3.5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Mia Kerick, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Amy

Audio Review: Random Acts by Mia Kerick

Title: Random Acts

Author: Mia Kerick

Narrator: Iggy Toma

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 8 Hours

At a Glance:  I absolutely LOVED this book for the first 5 hours of Random Acts!

Reviewed By: Amy

Blurb: Bradley Zelder can’t find his way in life. After struggling for nearly a decade, he has yet to complete his college degree. Working as a school custodian, living in blue-collar Landsbury, MA, his love life is as empty as the rest of his existence. But on his way home after another disastrous date, his truck breaks down in upscale Oceanside. When he thinks life can’t get any worse, a man who is the epitome of Boston elite and everything Bradley finds attractive and intimidating helps him move his truck to the side of the road. Ashamed of his lot in life, Bradley almost lets the opportunity slip away, but he comes to his senses in time and tracks Caleb down.

From a random act of kindness, romance begins to grow, filling all the dark corners of Bradley’s empty life—until a random act of violence threatens to take it all away. Bradley must step up and be the man Caleb believes him to be. Caleb rescued him from a life without hope. Can Bradley rescue him in return?

Dividers

Review:  I absolutely LOVED this book for the first five hours of Random Acts! Bradley is just enough of a cad that I hated him in the beginning but couldn’t help but root for him to be the better man I knew he could be.

Caleb, from beginning to end, was simply adorable and just enough of a sweetie that he truly brought out the best in Bradley, and I adored watching Bradley grow into this amazing man. Bradley’s family was fantastic, and all of Caleb and Brad’s interactions in this story simply blew me away. If this book had ended as a simple love story at around 60%, I’d have rated the book 5 stars. Unfortunately, though, when I looked at the time while enjoying it, I was saying, how can there still be three hours left in this story?

Then the random attack on Caleb happened, and the book took a complete nosedive for me. Character traits of Caleb’s, which were absolutely never even alluded to, were introduced, such as his severe depression and his family’s involvement in that depression. Random Acts changed from a wonderful and sweet love story toward a weird and incomplete conclusion.

Narration: Iggy Toma is a new narrator to me, and he was an absolute joy to listen to. I truly am enjoying how many wonderful narrators I am listening to. It seems more quality narrations are coming down the pipe as of late. He did a wonderful job of keeping me listening, even though this was a book I would have potentially put down. He did a great job with the accents and the female characters throughout the book. I look forward to listening to him again.

TNA_Signature_Amy

 

 

 

You can buy Random Acts here:

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Eli Easton, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Paranormal Romance, Pinkerton Road, Reviewed by Amy

Audio Review: How to Howl at the Moon by Eli Easton – Narrated by Matthew Shaw

Audio Gem

Title: How to Howl at the Moon

Author: Eli Easton

Narrator: Matthew Shaw

Publisher: Pinkerton Road

Run Time: 5 hours and 52 minutes

At at glance: Eli Easton continues to mesmerize me with her amazing writing talents.

Blurb: Sheriff Lance Beaufort is not going to let trouble into his town, no sir. Tucked away in the California Mountains, Mad Creek has secrets to keep, like the fact that half the town consists of ‘quickened’—dogs who have gained the ability to become human. Descended on both sides from Border Collies, Lance is as alert a guardian as they come.

Tim Weston is looking for a safe haven. After learning that his boss patented all of Tim’s work on vegetable hybrids in his own name, Tim quit his old job. A client offers him use of her cabin in Mad Creek, and Tim sees a chance for a new start. But the shy gardener has a way of fumbling and sounding like a liar around strangers, particularly gorgeous alpha men like Sheriff Beaufort.

Lance’s hackles are definitely raised by the lanky young stranger. He’s concerned about marijuana growers moving into Mad Creek, and he’s not satisfied with the boy’s story. Lance decides a bit of undercover work is called for. When Tim hits a beautiful black collie with his car and adopts the dog, its love at first sight for both Tim and Lance’s inner dog. Pretending to be a pet is about to get Sheriff Beaufort in very hot water.

Dividers

Review:  When I saw this book on the list to review I was like, “Eli Easton and Shifters…SCORE!” I didn’t even read the blurb. I took the book for review knowing I had a long drive ahead of me, as I was going to see a friend in Tennessee. Let me just say that what I thought and what I got were COMPLETELY different. What a pleasant surprise and completely unique idea that, although seemed a little silly at times, had me absolutely absorbed. Lance takes himself so seriously, and Tim is such a scared little rabbit that the misunderstandings between them seem likely. I fell in love with Tim. I just wanted to wrap him up and take him home.

What I loved most about this story, though, was the town, all the eclectic and necessary characters that made up Mad Creek. His mother’ meddlesome ways were entertaining as heck. I also liked that there was some intrigue in the story, trying to figure out who the bad guy was. Overall, and as usual, Eli Easton continues to mesmerize me with her amazing writing talents, and I can’t wait for more of this world.

Narration: Matthew Shaw is a narrator who I haven’t listened to or heard of in the past. I have to say he did a wonderful job! He has such a wonderful lilt to his voice. His separation of characters was wonderful, and almost had a hint of humor in his voice. I am absolutely excited to see more audiobooks by this narrator.

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You can buy How to Howl at the Moon here:

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Kim, SJD Peterson

Audio Review: Splintered by SJD Peterson – Narrated by Rusty Topsfield

Audio Gem

Title: Splintered

Author: SJD Peterson

Narrator:: Rusty Topsfield

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours

At a Glance: I must say that Rusty Topsfield’s performance was excellent and brought Splintered to life.

Reviewed By: Kim

Blurb: A string of murders targeting effeminate gay men has the GLBTQ community of Chicago on alert, but budget cuts have left many precincts understaffed and overworked. Not to mention, homophobia is alive and well within the law enforcement community and little has been done to solve the mystery. When the FBI calls in Special Agent Todd Hutchinson and his team, the locals are glad to hand the case off. But Hutch finds a bigger mystery than anyone originally realized—seventeen linked murders committed in several different jurisdictions. Hutch’s clues lead him to Noah Walker.

Working on his PhD in forensic psychology, Noah has been obsessed with serial murders since he was a child. But coming to Hutch’s attention as a suspect isn’t a good way to start a relationship. Noah finds himself hunted, striking him off Hutch’s suspect list, but not off his radar. To catch the killer before anyone else falls victim, they’ll have to work together, and quickly, to bring him to justice.

Dividers

Review: I wasn’t so sure about SJD Peterson when I first started reading her work. I loved her writing style, but there were a couple of her stories I just didn’t like. But damn! I’m so glad that I didn’t give up on this author, because she has become an auto-buy for me.

Her latest audiobook, Splintered, had me riveted on page one, and even though the MCs don’t meet until a few chapters in, I could tell there was a lot of forensics research done, which kept the storyline interesting. I was totally surprised by who the perpetrator was, but a little disappointed that the romance between Todd and Noah wasn’t more developed. I think a sequel should be considered. ::hinthint::

Since I’ve read the book and listened to the audio, I must say that Rusty Topsfield’s performance was excellent and brought Splintered to life. I love a narrator who can match the voices to the characters, as well as throw in some appropriate emotion when narrating. I’m just tickled pink when a story I’ve previously read and enjoyed comes out in audio, and its interpretation by the narrator is better than what my mind came up with while reading.

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You can buy Splintered here:

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Kim, SJD Peterson

Audio Review: Beyond Duty by SJD Peterson – Narrated by Jonathan Young

Audio Gem

Title: Beyond Duty

Author: SJD Peterson

Narrator:: Johnathan Young

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours and 6 Minutes

At a Glance: SJD Peterson’s writing and Jonathon Young’s voice together make Beyond Duty an experience worth repeating again and again.

Reviewed By: Kim

Blurb: The repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell didn’t come soon enough for Gunther “Gunny” Duchene and Macalister “Mac” Jones, career US Marines who met at boot camp in the 1990s. They’ve been somewhere between best friends and lovers in peacetime and wartime both, but as the clock ticks toward Mac’s and Gunny’s retirements, the guys have much more to worry about than coming out.

