5 Stars, A.J. Thomas, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Narration Rating - 2 Stars, Reviewed by Maryann

Audio Review: Holding Out for a Fairy Tale by A.J. Thomas – Narrated by Jeff Gelder

Title: Holding Out for a Fairy Tale (Least Likely Partnership: Book Two)

Author: A.J. Thomas

Narrator:: Jeff Gelder

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 8 Hours and 33 Minutes

At a Glance: I wanted the audiobook to be as exciting as the book itself, but this performance left me wanting.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: When his vicious cousin Alejandro makes a violent late-night visit, San Diego homicide detective Ray Delgado gets a brutal reminder of why he left his family behind. Alejandro wants Ray to find his sister, Sophia, who disappeared from the UC San Diego campus, before the FBI digs too deep into his business.

Special Agent Elliot Belkamp spent his entire life jumping from one place to another, but his new assignment assisting a FBI task force offers him a chance to settle down. When Elliot catches a missing person’s case as his first assignment, the last person he expects to find poking around the victim’s dorm room is Ray, a one-time hookup he’s more inclined to punch in the face than kiss hello. After discovering Sophia’s disappearance is linked to a massive computer-based theft that has two powerful crime families ready to declare war, Elliot focuses on his investigation and tries to ignore Ray. As the search for Sophia turns dangerous, Elliot and Ray discover that tackling organized crime might be easier than resisting the urge to tackle each other.


Review: Holding Out for a Fairytale is the second story in the Least Likely Partnership series by A.J. Thomas. This story picks up right after book one, A Casual Weekend Thing (a must read). A.J. Thomas continues the series, bringing us Elliott Belkamp and Raymond Delgado in another fast paced, action packed, thriller mystery filled with tension, humor, sadness and passion. I’m glad I own the series because I read it again.

Ray’s a prankster among his fellow cops: smart, into computers, sci-fi, and guns. He’s definitely a good cop and has his partners and fellow cops’ backs. He deals with some serious family issues: Alejandro Munoz, his cousin, is connected to the cartel, and, being “dead” to his Hispanic family, the only two people he still has a connection with are his sister Carmen and niece Sophia. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he’s also sitting on the fence over his sexuality, and he doesn’t believe in a HEA. It took me a while to like Ray, until I learned more about his insecurities.

I liked Elliott from the moment he was introduced in book one. He’s a straight-laced FBI agent, gay and has no problem admitting it. He finally thinks he has a place where he can settle down and maybe find that special someone to build a life with. Though, he has a couple little quirks: his reasoning on Pop Tarts and fighting. When Elliott and Ray meet up again, Elliott has to put his hostility aside and work with Ray to solve the case involving Sophia. As they frantically work to try and stop a war between cartels, they discover they’re better together than apart.

Narration: I have to say I was disappointed in Jeff Gelder’s narration and the presentation of the characters. I wanted more energy and emotion from the two MCs and in the telling of the story, and I felt that Gelder’s vocal choice for Elliott was too high pitched and too childlike. In short, I wanted the audiobook to be as exciting as the book itself, but this performance left me wanting.





You can buy Holding Out for a Fairy Tale here:



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?


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.



You can buy Fire Horse here: