4 Stars, Abigail Roux, Audio Book, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Karen, Riptide Publishing

Audio Review: Cross & Crown by Abigail Roux – Narrated by Brock Thompson

Amazon

Amazon

TitleCross & Crown

Author:  Abigail Roux

Narrator: Brock Thompson

Publisher:  Riptide Publishing

Run Time:  6 hours and 50 minutes

At a Glance: I enjoyed this narration just as much as I did listening to the first book, but the story missed the mark for me a little bit.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb: When Nick O’Flaherty arrives at the scene of a double homicide to find he has a witness to the crime, he thinks it’s his lucky day. But when he realizes his witness is suffering from amnesia and can’t even remember his own name, Nick wishes he’d gone with his gut and put in for vacation time. Then Nick’s boyfriend and former Recon teammate, Kelly Abbott, joins him in Boston, and Nick finds his hands a little too full as the case and his personal life collide.

The witness he’s dubbed “JD” is being tailed by Julian Cross, a retired CIA hitman. To complicate matters further, JD forms an attachment to Nick that Nick struggles not to respond to as they search for the key to JD’s identity. Trying to determine whether JD is friend or foe as they investigate the crime puts them on the trail of a much older mystery. When multiple attempts are made on their lives, Nick is forced to turn to old enemies and new allies to solve a centuries-old crime before he and Kelly get added to the history books.

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Review: After listening to Shock & Awe, I jumped right in to Cross & Crown and was so excited to listen to it.  Maybe because I listened to them back to back, and because Shock & Awe is so focused on Nick and Kelly starting their relationship, I realized while listening to Cross & Crown that although they are together throughout the book and have some sexy times, it is definitely more mystery driven than Shock & Awe.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed and liked the mystery and treasure hunt aspect of the book, and trying to figure out if “JD” was a good guy or bad guy, but I love Nick and Kelly and wanted more of them than we got in this book.

As with Shock & Awe I think that Brock Thompson did a great job with the narration of the book. The dialog was clear, the voices were distinct, and for me, it fit with how I heard them in my head while reading the book.

So, overall, I enjoyed this narration just as much as I did listening to the first book, but the story missed the mark for me a little bit.

TNA_Signature_Karen

 

 

 

 

You can buy Cross & Crown here:

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, M.A. Church, M/M/M and More, Narration Rating - 1 Star, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Karen

Audio Review: Trouble Comes in Threes by M.A. Church – Narrated by Ronald Ray Strickland

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Trouble Comes in Threes

Author:  M.A. Church

Narrator: Ronald Ray Strickland

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Run Time:  8 hours and 26 minutes

At a Glance: If you’re thinking about getting Trouble Comes in Threes—and I think you should—buy the book and read it. I would bypass the audio on this one.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb: A snowstorm in the South – on New Year’s Eve – is a perfect recipe for a catastrophe. After two soul-crushing bad breaks, Kirk’s waiting for disaster number three to strike when, naturally, two stray cats arrive on his doorstep during the storm and decide to make themselves at home. Tenderhearted Kirk lets them stay, even though there’s something decidedly odd about his overly friendly felines.

Out of the punishing weather and full of tuna, Dolf and Tal are happy to be snug in Kirk’s house. But then their human goes outside for firewood and suffers a nasty fall that leaves him unconscious. Now the two cats have no choice but to reveal themselves.

Kirk wakes up to find the two kitties are actually Dolf and Tal. They’re cat shifters – and his destined mates. Being part of a feline threesome is enough for Kirk to grapple with, but soon he learns they come from a clowder that doesn’t believe humans and shifters should mix. Kirk knew those two cats would be trouble. Little does he know the real trouble lies ahead.

Dividers

Review: I absolutely loved Trouble Comes in Threes when I read the book.  It’s sweet, funny and sexy, and I was so excited for the audiobook. Unfortunately, however, it doesn’t even come close to doing this story justice.

Throughout the narration there’s no real difference in the character voicing. There were actually a couple of points where, in the middle of a sentence, it sounded as if the audio had been edited and although the same character was speaking, the voice changed, so it was hard to follow. Parts of the narration really were not enunciated very well at all, and then others parts were the exact opposite–way over-enunciated. During a lot of the narration, there were awkward pauses, as if Mr. Strickland was reading individual words instead of reading a story that flows. I did listen to the entire audiobook because I really do like the story that much, but honestly, at that point it was actually more amusing to listen to the narration than enjoy the story.

So, if you are thinking about getting Trouble Comes in Threes—and I think you should—buy the book and read it. I would bypass the audio on this one.

For a review of the e-book, see Janet’s full review HERE

TNA_Signature_Karen

 

 

 

 

You can buy Trouble Comes in Threes here:

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 1 Star, Reviewed by Amy, Tara Lain

Review: Canning the Center by Tara Lain – Narrated by John-Paul Barrel

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Canning the Center

Author: Tara Lain

Narrator: John-Paul Barrel

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 9 hours and 17 minutes

At a glance: Tara Lain’s work shines through an otherwise flat and disappointing narration.

Reviewed By: Amy

Blurb: Six foot seven inch, 300 pound Jamal Jones loves football, so when he finds out the ultra-conservative owner of his new pro football team fired their current center because he’s gay, bisexual Jamal decides to stay in the closet and hang with the females. Then, at a small drag show, he comes face-to-face with his sexual fantasy in the form of Trixie LaRue, a drag queen so exquisitely convincing she scrambles Jamal’s hormones—and his resolve to nurse his straight side.

Trevor Landry, aka Trixie LaRue, hides more than his genitals. A mathematician so brilliant he can’t be measured, Trevor disguises his astronomical IQ and his quirk for women’s clothes behind his act as a gay activist undergrad at Southern California University.

To Trevor, Jamal is the answer to a dream—a man who can love and accept both his personas. When he discovers Jamal’s future is threatened if he’s seen with a guy, Trevor becomes Trixie to let Jamal pass as straight. But Trevor risks his position every time he puts on a dress. Is there a closet big enough to hold a football pro and a drag queen?

Dividers

Review: I just simply adore Tara Lain. In Canning the Center, she writes about a budding football player in the professional environment who is very aware of his sexuality and what it will mean for his future in professional sports. This is a super sweet and wonderfully told love story with a little bit of controversy and a lot of awesome.

Jamal is every man and woman’s dream man. Gorgeous, tall, dark, and handsome. I adored this character and all his sweet, gentle, and old fashioned ways—everything about him. He is coming to the realization that although he states he is bisexual, he is actually gay. Introduce him to Trixie LaRue, a wonderful drag queen who is confident even though Trevor—the man behind the makeup—isn’t, and this is a recipe for success. Trevor is a genius and all around awesome guy. It was fun to see these two fall in love.

There isn’t one bad thing I can say about this story, and that’s saying a lot considering that the narration was awful.

