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Squared Away

(Out of Uniform #5)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  2,506 ratings  ·  467 reviews
In the wake of tragedy, SEAL Mark Whitley rushed stateside to act as guardian to his sister’s three young children. But a conflicting will could give custody to someone else—someone Mark remembers as a too young, too hot, wild party boy. Even after six years, Mark can’t shake the memory of his close encounter with Isaiah James, or face up to what it says about his own sexu ...more
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published April 16th 2018 by Carina Press
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 ·  2,506 ratings  ·  467 reviews

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Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
Annabeth Albert does it again with another emotional, compelling, AMAZING installment in her Out of Uniform series!

I could seriously read Annabeth Albert and only Annabeth Albert and be a happy camper. She just gets me and my taste, you know? *happy sigh*

We get a very character-focused story here, folks. It's really all about these two men and their feelings and journey through some extremely tumultuous personal times. We get a dual POV so we get to see inside both MCs' heads, and I loved that
~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~

Out in the field, Mark is Wizard, the brilliant SEAL medic who saves lives. At home, dealing with the pain of losing his sister and brother-in-law, Mark seeks control. He's used to relying on his own judgement, making snap decisions, and having quick follow-through. One moment of hesitation, and someone dies.

But Isaiah doesn't want Wizard the stoic medic. He wants Mark the man: an incurable romantic, a caring uncle, and the best kisser in the world.

"I like you more than my pillow.
Book: Now go and sit in the corner and think why you didn’t love this book:


This book frustrated the hell out of me. MC's not talking is my biggest pet- peeves, something that can be resolved by just talking, is dragged out the whole book until the end, for the "Drama effect", is annoying. At some point i wanted to smack the back of Mark's head and tell him; You are grown ass man..


This series and this Author has been a hit/miss for me

Book 1 – Hit and Miss it was 50/50
Book 2 – Hit because of D
~Mindy Lynn~
4 Stars!

Mark likes control and he has it when he's in the field, in his job, but no so much when he has to return to the outside world. There he's vulnerable and a bit unsure of who he is. He doesn't like not having a plan. So when tragedy strikes and he arrives home to take care of things and finds Isaiah in charge and making all the decisions it throws him off.
Isaiah has wanted Mark since he was 18. They had a moment at his cousin and Mark's sisters wedding but Mark was in denial of his feeli
4,5 rounded up because I loved the writing

I discovered Annabeth Albert with this series.
Off Base is still my favorite, but this one is my second favorite.

Mark and Isaiah met 6 years ago. Mark's sister married Isaiah's cousin. Isaiah was 18 years old and had a big crush on Mark - the older and hot SEAL medic, but Mark pushed him away.
After 6 years, they end up taking care of the 3 young children Mark's sister left behind as orphans. Mark was determined to take full responsibility, but Isaiah w
Apr 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley, 2018, m-m
3 Stars

Isaiah and Mark met each other at Dani and Cal’s wedding (Mark’s sister and Isaiah’s cousin), six years ago. At the time, Isaiah was eighteen and wanted to lose his virginity. He’d chose Mark but not only Mark rejected him but he claimed he’s not gay. Six years later, Dani and Cal die in a car accident. They both had separate wills and in each will, one of Mark or Isaiah were chosen to be the guardianship. So until the court settles everything, they have to share custody. And both of them
4.5 stars

Even though it was borderline too angsty for me, the realness of the story makes it a huge winner.

I am amazed at how the author incorporated an interracial relationship, a marginalized sexual orientation MC, grief at sudden and unexpected death of family members and three very young orphans. That's a lot in one story isn't it? Oh, and let's not forget the overriding setting of this series is the life of Navy SEALS, so one of our MCs is also dealing with that aspect in his life.


Too mu
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Squared Away by Annabeth Albert was a real gem. It dealt with some weighty topics in a realistic matter. There was guilt and grief that both men carried a secret carried by one of the leading characters. But none of it ever felt contrived in a story which could've easily been full of drama.

What I loved:

-Opposites attract

-The children. Kids in books make me nervous. Sometimes authors make them about to be cartoonish, and they get annoying, thankfully it wasn't the case here.

2.75 Stars

Squared Away had a strong start for me. I love military themed novels, and Navy SEALs are a personal favorite. That this series is specifically about Navy SEALs being laid low by love is what drew me to it. I think the novels stand alone well enough, but I am a fan of reading a series from the beginning, regardless.

Now, I am in the minority among my friends that have read this one. I didn't love it. I loved both of the MC's and I appreciated their challenges, but I never really "got" t
*J* Too Many Books Too Little Time
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: male-action
Solid 4 Stars!

