3.5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Elizah J. Davis, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 4 Stars, Reviewed by Amy

Audio Review: Making Nice by Elizah J. Davis – Narrated by Michael Ferraiuolo

Title: Making Nice

Author: Elizah J. Davis

Narrator: Michael Ferraiuolo

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 10 hours and 31 minutes

At a Glance: A great story that could have been about five hours shorter.

Reviewed By: Amy

Blurb: Twins Blake and Bianca Dunlap have always been there for each other, ready to lend support and make sacrifices. Blake can’t imagine a bigger sacrifice than getting along with Bianca’s fiancé, Matt. However, Matt turns out to be more than the meathead Blake had dismissed him as, but Matt’s best friend, Ryan Everett, is a different story. Ryan seems intent on being an insufferable jerk as often as possible. The fact that Blake is undeniably attracted to Ryan only makes the whole situation more annoying.

Since they’ll all be stuck together for the long haul, Blake is determined to make nice. Unfortunately he overshoots, and he and Ryan end up on much friendlier terms than Blake intended. While he and Ryan agree there’s no harm in having a strings-free fling that changes when Matt and Bianca find out about it. As more complications arise, Blake and Ryan become more determined to do what it takes to avoid letting them down. But the only way to ensure getting through a joyous wedding and avoid the questions neither of them want to answer is to convince everyone it’s something more.

Dividers

Review: I had a hard time with this book. The guts of this book are solid. I was intrigued and loved every character. I love the dynamic of Blake and Bianca in conjunction with Matt and Ryan. I enjoyed Blake and Ryan falling in love. The hate you/love you was well done. I even enjoyed them trying to hide the relationship from Bianca and Matt. In theory, everything about this book works. Unfortunately, though, there is a point where the book stops working. A book with this content could easily have been half its length. Outside of these characters doing some silly lying and push/pull in their relationship, I felt that there was no real story. Any plot outside of their relationship was forced and things were added to make the story longer. For example, the situation where Ryan was fixing up his basement and then Blake misunderstanding, thinking he was cheating. After the argument and then, surprisingly, Ryan breaking things off, nothing drastic changed for Ryan to take Blake back. Growth was implied but not shown.

Narration: Michael Ferraiuolo did a great job of narrating. I hadn’t listened to him previously, and was pleasantly surprised by his work, but after about five hours, his voice could no longer hold the story up. I would definitely listen to Michael Ferraiuolo again.

TNA_Signature_Amy

 

 

 

You can buy Making Nice here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

Standard
3.5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Narration Rating - 4 Stars, Reviewed By JJ, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Shira Anthony

Review: Stealing the Wind by Shira Anthony – Narrated by Michael Stellman

Title: Stealing the Wind (Mermen of Ea Trilogy: Book One)

Author: Shira Anthony

Narrator: Michael Stellman

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours and 31 Minutes

At a Glance: Shira Anthony has a way of making a world come alive, which made me feel like I was on the ship and under the sea with the characters.

Reviewed By: JJ

Blurb: Taren Laxley has never known anything but life as a slave. When a lusty pirate kidnaps him and holds him prisoner on his ship, Taren embraces the chance to realize his dream of a seagoing life. Not only does the pirate captain offer him freedom in exchange for three years of labor and sexual servitude, but the pleasures Taren finds when he joins the captain and first mate in bed far surpass his greatest fantasies.

Then, during a storm, Taren dives overboard to save another sailor and is lost at sea. He’s rescued by Ian Dunaidh, the enigmatic and seemingly ageless captain of a rival ship, the Phantom, and Taren feels an overwhelming attraction to Ian that Ian appears to share. Soon Taren learns a secret that will change his life forever: Ian and his people are Ea, shape-shifting merfolk… and Taren is one of them too. Bound to each other by a fierce passion neither can explain or deny, Taren and Ian are soon embroiled in a war and forced to fight for a future—not only for themselves but for all their kind.

Dividers

Review: Stealing the Wind is the first Mermen book I’ve ever read. I wasn’t sure at first how mermen could be sexy, but the author makes them very appealing. The story starts out when Taren, an indentured slave, is captured by a pirate. The pirate agrees to let him have his freedom in exchange for sexual servitude. Since Taren is attracted to the pirate, he agrees. However, before he can earn his freedom, he is in an accident, which results in him being rescued by a man named Ian. Taren is drawn to Ian, and when he learns that Ian is of the Ea people and shifts into a merman, his world is transformed.

I was initially drawn to Taren, but his time on the ship with the pirates was narrated so much that I lost a certain degree of interest. However, when Taren was rescued by Ian, things became interesting. Though Taren’s heart was at first split between Ian and the pirates, Ian is extremely drawn to Taren. I could really feel Ian’s pain over his love for him, which made their unions very erotic. The only part I didn’t really like about the book was the ending, since it kind of left me hanging. Also, I didn’t really connect with the twist, but despite disliking the end, I was entertained by the book as a whole. Shira Anthony has a way of making a world come alive, which made me feel like I was on the ship and under the sea with the characters.

Narration: Michael Stellman’s narration was perfect. I especially loved the voice he used for Taren, which was extremely erotic at times. Stellman used different voices for each character and was very expressive.

