3.5 Stars, Audio Book, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Mickie B. Ashling, Narration Rating - 3.5 Stars, Reviewed by Amy

Audio Review: Cutting Cords by Mickie B. Ashling – Narrated by John Solo

Title: Cutting Cords

Author: Mickie B. Ashling

Narrator: John Solo

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 6 hours 44 minutes

At a Glance:  I enjoyed this for its narration more than for its core story.

Reviewed By: Amy

Blurb: When Sloan Driscoll and Cole Fujiwara become reluctant roommates, neither man is willing to share too much. Sloan is instantly attracted to Cole but knows it’s a hopeless cause; Cole has a steady girlfriend. But one night they share a joint, and Cole opens a window neither anticipated.

A relationship may be impossible—both men are living with heart-breaking secrets. While Sloan is smart, sassy, and a brilliant graphic artist, he’s also a pothead with severe body image problems. Cole, a former major league pitcher, has his own personal crisis: he’s going blind. Sloan and Cole are suffering on so many levels, they might not realize that the ultimate salvation could be within each other’s arms.

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Review:  There was truly a love/hate relationship for me with this story and its main characters. Sloan Driscoll was a loveable and damaged man you couldn’t help but want to wrap up and take care of, but I didn’t necessary like Cole Fujiwara that much… I sympathized with his plight but didn’t quite understand his insistence to not share his blindness. Mickie B. Ashling did a great job of making me understand, and in general I really enjoyed her writing, but what I didn’t enjoy was simple: the love story never progressed. Sloan and Cole had sex, and then they argued. Then Cole was almost abusive. Then this pattern cycled over and over, and you never actually witness the two characters falling in love.

I didn’t hate this book, really, I just wish there was more relationship development. The other thing that threw me off was that BDSM was introduced almost as an afterthought, and there was no lead up or anything. Sloan hooks up with a photographer, and suddenly, he is in this world and I felt it had no relationship to the story.

Narration: John Solo is a new narrator to me. He had kind of a weird rasp to his voice that I could take or leave. He did a wonderful job with the narration, though. His voice is just not my cuppa. He did make an average read better, though, and I would listen to his narration again.

TNA_Signature_Amy

 

 

 

You can buy Cutting Cords here:

Audible.com

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3.5 Stars, Andrew Grey, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 3.5 Stars, Reviewed by Karen

Audio Review: Fire and Ice by Andrew Grey – Narrated by Randy Fuller

Title:  Fire and Ice (Carlisle Cops: Book Two) 

Author:  Andrew Grey

Narrator:  Randy Fuller

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Run Time:  7 hours and 14 minutes

At a Glance:  Listening to the audio, I felt disconnected from the story, and it just fell a little flat for me.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb:  Carter Schunk is a dedicated police officer with a difficult past and a big heart. When he’s called to a domestic disturbance, he finds a fatally injured woman, and a child, Alex, who is in desperate need of care. Child Services is called, and the last man on earth Carter wants to see walks through the door. Carter had a fling with Donald a year ago and found him as cold as ice since it ended.
Donald (Ice) Ickle has had a hard life he shares with no one, and he’s closed his heart to all. It’s partly to keep himself from getting hurt and partly the way he deals with a job he’s good at, because he does what needs to be done without getting emotionally involved. When he meets Carter again, he maintains his usual distance, but Carter gets under his skin, and against his better judgment, Donald lets Carter guilt him into taking Alex when there isn’t other foster care available. Carter even offers to help care for the boy.
Donald has a past he doesn’t want to discuss with anyone, least of all Carter, who has his own past he’d just as soon keep to himself. But it’s Alex’s secrets that could either pull them together or rip them apart—secrets the boy isn’t able to tell them and yet could be the key to happiness for all of them.

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Review:   About a month or so ago I read and reviewed the ebook of Fire and Ice by Andrew Grey,  and really enjoyed the story, so when the audiobook came up for review, I jumped at the chance to listen to it. Since it is the second in the series I also listened to Fire and Water prior to listening to Fire and Ice.

In most cases, I think reading a book then listening to the audio adds another layer of depth and emotion to a story for me. Unfortunately, in Fire and Ice that wasn’t the case. I felt connected to the characters when I read the story, and although predictable, I was cheering the guys on. Listening to the audiobook, on the other hand, I felt disconnected from the story, and it just fell a little flat for me.

I didn’t think in some cases that there was a whole lot of distinction between the voices for some of the characters, which made things a little difficult to follow in spots.  Where in the book I was enveloped in the emotion of the story, due to the inflection of the voices of the character, that emotion was lost to me throughout a lot of the narration.  Although the audio wasn’t my favorite, I do really enjoy the series, and I am looking forward to reading more as it continues.

TNA_Signature_Karen

 

 

 

You can buy Fire and Ice here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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4 Stars, Audio Book, Ethan Stone, Genre Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Narration Rating - 3.5 Stars, Reviewed by Maryann, Self-Published

Audio Review: Bartender, P.I. by Ethan Stone – Narrated by John Solo

Title: Bartender, P.I.