I'm kind of shocked that I'm 5 for 5 with this series. Obviously some books I've enjoyed more than others. But I will say this one is one of my top three books in the series.

I was a little worried after the first chapter, I thought Isaiah was SUPER immature, granted he was what 18? Thankfully we jumped forward six years and he'd really grown up a lot.

Not a lot of steam in this one, given Mark's sexuality. Which was fine. It felt authentic and I loved how Isaiah was so respectful
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: military
*4.5 stars*

I really liked this! I'm a big fan of this series and Squared Away is actually my second favorite after Off Base.

Six years ago, during a wedding reception, Isaiah James (cousin of the groom) decided that he wanted SEAL Mark Whitley (brother of the bride) to pop his cherry. Things didn't go as planned and Mark's rejection set the tone for all their future encounters.

Six years later Uncle Ikey is no longer the party boy extraordinaire but a responsible adult ready to take action, and Un
Lyn❤Loves❤Listening #AUDIOBOOKADDICT
Audio – 5+++ stars!! Greg doing the children’s voices…adorbs…simply adorbs!!!
Story – 4.5 stars!!

Phew!! I’m one of the lucky ones. I loved this book.

I’m appreciating that, for the most part, the author isn’t going the cookie cutter route with this series. Each couple has their own set of problems, different backgrounds and experiences. The lack of communication seems to be the go for creating the angst though. It gets frustrating, but when the resolution happens, the feels come into play, and
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbtq
*4,5 stars*
Another fabulous book by Annabeth Albert!

I have not read a lot about people on the asexual spectrum, and I was really moved by Mark's story. He identifies somewhere on the gray asexual/demi-sexual scale, which has severe implications for his love life. He has given up in believing that there is someone out there for him who will 'put up' with him.

Annabeth Albert described his emotions, his sexual feelings in the most sensitive and relatable way. And it was such a joy to watch how gen
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
Man, this was a most unsatisfying romance. Like, seriously. It's so sad, because the 'Out of Uniform' series is amazing and one of my favorite books ever (At Attention) is part of this series.
Who doesn't like Navy SEALs as romance characters?!

But this?

First of all, I absolutely don't like romances that make heavy use of sexual labels such as demisexual, pansexual, asexual (ace...what a nice term) and whatnot.
Either you like another human being sexually or you don't. I can't stand guys putting la
Maria✦❋Steamy Reads Blog❋✦
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: m-m
I le cried. *sniff*
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Tag Team Review with Adam!

4 HEARTS--Back in again more Annabeth Albert and I am not tired of this series yet!

Squared Away can be read as a standalone. It features not only an ace MC but a biracial MC as well. If you've followed along in the series, Isaiah (secondary character from book #2 - At Attention) the sex positive roommate has harbored a crush on his cousin's brother-in-law, Mark aka Wizard. The two have a rocky start and years passed. They hear about each other in passing but a tragedy b
Oct 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Isaiah made a pass at Mark at the wedding of Isaiah’s brother and Mark’s sister. Mark soundly rebuffed him. Isaiah was hurt, and continued to be hurt at every family gathering when Mark ignored him. He eventually thought he had let his feelings go.

Five years later, after a tragic car accident the brother and sister were killed. Each giving guardianship of their children to their sibling. Mark is a SEAL, deployed, when he gets news of the deaths. Getting home as fast as he can, he is surprised to
Chris  C - A Midlife Wife
Interesting twist in this one
This book was a bit different from what I expecting. Usually when I read a M/M story it’s pretty darn hot. This book, however, is more in the medium heat range. It’s more of an emotional connection and that’s just one difference about this story.

There are other differences too. On one hand you’re dealing with children you didn’t expect. On the other hand, you’re dealing with the unknown details of someone else’s life. What you expected from you
The "Out of Uniform" series is one of my favorites and so far I've enjoyed every story I've read. Sadly, the fifth book didn't quite hit the mark for me but it wasn't a total miss either. It landed somewhere in the middle.

Wizard, or Mark, and Isaiah have been present in previous books but we never really got to know them. In this book we learn a lot about Mark and his sexuality and we get to know Isaiah pretty well.

Mark is reliable, calm under pressure, the teammate everyone depends on when thin
3.5 stars

As an asexual reader, one thing I need to say first about this book. THANK YOU so much, Annabeth Albert, for writing a character in asexuality spectrum.