TNA_Signature_JJ

 

 

 

You can buy Stealing the Wind here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

Standard
3 Stars, Andrew Grey, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 3 Stars, Reviewed by Sadonna

Audio Review: Love Means… Patience by Andrew Grey – Narrated by Andrew McFarrin

Title: Love Means… Patience

Author: Andrew Grey

Narrator: Andrew McFerrin

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 5 Hours and 52 Minutes

At a Glance: Another in Andrew Grey’s beloved Love Means series, which introduces us to new former military characters and a new set of obstacles to overcome.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: Years after his discharge from the Marines under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Cody Culver lives in a PTSD-induced world all his own. On a mission, under misconceptions that Geoff and Eli are the enemy, Cody breaks into their farmhouse but is quickly brought back to his senses by a frying pan to the head. After receiving much needed help in the hospital, Cody has nowhere to go. Luckily, kindhearted Eli knows just where to turn.

When Eli asks former Marine Brick Hunter to help, Brick isn’t sure he wants to get involved. But Brick has worked through his own PTSD, and like it or not, he owes Eli a favor. With Cody struggling to rejoin the real world and Brick agreeing to take him in, they discover they have more in common than either of them thought possible.

Though Cody tries to stay in the here and now, he sometimes flashes to unexplainable traumatic events—events that don’t fit his usual war zone delusions. As the “delusions” grow more frequent, it becomes apparent they might not be delusions at all. Cody may have actually witnessed a murder.

Dividers

Review: Note: This is book seven of a series, and while it’s not absolutely necessary to have read the previous books, it’s helpful for context of the setting and characters.

I have been addicted to this series since I discovered it over four years ago now. I read the first four books back to back, and have read each subsequent release. I love Geoff and Eli, and I’m always interested to see who will join the crew next.

Cody is a former Marine who has been discharged under DADT. He’s also suffering from a severe case of PTSD. He thinks Eli and Geoff are the enemy, and he’s on a mission. He’s cold and hungry and goes into the house to try to find food and defend against the enemy – but instead, he gets a frying pan to the head.

When he comes to, it’s obvious that he desperately needs both medical and psychological assistance, but as a homeless and rejected vet, he doesn’t have any resources. Eli, however, has a plan. He thinks Brick, a former military man himself, who has successfully dealt with his PTSD, may be able to help.

While Cody doesn’t have any real farm experience, Brick can certainly use help around his family farm, which he’s been able to keep running on his own – but just barely. Cody still has trouble discerning when he might be slipping out of reality, but Brick’s experience comes in handy. What Brick doesn’t tell Cody right away, though, is that he is also interested in guys. Brick is attracted to Cody but doesn’t want to take advantage of him in his current condition. He does want to help him get stronger, and if something else develops… well, that would be okay too.

Cody also keeps having flashbacks of something happening in an empty house that he’d bunked in sometime during the past winter, but with his PTSD and his inability to confirm a timeline, he’s uncertain if what he remembers is real or imagined. When it turns out to be real and there is danger for Cody, Brick, and their friends, it’s all hands on deck to the rescue.

I especially like the little details in this story that include a puppy, fun with Jakey, and nice cameos from the rest of the regulars in this series. This is a solid addition to the Love Means… series that fans should enjoy.

This is the first audiobook of this series that I’ve listened too, and I had previously read this book – although, it was over a year ago. I was pleasantly surprised by how the narrator brought out details that I had forgotten from when I’d read it. I especially liked his characterization of Brick. I wasn’t sure about his characterization of Geoff – he seemed a little bit too “Southern” to me, but truthfully, I don’t know too many people from that area, so he may be spot on and it’s just me.

 

 

 

You can buy Love Means… Patience here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

Standard
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.

Dividers

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

Audible.com

Standard
4.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Renae Kaye, Reviewed by Kim

Audio Review: Safe in His Arms by Renae Kaye – Narrated by Randy Fuller

Audio Gem

Title: Safe in His Arms

Author: Renae Kaye

Narrator:: Randy Fuller

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours and 6 Minutes

At a Glance: Kudos to both Renae Kaye and Randy Fuller for delivering a story worth listening to during a long commute to work.

Reviewed By: Kim

Blurb: In the late-night quiet of the caravan park shower room, Lon Taylor washes away the filth of the Western Australian mines. He’s not looking for anyone, but when Casey offers, Lon doesn’t turn him down.

Welcoming the young man in his big, hairy arms, Lon provides a safety to Casey that he has never known, and Casey wants to stay forever. Still reeling from the breakup of his family years ago, Lon’s not sure he’s ready for the responsibility of the comfort and security Casey craves.

Perhaps Lon can risk opening his heart again and hoping for a brighter future. Casey has some pretty big skeletons in his past to deal with. Lon wonders what Casey will do when he finds out how badly Lon failed at protecting the ones he loved eight years ago.

Dividers

Review: I’m fast becoming a fan of Renae Kaye, especially since I’ve started listening to her work. I love how Randy Fuller’s voice characterizations immediately pulled me into this story. You definitely get the image that Lon is a big guy. But even though Lon looks like someone you wouldn’t want to mess with, he’s such a big teddy bear at heart. Casey sees this and is immediately drawn to Lon. And though he’s a bit young for Lon, there’s something about Casey that brings out Lon’s protective side, especially when he learns what Casey’s father had done to him as a teen.

