5 Stars, Audio Book, Jay Bell, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, New Adult, Reviewed by Kathie, Self-Published, Young Adult

Audio Review: Something Like Lightning by Jay Bell – Narrated by Kevin R. Free

Audio Gem

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Something Like Lightning: Volume 5

Author: Jay Bell

Narrator: Kevin R. Free

Publisher: Self-Published

Run Time: 14 hours and 18 minutes

At a Glance: Jay Bell and Kevin R. Free are both talented craftsmen.  What a great combination!

Reviewed By: Kathie

Blurb: Never stop running. No matter how often life trips you up or how many times your enemies knock you down, just get up and keep on moving until you find where you belong.

Kelly Phillips has been out and proud since he was a young teenager, and thanks to the gay youth group he frequents, he’s never been short on friends or lovers. But when you have almost everything, it’s hard not to focus on what’s just out of reach: a best friend who would be Mr. Right if he wasn’t already Mr. Straight. Or that handsome athlete at school who would be easier to wrangle if not for his angel wings. And then there’s the guy who might be a perfect fit, maybe even a soul mate…if only he wasn’t convinced he didn’t need anyone. Kelly has always been good at running. Now he must learn to chase, which will test not only his endurance but the durability of his heart as well.

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Review: Jay Bell is an auto-buy author for me.  It started with Something like Summer (the eBook published in 2011, the audiobook released in May, 2013), and from that point on, I have read every word of the Something Like series, and have listened to just about all of them. Listening to a Something Like audio is not a small commitment.  Something Like Lightning is 14 hours and 18 minutes, and it’s not a skip-ahead kind of listen. Jay Bell mixes so many characters into his story that if you do try and fast forward, you will miss a plot twist or, in Kelly Phillips’ case, a new opportunity in his love life or career.

The title of this book, Something Like Lightning, really describes the whole feel of the book. Not only is Kelly quick to make decisions, quick to get mad, quick to make judgements, and quick to fall in love, but the other characters are also quick to make decisions: for example, Nathaniel is quick to leave and really, pretty quick to come back to Kelly. What I liked and hated about Kelly was his confidence in himself. Before the accident he was very self-absorbed, but after the accident, he needed that confidence to keep moving forward. What surprised me is that towards the end of the story, I truly liked Kelly and wanted him to have a happy ending. And Nathaniel, who I thought was kind of a hero to go find a hole to bury himself in… what a shortsighted jerk! I know, very strong words from me, but just read or listen to the book. Jay Bell is such a great writer that you become invested in his characters. The next book in the series, Something Like Thunder, is Nathaniel’s story.  I suppose I am going to learn to like him. But really, Jay Bell… Do I have too?

What a talent Kevin R Free has. He doesn’t just tell us a story, he uses his voice to pull us into the world of Jay Bell.  Would I recommend that you purchase this audio and invest 14 hours of your time listening?  You bet I would! Jay Bell and Kevin R. Free are both talented craftsmen.  What a great combination!

TNA_Signature_Kathie

 

 

 

 

You can buy Something Like Lightning here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

Audible.com

Audible.com

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Cardeno C., Genre Romance, Giveaways, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Kathie, Self-Published

Audio Review and Giveaway: He Completes Me by Cardeno C. – Narrated by Alexander Collins

Header - Audio He Completes Me copy

Audio Gem

Amazon

Amazon

Title: He Completes Me (The Home Collection: Book Two)

Author: Cardeno C.

Narrator: Alexander Collins

Publisher: Self-Published

Run Time: 8 hours and 25 minutes

At a Glance: He Completes Me gives us just what Cardeno C. promises: a love story with a happy ending.

Reviewed By: Kathie

Blurb: Not even his mother’s funeral can convince self-proclaimed party boy Zach Johnson to tone down his snark or think about settling down. He is who he is, and he refuses to change for anyone. When straight-laced, compassionate Aaron Paulson claims he’s falling for him, Zach is certain Aaron sees him as another project, one more lost soul for the idealistic Aaron to save. But Patience is one of Aaron’s many virtues. He has waited years for a man who can share his heart and complete his life, and he insists Zach is the one. Pride, fear, and old hurts wither in the wake of Aaron’s adoring loyalty, and as Zach reevaluates his perceptions of love and family, he finds himself tempted to believe in the impossible: a happily ever after.ch doesn’t need to be fixed, and he refuses to be with someone who sees him as broken.

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Review: What a great love story! Cardeno C. just does it for me.  Each of the books in this collection are unique yet tell a story about coming together to form a more perfect union.  Roll your eyes, I get it.  But what is a perfect union? My definition is two or more people who come together and protect each other, love each other through sickness and in health, happiness and sadness, and trust each other no matter what comes their way. And there is pleasure in knowing that in any book I read by this author, I will get my happily-ever-after.  There’s comfort in that.

He Completes Me gives us just what Cardeno C. promises: a love story with a happy ending.  Zach is quite a character, showing up at his mother’s funeral in a skin-tight pink tank top and white pants, trying to tell the relatives he just doesn’t give a damn what they think. But what we learn about Zack as the story unfolds is that he does give a damn and uses anonymous sex, clothes, and a snarky attitude as armor to protect himself from being hurt yet again.

Aaron Paulson is Zach’s complete opposite. Or so it seems. His defense is to take care of people at the expense of himself. Zach points out many times that Aaron is taken advantage of way too often, especially by Zach own brother, Dean, and sister in law, Kimberly. Aaron is also blessed with patience, and to get Zach to admit his love for Aaron, it takes a lot of patience. It also takes a lot of trust on Aaron’s part to wait for Zach to come to his senses (that’s my opinion).

The audiobook is fantastic. The narrator, Alexander Collins, just has the sexiest voice. It sounds like smooth butter and sweet cream, and he does a great job of capturing the personalities of both Aaron and Zach. The added surprise for me was the additional chapter that was added on the end. Thank you, Cardeno C. and Alexander Collins. You make this reader/listener a very happy person.

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You can buy He Completes Me here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

Audible.com

Audible.com

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Cardeno C.About the Author: Cardeno C. – CC to friends – is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few “awwws” into a reader’s day. Writing is a nice break from real life as a corporate type and volunteer work with gay rights organizations. Cardeno’s stories range from sweet to intense, contemporary to paranormal, long to short, but they always include strong relationships and walks into the happily-ever- after sunset.

Cardeno’s Home, Family, and Mates series have received awards from Love Romances and More Golden Roses, Rainbow Awards, the Goodreads M/M Romance Group, and various reviewers. But even more special to CC are heartfelt reactions from readers, like, “You bring joy and love and make it part of the every day.”

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Cafe Risqué ~ SharedBlog | Pintrest | Google+ | Youtube

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THE GIVEAWAY

Cardeno C. is offering the chance for one lucky listener to win an audio copy of He Completes Me.

Good luck!

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Cardeno C., Giveaways, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Kathie, Self-Published

Audio Review and Giveaway: Until Forever Comes by Cardeno C. – Narrated by Charlie David

Until FOrever Comes - Audio Banner copy

Audible US

Audible US

Title: Until Forever Comes (Mates Collection)

Author: Cardeno C.

Narrator: Charlie David

Publisher: Self-Published

Run Time: 5 hours and 54 minutes

At a Glance: This audiobook is a topnotch production.

Reviewed By: Kathie

Blurb: A sensitive wolf shifter and a vicious vampire challenge history, greed, and the very fabric of their beings in order to stay together until forever comes.

Plagued by pain and weakness all his life, Ethan Abbatt is a wolf shifter who can’t shift. Hoping to find an honorable death by joining his packmates in a vampire attack, Ethan instead learns two things: Draining his blood releases his pain and his wolf, and he has a true mate: a vampire named Miguel.

More than four centuries old, strong, powerful, and vicious, Miguel Rodriguez walks through life as a shadow, without happiness or affection. When a young shifter tells Miguel they’re true mates, destined to be together, Miguel sends him away. But Ethan is persistent, and being together comes so naturally that Miguel can’t resist for long. The challenge is keeping themselves alive so they can stay by each other’s side until forever comes.

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Review: WOW! Audiobooks have come a long way.

I started listening to audios about two years ago, as a way to listen to a book in the car, but the narrators then just read the books with very little expression.  Sometimes the narrator’s voice fit the characters, but not that often.