Now, I know that experience in sexuality between asexual people can be different, uniquely defined by their own nature vs. nurture environment, I still feel that what Mark has been going through rings through. I also thought in regards to Mark's approach to sex with Isaiah, it was respectful to his sexuality. So, I wholeheartedly apprec
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Sensuous, intimate, and sensitive!

Squared Away is a heartfelt story that takes us into the lives of Mark and Isaiah as they each must learn to cope with the loss of a sibling, their new status as guardians to three children, and a budding relationship that will require a lot of trust and understanding.

The writing is generous and compassionate. The characters are sorrowful, supportive, and flawed. And the plot told from two different points of view nicely unravels to reveal a tale about life, los
Sep 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Isaiah and Mark’s story made me cry, smile and scream. And almost throw my kindle. They met through Cal (Isaiah’s cousin and quasi brother) and Danielle (Mark’s sister). Isaiah had a crush on Mark, and when Mark rejected him, it was the end of that.

Until 6 years later, when tragedy hit and they found themselves jointly responsible for Cal and Dani’s kids. And both heartbroken.

“Day by day, one foot in front of the other, he was getting through it. But then he’d feel a bit guilty about that, like
Tag team review with Baby!

3.5 stars

From the first page it’s clear that Mark and Isaiah are complete opposites. Mark is a one-man fortress - stoic and completely self-reliant. Isaiah has more of a wild personality, preferring fun and living life in the moment.

These differences make it hard for the two to understand each other. Their relationship is made more difficult by the fact that Mark rejected Isaiah at a wedding six years ago, something neither man has forgotten.

But despite this history, th
4.5 stars - bumped up for excellent narration

I wasn’t wild about the previous book in this series (Wheels Up) and wasn’t sure I was going to continue to read or listen to any more, but then I saw the blurb for Squared Away AND that Greg Boudreaux was narrating it, so I decided to give it a try.  And I’m glad I did, because it turned out to be a beautifully told story of love – romantic and familial – trust, and acceptance, featuring an unusual (in my reading/listening experience, that is) slow-b
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
There's a few authors who I know, when it comes to a military setting, that I'm going to get a book that not only gets that aspect right, but also perfectly pitches the romance that goes with it.

Annabeth Albert is one of those and in her latest Out of Uniform offering, she gives the reader something different. This book still has all the military elements down pat, even with the narrative including a rush job home at the end of a deep ops mission.

But it also has great depth, especially when it c
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m, arcs
3.5 to 4 stars.

I love Annabeth Albert and I especially love her SEAL books. I love how every story gives us a different set of characters with different struggles and realities.

I really liked Mark, I especially liked reading about an asexual character. It was different and I deeply enjoyed getting to know him.
Isaiah was such a nice character, I wanted to hug him and protect him. his love for his little family was so big.

This story starts with a tragedy and little by little you get to know th
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Guys - I've never read Annabeth Albert. What the heck, self??? I think a publicist reached out about this book asking for a guest post, and when I read the blurb I thought - ooooh, I'll give this one a try. And I ended up really enjoying this author's voice. She gives us Isaiah, biracial, and younger than Mark. And Mark, a Navy SEAL who working out his identity.

Mark, who has been deployed for many months gets the news that his sister, Danielle and brother-in-law, Cal have died in a car accident,
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was sent this book as an advanced copy for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own.

(Maybe 4.5 stars but rounding up for the cuteness)

Okay so don't mind me while i SQUEAL because this book made me feel all kinds of feels. I was weirdly in the mood for an M/M romance where one of the guys has to raise a kid on his own, but get this: BOTH guys are raising THREE KIDS. Together.

I don't think I could've asked for more from this trope. This had everything I wanted: cute domestic scenes, f
Rachel Emily
Mark and Isaiah are thrown together when they become parents to their nieces and nephews. They had a moment back when Isaiah was just eighteen, but have kept their distance from each other since then. Now they have to work together to do the best thing for the 3 kids while figuring out their relationship, their careers, and lives.

What I loved most was how Mark's sexuality was explained and handled. Mark has never liked labels, but he has realized that if there has to be a label for himself it w
Emily Seelye
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, m-m, military
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Frequent tweeter, professional grammar nerd, and obsessive reader, Annabeth Albert is also a Pacific Northwest romance writer in a variety of subgenres.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two toddlers.

Other books in the series

Out of Uniform (7 books)
  • Off Base (Out of Uniform, #1)
  • At Attention (Out of Uniform, #2)
  • On Point (Out of Uniform #3)
  • Wheels Up (Out of Uniform #4)
  • Tight Quarters (Out of Uniform, #6)
  • Rough Terrain (Out of Uniform, #7)

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