I loved how these two men interacted with each other. Except for the one moment when Lon got extremely upset with Casey for not telling him about a chance meeting with someone. Lon was so secretive about his past, how was Casey to know? Shame on Lon for thinking that Casey was a mind reader, and for yelling at Casey the way he did. Well… it made me want to slap Lon alongside his head for the sudden outburst of temper! See…Casey even brought out the protectiveness in me. But, I was extremely glad when Lon did the right thing by groveling for forgiveness.

Randy Fuller has been added to the list of narrators I’d be willing to listen to again and again. Kudos to both Renae Kaye and Randy Fuller for delivering a story worth listening to during a long commute to work.

TNA_Signature_Kim

 

 

 

You can buy Safe in His Arms here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

Standard
4.5 Stars, AJ Michaels, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 4.5 Stars, Reviewed by Amy

Audio Review: Pride and Modern Prejudice by AJ Michaels – Narrated by Rusty Topsfield

Audio Gem

Title: Pride and Modern Prejudice

Author: AJ Michaels

Narrator: Rusty Topsfield

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 hours and 31 minutes

At a Glance: A very successful rewrite of Jane Austen.

Reviewed By: Amy

Blurb: What happens when Jane Austen’s immortal characters are thrust into 21st century Pennsylvania, with an all-male twist?

Liam Bennet has always been a good judge of character, but when William Darcy is thrown into his social circle, everything spins out of control. Darcy is proud, cold, arrogant—and strangely captivating. When Liam’s brother and Darcy’s business partner start seeing each other, Liam cannot avoid this enigmatic businessman. But does he want to?

As Liam struggles to find his identity in college and acknowledge his feelings, he must deal with the fortunes of his four brothers, his gossiping mother, and the possibility of a large inheritance that could save his family from financial ruin. Emotions come to a boil when George Wickham, a world-weary musician, stumbles into town and ignites a feud with Darcy. He threatens to expose a long-hidden past, and Liam must decide for himself who William Darcy really is and what he really wants.

Dividers

Review: I can’t imagine attempting to rewrite the amazing Jane Austen; however, I really enjoy films like Bridget Jones’s Diary and other attempts in the film world. I figured, what the heck, let me give the modern attempt at a written classic a chance. I am awful glad that I did. AJ Michaels successfully rewrote this take without tainting the original. She kept things just close enough to the original, while making the story her own. I kept trying to name the different characters as they were introduced, and matching them to Austen’s, which was fun and not at all distracting.

Now, Liam was a fun and exciting character. He has spunk for days and was completely okay with who he was. William Darcy was typical Darcy, gorgeous and somewhat cold, but completely honorable. I like how the author builds the relationship in more depth. One of Austen’s attributes in literature is her ability to make the readers draw their own conclusions. Michaels kept that up, and still gave me all I desired. There’s a healthy balance of story and sex, and this author can write a sex scene… (Wipes brow). I would 100% recommend giving this a read/listen.

Narration: I am extremely familiar with Rusty Topsfield as a narrator, and he never disappoints. He has such a diverse ability to drawn me into the story, though he doesn’t have particular skills in differentiating character, but it doesn’t bother me in the least. I am too busy being involved. I see his name and get excited!

TNA_Signature_Amy

 

 

 

You can buy Pride and Modern Prejudice here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

Standard
5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Eli Easton, Historical Romance, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Amy

Audio Review: The Lion and the Crow by Eli Easton – Narrated by Scott Richard Ehredt

Audio Gem

Title: The Lion and the Crow

Author: Eli Easton

Narrator: Scott Richard Ehredt

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 5 hours and 3 minutes

At a Glance: If I could give this book 1000 stars, I would.

Reviewed By: Amy

Blurb: In medieval England, duty is everything, personal honor is more valued than life itself, and homosexuality is not tolerated by the church or society.

Sir Christian Brandon was raised in a household where he was hated for his unusual beauty and for his parentage. Being smaller than his six brutish half-brothers, he learned to survive by using his wits and his gift for strategy, earning him the nickname the Crow.

Sir William Corbett, a large and fierce warrior known as the Lion, has pushed his unnatural desires down all his life. He’s determined to live up to his own ideal of a gallant knight. When he takes up a quest to rescue his sister from her abusive lord of a husband, he’s forced to enlist the help of Sir Christian. It’s a partnership that will test every strand of his moral fiber, and, eventually, his understanding of the meaning of duty, honor, and love.

Dividers

Review:  If anyone knows anything about me when it comes to M/M books, it’s that I DO NOT read Historical Romance; however, this is Eli Easton we are talking about, and I have literally read every book she has written. So, I gave in and said, “Let me review this book,” and this is what I love about reviewing. I am exposed to greatness, and let me tell you, the combination of Easton’s writing ability and Scott Richard Ehredt’s narrating skills are absolute perfection. I would give this book 1000 stars, if possible.

The story is all things. It brings us this environment of life and death and honor. It does involve the whole “we can’t be gay thing,” but honestly, it didn’t bother me AT all because the author was sharing the journey of these two men, who are honorable.

Christian has been abused his whole life by his brothers, but instead of shrinking, he rose to the occasion and became a great bowman and hunter. William is an accomplished knight who is out to save his sister’s virtue. Through coincidence these two men are thrown together. This journey was the true brilliance of this story. The relationship that grows is one of, first, undeniable attraction but the sheer refusal to act on it, into respect, and eventually a love for all ages. I very seldom cry when reading a book, and Eli Easton makes me thankful for the true love stories in this world, and gives me hope through the written word.

