• The Hands We're Given

  • Aces High, Jokers Wild, Book 1
  • By: O.E. Tearmann
  • Narrated by: Kirt Graves
  • Length: 13 hrs and 16 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (56 ratings)

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The Hands We're Given  By  cover art

The Hands We're Given

By: O.E. Tearmann
Narrated by: Kirt Graves
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Publisher's summary

Sex. Drones. Rock and roll.

Aidan Headly never wanted to be the man giving orders. That's fine with the Democratic State Force base he's been assigned to command: they don't like to take orders. Nicknamed the Wildcards, they used to be the most effective base against the seven Corporations owning the former United States in a war that has lasted over half a century. Now the Wildcards are known for creative insubordination, chaos, and commanders begging to be reassigned.

Aidan is their last chance. If he can pull off his assignment as Commander and yank his ragtag crew of dreamers and fighters together, maybe they can get back to doing what they came to do: fighting for a country worth living in.

Life's a bitch. She deals off the bottom of the deck. But you play the hands you're given.

©2018 O.E. Tearmann (P)2019 Amphibian Press

What listeners say about The Hands We're Given

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good intro, looking forward to seeing what’s next for the Wildcards!

Hmm. Well. This book is slow-going. It’s definitely more romance-centric than what I was expecting since this wasn’t actually listed under the Romance category on Audible. I was expecting more rebellion and explosions? More suspense? Instead, this is a bit more light-hearted as far as the overall plot goes.

The book is fairly long, and I may not have finished it otherwise if it wasn’t for Kirt Graves’s narration. The narration is top-notch and can I just say that he does children’s voices VERY well?? He also does an English accent for one of the MCs - Kevin.

Although, I will note that the story is told in third-person but only Kevin’s speaking voice adopts an English accent and the narration of the story is still done in an American one. The story is a little choppy and since I listen to audiobooks at 2x speed, I got lost a lot between scene changes where days or weeks would pass with almost no warning.

This entire book is like a setup for the second book. It introduces you to the characters and the world. This is set in the not too distant future, where a select few corporations run the United States and we’ve fallen into a state where every citizen is monitored and you have the rebels living off grid, or in the “dust”, just trying to survive.

There are a few unanswered questions regarding how the rebel factions can be so organized and if they were once the military and somehow got edged out by the major corporations. I’m not entirely sure how that all came together.

At the heart of this story is a romance between the new commander, Aiden, and the logistics officer, Kevin. Aiden is a trans man and is anxious and new to being a commander. His first big assignment is a group of people who come from all walks of life called the Wildcards (okay, I totally still call them Wildcats because High School Musical is totally engrained into my psyche). They’re a failing group now ever since their commander Taylor died of cancer and now it’s up to a newbie like Aiden to get them back up to their previous numbers.

Aiden is precious and seems to do a good job as a commander? But the story seems to skip almost all the parts where he shows real leadership and shows him just trying to figure out how to get the Wildcards to work together. A lot of his anxiety stems from him not wanting the Wildcards from finding out he’s trans. In a world where it’s normalized to be genetically modified from birth, being homosexual is a crime, and being trans especially so. He makes it work off the grid, but he’s worried because he’s seen what can happen to those who aren’t deemed “normal”.

Something I love is that Aiden is never “outed” as trans because of something awful, but it’s only because he chose to tell people he’s trans. He does choose to tell Kevin his deadname, but I think that was the only time it came up.

I’m not sure I’ve seen an #ownvoices review for the book yet, so I’m not sure how this book rates for trans readers but the story doesn’t seem to fall into the usual horrid tropes in stories with trans characters for what it’s worth.

There are quite a few sex scenes in the back half of this book. It’s sweet how the characters ALWAYS ask for consent and I love how both Aiden and Kevin are equally awkward.

This one ends with a HFN seeing as there’s a hint at bigger things to come, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens to the Wildcards in book two. I know the text is already out, but I’ll definitely be waiting for the audiobook release!

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2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing

This dystopian type book is brilliant. Set in the feature, after America destroyed itself and seven corporations rose up to save the day...of course that means things take a turn for the worse, except for those on top.
This book is about one of the bases that are fighting against the corps, a base that is falling apart after the death of their commander.
Adian Headly is a new commander and assigned to the Wild Cards. There, he finds something he's been looking his entire life for--a place to belong.
He also meets Kevin. Kevin a man with secrets as dangerous as Aidan's.
I loved the world-building, the found family themes, and the unexpected love that sparks between the commander and the Logistics Officer.
It's a hard read at times because there are so many truths in it. It's a brilliant read, the authors are amazing at storytelling, combining romance, dystopian and steampunk themes, and good writing.