Charlie David’s gift to Until Forever Comes is his uncanny ability to develop and portray all the human and non-human personalities. The sinister aspects of Miguel Rodriguez’s voice, and the naïve outlook that guides Ethan to Miguel with no fear, is so spot on.

Charlie David has an amazing talent, and this audiobook is a topnotch production. Combine that with the writing of Cardeno C., and you just can’t miss Until Forever Comes.

Or, at least you shouldn’t.

TNA_Signature_Kathie

 

 

 

 

You can buy Until Forever Comes here:

Audible US

Audible US

Audible UK

Audible UK

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Cardeno C.Cardeno C. – CC to friends – is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few “awwws” into a reader’s day. Writing is a nice break from real life as a corporate type and volunteer work with gay rights organizations. Cardeno’s stories range from sweet to intense, contemporary to paranormal, long to short, but they always include strong relationships and walks into the happily-ever- after sunset.

Cardeno’s Home, Family, and Mates series have received awards from Love Romances and More Golden Roses, Rainbow Awards, the Goodreads M/M Romance Group, and various reviewers. But even more special to CC are heartfelt reactions from readers, like, “You bring joy and love and make it part of the every day.”

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Cafe Risqué ~ SharedBlog | Pintrest | Google+ | Youtube

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Giveaway

Click here for the chance to win an Audible copy of Cardeno C.’s Until Forever Comes!

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The Fine Print:

*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify
*Some residency restrictions may apply
*All comments must be relevant to the author’s prompt to be eligible (when applicable)
*The Novel Approach will not be held liable for prize delivery unless otherwise specified
*Void where prohibited by law

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4 Stars, Chase Potter, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Kathie, Self-Published

Review: The Water Will Catch You by Chase Potter

Amazon

Amazon

Title: The Water Will Catch You

 Author: Chase Potter

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 233 Pages

At a Glance: The Water Will Catch You is very well written, and I was pulled in right away to both Danny’s and Curtis’s stories.

Reviewed By: Kathie

Blurb: Best friends since childhood, Danny Somers and Curtis Wyatt were inseparable until Danny broke their promise to attend college together, creating a rift between the two that time refused to mend.

Ten years later, their adult lives have veered apart, putting thousands of miles between them. Curtis has forged ahead with a life in their hometown, but when he loses his job and breaks up with his girlfriend, he’s left with nowhere else to turn.

Exhausted and travel weary, Curtis arrives at Danny’s secluded Vancouver Island home to find that his former friend is now… gay. And gorgeous.

When a short visit turns into weeks, the two men begin to find common ground once more. But even as Curtis is forced to revisit the decisions in their shared past that drove them apart years earlier, he’s confronted by a powerful attraction he can neither understand nor resist.

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Review“The water will catch you,” he said.  It’s an inside joke, and it’s a promise.

“And if it doesn’t?”

“Then I will.”

I believe him.

Life is a journey, sometimes we get going on the wrong path, and it feels like an uphill hike filled with rocks and boulders. If we are lucky enough to recognize that we are on the wrong path, and either turn around (if that’s possible) or call out for help, our journey can change.

The Water will Catch You is a story about the journey of two men, both struggled with their lives, but in very different ways. The story switches points-of-view between its main characters, Curtis Wyatt and Danny Somers, each telling their story of the journey they took together while in school, while they were apart, and finally, of the struggle they face reconnecting with each other in the present. Danny is content with his life but admits to wanting more. Curtis, on the other hand, is struggling to find his place and coming to terms with his attraction to Danny.

The Water Will Catch You is very well written and, as an added bonus, the sex scenes are hot. As a reader, I was pulled in right away to both Danny’s and Curtis’s stories. The novel’s conflict is in how to bring these two men together as a couple. To do that they both had to give up some of the baggage they had carried around for years. What is the baggage? Read the story, but don’t be impatient—a good story is worth waiting for.

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You can buy The Water Will Catch You here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

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5 Stars, Kage Alan, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Kathie, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Self-Published

Review: Falling Awake by Kage Alan

Amazon US

Amazon US

Title: Falling Awake

Author: Kage Alan

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 84 pages

At a Glance: True romance, fantasy, and comfort food all packed into eighty-four pages makes for the perfect combination and a great story!

Reviewed By: Kathie

Blurb: Imagine waking up in a place you can’t remember, with a face you don’t recognize, and a name that may not be your own printed on a ticket in your back pocket. And of the five people you meet during the next few hours, four of them hold clues to your past, present, and two possible futures. The outcome of the encounter will determine your soul’s fate, and the only way out of the nightmare may be through falling awake.

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Review: Taste, touch, smell, sound, and sight, the five senses. Falling Awake by Kage Alan is a story that allows the reader to experience all the senses along with the main character, Daniel David.  And the last chapter, titled Rolling Meadows, Illinois, adds one more experience: feelings that smack you alongside the head. They hit you in the gut when Daniel whispers, “Light,” and Tam answers, “Heart,” and it just takes your breath away, wanting for more.

Falling Awake is a fast read. No, I take that back. It seems like a fast read, but I ended up reading it three times in a row just to make sure I caught every detail. I expected it to be snarky, so much so that when I went back and read it the second time, I went looking for the snark I was sure I missed.  Why was I so sure there would be snark? Because Kage Alan writes a blog titled Kage Allen, Let the Bickering Begin.  Just the title alone screams snark, don’t you think?

Where does Falling Awake fit into the M/M genre? It’s a true romance built over many lifetimes. It’s a paranormal fantasy story about the travelers Daniel encounters and the “voice” he hears in his head.  It’s a story about comfort food and how that plays such a role in our lives, served by Martha—I would like to think that we all have had a Martha in our lives, knowing just what to get us to make us feel better.

True romance, fantasy, and comfort food all packed into eighty-four pages makes for the perfect combination and a great story!

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You can buy Falling Awake here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

Smashwords

Smashwords

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4 Stars, Genre Romance, Kendall Morgan, Reviewed by Kathie

Review: Twinks in Bearland by Kendall Morgan

Amazon US

Amazon US

Title: Twinks in Bearland (Bearland Tales: Book One)

Author: Kendall Morgan

Publisher: Tulabella Ruby Press

Pages/Word Count: 69 Pages

At a Glance: I can see this being a great series to watch for.

Reviewed By: Kathie

Blurb: The friends of pretty blue-eyed Dustin Garber are about to find out that he has a secret. He loves bears, big hairy gay men. None of them know it, but he’s just booked them all into the annual Gay Bear Ski week.

Craig, beautiful, black and Jewish, is initially indifferent to the fact that he is spending a week with big hairy men. He already has a hook up planned of his own, although that man turns out to have a bizarre secret.

Patrick and Ethan, two bear-hating twinks who have been secretly in love with each other for years, take much longer to come around to the idea that bears can be good guys too. Dustin isn’t so sure his friendship with them will survive the trip.

And then Dustin meets Nate, a big blond bear who is forever single but ready for something a little different. Nate’s friends, Casey and Ryland, are fighting about Ryland’s porn career. Nate’s friend Gil is busy with a Canadian couple, but together Dustin and Nate get lost on a backcountry trail. Deep in the snow away from everyone they may just find the love they’ve been seeking and the understanding they didn’t know they needed.

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Review: This story is a solid read! Great introduction of the characters, a solid description of the ski resort and some of the bears attending the weeklong bear fest, I think the best part about reading a short story is you get to the sex faster, and Twinks in Bearland has lots of hot sex!

The chapters are somewhat spilt up by the characters.  Dustin has chapter one: his job was to introduce us to the ski lodge setting, the twinks he came with, and the reason they were there.

Casey has chapter two: he is a bear who’s married to a porn star. Casey and Ryland (the porn star) have an open relationship and throughout the story, have sex with various partners.

Craig has chapter three: he is a twink who came with Dustin and his group. His initial thoughts were, “I don’t normally go for bears, even as friends. I like friends who are young and pretty, like me,” but by the end of the chapter, Craig partakes of bear sex, and he likes it. That’s also where we meet Craig’s snowboarder. Let’s just say he has weird bed partners and never leaves home without them.

So, you get the idea. Each chapter is centered on a character who’s either a bear or a twink, with other bears or twinks thrown in. As the week wears on, the twinks and the bears start blending (literally) together, both sides learning that bears can be sexy as hell, while the twinks are smooth and maybe a little crazy when it comes to skiing in the backcountry.