Whether their relationship will survive outside of the closet they’ve had to shove it into for over two decades is a big question mark. After all, Gunny questions why a hot military man like Mac–who could get any guy he wanted, including a younger, sexier one–would want him. But as Gunny and Mac navigate emotional waters as choppy as any they saw on duty, they just might learn Semper Fi applies to more than their careers.

Dividers

Review: I fell in love with Gunny and Mac when I first read about them in a collection of short stories, Love is Always Write, published by the Goodreads M/M Romance Group. I definitely, wanted more of these two sexy marines, so when I spotted an extended version of the book from Dreamspinner Press, I knew that I was going to own it!

And better yet, it’s become available on audio! Double woohoo!

Jonathon Young did an awesome job of bringing Gunny and Mac to life. His performance of both characters was age appropriate. I don’t know if anyone has experienced this when listening to audiobooks, but it’s kind of freaky when older characters are narrated as though a teenager is reading the story.

I loved how Young brought out Gunny’s insecurities about Mac, and Mac’s final say about Gunny’s quirks about them. For me, Mac left no doubt about his feelings or his intentions towards Gunny. Mac may be a tough Marine, but his vulnerable side came out when it came time to tell his family he was gay. There’s nothing like giving the ones we love the power to hurt us, and there was one member of Mac’s family who did manage to devastate him with the reaction to the news.

As for Gunny’s family, his mom really needed a wakeup call! It broke my heart that she was acting like a fool. And even though what happened to Gunny’s sister was tragic, it was a time to hang on to her remaining children instead of pushing them away. Gunny’s letter to his parents kind of choked me up because this was a letter with a lot of hurt and feeling put into it.

SJD Peterson’s writing and Jonathon Young’s voice together make Beyond Duty an experience worth repeating again and again.

TNA_Signature_Kim







 

You can buy Beyond Duty here:

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Jay Northcote, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed By Carrie

Audio Review: Nothing Ventured by Jay Northcote – Narrated by Matthew Lloyd Davies

Audio Gem

Title: Nothing Ventured

Author: Jay Northcote

Narrator:: Matthew Lloyd Davies

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 4 Hours and 39 Minutes

At a Glance: This was a great audiobook and I really enjoyed listening to it.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: When Aiden agrees to run the Mad Mucker—a twelve-mile muddy slog over an obstacle course—he’s expecting it to be a bit of a laugh. The training will be tough, but Aiden could use the motivation to regain some fitness.

Matt is the sexy cousin of one of Aiden’s coworkers and a last-minute addition to the team. When he agrees to train with Aiden, Aiden suddenly finds the prospect of regular workouts a lot more appealing.

Soon attraction flares, and they embark on an intense physical relationship. Matt doesn’t want to fall in love with a man, and Aiden doesn’t want to fall in love at all, but despite their insistence on no strings, they grow closer. As the day of the race approaches, time is running out for them to work out how they feel about each other.

Dividers

Review: Aiden is in trouble. Too much tequila and all of a sudden he is committed to creating a team and running the Mad Mucker race with his friends. Fitness for Aiden has taken a backseat in recent months, as his life has reached a turning point and running the race is the last thing he truly wants to participate in. To add insult to injury, he further backs himself into a corner and has to agree to training with Matt – another member of the team and a fitness guru. Yea, him! Aiden doesn’t do relationships, but the more he tries to fight his attraction to Matt, the harder he falls.

Matt has just moved back to England from Australia and is trying to start a new life. Fitness is his life, and he really enjoys a good fifteen-mile run. Maybe if he runs fast enough, he can outrun his attraction to his new training partner. Maybe.

This is another addition to the Nothing series from Jay Northcote, and it is a worthy addition. The story is a light, easy read, and is even better when it is read to you. There is not a lot of angst in this book, just two guys with an incredible attraction to one another, and how they work toward a HEA. I love the way Jay Northcote writes her characters; you see them, they are real men with real feelings and problems, and come alive on the page. By the end of one of her books, you’ve become intimate enough with her characters you would know them on the street or would love to have a pint with them.

Matthew Lloyd Davies does a great job with the narration of this book. I was never confused which character was talking, and his accent really put me in a positive frame of mind to listen to a story. Mr. Davies’ narration flowed, it was not stilted or awkward, and that, along with a good story, made it an incredibly wonderful experience for a quiet afternoon.

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You can buy Nothing Ventured here:

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

Audio Review: Johnnie by Cardeno C. – Narrated by Greg Tremblay

Audio Gem

Title: Johnnie (Siphon: Book One)

Author: Cardeno C.

Narrator: Greg Tremblay

Publisher: Self-Published

Run Time: 5 hours and 50 minutes

At a glance: Lions and Siphons and Tremblay… Oh my!

Reviewed By: Amy

Blurb: A Premier lion shifter, Hugh Landry dedicates his life to leading the Berk pride with strength and confidence. Hundreds of people depend on Hugh for safety, success, and happiness. And at over a century old, with more power than can be contained in one body, Hugh relies on a Siphon lion shifter to carry his excess force.

When the Siphon endangers himself and therefore the pride, Hugh must pay attention to the man who has been his silent shadow for a decade. What he learns surprises him, but what he feels astounds him even more.

Two lions, each born to serve, rely on one another to survive. After years by each other’s side, they’ll finally realize the depth of their potential, the joy in their passion, and a connection their kind has never known.

Dividers

Review: The only book I have ever read by Cardeno C. was Control, which was a co-written with Mary Calmes, so I was extremely interested in reading something from Cardeno alone. From the first word I was sucked into this unique and amazing story. Johnnie is such a fast and enjoyable read, with very little angst but enough heart and depth for me to fall in love.

To me, it is extremely hard to come up with something that makes a shifter story different from the others. I am jealous of Cardeno C.’s talent and imagination. I started this audio on Monday and listened straight through till Tuesday because I was so sucked in. I wanted to learn more and more about the rules of this group, and the gruff and tough Premier, Hugh, and the sensitive, abused Johnnie. I was taken on an adventure of discovery and love as Hugh and Johnnie find their way through the uncharted waters of this new and unconventional relationship in a Lion pride. I will say the end got a little sweet for my personal tastes…funny thing about that, though; Cardeno C. built the relationship so well that it didn’t bother me a whole lot. The only question I really wanted answered was the spines with the Premier. Once you listen to or read this story you will understand that question.

Narration: Lions and Siphons and Tremblay… Oh my. Oh sweet, sexy voiced Greg Tremblay, could you read every book to me? PLEASE! Your stinkin’ voice is so sexy, and you make me lose myself in your narrations. You read a sex scene like nobody’s business, and with very little fluctuation in your voice, tell me who is talking. Normally narrators make an attempt to sound extremely different depending on who is speaking. Your ability to distinguish a character with a subtle difference is intoxicating. Please keep on reading these wonderful M/M stories.

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You can buy Johnnie here:

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5 Stars, Ariel Tachna, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Historical Romance, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Nicki Bennett, Reviewed by Maryann

Audio Review: Checkmate by Nicki Bennett and Ariel Tachna – Narrated by Peter B. Brooke

Audio Gem

Title: Checkmate

Author: Nicki Bennett and Ariel Tachna

Narrator:: Peter B. Brooke

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 10 Hours and 18 Minutes

At a Glance: There is never a dull moment and there’s a good pace to this story!

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: When sword for hire Teodoro Ciéza de Vivar accepts a commission to “rescue” Lord Christian Blackwood from unsuitable influences, he has no idea he’s landed himself in the middle of a plot to assassinate King Philip IV of Spain and blame the English ambassador for the deed. Nor does he expect the spoiled child he’s sent to retrieve to be a handsome, engaging young man.