If you’ve read my reviews in the past, you’ll know I am not a fan of John-Paul Barrel. I don’t understand how this man is still narrating books. I’m sorry, I know that sounds harsh, but he’s monotone and speaks almost phonetically, like he’s reading out every syllable. Add in his trying to do Trixie LaRue, and she sings too? Ugh. I need to pay better attention to who’s narrating a story before I pick it for review.

For Tara Lain’s book to shine through this awful performance shows what a wonderful and fun story she wrote.

TNA_Signature_Amy

 

 

 

 

You can buy Canning the Center here:

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3 Stars, Audio Book, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed By JJ, Tempeste O'Riley

Audio Review: Caged Sanctuary by Tempeste O’Riley – Narrated by Paul Morey

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Caged Sanctuary

Author: Tempeste O’Riley

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Narrator: Paul Morey

Run Time: 6 hours and 26 Minutes

At a Glance: Story: This book started out pleasant and enjoyable, but I lost interest after the first date, though I think Paul Morey did an excellent job with this reading.

Reviewed By: JJ

Blurb: Kaden Thorn, a dental surgeon who lives a quiet life, has no hope of finding the love he craves. A vicious gay bashing cost him the use of his legs and confined him to a wheelchair. He has given up hope of finding a Dom or even a nonkink partner to love him. When his best friend practically forces him to attend a dinner party, the last thing he expects is a strong Dom who can see beyond his wheels.

Deacon James is an architect and a demanding Dom, but he has spent the past couple of years without a sub or partner. When an employee invites him to a dinner party to meet his girlfriend, Deacon smells a setup but agrees anyway. He prides himself on being an excellent judge of character, and when he meets the younger dentist, he sees past the chair and finds a sweet submissive man who more than piques his interest.

Kade’s fears and demons continue to haunt him, challenging Deacon to use everything he’s learned as a Dom to earn Kade’s trust and submission. Deacon’s determined, though, willing to battle all of it to have Kade by his side and at his feet.

Dividers

Review: Caged Sanctuary begins at a dinner party, where Kaden, a wheelchair-bound dental surgeon, meets his future Dom, Deacon, who is an architect. The two men are attracted to each other right away, and end up setting up a date for a BDSM scene. After entering into a D/s relationship, things get more serious between them. Since Deacon is very sensitive to Kaden’s insecurity over his mobility issues and does his best to make him feel comfortable, Kaden eventually learns to trust more and gains more self-confidence. Their relationship eventually progresses into something more than a Dom/sub relationship.

This book started out pleasant and enjoyable, but I lost interest after the first date, and realized the story was not for me. I think one of the issues was that the relationship moved a little too quickly. I also thought it was a bit odd that Kaden asks Deacon if he is a Dom on the first day they meet. This struck me as unbelievable, considering they were introduced by friends who had nothing to do with the lifestyle, and neither man was wearing anything to indicate they were into BDSM. Then, after their first date, they were practically a done deal. I thought Kaden was sweet, but his lack of self-confidence made it difficult for me to imagine him as a full grown adult. In addition to not liking the characters and pacing, I was hoping there would be some kind of conflict in the book. However, after they meet, they fall in love, move in together, and soon have their happily-ever-after. Despite these issues, the sex scenes were hot, and I enjoyed the sweet moments when they were cuddling.

Narration: I think Paul Morey did an excellent job with this reading. Most of the time when I listen to an audiobook, the narration pulls me out of the book multiple times throughout. However, I was able to listen to Morey without thinking of the narration even once. Each voice was distinct and seemed to match the personality of the characters.

TNA_Signature_JJ

 

 

 

 

You can buy Caged Sanctuary here:

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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.

Dividers

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

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3 Stars, Audio Book, BA Tortuga, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Amy

Audio Review: Ever the Same by BA Tortuga – Narrated by Paul Morey

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Ever the Same

Author: BA Tortuga

Narrator: Paul Morey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 hours and 32 minutes

At a Glance: Overall, I liked this story but felt it was missing something.

Reviewed By: Amy

Blurb: Audie Barrack is in it up to his elbows with a sick calf when his son’s school calls. Seems Grainger has gotten into yet another fight. When he walks into the principal’s office, he’s shocked to find his son has been fighting with a little girl named Randi.

A little girl with one blind dad and one dad who recently passed away.

Goddammit.

Dixon has lost his sight, his career, and his husband. Thank God for his brothers, Momma and Daddy, and his little girl, or he would simply give up. The last thing he needs is for Randi to start trouble at school, especially trouble that puts him in contact with another dad who might expect him to be a functional human being.

Dixon is struggling to live as a blind man, Audie is terrified someone might see he has a closet to come out of, and everyone from the school to both men’s families is worried for the men and their children. Unless they get themselves together and commit to change, neither of them stands a chance.

Dividers

Review:  I’m a big fan of BA Tortuga’s writing, and own several print copies of her books. I was excited to listen to this story—I’m definitely drawn to stories that are unconventional. Dixon was a great character, and he was put through some really trying times. When we are introduced to him and Audie, they meet because their children get into a fight at school. From then on, you meet a whole slew of characters—from Randi and Granger (the kids), to their respective families, and finally, the animals. The animals played an awesome part in the story.

The children really brought this story home for me. They are the glue holding it together, and without them, I feel this book wouldn’t have been successful. They were what was right about this story. But unfortunately, I felt that there were a lot of inconsistencies in the plot, and I had a hard time with Audie and Dixon’s families. These two men are not your conventional twenty-year-old guys. These are grown men facing very serious issues, yet they acted like they were very young, and they let their parents walk all over them.

Dixon was a great character whose growth is visible throughout the story. However, I really wanted to see him flourish as a blind person. Overall, I liked this story but felt it was missing something. The thing I think it’s missing is the actual romance. I felt like I didn’t get to see Dixon and Audie fall in love. It just was.

Narration: Ever the Same is performed by Paul Morey. That’s all that needs to be said. Morey is a consummate professional who does an excellent job narrating this book. He did a great job speaking for the children, which I always feel is a difficult thing to do as a narrator. He is absolutely fabulous.

TNA_Signature_Amy

 

 

 

 

You can buy Ever the Same here:

Amazon US

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4.5 Stars, Audio Book, Brandon Witt, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Jules

Audio Review: Then the Stars Fall by Brandon Witt – Narrated by Andrew McFerrin

Audio Gem

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Then the Stars Fall

Author: Brandon Witt

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Narrator: Andrew McFerrin

Run Time: 12 Hours and 21 Minutes

At a Glance: Definitely check this one out, guys!

Reviewed By: Jules

Blurb: The death of his wife four years earlier left Travis Bennett a shell of the man he used to be. With his dog by his side, Travis raises his three children, manages his business, and works as a ranch hand. But every day, every minute, is an aching emptiness.