Narration: I don’t know what to say about Scott Richard Ehredt, except pure BRILLIANCE. This man’s voice is truly gooseflesh inducing. His British accent is Sexy, Demanding, Soft, Romantic…etc. I could go on and on. All I will say is that after I listened to this audiobook, I went in search of other books narrated by him.

I put this story on par with my favorite audiobooks of all time.

TNA_Signature_Amy

 

 

 

You can buy The Lion and the Crow here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

Standard
5 Stars, Audio Book, Cardeno C., Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 3 Stars, Reviewed by Amy, Self-Published

Audio Review: Strange Bedfellows by Cardeno C. – Narrated by Ron Herczig

Title: Strange Bedfellows

Author: Cardeno C.

Narrator: Ron Herczig

Publisher: Self-Published

Run Time: 6 hours and 48 minutes

At a GlanceI have not met a book by Cardeno C. that I haven’t loved.

Reviewed By: Amy

Blurb: Can the billionaire son of a Democratic president build a family with the congressman son of a Republican senator? Forget politics, love makes strange bedfellows.

As the sole offspring of the Democratic United States president and his political operative wife, Trevor Moga was raised in an environment driven by the election cycle. During childhood, he fantasized about living in a made-for-television family, and as an adult, he rejected all things politics and built a highly successful career as far from his parents as possible.

Newly elected congressman Ford Hollingsworth is Republican royalty. The grandson of a revered governor and son of a respected senator, he was bred to value faith, family, and the goal of seeing a Hollingsworth in the White House.

When Trevor and Ford meet, sparks fly and a strong friendship is formed. But can the billionaire son of a Democratic president build a family with the congressman son of a Republican senator? Forget politics, love makes strange bedfellows.

Dividers

Review: I am starting to place Cardeno C. on my auto-buy list, as I have not met a book by this author that I haven’t loved. What I think Cardeno C. is so amazing at is exceptional character development, and developing such a natural flow to the story—within and outside of the romance aspect. I really wasn’t excited to read a book about politics. Especially with the climate as of late. All I can say is, make sure you don’t let that stop you. Cardeno C. had me in love with Trevor from the start. I am typically not a fan of an introductory sex scene, but it worked in this case. I loved the dynamic of Trevor’s family life.

In stark contrast, I just wanted to shake, hug, love, and forgive Ford for who he is. Ford has amazing character, and truly wouldn’t make it in today’s climate of politics, as he is honorable. His family made me mad, but ultimately, the love between these two characters was the star. Wonderfully developed, I cannot recommend this book any more.

Narration: Ron Herczig was a new-to-me narrator. He did a good job with the story, and I really like him—with one exception—his cadence is entirely too slow. I mean, it is actually frustrating. If he spoke about two paces faster, I would have fallen all over him; however, the slow narration did lend itself well to the sex scenes. I wouldn’t look at an audio and see his name and say, “I MUST have that.” But he was sufficient.

TNA_Signature_Amy

 

 

 

You can buy Strange Bedfellows here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

Standard
5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Karen, Rhys Ford

Audio Review: Murder and Mayhem by Rhys Ford – Narrated by Greg Tremblay

Audio Gem

Title:  Murder and Mayhem

Author:  Rhys Ford

Narrator: Greg Tremblay

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Run Time:  7 hours and 44 minutes

At a Glance:  I am a huge fan of both Rhys Ford and Greg Tremblay, and when you put them together, the end product is nothing short of amazing.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb:  Dead women tell no tales.

Former cat burglar Rook Stevens stole many a priceless thing in the past, but he’s never been accused of taking a life – until now. It was one thing to find a former associate inside Potter’s Field, his pop culture memorabilia shop, but quite another to stumble across her dead body.

Detective Dante Montoya thought he’d never see Rook Stevens again – not after his former partner falsified evidence to entrap the jewelry thief and Stevens walked off scot-free. So when he tackled a fleeing murder suspect, Dante was shocked to discover the blood-covered man was none other than the thief he’d fought to put in prison and who still makes his blood sing.

Rook is determined to shake loose the murder charge against him, even if it means putting distance between him and the rugged Cuban-Mexican detective who brought him down. If one dead con artist wasn’t bad enough, others soon follow, and as the bodies pile up around Rook’s feet, he’s forced to reach out to the last man he’d expect to believe in his innocence – and the only man who’s ever gotten under Rook’s skin.

Dividers

Review:  Once I started doing reviews, and had access to audiobooks opened up to me, I learned pretty quickly that the narrator can make or break the story.  I have had instances where a story that wasn’t a favorite became one because of the way the narrator delivered it, and had the reverse happen–a story that I loved being performed by a narrator that made it almost impossible to get through the book.  Then, there are audiobooks like this one, where the story is amazing all by itself, but read by a fantastic narrator elevates it even more.  I am a huge fan of both Rhys Ford and Greg Tremblay, and when you put them together, the end product is nothing short of amazing.

There are a few narrators that I have listened to who have an amazing talent for bringing a story to life and reeling you in. Greg Tremblay is one of them.  It blows me away how these narrators are able to bring to life so many different characters, and give them a voice, and, in this case, every one of them so distinct you have no trouble following who’s talking. It’s easy to forget that it is one person doing this, and then I sit back in amazement when the realization hits.

When I first read Murder and Mayhem, it became one of my favorite books by Rhys Ford, which, in and of itself, says something since I adore every one of her books I’ve read, but the narration by Greg Tremblay made me love the story that much more.