As Teodoro and Christian face down enemies at every turn, they fall more and more in love, an emotion they can’t safely indulge with the threat of the Inquisition looming over them. It will take all their combined guile and influence to outmaneuver the powerful men who would see them separated… or even killed.

Dividers

Review: Nicki Bennett and Ariel Tachna did a fantastic job with this old world adventure romance story set in 1624 Madrid, during the Spanish Inquisition. I read this novel in 2012 and enjoyed it then, and was eager to hear it on audio. I was not disappointed. There is never a dull moment and there’s a good pace to this story! Tension, jealously, danger, adventure, humor, love and passion run rampant, and, given the time and setting, there is what I consider to be some mild violence. I would have loved to hear some feisty Spanish music from that era, and some clanking to go along with the sword fighting; it would have been an added enjoyment to the audio, but, alas, we can’t have everything.

Peter Brooke does an amazing job with the narration and the performance of accents and emotions of at least six major characters, the tones and accents so distinct. Christian Blackwood is twenty-three and has an English accent, Esteban is fifteen and Spanish; both have young sounding voices but very different personalities and accents. Teodoro Cieza de Vivar is older than Christian and even though he has a smooth, calm tone at times, it also reflects his maturity and the passion shared between Teo and Christian. Raul is a gypsy and former lover and friend to Teodoro; his voice has a very distinctive accent and expressive tones to match different situations. Gerrard Hawkins, Christian’s former protector, has a gruff, Cockney accent.

Teo is actually a very upstanding character with much pride and stubbornness. He is worldlier than Christian, older, and has served in the war and has killed. He is loyal to the end to anyone he has to protect. Christian is a surprise to Teo. Even though he is young, he’s not as spoiled as Teo thinks he is. He’s smart, generous, passionate and also loyal to his new found friends. It was fun to see the jealousy that first takes place between Estaban and Christian, and Christian being jealous of Raul.

I would also like to mention the beautiful cover by Ann Cain. It reflects the old world feel and the caring of Teo by Christian.

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You can buy Checkmate here:

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Charlie Cochet, Dreamspinner Press, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Amy, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Audio Review: Rise & Fall by Charlie Cochet – Narrated by Mark Westfield

Audio Gem

Title: Rise & Fall (THIRDS: Book Four)

Author: Charlie Cochet

Narrator:: Mark Westfield

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 8 Hours and 47 Minutes

At a Glance: Perfection…Simply perfection.

Reviewed By: Amy

Blurb: After an attack by the Coalition leaves THIRDS Team Leader Sloane Brodie critically injured, agent Dexter J. Daley swears to make Beck Hogan pay for what he’s done. But Dex’s plans for retribution are short-lived. With Ash still on leave with his own injuries, Sloane in the hospital, and Destructive Delta in the Coalition’s crosshairs, Lieutenant Sparks isn’t taking any chances. Dex’s team is pulled from the case, with the investigation handed to Team Leader Sebastian Hobbs. Dex refuses to stand by while another team goes after Hogan, and decides to put his old HPF detective skills to work to find Hogan before Theta Destructive, no matter the cost.

With a lengthy and painful recovery ahead of him, the last thing Sloane needs is his partner out scouring the city, especially when the lies—however well-intentioned—begin to spiral out of control. Sloane is all too familiar with the desire to retaliate, but some things are more important, like the man who’s pledged to stand beside him. As Dex starts down a dark path, it’s up to Sloane to show him what’s at stake, and finally put a name to what’s in his heart.

Dividers

Review: MORE!!! That is all I have to say. These THIRDS books have made me a fangirl. I can’t help myself. I drive down the road listening to these books, and people look at me funny because I am tearing up I am laughing so hard. I have to say that Dex is one of my favorite fictional characters. The whole support crew makes me smile. This series is so well written, and when this book was over, I was sad. I wanted to listen to them all over again, so I, in fact, listened to this audio again as soon as it was done. You can’t ask for more in these books. You get comedy, true love, action sequences, 80s music and hot man sex. SIGN ME UP!

Narration: In my eyes, Mark Westfield can do no wrong. He is freaking brilliant. I read the first few books of this series…but after listening to them on audio, I will never go to the written word again. He takes these characters and brings them to life. He uses sound effects and his own particular style. Although he reads all the characters, I feel that Mark is Dex. Perfection…simply perfection.

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You can buy Rise & Fall here:

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2.5 Stars, Audio Book, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Dreamspinner Press, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed By JJ, Sue Brown

Audio Review: Ed & Marchant by Sue Brown – Narrated by Max Lehnen

Title: Ed & Marchant (A Novella in Frankie’s Series)

Author: Sue Brown

Narrator:: Max Lehnen

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 3 Hours and 59 Minutes

At a Glance: I really enjoyed the audio portion of Ed & Marchant, but I found it impossible to like the book when the main character, Ed, was so disagreeable.

Reviewed By: Johanis

Blurb: Ed Winters despises his job and hates everyone he works with—especially out and proud, happily in love Frankie Mason. He spends his days wishing he could dance, rather than work.

Late to go shopping one day, Ed ends up soaked in Marchant Belarus’s spilled Coke. Ed’s humiliation increases when Marchant, the owner of a BDSM club, realizes Ed is a sub, albeit a very closeted one. Marchant’s attempts to draw Ed out of his shell release years of pent-up anger and hurt over the abuse Ed’s mother and grandmother heaped on him.

Marchant is patient, but nothing he does seems to help until he discovers Ed’s secret love of dancing—a forbidden passion that might be the key to unlocking the confident, secure man Ed could be.

Dividers

Review: Ed, a disgruntled and homophobic supervisor, has a chance encounter with Marchant, a dominant younger man who fascinates him. Marchant acts on their immediate attraction and tells Ed that he knows he is a gay submissive. Ed is appalled by Marchant’s accusation and continues to deny that he’s gay. Since Ed’s mother tried to beat the gay out of him as a child, Ed is very negative about his desires, and believes he’s a horrible deviant. Marchant eventually convinces Ed that this is not the case, and gets him to loosen up. Ed even goes as far as apologizing to a gay employee who he wronged in the past. When Ed and Marchant come together, Ed decides to quit his job and focus instead on dancing. After six months pass, Ed is ready to submit to Marchant and take on a submissive role in their relationship.

I really wanted to like this book, but I found it impossible to like it when the main character, Ed, was so disagreeable. Ed is a self-proclaimed homophobe who hates everyone and everything. Though I liked Marchant, I didn’t really understand why he would ever look twice at Ed. I also found it unrealistic that Marchant had one encounter with Ed and knew right away that Ed was a gay submissive. The next roadblock to my enjoyment of this book was that neither character seemed sexy in any way. Ed was a grouchy older man, and Marchant was a younger gentleman-type. Though the book had some sex scenes sprinkled in, I’m not sure whether the couple ever gets to the point of sleeping together. Although my interest in the characters was negligible, I was able to follow the story, and I never once felt that I had to stop reading. At one point, I actually started to like Ed, but then the book ended shortly afterward.

Narration: I really enjoyed the audio portion of this book. I think the reader did an excellent job, and I never once was taken away from the story due to the narration. As an additional note, this book was narrated in British English.

TNA_Signature_Johanis







 

You can buy Ed & Marchant here:

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3.5 Stars, Audio Book, B.G. Thomas, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, New Adult, Reviewed by Amy

Audio Review: Anything Could Happen by B.G. Thomas – Narrated by Charlie David

Title: Anything Could Happen

Author: B.G. Thomas

Narrator: Charlie David

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours and 32 Minutes

At a glance: This was a good read but I didn’t think it was a great read. Charlie David, on the other hand, brought this book to life.

Reviewed By: Amy

Blurb: Moving to Kansas City could be the best thing Austin Shelbourne has ever done. For a start, he can stop living a lie and finally come out of the closet. And there’s a chance, though slim, that he might be able to locate the love of his life, Todd Burton. It had seemed like a good idea when he seduced his friend, but Todd freaked out and vanished. Austin hopes to find Todd, make things right between them, and win his love. But when he meets actor Guy Campbell, things get even more confusing.