Wesley Ryan has fond memories of the small Ozark town of El Dorado Springs. Seeing it as a safe place to put his failed relationships behind him, Wesley moves into his grandparents’ old home and takes over the local veterinary clinic. An early morning visit from Travis and his dog stirs feelings that Wesley seeks to push away – the last thing he needs is to fall for a man with baggage and three kids as part of the package.

Life, it seems, has other plans.

Dividers

Review: Then the Stars Fall is a gorgeous piece of writing by Brandon Witt. It was the first of his stories I’ve read – or, listened to, as the case may be – and it certainly will not be the last. It’s a big story. Very heavy at times, though there is also a good amount of levity to help balance it out. The story is beautiful, and complex; as such, it needed a certain kind of intensity brought to the narration, and I have to say that Andrew McFerrin does a superb job with the performance.

Wesley is trying to settle into his new life in El Dorado – the home of his beloved grandparents, who left him their house – and definitely is not looking for love. In fact, the plan was to swear off men entirely, for the time being anyway, after his recent, painful breakup. The plan was not to fall for a local, widowed father of three. Wesley never even saw Travis Bennett coming. Of course, the same can definitely be said of Travis…He absolutely did not see Wesley coming.

This book covers a lot of ground…family, loss, friendship, small town small-mindedness, homophobia, and ultimately, romance, love, and second chances…and has a variety of fabulous characters for you to love or hate (mostly love). Witt created a villain in John Wallace, whom McFerrin voiced with such venom that I actually cringed a few times when hearing him come into a scene. Without question, this is a book that will make you feel. Here are some of my actual notes from the audio about my feelings while listening!

Chapter 6 – I don’t like that he is downplaying the attack from John Wallace. I think he was right to feel threatened – there was a VERY aggressive advance, if not a full out sexual assault.

Chapter 8 – Wendy is hilarious, saying ‘to make your brown eyes pop and look a little sinister.’ Win win. – about the red glitter eyeliner.

Chapter 10 – I do love this narration. I looove his Wesley voice.

Chapter 10 – the end. So good. (The talk in the barn before the kiss. And, the kiss.) “They kissed. Animals slept. They kissed. The barn continued to stand. They kissed. Maybe a few stars fell.” Sigh.

Chapter 11 – Wesley talking about how hot Travis is…So funny.

Chapter 15 – God I love Wesley – berating himself for not being able to stay away from Travis.

Chapter 21 – Iris Linley – such a fabulous busy body… “You’re both nice men. And, those Bennett children need a mother.” *diez*

I actually ended up listening to it twice. The narration got better and better the more I listened. Good, good stuff. Definitely check this one out, guys!

TNA_Signature_Jules

 

 

 

 

You can buy Then the Stars Fall here:

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4.5 Stars, Abigail Roux, Audio Book, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 4.5 Stars, Reviewed by Karen, Riptide Publishing

Audio Review: Shock & Awe by Abigail Roux – Narrated by Brock Thompson

Audio Gem

Amazon

Amazon

TitleShock & Awe (Sidewinder: Book One)

Author:  Abigail Roux

Narrator: Brock Thompson

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Run Time:  3 hours and 59 minutes

At a GlanceBrock Thompson was a new to me narrator, and I was pleasantly surprised by his performance.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb: After barely surviving a shootout in New Orleans, Sidewinder medic Kelly Abbott has to suffer through a month of recovery before he can return home to Colorado. He’s not surprised when fellow Sidewinder Nick O’Flaherty stays with him in New Orleans. Nor is he surprised when Nick travels home with him to help him get back on his feet – after all, years on the same Marine Force Recon team bonded the men in ways that only bleeding for a brother can. He’s very surprised, though, when Nick humors his moment of curiosity and kisses him.

Nick knows all of Kelly’s quirks and caprices, so the kiss was a low-risk move on his part…or so he thought. But what should’ve been a simple moment unleashes a flood of confusing emotions and urges that neither man is prepared to address. Now, Kelly and Nick must figure out what they mean to each other – friends and brothers in arms or something even deeper – before the past can come back to ruin their tenuous future.

Dividers

Review: I absolutely loved this book when it came out, and I’ve read it multiple times since then, so I was excited to listen to this audio. I haven’t had a chance to listen to the Cut & Run series audiobooks yet, but now I’m going to have to get them so I can listen to all of them in order.

Brock Thompson was a new to me narrator, and I was pleasantly surprised by his performance. The different characters’ voices were distinct; I didn’t have any issue following along or knowing who was talking throughout the audio. I thought that the narration of the story was just as hot and sexy as the book itself—nothing was taken away from the story at all.

Usually I listen to audiobooks while I’m at work, not really my thing to listen in the car or at home, but some I just can’t stop listening to and have to have them playing wherever I happen to be, which was the case with Shock & Awe—I started listening at work, continued in the car, put my headphones on and listened while grocery shopping, then again in the car on the way home, and since there was only a little left at that point, I finished up sitting on my couch at home. In other words, I didn’t want to stop listening before I got to the end, and now I can’t wait to start Cross & Crown and continue listening to the guys’ story.

A highly recommended listen.

TNA_Signature_Karen

 

 

 

 

You can buy Shock & Awe here:

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Amazon US

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Holiday Romance, Mary Calmes, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Jules

Audio Review: Where You Lead by Mary Calmes – Narrated by Greg Tremblay

Audio Gem

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Where You Lead

Author: Mary Calmes

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Narrator: Greg Tremblay

Run Time: 1 hour and 41 minutes

At a Glance: You should definitely add this one to your collection of holiday feel-good romances!

Reviewed By: Jules

Blurb: ATF agent Peter Lomax isn’t a hearts and flowers kind of guy, but he can be possessive, and it caused problems until Carver Fleming. Carver may be part of the art world, but he gets Peter, loves belonging to the man, and Peter treasures the way Carver understands them together.

Carver loves Peter, but he’s fully aware that six months doth not a commitment make. Carver wants to make the relationship last forever, but he’ll have to leave their life in Chicago to take care of the family he loves. He wants to do it with Peter by his side, but going from the city of Chicago to tiny Colt, Kentucky is a big change.

Carver has only one Christmas wish: Please, oh please, let Peter fall enough in love with Carver’s family to follow Carver home.

Dividers

Review: Listening to this audio was such a treat; I had forgotten how much I loved this little Christmas story. Coming in at under two hours – just 68 pages for the novella – it’s not a huge time investment but packs a lot of punch. To create a good short story, the author must hook the reader almost immediately, and Mary Calmes is a master at this. In Where You Lead the opening sequence is hilarious and is instrumental in getting you invested in the characters.

Pete is your typical “man’s man”. As an ATF agent who isn’t afraid of throwing himself in front of a gun to save a hostage, some might find his pairing with mild-mannered gallery owner Carver Fleming unlikely. Six months into the relationship, however, things definitely seem like they are for real – at least, that’s what Carver is counting on, Pete also feeling this way as they head to his family’s home in rural Kentucky for the holidays.