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Something different and something good

Aiden is a trans man. If this bothers you then just move on. Love is love and people are who they are. Get over it. It’s sort of a coming of age story for Aiden in a way that he becomes more of himself. The love story with Kevin is simply incredible.
The team including Tweak & Billie are simply amazing. The love they have for one another as for their fellow man is why they fight. I was really happy to see that the story continues. I am definitely interested in contact I hung the series.
I loved getting Kevin’s life history. I love his love of history. I enjoyed to current references that only he knew and how he used words the others didn’t always understand.
His constant need for knowledge is something I understand.
Narration by Kirt Graves was perfect. I hope he narrates the next books in the series too.
I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Master character craft!

The Hands We’re Given is the first book in the Aces High, Jokers Wild series. The author, O. E. Tearmann, is a master of character craft. He has written some of the most compelling, complex, and flawed characters that I have read in a long time.

In this future reality, corporations use gene-therapy to create “perfect” humans. Everyone else is disposable. Our team of flawed characters, aka The Wild Cards, is part of the Resistance. They live outside of the metropolitan corporate zones and fight for the right to exist.

The narrator, Kirt Graves, did a phenomenal job! The characters and their personal struggles come to life in his interpretation.

My emotional journey while reading this book reminded me of watching the cult classic Firefly. If you loved Firefly, you will love this book as well.

Don’t forget to check out the series website. You can thank me later.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to read complex characters and stories exploring gender identity.

Michele, AudiobookLIfe.com

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Unexpected in the best way!

I had a much different expectation when I started this audio book. And it surprised me, in the best way imaginable. The thing that impressed me the most was the balance of world-building, story, and character. O.E. Tearmann had the ability to know almost exactly what I was looking for as a reader. The moment I found myself needing to know what was happening with the larger narrative, we'd move on from a quieter moment with a few characters to see where the Wildcards were at with their bigger challenges. And as soon as we'd have a chapter with the ensemble, we'd return to a smaller piece letting you get to know more about a particular character or develop a key relationship. Kevin and Tweak were my absolute favorites.

It's a sense of pacing I haven't seen in some time and made this audio book one of my favorite listens this year. I also am so eager to hear where the Wildcards are headed next. Thank you!

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Corporate Controlled Dystopia

While browsing a list of offered review copy books, this title caught my eye. I received a oopy, at my request. I have just finished listening to it and am now posting a voluntary review.

This book centers on Aidan, new commander of the 'Wild Cards'. The 'Wild Cards' are a group of soldiers/rebels assisting in the attempt to overthrow corporate control in America. Set in a near future 2155, a war has been waging for 60 years between the corporations and the displaced US military. The book starts out giving us little bits of background information about how the corporations gained control of the country and continues filling in the gaps throughout the story.

There is a secondary main story besides the sci-fi/cyberpunk elements. A significant portion of the book is devoted to a romance between Commander Aidan and the logistics officer on base, Kevin. Aidan's character is a transgender male who is still coming to terms with his body. We see how the couple navigate and explore what that means for both Aidan and Kevin. It is a thoughtfully and sensitively told story that I liked very much.

The sci-fi story is not non-stop action but there are a few nice suspenseful scenes. The author has constructed some wonderfully thought-out world-building. There is a believable plot with plenty of details about how this dystopian world works under corporate control.

The characters are a wide mix of personalities and backgrounds. The focus is the alternating POVs of Aidan and Kevin in this first book of the series. I'm hoping subsequent books will give some of the secondary characters their own focus.

The narration by Kirt Graves is stellar. His storytelling abilities had me immersed in the story. I'll be checking out his other work, for sure.

Recommended. It's well worth the time to listen.

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The Hands were Given

This is a very intriguing read that captured me right from the start. The Characters are like a close knit family. I love how the Author has brought the characters to life and the story to fruition. Its keeps you enthralled throughout the whole Audiobook, there are twists and turns everywhere. I find the characters fascinating, I love how the main guy gets on the level of his team. This is definitely right up there with the 100 and Hunger Games. I definitely recommend. Boththe Author and the Narrator really done a fantastic job.
Shauna Joesten

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Exceptional! Destined to be an all time favorite!

O.E. Tearmann has written a terrific story. The story is strong, genuine and never falters not even for a moment. Commander Aidan Headly captures your attention immediately and your heart soon after. Trying to reunite a group of broken and battered crew while keeping himself together is a challenge he’s not sure he’s prepared for. This dystopian sci-fi romance is peppered with 1980s music references while the characters - queer, trans, gay, lesbian, damaged, traumatized, straight - are just plain humans finding faith in themselves, trust in each other while fighting for freedom for all.
Kurt Graves’ narration of the audiobook is perfect.
-I received a free review copy of this book and am voluntarily leaving a review.

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Not what I expected

The book was different thin I expected and was not my usual type of book I would chose but the writing and narration was good and kept me entertained the whole time.

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loved it

awesome story, loved the characters. narrator does a great job bringing the story to life! definitely recommend

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