The moment Guy sets eyes on Austin, he knows Austin is The One. But Austin makes it clear he feels a responsibility to Todd, and Guy has some dark secrets of his own. He’s found redemption in acting and directing, but worries that if Austin learns the truth, he might not be able bear it. And what if Todd accepts Austin’s apology and the love Austin offers? Guy wants Austin desperately, but he also wants him to be happy. In the play of life, with the happiness of good men in the balance, anything could happen.

Dividers

Review: I am so torn about this book. On one hand, I love the coming-of-age story that is Austin. I adore the support cast of Uncle Body and the people of the apartment complex. I adore Guy and wanted to wrap him up and take him home. I also really like the idea of the book. In theory, I think this book works. On the page, I had a bit of a hard time with it. Everything just wraps itself up into this neat little bow. I felt like it needed some messy. Overall, I wasn’t disappointed. I just felt like this was a good read but didn’t think it was a great read. I’d give the book itself 3.5 stars.

Narration: Charlie David, on the other hand, brought this book to life. From Uncle Body and his dog to the drag queens at the Steel Magnolia’s play, David makes this a bright and new experience. His Southern accent has just the right touch, and the innocence he inflects in his voice for Austin was perfect. I look forward to more books narrated by Charlie David.

TNA_Signature_Amy







 

You can buy Anything Could Happen here:

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, John Inman, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Pia

Audio Review: Work in Progress by John Inman – Narrated by Caleb Dickinson

Audio Gem

Title: Work in Progress (A Belladonna Arms Novel)

Author: John Inman

Narrator:: Caleb Dickinson

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours and 14 Minutes

At a Glance: I adore John Inman, I really do, and I’m glad I got to listen to Work in Progress.

Reviewed By: Pia

Blurb: Dumped by his lover, Harlie Rose ducks for cover in the Belladonna Arms, a seedy apartment building perched high on a hill in downtown San Diego. What he doesn’t know is that the Belladonna Arms has a reputation for romance—and Harlie is about to become its next victim.

Finding a job at a deli up the street, Harlie meets Milan, a gorgeous but cranky baker. Unaware that Milan is suffering the effects of a broken heart just as Harlie is, the two men circle around each other, manning the barricades, both unwilling to open themselves up to love yet again.

But even the most stubborn heart can be conquered.

With his new friends to back him up—Sylvia, on the verge of her final surgery to become a woman, Arthur, the aging drag queen who is about to discover a romance of his own, and Stanley and Roger, the handsome young couple in 5C who lead by example, Harlie soon learns that at the Belladonna Arms, love is always just around the corner waiting to pounce. Whether you want it to or not.

But tragedy also drops in now and then.

Dividers

Review: I adore John Inman, I really do, and I’m glad I got to listen to Work in Progress, the second book in the Belladonna Arms series.

After being dumped by his lover, author Harlie Rose leaves for a four month road trip, returning to San Diego during a rain storm, where he meets Arthur, an aging, hairy drag queen, who rents him an apartment and introduces him to the rest of the strange and wonderful tenants of The Belladonna Arms.

Finding a job at a deli as a baker’s assistant, he meets Milan, tall, sexy, broody Milan, who has also just broken up with his partner and who is also attracted to Harlie but isn’t planning on doing anything about it. Thanks to meddling friends and the Belladonna’s pollen, most of our favourite quirky characters get their happy ending.

I think Caleb Dickinson did a great job narrating. Each person had depth and character, and I never once got confused or had to ask myself who was speaking. The only thing I would change is the long silences at the end of each chapter, but other than that I loved this audio book.

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You can buy Work in Progress here:

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

Audio Review: Quiet Nights by Mary Calmes – Narrated by Greg Tremblay

Title: Quiet Nights (Mangrove Stories)

Author: Mary Calmes

Narrator:: Greg Tremblay

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 2 Hours and 11 Minutes

At a Glance: I have listened to Greg many times, and no matter how many times I hear his narrations, it always sounds like a fresh and new story with a new voice.

Reviewed By: Amy

Blurb: It’s a lovely little life Kelly Seaton leads. He’s got his own landscaping business, a nice little house, and his best friend, Cosimo Renaldi, and Coz’s goofball family who have adopted Kelly as their own. Sure, it’s a little lonely at night, but it’s a sweet deal, and Kelly can’t chance ruining it by letting on that he wants more – has always wanted more – with Coz.

Then Kelly’s past comes to town, bringing bad memories and hurt feelings that start to break Kelly down, and Coz just doesn’t understand why Kelly won’t let him be the support and strength that Kelly’s always been for him. They’ve already been through war, Coz’s devastating injury, and starting new careers in Mangrove, Florida. Why shouldn’t they face their chaotic pasts and build their future of quiet nights… together?

Dividers

Review: As soon as I saw a Mary Calmes book on the review list, I snatched it up. I have read every one of her books, and here is why she moves me so much: Mary writes real people. She doesn’t just create a great love between two characters. She creates a universe of loveable characters that I couldn’t live without. Her books never lack in depth, even in a shorter story.

Coz’s family was one of my favorite parts of this story. They made me laugh and cry and wish for this book to never finish. The scene when Coz’s mother introduces her kids to her new boyfriend had me crying I was laughing so hard. Coz and Kelly’s relationship was the driving force of this story, and it was fun to see them realize that they belonged together. I did want the Britton situation to conclude earlier, but that is just a personal preference. I hope I get to visit Mangrove again soon.

Narration: Greg Tremblay. I mean, there is really nothing else to say. This seasoned narrator does what he does best: he gives life to a wonderfully told story with his brilliant performance. I have listened to Greg many times, and no matter how many times I hear his narrations, it always sounds like a fresh and new story with a new voice. He is one of the most talented in the bunch.

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You can buy Quiet Nights here:

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Jacob Z. Flores, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, New Adult, Reviewed by Amy

Audio Review: Being True by Jacob Z. Flores – Narrated by Mark Westfield

Audio Gem

Title: Being True

Author: Jacob Z. Flores

Narrator: Mark Westfield

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 8 Hours and 40 Minutes

At a glance: This book hit all the right notes in all the right places.

Reviewed By: Amy

Blurb: Truman L. Cobbler has not had an easy life. It’s bad enough people say he looks like Donkey from Shrek, but he’s also suffered the death of his policeman father and his mother’s remarriage to a professional swindler, who cost them everything. Now dirt poor, they live in the barrio of San Antonio, Texas. When Tru transfers to an inner-city high school halfway through his senior year, he meets Javi Castillo, a popular and hot high school jock. Javi takes an immediate liking to Tru, and the two become friends. The odd pairing, however, rocks the school and sets the cliquish social circles askew. No one knows how to act or what to think when Mr. Popular takes a stand for Mr. Donkey. Will the cliques rise up to maintain status quo and lead Tru and Javi to heartbreak and disaster or will being true to who they are rule the day?

Dividers

Review: Being True hit all the right notes in all the right places. First, let’s talk about Truman. How I adore this young man. He is the underdog that everyone roots for. In the opening sequence, I just wanted to take Rance and beat him. Javi Castillo, the boy/man we all hope to find and fall in love with—could he be more perfect?

What makes this story work is the well-built, believable relationship between Javi and Tru. Flores does an amazing job of telling this story through Tru’s eyes, but allows you to see Javi fall in love too. He weaves a wonderful supporting cast in the Castillo’s, and Tru’s mother, and a mouthy Goth chick who befriends Tru. Take all of those things, add the pressure of high school and just the basics of growing up, and what you are left with is a memorable coming-of-age story where the buildup and crescendo are well worth the wait. I would love a revisit of this couple in the future and even would love an update on Rance, who is the villain but also just a scared young kid, not sure of his place in the world.