The story is fabulous and the narration is equally so. Greg Tremblay’s performance is perfect in its simplicity. His voice is so rich and has such a great tone, I could honestly listen to him for hours! He does an incredible job at keeping the voices distinct, and with the dialogue. The whole thing is just so understated and classy and flows so well. I loved it!!! You should definitely add this one to your collection of holiday feel-good romances!

TNA_Signature_Jules

 

 

 

 

You can buy Where You Lead here:

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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.

Dividers

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.

TNA_Signature_Kathie

 

 

 

 

You can buy He Completes Me here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

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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, DSP Publications, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Sammy, Rhys Ford, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Audio Review: Black Dog Blues by Rhys Ford – Narrated by Greg Tremblay

Audio Gem

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Black Dog Blues (The Kai Gracen Series: Book One)

Author: Rhys Ford

Narrator: Greg Tremblay

Publisher: DSP Publications

Run Time: 8 hours and 50 minutes

At a Glance: The audio version of this novel was well done and hooked me immediately, drenching me in the mood and pathos of the story.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: Ever since being part of the pot in a high-stakes poker game, elfin outcast Kai Gracen figures he used up his good karma when Dempsey, a human Stalker, won the hand and took him in.

Following the violent merge of Earth and Underhill, the human and elfin races are left with a messy, monster-ridden world, and Stalkers are the only cavalry willing to ride to someone’s rescue when something shadowy appears.

It’s a hard life but one Kai likes—filled with bounty, a few friends, and most importantly, no other elfin around to remind him of his past. And killing monsters is easy. Especially since he’s one himself.

But when a sidhe lord named Ryder arrives in San Diego, Kai is conscripted to do a job for Ryder’s fledgling Dawn Court. It’s supposed to be a simple run up the coast during dragon-mating season to retrieve a pregnant human woman seeking sanctuary. Easy, quick, and best of all, profitable. But Kai ends up in the middle of a deadly bloodline feud he has no hope of escaping.

No one ever got rich being a Stalker. But then few of them got old either and it doesn’t look like Kai will be the exception.

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Review: If you are approaching Rhys Ford’s novel Black Dog Blues looking for a traditional romance or even a sci-fi classic, think again. This is no typical anything. Instead, author Rhys Ford creates a world that has both human and fey, magic and monsters and everything in between, and places them inside a story that is so rich in character and long in plot that you are nearly breathless by novel’s end.

The main story centers on the Sidhe and Unsidhe—those who are elfin and those who are…something evil altogether. They coexist next to humans and multiple creatures of every species, from dragons to the elfin shadow dogs and many other mutant forms of different species. In this new society there are stalkers—those who go hunting our worst nightmares and deliver their hides for payment. One such stalker is the mysterious Kai Gracen, a young elfin who has been humanized to the point of virtually becoming a loner, neither cohabitating with his own kind nor humans. Kai was raised by Dempsey, a stalker who won him in a poker game. At that time, Kai was barely recognizable as any kind of boy, more animal than human or elfin. As this story evolves we come to find out about his past and are mystified as to how Kai not only managed to survive the horrors of his former life but rise above them to be the compassionate man he has become.

He is commissioned to retrieve a pregnant human from the chief city of the sidhe (the good elves, in essence). Accompanying him will be the prince of that dynasty who has come to Kai’s neck of the words to establish a “dawn court” for the disenfranchised sidhe who live in the city. This mission will challenge Kai in many ways and unlock the mystery of who he is and just what stalks his own nightmares. He will be confronted by the horrors of his past and feel himself slipping into love with a man who wields much power for good. The question remains, though, will Kai survive this mission intact, and can he really love another person—especially when he is unsure that love can ever really be his at all.

The brief and admittedly shallow synopsis above touches only the bones of this story. There is one mystery after another in this novel, and Rhys Ford unravels each one, even while intertwining them into the most intricate of plots I have ever read. However, by virtue of her excellent storytelling abilities, I was never lost in the weaving of this tale. Kai is a conundrum whose story just begins in this novel. While he is on every page, his past is slowly and carefully alluded to over and over, with the startling revelation of who and what he is being revealed finally near the end of the novel. Even then, you know there is a wealth of background information just waiting to surface, which becomes the springboard for future novels about this brave young elf.

Speaking of elves—these are not your waif-like forest creatures. No, this author not only makes her elf-kind cunning and smart but strong and determined as well. I was so impressed by the way that the supernatural creatures in this story were three-dimensional and fully fleshed out. The result was that I cared for them, was drawn into their story and captured by their troubles. The story itself was captivating, with so many twists and turns that I found myself trying to solve the many mysteries and was delightfully surprised when the answers turned out to be ones that I would have never thought of in a million years.

Greg Tremblay did a great job with Kai’s sarcasm—that weary ennui that the character wears like a mantle. The variation of voices was quite good—including Dempsey’s lilting brogue that was so reminiscent of those turn of the century New York City Irish cops. Every once in a while Mr. Tremblay would allow the brogue to bleed into the beginning of another character or the narration but overall, the delineation between voices and their cadence was spot on. The narrator’s gravelly tones really added to the gritty feel of the novel as well. Quite frankly, his pitch, speed of delivery and variation in voices enriched the overall mood of the story. Black Dog Blues is a dark tale and the narrator’s approach added to the mysterious feel to this story.

All in all, Black Dog Blues was a compelling mystery with a touch of romance and excellent supernatural shadings thrown in. The audio version of this novel was well done and hooked me immediately, drenching me in the mood and pathos of the story. I enjoyed this narrator immensely and would highly recommend this audiobook.

TNA_Signature_Sammy

 

 

 

 

You can buy Black Dog Blues here:

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Amazon US

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4 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Elizabeth Noble, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 4 Stars, Paranormal, Reviewed by Maryann

Audio Review: Electric Candle by Elizabeth Noble – Narrated by Faust Kells

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Electric Candle (The Sleepless City: Book Two)

Author: Elizabeth Noble

Narrator: Faust Kells

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 6 hours and 49 minutes

At a GlanceEven though this series is written by two different authors and performed by different narrators, it’s worth the read or the listen, whatever you prefer.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: When a vampire finds his soul mate, the bond is forever. It’s love at first sight. Or is it?

Flint, Ohio, Homicide Detective Jonas Forge has been a vampire for nearly two hundred years. He’s fought wars, seen life go from the simple but hard colonial days to the modern, high-tech world. He’s evolved with the times, adapting with each new era, blending into each new life. The one constant is his best friend and lover, Declan.

Until Forge’s soul mate tumbles, literally, into his life.

Even though they’re not fated to be together forever, Forge and Declan are perfectly happy. Despite the pheromone attracting him to his soul mate, Forge isn’t thrilled with the guy, and the feeling seems mutual. While trying to adjust to his clumsy soul mate and equally awkward feelings, Forge is on the hunt for the serial killer who’s leaving a trail of bodies, and who witnesses can’t identify. But Forge better watch out. When his work collides with his love life, things really heat up.