Twinks in Bearland is a quick read, but Kendall Morgan is able to develop the characters nicely. I was left to question any preconceived ideas I might have had pertaining to twinks and bears. Morgan does leave one stereotype in place, though: porn directors can be slimy dicks to their actors, and it’s up to their loved ones to put them in their place.

I can see this being a great series to watch for. There are lots of characters to work with.

TNA_Signature_Kathie

 

 

 

You can buy Twinks in Bearland here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

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2.5 Stars, Allison Cassatta, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Kade Boehme, Narration Rating - 4 Stars, Reviewed by Kathie

Audio Review: We Found Love by Kade Boehme and Allison Cassatta – Narrated by Michael Ferraiuolo

Amazon US

Amazon US

Title: We Found Love

Authors: Kade Boehme and Allison Cassatta

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Narrator: Michael Ferraiuolo

Run Time: 7 Hours and 23 Minutes

At a Glance: Michael Ferraiuolo gave a great performance, but not great enough to overcome my issues with the characters.

Reviewed By: Kathie

Blurb: It’s no surprise Riley Connors is dealing with issues. He was kidnapped as a young boy, and his parents abandoned him after his newsworthy return. He bounced from foster home to facility and back.

Now an adult, ghosts from his past continue to haunt him. After a suicide attempt, he is locked away in Hartfield so that people can make him tune in to emotions he has tried to bury.

Hunter Morgan had the kind of love that spans ages. But the stress of college and adulthood became too much to handle, and the love of Hunter’s life turned to drugs. After he overdoses, Hunter finds himself soaring out of control on the same miserable path. His brother finds him and calls an ambulance, and the sister Hunter would rather not have calls it a suicide attempt, landing Hunter in Hartfield.

Finding love isn’t easy, but it can happen under the direst circumstances. Together Hunter and Riley may be able to grow from their pain. But they will need to learn to live for themselves, letting love come second.

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Review: I really wanted to like We Found Love, but, unfortunately, I didn’t like ninety percent of this story. Riley Connors was too whiny, I mean really whiny, and I just can’t stand weak and whiny characters, no matter the justification. Most of the time he sounded like an adolescent, and I do know what that sounds like!

The ten percent I did like, in spite of the fact I never really bonded with Riley or Hunter (which could be my own problem rather than a reflection of the writing skills of Kade Boehme and Allison Cassatta), was when Riley left the treatment center and took control of his destiny. I also liked listening to the few moments that Riley and Hunter had together in the vacated wing of the treatment center. Those scenes were sensual and filled with a lot of descriptive detail.

My opinion of this audiobook is that the narrator, Michael Ferraiuolo, gave a great performance. He used distinct voices for each character which, when listening to an audiobook in the car, is very much appreciated as it’s a lot easier to follow the story. I will make a point to look for his name in the future. His performance adds a lot to the story, and the ending was great—the road trip HEA ending gets me every time. But be warned—whiny boys are running amuck throughout the story.

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You can buy We Found Love here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

Audible.com

Audible.com

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Marie Sexton, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Kathie

Audio Review: Shotgun by Marie Sexton – Narrated by Paul Morey

Audio Gem

Title: Shotgun (Coda Series: Book Seven)

Author: Marie Sexton

Narrator:: Paul Morey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 8 Hours and 31 Minutes

At a Glance: Paul Morey and the audiobook of Shotgun are like peas and carrots, state fairs and corn dogs, or, my favorite, baseball and peanuts—they are just meant to be together.

Reviewed By: Kathie

Blurb: As a young man, Dominic Jacobsen already suspects he’s gay, and he gets all the confirmation he needs when a rich boy from out of town climbs into the back seat of Dominic’s GTO. One night with Lamar Franklin is all it takes to convince Dominic he’s found the man of his dreams. Unfortunately, that one night is all he’ll get before Lamar returns to Tucson.

Fifteen years later Lamar returns to Coda, Colorado, after ending the latest in a string of bad relationships. He’s alone, depressed, and plagued by late-night phone calls from an unidentified caller. Lamar’s ready to give up when he comes face-to-face with his past.

Since he was 17, Dominic has dreamed of a reunion with Lamar, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready for it now. Facing small-town rumors and big-family drama is bad enough, but Dominic won’t risk losing custody of his teenage daughter, Naomi. The only solution is to make sure he and Lamar remain friends and nothing more. Clothes stay on, no matter what.

It seems simple enough. But for better or worse, Lamar has other ideas.

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Review: I love a good mystery! I love a HEA Male/Male romance! I love coming out stories! And, most of all, I love Marie Sexton and the stories she writes! What a surprise to learn that this was book seven in the Coda series. Not that I mean to be greedy, but can we please have a book eight and nine and ten? Why stop at seven?

Marie Sexton was able to tie in so many sub-plots and characters: Lamar and Jonas, Dominic and Elena, Dominic and his family, Dominic and his daughter, Naomi, and, I think the best one—Lamar, Dominic, Legos and happiness. It’s a great journey.

Paul Morey and the audiobook of Shotgun are like peas and carrots, state fairs and corn dogs, or, my favorite, baseball and peanuts—they are just meant to be together. Morey has such a smooth voice that just draws you in. He is able to capture all the voices and emotions of the characters. I can’t even imagine how hard it must be to sound like a thirteen-year-old girl who’s rolling her eyes over how dumb her dad is acting. He does a great job. Shotgun is five star great, and the narrator, Paul Morey, is five star great too Don’t miss this audiobook from two of the best in the business.

Oh, and “Clothes stay on, no matter what”… Don’t believe it. This is a happily-ever-after story, if you know what I mean. ;)

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You can buy Shotgun here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Renae Kaye, Reviewed by Kathie

Review: You Are the Reason by Renae Kaye

Title: You Are the Reason (A Novel in The Tav Series)

Author: Renae Kaye

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 239 Pages

At a Glance: There just aren’t enough adjectives I can think of to describe You Are the Reason. It’s steamy, quirky, light, cute, brilliant, lovely, romantic, sweet, informative and educational.

Reviewed By: Kathie

Blurb: Davo’s a pretty average guy. He has a decent job, owns his own home, and spends his weekends at the pub. He fully accepts that he’s gay, but doesn’t want to be one of those gays who are girly. He likes football and other masculine pursuits, and firmly avoids anything that could be seen as femme—including relationships that last beyond fifteen minutes.

Then Davo’s friend and gay idol not only gets a boyfriend, but also adopts a baby girl. Davo is seriously spooked and scuttles down to the pub. That’s where he meets Lee, cute from her cherry-red hair to her pretty little dress and pointy red shoes. Davo is charmed—but how is that possible? He’s gay. Isn’t he? Then Lee tells him he’s actually a guy—he just likes to wear women’s dresses occasionally. Thoroughly confused about an attraction that’s out of character for him, Davo begins the long journey to where he can accept himself without caring what everyone else thinks.

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Review: “G-A-Y stands for Girls Are Yucky.”

First, let’s just take a moment and enjoy the cover of this wonderful book. Whenever I look at it, I forget to breathe, so it’s a good thing nature takes over and makes me breathe before I pass out.

As for the story, there just aren’t enough adjectives I can think of to describe it. It’s steamy, quirky, light, cute, brilliant, lovely, romantic, sweet, informative and educational; all wrapped up in two-hundred-thirty-nine pages. The main characters are Davo (aka David Pederson), or simply Dave, “well groomed—no nose hair, fingernails neatly trimmed, nothing awkward piercing my skin.” Davo is a self-proclaimed regular guy. Or, should I say, a bloke with lots of faults and quirky ideas (quirky and sweet). I loved him!

Lee Brennan is cute, escaped-from-a-pixie-convention kind of adorable, and so girly (Lee likes to wear women’s clothing) that it makes Dave’s back teeth ache. I really chuckled over Lee’s description of a man: “I piss standing up and I shave.” Okay… Well, that works. Cute and educational.

David and Lee are the main characters of You are the Reason, but I have to include Patrick and Jake and Maxine, their baby, and Lee’s parents. Also, the Magic 8 Ball, My Little Ponies, and the color pink; without them Davo and Lee’s tale would be just another short story about attraction, struggle, lots of steamy sex and a happy ending. Okay, that wouldn’t be bad either, but the supporting characters fill out the story with color and depth.