Narration: I adored this book and when I saw that Mark Westfield was narrating, I was so stinkin’ excited. I am familiar with Mark from the THIRDS series, and know of his narration skills. He definitely brought his A-game for this book. He is such a talented narrator. Something as simple as a scene between Javi and Tru, where they are throwing the ball, is made more authentic because Westerfield makes Javi sound like he is farther away than Tru. I have heard a lot of great narrators of late, but Mark is by far my favorite, and he took this story to the next level.

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You can buy Being True here:

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4.5 Stars, Audio Book, Dawn Douglas, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed By Carrie

Audio Review: Fire Inside by Dawn Douglas – Narrated by Randy Fuller

Audio Gem

Title: Fire Inside

Author: Dawn Douglas

Narrator:: Randy Fuller

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 3 Hours and 12 Minutes

At a Glance: Fire Inside is an emotionally charged novella.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: After ten years as an active duty Marine, Captain Eric Ramos is rejoining civilian life. His first job is chauffeuring, assisting, and generally keeping track of NBA young gun Tyler Haley. Tyler’s had a rough few months, and his team owner is convinced he needs some hand-holding if he’s going to keep delivering wins for the St. Louis Fire Foxes.

Instead of the arrogant, over-privileged athlete Eric expected, Tyler is a big, blond, lonely twenty-three-year-old who needs more than just an employee to keep him in line. While taking care of Tyler, Eric changes from employee to friend, to something more. And when Eric realizes that something is burning the kid up from the inside out, he’s determined to find a way to help him before Tyler’s carefully constructed façade turns to ash.

Dividers

Review: Tyler Haley needs someone to love him – desperately. Outwardly successful and a basketball superstar, inwardly he is starting to crack under his insecurities and low self-worth. Brought up in the foster system and joining the NBA straight out of high school, he longs for a home and someone to see him as the man he is, not just for what they can get out of him. Tyler has issues, serious issues, and needs the strength that Ram can provide for him.

Captain Eric Ramos (or Ram) is straight out of the marines, and the same protective instincts that helped him shield his unit in war, he applies to working with Tyler. It’s almost like watching someone work with a skittish horse or animal in that Ram has to start small – just a home cooked meal – to get Tyler to trust him. By the end of the book you are really rooting for them, and I wish the author would have let us have just a couple more chapters of their life.

Randy Fuller does a fantastic job with the voices. The inflection he gave each character matched the inflection inside my head, so that really worked for me. Fuller’s voice, for me, was easy to listen to, and he made the story come alive. Sometimes with an audiobook you get lost in how the narrator makes the characters sound, and it can be disconcerting. Not so with this book. The narrator makes the story flow, and it was so enjoyable to listen to that when it ended, I wanted not only more story but more Randy Fuller to read it to me.

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You can buy Fire Inside here:

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5 Stars, Alix Bekins, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Amy

Audio Review: Written in the Stars by Alix Bekin – Narrated by Peter B. Brooke

Audio Gem

Title: Written in the Stars

Author: Alix Bekins

Narrator: Peter B. Brooke

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 6 Hours and 12 Minutes

At a Glance: Peter B. Brooke IS FREAKIN AMAZING

Reviewed By: Amy

Blurb: Bailey McMillan’s life is a mess. The general public blames him for his former employer’s nuclear pollution, resulting in professional disgrace. Humiliated, he takes a job as an editor at a science magazine run by his best friend, John. That part isn’t so bad; Bailey is fond of John, who seems to find Bailey’s abrasive nature amusing.

Unfortunately, working for John also leads to writing an astrology column in exchange for getting free rein in some op-ed articles—and then being sued over one. The (totally coincidental) accuracy of the column offers opportunity for further professional disgrace if anyone discovers its author—and then Bailey digs himself a little deeper.

In an attempt to prove astrology is bogus, he agrees to an experiment to date someone from each star sign. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Bailey’s got a stupid crush on John, who stubbornly insists on a detailed breakdown of every date—bad and otherwise. Bailey’s luck has to improve sometime… right?

Dividers

Review: I LOVE LOVE LOVE this story. It is getting harder and harder to find a truly funny and romantic story. This book gave me everything I asked for and more. It was light and fun, but with an incredible depth of feeling and character. Bailey is one of my favorite characters of late, and Alix Bekin made it fun to root for Baily, and go on the journey that he was on.

John was so sarcastic, and listening to the subtle queues of John falling in love with Bailey was incredible. I was truly sad when “The End” came along. The author definitely did a lot of research for this book. The horoscope references were on point, and I loved watching Bailey throughout the dates. I was trying to figure out which date was what sign through the whole book.

Narration: Peter B. Brooke IS FREAKIN AMAZING… This was a first time narrator for me, and his narration made an already incredibly written book so much better. Bailey was a complex genius, and I can’t imagine actually reading this in print after hearing Peter represent Bailey.

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You can buy Written in the Stars here:

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5 Stars, Audio Book, JCP Books, Jordan Castillo Price, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Lisa, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Audio Review: Camp Hell by Jordan Castillo Price – Narrated by Gomez Pugh

Audio Gem

Title: Camp Hell (PsyCop: Book Five)

Author: Jordan Castillo Price

Narrator:: Gomez Pugh

Publisher: JCP Books

Run Time: 10 Hours and 55 Minutes

At a Glance: The PsyCop series is the perfect marriage of author and narrator.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Victor Bayne honed his dubious psychic skills at one of the first psych training facilities in the country, Heliotrope Station, otherwise known as Camp Hell to the psychics who’ve been guests behind its razorwire fence.

Vic discovered that none of the people he remembers from Camp Hell can be found online, and there’s no mention of Heliotrope Station itself, either. Someone’s gone through a lot of trouble to bury the past. But who?

Dividers

Review: Fans of any book series, regardless of genre, will know what I mean when I call Camp Hell a transition book. It’s the book in the series where the hero hits a point in his story arc that signifies an evolution from which there’s no turning back. Victor Bayne has come to that crossroad in Camp Hell, Jacob Marks along with him, and it’s in this book that the PsyCop series transitions from outstanding speculative fiction to entering a class in the M/M genre all by itself.

Up until now, Vic has been rather a blank slate with regards to his time at Heliotrope Station—a.k.a. Camp Hell—and it hasn’t helped that he can’t find a single mention of the place, or of himself, on the internet. Camp Hell has become the one spectre Victor Bayne, medium extraordinaire, can’t see. Nor can he find any trace of some of the names he remembers from his stint there—as if neither the place nor that period of time were even a reality on his physical plane of existence. Except that Vic knows Camp Hell was real, and now he’s located someone to help him dig up and sift through some of those repressed memories.

We learn some things about Vic in this installment of the series, some pretty revealing things, one of them being that before Jacob stormed into Vic’s life, there was Stefan Russo. And Victor loved him. But, not quite enough to prevent Vic from keeping his face turned toward the sun and bolting from Heliotrope Station at the first opportunity. Stefan, now Steven Russell, fourteen years later, is the one who will help Vic remember the fragments of their time together at Camp Hell. Which leads to another of the things we learn in the process, and that’s how very few people—if any—Vic has in his life that he can trust with every part of himself. But we also finally get to see that Jacob comes first on that list.

In Camp Hell something quite significant also becomes much clearer with respect to the relationship between Victor and Jacob, and what Jacob means as a presence in Vic’s life. Vic’s life is death—so much of his existence revolves around the dead, but Jacob…Jacob is a source of life and energy that Victor knows he can trust, possibly even cling to when he needs it, and it’s a great contrast which is juxtaposed even further in that Vic also knows that to work with Jacob would drain him dry, in no uncertain terms.

Not only does Camp Hell excel at exposing more about the characters in this series we’re already familiar with, it also introduces some new players whose roles will be significant as the plot thickens and this series progresses. But where this novel reaches its pinnacle is in the supernatural elements Jordan Castillo Price has imagined, which is not only written with an impressive amount of detail but in a bone-chilling, goose-bump inducing, full-on horror genre fashion. The true horror, however, may be the reinforcement that human monsters exist.