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Review: Electric Candle is book two in The Sleepless City series, which takes us back to Bogg’s Castle, where Simon, Ben, Lucas, Bogg, and Forge live.  Oh, and we can’t forget Moose!  Elizabeth Noble takes us on the second paranormal adventure, where Forge and Blair are our focus.

Oh my, Faust Kells brought so much expression and emotion to this audio, especially the humor.  I loved what he did with Blair. He brought youth, a little innocence and moments of maturity to this character. Lots of humor too when he and Forge first meet.

Lucas’s tone is more gravely and goes along with his persona of being a werewolf. The only voice I was disappointed with was Bogg’s, I wanted him to still have that southern gentlemen drawl portrayed in the audio Shades of Sepia, but he didn’t.

Even though this series is written by two different authors and performed by different narrators, it’s worth the read or the listen, whatever you prefer.  I was not disappointed.

(*Jackie, also did a great review of the e-book of Electric Candle in April 2015.)

TNA_Signature_Maryann

 

 

 

 

You can buy Electric Candle here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

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Audible.com

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5 Stars, A.J. Thomas, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Maryann

Audio Review: The Way Things Are by A.J. Thomas – Narrated by Ron Herczig

Audio Gem

Amazon

Amazon

Title: The Way Things Are

Author: A.J. Thomas

Narrator: Ron Herczig

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 9 hours and 20 minutes

At a GlanceA.J. Thomas has created a realism and vibrant characters in such an entertaining story.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: A night of drunken confusion at nineteen resulted in Patrick Connelly fathering a child. Determined to be there for his son, Patrick walked away from a sport he loved and forever hid his sexuality. After Patrick’s brutal divorce and a vicious hate crime, his son, Jay, has become obsessed with graffiti. Hoping for a fresh start, Patrick moves Jay to his childhood home in Seattle. Within two weeks, Jay is arrested again. On his way to pick Jay up, Patrick stops an assault, then finds himself in handcuffs too. Thinking things can’t get any worse, he’s confronted by the sexiest man he’s ever seen—his son’s new probation officer, Ken Atkins.

The hardest part of Ken’s job is working with difficult parents, and the undeniably handsome Patrick Connelly is going to be a difficult parent. A chance encounter and steamy hookup with Patrick leave Ken blindsided. As they work together to try to keep Jay on the right path, the passion between them proves impossible to resist. When the assault Patrick prevented comes back to haunt them and Jay gets into trouble again, Ken must convince Patrick that ensuring his son’s happiness doesn’t have to mean sacrificing his own.

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Review: I just loved Ron Herczig’s narration of The Way Things Are. His voice has that touch of deep and gravely with a bit of a lazy drawl, and even though there wasn’t a big distinction between characters’ voices, the different levels of tone and pronunciations he used worked perfectly for each character. I really loved his portrayal of Jay. It makes you imagine a fourteen-year-old boy’s expressions. And he took Patrick and Ken, and made them come alive with their compassion and nurturing.

The story itself contains different kinds of love, that between Patrick and Ken, and tender father/son moments between Patrick and Jay. This is also a suspenseful story mixed with the drama of human trafficking, murder, and abuse. Both the e-book and the audio are well done and will not disappoint.

There is a very good review for the book written by Janet here at TNA, and I couldn’t agree with her more—A.J. Thomas has created a realism and vibrant characters in such an entertaining story.

TNA_Signature_Maryann

 

 

 

 

You can buy The Way Things Are here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

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Audible.com

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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:

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*Some residency restrictions may apply
*All comments must be relevant to the author’s prompt to be eligible (when applicable)
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4.5 Stars, Anne Barwell, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Narration Rating - 4.5 Stars, Reviewed by Maryann

Audio Review: Shades of Sepia by Anne Barwell – Narrated by Michael Ferraiuolo

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Shades of Sepia (The Sleepless City: Book One)

Author: Anne Barwell

Narrator: Michael Ferraiuolo

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours and 59 Minutes

At a Glance: I have now read the book and listened to the audio, so whichever you choose, I think you will be pleasantly entertained.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: A serial killer stalks the streets of Flint, Ohio. The victims are always found in pairs, one human and one vampire.

Simon Hawthorne has been a vampire for nearly a hundred years, and he has never seen anything like it. Neither have the other supernaturals he works with to keep the streets safe for both their kind and the humans.

One meeting with Simon finds Ben Leyton falling for a man he knows is keeping secrets, but he can’t ignore the growing attraction between them. A recent arrival in Flint, Ben finds it very different from his native New Zealand, but something about Simon makes Ben feel as though he’s found a new home.

After a close friend falls victim to the killer, Simon is torn between revealing his true nature to Ben, and walking away to avoid the reaction he fears. But with the body count rising and the murders becoming more frequent, either, or both of them, could be the killer’s next target.

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Review: Shades of Sepia is a novel set in modern times, where we meet Ben Leyton in Flint, Ohio. He meets Professor of History, Simon Hawthorne, which leads us to the introduction to Boggs Castle. The castle is home to Detective Jonas Forge, Coroner Lucas Coate, and Boggs, an old southern gentleman. There they live and try to coexist with each other, which is humorous and serious at times, but they all remain friends, no matter what.

This audiobook is narrated by Michael Ferraiuolo, and I thought he did a really good job with the different emotions and voices for each of these characters. I liked his English accent for Simon, and the slight New Zealand accent for Ben. I also felt he did great with Boggs and the old southern gentleman’s drawl. He did a fantastic job with John’s vocals too, as you can just feel the evil dripping off this character. I felt Ferraiuolo narrated the story at a good pace and with the creativeness inspired by Anne Barwell’s storytelling. He really brought the story and characters to life. I have listened to other narrations by Michael Ferraiuolo, and I am becoming a fan.

Jackie’s review of this e-book was posted at TNA in March of 2014, and I think it’s right on the nose, outstanding and a series worth following. I have now read the book and listened to the audio, so whichever you choose, I think you will be pleasantly entertained.

TNA_Signature_Maryann

 

 

 

 

You can buy Shades of Sepia here:

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Amazon US

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5 Stars, Amy Lane, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Fairy Tale/Mythology/Folk Lore, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Kim

Audio Review: Truth in the Dark by Amy Lane – Narrated by Nick J. Russo

Audio Gem

Amazon US

Amazon US

Title: Truth in the Dark

Author: Amy Lane

Narrator:: Nick J. Russo

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 4 Hours and 40 Minutes

At a Glance: Truth in the Dark is a fantastic fairy tale, and I loved how this one ended.

Reviewed By: Kim

Blurb: “I am not beautiful…”

Knife’s entire existence has been as twisted as his flesh and his face. The only thing beautiful in his life is his sister. When Gwennie is obliged to turn a suitor down because she fears to leave her brother to the brutality of their village, Knife is desperate for anything to ensure her happiness.