Davo and Lee’s romance is a rocky journey, first with David trying to figure out why he is attracted to Lee (Lee looks like a woman so he must be one, right?). I really enjoyed reading when Patrick explained to Davo about pheromones and attraction. And second, Davo fighting the attraction for many reason. Who said love is easy? It comes with so much baggage.

The relationship that builds between David and the lovely Maxine is also delightful, David learning how to take care of her and falling in love, dirty nappies and all. Yes, love at first sight is real, dressed in pink with a pink bow around her head.

I just have to add that I can’t wait for the audio to come out for this book. While reading You Are the Reason, I could just about hear Jonathan Young’s voice—he was the narrator for The Blinding Light, the first in The Tav series. Davo talking baby talk to Maxine in that whiny voice, and hearing Maxine say, “Uck Day,” what a great audiobook to look forward to.

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You can buy You Are the Reason here:

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4 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Mary Calmes, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Kathie

Audio Review: Heart of the Race by Mary Calmes – Narrated by Greg Tremblay

Title: Heart of the Race

Author: Mary Calmes

Narrator:: Greg Tremblay

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 2 Hours and 5 Minutes

At a Glance: I have to give *high fives* to Greg Trembly. The accents he was able to come up with, and the names he was able to pronounce, were unbelievable.

Reviewed By: Kathie

Blurb: Varro Dacien spends his life riding toward the next adventure. Brian Christie, his best friend and touchstone, the one person who’s always truly seen him, plays sidekick on these madcap adventures and subsequent trips to the hospital until he can’t take it anymore. While Brian can see Varro, Varro has never caught on that he’s breaking his best friend’s heart.

Without Varro, Brian builds himself a life that’s all about just getting by, doing his best to ignore the hole in his heart and his life. Without Brian to balance him, Varro pushes harder and takes more risks to reach that ultimate high. His job racing high-octane bikes on suicide-level courses makes it easy to get that rush…until it’s no longer enough, and Varro realizes it’s not the race but who’s waiting at the finish line that truly matters. Now he just has to convince Brian to be there.

Dividers

Review: Who can resist a Mary Calmes audiobook, especially one narrated by Greg Tremblay? Not I, that’s for sure. But, I don’t like short stories in any form—too short and not enough depth is my main reasoning. But…it’s a Mary Calmes story, so again, there was no resisting.

Brian Christie and Varro Dacien… Brian has been described by others in reviews as sweet and laid back. I would describe Brian as a sarcastic fool, and Varro Dacien as a superficial, narcissistic fool—the fool description for both of them—Brian for being in love with Varro for so many years and not telling him, and Varro continuing to race after being put back together too many times, and for denying his attraction to Brian behind a trail of females.

The racing descriptions in Heart of the Race were crazy. One benefit to reading is learning about different realities, and this was sure a reality that I had never been exposed to. And I have to give *high fives* to Greg Trembly. The accents he was able to come up with, and the names he was able to pronounce, were unbelievable. No, they were very believable. Such a great job! Tremblay has a talent for storytelling and for developing a voice for each character that adds another dimension to the story.

Mary Calmes is always worth taking a chance on, even if it’s a short story, e-book or audio. Her writing is colorful and characters deep, always an adventure. Heart of the Race is worth a listen.

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You can buy Heart of the Race here:

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Eli Easton, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Kathie

Audio Review: The Mating of Michael by Eli Easton

Audio Gem

Title: The Mating of Michael

Author: Eli Easton

Narrator:: Michael Stellman

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours and 55 Minutes

At a Glance: The book and audio are hot, the characters are well developed, and the narration is spot on. I recommend it heartily.

Reviewed By: Kathie

Blurb: Everyone admires Michael Lamont for being a nurse, but his part-time work as a gay sex surrogate not only raises eyebrows, it’s cost him relationships. Michael is small, beautiful, and dedicated to working with people who need him. But what he really wants is a love of his own. He spends most of his time reading science fiction, especially books written by his favorite author and long-time crush, the mysteriously reclusive J.C. Guise.

James Gallway’s life is slowly but inexorably sliding downhill. He wrote a best-selling science fiction novel at the tender age of 18, while bedridden with complications of polio. But by 28, he’s lost his inspiration and his will to live. His sales from his J.C. Guise books have been in decline for years. Wheelchair bound, James has isolated himself, convinced he is unlovable. When he is forced to do a book signing and meets Michael Lamont, he can’t believe a guy who looks like Michael could be interested in a man like him.

Michael and James are made for each other. But they must let go of stubbornness to see that life finds a way and love has no limitations.

Dividers

Review: The Mating of Michael is a great book and a phenomenal audiobook, and I connected with so many of its characters. I felt the pain and anguish when James cried out, “Momma, my legs don’t work.” I could “live” his sense of frustration at having to depend on others in the care facilities his Mom placed him in. I found myself celebrating his feelings of accomplishment as he built a life that depended on no one but himself. Control over our own lives is a powerful feeling. A skilled storyteller does that for their readers, allows us to “live vicariously” through their characters.

Michael has the strong desire to care for others. While doing his internship at a VA Hospital, he came to realize that patients need the human touch, not in a clinical way. The turning point for Michael was a patient at the VA, a gay man who’d lost a leg and suffered from PTSD. Michael instinctively knew that this man, needed to be reminded “that being alive meant the possibility of great pleasure, not just pain.”

After Nursing school, Michael became a certified sex surrogate, working for Expanded Horizons Clinic. He also worked for a company called Happy at Home, caring for patients who want to be home but need extra care to stay there. Eli Easton introduces us to one of Michael’s patients, Marnie, the eighty-nine-years young, former burlesque dancer. Listening in as Michael is painting Marnie’s fingernails a flaming red—“Red lips and red nails, cock you hip, it never fails.”—is Marnie’s secret to how she attracted the men. What a hoot she was. She never failed to make me smile.

Eli Easton made the characters come alive, from descriptions of what they looked like to the reactions they had to rejection and attraction. I loved following Michael and James’s journey of new love, broken hearts, powerful and detailed lovemaking (thank you for that), and a happy ending. Oh, how I love a happy ending. But not just any happy ending! A happily-ever-after where I have been fully drawn into a story by a writer, and a story that has that AW! factor.

Michael Stellman gifts to this audio was his uncanny ability to develop and portray all the characters of this story, giving each one a unique voice and a personality. His performance of The Mating of Michael adds to the story, brings the character to life, and above all, complements Eli Easton’s talent as a storyteller. The book and audio are hot, the characters are well developed, and the narration is spot on. I recommend it heartily. Don’t miss it!

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You can buy The Mating of Michael here:

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4.5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Mickie B. Ashling, Narration Rating - 2 Stars, Reviewed by Kathie

Audio Review: Fire Horse by Mickie B. Ashling – Narrated by Max Lehnen

Title: Fire Horse (Polo: Book One)

Author: Mickie B. Ashling

Narrator:: Max Lehnen

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours and 55 Minutes

At a Glance: Bottom line: Read the e-book. It’s worth it. The audiobook, not so much.

Reviewed By: Kathie

Blurb: Preston Fawkes is 10 the first time he meets 15-year-old Konrad Schnell at the San Antonio Polo Club. Captivated by the mystique surrounding the sport of kings, Pres vows to learn the game at the hands of his newly acquired friend and mentor. The hero worship soon grows into something deeper, but the friends are separated when Preston goes off to boarding school in England.

The relationship that follows is riddled with challenges: their age gap, physical distance, and parental pressure taking precedence over feelings yet to be explored. Although their bond goes deep, they deal with the reality of their situation differently: Preston is open and fearless while Konrad is reticent and all too aware of the social implications of making a public stand.

Their paths intersect and twine, binding them as tightly as a cowboy’s lasso, but fate may alter their plans. How will love overcome the divots in the turf as they gallop toward the future – one where obstacles no longer stand in their way?

Dividers

Review: Immediately after receiving this audio to review, I started listening to it. I had not read the book but had read some of the reviews, so I was very excited to see what all the fuss was about. After listening to the first couple chapters, I found I was having a really hard time following the storyline. I know nothing about polo or the culture that surrounds it. To give this audiobook a fair review, though, I decided to purchase the e-book and read it before continuing with the audio, thinking I would then have a better understanding of polo and horses. It helped a lot. The e-book was really good, an epic romance with lots of chemistry between the main characters, and so many twists and turns that it was hard to keep up with at times, just as it was in the audio version of the book.

