

This story really was about finding your family and bonding. Yes, Ari kills for a living but even he deserves a family to love and support him.

Here we have Ari who is hired by a child to take out her stepfather who has been abusing her. After taking care of him, Ari decides to keep her and adopts her, unconventionally.

While taking a break from work, Carter tracks down Ari and gets him and the others in the team to do a heist. While doing the heist, these four men bond and become a family.

Ari and Carter do end up together, but I think Ari really needs some therapy.

The overarching story here was the fact that this group of not so bad guys admit that working together is good and they decide to do it.

The narration was fine, my only issue was the fact that when the narrator flipped, the accents changed, which at the beginning kicked me out of the story. Eventually it did get better.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amy M
  • 27-07-22

Fabulous book

I love this whole series by AJ Sherwood. Ari and Carter make the perfect team and Remi is a little doll. And you can’t forget Ivan and Kyo. These guys are amazing and I love the way this has been produced for audio. These dual narrators did a fabulous job bringing these characters to life. I can’t wait for the rest of this series to come out on audio.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Casey
  • 24-07-22

No Miscommunication!

Cute story. Narration wasnt my favorite but I'm really picky about that and it's not like it took me out of the story. Low stress and no miscommunication so it was good to have on while doing other things.

1 person found this helpful

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  • monchari
  • 24-07-22

Love the Team

I love all of Ms Sherwood's stories and this book came as number one.
There are plots, actions, humour and emotions with a bit of romance.
I have been reading it so many times and want this dimension of hearing too.
Love both narrators. I can imagine all of them with their voices (only for Ivan's, I think he should have a bit younger and naughtier voice)

1 person found this helpful

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  • christi l harris
  • 20-07-22

Loved it!

Ari is just a guy, assassin, who’s doing a job and gets a last minute hire he can’t refuse. This decision changes his life for the better. His 2 friends , hacker and thief, are there to help with his daughter, she’s in training and it’s awesome. There’s lots of laughs and heart. Very enjoyable, looking forward to the next one.

1 person found this helpful