Her suitor’s cousin offers him a way out, but it won’t be easy. Aerie-Smith has been cursed to walk upright in the form of a beast, and his beloved village suffers from the same spell. Aerie-Smith offers Gwen a trousseau and some hope, if only Knife will keep him company on his island for the span of a year and perform one “regrettable task” at year’s end.

Knife is unprepared for the form the island’s curse takes on his own misshapen body. In one moment of magic, he is given the body of his dreams—and he discovers that where flesh meets spirit and appearance meet reality; sometimes the only place to find truth is in the darkness of a lover’s arms.

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Review: Truth in the Dark was actually the very first book I ever read by Amy Lane. I started off with a sample and before I knew it, I was downloading the rest of the story on my Kindle, and I haven’t missed one of her stories since, so when I saw that the book had finally made it to audio, my reaction was…MINE! And wow! It did more than meet my expectations as one of my all time favorite stories.

Nick J. Russo is a fairly new-to-me narrator, but Dreamspinner Press and Amy Lane picked a winner for narrating this novel. Russo did an amazing job of bringing Naef (aka Knife) to life. I could actually close my eyes and picture everything in my mind’s eyes as Russo narrated the story. I could feel Naef’s bitterness for the curveball life had thrown at him; yet knowing that deep down in his soul lay a beautiful person that only a beast could see. I could also sense the burden that Aerie-Smith carried inside him over one selfish act that affected not only him but his people as well.

Truth in the Dark is a fantastic fairy tale, and I loved how this one ended. And, it’s a highly recommended listen, a novel I would gladly listen to again and again. If you can’t listen to it, read it!

TNA_Signature_Kim

 

 

 

You can buy Truth in the Dark here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

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

Audio Review: Just Desserts by Mary Calmes — Narrated by Greg Tremblay

Audio Gem

Amazon US

Amazon US

Title: Just Desserts

Author: Mary Calmes

Narrator:: Greg Tremblay

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 2 hours and 54 minutes

At a Glance: What made Just Desserts such an enjoyable listen, and maybe just a bit more emotional, was how well Greg Tremblay narrated the story.

Reviewed By: Kim

Blurb: Boone Walton has tried hard to create some distance between himself and his past. He’s invested in his new life, his New Orleans art gallery, and his friendship with Scott Wren. Things finally seem to be settling down to normal, and Boone couldn’t be happier.

Chef Scott Wren wants much more than normal with Boone. He wants to raise things to the next level, but Boone is terrified—and not because of the ghost in Scott’s apartment or Scott’s relatives. No, Boone’s past is about to pay him a visit, and the only thing that can get between Boone, Scott, and a hinky recipe for chocolate mousse found in a curious cookbook is the river of pain Boone had to swim across to get to this side of The Big Easy. There’s a secret behind the ingredients, though—one that might reveal the trust and love that have been missing from Boone’s life.

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Review: Boone didn’t see Scott coming when he entered his gallery, not until it was too late to run from his heart’s destiny. Scott just wasn’t afraid of Boone and his boorish ways! And it didn’t take long for the two to become very good friends. Even though Boone would love to bed Scott, it’s just something Boone would rather not risk if it means the possibility of losing Scott as a friend.

It took moving a dinosaur of a stove with a couple of friends, who ganged up on Boone afterwards, to tell him how much he was in love with Scott. But by the time Boone worked up the nerve to do something about it…someone else had made a move on his man. It then took a recipe from Granny B’s cookbook to bring these two together and oh, how much fun was that? I loved it when Scott finally made his feelings clear.

And it was a bit of a tearjerker when Boone had to finally face his tragic past. He finally let go of it. Old loves are like that, though.

What made Just Desserts such an enjoyable listen, and maybe just a bit more emotional, was how well Greg Tremblay narrated the story. As usual, this man turns in an awesome performance! Tremblay keeps my commute a safe one because there’s no chance of me falling asleep behind the wheel when I’m listening to him narrate a story. Big hugs to Mary Calmes for finding such a great narrator for her stories! I’d also like to mention that our lovely Jules wrote a fantastic review of the ebook version of Just Desserts, if you need a little extra to convince you to give this one a try.

TNA_Signature_Kim

 

 

 

You can buy Just Desserts here:

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

Audio Review: Sultry Sunset by Mary Calmes – Narrated by Greg Tremblay

Audio Gem

Amazon US

Amazon US

Title: Sultry Sunset

Author: Mary Calmes

Narrator: Greg Tremblay

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 1 hour and 57 minutes

At a Glance: My favorite installment of the Mangrove stories so far, which the narrator perfectly brought to life – a sweet and poignant story on many levels.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: Hutch Crowley is well-liked in the small resort town of Mangrove—he’s got friends in his new neighbors, he’s the owner of the town grocery, and he’s building a community center—but he’s still unlucky at love. Every man he’s attracted to is either taken or simply not interested, including his best friend, Mike Rojas.

When Mike came to Mangrove two years ago, Hutch gave him a job and a place to stay in his guesthouse, where Mike has remained ever since. Despite the rumors circulating about them, Hutch knows Mike is straight and looking for the right woman. But his friends disagree, and after some hints to the contrary, even Hutch finally has to admit that maybe the rest of the town sees something he’s been missing. If Hutch wants to spend each sultry sunset with the man of his dreams, it might be time to figure out what’s going on with his best friend’s heart.

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Review: Hutch has been my favorite character in this series. I loved him in Blue Days, when he gets owned by Takeo and called off Dwyer. I loved him in Quiet Nights, with his almost date with Cosimo and his conversation/confrontation with Kelly. But I am so happy he gets his own story in Sultry Sunset. :)

Hutch Crowley is the owner of a local grocery – but it’s not your average grocery. He’s not your average guy either. One morning he wakes to hear someone crying on the porch of the house next door. He discovers it’s a young girl (his new neighbor, Ivy Dodd), and she is dejectedly sitting on the porch, locked out of her house by a thoughtless relative who has taken off and left her alone—with her father out of the town, her mother recently deceased, and, oh yeah, she’s just gotten her first period. To quote Eugene Levy from Splashed!, her reaction should have been “What a day I’m having!”

Luckily, Hutch is a very easy going guy, who was raised with lots of sisters, so he is in the know about what to do for Ivy and her issues. He helps her get back in her house, takes her to his store to get supplies, introduces her to Mike Rojas, his best friend and assistant manager, buys her a coffee, takes her to the local Wiccan store, and gets her lunch. Then, her dad calls. Seems her dad is the new Fire Chief, and he’s moving from Miami to Mangrove. He’s quite upset that his young daughter is running around town with a stranger, but once he hears her laugh, he’s okay with Hutch looking after her.

Hutch and Mike are best friends, but lot of people assume they are a couple since they are always together. We get the backstory on Mike’s up-to-now hetero life and the loss of his wife, his subsequent depression, and Takeo’s plotting to get him to stay in Mangrove by enlisting Hutch’s cooperation. I loved this part of the story – the “how they got to be such good friends” story.