The imagery in the climactic scene with Vic, Jacob, and the ghost at LaSalle Hospital is some of the most vivid fiction I’ve ever read, or, in this case, listened to, the kind of scene you still see when it’s over, every time you close your eyes. Not only that, but it’s such a pivotal moment for both Vic and Jacob, and was the aftermath of us empathizing just a little more with Zig, as well as it being the precursor to a touching and quite human moment with Warwick, a poignancy that doesn’t hit you until that “ah-ha” moment, and then makes your heart clench in empathy.

What could have possibly made this book better? Only one thing: Gomez Pugh narrating it. I’m running out of superlatives to heap on this man’s head, to be perfectly frank, and I remain impressed by not only his capturing Vic’s wit, pragmatism, and an insouciance the medium doesn’t necessarily feel—though attempts to project when anything more would reveal too much—but he continues to come up with new pitches and inflections for the impressive array of characters, both male and female, in the PsyCop series. The addition of Richie (aka Einstein) and his giggle; Dead Darla, who sounds exactly like a woman who’d be called Dead Darla; Con Dreyfuss, the wolf in hemp clothing; and Stefan, whose pretension and personality ooze from Pugh’s vocal cords, only serve to elevate this novel’s intensity and provocativeness.

The PsyCop series and Gomez Pugh were made for each other, the perfect marriage of a narrator who clearly appreciates the material he’s performing, and a series that uses his vocal prowess to its best effect.

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You can buy Camp Hell here:

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4.5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Mary Calmes, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Paranormal Romance, Poppy Dennison, Reviewed by Pia

Audio Review: Creature Feature by Poppy Dennison and Mary Calmes – Narrated by Jeff Gelder

Audio Gem

Title: Creature Feature

Authors: Poppy Dennison and Mary Calmes

Narrator:: Jeff Gelder

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 6 Hours and 29 Minutes

At a Glance: Both Poppy Dennison and Mary Calmes give us well rounded, sexy paranormal stories, and I think Jeff Gelder did a great job with the narration.

Reviewed By: Pia

Blurb: Diagnosis: Wolf by Poppy Dennison

Thanks to his good-for-nothing brother, Andrew Hughes is up to his eyeballs in debt and needs a job fast. When a nursing position opens up in Myerson, Arizona, Andrew has no choice but to take it, despite a warning about how difficult a patient Caleb DiMartino can be. Andrew can deal with a little trouble—but Caleb’s strange family, the armed guards, and the unknown cause of Caleb’s mysterious illness may be beyond his skill set.

Landslide by Mary Calmes

For three years, paranormal courier Frank Corrigan has been working for incubus demon Cael Berith. Cael knows Frank is his mate, but Frank is pretty sure Cael doesn’t even like him, never mind want to spend the rest of his life with him, so their personal relationship is at an impasse. When Frank’s sister, Lindsey, gets bitten by a werewolf she’s sleeping with—and possibly witnesses a murder—Frank rides to her rescue. If he’s lucky, he might just save his love life too.

Dividers

Review: Diagnosis: Wolf

In Poppy Dennison’s Diagnosis Wolf we meet Andrew, a nurse who is drowning in debt and bad credit thanks to his good for nothing twin Danny, who is constantly getting himself into trouble. Unable to turn down any work that comes his way, Andrew takes a temp job with a client who has run off all other nurses sent his way.

His patient, Caleb, is a man struck down with a mystery illness, and neither Caleb’s bodyguards nor his powerful father seem willing to share any information that might help Andrew care for Caleb. Andrew, unable to turn down good money, or deny the strange pull he feels to the sick man, stays and looks after him anyway. When Andrew learns Caleb’s true nature, and his brother comes back in to his life (in trouble yet again), both men must help each other defeat the new and unexpected threat to their lives.

Poppy Dennison does a great shifter book, and I love that she has managed to give our couple a nice slow build up and didn’t jump straight into the ‘mate claiming’ like a lot of other paranormal shifter books do. It was a pleasure listening to this book.

Landslide

In Mary Calmes’s Landslide we meet Frank, a human courier for the paranormal who works for sexy incubus demon Cael. Cael believes Frank is his mate but Frank, who is a husky guy with no self confidence, doesn’t believe a word Cael says, and is determined not to give in to his feeling for fear of once again being rejected or deemed not good enough.

When Frank’s younger sister gets herself into trouble by sleeping with a werewolf and witnessing a body being dumped, Frank asks Cael to go home with him to help him figure things out. While in Frank’s small hometown, trying to deal with the situation, Cael starts chipping away at Frank’s resistance and starts proving the he wants his mate for the long haul.

Once again Mary Calmes gives us a great story with different paranormals peppered throughout, hot sex, and keeps us wanting to come back for more.

I don’t usually enjoy anthologies because more often than not I’m left wanting more, but this one was really good. Both Poppy Dennison and Mary Calmes give us well rounded, sexy paranormal stories, and I think Jeff Gelder did a great job with the narration. If you’re looking for a shortish audiobook with get characters, then you should check out Creature Feature!

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You can buy Creature Feature here:

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

Audio Review: The Little Things by Jay Northcote – Narrated by Matthew Lloyd Davies

Title: The Little Things

Author: Jay Northcote

Narrator: Matthew Lloyd Davies

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours and 31 Minutes

At a Glance: Davies narration was INCREDIBLE.

Reviewed By: Amy

Blurb: There are lots of things that brighten Joel’s life. His three-year-old daughter, Evie, is one. His close relationship with her mother, his best friend from university, is another. Joel’s boyfriend, Dan, adds spice to his child-free nights, and Joel is pretty happy with how things are.

Then one cold and rainy night, everything changes. Joel’s life is turned upside down when he becomes a full-time dad to Evie, and his previously carefree relationship with Dan cracks under the strain.

Meeting Liam, who acts as if getting hurt isn’t a foregone conclusion, shakes Joel to the core. Their attraction is mutual, and Liam makes no secret of how serious he is about Joel. But Joel is wary. He tells himself he’s keeping Liam at a distance for Evie’s sake, when really he’s protecting his own heart. Taking a chance on this new relationship with Liam may seem a small step—a little thing—but is it one Joel can take after losing so much already?

Dividers

Review: The Little Things was my first novel by Jay Northcote, so I didn’t know what to expect. I am absolutely torn by this novel. I adore the author’s ability to write and develop characters. I fell in love with Evie and Joel (although he frustrated me). I enjoyed Dan, but Liam is the saving grace of this entire book. He was charismatic and loving without being over the top. The downside of this book was that it could have been at least 10,000 words shorter. To get to the point of progression, or in this case, Evie’s mother’s death, took too long. It was filled with a lot of mundane every life things that in small doses really make me love a book, but the story gets lost in them. Once the book got started, it was excellent.

Narration: There’ve been a lot of first time narrator’s for me lately, and Matthew Lloyd Davies was new to me as well. This is the first time I liked the narrator more than the overall story. Davies narration was INCREDIBLE. By far my favorite British narrator to date. He transformed the story into a true experience. Because of this I gave the overall rating of a 4.

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You can buy The Little Things here:

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Amy, Shira Anthony

Audio Review: Blue Notes by Shira Anthony – Narrated by Peter B. Brooke

Audio Gem

Title: Blue Notes

Author: Shira Anthony

Narrator: Peter B. Brooke

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours and 47 Minutes

At a Glance: I simply adore Shira Anthony’s writing, and Peter B. Brooke is one of the best narrators in the business.

Reviewed By: Amy

Blurb: Blame it on jet lag. Jason Greene thought he had everything: a dream job as a partner in a large Philadelphia law firm, a beautiful fiancée, and more money than he could ever hope to spend. Then he finds his future wife in bed with another man, and he’s forced to rethink his life and his choices. On a moment’s notice, he runs away to Paris, hoping to make peace with his life.