The story starts out in 2011, after the MC, Preston Fawkes, suffers a major accident while riding in a polo match. As Preston “slips into a morphine-induced high,” he starts remembering his life with Konrad, the love of his life.

Max Lehnen, the narrator, had a tough job to do just in keeping up with all the accents of the different characters, then adding to that challenge, the span of time in which this story takes place: ages ten to forty-six for Preston. Max tried, but towards the end of the audio he began to slip, and at that point all the characters started sounding alike. Some books I feel aren’t really made to be audiobooks. They are too complex in their details, or have way too many characters for a narrator to deal with.

I agree with most of the reviews of this book; all the praise for Fire Horse is well deserved. I just don’t think the narration did the story justice. Bottom line: Read the book. It’s worth it. The audio, not so much.

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You can buy Fire Horse here:

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5 Stars, J.K. Hogan, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Kathie, Wilde City Press

Review: Shadows Fall by JK Hogan

Title: Shadows Fall

Author: JK Hogan

Publisher: Wilde City Press

Pages/Word Count: 293 Pages

At a Glance: One thing that really stood out for me is that JK Hogan puts a lot into developing her secondary characters.

Reviewed By: Kathie

Blurb: A gift—or curse—gives Titus McGinty the unwanted ability to talk to ghosts. When he starts seeing the same few apparitions repeatedly, appearing with similar gruesome injuries, he begins to wonder what they want from him.

Detective Charlie Hale has a serial killer on his hands. On the loose for weeks, the Queen City Slayer has left the police nothing to go on, no forensic evidence other than what he wants found. The city is running out of time.

The crisis brings Titus and Charlie together—Titus stumbles upon a body and finds himself a suspect. Their budding romance is tested as they are sucked into a web of underground laboratories, restive spirits, and religious fanaticism. They’ll have to work together to find the identity of the killer before he takes his next victim…Titus

Dividers

Review: Shadows Fall by JK Hogan is packed full of magic, hot sex, and my favorite—a happy ending for two hot guys!

Titus Finnbar McGinty is very fast to proclaim that he can see dead people. He owns a coffee shop and employs some crazy characters that Hogan brings to life with great detail. Up until now he has been managing the dead people with an iPod and professional-grade Sennheisers. They keep the voices at bay, he says. Most of the ghosts or mules, as Titus calls them, are attached to a geographical area. Never have they followed him home or to the coffee shop. That is, until four mules become very persistent and follow him wherever he goes. Titus decides he needs help and sends a letter to his Granny Hester Faa, asking for help with controlling the mules. Granny is a powerful Chovihani (she can also see dead people), and Titus has not seen her since he was cast out of his tribe for being gay. Hester Faa is a colorful character, tough as nails. Granny comes to the rescue with her Airstream trailer in tow! When Titus told her she needed to move her trailer or she would get a ticket, her response was “Who cares what they think? They give me tickets, I wallpaper my trailer with them.” Great character development!

Detective Charles Hayes is a homicide police officer and a patron of the coffee shop, who happens to be working on the case, which Titus figures out is the ghosts that have attached themselves to him. When the serial killer strikes again, and a ghost of the victim leads Titus to his body, Titus calls Charlie for help. Charlie and Titus become very close as Charlie is helping Titus through the trauma. As Titus puts it, “I see the dead all the time, but I’d never actually seen a dead body before.”

One thing that really stood out for me is that JK Hogan puts a lot into developing her secondary characters. They aren’t just extras; they actually helped move the story along and played important roles in supporting both Titus and Charlie. Shadows Fall is not a fast read. It’s a well thought out story with lots of twists and turns. I highly recommend it, and I am really hoping she continues the story!

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You can buy Shadows Fall here:

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, JR Loveless, Narration Rating - 4 Stars, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Kathie

Audio Review: Forgiving Thayne by J.R. Loveless – Narrated by Derrick McClain

Audio Gem

Title: Forgiving Thayne (A True Mates Novel)

Author: J.R. Loveless

Narrator:: Derrick McClain

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 11 Hours and 55 Minutes

At a Glance: I think that McClain has some room to grow in his performances, but overall, I liked the voices he chose for the main characters.

Reviewed By: Kathie

Blurb: Nicholas Cartwright has done everything in his power to forget that night six months ago in Senaka when his true mate rejected him, leaving him shattered and disillusioned. Burying himself in his work, he pushes himself to the point of exhaustion while finding the touch of another unbearable. Suddenly his mate needs his help, and he may be asking for more than Nicholas can find it in himself to give.

Thayne Whitedove has always been a wanderer, spending his days on the road and his nights wrapped in the arms of whatever random hookup he meets, until a fateful mistake sends him rushing for the comforts of home. To his utter dismay, the only way to correct his error in judgment is to accept the one thing he’s never wanted: his mate. Thayne must decide whether to keep running or to stay and fight for Nick’s forgiveness.

Dividers

Review: Chasing Seth and Touch Me Gently by J.R. Loveless are my go-to audiobooks. I have listened to both audios at least four times and consider them classics. I follow J.R. Loveless on social media and was so excited when she posted she was writing Thayne and Nick’s story. My only complaint is that she didn’t write it fast enough!

I was not disappointed when I read Forgiving Thayne. I found the book to be very well written. I especially liked how she developed the character of Thayne, and the secondary characters of Sara and Elijah. Sara and Elijah just calmed everyone down, so steadfast in their leadership. In a lot of stories I have read, the bad guy is just that—bad, not a lot of dimension. J.R. Loveless gives the “Created One,” aka Matt, hopes, dreams, and in the end, peace as he laid in the Thayne’s arms. The author could have stopped there, but thank goodness she didn’t. Thayne deserved a no-strings-attached happiness with his mate, Nick. I was so happy that she allowed us to share in Thayne’s happiness by putting to rest the pact that was made so many years ago between Dakota and Thayne. Happily ever after, such a nice sound to that!

This is the first audiobook I have listened to narrated by Derrick McClain. I especially like narrators who perform the stories with their voices. I think that McClain has some room to grow in his performances, but overall, I liked the voices he chose for the main characters, and the whiny sneers of the Created One were painful to listen to but so fit the character. Great Job. Is this audiobook worth buying if you have already read the book? Yes. The voices the narrator created are worth the cost, and the story keeps you engaged to the end.

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You can buy Forgiving Thayne here:

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Eli Easton, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 2.5 Stars, Reviewed by Kathie

Audio Review: The Enlightenment of Daniel by Eli Easton – Narrated by Tommy O’Brien

Title: The Enlightenment of Daniel (Sex in Seattle: Book Two)

Author: Eli Easton

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Narrator: Tommy O’Brien

Run Time: 5 Hours and 11 Minutes

At a Glance: The Enlightenment of Daniel is a great story, but the narration misses the mark.

Reviewed By: Kathie

Blurb: Business tycoon Daniel Derenzo lives for his work until his dying father reminds him life is short. When Daniel starts to reevaluate his world, he experiences a startling revelation: He’s attracted to his business partner and best friend, Nick, even though Daniel always believed himself to be straight. In typical type-A fashion, Daniel dissects his newfound desires with the help of the experts at the Expanded Horizons sex clinic. He goes after Nick with the fierce determination that’s won him many a business deal.

Nick Ross was in love with Daniel years ago, when they were roommates in college. But Daniel was straight, and Nick patched his broken heart by marrying Marcia. Two kids and 14 years later, they go through the motions of their marriage like ships passing in the night. But Nick’s kids mean the world to him, and he’s afraid he’ll never get joint custody if they divorced. If he can trust his heart to an awakening Daniel, they all might find their way to a happily ever after.

Dividers

Review: What I hope for in any audio is a narrator who gives the story texture, adds personality to the characters, adds just the right amount of romantic spark between the main characters, and that the narration is able to sustain my interest so much so that I don’t want to leave my car until I hear the next chapter. The Trouble with Tony (Sex in Seattle: Book One), audio also narrated by Tommy O’Brien, hit all those marks.  As I’d stated in my review of that book, “Tommy was Tony.” He had the accent, he had the pacing, and he just made the book better! When I saw that the second book was being released on audio, I just jumped on it.  And, I can’t say I was completely disappointed.  It is a great story. Tommy O’Brien has a great voice. But, this time I felt that he was reading me a book, not telling me a story. Confusing, I know.