There are so many perfect little moments in Sultry Sunset that really give the flavor of small town living. My mom grew up in a town of about 700 people, and my grandma continued to live there the rest of her life. She never lived more than 15 miles from the place she was born, and this is what it was like. I would love to visit this place. :)

Ivy’s father, Essien, returns to Mangrove and becomes friends with Hutch and Mike. He’s a good guy and he’s a good fit for the town. There is, however, some drama over Hutch’s pet project, the community center. This leads to a confrontation, and Hutch is briefly in a bit of hot water with the local constabulary. But, of course, Mike comes to his rescue – at the police station and beyond.

I seriously loved this story – just everything about it. There are appearances by characters from the previous books as well as some new characters that will hopefully be fodder for further stories in this world. I thoroughly enjoyed the narration of this story and look forward to more from this talented voice artist. I thought Mr. Tremblay did a perfect job of bringing this story to life.

Note: While this is the third in a series, it’s not absolutely necessary to have read the other stories, but it might add some context.

 

 

 

You can buy Sultry Sunset here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

Audible.com

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Mary Calmes, Narration Rating - 4.5 Stars, Reviewed by Karen

Audio Review: Mine by Mary Calmes – Narrated by Caleb Dickinson

Amazon US

Amazon US

Title:  Mine

Author:  Mary Calmes

Narrator: Caleb Dickinson

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Run Time:  7 hours and 8 minutes

At a Glance: I love when a good narration is able to bring a story I already love to life, making me love it that much more.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb: Trevan Bean has a job that’s going from illegal to frightening, a boyfriend who may not be in his right mind, and a guardian angel who might actually be evil incarnate. Add to that the reappearance of his boyfriend’s estranged family, death threats, kidnapping, and the struggle of saving money to realize a dream, and Trevan has a lot on his plate. But Trevan is up to the challenge: he promised Landry a happily ever after, and Landry’s going to have it if it kills him! It just might. Landry Carter was a broken doll when they met two years ago but has grown into a partner who can stand at Trevan’s side… most of the time. Now that Trevan’s life just got scary – and Landry just got himself kidnapped – Trevan has to hope Landry’s love stays strong through this newest challenge, because the happily ever after won’t happen if Trevan has to go it alone.

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Review: I have so much love for this story, it is absolutely one of my favorites by Mary Calmes. Mine is the first narration I have listed to by Caleb Dickinson, and I really enjoyed it. Well, for the most part.  There were certain parts where Landry’s voice made me cringe and pulled me right out of the story.  I get the crazy and dramatic way Landry is, and that the narrator was really trying to get that to come across, but I think Landry’s voice was maybe just a little overdone, dramatic and crazy in some parts. It seemed to happen more in the beginning of the audiobook, and I was a little concerned, but as it the story went on, it got better for me. Though, I’m honestly not sure if the over-the-top narration didn’t happen later in the story, or if I was just so into it by that point that I didn’t notice. I am glad I stuck with it, though.

On the other hand, Trevan was spot on and exactly how I’d heard him in my head when I first read the book. The secondary character voices were also distinct enough to let me know when one character was speaking as opposed to another.

I love when a good narration is able to bring a story I already love to life, making me love it that much more.

TNA_Signature_Karen

 

 

 

You can buy Mine here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

Audible.com

Audible.com

E-book review from March 7, 2012 can be found HERE

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

Audio Review and Giveaway: Walk With Me by Cardeno C. – Narrated by Alexander Collins

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Amazon US

Amazon US

Title: Walk With Me

Author: Cardeno C.

Narrator: Alexander Collins

Publisher: Self-Published

Run Time: 6 hours and 40 minutes

At a Glance: Cardeno C. continues to masterfully write amazing love stories that make me laugh and cry and root for the characters.

Reviewed By: Amy

Blurb: When Eli Block steps into his parents’ living room and sees his childhood crush sitting on the couch, he starts a shameless campaign to seduce the young rabbi. Unfortunately, Seth Cohen barely remembers Eli and he resolutely shuts down all his advances. As a tenuous and then binding friendship forms between the two men, Eli must find a way to move past his unrequited love while still keeping his best friend in his life. Not an easy feat when the same person occupies both roles.

Professional, proper Seth is shocked by Eli’s brashness, overt sexuality, and easy defiance of societal norms. But he’s also drawn to the happy, funny, light-filled man. As their friendship deepens over the years, Seth watches Eli mature into a man he admires and respects. When Seth finds himself longing for what Eli had so easily offered, he has to decide whether he’s willing to veer from his safe life-plan to build a future with Eli.

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Review:  Once again, this is a true romance. Cardeno C. is a master at these slow burning romances that develop through friendship and later into love. Walk With Me is no exception.

Seth is starting work with Eli’s father as a Rabbi. The book starts here with Seth visiting the Block family. When Eli runs down the stairs and stops short, staring at Seth, this story begins. My God, I think perhaps Eli Block is at the top of my list of favorite M/M characters, this young man’s enthusiasm, joy, and certainty in his behavior.

And I love how Cardeno C. wove so many wonderful side characters into this story, but the major side characters were the weddings that Seth performed. One more hysterical than the next, I swear I was cackling in the car as I listened. There was only one thing that made me frustrated about this story—I feel like Seth’s years of denial and non-communication to Eli made Eli doubt himself and his feelings and confidence. That really hurt me. When they finally got together, I hated how tentative and afraid Eli was. This was quickly overcome and made better, but I just hated to see Eli hurt.

Narration: Alexander Collins was a new narrator for me, and he had me cracking up. He brought this well-written story to life. This was simply one of the best performances from a narrator that I have listened to; however, through the entire story I kept saying to myself, “This guy sounds EXACTLY like another narrator.” I will not list who he is, as I don’t want to take away from Mr. Collins performance, but it did distract me from the book a little.

TNA_Signature_Amy

 

 

 

You can buy Walk With 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

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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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

This Tour Brought to You By Cardeno C. and:

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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.

TNA_Signature_Kathie

 

 

 

You can buy We Found Love here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

Audible.com

Audible.com

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

Audio Review and Giveaway: Perfect Imperfections by Cardeno C. – Narrated by Charlie David

Audio Banner - Perfect Imperfections copy

Amazon US

Amazon US

Title: Perfect Imperfections

Author: Cardeno C

Narrator: Charlie David

Publisher: Self-Published

Run Time: 7 hours and 10 minutes

At a Glance: This love story is simply perfection.

Reviewed By: Amy

Blurb: Hollywood royalty Jeremy Jameson has lived a sheltered life with music as his sole focus and only friend. Before embarking on yet another international concert tour, he wanders into a bar in what he considers the middle of nowhere and meets a man who wins him over with his friendly smile and easy-going nature. Accountant slash bartender slash adventure-seeker Reg Moore has fun talking and drinking with The Jeremy Jameson and can’t say no when the supposedly straight rock star makes him a once in a lifetime offer: keep him company on his tour by playing the part of his boyfriend.