TNA_Signature_Karen

 

 

 

You can buy Murder and Mayhem here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

Standard
5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Kim Fielding, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Kim

Audio Review: The Tin Box by Kim Fielding – Narrated by K.C. Kelly

Audio Gem

Title: The Tin Box

Author: Kim Fielding

Narrator:: K.C. Kelly

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours and 26 Minutes

At a Glance: Kim Fielding has delivered an outstanding story well worth reading, and K.C. Kelly delivers an excellent performance of The Tin Box!

Reviewed By: Kim

Blurb: William Lyon’s past forced him to become someone he isn’t. Conflicted and unable to maintain the charade, he separates from his wife and takes a job as caretaker at a former mental hospital. Jelley’s Valley State Insane Asylum was the largest mental hospital in California for well over a century, but it now stands empty. William thinks the decrepit institution is the perfect place to finish his dissertation and wait for his divorce to become final. In town, William meets Colby Anderson, who minds the local store and post office. Unlike William, Colby is cute, upbeat, and flamboyantly out. Although initially put off by Colby’s mannerisms, William comes to value their new friendship, and even accepts Colby’s offer to ease him into the world of gay sex.

William’s self-image begins to change when he discovers a tin box, hidden in an asylum wall since the 1940s. It contains letters secretly written by Bill, a patient who was sent to the asylum for being homosexual. The letters hit close to home, and William comes to care about Bill and his fate. With Colby’s help, he hopes the words written seventy years ago will give him courage to be his true self.

Dividers

Review: Lynn wrote such a lovely review of The Tin Box two years ago that I knew eventually I would have to break down and read it. It’s been sitting on my TBR shelf forever, but lo and behold, it came out in audiobook too! For me, it’s so much better when a story is read to me. Especially if it has content in it that might disturb me, angst filled parts that I would normally skim over and miss something important because I can’t take it anymore. Audiobooks force me to slow down and really get the full impact of a story.

I’m a bit biased when it comes to mental asylums, since I’ve had a family member who’s been in and out of them since he was seventeen. He’s now sixty-two and is residing in one, in their dementia and brain trauma unit. Mental hospitals have come a long way since I first visited him in one when I was eleven years old, and yes, there are some abuses that still occur with patients if family or advocates are not on their toes and looking out for them.

I was so impressed by the way William used Bill’s letters to motivate him into leaving his comfort zone and become more confidant as a gay man. Colby was such a tease as he flirted with William, and I loved how these two interacted with each other. I felt the emotion in Bill’s voice as K.C. Kelly read Bill’s letters and related all the abuses he’ suffered through. Some, but not all, of the description of the asylum brought back some pretty painful and sad memories as a kid visiting one of those places. As you can probably tell, Bill kind of holds a special spot in my heart, as well as all the others who have been placed voluntarily, or involuntarily, in mental hospitals. So many are left in these places and then forgotten.

Kim Fielding has delivered an outstanding story well worth reading, and K.C. Kelly delivers an excellent performance of The Tin Box! Once again he did a wonderful job with all the characters’ voices.

TNA_Signature_Kim

 

 

 

You can buy The Tin Box here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

Standard
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.

Dividers

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

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

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

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

Author: A.J. Thomas

Narrator:: Jeff Gelder

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 8 Hours and 33 Minutes

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

Reviewed By: Maryann

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

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

Dividers

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

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

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

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

TNA_Signature_Maryann

 

 

 

You can buy Holding Out for a Fairy Tale here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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

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

Title: Heart of the Race

Author: Mary Calmes

Narrator:: Greg Tremblay

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 2 Hours and 5 Minutes

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

Reviewed By: Kathie

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

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

Dividers

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

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

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

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

TNA_Signature_Kathie

 

 

 

You can buy Heart of the Race here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

Standard
5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, K.C. Wells, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed By JJ

Audio Review: Damian’s Discipline by K.C. Wells – Narrated by Nick J. Russo

Audio Gem

Title: Damian’s Discipline (Collars and Cuffs: Book Five)

Author: K.C. Wells

Narrator: Nick J. Russo

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours and 14 Minutes

At a Glance: I recommend Damian’s Discipline to fans of M/M Romance who appreciate the D/S lifestyle.

Reviewed By: JJ

Blurb: The man who pimped Jeff may be in prison, but Jeff is still living the nightmare, selling himself to men and relying on pills to manage. Then he meets Scott, a young American man who could easily have been where Jeff is now. Scott’s friends extend a helping hand to Jeff, and he grabs it.

Leo and Thomas bring Jeff to stay with Dom Damian Barnett until they can find him someplace more long-term. Still grieving from losing his sub to cancer two years before, Damian agrees to help. But when he glimpses the extent of the damage, Damian wants to do more than offer his guestroom. Jeff is not a submissive, but Damian can see he desperately needs structure in his life. It’s up to Damian to find an answer.

He never expects that what he discovers will change both their lives. 

Dividers

Review: Jeff is another boy who was abused and pimped out by Curtis Rogers. After Curtis’s arrest, Jeff ended up on the streets as a rent boy. When Leo and Thomas learn about Jeff, they get him to stay with Damian, a Dom who loves to nurture. Though Jeff isn’t particularly submissive and has a deep seeded mistrust for Doms, Damian is able to get Jeff to accept his protection. Damian also gives him the opportunity to make something more of himself. Despite Damian’s influence, Jeff struggles with an addiction to pills which he uses in order to cope with what happened to him. Their time together is not easy, but they end up developing an attraction for one another.