But Jason’s leave of absence becomes a true journey of the heart when he meets Jules, a struggling jazz violinist with his own cross to bear. In the City of Love, it doesn’t take them long to fall into bed, but as they’re both about to learn, they can’t run from the past. Sooner or later, they’ll have to face the music.

Dividers

Review: I picked this audiobook because I simply adore Shira Anthony’s writing, and I enjoyed Blue Notes the first time, in written word. Jason (Jazz) is such a likable character, a character that you feel deserves a happy ending and pull for from the beginning. Jules is a damaged young man with an incredible heart. All I wanted to do was protect him. I felt truth and passion throughout all of this book. Anthony really wrote an incredible story, but her ability to write the supporting cast was what really made this book stand out for me. The world she builds is one I could and have visited over and over.

Narration: I was also a little apprehensive as most of this book takes place in Paris, and I couldn’t imagine the challenge this would have been as a narrator. I will, however, say that I’ve listened to Peter B. Brooke narrate books in the past, and was extremely impressed with his abilities. I was not disappointed. Brooke is one of the best narrators in the business. When reviewing an audiobook, what you hope for most is the ability for the narrator to define each character. Peter B. Brooke has that ability in spades. He also popped in and out of his French accent so smoothly, and made that accent sound genuine, not forced or fake. Combining his ability with Jules, who, by the way is one of my favorite characters, was unforgettable. I cannot wait to hear the rest of this series.

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You can buy Blue Notes here:

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4.5 Stars, Audio Book, JCP Books, Jordan Castillo Price, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Lisa

E-book and Audio Review: Body Art by Jordan Castillo Price – Narrated by Gomez Pugh

Audio Gem

Title: Body Art

Author: Jordan Castillo Price

Publisher: JCP Books

Pages/Run Time: 108 Pages/ 3 Hours and 24 Minutes

At a Glance: A little murder and another stellar performance by Gomez Pugh make perfect companions of this e- and audiobook.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Does everyone have a certain “type” they end up with…whether they want to or not? If Ray Carlucci’s ex is anything to go by, Ray likes his men gorgeous, rebellious, and chock-full of issues. But now that Ray is single again, he has a shot at a fresh start—a very fresh start, since his tattoo shop was gutted by repo men and he can fit all his belongings in the trunk of a taxi.

Ray’s shiny new chauffeur’s license lands him a job as a driver for an elderly couple on Red Wing Island. It’s a cold fall, and since the Michigan island is the summer home to snowbirds who fly south for the winter, it’s practically deserted—save for Ray’s new household and a sculptor named Anton Kopec, who works day and night twisting brambles and twine into the distorted shapes of macabre creatures. Compelling, bizarre, and somewhat disturbing…not just the sculptures, but the artist, too. Ray has a feeling Anton is just his “type.”

Despite their scorching chemistry, when a dead body is unearthed by some workers and a freak ice storm traps them all on the island, Ray can’t say for certain that his new flame isn’t capable of murder.

Dividers

Review: One of the things I love about Jordan Castillo Price’s work is that you never quite know what you’re going to get between the covers of her books. Sure, you have the blurb, but that’s just the bait to lure you in. What hooks me, without fail, every time, is her characters. Anton Kopec embodies the flawed men this author makes us fall for. Ray Carlucci embodies the flawed men this author makes us relate to. Sometimes her characters are challenged by a psychological affliction, and sometimes they’re just regular guys who get kicked in the teeth when it’s not quite bad enough that life already has their privates twisted firmly in a vice.

This short novel, Body Art, is billed as a thriller, and that it is. The setting evolves with the change of seasons on a Michigan island, just as summer has turned to autumn, and autumn is quickly swept aside by the unforgiving nature of a winter ice storm, which adds a terrible beauty to the island’s isolation and the eerie desolation of a dark forest thick with the unknown.

When immolated animals begin showing up on Ray’s doorstep, there is a clear and present bizarreness that sneaks up on readers—at first seeming innocuous enough as we’re empathizing with Ray’s “every man” troubles, but at the same time, we also know nothing good is bound to happen with this sort of foreshadowing. The atmosphere and anticipation in this novella is built slowly and begins to escalate not long after Ray meets fellow island resident Anton in the woods one night. Their initial meeting only adds to the strange and unusual, as Anton works exhaustively at being little more than enigmatic—something that just so happens to draw Ray to the beautiful, eccentric artist like steel to a magnet.

Anton’s behavior is symptomatic of his psychological chemistry, at once agitated, then almost childlike in the intensity of his enthusiasm, much more than mere artistic temperament allows for. Ray’s reactions to Anton are symptomatic of an arsebite of an ex-boyfriend, the loss of his tattoo shop, and his undeniable attraction to men who may not necessarily be good for him. Everything in this story comes to a head, however, when a dead body is discovered buried beneath his new employers’ lawn, the body of a man who was known to be a friend of the one man whose moods and behavior are known to be erratic at best. The mystery unfolds under a cloud of suspicion, where we readers are left to wonder whether or not the identity of a killer might be locked inside the Alzheimer’s-riddled mind of an old man.

Jealousy and greed go hand-in-hand with murder in Body Art, and JCP gives plausible enough reason to substantiate a killer’s motives in a story that had just enough twists to keep me guessing all the way up to the Big Reveal. As a standalone novella, we get just enough depth to the storyline and characterizations, not as much as I always appreciate in this author’s work, but more than enough for those times I love a little instant-gratification in a shorter novel. Not to mention when I want some chills and a good mystery; this book fit those needs perfectly.

I read this e-book first, then I let Gomez Pugh read it to me a second time because I may or may not be addicted to his voice—it’s a close call. Not only that, but I wanted to test Pugh’s range on yet another Jordan Castillo Price offering. Unsurprisingly he delivers a great performance, emoting to perfection each nuance of Anton’s high-tension-wire personality, then delivering on the next breath Ray’s regular Joe, good guy patience and kindness. From the elderly couple, who are Ray’s employers, to the rest of the staff left on the island, to the least significant bit-part role player, Pugh seems incapable of turning in anything resembling a mediocre or lackluster narration. In fact, if hard pressed, I might even say his delivery elevates Body Art a notch simply because of his smooth and sexy voice.

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You can buy Body Art here:

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All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

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4 Stars, Audio Book, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Dreamspinner Press, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Amy, SJD Peterson

Audio Review: Tag Team by SJD Peterson – Narrated by Rusty Topsfield

Audio Gem

Title: Tag Team (Guards of Folsom: Book Two)

Author: SJD Peterson

Narrator: Rusty Topsfield

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours and 56 Minutes

At a Glance: All I can ever ask for from a narrator is to take me into the world the author has created. Rusty Topsfield painted a picture of SJD Peterson’s world while defining each character wonderfully.

Reviewed By: Amy

Blurb: Following the death of their sub, the former owners of the Guards of Folsom, Robert “Bobby” Alcott and Rig Beckworth, were left to pick up the pieces as best they could. After seven years, these two Doms are ready to move on and find the boy who will complete them. Their painful past comes crashing back when they meet Mason Howard, a submissive who just weeks ago lost his Doms in a car accident.

Reeling from overwhelming grief that’s complicated by a severe social anxiety disorder, Mason can barely leave his home. When Rig and Bobby find him, he’s hit rock bottom, believing life is no longer worth living. Bobby and Rig set out to prove the younger man wrong. Fate has brought the three men together, but they’ll have to face fear and loss head on before they can all truly live again.

Dividers

Review: I adore SJD Peterson and I was excited to listen to the second book in the Guards of Folsom series, as I had only read the first novel in print. What stood out about this book was Peterson’s ability to write a book that can show such care and tenderness, while still having that edge that takes it to the next level. I really felt the love that Mason carried for his recently departed Doms, and the utter despair of what he was going through. I also didn’t feel that Mason was replacing his past loves with Rig and Bobby. Can I say how much I adore Rig and Bobby? After only seeing glimpses of them in the first novel, they were well worth the wait. I connected with Bobby and Rig’s relationship. Overall, I loved this book; however, I felt the BDSM was lacking. Because of that I gave Tag Team four stars.

