6 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Author Provided Book College/University coming of age Contemporary Fated Mates Friends to lovers Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index High but not hopeless High School Homophobia long distance love m/m Morgan New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Part of a Series Race/Species Difference Scorching/high heat Shifter Virgin

Author Spotlight: Cardeno C Wake Me Up Inside (Mates Book 1) Book and Audiobook narrated by Charlie David


A powerful Alpha wolf shifter and a strong-willed human overcome traditions ingrained over generations and uncover long-buried secrets to fulfill their destiny as true mates.

Regarded as the strongest wolf shifter in generations, Alpha Zev Hassick is surprised and confused by his attraction to his best friend. His very human, very male best friend. A male shifter has to mate with a female shifter to keep his humanity, so shifters can’t be gay. Yet, everything inside Zev tells him Jonah is his true mate.

Maintaining a relationship with the man he has loved since childhood isn’t easy for Jonah Marvel, but he won’t let distance or Zev’s odd family get in their way. When unexplained ailments begin to plague Jonah, he needs to save his own life and sanity in order to have a future with Zev.

Zev and Jonah know they’re destined for each other, but they must overcome traditions ingrained over generations and long-buried secrets to fulfill their destiny.

Audiobook Review by Morgan

This is such an amazing beginning to a series!

Mates aren’t supposed to meet as children!  But Zev and Jonah do.  It takes until they’re graduating from high school for Zev to figure it out – and once he does he knows he can’t keep Jonah from his future.  The problem is Mates aren’t supposed to be separated and Jonah can’t know about being mated to a shifter so and two males can’t be mated and wolves don’t mate humans so… How is Zev going to figure all this out?


Though this isn’t my favorite in the series, this series is one of my all time favorite shifter series EVER!  There is a lot of actual shifting – which I love – and humor – which I adore – and sweet and sexy and MINE.  All leading to perfection!

While I loved the emotions shared between Zev and Jonah as they grow together, the sexual tension is almost exhausting. By the time they finally do get together all you can do is release a huge sigh of relief! Though it was hard to see them separate, together they are scorching hot and they never lose faith with one another.

The way Zev has to navigate the new definitions of “mate” and how it relates to shifter politics is great and I loved how he and Jonah do not have the traditional Alpha/weaker-mate relationship but one that is truly equal.

Though you can read them in any order, I recommend reading this series in order.


Charlie David narrates this entire series – YAY – and I hope he does book 4 – too.  He is tremendously gifted at giving us unique characters, fantastic emotions, great timing and smoldering smexy times.  I love the warmth he creates between Zev and Jonah as they play together, then later the emotion he portrays when Jonah is so sick and confused about why he’s sick and finally the culmination in passion when our two MCs FINALLY come together.  Absolutely the best way to enjoy this story!

5 of 5 stars for book and audio


Morgan - Signature-small


Book Review by Mary

I can be a bit particular about shifter stories but this one got me right in the heart.

I loved the whole yin yang concept of the human side needing to connect with another shifter in order for their wolves to settle or they’d go crazy. It was so sweet where Zev knew Jonah was important to him from when they were babies and later in their friendship identified they were true mates. The story is set in a flashback style and at first I struggled with what was then and now but about a quarter of the way through I settled into the story. There is a slow build up and when they get together it’s such a hot and sweet love.

This is a perfect Cardeno C love story. I could feel their pain at being apart and the joy when they were together, leading to their happy ever after. I can’t wait to read (or listen) to book 2, Until Forever Comes. Miguel and Ethan sound intriguing.


Copy Generously Provided by Author for Honest Review

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