What I have come to expect from audiobooks is a performance. Different voices for the characters, changes of pacing as the scenes heat up or slow down, and emotion—please, give me emotion. If the character is mad, I want to hear it in his voice.  If the character is horny, I want to hear it in his voice. This holds my interest.  Unfortunately, that didn’t happen with The Enlightenment of Daniel.  I really hope that with the third book, if Tommy O’Brien is the narrator, he can turn in a better performance.  I want it to make me want to stay in my car and listen to the end because it’s so good!

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You can buy The Enlightenment of Daniel here:

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5 Stars, Amy Lane, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Kathie

Audio Review: Forever Promised by Amy Lane – Narrated by Paul Morey

Audio Gem

Title: Forever Promised

Author: Amy Lane

Narrator:: Paul Morey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 12 Hours and 6 Minutes

At a Glance: The audio version of Forever Promised is twelve hours and six minutes of pure joy

Reviewed By: Kathie

Blurb: Crick has been home from Iraq for five years, Jeff and Collin are finally married, and Shane and Mikhail are quietly making lives better for the dispossessed teenagers who come their way. Everything is right in Deacon’s world, but nothing ever stays the same.

When Deacon’s best friends, Jon and Amy, answer the call of an opportunity in Washington, DC, Deacon figures that’s life. You love people, and they leave you, and you survive. Even Benny, Crick’s little sister, is close to grown and ready to start her own future. But Benny loves Deacon, and she owes him – she may move beyond The Pulpit and Levee Oaks one day, but not without leaving something of herself behind. And so she offers Deacon and Crick an amazing gift… and a terrifying decision.

Benny’s offer forces Deacon and Crick to dredge up every past mistake and offer of redemption. And not just the two of them – everybody is forced to examine the chances they’ve been given and the promises they’ve made. In a real family, a child is a promise, and to the men and women of Promise Rock, keeping that promise will change their lives forever.

Dividers

Review: This is the final audiobook in the Promise Rock series, but if you have not read the series, it’s okay, you can start anywhere you want. Each book tells a tale about a different couple, but if you start from the beginning, you also get more of the history of the whole cast of characters who have touched Deacon’s life in one way or another. I am not going to try and give you a summary of the book, but one part of Jackie’s review (of the e-book) back in June of 2013 I especially liked, so I’m quoting it: “This book was truly a happy book. Yes, there are some sad parts; yes, there are some emotional parts. Most of my tears were happy tears. I guess if I have to give up the guys and gals from Promise Rock, I can rest assured that they are all happy, they are all loved, and their story will live on with the next generation.”. She does the best job of reviewing. What I have been tasked to do for The Novel Approach is to talk about the audio version. Okay, I didn’t ask to review this audiobook, I begged.

The audio version of Forever Promised is twelve hours and six minutes of pure joy! And those hours went by so fast that I had to listen to it again. I wasn’t ready to leave the Pulpit or Promise Rock. When you have a strong narrator it allows the listener to empathize with the characters, whether in sadness, happiness, pain or, my favorite, sexual tension. Paul Morey has that talent. Every audio I have listened to by him has been excellent. Morey not only narrated this book but also the preceding books in the Promise series, and I think that makes the difference. He knew the characters and you could hear it. When a character was crying in the story, Paul Morey cried too, and, of course, then I did too. All the emotional high and lows were heard through his voice—not easy to do, I can imagine. What a gift that was to this series. Read the series and listen to it on audio. It will be well worth your time and money.

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You can buy Forever Promised here:

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4 Stars, Extasy Books, Genre Romance, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Kathie, Tina Blenke

Review: Shifting Cargo by Tina Blenke

Title: Shifting Cargo (Shifting Paradigm: Book Three)

Author: Tina Blenke

Publisher: eXtasy Books

Pages/Word Count: 75 Pages

At a Glance: This story is seventy-nine pages of sweetness and love, or is it? Blenke is an intelligent author, and it shows in her writing.

Reviewed By: Kathie

Blurb: Ramey’s world is shattered when his brother dies suddenly. He tries to go through the motions, day by agonizing day, doing the best that he can at his job, but it’s not enough. Months of depression escalates into alcohol use and drug abuse to numb the pain. For the past year, he’s been dreading meeting with his lawyer and accepting his brother’s death. The pain becomes too much to bear and Ramey is caught with cocaine at work and fired immediately.

When he hits rock bottom, he realizes that he’s disrespecting his brother’s memory and checks himself into rehab with the help of an unlikely friend.

Londyn’s life is perfect living as a wolf Shifter in the Pack Lands. He’s been working in the family business and happy living in his cabin in the woods. Londyn has high expectations for the perfect mate to make his life complete.

Can Ramey accept his destiny as a Shifter’s mate? And is his love for the wolf Shifter worth leaving behind the demons and the only world he’s ever known?

Dividers

Review: The love story of Ramey and Londyn can be read as a standalone , but why do that when you can read all three books and immerse yourself in the Shifting Paradigm World that Tina Blenke has created? I think this story really resonates with what is going on in the news right now. Can we live together and love each other, no matter what our religion, skin color, or, in this case, if you’re a wolf shifter?

The essence of the story is Londyn and Ramey meeting, trusting, and falling in love. The story is told in flashbacks, very much needed to fill out the characters and setting. With the flashbacks I was able to understand Ramey’s actions and why he was so troubled.

Another great facet of this story, and all of Tina Blenke’s stories, is the sexual chemistry she writes for her characters. Can you say Hot! Hot! Hot!? I would have to say her scenes are some of the best I have read.

This story is seventy-nine pages of sweetness and love, or is it? Blenke is an intelligent author, and it shows in her writing. Read the story one time, and yes, it’s the story of a man with a positive attitude, Londyn, hitting rock bottom; and of Ramey recovering from drug addiction. Now, read the book a second time, and it’s a story about race and family dynamics, sprinkled with little nuggets of insight.

“Loving Londyn was perfect. It was living.”

There are many more nuggets like this, if you take a moment while you are reading to find them. I promise…

Shifting Paradigm is one of my favorite series, and I hope it continues. My only complaint about Shifting Cargo is I wish it would have been longer. Then maybe I would have learned more about Ramey’s stay in rehab, or maybe more about Londyn and his family. I am just more of a novel kind of reader, I guess; novellas are just too short.

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5 Stars, Cardeno C., Genre Romance, Reviewed by Kathie, The Romance Authors

Review: The One Who Saves Me by Cardeno C.

Title: The One Who Saves Me

Author: Cardeno C.

Publisher: The Romance Authors

Pages/Word Count: 212 Pages

At a Glance: An amazing and frustrating journey.

Reviewed By: Kathie

Blurb: 2nd Edition

At fourteen, Andrew Thompson and Caleb Lakes become best friends. As the years pass, they stand by each other through family trauma, school, and the start of their careers. They share their first sexual experiences, learning and experimenting, and they talk each other through countless dates and breakups.

Decades of trust and loyalty build a deep and abiding friendship, one that surpasses any relationship in their lives. But when the parameters of their unique friendship change, neither man knows how to break out of their established roles to build something new. After all, boyfriends come and go, but best friends are forever.

Dividers

Review: Oh, how I love Cardeno C.’s work. I love the characters, love the sex, love the HEAs and the slow build up to that happiness.

The One Who Saves Me has all the above components. It takes decades to build this relationship; decades of boyfriends, family, and, most of all, decades of learning to trust. This story is so intense, and Cardeno C.’s amazing storytelling keeps you going until the end, when all is explained. And what an explanation it was. I had trouble breathing as Caleb was describing and touching each of the tattoos and piercings Andrew had gotten over the years, which is intertwined with some of the best sex ever written in a story.

This amazingly frustrating journey follows the lives of two young men, one a genius following his Dad’s dream of becoming a doctor, the other following his own dreams of becoming a photographer. What stays consistent throughout the journey is the friendship that remains true, and the side benefit of no-strings-attached sex . The frustrating part for me was how long it took for both of them to realize that they belonged together, and to stop looking for “the one”. But, as I mentioned earlier, it was really worth the wait.

Read the Home series. Read all of Cardeno C. Books. Enjoy the sex. Enjoy the love. I don’t think you’ll regret it.

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, M.J. O'Shea, Narration Rating, Narration Rating - 3.5 Stars, Piper Vaughn, Reviewed by Kathie

Audio Review: One Small Thing by Piper Vaughn and M.J. O’Shea – Narrated by Finn Sterling

Title: One Small Thing (One Thing: Book One)

Author: Piper Vaughn and M.J. O’Shea

Narrator:: Finn Sterling

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 6 Hours, 56 Minutes

At a Glance: My only complaint about One Small Thing would be the voice Sterling chose to use for Rue.