Listening to music, traveling the world, and jumping off cliffs is fun. Falling in love is even better. But to stay with Jeremy after the stage lights dim, Reg will need to help him realize there’s nothing pretend about their relationship.

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Review:  Oh, Cardeno C., this love story is simply perfection. This book is proof that fluffy happy stories are viable, and, if well done, can rock your world.

Reg is my ideal man. Big and manly but patient and warm. So warm, indeed, that Jeremy is drawn to him from the moment he wanders into a dive of a bar for some relief from his life as a famous rock star. After a drunken offer of company, these two lost souls start a journey of friendship and love that is magnificently built. There is no doubt that this story is anything but a love story—no false plots, no thrown in controversies.

JJ is definitely a bit of a spoiled brat who is used to getting his way. I do believe beneath that persona, he is just a lonely little boy whose mother is my version of a monster. At no point did I feel that this was too long or drawn out. I wanted the story to go on forever. The relationship was slow building, and the anticipation was killing me! The first sex scene was absolutely intoxicated, and the rest were just to die for.

Narration: Perfect Imperfections was my introduction to Charlie David, and it was an absolute pleasure meeting him as a narrator. He was entertaining and read the sex scenes incredibly well. He was definitive in his voice, and I was not once confused. Altogether, with Cardeno C. and Charlie David, this audiobook is a definite success.

TNA_Signature_Amy

 

 

 

You can buy Perfect Imperfections here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

Audible.com

Audible.com

iTunes

iTunes

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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

An Audio Copy of Perfect Imperfections

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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The Fine Print:

*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify
*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

This tour brought to you by Cardeno C. and:
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4.5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 4.5 Stars, Reviewed by Lisa, Tara Lain

Audio Review: Knight of Ocean Avenue by Tara Lain – Narrated by K.C. Kelly

Audio Gem

Amazon US

Amazon US

Title: Knight of Ocean Avenue (A Love in Laguna Novel)

Author: Tara Lain

Narrator:: K.C. Kelly

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 9 Hours and 33 Minutes

At a Glance: K.C. Kelly delivers a knock-out performance of Knight of Ocean Avenue.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: How can you be twenty-five and not know you’re gay? Billy Ballew runs from that question. A high school dropout, barely able to read until he taught himself, Billy’s life is driven by his need to help support his parents as a construction worker, put his sisters through college, coach his Little League team, and not think about being a three-time loser in the engagement department. Being terrified of taking tests keeps Billy from getting the contractor’s license he so desires, and fear of his mother’s judgment blinds Billy to what could make him truly happy.

Then, in preparation for his sister’s big wedding, Billy meets Shaz—Chase Phillips—a rising-star celebrity stylist who defines the word gay. To Shaz, Billy embodies everything he’s ever wanted—stalwart, honest, brave—but even if Billy turns out to be gay, he could never endure the censure he’d get for being with a queen like Shaz. How can two men with so little in common find a way to be together? Can the Stylist of the Year end up with the Knight of Ocean Avenue?

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Review: As a general rule, I don’t listen to audiobooks, and I think each of us, to a reader, will acknowledge that we can read just fine all by ourselves, so when I choose to listen to a book, the last thing I want is to be read to. I want to be performed for—I want the narrator to use inflection and to vary his cadence and to show his acting prowess by bringing each character to life through the vocal gymnastics it takes to make every role player unique and distinct.

Well, let me just say that K.C. Kelly mastered Tara Lain’s Knight of Ocean Avenue, elevating this novel to something so much more than a simple romance.

First off, I believe it helps that this story is so damn lovely that it’d have been a complete shame to hand this performance off to someone with lesser talents than Kelly so obviously possesses. Can a twenty-five year old man not know he’s gay? I don’t know if I can give that an unequivocal yes, but Ms. Lain and Mr. Kelly sure made me believe it was possible. First of all, Billy Ballew (whose last name, I must confess, did, unfortunately, go through a couple of different pronunciations throughout the narration) is a great big loveable, beautiful man. Billy may be a blue collar diamond-in-the-rough, but the guy’s got a heart of gold as well as a sterling reputation with the men he supervises on his construction crew. K.C. Kelly endears Billy to us by helping us understand, through the author’s prose, what an upstanding good guy our romantic hero is—in spite of the fact he also will be the first to point out all of his own failings, the biggest of which plays part in his not taking the test to get his contractor’s license. And, as we continue to listen to Billy’s inner dialogue, we witness the slow realization that his relationships with women haven’t failed for lack of good intentions but have failed in a lack of enthusiasm for being with a woman. Billy, simply put, is so busy trying to live up to his mother’s expectations of him as a straight man that he’s only succeeding in living down to all that wasted potential.

That all changes, however, as Billy’s going through his latest breakup, and, just as his bruised and battered self-esteem is busy warring with his confusion over why he can’t keep a woman, he ends up coming to the rescue of Chase “Shaz” Phillips. And, comes face-to-face with his destiny.

As a flamboyant designer, K.C. Kelly brings Shaz to life in all his fabulous fabulousness, and he’s the perfect foil to Billy’s physical masculinity. Shaz is out and proud and shines in all his gay glory, while Billy can’t figure out why the hell he’s drawn to the gorgeous Shaz like a magnet to steel. Once it dawns on him that he’s actually attracted to Shaz in a sexual way, and we see that Shaz is equally enamored of the fashionally challenged and straight Billy, we watch (or listen, rather) as Billy wars with the knowledge that Shaz’s flamboyance may be an obstacle to any sort of relationship—even a friendship—because Billy can’t see himself in any sort of scenario in which he’d fit into Shaz’s world or Shaz would fit into his. Which goes a long way to grabbing us by the heart and gives the story its emotional punch.

Filled with a great cast of supporting characters, from Ru, Shaz’s best friend and business partner (who sounds like a cross between Truman Capote and Droopy Dog, which made me smile), to Billy’s sisters (who I loved), to Billy’s co-workers, Knight of Ocean Avenue is such a pleasure to listen to. Even the urge to dislike Billy’s mom is tempered by our understanding that she truly only wants what’s best for her boy, and thought she was bulldozing him toward happiness when in truth she was making him miserable. But, where the rubber meets the road, she proves that what’s best for her son is her unconditional love for and support of him.

There’s nothing sweeter than a well written romance, unless it’s a sweet and well written romance being narrated by a talented voice actor. Which K.C. Kelly is, in abundance. He delivers this story to his listeners with such a deft voice, bringing Billy and Shaz to life, helping us feel how grateful these two men are to have found each other, that he almost makes us forget he’s reading Tara Lain’s words.

TNA_Signature_Lisa

 

 

 

You can buy Knight of Ocean Avenue 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. ;)

TNA_Signature_Kathie

 

 

 

You can buy Shotgun here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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