I really loved this book. Jeff has some serious trust issues, but he lets Damian take care of him and even gives up some control. Though the book is mostly outside the realm of BDSM when it comes to sex, it still was an amazing read. I liked that Damian was willing to give up his D/s lifestyle in order to be with Jeff, and it was especially nice that he wasn’t forced to do so. The ending of Damian’s Discipline was a pleasant surprise, with some guest appearances from other books coming together in an emotional finality of sorts.

I recommend Damian’s Discipline to fans of M/M Romance who appreciate the D/S lifestyle.

Narration: The audio performance of this book was excellent. I almost forgot that this was an audiobook since I wasn’t pulled away from the story even once.

As a side note, this book can be read as a standalone, but due to the multiple tie-ins from previous book in the series, I recommend reading books 1-4 prior to reading this one. Additionally, book 6 starts at the exact point where this one leaves off.

TNA_Signature_JJ

 

 

 

You can buy Damian’s Discipline here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

Standard
5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed By Carrie, Tara Lain

Audio Review: Winter’s Wolf by Tara Lain – Narrated by Max Lehnen

Audio Gem

Title: Winter’s Wolf (Tales of the Harker Pack: Book Three

Author: Tara Lain

Narrator:: Max Lehnen

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 8 Hours and 31 Minutes

At a Glance: The twists and turns in this book keep you guessing in a good way. No matter whether you are reading, or being read to, Winter’s Wolf is hard to put down.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: Winter Thane was raised on the two cardinal rules of werewolf existence: don’t reveal yourself to humans under penalty of death, and there’s no such thing as a gay werewolf. It’s no surprise when his father drags him from his wild life in remote Canada back to Connecticut to meet his old pack in hopes it will persuade Winter to abandon his love of sex with human males. Of course Dad’s hopes are dashed when they come face-to-face with the gay werewolves in the Harker pack.

Winter takes one look at FBI agent Matt Partridge and decides bird is his favorite food. Partridge is embroiled in an investigation into drug dealing and the death of a fellow agent. He can’t let himself get distracted by the young, platinum-haired beast, but then Winter proves invaluable in the search for clues, a move that winds them both up in chains and facing imminent death. Winter quickly learns his father’s motives are questionable, the pack alphas are a bunch of pussies, humans aren’t quite what they seem, and nothing in the forests of Connecticut is pure except love.

Dividers

Review: I decided to do something different with this book – I downloaded the actual book and read along with the narrator. I am a fast reader and wasn’t sure how this was going to work, but I can wholeheartedly endorse the process after trying it. I truly enjoyed watching the words go by on the page as Max Lehnen read them aloud to me. This book has a more complex storyline than the others in the series, and as such, there was no skipping ahead or putting it down mid-read. This was an excellent book to listen to as well as read along with because you got a good and captivating story, which kept all your book-loving senses engaged.

Winter Thane is a wild, lone wolf. Raised in the wilds of Canada, he is still a baby by werewolf standards. Home schooled by his Alpha father, he has a brilliant mind to go with his alphanta body, and a keen moral compass and sense of self. When his father decides they must return to his father’s original pack in Connecticut, Winter’s solitary life is upended by what they find there. Not only is Winter faced with questioning everything his father has always taught him, but he comes up against drug dealers, a pack coup in the works, and an FBI agent who is more than what he seems.

Matt Partridge is proud of what he has accomplished in the FBI. He’s young for a field agent, but he’s smart and has worked hard to get where he has. Investigating a mysterious drug ring in his hometown in Connecticut is a little frustrating for him – until he meets Winter Thane, and then things start happening way too fast and intense. Winter is a wolf and he’s decided he wants partridge for dinner, but the harder Winter falls, the more elusive the FBI agent becomes.

Winter’s Wolf is a story about finding family, discovering family, and becoming family. In the end, Winter discovers that having mates you would live and die for is what pack is all about. Max Lehnen does a really good job with the narration on this one. I could hear the emotions in his voice as he narrated, and he brought the characters to life. I would definitely recommend the audio form of this book, by itself or in combination with the e-format. Reading along really helped me enjoy the audible even more.

TNA_Signature_Carrie

 

 

 

You can buy Winter’s Wolf here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

Standard
4 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 4 Stars, Reviewed by Sadonna, Tere Michaels

Audio Review: Cherish & Blessed by Tere Michaels – Narrated by J.P. Handler

Audio Gem

Title: Cherish & Blessed (Faith, Love & Devotion: Books Four & Five)

Author: Tere Michaels

Narrator: J.P. Handler

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 5 Hours and 46 Minutes

At a Glance: Two wonderful and insightful stories giving us more glimpses into the life and family that Evan and Matt (one of my favorite characters of all time) are building together.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: Cherish

After several years of happy coupledom, Matt and Evan can relax in the knowledge that their little family has survived the worst of it. The two older girls are away at college, the twins have yet to fully hit teen angst, Matt is doing well with his part time security consulting, and Evan is about to be promoted to captain—it seems like things are calm and bright.

Until they aren’t.

As the holidays approach, Evan and Matt get a shock no parent is ever prepared for: feisty Miranda, Evan’s eldest, has a new boyfriend, Kent, and they are talking marriage after just three months together. In fact, Miranda wants to bring him to Thanksgiving dinner—along with his parents, Blake and Cornelia.