Reviewed By: Kathie

Blurb: “Daddy” is not a title Rue Murray wanted, but he never thought he’d have sex with a woman either. Now he’s the unwitting father of a newborn named Alice. Between bartending and cosmetology school, Rue doesn’t have time for babies, but he can’t give her up. What Rue needs is a babysitter, and he’s running out of options. He’s on the verge of quitting school to watch Alice himself when he remembers his reclusive new neighbor, Erik.

Erik Van Nuys is a sci-fi novelist with anxiety issues to spare. He doesn’t like people in general, and he likes babies even less. Still, with his royalties dwindling, he could use the extra cash. Reluctantly, he takes on the role of many – and even more reluctantly, he finds himself falling for Alice and her flamboyant father.

Rue and Erik are as different as two people can be, and Alice is the unlikeliest of babies, but Rue has never been happier than when Alice and Erik are by his side. At least, not until he receives an offer that puts all his dreams within reach and he’s forced to choose: the future he’s always wanted, or the family he thought he never did.

Dividers

Review: What makes this story, One Small Thing, so special that I couldn’t wait for it to come out on audio? Rue and Erik! I couldn’t wait to hear their voices, and relive the birth of Alice, and listen to the oh-so-funny scene with Rue looking for daycare. Rue describes one daycare, Wee Care, as a “stinky, sticky, vomity smelling miniature version of Lord of the Flies.” I could just picture Rue standing there taking it all in, and then screaming and making a run for the front door. What a sight that would have been to see.

In a perfect life we aren’t faced with decisions like those Rue faced—finding someone to watch his daughter but not really knowing a lot about them. But, it’s not a perfect world out there, and we just have to do our best with what we’re given. Rue is a fighter; throughout the story he fights for his daughter, his friends, and for building a future for them all. Fighting for your family, and sometimes taking a leap of faith, sums up this story for me.

Erik Van Nuys: I have a lot of respect for his character. When thrown a curve—having to move out of a house into an apartment, his agent not calling—Erik makes changes. He struggles through the changes, but in the end, he does it. I was always cheering for him. I am so glad the writers let me, as the reader, be a part of the Erik’s struggles. It really gave his character more depth .

The secondary characters of Alice, Rue’s baby, and Dusty, Rue’s best friend, added some spice and intrigue to the story; Alice and her gentle ways, unless she was hungry or tired, and Dusty’s poor choice of boyfriends. Dusty was a little too whiny for my taste, and though whiny to me is like nails on a chalk board, Finn Sterling gets him just right.

My only complaint about One Small Thing would be the voice Sterling chose to use for Rue. Rue is a character who likes his tight clothes, makeup, and not being one of the mundane people. Sterling’s voice, on the other hand, is deep, slow in the pacing, and shows very little emotion, not at all the way I’d envisioned Rue. Towards the end, however, he does lighten up a bit and adds more emotion to his voice.

I would recommend One Small Thing, both the book and the audio. The book was a great read, and the audio just gives you an excuse to revisit the lives of Rue, Erik, Alice, and Dusty. I really hope the second book, One True Thing will be released on audio. I liked the characters and look forward to hearing about Dusty, and maybe, finally, he will find that special someone he can love and be loved by.

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You can buy One Small Thing here:

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Renae Kaye, Reviewed by Kathie

Audio Review: The Blinding Light by Renae Kaye – Narrated by Jonathan Young

Audio Gem

Title: The Blinding Light

Author: Renae Kaye

Narrator:: Jonathan Young

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 6 Hours, 55 Minutes

At a Glance: If you know you’re going to have a hard day at the office, or wherever, listen to The Blinding Light. It will brighten up your day, that’s a promise.

Reviewed By: Kathie

Blurb: Jake Manning’s smart mouth frequently gets him into trouble. Because of it he can’t hold a job. Combined with some bad luck, it’s prevented him from keeping steady employment. A huge debt looms over him, and alone he shoulders the care of his alcoholic mother and three younger sisters. When a housekeeping position opens, Jake’s so desperate he leaps at the opportunity. On landing, he finds his new boss, Patrick Stanford, a fussy, arrogant, rude…and blind man.

Born without sight, Patrick is used to being accommodated, but he’s met his match with Jake, who doesn’t take any of his crap and threatens to swap all the braille labels on his groceries and run off with his guide dog unless he behaves.

Jake gets a kick out of Patrick. Things are looking up: The girls are starting their own lives, and his mum’s sobriety might stick this time. He’s sacrificed everything for his family; maybe it’s time for him to live his life and start a relationship with Patrick. When his mother needs him, guilt makes his choice between family and Patrick difficult, and Jake must realize he’s not alone anymore.

Dividers

Review: What do the Seven Dwarfs, a blue butt plug, and a machine that scans a page for text and reads it back have in common? The Blinding Light by Renae Kaye, a journey that has these three things intertwined within the story, and move Jake and Patrick towards their happily-ever-after. And if for one second you think there is no way they fit together, read and/or listen to this story and you will understand just how much of a genius Renae Kaye is in weaving a great story.

And now on to my favorite part of the review: the narration. Jonathan Young clearly had fun with this story. At one point in the book, Patrick describes Jake’s voice as sounding as though he’s always smiling. Jonathan Young captures this quality, his voice does sound like it’s smiling. Patrick’s voice, on the other hand, is hesitant, intelligent, and resigned, just the voice I would have excepted from this character. And the supporting characters? The best ever. For example, picture Mrs. Lee, a fellow housekeeper who’s training Jake on the care of Patrick’s house. She’s described as an “older Chinese lady who spoke in broken English and had a perpetual frown, worthy of a gold medal at the Frowning Olympics”. Now, read this next sentence with that accent in mind: “Hmph. So she di’n’t tell you hees blind?” Not a line in a story that would stick out, right? But when you listen to the audio, listen for that part. It will crack you up. It’s close to the beginning so you won’t have to wait long. Every character has his or her own distinct voice. Young jumps from formal to informal speaking, to a narrator’s voice, to a small child’s, and even gets the mother’s voice spot on—tired and weak. I can’t tell you if the accents are authentic to Western Australia—sadly, I’ve never been there—but as a reader from the Midwest, it worked for me.

Now back to the butt plug, the Seven Dwarfs, and the talking machine. Here is a hint: found in Patrick’s bed, describes the cycle of a romance, and helps teach manners.

Read this book, listen to the audio, and if you are as crazy about this author as I am, read the book again and listen to the audiobook again. If you know you’re going to have a hard day at the office, or wherever, listen to The Blinding Light. It will brighten up your day, that’s a promise.

TNA_Signature_Kathie






You can buy The Blinding Light here:

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4 Stars, Jackie Nacht, MLR Press, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Kathie

Review: Chipmunk Drizzled in Honey by Jackie Nacht

Title: Chipmunk Drizzled in Honey

Author: Jackie Nacht

Publisher: MLR Press

Pages/Word Count: 59 Pages

At a Glance: Sometimes, we need a short book, maybe for an afternoon at the beach or a bath with lots of bubble. Chipmunk Drizzled in Honey is a perfect fit.

Reviewed By: Kathie

Blurb: Even this grumpy bear can’t resist this chipmunks charm.

Dallas likes the life he has. He’s the proud owner of the donut shop, Honey Cakes, and now owns the home he grew up in White Pine. He thought his life was perfect until Nikko the chipmunk sashayed into his life. Now, Dallas doesn’t know if he wants to push the spunky chipmunk away or make love to him.

Nikko has known since the moment he saw Dallas that he wanted the bear. Nothing, even the grouchiness of the gorgeous bear will keep him from making Dallas his own. But how can Nikko get Dallas to see they belong together?

Dividers

Review: I requested this book because a friend suggested I read Jackie Nacht’s books. She went on to tell me this author’s stories were witty and had great character development, just my kind of story.

The first time I read Chipmunk Drizzled in Honey, I thought, what the heck, a chipmunk and a bear shifter? You gotta be kidding. It seemed way too far-fetched, even for a reader like me, who enjoys shifter stories. My understanding of a series is the author will start building the storyline in book one, and continue building throughout the series. A reader/reviewer should maybe not start on book three, and then review the book expressing surprise over the storyline the author has created. And I would feel really guilty about that if I didn’t enjoy the book so much.