Author: Ethan Stone

Narrator:: John Solo

Publisher: Self-Published

Run Time: 2 Hours and 32 Minutes

At a Glance: What great P.I.s Linc and Brady made in solving the big mystery! Just be prepared to snicker!

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: When hockey star Linc Carpenter is banned from playing his beloved sport, he starts over, slinging drinks in Tampa. He’s inept as a bartender, so when the opportunity arises to train as a private investigator he takes it. He’s not very good at that either, but he still manages to get hired to follow fashion mogul Quentin Faulkner.

Linc’s incompetence is a hindrance, but Brady Williams, Faulkner’s studly bodyguard, may prove to be his undoing. Brady is drawn to Linc despite his bungling, and Linc’s stupidity may be just what’s needed to solve the case and save their lives.

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Review: Bartender, P.I. is a little different from the novels I have read by Ethan Stone. He created that difference with comedy and some mystery melded together. He also gave the two MCs a soft side, but nothing overly dramatic or serious.

Linc and Brady’s relationships with their fathers were different. Linc is more carefree with his lifestyle, and Brady more conservative, but they make a cute couple. It was nice to see Linc willing to change some of his preferences. And, what great P.I.s they made in solving the big mystery! Just be prepared to snicker!

Narration: I have heard other audios by John Solo. He did a fairly good job performing, and gave each character their own voice and personality. His portrayal of Linc as the comedic character was really good, though I did have a mental block with Linc’s voice. Because I’ve listened to this narrator before, I noticed Linc’s voice was very similar to a character from another story, which I struggled to get past because the other character was a businessman, smart, and didn’t lead a carefree life like Linc.

TNA_Signature_Maryann







 

You can buy Bartender, P.I. here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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5 Stars, Andrew Grey, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 3.5 Stars, Reviewed by Maryann

Audio Review: Backward by Andrew Grey – Narrated by John Solo

Title: Backward (Bronco’s Boys: Book Three)

Author: Andrew Grey

Narrator:: John Solo

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 6 Hours and 42 Minutes

At a Glance: In spite of some issues I had with the narrator’s vocal performance, Backward is worth a listen.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Club owner Harry Klinger has had his eye on Tristan Martin for months, but never had the nerve to approach him. He’s watched as Tristan dated Eddie and then reluctantly sat on the sidelines during the emotional breakup when Tristan discovered Eddie was dealing drugs. Now that Tristan seems to be healing, Harry hopes to get his chance.

When Eddie sends his men into Harry’s club to harass Tristan, Harry steps in to help. Tristan is reluctant at first since he admittedly has terrible taste in men, but Harry seems genuine, and Tristan can’t help but think Harry’s sexy as well and begins to hope for happiness for both of them.

Unfortunately, Eddie isn’t behaving rationally, sampling too much of his own product. With his determination to take Tristan back, it’ll take more than Harry’s help to keep Tristan safe as Eddie ratchets up his attempts to get what he wants.

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Review: Harry Klinger is part owner of Bronco’s and takes care of the finances for the club. He and Bull run a clean club, no drugs or dealers allowed. Harry was in a relationship until it went sour, then he was into hook-ups, but even that’s no longer an interest for him. Now Harry is alone and has no life outside of his work at the club. But Harry’s had his eye on one particular guy for months, and that guy is Tristan.

Tristan Martin is in trouble, he was dating Eddie Menendez, a drug dealer, but finally left him. Eddie had been arrested, though missing evidence and an expensive lawyer got him off, and now, Tristan’s ex is going to any lengths to get him back. Including sending a dealer named Carlos to the club to make trouble for Tristan. After a confrontation that gets Carlos and his partners kicked out, Tristan feels bad about what happened, so he confesses that he knew Carlos through Eddie. Tristan decides to leave, but is stopped and told he didn’t do anything wrong. As the night goes on, Harry gets a text from Bull that Carlos and a couple of his fellow thugs are back in the club again. As Bull and the security team go into action, Tristan is heading for the door, and Carlos is heading for Tristan, and Harry heads for Tristan to protect him from the melee. Bull and the security team get things secured, and Harry calls the police. When Bull approaches Harry and Tristan, he tells them that Eddie had sent Carlos after Tristan, and because of the danger to Tristan, he shouldn’t go back to his apartment. So the guys come up with options, and Harry offers a room at his home for Tristan to stay in.

But, that’s not the end of the trouble Andrew Grey throws into this story. After a somewhat restless night, Harry takes Tristan home to change clothes for work and drops him off at the Green Door Café, where Tristan’s first customer happens to be Eddie, and he’s there to make trouble. When Tristan gets away from Eddie, he calls Harry, at which point Harry and Bull show up at the café, and things start to brew between Harry and Tristan. Harry doesn’t want Tristan to be alone, he wants to keep Tristan safe, so they start spending time together, and they learn about each other’s lives. Tristan is still unsure about himself and doesn’t believe anyone wants him. But things go from bad to worse when Tristan is kidnapped, and Harry feels the guilt and blame since he had promised to keep Tristan safe.