Blessed

Lives are in transition as everyone gathers at the stunning Hamptons beach home of Daisy and Bennett to celebrate the christening of their new baby. Griffin and Jim—secretly growing tired of their rootless lifestyle—are in a rocky spot in their relationship. And as the godfather, Griffin finds himself yearning for something he’s sure Jim won’t be interested in.

Fatherhood.

Matt and Evan are looking to reconnect during the long weekend, as their respective careers pull them in separate directions. With less time spent together, Evan grows concerned about what will happen when the last two kids leave the nest.

Dividers

Review: This combination of two shorter episodes in the lives of Evan and Matt gives us more insight into how they are adjusting to combining their households and lives. Once again, Matt is the standout character for me in this series. He is the real glue that holds this couple and this family together, much to the chagrin of Miranda. He calms Evan, takes charge when needed, backs off when things get too hot to handle and pretty much absorbs the shockwaves of this family.

Matt and Evan have moved to a new house and have settled pretty comfortably into their lives together. Matt’s got his work and he still takes on the bulk of the household and child care responsibilities. His relationship with the twins is good, and he’s still closest to Katie. Of course, Miranda continues to be a thorn in everyone’s side. But never has she purposely tried to ruin everyone’s holiday and, in the process, potentially sacrifice what might be a solid relationship. As someone who has been through some pretty tense family holidays, I couldn’t help but shake my head at her antics (well, more like throttle her – not unlike my reaction to my own family, at times) and congratulate Evan and Matt on how they handled the whole situation. The other kids all get gold stars for doing their best to diffuse the uncomfortable circumstances. Comic relief is once again provided by Evan’s partner, and she definitely has some of the great lines in this story.

In Blessed, we get to visit not only with Evan and Matt but also Jim and Griffin as they all visit Daisy and Bennett’s beach house for the christening of their daughter. Evan and Matt have taken their relationship to a new level and are looking forward to a weekend sans children! The packing for this trip is hilarious, and I continue to adore Matt.

Jim and Griffin are at a bit of a crossroads in their relationship and they are having some trouble expressing their desires to each other. Evan and Matt see this and try to help by talking to their respective friends. Matt helps Jim sort out what he’s feeling, and Evan helps Griffin realize that he has to be honest with Jim. In the end, everyone has a great time, big decisions get made, and there will be new plans on the horizon.

Finally, we also get to enjoy a weekend away for Matt and Evan with no distractions, no kids, no commitments to anyone else – just a focus on themselves. They get down to the heart of their relationship, and it’s really sweet. Evan still struggles with expressing his feelings, but he’s come a long way. These guys are so fun to watch grow together, and it’s nice to see them work through their relationship and continue to move forward together.

I continue to love this series and while I still hear some Canadianisms in the narrator, I really enjoy his characterizations. I especially loved it that at one point he pronounced khaki like cocky. ;) I’m guessing he must have taken Geoff Knight’s pronunciation course!

 

 

 

You can buy Cherish & Blessed here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

Standard
2.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Katherine Halle, Narration Rating - 4 Stars, Reviewed by Amy

Audio Review: Fixing the Hole by Katherine Halle – Narrated by Philip Alces

Title: Fixing the Hole

Author: Katherine Halle

Narrator: Philip Alces

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 2 Hours and 7 Minutes

At a Glance: The best thing about this story was Phillip Alces.

Reviewed By: Amy

Blurb: Heavy rains and strong winds slammed an uprooted tree through Steve Crowell’s roof, leaving a gaping hole to match the one in his heart. After his ex left him for a younger man, Steve’s not sure he’s ready to handle another disaster. His best friend highly recommended the contractor, but the man’s already late, and when he shows up with his music thumping, Steve isn’t impressed—until Riley steps out of his pickup truck. Personable, gorgeous Riley talks a mile a minute, which Steve finds both ridiculously endearing and terrifying. Piecing together a heart isn’t as easy as fixing a roof, but Riley might just be the right man for the job.

Dividers

Review:  I love a great short story. There is definitely an art to writing a short story and developing a depth of character in such a short period of time. What I found with this story was that I like the characters well enough; I liked the big differences between the two characters, Steve, the more white collar, and Riley, the more Blue collar. I just had no vested interest in whether they got together or not. Fixing the Hole was kind of forgettable.

Narration: The best thing about this Story was Philip Alces, but I have a love/hate relationship with his work. I think he is an amazing narrator. I just personally don’t care for his voice that much. I find that you can have a great book turn bad with off-narration, but, in this case, Alces did everything he could to keep me interested. He always has great definition between his characters, and does a great job with his emotion. He improved this book for me.

TNA_Signature_Amy

 

 

 

You can buy Fixing the Hole here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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

Audio Review: The Mating of Michael by Eli Easton

Audio Gem

Title: The Mating of Michael

Author: Eli Easton

Narrator:: Michael Stellman

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours and 55 Minutes

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

Reviewed By: Kathie

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

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

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

Dividers

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

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

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

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

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

TNA_Signature_Kathie

 

 

 

You can buy The Mating of Michael here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

Standard
4 Stars, Anna Martin, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, M.J. O'Shea, Narration Rating - 1 Star, Reviewed by Amy

Audio Review: Soufflés at Sunrise by M.J. O’Shea and Anna Martin – Narrated by John-Paul Barrel

Title: Soufflés at Sunrise

Author: M.J. O’Shea and Anna Martin

Narrator: John-Paul Barrel

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 hours and 17 minutes

At a Glance: I love M.J. O’Shea and Anna Martin writing together, and find that they mesh well, but I hope they pick another narrator for the rest of the series.