Imagine, if you will, a chipmunk in your yard, always looking around with quick jerky movements, talking a mile a minute and swishing their tails around, because you know they do have beautiful tails. Replace that especially busy chipmunk with the character of Nikko, and to my surprise, you have a believable character. The same goes for Dallas and the rest of the characters in the town of White Pines. It works!

Sometimes, we need a short book, maybe for an afternoon at the beach or a bath with lots of bubbles. Chipmunk Drizzled in Honey is a perfect fit. The story reads like I imagine a chipmunk would write, if a chipmunk could write. I like books that make me smile and shake my head; without a doubt, this book does all that and more. If you want a more in-depth story, though, I suggest you read the first two books in the series, enjoy life, and chew on a honey stick. Sounds good to me.






You can buy Chipmunk Drizzled in Honey here:

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5 Stars, Andrew Grey, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Kathie

Audio Review: The Fight for Identity by Andrew Grey – Narrated by Andrew McFarrin

Title: The Fight for Identity

Author: Andrew Grey

Narrator:: Andrew McFerrin

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 6 Hours, 8 Minutes

At a Glance: In my humble opinion, this is the best series Andrew Grey has written so far.

Reviewed By: Kathie

Blurb: Will Martin’s racist father, Kevin, hates Native Americans and wants to keep them off his property, never mind that part of the ranch land is sacred ground for the Sioux. When they request access for prayer, Kevin refuses – but Will doesn’t share his father’s views. Ever since he first saw Takoda Red Bird during one of the Sioux sacred ceremonies, Will has been fascinated. He grants the tribe access.

Takoda defies Kevin on a regular basis. He often sneaks to the sacred site on the rancher’s land for prayer and knows Will has seen him there. When, out of spite, Kevin places the land up for auction, Takoda knows it is time for action and bands together with Will to stop the sale.

In the fight that follows, Will gets more than he expected. He starts out helping the tribe preserve their identity… and ends up finding his own.

Dividers

Review: In my humble opinion, this is the best series Andrew Grey has written so far. It’s nice when one narrator performs a whole series. By the third book, Andrew McFerrin’s voice seems more at ease with the characters; he put more “acting” into this audiobook. The Grandfather sounded old, the young Martin sounded young in the prologue. The characters matured in their voices as Andrew told the story, and I really appreciated that a lot, as it drew me into the story.

The Fight for Identity brings up some good questions: Is tourism worth the cost of losing sacred grounds, how long can you hold a grudge, and is it worth it to lose your family over?

The series started with the publishing of The Good Fight, followed by The Fight Within, and now ends with this book. These audiobooks had a lot to live up to, the narration had to be as good as the stories are, and as I said in the opening paragraph, Andrew McFerrin just got better and better.

Bringing in the characters from the first two books was appreciated. When I get attached to characters, I always like knowing they are happy and living a good life. I know, I know, they aren’t real people, but just listen to this series and try not to get attached to Jerry, Akecheta, Paytah, and Bryce. And the kids, all the kids on the reservation. I just wish them peace in knowing who they are and to be proud of their heritage.






You can buy The Fight for Identity here:

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Jay Northcote, Reviewed by Kathie

Audio Review: Nothing Serious by Jay Northcote – Narrated by Michael Pauley

Audio Gem

Title: Nothing Serious

Author: Jay Northcote

Narrator:: Michael Pauley

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 4 Hours, 3 Minutes

At a Glance: My heart was just racing, right along with Mark and Jamie!

Reviewed By: Kathie

Blurb: Mark O’Brien is finally being honest with himself. His relationship with Rachel is over, and he’s moving out of the home they’ve shared for six years. They get along, but he can’t fix a relationship when the person he’s with is the wrong gender.

Jamie Robertson, one of the removal men, is huge and ridiculously gorgeous, and Mark is smitten at first sight. When a cardboard box splits, revealing items of a personal nature that Mark never wanted anybody to see, he’s mortified. But it sparks the start of a beautiful friendship with benefits.

As Jamie initiates Mark into the joys of gay sex, the two men get increasingly close, and “nothing serious” turns into something rather important to both of them. But communication isn’t their strong point. Will either man ever find the courage to be honest about his feelings?

Dividers

Review: WOW! Just plain and simple WOW! This audio gets right back to the basics of M/M romance: lots of steamy sex between two hot guys. The twist I thought was refreshing was that instead of the older man, Mark, showing the younger man, Jamie, how gay sex works, it’s the other way around. And Jamie does a great job as the teacher.

As I was listening to the audio I was trying to think what it reminded me of. The narrator’s style, that is. Picture this: you are watching a movie, an action movie, you can’t hear the words the actors are saying, but you can hear the music. I compare this to the narration of Nothing Serious. At the beginning of the movie it’s calm and tentative, soothing music, somewhat sad, like when Mark is moving out and ending his relationship with Rachel. As the plot thickens, Jamie has dinner with Mark; the music gets slightly faster, like it’s starting to build up speed but not roaring yet. Then, when Jamie and Mark have sex for the first time, the music’s tempo quickly picks up speed and gets louder and louder. That’s how the narrator, Michael Pauley, sounded during the scenes when Jamie and Mark are in the bedroom. Loud and Fast! Between each encounter Jamie and Mark have, the music calms down and the tempo slows down. Until the next time, and BAM! we’re off to the races again.

Just like an action/adventure movie’s soundtrack sets the pace of the movie, the narrator’s speed and volume set the intensity for this book. Does it work? Yes, it does! My heart was just racing, right along with Mark and Jamie!

Good Job!






You can buy Nothing Serious here:

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4 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, P.D. Singer, Reviewed by Kathie

Audio Review: Snow on the Mountain by P.D. Singer – Narrated by Finn Sterling

Title: Snow on the Mountain (The Mountains: Book Two)

Author: P.D. Singer

Narrator:: Finn Sterling

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 6 Hours, 43 Minutes

At a Glance: The relationship between Jake and Kurt was very believable; they just seem like good guys trying to find their way.

Reviewed By: Kathie

Blurb: Champagne powder snow, gorgeously groomed slopes, and elegant hotels draw the expert and the wealthy to the exclusive Wapiti Creek Ski Resort, but for Jake Landon and Kurt Carlson, the lure is work. A novice skier, Jake’s been assigned to run the bunny lift, but Kurt’s afraid he’ll be stuck shoveling snow all winter. Instructing at a private ski school should be his dream job, but it brings giggles and sideways glances among their new friends.

All summer, Jake and Kurt were alone in the wilderness. If Jake wanted to stay in the closet, it didn’t matter. Now they have to navigate a relationship in public, where the five-year-old twins who’ve adopted Jake as their ski buddy are as big a nuisance as the ski patroller who has a crush on him. Would-be friends, vicious coworkers, and the perils of the mountain could mean the end for Kurt and Jake, but their biggest danger comes from each other.

Dividers

Review: When I listen to an audiobook, I’m usually driving or housecleaning, mostly driving, and I like a narrative that keeps me interested. The narrator needs to give each character a distinct voices so I can tell the characters apart, and the author should have detail about the setting, characters, and supporting characters—the perfect formula for a great audio, I feel.

The reason I bring this up is I felt Snow on the Mountain had a bit too much detail about the mountain and the skiing. I would like to say by the end of the audio I remembered some of the names and terms, but no such luck. I am hoping the book gives you a map with all the ski runs labeled on it, as I think it would have been easier to follow the story. The lingo about skiing went right over my head, having never skied myself, but I was sure impressed by how many times they went up and down the mountain in a single day. That takes a lot of stamina—impressive!

The relationship between Jake and Kurt was very believable; they just seem like good guys trying to find their way. The only part that seemed off to me was when Kurt was getting shot at and Jake was getting threatened; they seemed to take it in stride. If that would have been anyone I know, they would have gone screaming down the mountain, telling anyone who would listen, and the cops would be there .

Because I’d get sidetracked by the names of the ski runs and ski equipment and skiing techniques, I focused on paying more attention to the characters and the sex. And that was good… Really good. P.D. Singer sure knows how to write great scenes.

I like to learn something from each book I read, but I felt this was just too much detail for an audiobook. I bet it was really good in book form, though, because you’d be able to go back and re-read what you didn’t understand. And as a non-skier, I would have been re-reading a lot.






You can buy Snow on the Mountain here:

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