Narration: I hadn’t heard Rusty Topsfield narrate anything before. I thought his name was absolutely fitting for a BDSM novel, though :P. What I have noticed is when an audiobook starts with “for Falcon Sound Company,” I get very excited. I haven’t met a narrator for Falcon that hasn’t been absolutely stellar. Topsfield didn’t disappoint me. All I can ever ask for from a narrator is to take me into the world the author has created. He painted a picture of SJD Peterson’s world while defining each character wonderfully. I cannot wait for the next Guards of Folsom audiobook and hope that Rusty narrates it!

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You can buy Tag Team here:

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Kade Boehme, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Piper Vaughn, Reviewed By Carrie

Audio Review: Wood, Screws & Nails by Piper Vaughn and Kade Boehme – Narrated by Paul Morey

Audio Gem

Title: Wood, Screws & Nails (Hard Hats: Book One)

Author: Piper Vaughn and Kade Boehme

Narrator:: Paul Morey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 4 Hours and 30 Minutes

At a Glance: This was my first audiobook, and I thoroughly enjoyed having Paul Morey tell me a story – especially such a hot one!

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: Aaron Costa’s summer was all planned. Despite having to remodel the family lake house, it would be a vacation of sorts, and he had every intention of enjoying it—until the friend who was supposed to help him got injured and left him in a lurch. He decides to take the opportunity to bond with his son and hires Julian and his roommate, Malachi, to assist.

As a broke college student, Malachi could use the money, and spending the summer with Aaron for eye candy sounds like a dream. “Look but don’t touch” becomes his motto. But when Julian starts flaking on his responsibilities and Malachi and Aaron are forced to spend long hours alone together, their mutual attraction is impossible to resist.

Aaron can’t fight the temptation sexy Malachi presents. But more than their age difference stands in their way, not the least of which is Aaron’s semi-closeted status and the fact that he’s never openly discussed his sexuality with his son. He has no idea how Julian will react when he learns his father is not only gay, he’s also dating his best friend.

Dividers

Review: This is an audio review of Wood, Screws & Nails, narrated by Paul Morey. I loved Aaron and Malachi! This is a May/December romance and while I generally shy away from books where one of the MCs is only twenty-one, this romance was nicely done. A happy-ever-after is not promised, but we get a real satisfying happy-for-now with the propensity toward more, and I was pleased with that.

Aaron became a father right after high school, experimenting with his best friend Carrie. This part of the story was well written, and I really liked how they handled the backstory for Aaron’s son Julian. Admittedly Aaron and Carrie spoiled Julian, together not wanting him to experience the hardships they faced as young parents. Aaron has a hard time letting that go and realizing a little tough love can be a good thing. When Julian and his best friend Malachi agree to help Aaron renovate his parents’ lake house, we get to see the relationship develop between the two MCs as Julian becomes more of a slacker and spends more time away from the house than helping with the renovations. The relationship goes from a mutual physical attraction to appreciation of each other’s talents and work ethic as regards the construction they have to accomplish in the old house.

Malachi is totally believable. Yes, there are some college boys out there who have their head on straight, and Malachi is one of them. We have a precedent for him liking older men, but even he will tell you he does not have a “daddy” complex. Malachi comes from a delightfully normal, accepting family, and he is well adjusted because of it. It is Malachi’s steadfastness and honorable work ethic that wins Aaron over little by little. These two do not just jump into a relationship; they build it like they are building the lake house, a little at the time. And what an incredibly hot journey! Who wouldn’t love two incredible men working construction, with the sexual tension being off the charts?

I would highly recommend this book – especially in audio! Paul Morey does a fantastic job with the narration and vocal inflections of the characters. I always knew which character was speaking from the tone of voice Paul used. This was my first audiobook, and I thoroughly enjoyed having Paul Morey tell me a story – especially such a hot one!

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You can buy Wood, Screws & Nails here:

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

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

Audio Gem

Title: Forever Promised

Author: Amy Lane

Narrator:: Paul Morey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 12 Hours and 6 Minutes

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

Reviewed By: Kathie

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

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

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

Dividers

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

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

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You can buy Forever Promised here:

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4 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, J.H. Knight, Narration Rating, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Sadonna

Audio Review: The Last Thing He Needs by J.H. Knight – Narrated by Michael Stellman

Audio Gem

Title: The Last Thing He Needs

Author: J.H. Knight

Narrator: Michael Stellman

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours and 22 Minutes

At a Glance: This is an angst filled read of a dysfunctional family, with the eldest son trying to hold things together by himself for so long that he has trouble recognizing when and from whom he should accept help.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: Tommy O’Shea is raising his seven younger brothers and sisters without any help from his drug abusing father and stepmother. Since he was fifteen years old, he’s managed to keep the children fed and out of foster care. It takes up every ounce of his energy and the last thing he needs is romance complicating his life further.

Rookie cop Bobby McAlister doesn’t belong in Tommy’s harsh world, but Tommy can’t push him out. As their unlikely friendship turns into a tentative relationship, they weather the daily storm of Tommy’s life with a lot of laughs and more than a few arguments.

Tommy isn’t used to trusting outsiders, and he’s never asked for help in his life. But when a tragedy strikes the O’Shea family and threatens everything he’s fought for, he’ll have to learn to do both to recover from the brutal hit.

Dividers

Review: Finally! An audiobook I enjoyed! The Last Thing He Needs has convinced me that, with audiobooks, the narrator makes the story. After two misses, this one is a hit.

Tommy O’Shea’s life is crappy on his very best day. His mother died when he was young, and his father chose again, unwisely, and his stepmother is a drunk/junkie as well. He has shouldered the responsibility of his younger siblings, really, since was fifteen. At twenty-two, he just keeps trying to keep it all together. There are seven other O’Shea children – from Colleen, who is seventeen, down to twins Zoe and Max, who are still babies. In between are Mikey, Collin, Davey, and Carrie. Each of them is dealing with the family drama in their own way.

When Colleen calls Tommy to tell him that the babies are sick and crying, he needs to get them medicine, but he doesn’t have the money. He thinks he’ll lift them from a convenience store, but he’s thwarted by a cop he knows, and who knows him and his family situation. Although he’s not happy about Bobby butting in to his life, he is desperate to get home to the sick kids and solve the current crisis.

When Bobby starts hanging around more, and then they meet in a very unexpected venue, Bobby and Tommy become more than friends. Bobby get a little bit pushy in what Tommy sees as “interfering” in his life and his family troubles, but Tommy is beginning to feel something for Bobby, and he doesn’t want him to leave either.

As you might expect in a family with this much crap going on, there are always the potential threats from the mostly absent parents—who can show up at any time and wreak havoc on the tenuous peace, interference from Child Protective Services, or the kids themselves, who are growing up way too fast. Bobby and Tommy generally work together when these things come up, but Tommy continues to have a hard time accepting help, and he definitely feels like Bobby can do better.

The kickass character of the piece, though, is Bobby’s mother Judy. Once she gets involved in the O’Shea family, nothing will ever be the same. She is a formidable opponent, and Tommy has a feeling he will never gain back the control he once had. He would be right. :)

Of course, there are a number of crises that occur – both for Bobby and for Tommy. There are some pretty serious issues in their relationship that have to be resolved, or they won’t have any future – even as friends – if they can’t get past them. When things come to a head, Tommy and Bobby will both have to fight for what they have together, and it will affect the entire O’Shea family. These guys have to work really hard for their happy ending.

I’m so happy I finally liked an audiobook. Michael Stellman really brought life to this story. His characterizations were spot on – nothing over the top. His Tommy and Bobby were perfect in both the tone and delivery. His voice really kept me engaged in the story. I definitely will get another book that features this narrator. So far, my favorite of the audiobooks I’ve listened to.







 

You can buy The Last Thing He Needs here:

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