Reviewed By: Amy

Blurb: “Welcome to a new season of Burned, where we find fresh new cooking talent… and a few culinary disasters! Every season we do something a little different, and this time it’s all about the sweet things in life. Get ready in week one as twenty pastry chef hopefuls and dessert connoisseurs compete for the thirteen coveted workspaces in our *Burned* kitchen. With stakes this big, we ask the one question on everyone’s mind: Do these chefs have what it takes to rise to the top? Or will they get Burned?”

Burned contestants Chase and Kai are attracted from the start and can’t wait to spend more time getting to know each other… until they see the first episode treatment and realize the producers intend to portray them as bitter enemies. At first it’s fun to pretend to bicker—enemies on film, lovers when the cameras stop rolling—but soon it’s hard not to take the faux rivalry seriously. It’s only when their choice is to band together and bake their way to the final or get burned that they find where their real loyalties lie.

Dividers

Review:  Sigh. Where to begin? I often listen to an audiobook and dislike the narrator, but I can separate the book from that narrator to gauge whether it is a great book with poor narration. Sometimes I don’t like either the story or the narrator. This is one case, though, where it was impossible for me to separate the narration from the story, so I am not going to review the book and the narration separately.

I picked this book because I have read (not listened to) other books in this series, and really enjoyed them. I love M.J. O’Shea and Anna Martin writing together, and find that they mesh well. So, this is by no means a bad review for them, but this narration was absolutely painful!

After listening to Souffles at Sunrise for five minutes, I was saying, do I have to continue? It took me two weeks of turning it on for an hour and then turning it off again because I couldn’t continue. John-Paul Barrel spoke as if he was trying to annunciate every single word clearly. It was like listening to an instruction manual.

I hope they pick another narrator for the rest of the series, as the stories seem to be fun and entertaining. I, however, would never recommend another book narrated by John-Paul Barrel.

TNA_Signature_Amy

 

 

 

You can buy Souffle’s at Sunrise here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

Standard
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:

Audible.com

Audible.com

Standard
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.

TNA_Signature_Amy

 

 

 

You can buy How to Howl at the Moon here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

Standard
4.5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 4.5 Stars, Renae Kaye, Reviewed by Karen

Audio Review: Shawn’s Law by Renae Kaye – Narrated by Casey Hunter

Title:  Shawn’s Law

Author:  Renae Kaye

Narrator: Casey Hunter

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Run Time:  6 hours and 19 minutes

At a Glance:  All of the crazy shenanigans that happen around Shawn due to “Shawn’s Law” were brought to life wonderfully with Casey Hunter’s narration.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb:  Shawn is single, twenty-nine, the full-time carer of his Alzheimer’s-stricken mother, and a frequent victim of Murphy’s Law—although his family calls it Shawn’s Law. Other than caring for mum, his day consists of painting nude men and spying on the guy who walks his dogs along the street every day at four o’clock. When Shawn takes a spectacular fall on his front steps, who is there to witness it other than the man of his dreams?

Harley doesn’t believe in Shawn’s Law—but he soon changes his mind.

The two men make it through a memorable first date and Shawn’s sexual insecurities to begin a relationship stumbling toward love. But when Shawn’s Law causes Harley to be injured, Shawn is determined to save Harley’s life the only way he knows how—by breaking up with him. Not once, but twice. Throw in a serial killer ex-boyfriend, several deadly Australian animals, two dogs called Bennie, a mother who forgets to wear clothes, an unforgiving Town Council, and a strawberry-flavored condom dolly, and Shawn’s Law is one for the books.

Dividers

Review:  Shawn’s Law is one of those feel good, happy, laugh out loud stories, and when I read it I loved it! I was so happy when I saw the audiobook come up for review.

Casey Hunter is a new narrator to me and after listening to Shawn’s Law I will definitely be happy to listen to more by him. Right from the beginning I was sucked back into Shawn and Harley’s story.  All of the crazy shenanigans that happen around Shawn due to “Shawn’s Law” were brought to life wonderfully with Casey’s narration.  The difference in the character voices were distinct enough that I was able to know who was speaking at any given time without it being stated.

The only thing I can think of that may be an issue or distraction for some people is that the story is set in Australia, but the narration has no Australian accent, so there are times where there are words or phrases that are definitely Australian, but the voice doesn’t go along with the words, and until something was said or a place was mentioned, I would forget that it was even set in Australia. For me this wasn’t really an issue, I don’t think that it took anything away from the story, but I could see how some people might not like it.

This is the second of Renae Kaye’s books that I have listened to on audio, and I am a big fan of both. I would definitely recommend Shawn’s Law!

TNA_Signature_Karen

 

 

 

You can buy Shawn’s Law here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

Standard
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.

TNA_Signature_Kim







 

You can buy Splintered here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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

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

Title: Fire Horse (Polo: Book One)

Author: Mickie B. Ashling

Narrator:: Max Lehnen

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours and 55 Minutes

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

Reviewed By: Kathie

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

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

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

Dividers

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

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

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

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

TNA_Signature_Kathie







 

You can buy Fire Horse here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

Standard