John Solo has such a good reading voice. He does a good job with the different vocalizations and emotions, but I did feel Tristan was portrayed a bit too nasally. And while Harry had a gravelly voice most of the time, sometimes Solo’s voice would pitch a little high. Having said that, though, Backward was still worth listening to, as these issues didn’t take anything away from the story Andrew Grey created.

TNA_Signature_Maryann







 

You can buy Backward here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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4 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Narration Rating, Narration Rating - 3.5 Stars, Reviewed by Maryann, Skylar M. Cates

Audio Review: The Last Guy Breathing by Skylar M. Cates – Narrated by Matt Baca

Title: The Last Guy Breathing

Author: Skylar M. Cates

Narrator:: Matt Baca

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 8 Hours and 53 Minutes

At a Glance: Matt Baca has a really nice voice, but there needed to be more to Locke’s characterization.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Henry Clueley doesn’t want to be in Glamour, not after moving far away to overcome a difficult, if privileged, childhood. He’s no longer that pudgy kid desperate to escape his hometown, but it still holds painful memories. When his recently widowed mother needs him, however, “dependable Henry” does the right thing—even if it means leaving the IRS to take a boring corporate position. Things don’t stay boring for long. Soon Henry helps the local sheriff’s department unravel a crime. Posing as half of a fake couple seems like a fun idea… until Henry learns he already knows the deputy playing his other half.

Deputy Locke may be new to the Glamour Sheriff’s Department, but he’s fought his way up in the world and is determined to make a good impression. He keeps his private life quiet, even from his beloved younger brother. Locke knows better than most the need to protect what’s his.

Henry resents the arrogant, gorgeous cop, and Locke thinks Henry is sheltered and spoiled. Their secret and steamy encounter only adds to the animosity. As they join forces, Henry thinks a relationship with Locke would be catastrophic, but the white-hot passion between them makes it hard to resist.

Dividers

Review: Henry Cluely has left a job with the IRS in Washington, DC, and has returned to Glamour, Arizona, to take care of his mother. Henry’s mother isn’t handling her finances at all, so he has come home to help. She ignores Henry every time he brings up her finances, and Henry is frustrated. Henry is a very loving and caring son, but sometimes he just wants to be bad. As a youngster he had weight problems, which got him bullied, even by his own father. Henry still hasn’t seen how great he looks, he still thinks of himself as being overweight and not attractive to other guys. And with all that, he also has to contend with Deputy Locke, who is just one big arrogant thorn in his side.

Henry has been hired as an accountant at Decker and Thomas, a very lucrative financial planning company. Lately, Henry has been noticing discrepancies in the numbers, and he brings it to retired Sheriff Tony Carrino. There was an old Financial Crimes Unit case that Tony was involved in, but the case had gone cold. Now, with the suicide of Cynthia Murphy, this case has come alive again, and Henry is there to provide information. Sheriff Lisa Hawkins has a meeting with Tony, Henry, and Locke, and now Henry and Locke will need to go undercover as a couple. Locke is already resentful, thinking he would have to babysit Henry and never get credit for the case. Henry is just tired of Locke, what with his being an all-around smug jerk. Will Henry and Locke be able to put their differences aside and solve this case? And once this case is over, will Henry leave and go back to DC?

Deputy Locke is fairly new to the police force in Glamour. Locke is rude and inconsiderate toward Henry, and makes it his goal to make Henry miserable. But even though he comes across as a tough guy, Locke is very insecure. Growing up, life had been hard for Locke. His mother was selfish and deserted their family, and his father not caring anymore, left Locke responsible for his younger brother James. Locke did things in his life that he is not happy about, but they kept him and his brother alive. Because of Locke’s own issues of trust, he makes some serious mistakes with both James and Henry.

This is the third book in The Guy series, and there’s not only a good mystery, but it was nice getting to visit with the Carrino’s again. Matt Baca did really well with the narration of The Last Guy Breathing. He has a very nice voice, but I wish there had been more to Deputy Locke’s characterization, as he comes across as flat and unemotional. I realize the character is somewhat mean and controlling, but even when he talked with his brother, James, who he supposedly cared for so much, his voice just sounded stern, and they didn’t joke or tease the way brothers would.

TNA_Signature_Maryann







 

You can buy The Last Guy Breathing here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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

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

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

Author: Piper Vaughn and M.J. O’Shea

Narrator:: Finn Sterling

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 6 Hours, 56 Minutes

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

Reviewed By: Kathie

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

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

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

Dividers

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

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

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

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

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

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

TNA_Signature_Kathie






You can buy One Small Thing here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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